Resilient Woman Tandi Rabinowitz answers Ten Questions
I met Tandi some years ago here in Sydney, Australia. She was going out with a guy I grew up with in Melbourne and our social circles overlapped on various occasions. What I knew of Tandi from these short interactions, was that she was a very creative, adventurous person. When the news came 18 months ago that she had had a seizure and required brain surgery, the community leapt to her aid and prayed for her recovery. What I didn’t know about Tandi, was how strong, resilient, trusting, brave, vulnerable and powerful she is – a true WonderWoman whom I am learning from on many levels. I am so grateful she is sharing her story here and taking part in Ten Questions so other women can share in her experience and perhaps come away with a renewed sense of hope and wonder and faith in our delicate human condition.
In the early hours of January 8th 2012, my husband awoke to find me having a grand mal seizure. I was 38wks pregnant with my second child. A healthy baby boy Elyad was delivered by emergency C-section five hours later.
I was nursing my precious newborn the next day when the neurologist delivered the terrifying news. An MRI scan showed a 4cm lesion on the left hand side of my brain. I went cold and dropped my baby off of my breast. My life had changed forever
A month later, on February 6th 2012, I underwent surgery to remove what was believed to be a low-grade benign glioma. Dr Charlie Teo performed a successful and radical resection removing all of the macroscopic tumor tissue. The pathology results were good. A massive sigh of relief amidst the ensuing turmoil.
The craniotomy had left me with complete right sided hemiplegia (paralysis) and inability to talk. A period of acute shock followed as my family and I fought bravely to rehabilitate and heal me to good health.
Over the past 17 months I have experienced a re-birth. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to re-define and re-gain my life. I’m grateful to be able to simply brush my teeth independently, write a birthday card, walk down the stairs, and play with my sons.
I constantly marvel at the complexity of the brain and its innate plasticity. I’ve experienced first hand the power of the mind in healing.
The potential of a glimmer of hope is boundless when it touches one amidst the darkest of days.
Tandi will be running the City to Surf this Sunday, August 11, in Sydney, Australia to raise money for the Cure For Life Foundation. If you would like to contribute please click on this link:
The Cure for Life foundation is lighting the way to find a cure for brain cancer and to provide hope for those affected. I truly believe that the outcome of this research will be of benefit to all of humanity.
Thank you for reading my story and for supporting me.
What is the essence of being a woman?
I believe a large part of being a woman is our capacity for compassion and I think for me that has been a strong theme throughout my life. Women have an innate intuition and compassion and ability to tap into life at multiple levels. As women we need to provide ourselves with the space to open up and realize this potential in each of us.
What do you feel unites women?
The shared experience of trying to retain a sense of self amidst the pressures of multiple relationships. Striving to be the best wife, mother, friend, lover, daughter, and professional – all these things at once! This I’ve found to be a universal struggle that unites women. The expectation that we place on ourselves of playing out all of these different roles, and the experience and the journey of trying to find a balance and also retain a sense of self – it’s definitely a uniting shared experience amongst women.
How do you stay strong, assertive, and feminine?
I’ve always been strong and assertive in my professional life. Prior to last year’s trauma, I found the strong and assertive part of this question a struggle when it came to my personal life. My near death experience has forced me into being a confidently strong and assertive woman, in that it has drawn a very clear line between what is important and what is not. I have a new found connection to self and if I remain connected to this understanding and to what drives me, I find it easy to be assertive and strong because at the end of the day it’s about being true to oneself. Just being really clear with myself about what it is that I need to stay true to. It’s about clarity around intention and drivers.
Do you find that being feminine is compromised when you’re trying to be assertive ?
No. Because I grew up as part of a generation of women that were raised to be assertive and feminine. I find that there’s a real respect and peace that comes out of being an assertive woman. I appreciate that this may not be true of every woman’s experience.
What and who inspires you?
First and foremost my closest role models, my 98 yr old grandmother and my parents of course. These people have been a constant positive force and inspiration in my life. My husband who constantly reminds me that there are two ways to skin a cat, and my two young sons who keep me inspired, on my toes and striving to do my best in my every day. I broke rehab records in their name!
I’m inspired by the human story and life in general. I filter information these days and expose myself to only positive energy and ideas. Whatever I see in my world, whatever I read, whatever I interact with – if it inspires a positive emotion – I’m inspired. Whether it’s to do with travel, cooking, psychology, healing, innovation in any field, I’m inspired and making connections. I feel that after 18 months of rehabilitation, I’m waking up and getting excited about life, I’m inspired by everything I see around me. I have the wonder of a toddler with the experience, knowledge and wisdom of a wise old owl.
How do you live your life so it has meaning?
I’ve been given a gift – through my trauma has come a light. I have clarity around who I am, and my purpose in this world. My intention is clear and it helps align me in everything that I do in my life. All the doubt and questioning has fallen away. I try very hard to live a conscious, mindful existence. This is very strongly related to being positive and providing inspiration and hope to people in every way I can.
I do my best to be in the moment, being really present – that’s become a really meaningful thing for me in my life. It’s been a massive shift for me. I previously lived my life at a pace that didn’t allow me the space to realize nor honor my core intentions. I now find depth of meaning in the little (big) things, in my interactions with my children, my interactions with others – I’ve opened up a lot of space for being present in my daily interactions and actions which has provided a different level of meaning and happiness for me.
What contribution would you like to make to benefit humankind?
I have a strong sense that there’s something brewing already. I’m working on various projects that aim to create space for others to be inspired and to find renewed hope in the realization of their own potential to live a meaningful life and in turn have a positive impact on humankind.
How do you stay calm under pressure?
I haven’t quite mastered this yet but I employ all my breathing and meditation methods and sometimes have to detach completely from a situation. My recent trauma has made me pretty resilient. It throws complete perspective on everything. Obviously I get stressed about little things and really lose it every now and again, but I put a lid on it pretty quickly.
How do you move from dream into action into completion?
I’m a creative being and love process, so I do a lot of dreaming and processing. I believe that in order to complete something one needs to move into action sooner rather than later. I believe in turning your dream into a strong vision. Being strategic, developing a road map into action with a strong emphasis on collaboration. These days I have a lot of trust in the synchronicity of the universe. I used to beat myself up about having to be master of EVERYTHING, now I trust that collaboration will bring about completion. I believe this has a lot to do with self-trust and confidence, and in turn allows a trust in collaboration to bring about the realization of dreams.
Three words to describe how you maintain a life balance.
Self. Family. Other.
If you could ask any woman one question, what would you ask?
I wouldn’t expect the answer, I’d just ask the question … Who are you?