Marathon-running mom faces rare tumor with characteristic spunk

February 25, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Aimee Garrison of Kalamazoo stayed active during her second pregnancy, until she was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor.

In her third trimester, Aimee Garrison finally became convinced the soreness and tension across her shoulder blades and into her back had to be more than just part of being pregnant.

“I had been running and lifting weights all the way up to 26 weeks,” the marathoner from Kalamazoo says, “so I slowed down, but it didn’t get better. Soon I was having trouble sleeping and keeping up with my toddler.”

Eventually, an MRI revealed Aimee was one of the less than 2,000 adults each year who find out they have a spinal cord ependymoma. A tumor the size of a baby carrot had been slowly growing in Aimee’s spinal cord, pushing her spinal cord against her vertebrae.

“One challenging decision was whether to operate while Aimee was still pregnant or whether to wait for the delivery of the baby,” says U-M neurosurgeon Daniel Orringer, M.D.  “Operating while pregnant would put the fetus at risk of stress, exposure to toxic medications and possibly risk of death.”

Read Aimee’s full story, part of our Rare Disease Day series: http://umhealth.me/1T3WjHo.

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