Josie Maiorino Arcobelli

I would love to write something inspirational and comforting to make someone's journey easier, however I cannot. There is nothing simple about being told you have a brain tumor, as your mind quickly wanders off to the worst possible situations; “What happens to me now?”

I would love to write something inspirational and comforting to make someone's journey easier, however I cannot. There is nothing simple about being told you have a brain tumor, as your mind quickly wanders off to the worst possible situations; “What happens to me now?” Unfortunately, being diagnosed with a meningioma is not something small to digest. I will be honest with you- it is absolutely horrifying, scary, and it just about makes you feel like nothing can turn itself around. Nonetheless, I must also advise you that when faced in these trials, one must choose their surroundings wisely. Your family, friends, and doctors are the pillars of your strength in the times when you feel at your lowest. These people are your support team and the individuals you must keep close. I promise you they will be everything.

I was diagnosed with a meningioma in November 2013, where I was immediately told that it would be mandatory for my tumor to be surgically removed. It was all very quick and so impersonal, that I just could not wait to get out of that doctor's office and run back to my car so I can shed my tears in private. Unfortunately, the discovery of my tumor did not take place at the Montreal Neurological Institute. As we searched for a second opinion and validation, we were blessed to encounter Dr. Kevin Petrecca. While under care at the MNI, Dr. Petrecca studied my case diligently and then carefully followed up over time, as he kept my condition under a close eye. In October 2015, after my routine MRI, it was discovered that my meningioma had significantly grown in size and unfortunately surveillance was no longer a solution. Due to my tumor’s location, alongside Dr. Petrecca, we reconsidered the possible options. After multiple lengthy discussions, Dr. Petrecca recommended I begin radiation as the best alternative for positive results.

For a little over six weeks I was under the care of Dr. Abdulkarim, a splendid oncologist at the MNI, as I made my way for daily treatments and weekly follow-ups. Those six weeks were not easy. Many tears were shed, and the anger and tiredness I felt along the way were inevitable. Undoubtedly, the team of doctors and nurses at the MNI were paramount in helping me through this difficult time, as they always assisted my case with the greatest sincerity and care. More so, all throughout my treatments Dr. Petrecca was always there.

Despite the hundreds of patients that Dr. Petrecca treats daily; and I do mean hundreds for I have seen his office fill up like a concert hall, I always felt like a priority. Always available for any questions and concerns, being followed by Dr. Petrecca reassured me that I was in the best care possible.

Now, exactly one year and two weeks later, I stand here today still with a meningioma, yet a much smaller and definitely a less invasive one. No, I cannot say it is finally all over and done with, but I can say that I am grateful. I am grateful for where I am, where I was treated, the security and comfort I received, the results I have gotten, the people I’ve met along the way, and all the great difference they have made for me. I can proudly say that about six months ago, I began to start feeling like myself again. I don’t feel like I am completely out of the woods as there are still daily struggles, however I have become more accepting and at ease with life and the situations it throws our way.

For these reasons, I feel as though I need to give back to express my gratitude and appreciation for the group at Montreal Neurological Institute. This is the part where I invite you all to help me give back to Dr. Petrecca and his wonderful team, so that they may further their research and help all those that come their way. There are countless brain tumors diagnosed each day and unfortunately doctors and researchers cannot solve this negative wave on their own.

Through this experience I have learned how important it is to have a strong, loving team that supports, guides, and paves the way for you even on the rainiest of days. My story here isn’t the important one, but that there are many more individuals, just like myself, who will inopportunely face these difficult situations. We all have the power to be someone’s ray of light and together we can be the team that helps so many out there!

As a token of my understanding and appreciation for this cause, I would like to extend my gratitude by helping Dr. Kevin Petrecca and his dedicated research team to continue their work and discover better treatment methods through BRAIN MATTERS/Affaires Cérébrales.



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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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