Stephanie, 27, a wife and mother, started having headaches in November. By January they were excruciating. Her doctor, a second and third opinion all revealed the same thing: She had Glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor and 15 months to live.
“They told us, along with the previous neurosurgeon, that because of the area of brain it was in it was inoperable and nobody should touch it,” she recalled.
So, Stephanie started blogging and praying. Through a series of shares on social media, that blog soon ended up in the hands of Dr. Michael Sughrue, a neurosurgeon at OU Medicine.
“We’ve had a policy of just anywhere, anytime, we’ll take it on,” said Sughrue on Tuesday.
Sughrue emailed Stephanie and asked for her brain scans.
“If someone has an inoperable brain tumor, show me the films first. We’ll see if it’s really inoperable,” said Sughrue. “I expected something far worse given the description, when I saw this I was like, ‘Yea, this is pretty doable.’”
“Several surgeons had told us no,” said Stephanie. “So why is this surgeon in Oklahoma saying ‘yes’? It actually isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
But within days, Stephanie was in Oklahoma and at the Stephenson Cancer Center prepping for surgery. The tumor was on her brainstem. One mistake and she would never wake up. And Stephanie admits she was nervous.
But five minutes before she was to be rolled into the operating room, a simple sign let her know it would all be OK.
“He said he just needed to put the consent on my head, so he wrote the word ‘Yes’. That was really amazing, because all day and the day before I was just praying, ‘Lord, just give me a yes or no. I don’t care where you put it.’”
Sughrue says he was able to remove 85% to 90% of the tumor and since then Stephanie has undergone 29 days of radiation and 40 days of chemo. On Thursday, she’ll return home to Florida.
“Until proven otherwise, it’s cured,” said Sughrue.