One of our wonderful, thoughtful friends offered to share her personal health story with everyone. We hope spreading the word will help people who might be facing a similar situation or struggle. Thanks for sharing, Ry!
In the spring of 1997, my sophomore year of high school, I began experiencing some very odd medical “issues”…carpal tunnel syndrome, extreme thirst, frequent urination, loss of a menstrual cycle, some vision loss and I began lactating (which for a 16 year old was beyond frightening). For the next year, my parents took me from doctor to doctor only to find dead ends. No one knew what was happening to me or how to treat it. It wasn’t until August of 1998, when my Gynecologist ordered an MRI and found it. A golf ball sized germ cell brain tumor.
A few days later, I was sent to the University of Chicago to see the Chief of Neuro-Surgery, Dr. Bryce Weir, who scheduled Transphenoidal Brain Surgery (on the 6th day of my senior year). It wasn’t until the day of my surgery that I’d learn what Transphenoidal meant. As I walked into the operating room, filled with an audience of dozens of medical students, Dr. Weir explained they would be hanging me upside down by my ankles and going up through my nasal passage to access the tumor.
Seven hours later I would learn they weren’t able to remove the tumor, but did take a section out to biopsy. MALIGNANT…Cancer? I have cancer? My list of questions was endless.
I was introduced to my Neuro-Oncologist, Dr. Kelly Nicholas, aka The Man that Saved My Life. I started chemo-therapy and radiation treatments right away. A few days of chemo, and all of my hair fell out. I was sick to my stomach and super tired. Ten months of treatment, and my cancer was GONE!
I will never know what caused it or how long it had been there. Dr. Nicholas seemed to think it could have been caused by a chemical in tap water. My Endocrinologist, Dr. Weiss, thought there was a possibility I was born with it. Who knows? The one thing I do know is I learned a lot about myself during my fight!
The lessons I learned…
Never ignore those symptoms. It’s your body’s way of saying “There’s something wrong!”
Laughter is life’s best medicine. I never would have made it if it wasn’t for my hilarious family and friends.
Don’t underestimate the power of filtered water. Love your Brita!
You only live once! Make time to do those things you’ve always wanted to do! (I jumped out of a plane the day I found out my cancer was gone.)
This August will be 14 years! :)
Written by Ryan (Nyby) Potter