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Home > Our Patients > Val Gatlin: Good Things Happen When You're in Good Hands

Val Gatlin: Good Things Happen When You're in Good Hands

Gamma Knife surgery on her brain tumor gave Val the treatment she needed to survive.

Val Gatlin: Good Things Happen When You're in Good Hands

It all started with a little numbness on the left side of my face. Then my arms. Then, I was starting to feel dizzy a lot. I knew something wasn’t right so I went to see the doctor who thought it might be a mini stroke. I thought, oh no, not that. But it turned out to be something worse than a stroke. I never would have guessed it, but I had a brain tumor.

I felt so helpless. And in a way, “helpless” was more than just a feeling. I began to not be able to do the things I like to do. I love to travel. And I had to stop doing that. I love theater and I used to love to go to New York for Broadway shows. But having a brain tumor interrupted that, too.

The idea of having surgery for the brain tumor was disconcerting. But Dr. Sheehan told me about the Gamma Knife UVA has, which isn’t really a knife at all. It’s more like a concentration of radiation that works like a knife on tumors.

Radiation knife or not, I was still concerned about them doing this procedure. But knowing that UVA was one of the first places in the world to use a Gamma Knife and that they train others to use it helped ease my concerns.

So around the first of June 2009, I had the surgery done. And since then, the tumor has not only stopped growing, it has been reduced in size by 50%. There’s still a little numbness in my face, but now, the tumor isn’t keeping me from doing the things I want to do. I can travel. In fact, I recently went to Kenya for three weeks! And I’ve taken trips back to New York to see some more Broadway shows.

If you ask me, I think God worked through those doctors at UVA to help me get better. And my situation is an example of the good things that can happen when the right people are helping you.

Learn about brain tumor treatment at UVA.

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