Unexpected Seizure Leads to a Life-Changing Diagnosis

In December 1999, I had a seizure out of the blue. I was 41, a decorator back then, a wife and mother of three wonderful boys. I fell asleep on the lounge watching TV late at night and when I woke up, I felt a tingling feeling the left side of my body, arm, hand, and fingers.

As I was massaging that area so it would go away, I began to feel a tingling sensation creep up the left side of my back. Once it got to my neck it became hot and kept creeping up, over my head and down the left side of my face, then neck. It became cooler once it past my neck and travelled down my left side. I knew then this was not normal pins and needles and so I thought I better go to bed and if I still had it in the morning, I would enquire with the doctor about it. I went to slip my slippers on and soon found out that I could with my right foot and not my left. I had no control of that foot, so I had to put my left foot over my right knee but put the slipper on manually.

I stood up to walk and found myself limping instead which was something else I didn’t expect.

I had to walk slowly and carefully so I wouldn’t twist my left ankle. I headed for the stairs and found the only way up was to pull myself up using both hands on the railing. When I arrived in my bedroom, my husband was asleep in bed, and I went to wake him to tell him what I had and that he should probably bring me to the hospital, but he was so sleepy he just said I should go to bed, and it will probably be gone by the morning.

I retrieved the elastic ankle support from my bathroom cabinet and sat on the side of my bed to put it on my left foot because I felt it needed the support. That is when I felt another round of the creepy sensation starting from my left lower back, creeping up towards my neck. Once it was on my neck it felt hotter and crept up and over my head and down over the left side of my face and then neck. Once it went down past my neck on the left side it became cool again, when it passed, I went to sleep and woke up the next morning as normal.

My husband was getting dressed and it so happened that his first appointment for the day was to see the doctor for a full check-up. I told him that since he was there to mention to the doctor what symptoms I felt the previous night and see what he had to say about them. I assumed that if it was something to worry about the doctor would want to see me in the afternoon sometime. My husband rang me straight after his appointment saying the doctor wanted to see me straight away.

Seeking Help and Preparing for Surgery: A Journey of Faith and Healing

Once in the doctor’s surgery the doctor asked me to explain to him everything that happened in detail and then proceeded to test my sensation using various items on his desk to see if I could feel them or not and comparing my left side to my right side. I could feel them all, the soft tissue, the pen, the end of the nylon filament though felt sharper on the right thigh than on the left. The doctor then asked if he could make a phone call and rang a neurologist after which it was decided that I should go to have a CT Scan o my head.

After the CT Scan report was ready, I dropped it off at the doctor’s surgery for him to have a look at it. An appointment was then made to see the neurologist with my husband to discuss the findings on the scans. I was told the scans showed two pea size benign tumours called meningiomas (named so because they grow on the meningi; the thin protective tissue layer covering the brain, similar to the thin protective layer you see when you peel back the shell of a boiled egg). The tumours have grown to a size where they are putting pressure on the brain thus causing the seizures.

The danger being with each seizure I can become more and more paralysed on the left side so I should be booked into a hospital for further tests and then be operated to remove the tumours as soon as possible.

The following week I was booked into a hospital for an MRI and an Angiogram and various other smaller tests which took the best part of three days. As a result, they found I had two benign tumours, one pea size and one the size of a golf ball pressing on the part of the brain which functioned my left leg. amongst other things I was told I needed to have a 5-hour long operation and that it did come with certain risks and that there was a 60% chance of survival. I didn’t want to become paralysed, I had no other choice, so I was booked in for the following Monday to have the operation. I was allowed to go back home to prepare things before my operation.

I had to order fabric for my client’s curtains, pack a bag for my hospital stay etc. When I rang Maurice Kain fabrics, the lady taking the orders at the time asked how I was, so I told her. She then proceeded to tell me that If I was interested, I should go to Mary MacKillop’s church in North Sydney and place my hands on the side of her tomb as I knelt beside it to pray and I would feel her energy. I mentioned

it to my husband and so we set ourselves the task to go with my mother before checking in at the hospital.
I remember being taught to pray as a little girl by my mother and grandmother at home and at catechism classes and scripture classes at school and mass on Sundays. I remember praying for little things like passing a test or the sick and the needy, and as I grew older, married with kids I remember praying for them when they were sick or asking God to help me cope when the kids got to be too much to handle at times when they were little. Overall, I was blessed with a fortunate and happy life with a wonderful family and friends. Yes, there were little problems and struggles along the way but nothing I couldn’t handle or overcome. I felt this time was different, this time I felt I had to ask for some special help from above for ME.

My husband, my mother and I arrived at Mary MacKillop’s Church and proceeded to the chapel on the side where Mary MacKillop’s tomb lay. We kneeled on the kneelers, my husband to my left and my mother opposite me on the other side of the grave near the exit door which was open, and you could see the path leading to the souvenir shop.

I began praying silently that the operation would go well and to guide the surgeons’ hands, carefully making sure he doesn’t slip with the knife and asked Mary that if she could hear me to please give me a sign… and so I was waiting to feel a tingle in my hands on the granite of her tomb. Instead, I felt a whoosh from behind me and the flowers on our side of the tomb and those on top at the head of the tomb were rustling in their vases and those opposite the opened doorway were not. Then suddenly I began hearing very soft beautiful angelic music, I was trying to figure out which musical instruments were playing it and wondered where it was coming from.

I motioned to my mother opposite me and asked if she could hear the soft music and she said “Yes, and now that we are talking it stopped”. I listened and yes it did stop. I didn’t bother to ask my husband because he wears hearing aids in both ears and thought he wouldn’t have heard it, but he said he heard it too. I wondered if that was my sign. We decided to vacate the area for some other people heading our way. I asked a lady in the vicinity if she heard any music playing in the church and she said no.

We made our way to the souvenir shop and inside there was a totally different tune playing, I asked the lady behind the counter if they put the music on in the church also and she said no. So that angelic music was just meant for our ears, that must have been my sign that I asked for preceded by the whoosh of air. As my mother and I were browsing in the shop my husband went for a wander towards the museum where he met and spoke with a nun who gave him two black and white passport size photos of Mary MacKillop with a tiny relic of her clothes attached to the back and heat sealed in plastic. I was to pin one on my gown that I was to wear during the operation. I was prepared for the operation feeling calm and positive that I would be alright.

When the neurosurgeon came to visit me after the operation, he touched my toes to make sure I had some feeling in them because he said I had another seizure on the operating table. The following day though it was evident that I had a distinct limp when I walked, and I could only walk a few metres and at a slower pace as well. I had a lot of questions to ask the neurosurgeon that day, one was if I would ever walk normally again, and he said it all depends on the patient some do, some don’t and if I did it would take many months.

I also asked him what the golf ball size tumour looked like, and he said mass of pink and yellow with veins running through it. In fact, the tumour was growing around one side of the Sinus vein which sits between the left and right lobes of the brain and the pea size tumour was growing inside the Sinus vein and blocking it up by 80%.  That one he said he could feel it between his fingers but could not operate on because it would be too dangerous, I could lose my life. He said it is slow growing that it will have to be monitored with annual MRI scans.

I asked him if he could zap it with a laser to break it up and he said the laser is not accurate enough and it could damage the good parts of the brain. The best thing to do was to wait it out until something better was invented.

Recovery: Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Healing Modalities

After about 10 days in hospital, I had the staples removed from my head and was discharged. I had to continue to take medication for seizures in case they continued and so I couldn’t drive for the next three months. I delayed the installation of curtains for a little while until I became stronger and organised my son to drive me to the client’s homes for the installations where I met with the installer for the bigger jobs.

A friend of my sister’s whom I also attended her meditation classes came to my house for a visit one day shortly after my operation with two shopping bags of self-healing books for me to read by Carolyn Myss, Shatki Gawain, Louise Hay and Greg Brayden to name a just a few. She also gave me Spiritual and Crystal Healings. One day after a healing she told me that I will feel so much better that I would want to walk more. but that I was to still take it easy and not to overdo it. In fact, up until then I could only make it to the letterbox at the front of the house and back, after the healing I was able to walk, hanging on my husband’s arm past four houses to the corner and a bit beyond and back. This was a great impetus in building my faith in these types of healings.

My left leg from the knee down was generally much colder and stiffer than my right one and it cramped up a lot when it got tired from me walking.I had to continually stop and rest and massage it. It also felt like something was gripping me around the left ankle all the time and there were strips of numbness on both sides of that leg as well. I regularly went to have reflexology, kinesiology, and I learnt to do reiki I & II all for the benefit of my head and left leg. I also went to see a naturopath that also did iridology, she noticed that one pupil was more dilated than the other. By the time I finished her course of medicines it was back to normal.
I also read a lot of books to do with positive visualisations and affirmations, so I incorporated that into my daily life as well. Firstly, I would visualise a “pacman” chomping away at the pea size tumour in the Sinus Vein. On other days I would imagine a front-end loader in a tunnel (which was actually the Sinus Vein) tipping bucket loads of soil into a truck and the truck was taking it away.

I imagined he was working in miniature in the sinus vein and the soil was the tumour. Then months later, I read in a book somewhere by a male author that tumours are growths fed by a blood supply, which is true, my neurosurgeon told me so, so he imagined he was in the basement/control centre closing off all the valves which shuts down the blood supply to the tumours he then imagined the tumours shrinking. So, I did the same, every day whenever I had a moment, as often as I could. All the while I would affirm that “Every day, in every way I’m getting better and better”.

Embracing Holistic Practices: Harnessing Inner Strength and Healing Energies

After a year I had my annual MRI and check-up with the neurosurgeon. I was still limping but walking a little faster and further than before. The neurosurgeon put the scans up in his light box one by one without saying anything, so I asked him what he saw. He said nothing because they didn’t come out properly and that next time, he will send me to another place for the scans and where they do better reporting. When we sat down around his desk, I made mention of all the healing work I’ve been doing for myself and said that may be the reason it’s not showing up on the scans. He crossed his arms and stated emphatically “I’m a scientific man and I don’t believe in those things”.

When we were walking to our car I was nearly in tears. My husband told me just to be happy he didn’t say the tumour got bigger. He was right and so I continued with reiki, reflexology, crystal healing, positive visualisations, and affirmations. After 18 months I was no longer limping which meant I no longer had to park close to the entrances to the shops. After 2 years I had another MRI scan and went to the neurosurgeon for another check-up. This time after looking and looking at the scans on the light box, he told me that he can just make out a faint shadow and so that must be it. I didn’t mention any more that I was carrying on with my healings. He could see that I was no longer limping and since I had no seizures since the operation, he said I could wean myself off the medication.

I began going for long walks and eventually I was able to walk just over five kilometres in one hour I kept that up until I could do it five days a week. I quit doing decorating and in 2002 I enrolled in Nature Care College to study Energetic Healing which also included meditation.  In February 2003 it was in one of the classes where we were learning the Focussing Technique. The class had to be divided in groups of three to practice. I was taking the role of the patient whilst another the practitioner and the other had the role of taking notes. During this practice as the patient, I had to focus on a part of my body, so I decided to focus on the pea size meningioma in the sinus vein. It was during this session that I felt something that I never felt before in my life or since then for that matter.

I felt something dislodge in my head and flow down towards the back of my head. It was as if the pea size meningioma shrivelled up and detached itself from the inside wall of the Sinus vein and was carried away with the blood flow. Anyway, the next time I had a scan and a check-up with the neurosurgeon he told me I was lucky because my body had created a detour vein.

So, if the sinus vein got a blockage where the meningioma was, the blood could still travel around it via the detour vein. Hearing this from the neurosurgeon was a great relief. I didn’t even visualise this scenario, my body just created it! It was like being handed a life saver. The year after when I went for another check-up the neurosurgeon said the same thing as the last. I didn’t get any more referrals for MRI scans, so I stopped going. Till this day I have been feeling fine.

A New Path and Commitment to Helping Others

Since then, I have read and heard many stories to do with the power of the mind and other holistic healing modalities. They work if you are truly committed to doing the work and take responsibility for your health, mind, body, and spirit. What you sow, so shall you reap.

Today I am committed to help and support anyone who needs my help during their healing journey.

With love, light, and blessings
Marisa Secco