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Oct 19, 2020

Brain Surgery Brings New Outlook on Life

Kasey Culbreath fell and hit her head on concrete, and it was a blessing.

Kasey, 36, is the city attorney for Atoka, TN, and in 2018 slipped while inspecting a trench as part of her job. She suffered a concussion, and six weeks later, she noticed she still had daily headaches and was starting to see spots in her vision. Feeling sure it was just lingering effects from her concussion, she had an MRI just to be sure.

Within 15 minutes of having the scan, the doctor called her back to the office. It wasn’t the concussion; they’d found a large mass in her brain and suspected cancer. It turned out to be benign, but it did need to be removed. Kasey was referred to Dr. Chris Nickele, an endovascular neurosurgeon at Semmes Murphey Clinic.

“It was the scariest time of my life,” Kasey says. “But, Dr. Nickele’s bedside manner is second to none. The day we talked about scheduling my surgery, I left having all the confidence in the world. He was honest with me, explained the risks involved and how we would deal with them. I’m very Type A and used to telling everyone else what to do. It was great that I was able to put my trust in him during such a vulnerable time for me.”

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“I’d never had any real health problems before this, so it was all very new to me. He and his team really followed up with me and checked on me. It almost feels like Dr. Nickele became more like family to me. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true.”

Kasey is thrilled to be back to her normal life with her husband, two young daughters, and her job. “I’m lazier now, in a good way,” she says. “Having this tumor opened my eyes that what is really important in life is not what I had been treating as important. I’m fully present now; it changed my life in all the right ways.”

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