Brain Buddie Survivor Story: John Van Wagner

22 year brain tumor survivor

My name is John Van Wagner and May 30th 1995 after an 8.5 hour surgery I was told I had a menigioma brain tumor.   It was benign  but it  wrapped around my facial nerve and left my face almost completly paralyzed.  I had to endure reconstructive surgery and thankfully was able to regain some movement in my face leaving me with only a minor facial droop. The physical healing from surgery took long enough but the emotional  healing took much longer.   For years I hated to have my picture taken.   Finally, with God’s help,   I came to accept the way I look.  Only recently did I find the Barrow Brain Tumor Support Group. I wish I had known about the group years ago.  I recently retired and I am a volunteer for several places but specifically wanted to help brain tumor families  so I help The Gray Matters Foundation.  My  hope is to share my experiences and  help other patients and families deal with the emotions connected to this disease.