Mother and daughter share unique bond after surgeries to remove brain tumours
A mother and daughter from Coxheath, N.S., who share a unique and terrifying bond are sharing their story with the hope that others won't miss the signs.
Both are brain tumour survivors and each had surgery lasting more than 20 hours.
Alyssa Rose is a typical 13-year-old girl, but she's been through a lot lately and she has the scar to prove it.
Less than three weeks ago, she underwent a twenty-hour surgery in Halifax to remove a tumour from her brain stem.
“It was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me,” Alyssa said. “I don't even really remember what went through my mind aside from, ‘am I going to be ok? Am I going to survive?’”
She did have someone close by to go to for guidance: her mother, Lynn.
Lynn had the same kind of tumour -- in nearly the same part of the brain -- 16 years ago.
She required 22 hours of surgery.
“I would have died,” Lynn said. “They told me that within a month or two, I would have died in my sleep.”
Lynn had been noticing symptoms for more than three years before finally being diagnosed.
She says she spent months on a wait list for a CT scan and had multiple doctors tell her she was OK.
“They told me I had thyroid problems,” Lynn says. “They told me I was imagining things. There was nothing wrong with me.”
The odds of a mother and daughter both battling similar brain tumours are no doubt pretty slim.
But they say it's created a bond between them that's probably just as rare.
“It made it a lot easier,” Alyssa says. “I could ask her about my surgery and what I thought was going to happen to me, if I thought I was going to be OK, (and) what problems could happen.”
Lynn says health problems are not something you want to pass on to your children.
“You don't want them to have the same stuff you had,” she says. “But, you know, it makes us a lot more ... a lot closer.”
Alyssa is finally set to return to school, three weeks to the day after her operation.
She and her mother are sharing their stories of survival with the hope of raising awareness and helping others recognize the signs.
“If you think something's wrong with you, ask your doctor,” Alyssa says. “Find out; see if there's actually anything wrong.”
Alyssa and Lynn Rose say doing so has given them an opportunity to be more grateful than ever for every moment spent together.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.