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Woman suffers from tumors, asks for help

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POSTED: October 6, 2013 11:30 p.m.
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Hinesville resident Kathrine Patterson is trying to raise money to pay for lifesaving surgery to remove two brain tumors.

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Kathrine Patterson has been a fighter her whole life. The Hinesville resident grew up orphaned. She had six children and endured the loss of one. Today, Patterson, 42, still is fighting, but it’s to save her own life. She has two meningioma tumors growing on her brain.
A meningioma is a tumor that arises from a layer of tissue that covers the brain and spine, according to the University of California, Los Angeles’ neurology website. Meningiomas grow on the surface of the brain and push the brain away rather than growing from within it.
Usually, they grow very slowly and can become very large, Patterson said. In rare instances, the tumors can grow quickly and cause cancer-like problems. Patterson falls into the latter category.
She has a golf ball-sized tumor on her skull and another smaller tumor on her pituitary gland. Seizures, headaches and weakness keep her from the activities of daily life. Patterson can have 10 to 15 seizures in just one day, she said. Working a normal job is out of the question.
“These tumors are messing up my life,” she said. “I want to be able to go back to work … I am so tired of being disabled.”
The headaches started three years ago. She didn’t know what was wrong, but would get severe migraines every day for months. Patterson went for an MRI.
“When they first told me, I broke down crying,” she said. “I thought I was going to die immediately.”
Her doctor told her the tumor would grow very slowly, since most meningioma tumors do. But Patterson’s case is not normal. Within three years, one of the tumors has grown from the size of a dime to the size of a golf ball. The tumor on her pituitary gland is retaining more fluid as well.
“There is significant growth every time I get a scan done on my head,” she said. “This worries my doctors … if the tumors don’t come out, eventually, they will kill me.”
Radiation and chemotherapy will not shrink the tumors or eradicate them, Patterson said. Surgery is the only option.
The Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, Calif., could perform surgery to remove the tumors, but the procedure costs $64,000. Patterson is on Medicaid, which is not accepted by the institute.
She decided to reach out through Gofundme.com, a personal fundraising website that helps people share their stories and garner support. She also is building awareness through Hinesville’s Christian radio station, WGML 990 AM. The station runs a commercial about her every day and accepts donations to help Patterson raise enough money to pay for the surgery.
To save money, Patterson has cut back on her spending and even got rid of her cell phone.
“I am doing everything I can to raise this money,” she said. “All I have is my family and my church.”
Three of her children attend college out of state, and her oldest is deployed to Iraq for nine months. She also has three grandchildren.
Patterson belongs to the First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. To cope with her illness, she said she turns to her favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11.
“That verse is so important to me because I have had such a rough life,” she said. “That passage helps me know that sooner or later, I will see the good that God wants from me.”

 

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