In late Spring 2015 as Kendra completed her last semester of her nurse practitioner program, she began experiencing continuous pulsating ringing and hearing loss in her right ear. She scheduled an appointment with the ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) and shared her concerns. The ENT initially thought she was suffering from otitis media, however, he recommended a CT scan because he noticed that her right tonsil was enlarged.
He assured her that it probably was nothing but, ordered a CT scan just for precaution. On Thursday of the following week, she went for her scheduled CT scan. During the time between the initial ENT appointment and her follow up appointment she continued her daily routine without skipping a beat. After having the CT scan with no follow-up call from the doctor, Kendra assumed that everything was ok and enjoyed her weekend with no worries.
Since she had not heard from the doctor prior to the weekend, she assumed that her follow-up visit on Tuesday would be a breeze, in and out, quick and easy. Upon entering his office, he said, “I have good new and I have bad news.” She was informed that she had a rare tumor, a Glomus Jugulare Tumor (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/
article/001634.htm) on the base of her skull, through the middle ear and extending into the intracranial cavity. Upon receiving this information, appointments were immediately scheduled to see specialists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
Kendra’s first appointment at MUSC was on July 6, 2015, after having several visits to MUSC her journey led her to Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Her first appointment at JHM was July 21, 2015. Once there, she met with a team of doctors who were especially concerned about the location of the tumor. Yet, the team felt that it would be best to monitor the tumor for a year to determine the presence of growth.
From July 2015 to July 2016 Kendra continued to live life as normal while continuing to experience hearing loss and incessant pulsating ringing in her ear; all while continuously praying and knowing that all would be well. After her initial visit to JHM, she made bi-monthly visits for medical evaluations. It was during her visit in July 2016, scans revealed that the tumor was continuing to grow causing her brainstem to deviate.
It was immediately decided by the JHM team of doctors and Kendra that she would need treatment due to the tumor’s size, growth, and location. However, due to risks and complications associated with surgical removal of the tumor the doctors were cautious in developing her treatment plan. After the team conferenced about Kendra’s case for several weeks, it was determined that radiation would be the best treatment option.
September 21, 2016, Kendra meet with a radiation oncologist at JHM who expressed concerns about possible side effects and damage that could occur to the brainstem if they decided to utilize radiation options offered at JHM oncology center. Without hesitation, Kendra’s doctor referred her to one of his colleagues at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, who specializes in proton therapy for head and neck tumors. (https://www.mdanderson.org/
navigating-cancer-care/how- cancer-treated/radiation- therapy/proton-therapy, http:/ /www.proton-therapy.org/).
Kendra’s first appointment at MD Anderson was on October 26, 2016. It was determined that she would be a good candidate to receive proton therapy treatment. Kendra’s treatment plan requires 35 proton therapy treatments which will require her to relocate to Houston, Texas for eight weeks with treatments beginning on November 14. She will relocate to Houston on November 13 with an anticipated return date of January 12, 2017.
Your support will help with some of Kendra's relocation cost and living expenses while in Houston (housing, transportation, basic living needs). Showing your support now, will definitely help with decreasing some of the stress of this entire process. Please know your support and prayers at this time mean the world to me.