Ricki Lee

I was six months pregnant with our fifth child and we had just relocated to Texas from Oklahoma, after my husband accepted a new job. During the course of the move, I started getting severe migraines again (I had a history of them, so we weren’t really overly concerned). It was after our furniture was delivered and we were trying to unpack and get our older children enrolled in school that the headaches became so bad I could barely get out of bed. I was getting lost every time I left the neighborhood and I started forgetting how to work my cell phone.

Then one day while trying to find a shoe store close to our new house, I had a terrible fit of rage and became so lost in the city, I could not calm down. This is called “Disaster Lost Day” in our house. The day mommy fell apart. It’s also one of the last clear memories I have before I woke up from a medically induced coma. Apparently, I got up around 3 a.m. one morning and my husband woke up to find me standing at the counter staring into the mirror trying unsuccessfully to turn my head left. I was not responding to my husband’s questions. He called 911. Paramedics thought I was having a stroke, but at the hospital I had a grand mal seizure that caused me to code. My unborn son was in danger. I was rushed to an emergency C-section, and my son was whisked away to the NICU, weighing only 2.9 lbs. After delivery, I was put into a medically induced coma so they could determine the cause of all the excitement.

The ER doctor approached my husband with an image of my brain with a tumor on the right frontal lobe and massive swelling, causing a mid-line shift. He handed it to my husband and said “I’m sorry.” I was brought out of my coma three days later and found out my son was delivered premature and I also had a GBM (something I never knew existed).

The Brain Tumor Network has been a source of hope for our family. I first reached out at a time where I was debating seeking a second opinion. The Brain Tumor Network helped me weigh our options, and I decided to seek a second opinion at UT Southwestern. Unfortunately, about a year after my initial diagnosis, I had a recurrence. At that time, there were no clinical trials available to me at UT Southwestern. I decided to once again seek out some supportive guidance from the Brain Tumor Network and elected to obtain yet another opinion at MD Anderson. It was there I was matched with a clinical trial and decided to enroll.

Along this path, it has been reassuring to have the Brain Tumor Network’s expertise and support behind me. I know I can reach out at any time with questions and concerns, and I encourage others who are going through the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumor to do the same.