Just recently, our family was hit with some devastating news - news that I never thought we would ever hear. Someone so very close to me and very dear to my heart. Everyday life is so busy and hectic that we take our health for granted. My heart is heavy as I'm writing this. Tears fill my eyes, however, it's my job as her big sister to help her fight like there's no tomorrow! My sister, Melissa McGhee, is 34 years old and has recently been diagnosed with a Pineal cyst brain tumor. This particular type of tumor represents 1% of all primary brain tumors. This is a very rare tumor and extremely hard to operate on. The tumor is located directly in the center of her brain. The tumor is steadily growing and has out- grown the Pineal gland itself. Melissa's quality of life has greatly depleted in the last couple of months. This has been extremely hard to watch, and for her to accept. She is married with three children ages 12, 10 and 4. It has become very difficult for her to enjoy life with her children and her spouse due to the pressure the tumor is putting on the nerves in her brain. It causes severe migraines, weakness, and sickness which puts her in so much pain that she can't get out of bed some days and therefore, can't work . She has lost some feeling in her left arm and leg, and vision in her left eye. She can no longer drive. Her body will continue to deteriorate if the tumor is not removed immediately. After seeing doctors and going through multiple tests, the most qualified doctor for Melissa's case is at the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, California. Melissa lives in Foley, Alabama, so the extent of her surgery is very costly. Melissa's surgery is scheduled for March 5, 2015. Melissa will be flying to Los Angeles on March 2, and will have an extended stay until March 15th. If things go as planned she will be able to return home then. Melissa's insurance is covering a portion of her surgery but not all of it, nor any travel expenses including hotel stays. She is on 13 prescriptions a month, for which copays are adding up. She will only be in the hospital for 4 days and the rest of her stay will have to be in a hotel room where she will be cared for. Once Melissa returns home she will be going through rehabilitation and therapy. She will be out of work for approximately 12 to 14 weeks and full recovery time will be about one year. Of course, this will cause financial strain as well. Our family is asking for help with Melissa's medical expenses. I'm reaching out to everyone and asking that if you can help Melissa in any way, it would be appreciated more than you will ever know. I do believe that miracles can happen, and I would give anything for one right now. I want my baby sister to have her healthy lifestyle back and to be well with no more pain or worry. Please join our family in helping her get the medical assistance she needs. There is no donation too small, and every dollar will be a blessing. If you're not able to donate, we understand, but please, before you leave this page, leave some encouraging words or prayers for her. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your support and prayers.
Below is a link to a short video regarding the surgery my sister will go through. http://www.skullbaseinstitute.com/video-pineal-tumor.htm