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“You must inspire people to give it all they have by using
yourself as an example.”
~Byron & Catherine Pulsifer


Debbie Goldman

At age 34, I was diagnosed with a cavernous sinus meningioma; a brain tumor located behind the eye. Because only 1% of all meningiomas grow in this location, there were only a handful of brain surgeons in the US who had the expertise to perform this surgery. My husband and I flew to various cities to consult with these surgeons.

Each surgeon told us the same story. The olive sized tumor was lying on several cranial nerves, the carotid artery and required delicate microsurgery. It was an intense surgery that would take minimally 10 hours. Each surgeon informed us of the inherent risks of a surgery of this magnitude; most commonly brain damage, memory issues and stroke. It would be a long recovery which would demand patience, a positive attitude and a good support system. I put all my faith and trust in the hands of a special brain surgeon in NYC.

The 12 hour surgery was successful. The team was able to remove most of the tumor and left a piece so small, it was undetectable by an MRI. While recuperating, my immune system had become compromised by scores of medication, tests, surgery and emotional stress and could not fight off a severe case of shingles in the trigeminal nerve in my face. I became one of the rare few (1%) who are left with post herpetic neuralgia; the unrelenting nerve pain that can linger after the virus has run it’s course. Many doctors, surgeries and prescriptions later I had to accept that I would have to live with this pain for the rest of my life and decide how I was going to deal with it.

The odds were against me. A rare tumor, a rare case of post herpetic neuralgia; I believe this is what fueled me to persevere and invited me to begin to see things from a different perspective. If I couldn’t rid myself of pain, perhaps I could change the way I saw it and change my experience. In time, I came to discover that my pain was one of my greatest teachers. I learned to treat my pain as a friend rather than fight with it. It taught me understanding, acceptance, compassion and gratitude. It provided many opportunities for me to recognize the power within me that allowed me to persevere with strength in the face of struggle.

Eventually, my own heart centered feelings overshadowed my pain and I came to believe that it was time for me to put my attention into helping others. In 2007, I was inspired to start a nonprofit that would inspire and empower others into their hearts. It was time for me to tell my story and …be the example!

One Heart…

© 2021 ...be the example!