EDIT: I forgot to mention that the cancer that I have is brain cancer.

Hello,

I am 24 years old and I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 and 3/4, on October 16th 1994. However, The first signs of my cancer came about when I was 2, though the doctors refused any tests until 2 years after. When they found it, they told my mother that I was a day from the tumor becoming inoperable.

I had a grapefruit size tumor removed my brain, sadly, they weren't able to remove it all and to this day, I still live with it.

When they did the initial operation, they had to cut a hole into my skull, to reach my brain obviously. This made it possible for spinal fluid to build up and to counteract this, a shunt was inputted at the side of my head. The shunt is basically to drain the spinal fluid, and the cord runs down to my stomach, where the spinal fluid gets redirected to.

PROOF OF HEAD SCAR: http://imgur.com/XpVRbh8 PROOF OF STOMACH SCAR: http://imgur.com/t3PQKAM (very faint/lighting sucks)

20 years later, I have stared death in the face more times then I care to count, I have died, I have had a total of 10 operations (8 shunt revisions because the tube does get blocked, which means a build up of fluid. This needs immediate attention) and 2 major brain surgeries (The initial one and one at 17 3/4; oddly enough, October 17th 2007)

Having a large tumor removed at such a young age (Grapefruit compared to a young child's head isn't a large difference size wise) has left several things hindered, such as social aspects, speech, memory, that part of your brain that matures as you grow. I had to relearn several things. My entire right side is also damaged; 95% of my nerves are damaged so my face is slanted on my right side and I have zero shape. I'll explain if someone asks - haha

I am mainly doing this in case there are other people that are suffering from cancer or some other sort of illness and need to talk or maybe want to know some things I'm done to cope.

There's a lot more to say but it's way too much to write, so just ask whatever, and I'll answer whatever!

Oh yeah, and here I am http://imgur.com/uvgRNYd

TL;DR - I have had cancer for 20 years and it fucked me up really, really badly.

Comments: 764 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

PearOShoes378 karma

I have no questions except to wish you the best man. Keep on keepin' on.

FabioRodriquez154 karma

Thanks man!

I keep on trucking each day. I have a few projects that I have underway that certainly keep me busy!

flickerkuu29 karma

Same here. You inspire people with perhaps less issues to suck it up ! That's quite a strength and gift!

FabioRodriquez83 karma

Honestly, if you have an illness, don't suck it up. Use your experience of coping and help others.

That's how I cope; it gives me strength and I feel like I have a purpose and am not just a guy who got fucked up at the manufacture plant up in heaven :D

stillwatersrunfast23 karma

Brain cancer took my friend Jessica from me. She was a rock star, a killer Mom and always knew what to say to me to get me in the right mind set. I miss her a lot. Your post cheered me up. Thank you for that.

FabioRodriquez23 karma

THIS is what I wanted to do. Thank you sir for this, I feel really good right now.

I'm really sorry about your friend Jessica. But keep her memory alive and live with her in your thoughts. She was a fighter, and a damn good one.

This fight with brain cancer is not an easy one and very emotionally straining at times, so you can be proud knowing that she tried her damn best.

windowslime6 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez4 karma

Thank you for that.

I'm hoping to bring some things to the world. I'm actually working on a project, on a Gaming journalist site I write for.

I actually chronicle a few things that I haven't mentioned here.

www.bagogames.com is the site, and I am Fernando Da Costa (Fabio Rodriques is an alias)

The series will be called Cancer, Games, and Me. Be on the look out; I'm hoping to use those and bring them to a wider audience to not only shed the black blanket surrounding media, but also to help others going through what I am, or similar.

chipkoekjes13 karma

Yeah, keep on trucking!

FabioRodriquez3 karma

We're trucking!

Or, I'm trucking!

I got caught up in the moment of the video. Aaaaaaand I am lame, sorry lol

Autumnrayne84125 karma

Wow you're really cute. Edit: he also has an amazing video game collection. Do want!

Septembersrain16 karma

Yeah he is. _^

FabioRodriquez18 karma

MAN! The reception, holy jeez. Well, I don't know if you all are girls, or guys, but thank you none the less.

I'm straight personally, but it takes a man to say another man is attractive, so that's a compliment.

Girls, I have an inbox :P I'm joking, thank you for the compliments!

tralfamadorianMD4 karma

You're TOTALLY not joking... :P

FabioRodriquez3 karma

well, maybe not... :P

Shhh

FabioRodriquez8 karma

I have a HUGE gaming collection; I'm a gaming nerd :D

Damn proud of it too. I write for a site actually.

Mailman75 karma

Enrique Iglesias?

FabioRodriquez7 karma

Are you saying I look like him?

Mailman77 karma

Yeah. NOW SING.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

Here's the situation Been to every nation Nobody's ever made me feel the way that you do You know my motivation Given my reputation Please excuse me I don't mean to be rude

BUT TONIGHT I'M [email protected]!KING YOU!!!

undreamt_odds66 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez18 karma

HIGH FIVE!

Yea, those panic attacks are harsh! But don't you find that you see life in a completely different perceptive then most people?

That's what I find. Like, I'll look at something and I can enjoy it a little more or I see something small and I can totally have my day made by it, even though it's something really small. You appreciate life so much more.

kinguzumaki52 karma

20 fucking years!? Fucking badass dude. (I think I may have the wrong reaction to this but, this is how I feel)

andrew252530 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez117 karma

My cancer is not terminal, thankfully, but it does pose a threat still. It's called astrocytoma if you'd like a clear picture on the type of tumor that I have.

I am religious and firmly believe there is a God. I also believe he wanted me to survive, and offered intervention in many ways.

I think that once we die, we are reincarnated, but we don't remember our current life. For example, I'm a guy, but when I die, I am later born as a girl.

My family and friends motivate me in life. I also want to help those similar to me because I wasn't accepted growing up and had no one, a part from my family of course. So, I want to be that someone to others, and give them what I never had.

not_x_or_x_not9 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez32 karma

The doctors have told me throughout the years that while it can evolve, it's rare. Also, because I got it when I did (presumably at 2, since that's when my mom first noticed something was off) they said that again, it was the "best" tumor I could get because it's binine (dead) and just a mass that grows.

It CAN still create damage, as evident by how I am. But no, I'm not worried because so many doctors have said it is rare for it to evolve, so I have comfort in that.

mellanna20 karma

I am sorry to hear about your Cancer. As a survivor of a Tramatic Brain Injury, I can imagine a little what it is like for you. Do you have a support group? if so does it help you out?

FabioRodriquez24 karma

I was a part of a support group, and it helped me in the sense that I finally had people like me and that understood me.

What sort of injury did you have if I may ask?

mellanna13 karma

When I was 18 I was hit by a Van while crossing the street. I got a mild brain injury right above my left eye.

FabioRodriquez24 karma

Dude, oh my God, I'm so sorry!

I hope everything is alright! Nothing is wrong right?

mellanna17 karma

I have a few things, but I learnt to cope. You are the strong one.

FabioRodriquez33 karma

Haha thanks but nah, I care about other people more.

Something may happen to me, that's a given already, so I don't really look at myself as some poor soul, just a normal guy with things that make me unique.

People like you though, that is used to life a certain way then having something life changing like that, causing you to change things instantly; that sir, I admire.

OneHelluvaUsername18 karma

A sympathetic, humble 24 year old male?

Also: Attractive and badass scars.

Okay, ladies. Time to start a new subreddit: r/funbagsforfabio has a nice ring to it. We'll either find a cure or fight amongst ourselves for him.

FabioRodriquez2 karma

you have just made my day; I wonder if people will actually post on here LOL

FabioRodriquez2 karma

I'm...

Completely fine with this. I mean, fuck, it's the boobs, they have mind control powers! I'm too weak to resist; please, continue with the subreddit :P lol

mellanna10 karma

I have a friend who surivived brain cancer and has been cancer free for 6 years now.

FabioRodriquez16 karma

That's awesome! Tell him that I say congratulations! It takes a lot of strength to muscle through cancer.

I still have it sadly, but it is in remission. But, doctor did say it may return but I try not to think about that much since I feel like when it does, it might be a matter of time since it'll still be behind the brain stem.

sherlockguy19 karma

Do you have any end of life anxiety?

FabioRodriquez79 karma

All the time; almost every night actually. I go to bed in a panic and suffer a pretty intense panic attack.

Here's a fun fact, I actually start calming down because I read rage comics on my iPhone before I go to bed.

Snowmanwithatophat16 karma

Are you happy?

FabioRodriquez52 karma

To be honest, all the torment and everything that I have been through sort of made me bitter.

Because I have those damn weak nerves on my right side, my smile is slanted. And because of all the abuse I've gotten for it, among other things, I don't smile much. I've had a lot of people that see me for the first time think I'm a murderer because I'm so serious looking.

sprill_release30 karma

If it makes you feel any better, as a female looking at your photo, you're pretty hot, and I believe body language often speaks more clearly than facial expressions anyway. ;)

FabioRodriquez6 karma

It definitely makes me feel better! Always good to have a girl say she finds me hot!

maria_stk13 karma

I truly hope the bitterness fades one day...

FabioRodriquez28 karma

I'm sure it will, it's all mental and I do it to myself. I have major trust issues stemming from a very abusive childhood (abusive meaning constant bullying and teasing)

I do let myself go around friends though and really just act dorky and like a little kid. Having my tumor removed sort of froze my age, that's how I think of it.

Like, I wasn't able to mature with age, if that makes sense. So, I have a lot of childish tendencies like I'm still scared of the dark, like, legit, scared of the dark, among other things.

Everything I am now, I've learned from observation and I mimic friends. So yeah, I'm a creep and stare at people. - haha

maria_stk9 karma

Don't worry we all stay a little childish at heart even when we age. Some people just don't show it as much.

FabioRodriquez16 karma

Haha yeah, well, I argue like a kid too. Hard to explain really; but I just don't know when to stop or how to handle a situation too well.

I usually end up throwing a tantrum. I'm learning though, it's just a slow process - haha

Uglekatt9 karma

A psychiatric nurse who treated me has no feeling on her right side of her face after a stroke, but when she smile she still looks stunning. :) Like a cocky grin and she pulls it of so well. :) It's all about confidence and I don't see why you shouldn't be full of it!

FabioRodriquez6 karma

I get told that it looks like a cocky grin ALL the time - haha

I guess the lack of confidence is from years and years of torment growing up. I actually wanted to commit suicide when I was in grade 4, so 10/11?

That didn't happen, obviously...

I need my captain obvious cape, where is it

meggem3692 karma

Hell, I'm a perfectly healthy 27 year old and I'm legitimately scared of the dark, too. Nothing wrong with you.

Also, thank you for doing this and I truly hope that all those assholes who have made fun of you and caused your bitterness get what's coming. Stay happy and just remind yourself that its only due to their own ignorance and it will cost them many friends and experiences in their lifetime, but ultimately only costs you what you let it. Don't let them get to you!!

FabioRodriquez3 karma

Ha, sadly, my cancer handles the friends walking away.

But thank you for all your kind words! I've done radio talks, I spoke at events about my experiences and even had Rogers Wireless so impressed that they donated a pretty good chunk of change to me.

I enjoy helping others, like, it legitimately makes me feel like a better person so I do it.

And the dark is damn scary. If I forget something when I go upstairs to my bedroom, and it's back downstairs, I just fuck it. I just don't want to go back down the stairs into the dark, makes me sound like a baby, but it's true.

yessykeena2 karma

Married my husband because he has childish tendencies I find completely adorable and endearing. He's 31. Sometimes I need A LOT of patience though. It's worth it through the good times :) I hope you find someone who loves you for what you believe are flaws too.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

Childish tendencies are awesome! And I have found someone, although, we are currently not together. I posted about this in another subreddit, asking for advice.

I spoke with her, and since the both of us will be moving and living separately for a year, we decided to go on a break and really see if our love is true.

That totally makes me sound like a horrible person.

27788573316 karma

What does it mean to have "zero shape"?

FabioRodriquez6 karma

The best way I can describe it is this;

When guys get abs, they are really defined. That definition is usually because of nerves, as well as muscle. If I got buff, I might have awkward abs; they would look typical.

Or, on my face for example, my right side is slanted. So think of it as you paint something, and throw water on one side. That side kind of drops a bit and makes your picture look a little weird; that's what I mean, or at least, the best way I can describe it.

Also, when I perk my eye brows up, my forehead doesn't scrunch up on my right side, at all. So, it does on my left side, but my right side shows no evidence.

My face is a ninja in a way.

MissCollusion13 karma

Since this comment will be so far down you probably wont get to read this. But thanks to people like you I can appreciate my life even more. I wish you well and may you live until 100 surrounded by those you cherish and love. :)

FabioRodriquez14 karma

Of course I will see this! I enjoy commenting on these and if I was able to influence your life in some way, then this AMA is doing what I wanted.

Cherish your life and everyone in it, that's what I've learned. You never know what may happen; a car might slam into someone you love or a rogue bullet might hit them. Never take a moment for granted and go tell your mom and dad that you love them, and to thank them for everything that they do for you. It'll brighten their day and make the bond stronger.

Now, I just need to hear that I'm helping someone cope and I can go parade around in the rain with a smile!

c-c-coldhands3 karma

You have such a great attitude. Makes me happy.

FabioRodriquez8 karma

No use in being down and depressed!

I hate getting people's pity. I want to earn a friendship and not get it from pity! That's just destined to be a failure friendship when there is nothing even there, if that makes sense - LOL

poiu71712 karma

Are you buried in medical bills? are you getting any financial help?

FabioRodriquez18 karma

One word,

Canada

three words,

Free Health Care

Two words,

I'm hungry...

Mines_of_Moria8 karma

You are tougher than teddy roosevelt. Keep on truckin' dude.

FabioRodriquez21 karma

haha! That's a pretty big compliment there.

Good thing you didn't say Chuck Norris; might have died from a heart attack from sheer flattery.

Charmonkey6 karma

You look eerily like Krazy-8 from Breaking Bad.

http://cdn.seriable.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Krazy_8.jpg

FabioRodriquez16 karma

You have no idea how many times I have people seeing my picture, and telling me that I look like a drug lord of the Mexican cartel.

So, seeing this picture sort of drives home that I look like a criminal; thank you Charmonkey! lol

People have said that I look like Enrique Iglesias, opinion?

mumblesmcgee28 karma

I can see the resemblance to Enrique Iglesias. My first thought was to hit on you, but then I thought a) that's really inappropriate and b) I'm not single, I shouldn't hit on you.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

well, it doesn't help that I listen to Enrique Iglesias.

I usually dance in the streets to his music, I'm special :D

And just knowing you wanted to hit on me, makes me feel good!

imdumbforpcs12 karma

Either way you're very cute. I didn't get a druggy-murdery or EVEN rapey vibe when I first saw your picture. I'd give you a smooch. :)

FabioRodriquez18 karma

haha well thank you very much!

I don't know how to react to this - haha. I still get really embarrassed whenever a girl says something like that to me.

stinkymcgrunts8 karma

You're super gettin' reddit-laid...of course, like most things reddit, it's made up. Damn the bad luck.

FabioRodriquez4 karma

I could be getting reddit-laid by dudes, which could be awkward.

Everyone, please direct attention towards the subreddit that was made earlier in my honor.

Funbags are to be distributed in there..

God dammit, it's that mind control; those boobs are powerful, making me a weak man :(

NYRican6 karma

Don't worry, they never actually said they were a chick. Could be a dude.

FabioRodriquez15 karma

Hey, being attractive even do guys is sort of ego boosting, although, I'm not gay.

I don't really have any problems with gay rights or anything. Plus, I'm comfortable enough with my sexuality and everyone I know, knows I'm straight.

That said, I have a man crush on Jason Statham and Liam Nesson; that voice, my God it's bad ass. - haha

ZaccieV5 karma

Had cancer half way through last year, hodgkins lymphoma, the tumor was inside my chest taking up basically my whole left side, doctors said it was a wonder it hadn't killed me already it crushed my lung and could have caused my heart problems, went through 6 months of rapid chemotherapy, 4 days every week. and it's some fucking intensive shit let alone having to go through hospitals for 20 years! big props to you my man and hope you only get better with everything.

now, this is an AMA so; thinking back would you have rather gotten the cancer later in life say, your age now, or would have rather still gotten it at such a young age?

FabioRodriquez6 karma

Big props to you! I have never undergone chemo myself, as radiation was the doctor's choice for me. But I have friends who went through chemo and it is hard as shit from what I hear, so kudos!

My radiation was 5 times a week, for 6 weeks. I even had to move and live in a very depressing place, oh my God it was brutal! No tv, no entertainment; I was 18 at the time, so I definitely went crazy and also was going through my first big heart break. Ex girlfriend broke up with me the day I told her I loved her; I was broken.

As for the question, honestly, I'd rather when I did. I don't know how I would react at this age if my cancer popped up. But thanks to the cancer, I'm as strong as I am and can definitely help others with it since I've come to terms with it long ago and had time to blend it into my everyday life.

ZaccieV2 karma

=]

keep up those good thought!

must have sucked, that middle paragraph; feel sorry for you.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

Don't feel sorry for me, I don't want that. If you feel bad, give me a virtual hug.

I just go through typical dating stuff, and girls are pretty harsh. Plus, with my cancer, relationships are so much harder because girls hear about it, and think it means that I'm just going to die, so most try to keep their distance. With her, it just got to be too much and she couldn't take it anymore.

I've had several girls that have ceased dating me or whatnot based on me having cancer, as well as friends. You learn to live with it; it's hard, and honestly, I wouldn't know what to do if roles were reversed.

TeeDak5 karma

this puts my fucking sinus infection into perspective. you are a damn soldier brother.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

Sinus infection are just as painful and a pain in the ass!

So YOU are also a soldier brother!

TheDutchessLola3 karma

My very good friend died from another tumor coming back after having gone through treatment multiple times. We were 16. Just wanted to say I'm glad you are still here.

FabioRodriquez3 karma

I am so sorry for your loss! There are many types of tumors out there; like I said before, apparently mine is a really good one since I got it at a young age. It's an astrocytoma is you are curious.

But back on topic, I want to give you a hug, unless you're a guy, then it will still be a hug, but a manly one!

iThinkOPisaFaggot3 karma

Can you elaborate on your educational history? Did you attend a normal school? How did other children treat you growing up?

FabioRodriquez16 karma

Growing up, kids didn't want to be my friend. As I said above in the description, my nerves on the right are completely useless, or at least 95% so my face is kind of weird. My smile is slanted and my eye is bigger then the other (this is caused by my lack of nerves; my cheek isn't as structured, if that makes sense - haha)

I did attend a normal school! AND, I attended high school. School was screwed up, since I had to leave for operations and of course my learning disabilities and all my doctors appointments made it a little hard. I was in Grade 11 when I had my operation at 17 and my high school removed me and put me into their second chance program, so that I leave for the surgery, and not have to drop out because I missed so much since I could work at my own pace at the second chance place. I ended up graduating high school through my high school, instead of through the second chance program. So basically, despite being in second chance, I got my full diploma as if I was attending the high school.

I'm currently in college!

lenie21053 karma

You are such a courageous man. I am so proud of you! Do I sound like a mom? I am and my son was diagnosed with medulablastoma of the cerebellum at 4yrs old. He is 23 now and has gone through quite a similar experience. I am so proud of him as well. He is in college now and it will take him a long time to graduate with a BA, but he's hanging in there. I could ask you a million questions, but right now, will ask, how difficult has it been for you making friends and what are some of the strategies you use to make them? Thanks and I wish you the best.

FabioRodriquez2 karma

Wow, so he and I are like in the same boat! Kind of, I'm not sure exactly what his illness is, but it sounds worse then mine! - haha

He's definitely a trooper, give him a high-five for me, and a hug, but a manly one! No mom hugs! :P

Friends are really hard to make, at least with people who don't have anything wrong with them. They are scared when I say I have cancer and they run, same with girlfriends. or potential girlfriends. I usually try to stay away from the topic but I personally find it really hard because it's a part of who I am. I've lived with it for so long that no matter what I do, somehow, I always end up back at my cancer and scaring them away.

How is your son doing with friends?

Master_Troll343 karma

How did your parents take it when the docter told them?

FabioRodriquez14 karma

My parents had moved from Portugal to Canada and then I was born a few years later. By the time I was 2, my mom noticed I was acting weird. (She noticed symptoms I'm assuming)

She went to the doctors, but knew limited English and didn't know of the technology available (cat scans, etc.) Doctors told my mom is was the flu, for two years, they kept telling my mom it was the flu.

My mom didn't believe that (thank God) and went to a Portuguese speaking doctor in Toronto when I was 4 3/4. He told me to get on my knees and to get up, that was it. He then turned to my mom and told her to go to the hospital at home and demand a cat scan; he said it in Portuguese.

My mom went, did that, and that was when they discovered the tumor. As I said above in the description, I was a day away from it becoming inoperable and so I rushed to emergency.

I'm assuming my parents were pissed off and even to this day, my mom and dad will ALWAYS get a second opinion, or even a third. So yeah, we don't trust doctors so much in my family - haha

tjdubsack3 karma

When my mom had cancer the neighborhood would bring by food every night, does this sort of thing still happen for you? Or have you had it so long extra nice gestures have faded out?

FabioRodriquez8 karma

I've had it for so long that nice gestures have faded out.

Plus, I was raised in such a way that just expecting gifts and using my cancer is wrong. My morals are high thanks to my parents and I was brought up right.

I do have people wanting to do nice things for me, but I tell them that I don't want it. I have cancer, but I want to be treated like a normal young adult. Sure, there are some disabilities as a result of the cancer and the grapefruit sized tumor I had when I was 4 3/4. so if those show up, I act accordingly.

For example, my balance is shot, and that of a 12 year old. I was told I'd never walk again or speak, but my parents wouldn't say never and when I was old enough to understand a little, I say fuck it and started walking. I fall a lot, sometimes very randomly. When I walk in snow, I walk really slow because uneven terrain is REALLY hard for me to navigate. There are other things, but it's a long list - haha

But to answer you, I humbly decline nice gestures most of the time. I do get greedy at times and accept; I suck - haha

ElBlackbox2 karma

What do you think your life would be like without cancer?

FabioRodriquez8 karma

To be honest, I can't really imagine it without cancer; my earliest memory as I said was being in the hospital after my operation with a donut.

I do know that if I didn't have my cancer, my romantic life would be better. My nerves wouldn't be fucked up on my right side, and I'd have a straight face and straight smile.

Girls are pretty damn shallow, at least the ones I've come by.

kobbenn2 karma

What's your favorite movie?

FabioRodriquez6 karma

Uhm, right now my favorite movie is 40 Year Old Virgin.

It's just so damn epic! I love the humor in it and just how they presented a heart warming story in such a comedic way.

Which reminds me, I picked it up on Blu-Ray and haven't had time to watch it; I must get on it!

hulalula692 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez4 karma

I'm Catholic, then again, isn't that a sort of Christian? I don't know!

I have smoked weed actually, a while ago. My friend had medical weed and he and I would sit there smoking it, and then pig out. - haha

But one day, I had the worst trip out ever. I thought I was dying, and the location where my shunt is actually felt like it was ripping to get out.

After that, I went to the doctor; mind you this was after my radiation so my short term memory was shot, laced with THC, I couldn't remember the last 5 minutes.

It wore off, but the doctor told me with my condition, everything weed can do gets heightened. That could have been the doctor trying to scare me and whatnot, but after that experience, I haven't touched it since.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

FabioRodriquez2 karma

Women - They usually are scared of my cancer. When I was 19, I got my first girlfriend (I had an online relationship before her, but I don't consider it REAL, if that makes sense) The cancer got too much for her

Sex - I was 19, turning 20 when I lost it. I drugged a girl and had sex with her. I'm joking! No, I actually found a girl that liked me for me, AND, she knew about the cancer. It helps that she had a heart condition, so we could relate.

Virginity - I covered that above.

[deleted]2 karma

awkward comment, but you sure still do look good in your picture!

FabioRodriquez2 karma

Thanks!

Notice how I'm covering the right side of my face? Yeah, insecurity I've grown up with because of the brutal nerve damage that I suffer.

See, I'm not super human, even I have insecurities; I just hide behind signs! Well, in the picture anywhere...

Rokursoxtv2 karma

When did you accept that this was how it would be?

FabioRodriquez8 karma

I was really young when I went through my first operation and I actually did die afterwards.

I was induced into a coma by the doctors because I was young so I wanted to run and play but after a surgery like that, I needed to stay still. I died while in the coma for I think my mom said 10 minutes? I don't recall.

Ever since then, I kind of had to come to terms that it's a chance that I could die at any moment at a young age.

Rokursoxtv2 karma

Wow, this is so amazing. I can't tell you how much respect I have for you. Do you, by any chance, remember anything that went down when you were in the coma? I mean, could you experience death, or was it just like you fell asleep?

FabioRodriquez19 karma

The first memory that I have of my earliest age was at the hospital, after I awoke of course, and eating a chocolate dip donut from Tim Hortons (popular coffee place in Canada)

Although, my shunt got blocked when I was 16/just turned 17. They cleared the tube up from blockage on my head. What they didn't know was it was blocked at my abdomen as well.

So, while I was in the ICU, the fluid had built so much in my brain that I was slipping into a coma that I wouldn't ever wake up from. Here's where I believe God intervened because as I was slipping into it, and nurses were looking for the doctor with no luck, my mom was thought that was it, and I accepted I was done. Guess who walks in? My doctor, at that exact moment.

Long story short; it was really bad that they couldn't rush me to the operating room. So, my doctor took syringes that he had in the room I was in, and stuck it into my head (Where the hole was in my skull from my very first operation)

7 syringes full of spinal fluid, and as you can see, I pulled through. I was then rushed to the operating room.

681_Ag2 karma

Do you remember a time before the cancer? Were you able to understand it when you were first diagnosed?

FabioRodriquez14 karma

I only remember the cancer sadly.

I wasn't fully able to understand it until I grew up. Around the age of 7, it really started to make sense. I was told I couldn't get hit in the head so I didn't really go outside for recess at elementary school and wore a helmet.

Yup, I wore a helmet for a few years. I was a special kid :D

huttonbaker2 karma

you mention that you "died"? did you have a near death experience?

FabioRodriquez2 karma

I did die; my mom told me the story, and it's how I can tell you.

She said that my heart stopped; I was completely flat line.

Doctors were rushing in and trying to revive me; bet you can't guess if they did or didn't? :P

Other then that, when I almost slipped into my coma because of spinal fluid build-up, that was a near death experience in my eyes. I'd be technically just in a coma, but with no hope of ever waking up, I'd consider myself dead.

cottonCandysheep2 karma

I think you are indeed an awesome man, good luck with everything:)

FabioRodriquez3 karma

haha well thank you!

It's an up hill battle but I got too many people looking up to me and there are still so many people out there that need help that suffer from something similar or worse then me, that need help coping and a friend.

So, I'm not about to say die yet. Plus, girls are just getting cuter; I can't die yet! AHHHH :P

ivanparas2 karma

20 years and your parents haven't looked into alternative treatments?

FabioRodriquez5 karma

Oh, my parents have done everything they can for me, until I was 18 of course. Then, they helped me all they could with my input.

I had a doctor where I live, this was before my second major operation. He did scans and such because I was feeling really sick and it was all pointing to an issue with the tumor.

The scans showed something, even I saw it and I'm just a simple game enthusiast. But the doctor said it was nothing bad, blah blah. The Radiologist that did the scan said that there was a mass there (the tumor) and it was growing but the doctor said it's normal.

My mom left with me; didn't say anything though she disagreed and I know she did because she was saying how stupid he was and swearing in Portuguese at him. She then fought to get me into a hospital in Toronto, where some of the best doctors for my condition were. I was 17 at the time, close to 18, and she fought to get me into sick kids, which is a children's hospital so once you're 18, they send you to their partner hospital.

My mom fought hard, and got me in. There is no mention of my dad talking to people because he only deals with other Portuguese people here in Canada, and works with my uncle and cousin, so talks only Portuguese. Because of this, his accent is super thick and he isn't the greatest English speaker. He did help though, but it was more direct help to me.

But to answer your question, the treatments I've gotten were the best ones for me. Chemo wouldn't have done much to the tumor; it would have stopped it sure, but it would reoccur. The best option was radiation and even though my short term memory now is basically completely shot because of it, my radiation did bitch slap the tumor into remission. That's where we stand now with it, but it can still return, but it will be held down longer because I was blasted my waves of radiation.

KoCrazy2 karma

Are you scared?

FabioRodriquez2 karma

Every damn day, that's why I try to push it aside and try to get as much as I can done.

I'm an aspiring author, and I work tirelessly to get those books done so that if something happens, I leave something behind.

That fear I feel is my fuel to get things done and to make sure I'm remembered for something.

nickicksu2 karma

we take everything for granted, but you have to live through hardships we've never dreamed of. keep on rollin!

FabioRodriquez7 karma

Oh, I take things for granted too. I took my family for granted when I was growing up, it's a normal thing everyone goes through I think.

It's up to you to think "You know what? I'm done taking this for granted, this is special"

You don't need cancer or an illness to appreciate life, just a understanding that each moment in life is special and life is too short to throw away moments.

Also, fuck YOLO, most idiotic thing I have EVER heard.

lmYOLOao2 karma

How often do you and Magic Johnson get together and laugh in the face of deadly diseases?

FabioRodriquez6 karma

Every Sunday.

We meet up at Swiss Chalet usually and get ourselves a pint, while joking about deadly disease. We then start hitting on all the waitresses there for shits and giggles.

He's a great guy, really down to earth.

Sgt_Insomnia2 karma

When did you start suspecting you had the cancer?

What are the lasting symptoms of this that other people should look out for? (Without turning everyone into "OMG I HAVE CANCER hypochondriacs")

FabioRodriquez6 karma

Well, my mom has said that she first noticed signs when I was 2, so that's what I tell people.

Some of the symptoms are when you wake up with a headache, day in and day out, and feel sick to your stomach at the same time; that could be worrying and should get it checked out and a scan done.

Balance was a big one; I think that's how the doctor in Toronto found it when my mom went there when I was 4 3/4. Recap, he told me to get on my knees (that never sounds good, no matter how much I tell it) and to get up, and he knew immediately I had a tumor, or something affecting my brain.

Uhm, I did have double vision for a while, so I saw two of everything. I was really young, 7, when this was a big issue, so I wasn't amazed by boobs yet. I wish though, it would have been so cool to see 2 pairs of breasts. Although, I'd have a 50/50 chance of trying to grab it, and falling on my face.

There are others, but the biggest one is if you go say a week waking up with a headache and feeling sick to your stomach, at the same time. Go to your doctor. I always play it by the amount of headaches I have, and have course gut feeling.

whathefudgebrownie1 karma

you got the other brain surgeries to remove more of the tumor? can it spread?

FabioRodriquez3 karma

The 8 surgeries were shunt revisions, which are minor when compared to brain surgery.

The one I got when I was 4 3/4, as I said, they couldn't remove the entire tumor. At 17, the tumor had actually moved from the previous location (which was the side of my brain) to behind the brain stem. This made is only possible to drain it dry and shrink it (as given the location, the operation had a very very good chance to see me become paralyzed from the neck down)

So right now, I still have the tumor, but after they drained it, I did radiation which shrunk it more.

The tumor that I have is a slow growing one; it is called an Astrocytoma.

Hope that answered your questions!