When you look at Jon Templeman’s Instagram page quickly, it isn’t immediately apparent that he’s a brain tumor survivor. What you’ll notice immediately is that he’s strong. The marine veteran and Indiana native’s posts are largely dedicated to strength training, weight lifting recovery methods, protein-filled meals, and adorable pictures of his kids, Owen and Anna. The initial impression from the internet is that Jon can probably lift an operating table, not that he’d been on one five years ago having a craniotomy performed to remove a tumor.
As we all know, the internet can be deceiving. On March 3rd, 2015, that’s exactly where Jon was. He underwent brain surgery in Los Angeles at Keck Medical Center of USC by Dr. Rick Friedman and Dr. Steven Gianotta to remove a benign tumor of only 1.5cm in size. The marble-sized acoustic neuroma was on his 8th cranial nerve, and when it was removed it took half of Jon’s balance nerve and the hearing in his right ear with it. For the next three months, his strenuous workouts would be comprised of building up the muscle and coordination to sit up straight in a chair without assistance and eventually, to walk again.
Later that same year, in September, Jon would undergo another procedure. This time, he would be on the operating table to have a Bone Anchored Hearing Aide (BAHA). BAHA implants work via a titanium fixture implanted behind the ear working in concert with a sound processor. This allows the bone that’s anchoring the implant to transfer sound to the cochlea, rather than through the middle ear. He has, with little success, tried to convince his children that the implant makes him a “cool Frankenstein dad”.
In the five years since those two procedures, a lot has happened to Jon. He’s done 3 half marathons. Already an RN, he finished his BSN and started working on an MBA at Indiana Wesleyan University. He’s written several articles for the American Nurses Association. He’s been through a divorce. He picked up a few hobbies, including writing haikus and painting beautiful mandalas on rocks and canvas. Just this past January, he competed in his first strong man competition and came in first place during his deadlift event.
Working through headaches caused by the increased intracranial pressure of weight lifting, the emotional pain of a slew of life changes, and even a bought of acute renal failure brought on by rhabdo immediately after his first strong man competition, Jon is a testament to the power of dedication and faith. He trains consistently, setting goals, breaking them, and setting new ones.
To celebrate the five-year anniversary of his brain tumor surgery, Jon celebrated by pulling 500lbs on his deadlift bar for 5 reps. That’s unimaginable for most people, let along those who had a life-changing surgery 5 years ago! Before his Strong Man competition, Jon wrote: “I’m excited at the thought of competing and showing others who had my type of brain tumor and surgery what is possible afterwards.” Watching the video of Jon carrying hundreds of pounds of sandbags up and down his driveway or pressing more than his body weight, it seems clear that the sky’s the limit.
Follow Jon’s story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/strongnurse812/
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