Mothers everywhere know that they often put their own needs aside in order to care for their family. We hear so much talk about 'self-care' and how important it is, yet for many busy mothers, it's often hard to really practice it. Mother of five Jeannie Gaffigan was so busy with being a working mother and wife to comedian Jim Gaffigan, that she says she ignored symptoms that eventually turned out to be a brain tumor.
Gaffigan, who is a writer, producer, and director explained to PEOPLE Magazine that before she was diagnosed with her brain tumor, she often had headaches and dizzy spells, but she chalked it up to simply being a busy working mother of five kids. “In retrospect, of course, I knew something wasn’t right,” she told the magazine. “It was there.”
After she was finally convinced to see a doctor for her symptoms, an MRI discovered a tumor the size of a pear on her brain stem. “It became real when I heard ‘tumor’ and saw the picture,” she stated, remembering that she asked her neurosurgeon, “I just have one question, ‘Am I going to die?’ “
Gaffigan is now opening up about her terrifying diagnosis in her new book titled When Life Gives You Pears.
Gaffigan says that her experience, which left her with a tracheostomy and feeding tube for four months after her surgery to remove the tumor, has made her become more aware of her own health and wellness.
“I think it’s easy to see how I explained it all away,” she said of her symptoms, before noting that people need to be more mindful of their own health regardless of how busy they are. “It has to inform my life now, and it has to be something that I can communicate to people who are busy. About taking the time to at least check in with yourself and say, ‘Something’s not right.’ ”
The mother of five told the magazine that she was grateful for her brain tumor because it forced her to shift her priorities and truly appreciate everything she has. “If it had not been for this thing that almost killed me, I would not be able to appreciate every breath I take and every drop of water I swallow. Or the incredible support system I have with my community, friends, and family,” she noted.
“I would not have known that being away from my kids would be so heartbreaking. Now my heart explodes when I’m with them. And I’m grateful that I understand why God gave me the most generous, loving, fantastic and funniest husband in the world.”
Gaffigan's book, When Life Gives You Pears, will be on shelves October 1, but you can pre-order it advance.