Laura's Story


Dr. Hadi Seikaly & patient Laura Dicristafaro

"When my brain tumour was diagnosed, vanity just went right out the window. I remember thinking, go ahead…shave my head…it doesn’t matter. Just let me live. If I could see, that would be a bonus…but please…just let me live.” Laura Dicristafaro

Early in 2008, 36 year old Laura Dicristafaro began experiencing some vision disturbances, which were diagnosed as ocular migraine (a visual side-effect of migraine headaches).

 Two years later, the vision in her left eye had deteriorated significantly and she returned to her optometrist. “I could tell he was alarmed - I wondered what he was seeing in there…and he didn’t really know himself,” Laura explains.

She was referred to an opthamologist but a concerned friend encouraged Laura to go to the emergency room right away.

After describing her symptoms to an emergency room doctor at the University of Alberta Hospital, she was examined and a CT scan was performed. The results indicated a life-threatening brain tumor behind her left eye.

“I pretty much resigned myself to losing sight in that eye,” Laura tells us. “Vanity just went right out the window. I remember thinking, go ahead…shave my head…it doesn’t matter…just let me live. If I could see, that would be a bonus…but please…just let me live.”

Laura met with Dr. Haidi Seikaly, Divisional Director of the Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Program, at the University of Alberta Hospital, who performed numerous tests, carefully mapping out the delicate surgical procedure. “The minute I met with Dr. Seikaly, I knew I was in good hands,” said Laura. “He explained every step of the surgery. I felt reassured. I knew I was going to be okay.”

The tumour was successfully removed and reconstructive surgery was performed on July 28th, 2010. “Everyone here took such good care of me…I couldn’t believe how quickly they got me back on my feet.” Laura tells us. “I have my sight back – which is a miracle and I am turning 40 next month. All of my friends are complaining about getting older…but not me. I am so grateful to be able to grow old.”

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