Welcome to My Personal Page
I am uniting with others to make a difference in the fight against brain tumors. I am passionate about this cause, so I’m taking action. I need your help in this fight. National Brain Tumor Society will not rest until a cure exists - but more needs to be done. Please join in my effort!
In April of 2015, I was at work as a special education teacher when one of my students tipped his desk onto my foot. It fell on my toes, so they sent me to the doctor. I was checking in with the nurse there and she was asking about my current meds. I could see her, I could hear her, why couldn't I answer? She said Michelle, Michelle at least twice...the next thing I remember I was waking up in an ambulance with a walking cast on my foot. I said to the EMT, "I'm going to the hospital for a broken foot?" And he said ," you had a grand mal seizure." WHOA. Ok, not my first. I have no parathyroid
. I have no thyroid. My levels get off and things get weird. Get that settled. I'll be fine. Right? I needed someone to tell me right. I have Cowden syndrome so I'm not a stranger to testing constantly. When I got the the hospital they did blood work. Calcium and parathyroid was a little off, up the seizure meds, go home and sleep.
I saw my oncologist the next week and she said "you had a seizure after being seizure free for 17 years and no one wondered why?" (At this point she's new to me) and she wanted to do an MRI. I went for the MRI on a Thursday. Friday night I'm leaving to go to my school's prom and my phone rings. It's her. The MRI shows 4 meningiomas, one sitting on my brain stem-which the neurosurgeon later found wrapping around. I remember dropping the phone and saying "Happy Birthday to Me" as my birthday was 3 days later, and then leaving for the prom.
I met the neurosurgeon 3 weeks later. The brain stem meningioma had to come out now! He reviewed everything that could happen if it didn't, everything that could happen if I waited, and everything that could happen when it does. I don't think I breathed the whole time. I was terrified. What about my family? My dogs? My students? I'm not ready for this. And in the mean time I had 3 more seizures. My body had another plan.
I had my 15+ hour brain stem tumor craniotomy on July 21, 2015. I was in the hospital for 4 days and the only real side effect I had was 6th nerve palsy, lazy right eye. I wound up needing follow up radiation but was back to work like nothing ever happened on December 1, 2015. Life went on with watch and wait of the other 3 tumors.
The other 3 decided to misbehave this year, and I began to lose control of my right side. They were growing and starting to come together and push my brain. Surgery number 2 came on March 16, 2017 and lasted 10 hours. My surgeon found a fourth tumor while looking at the MRI that morning and he removed all four that day. The ones on my frontal lobe area had entered the bone so I now have five titanium plates. Recovery was interesting as they had to give me a lot of fake dura for all they cut out. I heard a lot of fluid. I got puffy spots in more forehead. My balance was off a lot, but I was home after two days!
Last week I had my post-op MRI and all is going as it should. The surgeon did say he saw a sixth tumor but it is 4mm, up from 2mm-still the size of a pea. He says it is so deep only radiation would do (only radiation!)
I walk for those who can't because of these monsters. I won't stop advocating. I've been blessed with an amazing surgeon and care team, a recovery plan, a strong support of friends and family, and an unbeatable faith in God. I plan to speak and work against this awful condition for the rest of my life.
National Brain Tumor Society is fiercely committed to finding a cure for brain tumors. They are aggressively driving strategic research and advocating for public policies that meet the critical needs of the brain tumor community. Your support ensures this important work will continue.
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