My name is Jenelle Rose. I am 19 years old. I suffered from horrible headaches and migranes for a year prior to finding out about my tumor. It wasn't until June 3, 2002 at about 3:30 in the morning that I finally realized something was terribly wrong with me. I was driving home from a friend's house and I was by myself. I live in the country so I was taking back roads to get home. I still don't know why, but as I was driving, I couldn't really control my right arm anymore. My right hand kept reaching down to the shifter and trying to push it up until my car was in park. It was the strangest thing, because I had absolutely no control of my arm. Now I know it was a sign to stop the car, because not even five minutes later I blacked out. Thank goodness I was only driving about 35 mph! I woke up about half an hour later in the middle of a field. I was very sweaty and nauseous. I had no idea where I was. I was so scared I just drove right out of the field hoping I was going the right way. When I got home I woke up my mom and told her what happened while I was being sick in the toilet. I threw up for about 20 minutes. She didn't know what to tell me.
Two days later I went to the doctor. At first he thought I was pregnant, then he thought I had hypoglycemia. Then I got sick in his trashcan. He told us to go get a CAT scan at the hospital. After the results came back, we went back to the doctor and he gave my mom, dad and me the bad news: I had a brain tumor the size of a baseball in my head. I think seeing your father cry has got to be the worst thing in the world. The doctor referred us to a neurosurgeon. I really didn't know what to think at that point. I was definitely in a state of confusion. I didn't think someone as young as I was could have a tumor, let alone that big, in her brain.
Three days after that I was in the hospital getting prepped for surgery. My neurosurgeon told us that it was a benign meningioma tumor. After six hours of surgery, it was all removed. I started recovering very quickly after that. All I wanted to do was go home. My surgery was on Monday and by that Friday they said I could go home. But I got too big for my britches that day. I decided to take a shower in my own room and stand up while I was doing it. Well, I guess that was way too much for me, because I ended up passing out. When I came to, I had about half a dozen nurses standing over me, asking if I was okay. My release from the hospital was postponed, but by that Tuesday I was free to go.
The first couple of weeks at home were hard because I couldn't concentrate on anything, I couldn't read, I couldn't bathe myself, I couldn't go up and down stairs and I felt very frustrated with myself all the time. I became very depressed because I felt like I had changed and I really didn't like myself anymore. I felt like I would never get back to normal. But that all changed pretty quickly. Every day it got easier and easier for me to do things for myself and I became a lot happier. I also had lots of friends and family that kept me company.
I have checkups about once a month and I'll have to get annual MRIs for the rest of my life. That doesn't really bother me though because at least I am okay. It's about two months after my surgery now and I am almost back to normal. But I guess I will never actually be "normal" because I am the only person I know who had a brain tumor. I'm so happy I came out of this with flying colors. I know I couldn't have done it without help from my friends and family. Now I know that they are the most important things in my life. And life is definitely a journey, not a destination.