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Denise Pirozek


In 2008, I was diagnosed with chordoma on the brain stem. I experienced a twinge in the back of my head every time I had a gut-wrenching laugh. The diagnosis was made through a CT scan and ultimately confirmed by an MRI. I underwent surgery and had MRI tests for 10 years following the procedure.

Now, 14 years later, I was feeling off-balance, and ended up being diagnosed with a recurrence. I had a second surgery, and the side effects were significantly worse than after the first surgery. After my second surgery, I also underwent 35 weeks of proton radiation. The doctors warned that complications could arise, but you never think it will happen to you. I could not swallow or talk normally. I had a feeding tube for 3 months, followed by swallowing therapy, and then speech therapy. My voice has still not returned to normal, and I have a paralyzed vocal cord.

Now, I can swallow and eat normally again. I receive vocal cord injections to strengthen my vocal cords, but I still have issues. I also experience dizziness when turning around quickly, a new issue since the first surgery. Additionally, one of my eyes is smaller than the other, which did not occur after the first surgery.

Through all of this, my family and friends have been very supportive of me. The prayers and encouragement from family and friends have been invaluable in helping me through this challenging time. I believe that finding support groups to discuss your feelings can be very helpful, and I would like to connect with others who may have experienced the same as me.

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