A marketing director was forced to undergo brain surgery twice after doctors found another mass less than two years after she had a tumour removed.
Kelsey Parigian Taveira, now 33, first became unwell in January 2016 when she had a seizure and collapsed in a restaurant.
After being rushed to hospital, doctors found a lemon-sized tumour in her brain, which was removed three days later.
A biopsy showed Mrs Parigian Taveira, who is originally from LA, had a brain tumour called an oligodendroglioma. After 11 days in hospital, she was sent home with no further treatment.
To be on the safe side, doctors carried out MRI scans on Mrs Parigian Taveira every three months, which all came back ‘clear’.
In November 2017, however, a medic told her a tumour had returned. Mrs Parigian Taveira sought the advice of other experts, who all said the regrowth looked around two years old.
Mrs Parigian Taveira had the mass removed in January last year, with biopsies revealing it was a different form of cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma.
After also enduring chemo and radiotherapy, Mrs Parigian Taveira has been told she has ‘no evidence of the disease’ and fears her medical team were ‘not paying attention’.
Kelsey Parigian Taveira underwent brain surgery twice after her cancer returned less than two years after an initial tumour was removed. She is pictured on her wedding day in Portugal on September 2 2017 with her husband Phillip. She was told her cancer was back that November
Mrs Parigian Taveira was told to ‘go live her life’ after surgery to remove a oligodendroglioma brain tumour in January 2016. She was sent home after 11 days in hospital with no further treatment. Next time round, she endured surgery, radiotherapy and six months of chemo
The surgeon ‘used some of the incision from her first surgery, but had to cut a larger area in the back of her head’. Mrs Parigian Taveira’s scar is pictured after the second operation
Looking back, Mrs Parigian Taveira can ‘definitely’ remember warning signs something was wrong but never thought she may have a brain tumour.
‘When I was a student I had migraines frequently and anxiety attacks, to the point I went to the hospital thinking I was going to die,’ she said.
‘In my early twenties, the doctors always said I was stressed, that it was depression and anxiety, and they just wanted to give me every pill possible, but I never had an MRI.’
In 2016, Mrs Parigian Taveira was out with a friend in LA when she became dizzy and nauseous. She now lives in Portimao in Portugal with her husband Philip, 39.
‘I thought I was having a panic attack, so I got up to get some air and when I stood up, I collapsed and had a seizure in the middle of the restaurant,’ she said.
Mrs Parigian Taveira was rushed to hospital, where she had an MRI scan.
‘I had a tumour on the right side of my brain and they suggested I have surgery within three days,’ she said.
‘It was a grade two oligodendroglioma and it was the size of a large lemon.’
After the operation, Mrs Parigian Taveira was reportedly told no further treatment was required.
‘The surgeon was very confident,’ she said. ‘He told me everything had been removed so I could go live my life and I’d be alright.
‘From January 2016 until November 2017 I had regular oncology appointments and was continually told everything was fine.’
After being told she was ‘fine’ after her first surgery, Mrs Parigian Taveira had check-up scans every three months. She is pictured at one of the appointments. Her second bout of cancer went unnoticed for nearly two years, despite it being visible in ‘every single MRI’
Looking back, Mrs Parigian Taveira (pictured left with her husband) believes her headaches and anxiety attacks were a symptom of her brain cancer. She is pictured right after her first brain surgery, which removed a ‘lemon-sized’ tumour from the right side of her brain
Pictured ahead of her first brain surgery, Mrs Parigian Taveira stayed positive throughout
WHAT ARE OLIGODENDROGLIOMAS?
Oligodendrogliomas are a type of brain tumour that belongs to a group of tumours called gliomas.
The tumours make up between two and five per cent of all brain tumours, according to The Brain Tumour Charity.
They develop from the cells that make up the fatty covering of nerve cells and are most common in people aged 40 to 60.
Symptoms can include seizures, headaches, vertigo, nausea, vision problems or muscle weakness.
Brain Tumour Research, a UK-based charity, says radiation is one of the most well-known risk factors for brain tumours.
And it adds on its website: ‘No specific products or chemicals have been identified as being a direct cause of brain tumours.’
Cancer Research UK figures show there are around 11,500 brain tumours diagnosed across the home nations each year.
A scan on November 16, 2017 showed, however, Mrs Parigian Taveira had another tumour in the same area as the original mass.
‘The doctor came in with this look on his face that was different, so I asked what was wrong and he said I had tumour regrowth,’ she said.
‘I was shocked because I had been going in every three months for two years thinking everything was fine.
‘I couldn’t believe it. I felt the surgeon and oncologist weren’t paying attention.’
Mrs Parigian Taveira sought the opinion of other doctors, who reportedly told her she required surgery, on top of chemo and radiotherapy.
The medics also said her tumour had been regrowing for almost two years, she claims.
‘All these other doctors asked how they hadn’t seen the tumour growing’, Mrs Parigian Taveira said.
‘It can be seen growing in every single MRI I had.’
After going under the knife again, a biopsy revealed she had stage three anaplastic astrocytoma.
‘My neurosurgeon was able to use some of the incision from my first surgery, but she had to cut a larger area in the back of my head,’ Mrs Parigian Taveira said.
Mrs Parigian Taveira endured chemo from March to October 2018, on top of six weeks of radiotherapy.
‘I definitely should have had chemotherapy and radiation after the first surgery, but they didn’t treat me properly,’ she said.
After being treated for a second time, Mrs Parigian Taveira is showing no signs of the disease for now.
‘The oncologist I work with now is very confident and tells me I will be fine as I am on so many more treatments,’ she said.
Mrs Parigian Taveira is speaking out to give hope to other cancer patients.
‘I want to put it out there that there are people living well beyond what they’re told they have left’, she said.
Mrs Parigian Taveira is pictured preparing to go home after her second brain surgery
Pictured with her husband, Mrs Parigian Taveira’s doctor is reportedly ‘very confident’ she will survive the ordeal after having chemo and radiotherapy to treat the disease. The marketing director believes she ‘definitely should have had’ these treatments the first time round
Mrs Parigian Taveira is pictured having a face mask fitted ahead of her many MRI scans