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Seeing the Positive During Brain Cancer

Apr 08, 2021

From time to time, HCI invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of HCI.

My name is Krista. I was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 30. I was living and working in Illinois with my husband and 1-year-old son. I don’t think it’s ever "normal" to discover an eight-centimeter tumor is growing in your head, but how I found out was pretty strange. I had no symptoms other than some issues with my vision.

I was visiting family in England for Christmas in 2018 when my eye sight started fading for long periods of time. My husband and I decided to go to the eye doctor as soon as we got back into the U.S.

After several tests at the doctor’s, the issue was dismissed as stress-induced. We were so happy after being told I just needed to relax. However, we could not shake the feeling something was amiss. After lots of thought and a phone call to the doctor, we went to the emergency room that night. We wanted to be sure it was not more serious.

A tumor was found during a CT scan. Suddenly lots of decisions needed to be made with very little knowledge on our end. My life was about to change drastically.

krista laying in a hospital bed

I was instantly hospitalized, labeled as a fall risk, and scheduled for emergency surgery. I went in for brain surgery on New Year’s Eve 2018 and ended up having a partial resection during a 10-hour surgery.

After lots of visits and tests, I was diagnosed with grade III astrocytoma. I was told I probably would not be able to have any more kids without help due to the recommended treatment option.

Although it was difficult, I moved forward with chemotherapy and radiation after a quick fertility treatment round. At the time of surgery we still lived in Illinois. After diagnosis, we decided to move to Utah to be near my family.

man shaving a woman's head

It is now two years later and hard to believe I had all this happen over the course of two weeks. I know I am lucky I went to the ER that night, instead of dismissing what my body was trying to tell me. In addition to improved eyesight, we added a sweet baby girl to our family!

It is so scary and overwhelming to have cancer. The unknown can be daunting. There are still hard days after treatment, but things have turned out better than we ever expected. Remaining positive has been a big part of my story, although I know it is not always easy. Be positive, be brave, and find humor where you can. Who knows where this journey will take you?

krista standing with her son