Kiri’s Fight Like A Girl Story (Schwannoma)


Kiri's Story (Schwannoma) LRLast October, I had back pains unlike any I had ever had. I went to the doctor who told me it was just a bad sprain and I was sent home with a prescription for pain killers and an anti-inflammatory. After a week of bed rest, the pain was still there. But every time I went to the doctor I kept being told that it was just a sprain, and to take more time off work and rest it. I demanded an X-ray and it showed nothing.

In January, I was due to fly to my cousins wedding so back to the doctors I went for more pain killers to get me through the travel , which is when they finally decided to send me to a specialist (after 3 months of having a  ‘back sprain’). They sent me in for a MRI, and a week and a half later, I received a letter saying that they have found an abnormal growth in my spine. The orthopedic surgeon I had seen told me that what I had appeared to be a schwannoma (nerve sheath tumor) and that I would have to see a neurosurgeon for further treatment.

By this stage the tumor was about 3cm x 2.7×1.5 (quite big for being in the spinal column.

The first thing I was told by the neurosurgeon was that I was just a couple of weeks away  from nerve damage which could possibly lead to me becoming paralyzed. I was also told that I had to have surgery, but it would be risky. Worst case scenario if we do the surgery, they nick one of the nerves or have to remove a major nerve, and I become paralyzed. Worst case scenario if we didn’t, I would become paralyzed anyway, but wouldn’t have control over my bowel or bladder. Great thing to have to deal with at 21, never being seriously sick and just starting my career in hairdressing.

I went through with the surgery, and they did have to cut a nerve out, but so far nothing bad has come of it. I was up and walking (supported) within 2 days of my surgery and unaided within 2 weeks!

I wouldn’t have made it without my amazing support team of friends and family!

I am now glad to say that I got my biopsy results 4 weeks ago and my tumor was benign. It has now been 10 weeks TODAY since my surgery and I feel like a whole new person! I’m back to being my independent self and am now thankful for every day, remembering that I was only weeks away from becoming completely dependent on everyone around me!

If you didn’t know my history you wouldn’t even realize what I’d been through these last 2 months. All I have to show for it now is my scar that runs about 4-5 inches down my lower back 😀 Its a scar to be proud of!

New Zealand
Submitted 5-1-2012

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Kristen says:

    Way to Go! I hope it stays away! <3

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