If someone told 28-year-old Brittany Cameron at the beginning of the year she’d have brain surgery, lose her best friend, and be without a full-time job and health insurance at the end of the year, she would’ve laughed.
“It’s been crazy,” she told the Denver Catholic Register. “But God has shone through in those moments.”
The year’s challenges, while leaving her vulnerable, also revealed new strength in her—strength fostered by God’s divine support as well as the practical support of others—strength to carry her into a new year.
Cameron has been living with a tumor in her pituitary gland since doctors diagnosed it 12 years ago. Though noncancerous, it warranted a strict routine of medication and regular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing.
“I’d have good days and bad days,” she said. “Basically, I just tried to ignore it.”
Last January, an MRI detected changes to the tumor. She tried to remain cautiously optimistic as she headed to a follow-up appointment with her neurosurgeon. At the same time, she was suffering with shingles and had a heavy heart as she grieved the passing of her pet and “best friend” of 13 years, Chewy, a Lhasa Apso mix.
“I was thinking ‘I really need good news today,’” she recalled.
She was not prepared for the news the doctor delivered: “We need to do major brain surgery.”
“I was shocked,” Cameron said, not only because of the seriousness of the surgery to remove the tumor, but also the ensuing time in intensive care and need to take several weeks off from her fulltime job as a corporate event manager.
She was also in the thick of training for her third Tough Mudder challenge—a 12-mile obstacle course that tests participants’ strength, stamina and mental toughness with a series of hurdles such as mud, fire and ice-water.
“I was really bummed,” she said of not being able to participate in the event she had planned for May in Chicago. “The Tough Mudder training really aligned to my spiritual discipline and was keeping me going.”
In May, surgery successfully removed 99 percent of the tumor. While recovering, Cameron was overcome by the support she received from family, friends and her faith community at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial where she serves as a lay minister for the young adult group.
“I hate receiving help,” she said. “But I had to let others in. … I was overwhelmed by the support of people being there with me, praying for me and helping me physically.”
“That really humbled me,” she said. “It taught me to let others help, which was really a different experience for me.”
Following a recent reorganization with her employer, Cameron is now faced with losing her health insurance coverage as of Dec. 31, a significant concern given her medical history.
“I was on the Connect for Health Colorado site yesterday; it’s super confusing,” was her initial feedback Dec. 11 about the state’s health insurance marketplace that opened in October for individuals, families and small employers as a result of the federal healthcare overhaul.
In spite of the confusion, after several hours of research on the site, she potentially qualified for Medicaid, but opted for a private plan. The price range of $199 to $300 per month for the private plan, that included her current doctors, compared favorably to nearly $500 per month for COBRA continuation health coverage that’s offered to employees up to 18 months after terminating.
It was another piece of the story she’s convinced God has painted for her.
“I’m covered, (but) I hope I get a fulltime job quickly,” she said. “With the future up in the air, I trust an unknown future to a known God. He’s going to take care of me.”