My name is Christen and I am a grade II oligodendroglioma survior.
This July marks 26 years of survivorship. At age 15 I had a brand meal seizure. CT scan was negative and it was believed to be stress related (I was a freshman in high school at that time). Four years later, now a freshman in college I had another seizure. CT was negative so it was believed to again be caused by stress. Two years later I had three more seizures. MRIs were now available so after another negative CT scan I was sent for the MRI. Results were not negative. A tumor was found in the right temporal lobe. Five months later I underwent a craniotomy for removal of the tumor. Fortunately, the neurosurgeon was ahead of his time and removed the entire temporal lobe. Pathology report identified a grade II oligo with some infiltrate of cells in the surrounding tissue away from the tumor. Had the surgeon not been so aggressive at removing the entire lobe I most likely would have had a recurrence with possible advancement to a grade III. I went on to graduate college on time. Two years later I decided nursing was the career me, went to another college, earned a second degree and am still working as a pediatric RN. I married my college love and have three children.
Aside from visual field loss in both eyes, living with refractory epilepsy (fortunately focal seizures only) and ongoing neuro appointments the tumor has not had a negative impact on my life.
Until recently I never shared my story as I do not like attention. Ironically, once I began talking about it, participating in awareness groups, fundraisers, etc I realized I gave hope to others. I plan to continue doing so in the hopes of inspiring others.