Twelve-year-old Brianna Smith of Tobyhanna, Pa, has a genetic condition that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. “Brianna has neurofibromatosis. It’s a big long word — and for a little girl, it’s a super-long word,” says neurosurgeon Atom Sarkar, MD.
“Brianna was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis shortly after she was born,” says Julie Quevedo, Brianna’s mother. “She was seeing the same pediatrician who took care of my brother, and they recommended we have Brianna tested for the gene.” Julie’s brother passed away in 2014 because of a brain tumor. After discovering Brianna’s first tumor three years ago, she has annual MRIs to monitor her health. “We just discovered Brianna has a brain tumor,” says Julie. The tumor is close to the part of her brain that controls movement, so Dr. Sarkar performed the surgery while Brianna awake. Proud of her musical prowess, Brianna played the ukulele to help Dr. Sarkar know how she was tolerating the surgery.
“Brianna loves Dr. Sarkar. She wasn’t scared or nervous. He was the reason she wasn’t afraid,” says Julie. Thanks to Dr. Sarkar, the pediatric oncology team has the information they need to treat her tumor.
“We know we’re getting amazing care at Geisinger, and we feel like we’re in the best hands possible,” says Julie. #GeisingerStories