(FOX 9) - Christina Anderson was 24 years old, engaged and three months away from her wedding day when doctors discovered a tumor in her brain that would require emergency brain surgery.
Christina had been feeling sick for months while she was planning her big day.
“I passed out, got super shaky, headaches, blurred vision,” she said. “It’s like on a merry-go-round that you can never get off.”
Her sickness got so bad that she landed in the emergency room one night in May. She ended up going to the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato for an MRI. That’s when Dr. Manish Sharma discovered a golf ball-sized benign tumor growing near her brain stem.
“A tumor that size in that part of the brain in that location with the symptoms surgery was essentially life-saving,” Dr. Sharma said.
They quickly scheduled a surgery to remove the tumor. A few days later she was getting prepped for a brain surgery that Dr. Sharma described as risky and in “the top five percent when it comes to skill and potential for complications.”
Christina said her fiancé Brandon was nervous but supportive.
“I guess I really didn’t have a choice, honestly. Because it was either I die, which obviously wasn’t an option, or I get the surgery and I stop spinning. So I didn’t have much time to analyze,” Christina said.
Before she went under the knife, she asked Dr. Sharma about her main concern: was he going to have to cut off all of her hair three months before her wedding day?
“She had a wedding to go to and she refused. She said she was not having her hair cut. So that was our first fight already,” Dr. Sharma said.
He managed to perform the surgery and take the tumor out while cutting the least amount of hair as possible. He said she immediately started recovering from the complicated surgery.
“She bounced back very quickly; I was surprised, actually. She left the hospital quicker than expected, and walking, and pretty determined to get better,” Dr. Sharma said.
Because Christina’s brain tumor was near her brain stem, which controls some basic functions of the body, doctors suggested she may need a walker to walk down the aisle on her wedding day.
“That wasn’t even an option for me, to use the walker for my wedding. It wasn’t even an option. I was going to get rid of that thing. One way or another it was going,” Christina said.
Through determination and Christina’s self-described stubbornness, she quickly got back up on her feet, working to get her strength back.
Christina’s brain will need to be monitored for the rest of her life to make sure the tumor does not grow back. However, she is in good health for her wedding day. She and Brandon are tying the knot on Saturday, August 10 in Fairmont, Minnesota.