CRSS Race for Hope profile: Shannon Sitcer (Runner, Brain Tumor Survivor)

“Later that afternoon I received a phone call from my doctor saying I needed to go to the emergency room right away. He informed me that I had a brain tumor – my reaction was to tell him to stop joking around with me.” Shannon with her family at home in Columbia-Greene County.

Meet Shannon Sitcer: 33 year old, healthy and active wife and mom of 4 kids; first year CRSS Race for Hope participant; and recent brain tumor patient.

Shannon’s story:  I never had any major health issues until I started having headaches about 2 years ago. It
started out as a constant headache but the pain was bearable and at that time had no other symptoms.  We found out I was pregnant in January 2011 and mysteriously my headaches went away.

Our 4th child was born in September 2011, enrolled in my first semester at SUNY Empire College and shortly after the headaches came back.  The headaches were constant and but there was also a different pain that would come and go. It was a pain that was unbearable for about 90 seconds each time and would put me in tears.  It was diagnosed as migraines/cluster headaches and I was being treated with medication for them.

In December, I was walking with the baby who was 2 months old strapped to me and noticed that my right arm and right leg was numb. Earlier that week I had a headache that actually made me sick and at times I would see black spots.  I decided it was time to make another appointment and look further into the headaches.

My appointment was Monday, December 5, 2012 with my primary doctor and he decided to send me for a CAT Scan the next day.  That following morning I dropped the kids off at school and brought the baby to my mother in law. I went to my appointment and it was after that our life changed.

Later that afternoon I received a phone call from my doctor saying I needed to go to the emergency room right away. He informed me that I had a brain tumor – my reaction was to tell him to stop joking around with me.  He went on to say this is serious and it was a big tumor.  At that point I decided I should probably take him seriously.  I called my husband and within an hour of the phone call we were on our way to St. Peter’s Emergency Room.

“I went back to work about 2 months after my surgery which I believe helped me mentally by not sitting around thinking about what could have happened and continued on with life.”

They admitted me and continued with tests. Shortly after being admitted I met with Dr. Scheid for the first time. He explained that the MRI showed the tumor was even bigger than the CAT Scan showed.  Dr. Scheid explained that the surgery they would be performing was an extremely high risk procedure.  Being where the tumor was, in the frontal lobe and continued a bit past the midline there was a slight possibility it was benign. But Dr. Scheid felt the surgery needed to be done whether it was cancer or not.

After the surgery we found out that the odds were beat and the tumor was benign.  I was in the ICU for 2 days and then moved to another floor where I stayed for two more days and released from the hospital in time to enjoy Christmas with my family and friends.

How has your life and your family’s changed since going through this experience?  Our life has changed a couple of different ways. I am now working instead of being a homemaker.  I went back to work about 2 months after my surgery which I believe helped me mentally by not sitting around thinking about what could have happened and continued on with life. Our children have come to realize that you never know what the day is going to bring and I feel we cherish each other more and try to help each other out and appreciate things that we take for granted every day.

What will the CRSS Race for Hope signify for you and your family?  The CRSS Race for Hope is our way of saying thank you and showing our gratitude to Dr.Edward Scheid and Alex Carangelo, PA for saving my life.

They gave me the chance to continue being a wife to my wonderful husband and to be a part of my children’s life and watch them grow up. I’m not sure any other surgeon would have considered doing the surgery but Dr. Scheid believed in his heart that everything was going to be ok. Had it not been for Capital Region Special Surgery, and Dr. Scheid being on call at the hospital, the outcome may have been very different.  Alex took care of me post-op along with Dr. Scheid.   They were there to answer all of my questions big and little and never made me feel silly for asking any of them.

I would also like to thank Dr. Sara Scheid, (wife of Dr. Edward Scheid) for taking me in as a patient post-op as I had some sinus issues after my surgery. She saw me immediately and worked along with Dr. Edward Scheid to make sure they came up with the right plan. I will be doing this race every year to help raise money so other patients can experience the outstanding care I received.

Is this your first 5k? This is my first 5k and I’m going to do my best – whether it is walking or running…I will finish!

What songs will you be playing to get you moving on race day? I’m not sure I will be listening to music but will be thinking of how lucky I am to be able to participate in this race!

You turn the last corner and the finish line is in view, the best reward you could find waiting for you is: Seeing the people in support of each other whether it’s someone going through a sickness now or in memory of loved ones.


About CRSS Race for Hope

Since 2009, the Capital Region Special Surgery Race for Hope events have raised over $200,000, of which all monies have been dedicated to fundraising, since overhead costs are underwritten by Capital Region Special Surgery. This year's 5K will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The major goal of the Capital Region Special Surgery – Race for Hope Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, is to make grants to not-for-profit organizations/programs serving uninsured and underinsured patients who are experiencing a financial hardship related to a brain, head, or neck cancer diagnosis in the Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington counties). Thus far, these proceeds have been allocated to the following local 501c3 organizations: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc. C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Ellis Hospital Foundation, Inc., Saratoga Hospital—Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center, and patient services at St. Peter’s Cancer Care Center.
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3 Responses to CRSS Race for Hope profile: Shannon Sitcer (Runner, Brain Tumor Survivor)

  1. Kelly says:

    A little over 8 years ago I was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiform… I was 24 and taking grad classes. It was also my first year in a new teaching position. I had been getting a lot of headaches for about a couple of weeks.. With some confusion. Doctors said it was stress..I got lost coming home from school, I couldn’t teach math because I couldn’t add in my head anymore. Then one night I. Came home from school and slept and couldn’t wake myself up just kept sleeping. My mother who’s a nurse knew that there was something really wrong and we went to ER and had Catscan that showed a very large tumor. Was sent to st peters immediately for emergency surgery to remove the tumor later to find it was a glioblastoma and given less then a year to survive. Has radiation and chemo and it grew back 3 months later and had another surgery. This time with radioactive seeds. At first it looked like the rumor was trying to come back again for the third time but something miraculous happened and slowly what we thought was the tumor coming back it went away… And it has stayed away now for over 8 years! God is god and faithful. I ran race for hope last year and plan to run and beat 25 minutes this year!

  2. Pingback: CRSS Race for Hope Profile Part 2: Meet Susan, Shannon Sitcer’s mom | CRSS Race for Hope

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