Late one night in December 2021, 24-year-old Christopher Brown’s girlfriend awoke to him making a noise that sounded like he was choking in his sleep. With a bit of effort, she shook him awake briefly, but then Christopher proceeded to roll over and fall back to sleep, no longer making the strange sound. The following morning, unsure of what happened during the night but feeling fine, Christopher headed to the mechanic shop where he works and carried on with his day.
But after just a few hours, he was feeling light-headed and started to experience disturbances in his vision severe enough that he needed help from his coworkers. Noticing that he’d also turned very pale, and becoming concerned, they called for an ambulance which took him to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Imaging tests at St. Joseph’s revealed a large tumor in the right parietal lobe of Christopher’s brain, and the decision was made to transfer him to the Catholic Health Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital for further treatment.
“I didn’t have any symptoms leading up to this,” said Christopher. “No headaches or anything like that. The doctors told me that what had happened to me that night and the next morning were seizures.” A few days later, neurosurgeon Symeon Missios, MD, performed a craniotomy to remove the tumor, which was revealed to be a type known as a glioma. “It was very large, about the size of lemon,” said Dr. Missios. He describes the difficulty of operating on gliomas arising from the fact that visually, a glioma is hard to distinguish from surrounding healthy brain tissues.
The size of the tumor and its location also posed risks for postoperative effects on sensation and motor control in the left side of Christopher’s body. But thanks to Dr. Missios’ expertise and the availability of sophisticated technologies such as neuro-navigation and other forms of monitoring used during the procedure, the surgery was a success.
Christopher reported some difficulty with his vision immediately after the procedure but was otherwise alert and didn’t experience any loss of coordination. A month after the procedure, his vision is greatly improved. “The peripheral vision on my left side is still a little worse, but I’ve been able to adapt to it,” he said. “I just turn my head a little bit further to see things than I used to, it’s not bad.”
Otherwise, he’s happy to report that he feels very good, and is only waiting for the outcomes of some tests before he resumes his everyday life. More good news, according to Dr. Missios, is that the tumor itself appears to be a benign type and Christopher will likely not need to undergo any chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Aside from MRIs in the future to keep an eye on things, Christopher can move on like nothing happened.
“Physically, I feel perfectly normal,” he said.
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