Not everyone would laugh in the face of the kind of adversity facing Vanessa Pippenger. Five years ago when Vanessa was a student at IU, she suffered a seizure. An MRI revealed a walnut-sized, grade three malignant brain tumor. It’s not the diagnosis any healthy 21-year-old expects.
“I was diagnosed at 21. I was healthy. I ate well, I exercised, I did everything you’re supposed to do and I was diagnosed with this deadly disease,” said Pippenger.
“When my parents told me, I just said, ‘Is this going to kill me?' My father just said, ‘We’re going to do everything we can do.' I just said ‘Let’s go get Dr. Peppers,' because that’s the attitude I have and do to this day,” said Pippenger.
Brain surgery was followed by weeks of radiation and even more chemotherapy. Five years later, she has defied the odds. She lives in Broad Ripple and will soon become a certified massage therapist. But her fight against her brain tumor has come at a cost. She still gets easily fatigued and deals with memory loss that has put her dream of becoming an English teacher on hold.
Pippenger is certainly not the picture of your typical brain tumor patient. No patient is typical. Each and every one faces challenges like hers' in their own unique way.
“There’s no why to anything in the world,” said Vanessa, “it’s something that you’ll just never get an answer to.”
Vanessa will take part in the “Head for the Cure” event on Saturday, June 9 in Carmel’s West Park. You can get more information about the event online.
Broad Ripple woman beats brain tumor with humor's help
An MRI revealed a walnut-sized, grade three malignant brain tumor.
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