Dalhousie student gains strength from tumor

Secord is all smiles now (Photo by Mel Hattie)

Secord is all smiles now (Photo by Mel Hattie)

Dalhousie student Matthew Secord learned about his brain at a very young age.  Now he wants to study other peoples’.

When he was five, doctors identified a tumor that had been growing in Secord’s brain, causing his skull to pinch the tumor.

“They knew I always had something weird because I had a growth on top of my head,” says Secord “because the skull pinched the tumor and it formed on the top and the bottom, so they always knew I had something weird, they just never really could figure out what it was.”

Secord was born in Ottawa, Ontario, where he lived until he was seven years old.

While living in Ottawa, his family took him to several specialists because Secord was the first child with his condition.

“I was the first kid with my issue to have it where it was without dying,” says Secord.  “It is normally deeper in the skull and you would not find it until it ruptures, especially back then.”

Secord didn’t really know what was going on.  Like any another five-year-old, he loved the attention.

“I knew there was something wrong, but I didn’t know what was wrong really,” says Secord.  “I just thought it was really cool that I was in the hospital. It was just the needles; the needles just really freaked me out.”

Secord doesn’t remember a lot from the 13-hour surgery, but he does recall his rude awakening afterwards.

“I projected vomit all over the place because of the anesthesia, passing back out, and then just watched movies with my mom later that night,” Secord says.  “I remember going back to school and I was bald, and everyone was like ‘oh my God you’re bald!'”

Today, Secord wants to take his experience and use it in the medical field.

“I want to study it just to have a deeper understanding of what went wrong with me and why it happened,” says Secord.

“I hope I can get a better understanding of what it was and maybe learn how to treat it myself and do it on other people. That way I can sympathize with the patients and being like, yeah I went through this too, I know what it feels like.”

Secord says it wasn’t a negative experience.

“I think this was a good experience because it really got me to open up my eyes, to know that not everything is as good as it seems, and that you have to look deeper into things to really understand.”

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Shelby Banks

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