A Musician, Her Mother, and a Large Meningioma...
Neurosurgery Restores Woman’s Life
Simple tasks grew daunting. Confusion compounded decision-making. And anger replaced the compassionate person Margaret Valentine had been. When her symptoms persisted year after year, Margaret thought she was losing her mind.
Her doctors agreed, leaving Margaret’s daughter Kathy Valentine heartbroken.
“I am an only child and my mother raised me (in Austin) on her own,” Kathy says. “We are really close. When I became a musician she was all for it…so it was devastating to see her get to the point where she could get nothing done.”
As a young woman, Kathy moved to Los Angeles and became the bassist for the all-female rock band, the GoGos. She was living in L.A. when she first became concerned about her mother.
While investigating assisted living programs during the summer of 2008, Kathy took Margaret to a different doctor, who did a test that very clearly revealed the source of Margaret’s problems: a benign brain tumor called a meningioma occupied the frontal sections of Margaret’s brain. As the tumor expanded, Margaret’s sparkling personality faded. By the time it was diagnosed, the meningioma was the size of a grapefruit.
The physician suggested surgery, raising the family’s hopes to a new crescendo. But optimism darkened once again when the doctor ultimately concluded that surgery was too risky. Ultimately, she found Austin neurosurgeon Douglas “Kit” Fox, MD, who in October 2008, performed the eight-hour surgery at St. David’s Medical Center, removing 85 percent of the tumor.
“We didn’t know what to expect but when I walked into ICU the next morning, there was my mother eating pancakes with a big smile on her face. Everything is different now. Before surgery, my mother had dementia, delusions, and depression. Now it’s all good.”
Margaret now enjoys a functional and independent life, far removed from the person she had become before the surgery. Her next accomplishment will be to drive again making her restoration complete.
That is music to Kathy’s ears.