While I was on my last semester of school, I began to get very strong and persistent headaches along with nausea, dizziness, and constant hiccups.
At first, I thought all the headaches were caused by stress and anxiety since i was doing my student teaching; my bf was about have a major kidney surgery and I had a major project to turn in. As my headaches worsen, I decided to go to the doctor to ask for a CAT Scan. At first, he said I was suffering from sinusitis…but he did not decline my request for a CAT scan.
A few days after the scan, he called me asking to get an MRI because he wanted to make sure of what they had found. I had the MRI as soon as i could…a day or two after, I had a voice message from my doctor letting me know that i had to find a neurosurgeon ASAP because i had a 5cm tumor in the fourth ventricle of the brain.
On April 19, 2012 I had brain surgery…my neurosurgeon was able to take out 85% of the tumor…the rest was too close to the brain stem. After surgery, I had radiation to the brain and spinal cord since they had found some cancerous cells very close the the spinal fluid. Once radiation was done, I had chemotherapy for about two years.
Currently, I have been chemotherapy free for a little longer than six months. I have been able to go back to my normal life. I still have some of the tumor attached to the brain stem. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy worked on keeping the tumor from growing but it did not shrink it. I have to get an MRI every three months to make sure it has not grown, and get blood work regularly. Having experienced this, it’s opened my eyes that we need to educate everyone about brain tumors. Our brains are one of the most important parts of us; it makes us who we are; how we act; why we do the things we do. It gives us our personality; the ability to move, talk, think, taste, smell, etc. I hope my experience helps people be aware that we are our own advocate and that we should speak up when we feel something is not right, don’t be afraid to question your doctor. We know our bodies better than anyone.