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7/31/2016 Latest post:
My daughter Marina was a healthy, energetic and enthusiastic straight A student at BRHS. After graduating, her work ethic continued to grow as she maintained 3 jobs and was starting the 3rd year of coaching 3 dance teams, including her own competition dance team that she started. Marina was compelled to help others and adored working with children. At such a young age, Marina had an optimistic outlook on life and was filled with promise for a future filled with joy. She envisioned continuing to bring happiness to children through philanthropic endeavors, such as her work with Cook Children's Hospital in Texas and a promising career in early childhood development. Marina had her whole life ahead of her with everything to look forward to, until a debilitating and disastrous medical discovery devastated her and everyone in her life…
2 years ago doctors found a golf ball sized brain tumor on her 8th cranial nerve. Known as an Acoustic Neuroma (or Vestibular Schwannoma), the tumor affects balance, hearing, and facial function. In Marina's case, the tumor was so large that it was compressing her brain stem, which is extremely dangerous. Life has not been the same for our family ever since. The craniotomy to remove the brain tumor caused severe nerve damage and complete, permanent loss of hearing in the right ear. Marina suffers with pain every day. Many days, it is severe, leaving her incapacitated and seeking emergency medical attention. The severity of the trauma from the tumor and surgery to remove it has left her devastated, disillusioned and a shadow of the bright girl who was so filled with life. Marina is unable to work, dance or bring joy to children or herself. Marina was a highly active motivated person, always ready to tackle a challenge or obstacle for anyone….but now she is in trouble and in need of help. Relying on numerous strong medications to manage her pain and other medical conditions due to the surgery have sapped her from being able to function. Unfortunately, one of the harshest effects has been the development of acquired autonomic disorder. This affects her heart, blood pressure and other bodily functions. Days spent in doctors' offices, hospitals and emergency rooms have now become the norm and routine of this young girl’s life. The goal is to get through a day without pain, and eventually, without medication. The surgery she needs will decompress, remove scar tissue and sever nerves that were damaged during her 13 hour tumor resection surgery. Unfortunately, Insurance denied the surgery due to the newness of the procedure, even though many patients with similar symptoms have gotten much relief from this surgery. Currently, Marina is awaiting this procedure. She is also undergoing treatment and testing for the autonomic dysfunction as well as other issues and residual effects from the tumor.