My name is Ebony Adams and I am an African-American and a 3-year survivor of a rare, malignant life-threatening brain tumor. I had something called cervicomedullary ependymoma. In late December 2007, I was having these very bad excruciatingly painful headaches. It felt like something was pulling or pushing something on my brain. The headaches were so bad that I can't even explain what the pain felt like. I also was having a lot of upper back pain.
That December I found myself going to the emergency room. Little did I know when I was admitted the following morning that it would be my last time walking or being around my children. My doctor at Uconn hospital, Dr. Patrick Senatus, came to me that night and I got the diagnosis that would forever change my life. He said, "Mrs. Adams, you have a tumor growing from the back of your brain onto your spinal cord." When he said that to me I was looking at him like, "Are you serious?" My heart paused for a long time. I took a long deep breath. What I felt was a sense of relief finally knowing what it was but nothing could prepare me for the answer to the question that I asked. I asked him was it life-threatening and he said it was. I cried like a baby. We had just lost my sister 10 months earlier. I wasn't so much afraid for myself. I was more afraid for my parents and my 2 kids.
I had 5 surgeries done to the back of my neck for them to remove the tumor from the back of my brain and then they had to take part of my spine out to unwrap the rest of the tumor which was as big as a lizard. Then they found that my brain began to leak fluid. It turned out that I also had a ventricular cyst that had also grew in my brain so they had to also put a shunt in my head.
I spent 3 months in Uconn under a medical coma and then I spent 3 months at a hospital for special care for rehab. I had to relearn how to walk, talk, feed myself and communicate because my illness took away my independence. I moved in with my mom and kids in 2008. I also started outpatient therapy at Easter Seals and in Februrary 2010 I was recognized as Easter Seals traumatic brain injury of the year. I think that it's very important to fight for this cause.
- Submitted by Ebony Adams