Angie's journey to brain surgery started with a slight ringing in her ears.
When the ringing started in 2018, Angie described it as a nuisance. She occasionally experienced a dizzy feeling while driving, but nothing she regarded as serious. She eventually visited her family doctor and then had a hearing test. As she was leaving her appointment with the ENT specialist, the physician said, "We could do an MRI, just to be sure."
Sure enough, the MRI revealed a tumor at the base of Angie's brain. At 47, the Lawrenceburg, Ind., resident was headed for brain surgery. Her doctors recommended Vincent DiNapoli, MD, PhD, of Mayfield Brain & Spine. Her tumor was a petroclival meningioma, an often-benign tumor that grows from the three-layer protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, called meninges. The location of Angie's tumor was especially complex, as it was pressing on the brainstem and displacing the cranial nerves responsible for swallowing, speech, facial movement, hearing, and balance. She underwent nearly 12 hours of surgery in May 2019 at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health.
"I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea the diagnosis was going to be so serious," Angie said. "Even after getting the news, the severity didn't register with me until I saw the MRI. I was scared, but I but kept trying to convince myself that everything was going to be fine."
"Angie has been an inspirational patient," Dr. DiNapoli said. "She faced this diagnosis with unwavering grace and positivity. This tumor threatened her life and ability to continue her active lifestyle. She exemplifies the patients who drive us to pursue excellence in surgical techniques in order to provide the best possible outcomes."
Angie hasn't experienced any loss of cognitive function. She did experience some challenges to her vocal cords that affected her voice for several months, but has recovered most of that function.
"Dr. DiNapoli was incredible," she said. "There was a calming confidence in the way he explained how he would approach the surgery and do whatever possible to minimize the risk. He made it easy to ask the hard questions because he was so personable. I truly believe God put him in our life at the right time. My husband and I never doubted Dr. DiNapoli's abilities after meeting with him the first time. I'm not sure how you can thank somebody who saved your life. He is amazing and will always hold a special place in my heart."
Hope Story Disclaimer -"Angie's story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.