A local nurse who is completing a medical marathon of recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor is training for the Mill Race Marathon event.
It’s been about seven months since Jon Templeman, a Marine Corps veteran and nurse at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, had a 1.5-centimeter tumor removed from his ear canal during surgery in California.
The 34-year-old married father of two returned to his nursing career at the end of May.
He has now taken on the challenge of running a half-marathon, a distance of 13.1 miles, in the Sept. 26 Columbus event.
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It’s not as though he doesn’t have some idea of how difficult completing a half-marathon or marathon can be, he said.
He’s run both in the past, including running a half-marathon in the inaugural Mill Race Marathon in 2013.
But this will be under a completely new set of circumstances, he said.
In September 2014, Templeman started having puzzling symptoms that began with feeling lightheaded and grew progressively worse. He was treated for an ear infection and vertigo, but it wasn’t until he insisted on an MRI that he learned he had a tumor, an acoustic neuroma, lodged in his brain near his auditory nerve.
By then, he often felt dizzy, something akin to the pitching and rolling of a ship at sea.
It took months of insurance negotiations, but he was able to have one of the preeminent surgeons in the field of acoustic neuroma surgery, Dr. Rick A. Friedman, take his case to have the surgery done in California. Many people from friends and family to the Indianapolis Colts got involved trying to help Templeman, and he had the surgery March 3.
Area residents donated an estimated $13,000 to help Templeman and his family, wife Ashley and children Owen and Anna, pay for the surgery and travel costs and to supplement what insurance didn’t cover.
But Templeman said he lost hearing in his right ear, something he had hoped to prevent.
During his recovery, Templeman reached out to other patients facing the same diagnosis and has found comfort and inspiration in their stories.
And because of that, he decided to take on the half-marathon as a platform to create awareness about acoustic neuroma and the help and support for patients that is available. He plans to wear a T-shirt while running that will have the website where he has connected with other tumor patients.
The T-shirt also will have a message that is a takeoff on a credit card commercial. It will say:
Running shoes, $100
Race entry, $50
Brain surgery, $100,000
Running a half-marathon seven months later, priceless
Finding the stamina to resume running was the first challenge in his journey to the Sept. 26 race, Templeman said.
He started by searching the Internet for a training regime for a half-marathon and began following it, running two to three days on weekdays, with longer runs on the weekends.
Templeman also joined Anytime Fitness for more training time and made even more of a commitment to focus on a healthy lifestyle.
He runs along U.S. 31 near his home against traffic, often in a loop so that he doesn’t get too far in case he becomes too fatigued. He still gets occasional headaches and sometimes has balance issues caused by being able to hear from only one ear.
“I have to remember there’s a ditch there — I look like an NFL receiver trying to stay in bounds on the sideline,” he said.
Despite those issues, Templeman said, he can make it through the entire 13 miles.
“I won’t be breaking any records, but I’ll complete it,” he promised of his half-marathon run.
If you are interested in providing support or training tips to Jon Templeman, he can be reached through the email account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about acoustic neuroma brain tumors, and patients who need help, visit anausa.org.
To register for the Sept. 26 Mill Race Marathon, half-marathon or 5k, visit: