For meningioma patient Jenny Siminski, being diagnosed with a tumor was more than a matter of life and death: Hers wasn’t the only life at stake. Siminski and her husband were planning a life and a family together, and not even the shocking news she received dashed her dream of having a baby. Thanks to an early diagnosis and excellent care from her medical team at IU Health, Siminski and her husband got a new lease on life—and a new addition to their family.
An alarming discovery
After Siminski and her husband tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child, she went through infertility treatments. Believing her terrible headaches were symptoms of allergies, she went to her primary care physician, who referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor. After numerous unsuccessful treatments, the doctor ordered an MRI.
“It’s just amazing how much your brain can accommodate something like that,” Jenny said of the nearly baseball-sized meningioma the MRI revealed. Because the tumor was progesterone-positive, the hormones she received as part of her infertility treatment most likely helped feed the tumor.
Siminski underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor. After learning her tumor had a high rate of reoccurrence, and at the recommendation of her neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist at IU Health, she elected to undergo preventive proton therapy.
A wonderful experience
“It was literally a no-brainer,” said Siminski. She began her 38 proton therapy in May of 2009 and completed them in July. Her parents took her to the Bloomington, Ind. facility, which made things a little easier, but she still had side effects from the treatment.
“The final week or two of the treatments kicked my butt,” said Siminski. She also took anti-seizure medication, which she said was the toughest part of her treatment. But the staff at IU Health Proton Therapy Center, Siminski noted, were efficient and kind. “They had it down to a science,” she said of the center’s staff members. “I was in and out as soon as possible, and everyone was super nice. If you have to go through something like this [proton therapy treatment], it’s a good place to go.”
A happy ending
After recovering from surgery, proton therapy and medication, Siminski now has a more positive obligation in her life: being a stay at home mom. Josie Siminski is a sweet, quiet baby whose mother owes her existence to the treatment and attention she received at IU Health Proton Therapy Center.
Asked if other patients with similar tumors should consider proton therapy, Siminski’s answer was unequivocal: “Do it. I feel better than I have in four or five years, and I’m able to have a normal life. To take care of my daughter is the best outcome from that treatment—it was a means to an end. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t gone through it.”