Becoming Who I Am
I’m Kayla Horton and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 19. I started having symptoms at age 17, but at the time didn’t know any better. I saw a few doctors and they associated my symptoms with being in “my generation”. Well I joined the U.S. Airforce at 18 still not thinking anything of it and then out of basic training started experiencing blackouts, migraines, loss of balance-you name it, I had it! After being seen about twenty times and being shrugged off by the doctors saying “you are just stressed out with the military lifestyle”, I started to give up although my body was telling me I was dying (literally). Well I got stationed at a new base, and miraculously the Optometrist on my routine screening noticed swelling in my eyes, that was later attributed to a small orange-sized tumor, which they said I should technically be brain dead from! Well given the tumors size I was given two weeks until surgery. Expecting nothing of the consequences I went in thinking I was going to come out magnificent! Well unlike I suspected, I woke up with facial paralysis and the loss of function to the whole left side of my body. After 30 days inpatient I was released from the hospital to do intense therapy for a year, where I learned to walk again (not perfectly though). About 13 months post-op I found out I would have to endure another Craniotomy due to the fact the small portion left from the first surgery had not taken to the Radiation and had started growing at a fast rate. I have since recovered now from this more than life changing Acoustic Neuroma. I am grateful to be alive although my facial paralysis is with me for life, and the doctors can’t say how much control I will get back from left side. I have since found a saying that I now live by, “Without struggle there is no progress” and I hope more people hear this and think that the struggles they go through aren’t going to hold them back!