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Melanie’s Story (Brain Tumor)

Melanie's Story (Brain Tumor) LRI was sick with headaches for about 6 months, and progressively got worse. I started having slurred speech, my legs going numb when I would walk, the left side of my face was numb, I would black out, and muscle spasms in my neck that were getting worse, and this would all occur with these horrible headaches.

I was sick all night on Wednesday 9-9-09 and could not sleep from all the pressure in my head and vomiting. I told my husband that “MY” plans for the day were to take our children to school, he would miss work and take me to the Emergency Room because I could not handle the pain anymore and, when we were finished, we could come home and get our babies to hang out the rest of the day with them! WELL, LITTLE DID I KNOW ALL THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE CHANGED!! GODS PLANS ARE ALWAYS THE ONES THAT HAPPEN – NOT OURS!! We go to the ER and the Doctor told me if the CT Scan showed nothing then I would be sent on my way because he would be done as an ER doctor. Well about an hour later he comes back and tells my husband and I that he found a mass on my brain and that the neurologist would not touch me at that hospital so I was being transferred to Houston to MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER(SCARY). Meanwhile, I am sobbing and shaking and scared for the first time in a long time. I was yelling and crying “this is not right, this is not fair, I am suppose to grow old with my husband and be a mother to our children and raise them and have grandchildren someday”. They started an IV and started giving me something for pain and to calm me down while my husband went home to pack a bag of clothes for us. I did not get to tell my children where I was going or why, or even talk to them, and that was the hardest thing I ever had to do – well, so far it was the hardest.

We get to Houston at Memorial Herman and the miracles continued! The hospital that they were going to send me to ran out of room and they sent me to Memorial Herman (again, GOD plans). I have the surgery to remove the Tumor, which is benign. It was an Astrocytoma grade II that was located in my cerebellum. On Saturday 9-12-09, they had to remove my top 2 vertebrae (C1 WHICH IS THE ATLAS AND C2 WHICH IS THE AXIS) in my neck and 70-80% of the tumor was removed. There was still a small amount left (about the size of a grape) and the doctor told us that I would need a surgery to put the temporary shunt in to control the build up of spinal fluid and that they would go back in and remove the rest of the tumor that was left. The surgery was very rough and they expected my recovery to be a lot different then it has been. I am walking, talking, and eating just fine. No feeding tube was needed, no physical therapy, and no pain meds since I have been home.

While in the hospital there was a temporary shunt placed in my head to drain the spinal fluid that was building up in my head and causing pressure (hydrocephylus). They removed it 3 days before I was released from the hospital because the few ct scans they took showed that I did not need the shunt and they removed it and I was fine. I ended up (by God’s will) going back to Houston to the hospital with some spinal fluid leaking from the area where the tumor was removed and needed the shunt. So on 10-12-09 (1 month exactly after my first surgery) I was admitted and had a VP shunt placed in my head. I know that everything happens for a reason but it is so amazing that my son has Hydrocephalus and had a shunt put in at 9 months old and it is on the right side of his head and so is mine. I am sure there are few bumps in the road ahead but I am comforted in believing that God is healing me.

This experience has changed a lot for me. My faith in God is stronger, my children have always been the greatest but I have learned to appreciate them even more. My husband and I could not be more in love (we were that way before but this has really shown us how much we love each other). I plan on visiting several churches to share my testimony and give hope and let them know how God is so awesome! I have realized how many wonderful friends and family I have and how many people love me. It has brought me and my dad so much closer. I thank all of you for being here and praying for my family and I. There is power in prayer for sure! Thank you god for letting me go through this. It’s a blessing, truly, for it has changed so much! It has been a year now since this all started and every time that I go back to the neuro he has good news everytime. The tumor has gotten smaller, a little, and the shunt has been working fine. I hope this encourages you. Reading this, after all this time, really reminds me again to hold tight to life and enjoy every second. We are not guaranteed anything in life. Bless you all!

Submitted 11-04-10

This story 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.

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  1. Tiffany Jarrett

    God is so faithful and such a blessing. Thank you for sharing your testimony.. Very inspring. Love you Melanie.. Goes to show you God wasnt thru with you yet 🙂

  2. Steffanie Flack

    Melanie, did the doctor tell you that brain tumor is benign? I had a Grade II Oligodendroglioma removed. All gliomas are malignant, even Grade II. I’m shocked that a doctor would tell you that was benign since Astros are the most aggressive of the gliomas. I really hope you continue to do well. I fight this brain cancer battle alongside you.

    • Melanie Gray

      I was told that it was benign by my dr. He knew almost immediately following surgery because it calcified throughout the tumor. I am starting to have issues with the tumor again but it is not growing, or changing. I pray that you fight and continue to heal. I am sorry that I have not seen this before now. Bless you

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