In the spring of 2020, Sydney Flerudelys Newton was experiencing health challenges that called for an MRI of her brain. The test revealed an acoustic neuroma, which is a noncancerous brain tumor located on the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. With her wedding right around the corner, a team of UofL Health providers were ready to help Newton feel her best for the big day.
Upon diagnosis, Newton was referred to the multidisciplinary neuro-oncology team of Brian Williams, M.D., neurosurgeon, Jerry Lin, M.D., otolaryngologist and Allie Schaber, APRN, to provide Newton with the best possible comprehensive treatment plan. Newton chose to undergo surgery shortly after meeting with the team.
“Immediately, Dr. Williams put us all at ease,” Newton said.
Prior to surgery, Newton and her support system grew very close to her health care team. Her family and friends surprised Newton the day before her surgery with matching t-shirts worn by loved ones across the U.S. with posts of encouragement on social media.
Newton also wanted to bring cookies on the day of the big operation to say “thank you,” to her surgical team. When she picked up the cookies from the bakery, they said “good luck,” to which she and her full surgical team shared a good laugh about prior to surgery.
While any type of neurosurgery comes with risks, there are specific hazards associated with removing a tumor located on the brain’s balance nerve. Newton shared with her health care team that preserving her hearing was her biggest goal as she underwent surgery, and that she hoped to look and feel her best for her upcoming wedding.
With these goals in mind, her team got to work and successfully removed the tumor with minor damage to the balance nerve.
“It was so awesome to have a team cut up with me and make my stay enjoyable,” Newton said. “They constantly checked on me and loved on me. I was so worried about my hair, but I woke up post-surgery to my hair in a braid and out of the way. It was just amazing.”
After surgery, Newton struggled with walking, dizziness and fine motor skill movements. Her recovery process incorporated outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy. Just two and a half months after surgery, Newton successfully competed in a spartan race, where she celebrated her physical growth by completing a 5k run and muddy obstacle course.
Newton credits UofL Health for providing such positivity and progress in the time since her diagnosis. She went on to have a beautiful wedding and feels grateful for the care she received, the community she was able to build relationships with and the health care team members that went the extra mile to ensure she looked and felt amazing on her special day.
The UofL Health – Restorative Neuroscience and Neuro-Oncology team provide a 24-hour brain tumor referral policy to see any new or recurring brain tumor patients and scans within 24 hours of referral to put patients and their families at ease. To learn more about referring to our multidisciplinary team go to UofLHealth.org.