Tucson woman survives softball-sized brain tumor, cutting-edge surgery
Simone Del Rosario
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - When Jessica Valenzuela went to the ER, she thought they would tell her it was a migraine -- it's what she had heard for two years.
"I would get this sharp shooting pain from the back of my neck up over my right eye and it was to the beat of my heart," Valenzuela said.
She said her headaches got worse when she became pregnant, and later gave birth to twins.
Then they got in the way of her being a mom: She said she couldn't even look down at her boys to feed them.
So she went to University of Arizona Medical Center, where a brain scan told a story much different than migraines: It was a softball-sized tumor pushing against the right side of her brain.
Valenzuela broke down. "The first thing I thought was I won't be able to see my babies. What if I wasn't going to make it? What if I was left paralyzed?
"But then I thought, look at Gabby Giffords. If she got shot in the head and look how great she's doing, I'll be ok."
Valenzuela was in good hands. The day of her brain scan was the first day in Tucson for her neurosurgeon, Dr. Travis Dumont, who specializes in a cutting-edge technique never-before seen in Tucson.
Using a catheter, he was able to cut off the tumor's blood supply before surgery, meaning less blood loss and a quick recovery.
Valenzuela was walking within 24 hours and was ho me with her babies in her arms in two days.
"All these boys are the reason I fought so hard to get out of there so quick," Valenzuela said while holding her five-month-old twins.