Lauren's Big Brain Battle

In April of 2017,  Lauren began to experience dizziness accompanied by intense ear pain.  Visits to the doctor were inconclusive with diagnosis running from an ear infection to possible vertigo.  Lauren would occasionally develop these same symptoms throughout the summer with several different possibilities diagnosed by her doctor. In mid-October, the symptoms suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse. Lauren was suffering from extreme dizziness, nausea, and was having difficulty keeping her head upright. Diane immediately took her to the doctor and Lauren was diagnosed with Benign Positional Vertigo. Physical therapy was recommended as a course of treatment to help improve her symptoms.  On the morning of Friday, October 27th, Lauren was scheduled to have her first physical therapy session.  As the session began the physical therapist noticed something wrong with Lauren’s eyes.  After a quick consultation with her physician, the recommendation was made to Diane to take Lauren straight to the ER for testing. The ER doctors performed an MRI which revealed a brain tumor near Lauren’s brain stem, spinal cord, and cerebellum.  Lauren was then sent to pediatric ICU at Luther General Hospital.  After meeting with a team of neurosurgeons, led by Dr. Robert Kellogg, surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled for Monday, October 30th.  On Monday October 30th, Lauren underwent  a 5 hour surgery to remove the tumor. However, the results were not as expected. Surgeons discovered that instead of the tumor being outside of her brain stem like they had hoped, it was growing from inside her brain stem and spinal cord. The surgeons were able to remove approximately 75% of the tumor with the remainder being too risky to remove. The tissue was sent to pathology and the family was told it would be three to five days until a complete diagnosis could be made.  On the morning of Friday, November 3rd, the best possible news was received. The tumor was diagnosed as a Ganglioglioma: a grade 1, benign tumor. Lauren's treatment will consist of weekly low-dose chemotherapy for twelve to fourteen months. Unfortunately, the tumor cannot be reduced, but the treatment is designed to destroy the cells and stop further growth.  Lauren’s outlook is very positive! She will require low-dose chemotherapy, regular check-ins with her doctors, and MRI's, however everything is very positive at this time!
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Organizer

Michael Borsuk 
Organizer
Chicago, IL
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