George Floyd, Beyoncé, & Brain Surgery

Autumn Foerderer
6 min readMay 19, 2021


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

I am sitting in the car waiting for Makaela while she interviews at Flattop. It’s my least favorite type of restaurant: Mongolian grill type.

She got the job! I will try it at least once. Maybe I’ll become a repeat customer.

Monday, May 17, 2021

It is the start of the missing chargers. I better stock up and hide some for safe keeping.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

As the Chauvin trial has ended, the events of last year have started haunting me. I was aware and unaware of what was happening in our beloved city last spring as my brain was slowly shutting down. I knew that a man named George Floyd was needlessly murdered and people were angry, but didn’t fully understand all the disruption throughout the city.

I almost died June 2nd, 2020. My brain was being eaten silently from within. It became a calm, painless, peaceful passing away. There is a period of 36 hours that I do not recall a minute of. Minneapolis was falling a part with anguished protestors marching in the streets, and angry, exploiting rioters destroying shops in the poorest of neighborhoods.

I do not remember the paramedics in my house carrying me out, nor the national guard protecting our block from potential riots on our street. George Floyd had been murdered a few days prior and the city, nation, and world were in upheaval over the continual injustice of black Americans. Minneapolis was in chaos as was my physical brain.

My gray matter had been crying out for help with its incessant migraines for months before my near death. The awful pain would wake me at one in the morning forcing me downstairs to the loveseat where I would vomit repeatedly. I had no idea there was a massive tumor growing in my skull since my previous MRI showed the tumor was relatively small. I foolishly, unknowingly fed it its favorite fuel daily like a precious pet. It is what we do not know that we do not know that is too often the cause of our undoing.

I stopped researching about brain cancer last summer (2019) and directed my energy towards Andrew. He had been admitted to the hospital’s ER where he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal case of pancreatitis. I cancelled my MRI to focus on him, and he took my spot for a nutritional consultation with my naturopath. I spent four months nursing him back to health. He lost over 35 pounds. Thus, I was not digging as deeply into the brain cancer research and became sloppy when I added the powdered vitamin C. Vitamin C is amazing for people who do not have cancer, but can be deadly in normal size dosages for those that do. Genius that I am, I also added L-glutamine which raises glutathione (the master oxidant) which is awesome for healthy people but is dangerous for those with cancer. (Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) protects tumor cells and L-glutamine feeds them). I essentially was shielding the enemy and supplying it with ammunition to grow as rapidly as humanly possible.

The tumor took up residence like a disrespectful slovenly stranger. It sat on the sofa feeding its voracious appetite while spreading itself out leaving no room for anyone else to sit comfortably. It dominated 25% of my brain. It was massive. My left-frontal tumor was pushing its way across the cranial line into the right side and pushing my brain down into my brain stem. My thoughts were disappearing as the stranger squeezed me out.

The surgeons decided I needed two surgeries based off of the MRI where they deduced a massive amount of blood vessel network intertwined inside of the tumor. The first surgery was to seal the blood vessels off making the surgery less bloody so the neurosurgeon could clearly see what he was doing. When I woke up from the first surgery, everyone was smiling and I received the happy news that after two hours of investigating my brain with their fancy inter-cranial camera, (that they inserted through my groin — fun) there was no need to do anything as the blood vessels were just the normal veins. Not cancerous ones. Fantastic.

The actual resection took eight hours. Before they “put me to sleep,” I told Makaela that for the “countdown” during the anesthesia administration I would repeat the words for the remake of “Savage” by Beyonce: “I’m a savage, classy, boogie, ratchet.” It was our way to stay connected during the unnerving procedure of my brains being suctioned out. I remember tears slipping down my temples with the last word being “boogie:” I never made it to “ratchet.” She made a Tik Tok with her sweet self and her adorable boyfriend Matt dancing to it. I do not usually admire pop stars, but Beyoncé has my allegiance. Upon waking up I felt rejuvenated. I was freed from my internal cage. For 11 plus years I have been trapped inside my brain: not able to fully communicate — now I suddenly can. I was elated.

I was on dexamethasone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation in the brain. I was high as a kite and did not know it. If I had known that dexamethasone feeds cancer cells due to its ability to raise blood glucose (166mg/dL), I would have refused it and requested a different option. Ignorance, and blindly trusting the oncologists/big pharmaceutical run medicine is never safe. There is too much money invested in their treatments for them to be able to honestly give their best to their patients. It is tragic. Unfortunately, greed trumps compassion and care.

I did not sleep for over two weeks: not one wink. I was wide awake while simultaneously exhausted. I organized every single drawer, closet, and bookshelf in the house. I also spent thousands of dollars on stuff that I did not need (nor want on this side of being high). Thankfully, we were able to return two-thirds of it, but I wish I would not have been high while shopping as I could honestly use some new tennis shoes, but in my non-high state I am way too frugal. I bought five pairs of slip-on Birkenstocks. My slip-on shoe shopping motivation was spurred on due to the gross sloshing I could hear in my skull with the slightest bending over as the brain juices were draining. The doctors also gave me a 6-week restriction of not bending towards my toes, but when high everything seems as if it will last forever…argh. Now I currently own several lovely colorful varieties of Birks, floral Kate Spade rain boots, baby blue Reeboks (which I have gifted to Makaela), bright white thick soled tennis shoes that are stylish but useless, and I forget what else. Ridiculous. Never shop high.



Autumn Foerderer

Ramblings from a broken brain: stage IV brain cancer: giving up the life I planned, greeting the one waiting for me: thoughts, anxieties, hopes, dreams: LIFE.