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The Princess and the Pea

Published on May 22, 2024 in Share Your Story

Guest Author: Allie C. in Massachusetts

At age 22, I got a headache that just never went away. I went to the doctor and was told it was anxiety. After over a year of trying medicine for anxiety and depression and nothing working, I was told I had chronic migraine. I finally was seen by a headache specialist who ordered an MRI.

Two days later, I received a phone call letting me know they found a tumor in my brain and a neurosurgeon would be in touch. I waited five days with no other information besides I had a brain tumor. 

At my appointment with a neurosurgeon, I was told it was likely a benign meningioma in my frontal lobe. I was nicknamed “the princess and the pea” as my tumor was small but somehow causing symptoms. I was told to live my life to the fullest, I would receive surveillance scans to monitor the tumor growth. I did just that — I lived my life achieving all of my dreams. I went to graduate school. I traveled the world. I started my dream job. I got married. 

Seven years post-diagnosis, I decided it was time to fulfill my next dream of starting a family with the love of life. I went in for my surveillance scan seeking clearance to try for a baby and left finding out the tumor had tripled in size and it was time to talk about surgery. I was devastated; this was not the news I had been hoping to hear. A few weeks later, I had a bicoronal craniotomy to remove my tumor. The surgery was a success, and to everyone’s shock, the pathology report said it was not a meningioma. 

Research is still being conducted to learn what this tumor is and how it correlates to chronic migraine. I suffered for seven years with daily migraines, nausea, and dizziness, all from a tumor in my brain. Benign does not mean easy. Brain surgery is the hardest thing I have ever endured. As I continue my recovery journey and hope to finally be able to start a family, I am brain tumor-free. 

National Brain Tumor Society provides free support groups for people like me to know we are never fighting alone. This organization will help fund research for tumors like mine that are a mystery. I am resilient, I am strong, and I can conquer the hardest of challenges. Advocate for yourself because you know your body best. As a “princess” with a tumor (the pea) growing inside my brain, I knew something was wrong, and I did not stop fighting until I was believed. Be your own princess and create your fairytale no matter the obstacles.

Opinions expressed within this story belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of the National Brain Tumor Society.

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