Justine’s Story – Brain Metastatic Melanoma

Justine’s Story – Brain Metastatic Melanoma


My name is Justine [Cogan] and I was diagnosed
with metastatic melanoma at the end of 2011. My symptoms were visual headaches because
of a tumor in my brain. I guess this is pretty typical of melanoma. It likes to spread to
the brain. I was already reeling from the news that I had cancer, so I was already kind
of surprised, but I in no way imagined I would ever have a brain tumor. That was totally
horrifying and I do have to say Dr. Kelly was so awesome in taking you down from the
heights of panic. He’s awesome. Dr. Kelly came in to remove a tumor that was in my occipital
lobe, so in order to preserve my vision, I ended up having a unique procedure done.
The challenge with Justine’s tumor is that it was surrounded by critical visual fibers
and so to reach the tumor safely, we used a technique that allowed us to go under the
occipital lobe and above the cerebellum to sneak essentially under the brain and to preserve
all the critical visual fibers and using an endoscope. We were able to remove the tumor
in a near complete fashion. I was so impressed by Dr. Kelly and by everyone
over at St. John’s. Not for a moment did I doubt them. Honestly, I think they were so
trustworthy and so smart and they had great senses of humor too, which was nice. They
just talk to you like a real person and they talk to you like this was a job that they
were familiar with and they could get that done and they would take care of you. It was
great. I had three surgeries right in a row and the brain surgery was by far the easiest.
I had a very quick recovery. I was out of the hospital and like three days.
She went on to have a focus radiation to that area and she’s been tumor free now for over
18 months. Oh, St. John’s was excellent. No question
about it. I mean, everyone there was terrific and I really have to say, especially the team
who handled us after the brain surgery, they were so attentive and nice and I think they
know that everybody’s freaking out. I think they know that everybody’s really scared and
it is different from another kind of surgery. I think they know that and they acknowledge
that and they’re really kind and patient and sweet to you about it. I am engaged to my
fiance Nathan and we’ve been engaged for about six months, I think, and we’re getting married
in two days and so we’re almost ready to go, I think.

2 Comments

  • Diane Brockington says:

    Dr. Kelly, everyone there–thank you for returning our daughter to us. C.S. Lewis had it right: A slow miracle is just as spectacular as a quick one. And St. John's works miracles. Thank you doesn't seem adequate, but it's what we're left with. Thank you.

  • Holly Hocks says:

    I want to hear about her more rather than advertising for a particular hospital. That’s the difference between these kind of videos between USA and UK

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