Life After a Brain Tumor
One moment Wendy Young was at a spin class at her Miller Place gym, working up a sweat to the driving beat of the music. The next thing she remembered she was in an ambulance on her way to Mather Hospital.
“I passed out,” said the 50-year-old mother of two from Middle Island. “They said I had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. When I woke up, I was in the ambulance and they were getting ready give me an IV.”
A CT scan at Mather revealed a meningioma, a tumor, on the right side of her brain. Neurosurgeon Sumeer Sathi, MD removed the mass on March 30, Young’s 50th birthday. “I was released on April 6. It was amazing. They were absolutely great. I had no idea I had it. There was no history of brain tumors in the family. I’m doing great. I’m doing a lot of walking, three times a day around the neighborhood.”
Dr. Sathi recommended a course of treatment at Precision CyberKnife of New York to make sure all the tumor cells are gone. But Young said she is feeling well and is back to building her women’s wellness business.
“Wendy Young had a large complicated tumor in her brain with significant amount of brain swelling,” Dr. Sathi said. “Because of the tremendous amount of blood flow to the tumor we decrease the blood flow by doing embolization — which blocked off blood supply to the tumor — and were able to completely remove the tumor successfully. She is expected to have an excellent prognosis.”
Josephine Perraglia of Mastic also suffered a brain seizure, but it happened to her at work.
“I’m a school bus driver. Someone was looking out after me because I had just dropped off all the students at school,” said Perraglia, 59. “I was back at the bus yard when it happened. I didn’t even know I had a seizure. I was very confused. I was driving around the bus yard looking for a parking space and I just continued to drive around the yard until someone stopped me. They called an ambulance. For the most part I couldn’t remember much for 2 ½ days.”
Perraglia, a mother of three, was taken to a local hospital then transferred to Mather for a high resolution MRI, which found a mass in the right frontal part of her brain. Dr. Sathi performed the surgery on March 25. Perraglia, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment under the care of her oncologist, Gurmohan Syali, MD, of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in Setauket.
“Because of the high resolution imaging available at Mather, concern was raised that this mass was cancerous,” Dr. Sathi said. “Successful surgery with removal of the tumor confirmed that this mass was cancerous. With early diagnosis and treatment offered by the team approach at Mather, which combines neurosurgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology, she is expected to have a good prognosis.”
“I feel well,” Perraglia said. “I’m supposed to be re-evaluated in mid-September. For the moment I cannot drive. The nurses at Mather were wonderful. I was lucky enough to be placed in 3 North. All hospitals should be that way. The nurses went above and beyond. The last place you want to be is a hospital. To be in that wing I didn’t feel like I was in a hospital.”