NBC - PINEAL TUMOR
TV Anchor: Imagine waking up every single day with a migraine. The pain is excruciating. No matter how much medicine you take, it doesn't go away. And this is not just for one day or month, but for years. This was the case for one woman in Gig Harbor. An MRI would reveal that she had a tumor deep, deep inside her brain, and conventional medicine said that it was inoperative. There was nothing she could do. But then she decided to try something. And Saint Brian has the story.
Husband: Ready or not, here I come.
Brian: When the Madison family plays together ...
Kelsey: Careful, careful, careful.
Brian: Kelsey, the mom usually stays on the sidelines.
Son: She used to always play and stuff, but now she has headaches and she doesn't like to play.
Kelsey: Running hurts my head.
Brian: For the past year, a lot of things have hurt Kelsey's head.
Kelsey: Did you have fun?
Brian: Kelsey, when you wake up in the morning, what do you feel like?
Kelsey: Like I've been hit by a Mack truck. It's like death. And the only way that I can describe the pain is like...um...an ice pick in the center of my brain.
Brian: Kelsey hasn't always been like this.
Matt Matteson (Husband): She was a lot of fun. Very upbeat...um...always wanted to go places. Go out and, you know, take the kids everywhere. You want a whole sandwich?
Brian: But, beginning about six months ago, as the pain became unbearable, Kelsey changed.
Kelsey: Now I'm like...uhhhhh.
Brian: The boys have learned to play quietly. Husband Matt has taken over most chores, and Kelsey has collected a bagful of prescription pills to deal with crippling pain.
Kelsey: It's a migraine every day, all day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. It...there is no relief.
Brian: MRIs have revealed a small marble-size tumor in the middle of Kelsey's brain. We've colored it red. But Kelsey says three local doctors she's seen tell her the tumor isn't what's causing the pain.
Kelsey: They tell me, "Oh, well, we'll just see how fast it grows and we'll just take another MRI in six months to a year and we'll just watch it grow.
Brian: But in Los Angeles at the Skull Base Institute ...
Dr. Hrayr Shahinian: The problem is right here ...
Brian: Dr. Hrayr Shahinian says Kelsey's tumor needs to come out right away. Even if it isn't diseased, he says the tumor's location is hazardous.
Dr. Shahinian: These tumors are pushing on nearby neurovascular structures and we believe that a lot of the symptoms are coming from the pressure effect. That's why she had headaches.
Brian: In most hospitals, taking the tumor out involves removing large chunks of the skull. But by using state-of-the-art endoscopic surgery, Shahinian says he can go through an incision smaller than a dime.
Dr. Shahinian: And then use the fiber-optic to go in, slide basically over the cerebellum, follow this path and that trajectory will take us directly to the area of the pineal tumors.
Brian: The surgery may sound simple, but Kelsey, who's training to be a nurse, is well aware of the risks involved.
Kelsey: I haven't, like, talked to my kids about it...about the main stuff, but I've been writing letters to them, because you have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Brian: You've written letters to your kids?
Brian: Saying ...
Kelsey: It's hard ...
Brian: You're gonna come out of this. Let's not even go there.
Brian: It is the morning of Kelsey's surgery. Her father's there, along with Kelsey's husband, Matt.
Bruce Paquette (Father): Ah...I'm feeling really emotional. I mean, it's my daughter, you know.
Kelsey: Hey Bud. Huh, are you awake? Love you.
Brian: Before she goes in, Kelsey makes one last phone call to the boys.
Kelsey: Are you crying? Ahhh.
Brian: Then, it's show time.
Kelsey: Are we rolling?
Assistant: We're rolling.
Kelsey: Oh, God.
Matt: I love you.
Kelsey: I love you, too.
Matt: I'll see you...
Bruce: You make me proud.
Matt: I love you, sweetie. You're gonna be so much better.
I believe she's gonna be fine. I believe she's gonna get better.
TV Anchor: You watch this story and you just feel for Kelsey. You can feel the pain that she has. You're about to see what she has chosen to do. It is a revolutionary new surgery and I have to warn you, some of the video that you're about to see is a little graphic. Here's Saint Brian with part two of the story.
Brian: To get to the tumor deep inside Kelsey Madison's brain, Dr. Hrayr Shahinian must first drill a hole ... through the back of her skull.
Dr. Shahinian: We're going to make a keyhole opening - the size of a dime or less.
Brian: Thanks to an endoscope, you are now inside Kelsey's brain following a microscopic pathway to the pineal gland where the tumor resides.
Dr. Shahinian: As we go further, you can get the first glimpse of the tumor here.
Brian: There it is, pulsing like a tiny heart. Following pictures on a high-definition monitor, Dr. Shahinian gets ready to cut the tumor out.
Dr. Shahinian: You can see it's getting all nicely cleaned up, and then we're pulling it out.
Brian: And here is the culprit.
Dr. Shahinian: We put this tumor out just so that you see that it was indeed the size of a big marble.
She's doing great. Have a seat.
Brian: Just two hours after opening up Kelsey, Dr. Shahinian has good news for the relatives.
Dr. Shahinian: The most important thing that I can tell you is that the mission has been accomplished safely.
Brian: The tumor itself is benign. Again, its location is what was causing Kelsey's pain. Just two days after brain surgery, she'll be able to leave the hospital.
Bruce: I'm just so hopeful that she's...she's going to feel better after...after this. You know I...that's...that's my big hope that she starts to lead a normal life, you know. So...
Brian: Now, just six weeks after surgery, Kelsey is back to being a full-time mom.
Matt: What kind of differences do you feel?
Kelsey: Big difference. Um...I don't have the migraines anymore. They're gone, completely gone.
Brian: She still feels some discomfort from the operation, but Kelsey is already doing things she never could have done before...
Kelsey: Oh, shoot, shoot.
Brian: ...like attending her son's noisy basketball games.
But instead, Kelsey can now expect to live a full life with her family by her side.
Matt: The kids have their mom...mom back. I have a wife back.
Kelsey: Everybody notices. Everybody is like, wow, you're just so peaceful. You're just so happy. You smile all the time.
Matt: We're a family again. It's great. We love it.