BATES CITY, Mo. -- The words "brain tumor" bring to mind a poor quality of life and a very shortened life. But a 32-year-old Odessa woman is proof that's not always the case.
Amanda Hale was pregnant with her second child in 2007 when she suddenly had stroke-like symptoms including numbness and trouble speaking. Brain imaging showed a spot near her brain stem, but doctors thought it was a cyst. In 2011, Hale had symptoms again while pregnant with her fifth child. This time, she was told it was glioma, a brain tumor.
"In that moment you feel like that's it, I have no hope and that I'm gonna die, and that's not necessarily the case," said Hale.
To this day, she doesn't know for certain that her tumor is cancerous because surgery would be too risky. The tumor is slow-growing and has been stable recently. That's not to say it doesn't cause trouble. Hale has nausea and headaches, and says the worst effect is anxiety.
"Those weeks before you have that scan, the emotional intensity I should say just increases. It's just almost sickening," said Hale.
Her husband, Jason, says most of the time, you wouldn't know what Hale lives with.
"She's amazing. It's like she thrives off of being busy," he said.
The woman with the brain tumor is raising five kids and in May, she finished her master's degree in health administration from Avila University.
"You still have to live. It can't stop you. It's not gonna stop me," she said.
Hale says it's her calling to advocate for others with brain tumors.
"To be kind of a spokesman for that and to encourage, encourage them, too," she said.
It's why she'll have a team in the Head for the Cure 5K on Sunday at Corporate Woods in Overland Park. She'll be raising awareness of brain tumors and money for research to find a cure. For more on the event, go to http://www.headforthecure.org/metro-kc