Happily—and Healthier—Ever After
By Tara Beller
I was 12 years old in June of 1998, the summer between my sixth- and seventh-grade years at school. I started having headaches in the front of my forehead, not keeping any food down and felt tired all the time. I went to my doctor and they thought it was just a stomach bug, so they gave me some medicine and I went home. It seemed to get better, so I went on with my life.
A couple of weeks later it started up again, but this time my balance was poor. The doctor checked me over and administered tests for illnesses like mononucleosis. Those tests came back fine, so he gave me a barium swallow and scheduled a CT scan for the next week. When I went for my CT scan, it could not be administered because the barium was still in my system since I hadn't been able to keep anything down—water, food, anything.
My family and I went home to find a message on our answering machine telling us to go down to Children's Mercy and there would be a doctor waiting for us. When we arrived, I couldn't even stand up—that was how bad my balance was. So the doctor took me into an exam room and kept checking my eyes. She told my parents that she was going to order an MRI right away. Within 45 minutes after my MRI, the doctors diagnosed a brain tumor.
They didn't know if it was cancerous or not until they performed surgery. I was so dehydrated that I spent four days in ICU before my surgery. They told my parents that if they hadn't caught it when they did, I could have been dead within two weeks. I had my surgery on August 10, a Monday, and the tumor was cancerous. I spent a week in the hospital after that. I ended up having a year and a half of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.
Children's Mercy Makes All the Difference
My time spent at Children's Mercy was a difficult but good time. The nurses were great to me, and they still know me 12½ years later. Everyone there was not only good to me, but to my family, too. They took care of them as much as they took care of me.
My story continues to be a happy one. On May 22, 2010, I married Blaine Beller, and currently work as a human resources assistant. I would not choose any other hospital but Children's Mercy to take your kids to. Thanks to everyone at Children's Mercy, especially the Hematology/Oncology Clinic!