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Once at risk for blindness, Kimberly looks forward to a bright future

Kimberly Colòn suffered from migraines for about six years and two years ago they became even more intense.

The 31-year-old Jacksonville resident tried not to let it impact her adventures, like skydiving, zip lining, whitewater rafting and hiking. But the pain was taking its toll and medication was not working.

Seeking an expert opinion, Kimberly went to Baptist Neurology where her neurologist, Youssef Nejjar, MD, ordered an MRI, revealing a brain mass. Without delay, she was referred to neurosurgeon Michael Petr, MD, PhD, who specializes in treating tumors of the brain and spine for Lyerly Neurosurgery at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville.

Kimberly had a large tumor, about the size of a small orange, growing between her optic nerves.

“Kimberly was at risk for blindness and even death,” Dr. Petr said. “She required surgery removing the front of her head and taking out the tumor from under her brain. This procedure was done by making an incision from ear to ear in the hair line without shaving her head.”

He added, “Cosmetically, she was as pretty post-op as she was pre-op. More importantly, she was tumor-free, with her vision preserved.”

“My recovery was quick,” said Kimberly. “I think it was really successful. Dr. Petr, the nurse practitioner and the Neuro ICU nurse told me to remain positive the whole time. They took really good care of me. I also had a good support system, including my fiancé, family and friends coming to visit me, and people from my church. I had a lot of people praying for me.”

She was back at her pharmacy account management job within less than two months and started planning for her next adventure – recently getting married. She also applied to graduate school to study epidemiology to research diseases because of her brain tumor and is now attending Florida International University in Miami.

“I want to help prevent other people from going through the same thing,” Kimberly said.