Stories about: Edward Smith

Determined to get back in the game

04 22 2014 Kyle Arieta ISeventeen-year-old Kyle Arieta lives for football, but as his mother is quick to note, football doesn’t define him. Instead, she points to a quiet determination that he’s learned from his years on the playing field. It’s an attitude of pushing through and moving beyond that’s served him well in the game, and which drove him to get back on his feet after the brain tumor.

When the southeastern Massachusetts native went to bed one night last May, he’d been having headaches off and on for a while. They weren’t all that bad, more like a mild cold that wouldn’t go away.

That next morning, though, it was clear that the headaches had been a sign of something more. Kyle awoke in head-splitting pain—and nearly blind.

By the end of the day, he was at Boston Children’s Hospital, where neurosurgeons performed emergency surgery to remove a tumor growing in his pituitary gland—a pea-sized part of the brain that acts like a control room for the body’s hormones.

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Our patients’ stories: Treating “all” of Courtney’s headaches

left to right: Alyssa Lebel MD, patient Courtney Macari, Victoria E. Karian, RN, MSN, CPNP, and Lori McDonald-Nolan, RN

School can be hard for any kid, but do you know what it’s like to be in class with really bad headaches that make you want to go home every day, or just not get out of bed? That was my life for some time, until Boston Children’s Hospital helped me get better.

My name is Courtney Macari, and I am 12 years old. When I was only five I had a traumatic brain injury. One day when the whole class was out in the playground, a boy ran into me, bouncing me into the playground slide. When I got up off the ground all of my friends told me that I had a huge bump on the left side of my face. I went to the teacher and told her what had happened, so she sent me to see the nurse. The nurse looked at me and then called my dad, Reggie, to take me to the hospital. At the emergency room the doctors told us that I had a concussion and sent me home. Hours later I had a terrible headache and severe vomiting, so we went back to the emergency room. On that second hospital trip my mom, Nancy, my dad and I were told the worst news—I had a bleed in my brain and needed to be taken in an ambulance to Boston Children’s.

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