Rare brain tumor changes teen`s life, career path - New York News

Rare brain tumor changes teen`s life, career path

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Imagine having a brain tumor the size of a baseball and then getting a second lease on life. A Chicago teen plans to make the most of that chance by pursuing a medical career that will allow her to help others.

17-year-old Jessica Michalec battled through headaches while taking high school honors classes, as well as college classes, only to find out the problem was a brain tumor. Now, she knows she wants to be someone who helps others.

"I think I first started noticing the headaches about a year ago," Michalec recalls.

Jessica Michalec missed a lot of school in that time, but had no idea what was causing her head to hurt.

"Migraines run on both sides of our family, mine and her dad's and with the blurred vision that's a symptom of migraines, so we just figured it was migraines," her mother, Lori Havelka, explains.

But on September 10th, Jessica's health took a turn for the worse.

"I woke up that morning and I felt sick and sort of dizzy," she says. "So, I called my mom and told her I didn't feel well and I was going to stay home from school and then she's like okay, you know what, it's time we take you to the emergency room and see if they can give you something stronger."

"We were in the emergency room, actually, where she went for the scan and she came back and the emergency room doctor came in and sat down and said we found something," her mother adds.

During a CT scan, Doctors at Advocate Children's Hospital found a giant tumor in the front right side of Jessica's head.

Doctors removed the entire tumor and sent Jessica home within a week. She hides a scar behind a headband while her hair grows back.

This Sunday, because of the hospital's partnership with the Bears, Jessica and her mom have tickets to the game and will get to take part in the 4th phase flag ceremony beforehand.

Lori marvels at her daughter's recover.

"The day after she came out of surgery anybody who passed her room would just stand there go 'wow, wow' because she was sitting in bed, awake, texting her friends the day after she had surgery," says Lori.

Now, Jessica has a focus for future.

"I had so many great nurses at the hospital I was at, that I decided that I want to become one, and most likely in pediatrics where I was," Jessica tells FOX 32.

The best news in all of this is Jessica's prognosis. Doctors removed the entire tumor which was benign and they don't believe it will come back. Jessica says she feels perfectly fine, except for a small problem with her vision -- and there are no more headaches.

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