Every month, we will be profiling survivors and we have had the pleasure to talk with Daniel and learn about his efforts to start a social venture to help newly diagnosed teenagers navigate the complexities after diagnosis. Thank you, Daniel, for sharing your story!
Competitive sports have always been a major part of my life. I was at swim practice one morning in the summer of 2014, I was 14 years old. I had experienced episodes of extreme euphoria about twice a day for several months, I had later found out those episodes were aura seizures. But this particular morning the aura seizure was extremely intense. Last thing I remember is standing in the swim team locker room. I had fallen and hit my head on a concrete bench, as a result suffered an extremely severe concussion. after being rushed to the hospital I had a brain scan and it was discovered I had a brain tumor in my front right temporal lobe.
After the discovery of the tumor, the surgery was set for one week from that day. I was absolutely terrified of the surgery, mainly in that I may never be the same again. I was an extremely social and athletic teenager so this situation completely changed my world. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the same after the surgery, or if I could ever participate in the sports I loved again.
After the surgery I was on bed rest for 3 months, I had an amazing support system and my friends and family were with me every step of the way. The recovery process was extremely boring and terrifying as I was lying in bed for months having many questions unanswered. Since my surgery in the summer of 2014 I finished my sophomore year at a high school near Chicago, then moved to Baltimore to finish my junior and senior year. The hardest part of moving as a teenager was leaving my support system that helped me through my surgery. Once I got to Maryland I became the captain of my high school swim team and became a state swimmer.
Overall, I all grateful for my brain tumor experience because not too many people have had the opportunity to grow in this way. Through my journey I discovered and realized things about life, mindset, and the essence of perseverance. Now I am starting a social venture called New fin, a low profit limited liability company to aid in the mental and spiritual aspects of teenagers recovering from brain surgery. I wish I had a met someone that had lived the teenage brain tumor experience and had done productive things with their life. my goal is to inspire and virtually mentor teenagers going through their journey.