Carrie Phillips, archives and special collections librarian, recently celebrated 15 years of healthy brain scans and triumph over a tumor that doctors had found accidentally.
Carrie began her senior year at Bluffton in 1998 with an MRI on which doctors expected to find a tumor on her pituitary gland. Instead, they discovered a 2.5-centimeter tumor on the left frontal lobe of her brain. "It was about the size of the end of my thumb, but it looked a lot bigger on film," she says.
Just before Thanksgiving that year, she underwent a craniotomy at the Cleveland Clinic. Had doctors waited longer to remove the tumor, it could have eventually caused problems like severe headaches or seizures, she says.
Doctors have still been unable to identify a growth in her pituitary gland, but that's because pituitary tumors are often microscopic, Carrie explains. "If it means popping a pill to regulate my symptoms, then I'm OK with that," she says.
Her running hobby was never threatened by the tumor or the pituitary mystery. Since her surgery, she has run in six half marathons, including the Columbus half marathon this October.
Carrie's most recent scan showed there has been no regrowth of her frontal lobe tumor. "I am so grateful for 15 years of good brain health," she says. "I threw a party with friends to celebrate and served healthy brain food."
Her menu for the party included pomegranate berries, sesame seed sticks, almonds and oatmeal, which was in the form of cookies to dip in dark chocolate (also good for the brain) fondue. "There may have also been a brain Jell-O mold on the table," she adds.