Well, it’s officially been a year and a half since I last posted! I figured there really wasn’t much to report and there was a lot going on my personal life. 2016 was full of amazing moments! In February 2016, I got engaged to my longtime love, Ryan, and we got married on New Year’s Eve!
I also welcomed another beautiful niece and handsome nephew into the world- Sydney Nugent & Kevin James.
Lastly, I left a real estate job after 7 years and took a leap of faith into full-time sales as a Realtor at Baird & Warner. It was the best decision I could have ever made. I am excelling, growing my business, and loving every minute!
However, with the good, comes the bad. Last October I received some pretty shitty news. I was scheduled to have my annual MRI in November 2016, but was experiencing sudden negative symptoms in September. I had a hard time hearing due to whooshing, or fullness, noises in my head. This was making me dizzier and more irritable than usual. As a result, I moved up my MRI to early October only to find out, Trudy had begun to grow. [Cringe]. I never thought this would happen considering all my other follow-up MRIs had such positive feedback – the residual tumor left is shrinking, no significant change, etc.
Considering this was months before my wedding, including all of the exciting things that go hand-in-hand (bridal showers, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, etc.), many tears were shed. I felt sick over it. Why me? Again? Why now? I sure got hit with the unlucky stick! The good news was Dr. Anderson, my neurosurgeon, said nothing “urgent” needed to be done. So, through all the emotions, I remained positive and chose not to dwell on the negative. I would enjoy the rest of 2016 ringing in the new year as Mr. & Mrs., go on our honeymoon, and THEN figure out what needed to be done come February, when I would have a repeat MRI scan.
February came, I had my MRI scan, and I met with Dr. Anderson. The report was good- no changes in Trudy since last October. He said I could continue to wait and watch Trudy over the next year or so. However, he wanted me to meet with Dr. Leonetti, my ENT and skull base surgeon, to get his opinion. If you recall, both of these surgeons performed my 14.5 hour surgery almost 4 years ago!
Dr. Leonetti felt a little differently about my situation. “The truth is, you are only 30 years old, and your tumor is growing, slowly, but it is growing. The likelihood of not needing treatment in the future is unrealistic. You have at least 50 years of life left. It’s going to grow over that time period,” he said. At this moment, I knew something would need to be done. He suggested…. surgery. I felt crushed. I just had the most amazing 2016 and now I was going to have to have my head cut open again?! I would have 4-6 weeks of recovery, not be able to work, AND put my new husband and family through all this again? It was truly awful.
Before scheduling surgery, or making any rash decisions, I decided to get a second opinion. My mom has always been my health advocate. Thanks to her, she put me in touch with a world-renowned doctor in California. His name is Dr. Rick Friedman, and he heads up the Acoustic Neuroma Center at USC.
After consulting with him, to make a long story short, he too, suggested surgery. If you’ve ever had brain surgery, you would know why this is not something you want to hear- especially from TWO doctors.
I had no choice. I was going to make a decision between the two doctors and have surgery again this year (better to do it sooner than later, they both said). BUT THEN! I went to visit my best friend Emily in Chicago, whose uncle happens to be a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. With the help of her parents, they got me in touch with Emily’s uncle, who in turn got me in touch with the neurosurgery department at Mayo Clinic. Thank you, Taylor Family; You are beyond wonderful!!!
This past Monday, my mom and I had a consultation with Dr. Michael Link, a neurosurgeon, and Dr. Colin Driscoll, an ENT, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
The trip was amazing! Not only was every worker at Mayo super welcoming and helpful, the facility was beautiful, and the doctors were extremely knowledgeable. I felt like I was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy! After this trip, I feel very encouraged. However, at the same time, it left me feeling a wee bit confused. These two doctors suggested…. gamma knife radiosurgery (radiation). Boy, do I have a decision to make now! I promise to keep you all updated once I make a decision. Any questions/comments/concerns are welcome 😊