My name is Lisa Tomlin and I'm a girl-nerd, brain cancer chick, and healing junkie. Girlbert is the nickname my computer-programmer Boyfriend derived after watching me hunkered down in front of my laptop, one hand around a cup of tea, the other on my mouse, teaching myself to code websites. I was diagnosed with a large brain tumor in April 2009, and have been chronicilng my healing journey on this website ever since. I am determined to heal myself through my writing, meditation, nutrition, and positivity. And by sharing my journey with others.
I'm a just a girl from the midwest. My amazingly supportive parents allowed me riding lessons as a kid and still live in the same house I grew up in. I have a fantastic gay brother who works in the music industry. I got married when I was 19, and divorced at 31. In addition to growing up in a Chicago suburb, I have lived in Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Colorado. The bugs just kept getting bigger, and the weather, weirder. I now live with my amazing Boyfriend in a cozy little cabin in the wooded mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, above Santa Barbara. Weather = glorious. Bugs = smaller. Whew!
I went to college to study horse training and riding instruction. After running my own horse training and riding school business for 8 years, I came to the sad conclusion that the horse business is a lot of work for no discernible income. I quit training horses in early 2007, in an attempt to save the stress it put on my marriage - it didn't work. I got divorced early in early 2008 and relocated to sunny, magnificent California, where I met Boyfriend. I LOVE it here, and I'm not looking back. I have to pinch myself regularly to make sure I'm not dreaming.
While my divorce was certainly heartbreaking, it came down choosing my happiness over a promise I made at a very young, impressionable age, and I'm far from being ashamed my marital un-status. I firmly believe there are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn...
Boyfriend is one of the best things that has ever happened to me - I'm the luckiest girlfriend in the world. He's my superhero and my biggest fan. I have a starring role in the movie of my life - a romantic comedy, set in the most magnificent scenery, with the most amazing cast imaginable. It's unbelievably romantic, and sometimes wildly funny. We try to keep the drama to a minimum. Everyone would want to see it, but only the enlightened would truly get it.
I still have two of my ancient lesson horses, Stevie The Wonder Saddlebred, is with me in California, while I left Reggie, the White-Horse-That-Is-My-Muse, with a dear friend in Colorado. We were adopted by our fabulous cat, Truly, in May of 2009, right after I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and just in time for Mother's Day. It's doing the trick, keeping my biological clock at bay and all, but I'm hoping we'll have the option to expand our brood (of the human variety) at some point. But just to be clear, no attempts at such a feat will be made until I'm done kicking my brain tumor's ass.
What's all this about a brain tumor?
In April of 2009, a visit to the ER after an apparent seizure and head trauma while home alone revealed a large tumor in the right temporal lobe of my brain. Some of my first updates, posted shortly after being released from a week in the hospital, have most of the juicy details here, here, and here. My tumor is also frequently referred to as "my little tuber" (for a radish I found at the farmer's market that closely represented the medically-estimated size), "the low-grade astrocytoma in my brain that sometimes causes me to fall to the floor", or my fave, "brain cancer". I mean, why mince words, right?
Believe it or not, I've even referred to my tumor as a gift, not that I would give it to anyone, but because of the newfound perspective and appreciation for all things it has given me. Kind of like "Merry Christmas! Here's all your baggage, trapped in a neat little package inside your head - you'd better open it and make sure there's nothing leaking or explosive in there." It was about time for me to take a look at all of that anyway, ha!
I haven't thought of my diagnosis as something sad or tragic in my life for much more than an instant. I remember shedding a couple of tears in the ER upon learning the news: "I'm sorry - the CT scan shows that you have a large brain tumor". But only because I felt bad having no control over the fact that I had just turned Boyfriend's life upside-down. It didn't take long for him to reassure me it was going to be okay and for me to find the humor in the fact that despite everything I'd overcome to get to California, to get Boyfriend, to get to the best life I could possibly create for myself, here was one more, BIG, effing obstacle. To navigate around, and be stronger for it. Thank you, Universe. You must think I'm one tough cookie or something.
What is girlbert.com?
I designed Girlbert.com as a creative outlet and it's essentially a mishmash of all of my many interests. I love to write, and I intend to practice it here, blogging about my crazy adventures as a California import and recently diagnosed brain cancer chick. I will also be posting my favorite recipes, recommended products, and photography efforts. There may be a little bit on horse training, mountain biking, gay rights, birdwatching, health and spirituality, too - I hope your interests are as varied as mine!
So Girlbert.com was born a creative outlet, now she's evolved into a place to share my brain cancer story and the many lessons that go with it, as I embark on the biggest journey of my life. Thanks for joining me - stay tuned!
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