Eva Hernandez

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Eva Hernandez – A brain under pressure

August 2013 started like most late summers for Eva Hernandez. The office manager of a West Dallas school, she was preparing teacher manuals, answering parents’ phone calls, and applying all the organizational elbow grease she could muster before school started.

Then she started noticing headaches in the front of her head.

When Eva Hernandez needed medical care to remove her brain tumor, she and her husband, Juan, were impressed with their experience at Methodist Dallas.

“By the last week of August, I couldn’t really concentrate on what I was doing, and I kept losing paperwork,” she says. “It kind of scared me.”

Eva called her husband, Juan, at work and said, “I need you to take me to the doctor.”

After a couple weeks of monitoring, Eva’s doctor sent her to Methodist Dallas Medical Center for a CT scan.

Tumor trouble

The CT scan found a benign brain tumor called a meningioma.

“Because these tumors are slow-growing, people don’t often have symptoms until the tumors have grown really large and started putting pressure on the brain,” says Michael Oh, MD, PhD, neurosurgeon with the Methodist Moody Brain and Spine Institute at Methodist Dallas. “At that point, tumors are a bit like real estate: Location is everything.”

Depending on a tumor’s place in the brain, it can cause vision or hearing loss, seizures, or weakened nerve responses. If the tumor is large enough, it can be fatal.

Eva’s tennis ball-sized tumor had to come out.

“I was so scared, but when Dr. Oh came in and showed me the tumor on a laptop and explained the procedure, I felt a lot better,” she says.

A better start to the school year

Dr. Oh and his colleague, neurosurgeon James Moody, MD, removed the tumor on Friday, Sept. 13, and Eva went home the following Tuesday.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be that fast and easy,” Eva says, adding with a huge smile that the nursing staff made her stay at Methodist Dallas wonderful. “They were always there for me.”

Within weeks, Eva felt great. This August when she started preparing for the new school year, she was focused, able to concentrate, and more organized than ever.

From the winter 2014 issue of Shine magazine.