Brittany's Story

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January 29, 2013

Brittany's Big Brain

I was a college sophomore (in my third semester) when I went home one weekend and was really sick with the stomach flu. On Saturday November 29, 2008, I woke up and my face was swollen with blisters on the left side of my face. My mom brought me to the walk-in clinic and they admitted me to the hospital. They took a Cat Scan of my head to see if the infection went any deeper. The good news was that it didn't, the bad news was that they found a mass behind my eyes on the Cat Scan.

The next morning in the hospital they did an MRI and determined that I had a Pituitary Tumor-Pituitary Macroadenoma to be exact. My family and I were devastated. Me, a college sophomore struggling to get through the semester to be a journalist, had a brain tumor. ME!

My primary care physician informed my family and I of all of the information and details about this tumor and we immediately contacted our insurance company to look for a neurosurgeon in the local area. We found my neurosurgeon and he suggested that I see a neuroopthamologist, an endocrinologist, and a neurologist. Whew-I was totally overwhelmed!

After months of appointments and labs and tests, we had set a date for surgery-February 10th, 2009. I was in my 4th semester of college and I decided to take my classes online (through my university) so I wouldn't fall behind. I had transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. They went through my nostril with a probe and tiny camera and sucked out the tumor-or so I thought. I woke up after my surgery and my nose was packed-I couldn't breathe. After I got situated in the Neuro-ICU, my family and friends came to see me. I felt so bad because I was really tired from all of the medications and everything, so I wasn't up to talking to everyone,like I usually am.

I went home three days later from the hospital and a month later I went back to see all of my doctors. They didn't get all of the tumor, they just got the mass beneath the tumor. GREAT! Just what I wanted to hear.

Now I am in the process of finding another neurosurgeon who is a pituitary surgery specialist for my second surgery. The neurosurgeon I am with now wants to cut open my skull to remove the tumor-I think not! I am so scared of what might happen. I'm only 20 years old. What did I do to deserve this? Why me? All of these thoughts were running through my head, and still are. I had the flu then got a cat scan because of a puffy face, the next thing I know I have surgery for a brain tumor. My parents are struggling to put food on the table because we have to pay all of these medical bills from my first surgery, tuition bills, and all of our other bills on top of that. Plus, one of my younger brothers will be heading off to college Fall of 2009 and we can't even afford it. I feel so guilty for putting this on my parents-they don't need this!

To anyone who has a brain tumor or has had it removed, I now know how you feel. Alone, scared, and guilty for having your tumor.