Junior Briana Stout battles brain surgery – and wins

Haley Snell, Social Media Editor

“Live every day like it’s your last.” Most of us are familiar with this quote and probably think it’s cliché, but these are words that junior Briana Stout now has come to live by.

A few years ago, Briana began struggling with severe migraines and occasional seizures. She had been periodically seeing a neurologist because of this, and was told she was not allowed to drive until further notice, which is devastating when you’re 16.

Back in December, Briana was scheduled for a regular eye doctor appointment on a Thursday where they were able to see an immense amount of pressure behind her eyes and suspected something was up. Her eye doctor sent her to a retina specialist the next day, and when her neurologist got the results back, she immediately admitted her to UK Medical Center the following Monday.

The next day, the doctors at UK diagnosed Briana with a brain tumor called a tectal plate glioma. Not only that, but she was scheduled to go into surgery the next day to remove fluid off her brain that had the potential to be very dangerous.

“I was scared, but seeking Christ gave me a sense of peace going into surgery and I knew I was going to be okay,” Briana said. “I had tons of church members, family, and friends at the hospital to help me remain positive.”

Briana came out of her surgery okay, and to this date, the fluid has remained off her brain. While she is extremely thankful, multiple obstacles still loom.

The doctors do not know if her tumor is cancerous because it is inoperable and is unable to be biopsied without causing significant problems. The tumor is invading her thalamus which controls breathing and movement, and this explains why Briana currently has problems with balance, tingling of her fingertips, memory, and temperature regulation.

“I still struggle with fear,” Briana explained. “My tumor can turn cancerous at any time, or my surgery can fail, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Despite all of this, Briana has been cleared to return back to dancing, which is the sport she loves. There are still limitations, such as she can’t flip, tumble, or do certain dance moves, but she is grateful for the baby steps.

“The advice I would give everyone is to live every day like it’s your last because you never know what’s going to happen,” Briana said. “Your struggles can come out of nowhere and knock you off your feet.”

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor and unsure of the future has knocked Briana off her feet, but she has proved that herself, and anyone else, can overcome anything.