Margaret Ng and her father share something in common. Brain tumours.
I met Margaret at the annual Brain Tumour Foundation conference in Toronto. She had just delivered a keynote address that stunned the audience.
When she was 9 years old, Margaret’s father was experiencing severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour, which was eventually removed, leaving him with impaired eyesight.
Over the next eleven years, he underwent further surgeries and treatments related to the tumour’s regrowth, causing him to fall into deep depression, lose his eyesight and, at times, his will to survive. This was painful for the entire family.
Thirteen years after her father's treatments ended, Margaret began experiencing the same severe headaches and vomiting.
She too had a brain tumour. A decision was made to remove it quickly, and Margaret was faced with the grim news that it was a grade 3 oligoastrocytoma, a malignant type of brain cancer.
The prognosis was not good, with the doctors giving her 2-3 years to live.
She struggled with how this could be happening not once but twice within her family. At that time, she was a newlywed, in a fantastic career and living a healthy life.
Upon learning her prognosis, she spent the day in complete sadness.
“At some point I decided that the sadness does not serve me,” she said. “This isn’t how I want to live the rest of my life, whether I have days, months, years or decades ahead of me.”
Along with using traditional medical treatments, she turned to evidence-based healing, developing a plan that incorporated nutrition, exercise, art therapy, sleep and stress management, as well as supplementation to help her heal.
“I am doing what I need to do to defy the stats. I am in control and confident.”
Margaret also leaned on her strong religious faith to give her strength and guidance.
Her religious beliefs helped her to accept the diagnosis and that everything happens for a reason.
“God has an intention for what happens in the world, so what can we take from this and learn from it?”
Five years since her diagnosis and 30 years since her father’s, they both continue to live full and healthy lives. Margaret has also become a mother to 2 beautiful girls.
She says, “This journey has been a transformational opportunity for me.” On Halloween 2013, “my unexpected guest reared its ugly head and has given me the opportunity to live my life with more gratitude, a sense of adventure, and do things to keep my mind and body in healthy balance.”
By embracing life’s positive and negative challenges, we can all learn and view them as opportunities to do something with our lives.
Margaret Ng can be contacted at www.nutritioustherapy.com