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From: "Erin" Lizwakefield04@aol.com
Sent: March 19, 2005

Hi my name is Erin. I am 21 yrs old, and I was 20 yrs old when this occurred. I was diagnosed by fault that I was getting really sick and my care physician didn't know why. I was as of last jan-feb 2004 diagnosed with an ear and nose infection, which went from bad to worse. I went from having only headaches to constant nausea and dizziness to the point where at my home I could not even stand up. I was soo weak from the vomiting that I didn't eat for weeks--even ginger ale came up.

I look at the paper work today and I'm amazed at my recovery. When my family saw that I could not even open my eyes or get up to answer the phone or the door this is when my father and mother decided that I desperately needed to go to the hospital. They put huge IVs in my arm which left bruises for weeks. When I got to the hospital I was treated immediately through IV for dehydration, I could only have food intravenously because anything I had other wise came up.

They also ran physical tests which showed how my balance was way bad and then came the MRI. Thanks to the hospital neurology team, I went from being a normal person then came the news from the neurosurgeon that a parent's worst fear came to pass: I was dying from an unnoticed tumor that had grown in my brain without any signs of it til I became this sick. The doctor then told my parents that if I didn't have this surgery I was going to die very soon.

So I had the surgery knowing the risk of death was my fate, but I came out of it, with everything intact, but was not able to handle sunlight and I could not eat even jello for a whole month! I still to this day am allergic to artificial items(food). I had to be fed intravenously for over a month because I could not hold ANY food down. I had this surgery on March 16th 2004; the first time I had a taste of food was April 11th. I had forgotten what every kind of food tasted like.

This surgery also affected my speech and in a big way. My walking ability didn't come around til the end of April during my stay at rehab with the help of steroids. To this day I cannot lose the amount of weight I gained to become normal again. Before all this I was 100 pounds and a size 1; now as of march 16th 2005 I am 140 pounds and cannot seem to get this weight off. I am not use to being a bigger person. I thought steroids where going to make u stronger not make u chubby.

Anyhow thanks to the surgery I have been doing my long term goals I may never have gotten to accomplish. I got my driver licence. I live on my own; i walk without a wheelchair or someone assisting me; however, I stumble once in awhile. I work fulltime. The downfall to all this is my self esteem is lower, and I feel alot different then my peers. I quit going to college because it got to be too much for me to handle going back to right away. I tried it, and it was painful not to understand the college class room anymore which I used to thrive in. I prefer the moving around in the work place more than the stress of the classroom which made me feel like I didn't belong because I no longer understood how those things went. I feel I made the right move, because I'll go back when I'm ready to.

As far a attitudes and relationships go, I am not as easy-going as I once was and things frustrate me more than I like. Also the person I was dating during my surgery dumped me when I came out because I'm not the same person. I have not met anyone who can accept me as a person who has a less privileged life than them, just because I've had it hard and they have not. I need a group to go to because I know no one who has experienced this like I have.

If there is any one out there with a similar story tell me. I wish I could been in Teen People magazine instead of all these other people because before this brain surgery I survived things beyond human standards. I survived when I was 9 and a school shingle hit my foot and I lost a toe and now have a limp for the rest of my life. After that came a car accident which left me with a scar on the left side of my head from the bottom of my hair line to the top of my head which combined with the brain surgery scar so underneath this head full of hair is a scar the shape of a Y in my head.

This may not be the end of my story but I tell ya if anyone can help me write a book or get on a talk show so be it. I want the world to see what a real horror show is like with out the gorgeous women and makeup artists. Any suggestions?