Mary Beth's Editorial

Mary Beth's Editorial

Mary Beth Ricken was the senior editor for the student newspaper at Our Lady of the Pillar School when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Following is the editorial she wrote two weeks after her first surgery on 11/23/99 for the student newspaper, as its editor, to put into words her thoughts.  In keeping with her personal motto: "Life is short, laugh hard!", she picked the title of this editorial to show everyone that she still had her wonderful sense of humor. 

By Mary Beth Ricken

I would first off like to thank everyone at Pillar for everything you have done, not just for me, but for my family.  Your help has been completely overwhelming.  I can not thank you enough.

Before my surgery, it was thought that I only had a bad sinus infection in the sinuses in the back of my head.  I was feeling nauseous in the morning and having awful headaches in the back of my head that just would not go away.  I missed a day of school thinking I just needed some antibiotics and I would be fine.  The next day I woke up and could not walk.  My mom took me to the doctor who tried to make me do all these weird things like touch my nose, then his finger (that seems to be all of my doctors' favorite game) and walk in a straight line.  I flunked all my tests.

I was rushed to Children's Hospital where they gave me a cat-scan.  As soon as they started the machine, the operator pulled my mom out to tell her they had detected a growth, most likely a tumor, they said.  They then sent me to have an MRI.  For the MRI, I had to lie perfectly still on a huge machine and they pushed me into a long narrow tunnel where the machine takes pictures of my brain in layers in a complicated process.  This took 1+ hours.  

When it was over, I was told I'd be having surgery to remove a tumor, a little bigger than a golf ball, from my cerebellum.  Mrs. Rieke taught me, the cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination (no wonder I was having trouble walking).  Recovery from that surgery was slow.  I did not get out of bed for almost 4 days.  My second surgery, exactly 1 week later, to remove a peanut m&m sized tumor was much easier.  I got out of bed just hours after surgery.

I can not go back to school until I have some more tests and take time healing at home (probably two weeks).  I will start my radiation and chemotherapy sometime in December.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your continued prayers and support as I battle this cancerous tumor.

Mary Beth

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