For a Canadian teenager, a risky operation to remove a brain tumor alleviated 10 years of headaches.
Shaelyn Boostrom of Alberta, Canada, was 6 when she first started experiencing regular headaches, The Daily Mail reports. At the time, she did not think they were serious enough to receive medical attention. By the time she was 11, her headaches became more intense, and weekly migraines made her throw up. When she was 15, her migraines worsened, and the left side of her body became numb with pain.
"I started to notice a squiggly feeling in my eye, and then everything would just go blurry," Shaelyn, now 16, said, according to The Daily Mail.
In March 2015, Shaelyn received an MRI scan at the University of Alberta Hospital, and doctors discovered a tumor that was about the size of a golf ball in her brain.
By April 2015, a team of specialists determined that Shaelyn was suffering from a tumor in the temporal lobe of her brain, but it was unknown whether the tumor was malignant or benign. A doctor told the family that Shaelyn could have surgery to remove the tumor, but there were risks involved, such as Shaelyn never waking up or suffering other chronic health problems.
"Right before the surgery, the surgeon warned me I was taking a big chance on my life and said I could have a stroke or a seizure as a result of it," Shaelyn recalled.
Seizures and strokes are common side effects of brain surgery, according to the Brain and Neurosurgery Information Center. Seizures may occur anytime from immediately after the procedure to years after the operation has taken place.
Fortunately, the almost eight-hour operation was successful and Shaelyn felt normal after waking up from the procedure, The Daily Mail notes.
The operation left her with 16 staples and 20 stitches on her head, which formed the shape of a question mark.
"The question mark scar will always remind me of being on that hospital bed and playing with my life right there, thinking, 'Am I going to survive or die?'" Shaelyn explained, according to The Daily Mail.
After the surgery, Shaelyn began to experience seizures. However, thanks to medication she received, she has not suffered any seizures since May 2015. In September 2015, doctors informed her that the tumor was benign and she would not have to undergo chemotherapy.
"I appreciate life a lot more now because I've been given a second chance at it and am going to make it worth it and not make bad decisions," Shaelyn said.