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Selena Campione, a 36-year-old teacher and mother of two from New Jersey, experienced puzzling symptoms for almost a year before being recommended for brain surgery. Despite visiting numerous specialists and undergoing multiple tests, including nine MRIs, Campione’s condition continued to worsen. Finally, Dr. Nitesh Patel, a neurosurgical oncologist, identified a mass in her brain and recommended an awake craniotomy to remove it. This procedure allows surgeons to monitor critical brain functions, such as speech and movement, during surgery to ensure the safest removal of the tumor.

Campione’s tumor was located near areas that control speech and movement on the right side of her body. During the awake craniotomy, she sang Taylor Swift songs to help surgeons monitor her speech and cognitive functions. This unique approach allowed Patel to safely remove the tumor while ensuring that no critical brain functions were affected. Despite initial fears, Campione found comfort in singing and knowing that her daughters would have been singing along with her. The surgery was a success, and doctors were able to remove the benign tumor from her brain.

Following the surgery, Campione is now symptom-free and off nearly all medications she was previously taking. She is grateful for her care team and the success of the procedure. With routine checkups and monitoring, she is on track to return to her normal life and hopes to go back to work soon. Campione’s daughters found her operating room concert with Taylor Swift amusing, and she credits the music with helping her through the surgery. Overall, Campione’s experience with awake brain surgery was a success, and she is grateful for the care she received.

Dr. Patel explains that awake brain surgery allows for real-time monitoring of critical brain areas, ensuring the safest removal of tumors while preserving essential functions. He chose singing Taylor Swift songs as a method to monitor Campione’s speech, rhythm, and cognitive abilities during the procedure. With the support of her care team, Campione successfully underwent the surgery without feeling any pain. The surgery was captured on film, allowing Campione to share the experience with her daughters and reflect on the journey to recovery.

Campione’s recovery post-surgery has been remarkable, with her being symptom-free and off most medications since the procedure. She expresses gratitude for the care she received from her doctors and the positive outcome of the surgery. With the support of her family and medical team, she is optimistic about returning to her normal life and work routine. Awake craniotomy has allowed Campione to regain her health and well-being, showcasing the benefits of innovative surgical techniques in treating complex brain conditions. Overall, Campione’s journey highlights the importance of perseverance, resilience, and the advancements in medical technology that have made her recovery possible.

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