March 5, 2020: I went to my local hospital for an MRI of my head. Lo and behold, they found a brain tumor in the cerebellum part of my brain. The tumor was moderate in size (about 5 cm) and was obstructing one of my ventricles that's responsible for draining cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Due to this obstruction, I experienced an abnormal buildup of CSF in my head. This term is coined as hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus was responsible for a bunch of crazy symptoms I had been dealing with since November 2019. Debilitating headaches, nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite/getting full quickly were the main symptoms I was having.
My symptoms made everyday life a struggle. My headaches got so bad that sometimes I would have to pause whatever I was doing and just lay down and close my eyes until it went away. I know what you're thinking - why did it take me so long to finally get an MRI? Mostly fear. Fear of not wanting to know that something serious/life-threatening was occurring. As crazy as that sounds, that's how I've been my entire life. I'm 23 years old by the way. My girlfriend consistently pushed me to go see a neurologist, and I'm so happy she did. If it weren't for her, who knows if I would have ever sought out help.
Finding out I had a brain tumor absolutely rocked my world. We drove to the The University of Michigan Hospital, where they kept me in the ICU until my surgery. The surgery was on March 10. My incredible surgeon and his team were able to successfully remove the tumor and close me shut after an eight-hour procedure. Just waking up from brain surgery is a blessing in itself. That was easily my biggest fear amongst a handful of others, not waking up from the operation. I was in the ICU for five days following my surgery and was transported to the GCU, where I remained for another four days.
I was discharged from the hospital on March 19 and have been recovering at home ever since then. Recovery is going well; I'm getting stronger every day. Learning how to walk again is a crazy thing to imagine, but it was my reality. The little things like that, that we all take for granted every day, is now something I sincerely can appreciate. This experience humbled me REAL QUICK.
Pilocytic Astrocytoma (big word) is the type of tumor I had, grade 1 (for anyone interested in learning about the brain). Thank God my biopsy came back as benign. There are so many steps when it comes to tumors and surgery. And the biopsy results were the icing on the cake.
To my surgeon, his assistants, therapists, all the nurses, doctors and PA’s who attended me, I cannot thank them enough. They literally saved my life! With everything else going on currently in our world, healthcare workers deserve all the credit in the world. They’re all simply amazing