After Brain Surgery, A Mother's Motto: No Fear

February 20, 2018

Angela Castelli was running errands and having routine maintenance done on her car last winter when she got a phone call that upped the ante on her relationship with God. After a lengthy trail of doctors’ visits over the course of several years, the 32-year-old mom had just completed an MRI to determine the cause for blurred vision and pressure in her head.

She remembers breaking into a sweat when she heard the results. “Even though I wanted to know what was wrong, I never anticipated it would be a brain tumor.”

Within an hour of learning that she had a meningioma, a benign golf-ball-size tumor in the lining of the brain, she was scheduled to see Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD, a neurosurgeon at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.

Known by close friends and family for her circumspect ways, Castelli took a radically different approach to her health situation. Cohen-Gadol came highly recommended, not only by her neurologist, but a family friend whose father was a physician. Rather than weighing risks and studying her options with research, she put her faith in God, confident that she was in the right place at the right time.

Cohen-Gadol soothed all her fears in their first meeting. “I told him, ‘I have two little kids. Am I going to be okay?’” she says. “He literally rolled his chair up to me, held my hand and said, ‘You are going to be okay.’” That’s all she cared to know. From then on, Castelli says the whole process was smooth sailing.

Moving forward with faith

Two days before the surgery, she took a preemptive step as an affirmation of faith. Knowing her head would be shaved for surgery, Castelli trimmed 13 inches of hair and donated it to a good cause. When she came out of surgery on January 9, her vital signs were perfect. Four days later, she was playing with her children at home.

Castelli credits her swift recovery to lots of prayer, an expert surgeon and an amazing nursing staff at IU Health Methodist Hospital. “I was so fortunate because I only had to have surgery,” Castelli says. “Everything was a best-case scenario for me, which I’m so thankful for.”

Minus the complications of radiation and chemotherapy, Castelli was emboldened to start on a big dream—a retail business focused solely on clothes for little boys. A few months after Cohen-Gadol removed her brain tumor, she opened a Fishers store, Roman & Leo, named for her two boys, ages 2 and 4.

Castelli-family-photo

Castelli hopes her story encourages patients who face similar circumstances. “It was a scary thing to go through, but with all the research the hospital has done, and all the doctors they have, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom,” she says. “There are so many things they can do to find and treat brain tumors.”

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