In surgery, the doctors ended up being more aggressive in removing the tumor as it presented itself differently once they were inside. It seemed to be a different tumor than the one they suspected. It was a pilocytic astrocytoma grade 1. Unfortunately, I experienced most of the complications that doctors initially said I wouldn’t experience. I had physical issues after surgery. Shortly after hiking 100 miles, by myself, I was suddenly unable to walk. My speech was slurred, my right side was impacted and I had severe double vision. I also developed meningitis and had a second surgery to place a VP shunt in brain. I was in the hospital for nearly a month when they originally said 7-9 days.
After 3 months of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, I went from a wheel chair to a walker and then a cane. When I left rehab, I was walking on my own! I was able to return to work and independent living. My double vision was mostly resolved and I was able to return to driving 5 months after surgery.
Fast forward to now and all is pretty normal. I now write using my left hand instead of my right. On my right side I was never able to recover the skills I used to have even after a year of attempts. I am now able to walk fine and I run almost every day. I finished my first half marathon in March 2014! I do have balance issues, but nothing anyone notices. I went to graduate school a few years after surgery and received my Ed.S. in School Psychology. I am married now and a stay at home mom to our 4 beautiful children. My children are largely unaware of what Mommy went through. I still get MRIs every 18 months and have now developed adult strabismus (double vision) as time has passed. From my perspective, though, these are minor issues considering what could have been.