BY ANASTASIA GOLOVASHKINA / ELLE

It was a Monday. I dropped ice cream on my kitchen floor and struggled for hours to clean up. By Tuesday, it felt like things were constantly slipping out of my hands. By Wednesday, typing had become difficult. I found myself making more and more unexplained errors in my emails and messages to friends and colleagues.

By Thursday, even the most simple tasks had grown unbearable. I woke up with an excruciating headache that felt like glass exploding in my head. As much as I dreaded how much a doctor’s visit would cost, I knew I couldn’t live like this. I printed out my insurance card, got dressed, and went to urgent care.

It took the doctor one look at my crooked smile and klutzy coordination to suspect that I was having a stroke. She urged me to immediately go to the ER. Two hours later, a CT scan revealed what was wrong.

I wasn’t having a stroke. I had a brain tumor—one that had grown to be 2.5” x 2” x 2.25”, about the size of a billiard ball. A biopsy would later confirm what the doctors already suspected: It was cancer—specifically glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that stole the lives of Beau Biden, John McCain, and Ted Kennedy.

anastasia golovashkina brain surgery
The author on the day of her brain surgery, June 21, 2019.COURTESY OF ANASTASIA GOLOVASHKINA

CLICK HERE FOR HER FULL STORY

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