Page 8 - 2018 September Voices
P. 8


          As I started my sophomore year of                    time, however, I recognized what was happening

      college, the excitement and responsibility               – my brain tumor was growing still. I had no
      accompanying leadership filled my spirit with            idea that my previous brain surgery was only
      eager anticipation. I was honored to serve as the        the first of numerous brain surgeries to come.
      student-body vice-president and captain of the              Unfortunately, my second brain surgery

      collegiate volleyball team. It wasn’t long, however,     didn’t alleviate my seizures. As they continued
      until my health began spiraling out of control. As       to get worse, I was again told that nothing else
      a lifelong epileptic, I was accustomed to having         could be done to improve my condition. I sought
      1-2 seizures every year, but this was different.         help from the other epilepsy clinic in Seattle and

      Suddenly having 35-40 seizures every week                was relieved that although they recommended
      had me questioning my sanity. I took numerous            another brain surgery, at least they could help.
      anti-convulsant medications to no avail. With            My third brain surgery was unlike the previous
      the results of my recent MRI being diagnosed as          two and shattered my fragile state; I contracted

      normal, I was informed nothing could be done             a virulent strain of bacterial meningitis and
      to improve my condition. I was 19 years old and          became gravely ill. Severe intracranial swelling
      in shock – how could it be that there weren’t any        caused 48 staples in my head to pop out, one by
      treatments that could help?                              one, until every last one came out of my scalp.

          Desperate yet determined to once again                  As I rapidly deteriorated, my parents, brother,
      live a healthy life I found two epilepsy clinics         and I were warned by my doctors that if I
      in Seattle and signed up for the first available         survived, I would most likely be permanently
      appointment. My parents and I anxiously awaited          disabled and unable to care for myself, work or

      a new opinion. As the neurologist walked into            finish my bachelor’s degree. After my fourth and
      the sterile examining room he briefly looked             fifth brain surgeries in the following two weeks,
      at my MRI, hurriedly said he would be back in            during which an infected portion of my skull
      a moment and departed, but quickly returned              equivalent to the size of an adult’s entire hand

      with another physician. Little did my parents            was also removed, my survival depended upon
      and I know the news we were about to hear. The           successful IV antibiotic treatment.
      additional physician glanced at my MRI and                  Every day was a battle to push through
      bluntly asked me “are you aware that you have            unrelenting nausea and agonizing pain,

      a brain tumor?”  In shock, I replied, “no, but I         withering from 140 to 110 pounds in six weeks
      am now.”  I was 19 and unexpectedly facing my            while also losing my ability to walk unassisted. I
      mortality.                                               was climbing a mountain of mental, emotional,
          Shortly afterward I underwent brain surgery          and physical anguish. My resolve was stretched

      and proceeded to enjoy 18 months of liberation           thinner than I thought possible, but sheer
      from epilepsy. Being seizure-free felt amazing.          determination kept me going.
      As I treasured every moment, my health                      Luckily six weeks of intravenous antibiotics
      unexpectedly started to crumble again. This              cured my meningitis. Less than a week later,

       8      ONE COMMUNITY
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