LIFE & HEALTH CHALLENGES
No-one knows what causes brain tumours – there are only a few known risk factors established by research.
There are many different types of brain tumour. Tumours can start in any part of the brain or spinal cord and are usually named after the type of cell they develop from. The most common type of brain tumour in adults is called glioblastoma multiforme (GMB). Cancers that start in the brain are called primary brain tumours. Cancers that have spread to the brain from somewhere else in the body are called secondary brain tumours or brain metastases.
Finding out you have a brain tumour can feel overwhelming, as though things are out of your control. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, helpless or worried about the future as there may be unexpected challenges, including family and relationship issues, alterations in body image, fluctuating energy levels and an impact on our sense of self.
Surgical techniques have advanced dramatically but it is understandable that we feel vulnerable having someone operating on our precious brain.
Even if a brain tumour isn’t curable, there’s much that people can do to improve their overall health and sense of wellbeing.
We can’t always change the outcome of a disease, but we can change the way in which we experience that outcome, and there’s much we can do to improve our health and create an environment for profound healing.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BRAIN TUMOURS?
Some symptoms of a brain tumour are very general and lots of other medical conditions can cause them. It’s unlikely to be a brain tumour, but always get your symptoms checked out by a GP.
- Headaches – very bad headaches, more frequent headaches, or headaches when you didn’t have them before and that don’t respond well to medication
- If sneezing, coughing, bending over, exercising makes your headache worse
- Drowsiness or falling asleep during the day
- Problems with your eyes – worsening eyesight, blurry vision, floating shapes that glasses don’t help
- Fits or seizures, or twitching in your hand, arm or leg
- Personality changes or mood swings
- Poor coordination
HOW TO DEAL WITH A BRAIN TUMOUR
Discussing all aspects of the brain tumour and treatment with doctors and specialists is essential so you can work out a way to manage your symptoms and find out what works best for you. Also consider consulting with an integrative or lifestyle medicine practitioner who can assist you with a holistic approach to managing your symptoms and/or recovery.
You’ll benefit by learning how to:
- Live with the physical effects of the illness
- Minimise side-effects from treatments
- Make sure there is clear communication with doctors
- Maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
- Gain deep restful sleep
- Maintain confidence and positive sense-of-self.
- Speak with your GP or other trusted and qualified health professional
- For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Brain Tumour Alliance Australia
There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for everyone. It can take time to discover the best treatment for each person, so it’s best to work closely with your (holistic) GP or other trusted and qualified health professional to find what works for you.
In addition, complementary treatments are now widely acknowledged as being integral to a person’s healing regimen. When we actively engage in a fulfilling life and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we create the ideal physiology in which our health can be regained or improved.
FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO A POSITIVE HEALING OUTCOME
Many factors contribute to a positive healing outcome for people with a chronic illness or disease. These factors can help you begin or continue your journey of recovery:
- Addressing physical as well as the emotional distress, isolation, fear and frustration that may accompany a chronic illness
- Improving exercise and sleep levels along with other healthy lifestyle practices
- Guidance in managing the emotional rollercoaster of exhaustion, frustration, fear and isolation
- Improving your nutrition and ability to manage stress as both these things impact considerably on your microbiome (gut bacteria) – the foundation of your immune system
- Meditation and living mindfully can stimulate your immune system to function optimally
- Rest and patience are two essential components of recovery
Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our Toolkit page:
- Keys to improve the quality of your sleep
- Meditation practices
- The Four Cs – Keys to peace of mind and resilience
Some of Petrea King’s Podcasts may be helpful and can be found on our Podcast page:
- Dealing with a difficult diagnosis
- Relax better and reduce stress using mindfulness
- Eating well in times of stress
- Talking Lifestyle Radio: Petrea’s life and Quest’s approach to healing
- Petrea King books including Quest for Life – a handbook for people with Cancer and Life-Threatening Illnesses; Your Life Matters – a guidebook for life and living in the now; Food for Life by Petrea King
- Meditations including Be Calm, Tranquil Night, Learning to Meditate
HOW QUEST FOR LIFE CAN HELP
While medical teams focus on eradicating disease, Quest for Life’s focus is on empowering people to heal. Quest for Life can help through our residential programs, workshops and Online Courses.
- Our 5-day residential programs Quest for Life and Reclaiming Your Brain nourish, educate and support you to adopt a healthy lifestyle which creates an environment for profound healing. You’ll learn about the factors that contribute to a positive healing outcome.
- Our Self-Paced Online Courses – Befriending Anxiety; Beyond Burnout and Healing Sleep – provide practical, positive and easy to follow guidance and advice. They encourage and help you to identify and implement strategies to build your resilience, and to incorporate these into your own personal plan for each course.
- Our 1-day workshop Living Mindfully: With Cancer and Illness shows you ways to improve your health and create an environment for profound healing.
Quest for Life knows how to help: our internal research results show that participants feel better after attending a program and that this improvement increases over time.
If you’re living with a brain tumour, fill in the Contact Form below and one of our Program Advisors will be in touch to answer questions or to ascertain the most appropriate program for your needs.
At Quest we recognise that people being treated for a brain tumour may have chemical sensitivities. No chemicals are used in the grounds or buildings at Quest to ensure a safe and healthy environment for people with life-inhibiting illnesses.
“In 2013 my husband and I were lucky enough to come to Quest and participate in a program. I’d just been diagnosed with a grade IV glioblastoma (brain tumour) and our world turned upside down. I was given a very short time to live. We have four young children, so you can imagine it was a very challenging time for us.
What we learnt here at Quest were some really great strategies and very practical skills that allowed us to face that challenge in a skilful way.