Oh my hair…….

Stephanie Boncheff

First post: Aug 10, 2022 Latest post: Apr 11, 2023
Welcome to Stephanie‘s story. This is a story detailing her ongoing medical journey, The journey that she will persevere. Steph is  strong, hopeful, and ready to fight her way through her medical battle. She calls this battle “ Defeating my Black Cloud.”

Besides adult onset asthma and migraines starting when she was a teenager, Steph was relatively healthy. However, in 2008 she was diagnosed with a meningioma ( brain tumor) that is benign ( non-cancerous) and her doctor decided to watch and wait. She was having MRIs periodically during the following years until the pandemic hit. With everything that came with the pandemic, she hadn’t had an MRI in two years . On  August 27, 2021 she was finally able to get a MRI of her brain. The tumor had grown and there was evidence of three acute/recent strokes and old infarcts. Needless to say, she went straight to the hospital. She was greeted by doctors and nurses who ran  test after test. During one of the tests they found what is called a “patent foramen ovale (PFO)” A PFO Is a hole in the heart that exists in everyone before birth but, most often closes shortly after being born. This was the cause of the strokes and was closed on August 30, 2021. She was sent her me August 31,2021 with a list of meds, needing to monitor her blood pressure, and wear a halter monitor ( monitors heart).

Due to everything steph had done to her in the hospital,
It triggered her asthma, or as she likes to call it “black lung.”Along with that, she had new onset high blood pressure, high heart rate, and increasing anxiety. Not only was she having to deal with these new symptoms, she had to get ready for three sessions of brain radation (October 2021) I’m for her meningioma. While all this was happening, unfortunately Stephanie’s mother had passed away.  She needed to be with family and support her youngest sister.Her husband Derek had also needed surgery during this time in which he ‘d already postponed. Stephanie was understandably overwhelmed. Thankfully she has a huge support system including friends, co-workers, and familyStephanie suffered a grand mal seizure. She was rushed to the hospital and multiple tests were  performed. They found that her meningioma had grown and there was new swelling which had caused the seizure. She was sent home  on more medication and now was unable to drive herself or work. With all the steroids she was on, she started to development a “moon face” and one of the worst cases of steroid induced myopathy This meant walking was very difficult for her, she needed medical assistance and a walker to get around.

June 2, 2022 she landed back in the hospital with pneumonia and a fungal infection. She also had developed type 2 diabetes due to all the steroid use for her lungs.  Stephanie is now having to check her blood sugar multiple times a day and is struggling seeing without glasses. Shortly after leaving the hospital,  July 1,2022 she was right back  due to shortness of breathe and difficulty swallowing. She was admitted emergently to the hospital on July 6,2022 with Epiglotitis, a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when tissue protecting the windpipe becomes inflamed caused by bacteria which needs medical attention. On top of this she also had Covid. Cultures came back from prior admission with aspergillus (fungal nodules) in her lung due to her immunocompromised state . Also abscesses formed on her legs and were biopsied showing Norcardia Farcinicia, a bacteria (acts like a fungus) that affects the lungs, brain, and skin. She was sent home after 5 days to care for these new wounds, complex diabetic regimen, and additional medication (on top of prior medications).

Stephanie was home for 24 days, working with physical and occupational therapy, regaining her leg strength, not falling constantly, or requiring the assistance of a walker as much. Steroids were tapered off, eventually stopped for 10 days and symptoms started to decrease. Then her her husband started to worry something’s was wrong  when she started having extrema tiredness, nausea, headaches speech difficulty, shaky /jittery  hands, mood changes, and visual deficits. He insisted she tell her neurosurgeon she called her neurosurgeon and was sent for a CAT scan of her brain. Doctors seen the results and sent her straight to the hospital. When she was admitted to the hospital on August 4, 2022. The results showed three areas in the brain of infection pockets and the meningioma had shifted to the right, with increased swelling, in which put her at extreme risk of seizures and strokes. The next day a craniotomy and removal of one of the superficial abscesses/ infections was sent for culture. Several antibiotics and a PICC line were started for long term home antibiotic use. She was discharged after 7 days (August 10, 2022). Due to these multiple infections the craniotomy to remove the meningioma has been postponed until the infections clear up. In the mean time, she needs to stay healthy and avoid further infections. We all hope the best, infections clear up soon so she can be able to receive the surgery she needs! We all love Steph and know that she will pull through.