Lauren Gross Lauren's Journey

First post: Mar 12, 2016 Latest post: Oct 30, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.  Thanks to my friend, Cindi (one of those awesome baseball moms I've been thankful to have in my life), for giving me this idea to update everyone with a Caring Bridge site!  Lauren was diagnosed on December 23, 2015 with a brain tumor (craniophrayngioma) after thinking her headaches and ear issues (swooshing in one ear and pain in the other) were due to ear wax. Along with the tumor she has papilladema, swelling of the optic nerves due to increased intracranial pressure. We are very thankful for the NP at Decatur Memorial Hospital's ENT department who sent us for all the testing and referrals to a neurologist who ordered the MRI that found the tumor. We went into the MRI thinking it was just routine to rule anything out so it was quite a surprise when they told us she needed a CT scan and we couldn't leave the hospital. I'll never forget that day as long as I live. 
I wouldn't recommend having a diagnosis so close to a major holiday as not many are in the office on Christmas Eve and it gives a lot of time for your mind to wander.  I spent hours on the Internet researching the "cancer" itself. While craniophrayngioma is not typically a malignant tumor it is still considered a cancer and carries a lot of issues of its own. This tumor is rare and usually found in kids ages 2-14 and older men. The tumor has cysts that accompany it that multiply and grow. The tumor itself, once removed, has a very high regrowth rate. They have found that if treated with a newer radiation called proton radiation therapy that regrowth rate becomes low which is fantastic.  However the location of the tumor and cysts carry probably the most risk as it is in the pituitary gland area. 
Lauren has been so strong through all of this. She has faced each visit like a champ and made friends with the nurses. She chats with the doctors like she's been in medical school and rarely complains. I am so thankful for the relationship she has with her brother, Connor, as I know having him to lean on has been a Godsend. The support we have gotten from friends and family has been unreal and so appreciated it brings tears to my eyes. I have the best coworkers around as they have put up with my tears and absences, all while providing much needed support - they rock!  Then there is my immediate family - no words. I cry thinking about how much you all mean to me. 
This journey has sure put a lot of things in perspective for me. To each of you reading this, thank you for being a part of it and helping us along the way. 

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