The Road to Recovery

Kelli Ann Holloway, Writer

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July 2, 2018 was the day that senior Nenna Eke-Ukoh received the devastating news that she had a brain tumor invading the right side of her Cerebellum. The Cerebellum is responsible for coordination and the regulation of muscle activity. The effects it has on a person is very powerful emotionally and physically. Nenna went through a lot within her recovery and is still going through it today.

It all  started about a year and a half ago, when Nenna started getting terrible headaches that would last about five seconds. “It hurt bad enough that I had to drop what I was currently doing,” Nenna stated.  The headaches would occur several times throughout the day, when she would stand up from sitting, lying down, and even when she was bending down. In the mornings and throughout the day, Nenna would experience dry heaving.

Before July, Nenna had gone to the doctor to see why this was happening. The doctor told her that they were stress headaches and to add more sugar into her diet. The third time she visited the doctor, the doctor scheduled an MRI.

July 2 she went in for the MRI and when she came home the doctor called, telling them they needed to go to Primary Children’s Hospital immediately. The neurologist on call came in and gave them the news that Nenna had a brain tumor.

The first emotion Nenna felt was excitement because she actually had an explanation as to  why these awful headaches were occurring.

The brain tumor was benign, meaning that it wouldn’t spread and that surgery would be able to remove it and she would be tumor free. 

“I was in the hospital for six days, couldn’t walk and had terrible vision. I[I] Lost a lot of weight because I threw up everything that I ate,” stated Nenna as she was talking about what happened after the surgery.

When asked who her biggest supporter was through her recovery Nenna said her mom. Her mom  slept in the hospital everyday until Nenna was discharged. Nenna’s mom is a registered nurse so she took care of Nenna.

During her recovery she has to do occupational therapy for her vision and she is in physical therapy for her balance and coordination today. At the beginning of her physical therapy journey,  Nenna needed help walking, but by mid July she was already walking on her own.

I asked if what she had gone through made her look at life differently.

“It made me realize that we all take things for granted, there’s so much to appreciate about the gift of life God has given me. The aftermath of the surgery was a huge wake up call.”

Nenna’s word really moved me because it is one hundred percent true, we take things in the world for granted and when we don’t it’s usually because something had to happen to open our eyes. It’s sad that most people just aren’t naturally grateful for the gift of life.

Doing this interview showed me just how strong Nenna Eke-Ukoh is. She has conquered what feels like the impossible and is still improving in ways that just make her grow. I am very grateful and honored to have written about her and her amazing recovery.  


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