I got very sick when I turned 16. I was a gymnast for my local community college. Soon I couldn’t finish my routines without getting sick. I was dizzy and had double vision and the worst continuous headache you can imagine. No one knew what was wrong and a headache was such a broad symptom, it could have been anything. After about a year of being sick, my friends suggested I may have a brain tumor. The doctor said he doubted it, I was too young! I finally got a CTscan and they found it. A Hemangioblastoma, very rare. They removed it with a Craniotomy when I was 18. The doctor said they got it all and it shouldn’t come back. I went every year for a CTscan, then every 5 years and finally stopped altogether.
I went to college, got married, had two beautiful children and an awesome life. Then two years ago I was turning 50, big milestone. I was always a little tired, but now I was running into walls and losing my balance.
Age? Maybe, but then I got the headaches. My doctor said it was probably stress. And having two teenage girls, I thought it could be true. But I asked for an MRI anyway because it felt eerily similar to my last Tumor. Sure enough 3 hours after my MRI the doctor called and confirmed my worst fear.
Another Hemangioblastoma, another craniotomy (because it was so large and entwined they couldn’t use the Gamma knife). It was a tough recovery, but nearly 100%. It’s strange to consider myself one of the lucky ones, but for so many people a Brain Tumor is a death sentence. I am so lucky to be alive, and I would like to help raise awareness of Tumors so there are more survivors.