From Arachnoid Cyst to Brain Tumor in 2 Weeks

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May 25, 2015 - Nashville, North Carolina

My issues didn't develop overnight or anything like that so I never took the time to think that something could be wrong with me until back in December of 2014. I left work one night feeling completely miserable after almost passing out at work three times, having bad double vision, and severe numbers and tingling in my arms. Luckily for me, there was an emergency room about 3 minutes down the road from work. Little did I know how much that one visit would change my life in the following months. The biggest red flag at the ER was that my blood pressure had exceeded 160/110 and they promptly did a CT scan of my head. The worst feeling was seeing the doctor walk back in and knowing that he had found something. At that time, I was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst but told that an MRI scan would produce a much better image and let the doctors know how to treat it. These cysts are very common and don't usually cause problems. Leaving the hospital that night I cried the whole way home because I still had so many unanswered questions and didn't completely feel like that was what was wrong with me. The next month or so was a battle trying to get insurance to approve an MRI and getting it scheduled with a neurosurgeon. The first neurosurgeon wanted to wait another 6 months and then do a repeat CT scan on me to see if the area would have grown. But with the symptoms I was having (double vision, headaches, dizziness, irritability, speech, and balance issues, etc), I knew I wanted a second opinion. A few weeks later I was at a neurologist office and with in 2 minutes of looking over my records, I had an MRI scanned for the next day. The week following the MRI was one of the toughest weeks I've ever been through emotionally as I waited for the results. And then the news came... "Bryan, you have a brain tumor and we need to schedule an appointment with a neurosurgeon to have it removed." By this time, I was actually at peace because I finally had an answer to why I had been feeling the way I was. I met with my new neurosurgeon the following week and was able to find out more about my specific tumor. It was actually some that had developed during the fetal stage in the womb. It accounts for around 0.1% of all brain tumors and is typically benign but would still be checked for cancer. The neurosurgeon was fully capable and incredibly well educationed (Harvard and Columbia University graduate), so I never felt worried. And by then I had everyone in my church and my family and their churches praying for me and decided that I was going to keep an amazing, positive attitude throughout the entire experience. Two weeks after that appointment, I had my brain surgery. May 20, 2015 at 9:30am, I went in for surgery and I came out 100% tumor free and 100% cancer free. The doctor said because of where it was located it was very challenging to remove but he was able to get it all. The most amazing part to me is how quickly I've been recovering. The original plan was I'd be in ICU for two days and then in a regular room for 2-3 more days. But I spent one night in ICU and two nights in a regular room after that before I was discharged. I've had just minimal to no pain from the procedure and my only issue is having stiffness in my neck from the staples (which will come out on Wednesday). I'm planning on recovering fully and quickly with no complications and am so ready to get back into the song of things. Bryan