I once went to the doctor for an ear ache. The doctor said you don’t have an ear ache. It looks like a sinus infection. Here take this antibiotic. Not feeling any better, I returned. Same thing, take yet another stronger antibiotic. I refused, knowing that to be fully certain it was a sinus infection would require a CT scan, and so I asked for one. They thought I was crazy, but in all honesty, I had not been feeling well for a long time. I had strange headaches, loss of balance, and other symptoms.
They finally were able to arrange for a CT scan. I was home at lunch one day a few days after the scan, when the phone rang. It was my doctor; he proceeded to tell me it was good news. I did not have a sinus infection. However, they found something else that looked to be a brain tumor, and they wanted to do an MRI immediately.
My heart sank. My maternal grandmother had died from a brain tumor. I had the MRI, and it confirmed that I did in fact have what appeared to be a meningioma. I researched and found the American Brain Tumor Association. I joined them and received lots of good, helpful information, and settled on a surgeon to have it removed. The tumor had to come out as it was symptomatic. It was all so overwhelming. I was juggling a brain tumor diagnosis and a family with a child in fourth grade.
I went to Stanford Hospital in California to have the surgery and it was very successful, even with an earthquake occurring as I lay in the Neuro ICU that evening. I was one of the lucky ones, and the ABTA helped me make good decisions by providing accurate, up-to-date information to be able to use in deciding on surgeons and more.
I am now 19 years out from my surgery and initial diagnosis, and have thankfully never had a recurrent tumor (meningiomas can regrow). I feel blessed for every day I have been given after my initial diagnosis. Even with a few minor hiccups along the way, I believe I am a stronger person both physically and mentally than I was before my diagnosis and removal of a 3 cm right-parietal meningioma.
-Heather of Colorado Springs, CO