Elizabeth Taylor. Sheryl Crow. Mary Tyler Moore. And you can add me, Representative Traci Gere, to that list. No, I haven’t suddenly become famous, although I have been known to belt out “Soak Up the Sun” on a beautiful Maine summer day. Rather, I have joined the list of people diagnosed with a meningioma, a benign tumor of the meninges – the membranes that surround the brain.

Traci Gere Courtesy photo

The most common tumor in the head, and more common in women, meningiomas grow slowly over years often without causing any symptoms, which it appears mine has done. But mine has now started pushing on parts of my brain and causing problems, including vertigo, which led to a fall a few weeks ago, a CT scan in the ER, and the discovery of the tumor.

This is a typical scenario with meningiomas, with many stories like mine where a fall down the stairs leads to needed treatment. Fortunately, meningiomas are very treatable, with surgery the typical course at the stage where my tumor is. Who else remembers Dame Liz Taylor with her elegant, shaved head on the cover of Time magazine?

I am scheduled for surgery the last week of July, followed by a period of recovery. Post-surgery, meningioma patients typically have an excellent prognosis, with no on-going symptoms. I feel very fortunate to have such a treatable condition, and I plan to come back better than ever! I have to extend huge thanks to so many friends and neighbors who have reached out with help and kind thoughts.

We truly have a wonderful, warm community of caring people. We help each other when we are in need, and it makes such a difference to all of us. It’s already made such a difference to me.

Legislatively, the timing of my treatment is fortunate, since the Maine Legislature is not in session this time of year. Of course, a big part of my job is providing services to constituents – helping folks to navigate state government and find the right place to have their questions addressed.

In my absence, please contact my excellent aide in Augusta, Brian Lee, who will help with any constituent issues; email [email protected] or call the House Democrats Office, 207-287-1430. Thanks very much for your understanding. I am honored to serve as your representative in the Maine House.

Traci Gere represents Maine House District 9, which includes Kennebunkport, part of Kennebunk and part of Biddeford.

Comments are not available on this story.