(MARYVILLE, Mo.)—After five years of tremors, ocular migraines, faint spells, and a laundry list of other symptoms, Melanie Grace knows what ails her and better yet, what can cure her. Grace is slated for brain surgery on December 10th, but it’s been a long road to get her operation date.
A mother of 3—Melanie Grace—prides herself on loving the outdoors and living an active lifestyle, but things slowly started to change five years ago.
“It was kind of out of nowhere,” Grace said “Over time, they [symptoms] got way worse and new ones started showing up; vision issues, blind spots, double vision, now i lose my balance when i walk around, and I get motion sick just walking,” she said.
In January, the Grace family went searching for answers. After series of tests, an MRI found a cyst, later to be categorized as a tumor, in the pineal gland of her brain. Her original neurologist almost didn’t tell her about the mass, because of the rarity and likelihood of being symptomatic.
After weeks of being denied further input about the growth possible being the cause of her issues, Grace went out to find help.
“It was so frustrating having all of these symptoms, the doctor acknowledging that something was causing those symptoms, but then saying it wasn’t from the tumor he just found in my brain,” Grace said.
Grace found a community on Facebook who like her had a brain growth but no help from the neurologist that discovered it.
“There are so many of us who have the same symptoms and the same brain growth, but doctors are telling us it’s not causing anything, but it has to, there are too many of us for it not to make since,” said Grace.
From the Facebook group, Grace found that there were only two doctors in the United States who would remove the growth in her brain. She reached out to Dr. Sunil J. Patel from the Medical University of South Carolina.
“Patel is going to save my life, I'm just glad that i found him because i'm getting worse,” Grace said.
“It's [the tumor] pretty deep, but the good news of course, is it's not inside any brain structure, and there are pathways to get to it,” Dr. Patel said.
Now, it’s paying for the surgery that weighs heavy on the Grace family. The surgery alone is $58,000.
“We also have to drive 18 hours away to South Carolina and stay there two weeks after the surgery for the follow up,” Grace said.
To help with costs, the Grace family has set up a GoFundMe account.
“When I lost my job because of my symptoms, I lost my insurance, and no one wants to offer a health plan for someone that needs brain surgery,” Grace said.
If you would like to help, click here.