A seizure in 2019 was the first sign something was affecting Hope Anderson's brain function. Following a second seizure, the Southern Methodist University graduate student ended up at UT Southwestern where a 2-inch tumor in her right frontal lobe was discovered. Treating the low-grade glioma and helping Hope get her "wild and precious" life back on track would require the expertise, teamwork, advanced technology, and long-term support of our epilepsy and neurosurgery specialists at the O'Donnell Brain Institute. Watch her inspirational story above.
she refers to herself as a bookworm, ideal saturday is just me singing a big overstuffed armchair drinking coffee, reading and at first glance, you would never know that this bubbly S. M. U. Graduate student has brain cancer. I think something that cancer, but also life teaches you pretty quickly is that no one's got it all together. The fall of 2019 was life changing for Hope. Anderson, I'd had an unexpected seizure while I was out walking by my apartment one day but we didn't really connect the dots until my second seizure, which happened here on Smes campus while Hope was having a conversation in class with a friend and I noticed my vision going in and out and then I just wake up in a hospital. Doctors found a two inch tumor in hopes right frontal lobe, a low grade glioma, a rare diagnosis, especially for someone her age. I'm the only 24 year old in my friend group in my network who suddenly has to be thinking not about like finals or mid term exams, but about how I'm gonna survive and make it through the end of the year. Hope was recommended to seek treatment at the UT Southwestern O'donnell Brain Institute though her case is unique. It's not for her care team who sees some of the most complex neurological cases in the nation right away. I knew it was something that was headed towards surgery. I knew it was something that this was gonna be a long relationship. We'd have both in terms of managing the seizures, staying on top of our brain tumor. So getting the whole team involved right away was definitely the best thing to do for Pope underwent a six hour long craniotomy led by both doctors, Bradley Lage and Khalil Abdullah. We used a team of two surgeons, one of whom was an epilepsy surgeon and that's Doctor Lage and also myself as a brain tumor neurosurgeon to work together to make sure that we were providing both a removal of the tumor from an uncle Logic benefit and also from removing any areas which could be causing seizures. Once she was out of surgery, the long road to recovery began one important part of the rehabilitation process was finding the right medication plan to avoid future seizures. So dr Lage reached out to another epilepsy expert within the O'donnell Brain Institute. Initially the first medication was not working for her, she was having side effects. We started medication that was more suited for her since she is active. She is studying. So we needed to choose a medication that would not affect her ability to concentrate in classrooms and so far so good. So good. In fact that hope is back at school full time and working as the community outreach coordinator for the S. M. U. Human rights program and recently she picked back up a hobby. She loves running. She's currently training for a half marathon. I have a hope of living a really nice, decently sized lifetime and not really changing any of my major life plans because of that. She's also found refuge and companionship with other cancer survivors at UT Southwestern. I'm lucky enough to be part of a really special group of young people locally who also all have cancer. All of us in our twenties and thirties and something that we talk about a lot is the power of gratitude. Not taking anything for granted anymore. She dedicates all her new milestones and second chance of life to her exceptional O'Donnell Brain Institute doctors. I really think of the O'donnell Brain as a place where the patient is at the center of everything that we do. And it really allows us to use all of the tools and skills and technology that we have to provide patients with the best possible outcome. Working with hope, you can see all the things that she wants to accomplish. You know what a genuinely good person she is and she has so much potential to help people. And so you you feel like being able to help hope will then kind of get passed on to all these other people that she's going to touch in her life, there is no cure for her type of cancer and she'll have to monitor it for the remainder of her life. But the opportunities for hope Anderson are endless and she looks forward to taking full advantage of it. My favorite poet mary Oliver likes to say, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? And I think cancer has helped me understand the preciousness of the story I get to have.