Brandon woman survives brain tumor - FOX 13 News

Brandon woman survives brain tumor

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"Oh, what's the words?," said Sheryl Crow to the audience at A Taste Of Pinellas recently when she forgot the words to her own song, "Soak Up The Sun."

"It's live!," she giggled.

What at first seemed like a humorous moment for Crow may have been the sign of a serious problem. 

Tuesday, she revealed she has a benign brain tumor, which was diagnosed back in November.

FOX 13's Stef DiPietrantonio had someone very close to him who is battling a very similar condition, and shared her story with us.

Stef's cousin Sherri Walston, who lives here in Tampa Bay, is recovering after having a brain tumor removed just a few weeks ago.

And unlike Sheryl Crow, she had no symptoms, until one day at the movies the pain was so intense, she thought her head was about to explode.

Walston is happy to be back to work running her pre-school, and thankfully, with no side effects following emergency brain surgery.

"I'm swollen right now," she said, pointing to the back of her head. "Right where the incision is."

She swept her hair to the side to reveal a nearly five-inch vertical incision, where neurosurgeons removed a tumor or meningioma, which had grown from the size of a Tic-Tac to that of a small lemon.

"The meningioma got bigger," said Walston. "It was three and a half ounces, and they had to take it out. It was putting pressure on my brain."   

"A meningioma is a tumor that arises in the central nervous system, so that could be in the lining of the brain, or the spinal cord. Some of the symptoms are going to be related to its size and location," said FOX13 medical reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco.

Doctors discovered Walston's meningioma 10 years ago, when she just happened to be getting tested for migraines. They told her it might never grow and probably wasn't related to her migraines. 

Well, it did grow, and if it had gone untreated a day or two later, doctors said she could have suffered a massive stroke.

Walston said she can barely remember the details of the movie she and her daughters saw at the theater that day. But what she says is still very clear, was the intense pain she felt, having to lay down and call her husband and tell him to come get her to take her to the emergency room as quickly as possible.

"I couldn't even see," Walston said. "It was that bad."

Walston went from the movies to brain surgery at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater in less than 48 hours.

She say she sympathizes with Sheryl Crow.

"I feel sorry for her, not knowing anything about it," she said.

Doctors will continue to monitor Sheryl Crow's tumor.

"If it grows quickly or if it grows in an area where they're concerned about risk to her or to her health, they may opt to either do surgery or use radiation to basically eliminate the tumor," Giovinco said.

For Walston, recovery has been slow.

"Yes, a little pain from the incision," she said. "And I am forgetting my words."

But this busy CEO is not letting that stop her.

"You're not supposed to be here are you?," we said to her smiling. She paused and smiled back. "They told me yesterday I had to take it easy," she said.

Walston has an MRI scheduled next week, so doctors can take another look to make sure the area is okay.  She will most likely get tested for the rest of her life. Doctors ran other tests, and her tumor, like Crow's, thankfully was benign.

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