It is quite humbling for me to get to the point of asking for help. I’ve tried my best to figure out how to accomplish my goals and in a way “fend for myself.” Because of the 4 brain surgeries I have gone through and many other challenges, I want to help others to overcome the impossible by sharing my story of battling cancer, epilepsy, and the many issues that came along with it.
(My parents and I after May 27th 2015 brain surgery)
For a brief synopsis I have had 4 brain surgeries, the most recent surgeries were on May 27, 2015 and June 10, 2015. The first was when I was 13. We found out that I had cancer through seizures I was having.
(First MRI scans on Nov. 2, 2003)
Thankfully, the tumor was operable. Because of the size of the tumor, 8x6x6cm, they operated the very next day of finding it. There were major side-effects from the surgery. I woke up half blind on the right sides of each eye, I had what is called aphasia which is the loss of the ability to speak, read, and comprehend words. I also had short term memory loss. Sadly, after the surgery, there was a small remainder of the tumor that ended up growing back, filling the space of the original tumor. I was back to square one. We waited 2 years until operating again in hopes that the tumor wouldn’t be as aggressive so that we wouldn’t have to operate again.
During the 2 years after my first surgery I went through intense speech therapy. I did improve but it was a very small improvement. I did fall into a state of depression. Needless to say, I got to the point of standing at the edge of a cliff and almost jumped to end my life. Thankfully, I thought of my family and friends and how the action of committing suicide would affect their lives. I did change my attitude but the issues were still there and they weren’t going to get better for a long time. Shortly after that experience of considering committing suicide, I had the second brain surgery, at that time I was 15 years old. The worst part of the surgery wasn’t that I fell back to where I was after the first surgery but shortly after the surgery, I had a stroke which left me paralyzed on the right side of my body.
Now I had to go through speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. It was a fifty-fifty chance of me regaining mobility on my right side. I was blessed to have regained the mobility through a year of therapy. It is still a little weaker than my left but it is hardly noticeable. I still have only 50% of my eyesight and reading is very difficult, which causes me to spend a lot more time on homework and work can be hard because it takes me longer to learn. then most people. This causes me to take less classes in college, postponing future plans.
I struggle with short term memory loss but things are certainly a lot better. The hardest side-effects that I still suffer from is epilepsy and the ability to read and understand what I read. Because of the handicaps of poor reading and memory skills, school is very challenging for me. After a lot of testing my neuropsychologist recommended that I take a maximum of 9 credits a semester. I have tried to take a larger load of college classes but it was too hard to handle. A large part, along with trying to go through school, is that I can’t work full-time while in school. I’ve tried but the mental and physical toll of hard work in school and having a full-time job is to stressful that it actually makes me sick by causing more seizures from stress and the lack of sleep. This forces me to take out loans to cover college finances.
On May 27th 2015 I underwent a brain surgery where they placed 74 electrodes on different parts of my brain.
I woke up right after the surgery and for two weeks we triggered seizures to see where the seizures were occurring. I was in intense migraine pain for a long time with vomiting and a maximum of 3 hours of sleep each day. Despite the pain, the testing was successful. They gained all of the information that they needed and we operated June 10th 2015 to remove my 74 electrodes along with a small part of the hippocampus where my seizures were being triggered.
Right now we are in the waiting game to keep track on the amount of my seizure for the next 2 years and if the seizures reduce after two years we will possibly be able to reduce my amount of medication.
I ask for your help so that I will be able to pay for my college debt and many medical bills. Here are the debts I am in,
College school loans-$9,692
Current medical bills-$1,635.86
Upcoming brain surgeries-$8,000
- Ryan Peckham
- Corbin Walker
- Jenna Crisostamo