Neurosurgery - Tracey Durrett’s Story
Life-changing Neurosurgery for Tracey DurrettThree weeks before her wedding, life seemed busy but normal for bride-to-be Tracey Durrett, as she juggled the demands of work and wedding planning. A migraine sufferer since childhood, 44-year-old Tracey had learned to cope with frequent, severe headaches, relying on over-the-counter medicines to see her through. But then – in the midst of ordering wedding flowers and figuring out guest seating – a headache struck that Tracey describes as "unbearable."
This time, the pain came with new, disturbing symptoms. "I started having vision problems and balance problems," she recalled. "My short-term memory was gone. The pain was so bad I couldn't sleep. I couldn't even function."
At the urging of her mother and fiancé, Tracy went to see an optometrist, who discovered that both of her optic nerves were swollen and bulging. The Santa Clara resident was promptly referred to Joseph Welsh, a PAMF neurosurgeon who recommended an MRI scan of her brain, which revealed something that shocked even her doctors.
A tumor the size of a fist was growing in the right frontal lobe of Tracey's brain. The good news was that it was not cancerous. The bad news was that Tracey would need surgery to remove it — and right away.
Six days to her wedding...but rather than cancelling the big day, she got married the day before the surgery in a small ceremony surrounded by 15 close friends and family members. 24 hours later she was in the hospital — hair cut short for the surgery. "I think it's probably the hardest thing we ever had to go through," said Tracey.
The surgery was a success and the effects were life-changing for Tracey, who had also been living with chronic pain from fibromyalgia. "Before my surgery, I needed seven or eight different medications to be able to function on a daily basis," she noted. Today her headaches are gone, she has regained all her motor skills, and her fibromyalgia flare-ups are milder and occur far less often.
"I do not think I could have gotten better care than I got at PAMF. Everybody at this clinic has been so supportive and friendly throughout my treatment, surgery and recovery. It made me confident that I would make it through this," said Tracey. "I no longer feel like I'm just surviving every day. I'm living every day, and I couldn't be happier."
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