Hey everyone! This is Caroline and today I'm going to explain the process of my discovering that I have a brain tumor. It's a long story, but it's a good one, so sit tight.
I'll skip some of the messier parts of the process, but the issue was presented when I noticed how underdeveloped I was compared to other girls my age. It was spring of 2014, in my freshman year when I started really worrying about my lack of "issues". My mom and I kept going to a local nurse practitioner for advice and assistance, but she did not see it as a problem. I was just a "late bloomer". We had been going there for several months, so having no explanation became very frustrating. A friend who worked at the clinic recognized our disappointment and suggested that I get a professional's opinion. Mom and I agreed, and so we set out for Cleveland Clinic in June. Basically, an MRI was called for to see what was happening. What we found was not exactly ideal.
On the same week that I got my MRI, I also applied for my learner's permit. I was very excited about driving, and it was a very good thing that I was. We learned about another problem that I had during my vision screening at the DMV. While the lady administering the test blinked a red light, I was supposed to press a button when I saw it. Although I did quite well on the right side, I had a little trouble on the left. The woman kept asking if I did see the light, which I did not, but she kept insisting that I did and was just being silly. I finally just went along with this notion and passed the test. This was a big mistake. Three days later, I wrecked my mother's car while driving home from church. There is a very sharp left-side turn on my street that even the most experienced drivers have to be careful about. A truck was pulled far out at this turn and I was trying to avoid it. In doing so, I made the turn to late and almost hit a pole. At the last minute, my dad turned the wheel to the right side and so we missed it. Unfortunately, I didn't straighten out, so we hit the pole on the left side of the street. We were going less than ten miles per hour, so the air bags did not go off and no one was seriously injured. The car was totaled, but that later became the least of our worries.
Three days after the accident, my MRI results came in. The doctor explained that I had a pituitary tumor that was halting my development, while also crushing my optic nerve. Thus, I had been driving around with no peripheral vision in my left eye, which was the main cause of my accident. I couldn't see the truck or pole, so I had trouble navigating (This knowledge helped out a lot at my court date. I didn't even I have to pay a fine, because the whole thing wasn't exactly my fault; victims of circumstance, you could say). This was when things got really crazy.
Once again, the memories are hazy, but I do remember us being afraid of cancer. Although the tumor was NOT cancerous, it was still difficult. In fact, cancer would have been easier. The tumor that I have is called a macroprolactinoma. It's very common for middle aged women and elderly men, but it is EXTREMELY rare in teens. Only six minors in the entire United States are currently being treated for it. Five, not counting me.
Finding out that I had a brain tumor was scary enough. Hearing that it was so rare that none of my doctors were sure how to treat it was terrifying. I didn't know what to do, but I knew that God had a plan and that things would be okay. He led my through valleys and mountains in the past, He could lead me through this one. I think that it was my faith and positive attitude that carried me through that summer. It was full of rearranged schedules, emergency hospital visits, several overnight stays, and constant medicine prescriptions. But through it all, I had a supportive family, an amazing church, and my own faith to get me through. God was faithful through the entire thing. But this was just the beginning....
Be sure to come back next week and learn about Caroline's struggle with surgery. And don't forget to check out Caroline's blog here.