Stanford Brain Tumor Center: Margie Paulsen's story

Author: Stanford Health Care

My name is Marjorie Paulsen. I am 63 years old and I'm a retired flight attendant. My first sign of trouble was I had tingling in my right arm and leg and then my hand took on a life of its own like the Thing in the Adams' Family and I attributed it to some damage in my neck. When I went in for my annual physical, I minimized symptoms because I didn't want him to think that I was a hypochondriac. But when it happened more frequently, then it got more of my attention. And then we went in to Stanford Emergency Room, then they ran all sorts of tests and they'd ruled out everything, they said, "We have one more test to do and it's a CT Scan and then you'll be out of here." So then they ran the test and they said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but we found a mass on your brain." And I think we were both shocked, in total disbelief because that was the last thing you would have thought of. It was so out of the realm of what my expectations were that I'm thinking, "This can't be happening." They called it an oligodendroglioma and they referred me to Dr. Height.

I felt that Dr. Height explained things very well, and he said, "We can do this. I'll get it all out." And so I felt very confident in my care that I was getting from Stanford. When I had surgery in 2003, they told me that it was a malignant tumor. Then they wanted to put me on an oral version of chemo called Temodar, and then I led my life and I was back to normal.

They kept monitoring it so they could definitely keep an eye on if it was growing or how much it was growing. And then in 2010, it was growing back so, Dr. Recht referred me to Dr. Harsh. And so Dr. Harsh decided that he would operate again.

I really felt confident in him and his skills. After, the second surgery, Dr. Harsh said to me that he felt like he had gotten everything. So now I'm on the three-month MRI schedule. In fact, I just had one last Friday and Dr. Recht couldn't see a thing on it.

Stanford Brain Tumor Center:  Margie Paulsen's story

In fact we're looking forward to going back to New Hampshire for the summer and so I can get my swims in and boating in and I just really look forward to that. I cannot say enough about the Stanford people. I always felt totally recognized as a human being and not just a number. And the care I've received has been outstanding. And I just always felt so confident in their abilities.

And they not only did it, with the skilled way but also in a very compassionate way. I'm very fortunate. Really fortunate.

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