Back to Bowling from Brain Surgery

It was Christmas 2016, and 75 year old Judy Tosto, an avid bowler, was writing her Christmas cards. While writing them out, she began to notice her signature was sloppy, and that she was making multiple typos that needed white-out, but she shrugged it off. Small things like this kept happening, but it wasn’t until Judy was meeting with some friends for lunch that she knew something was seriously wrong. “They asked me how many people were sitting for lunch,” Judy recalls. “And I couldn’t say the number five.  I could think it, but I just couldn’t make myself say it. Could you even imagine what that’s like?”

Soon after that in February 2017, Judy met with her primary care doctor, who ordered her an MRI which showed a right sided meningioma. At her doctor’s urging, Judy and her son rushed to the Mount Sinai ER, where she had a repeat MRI that confirmed the tumor. Judy remembers that she felt cared for in the ER, and that everyone was extremely attentive. When she was referred to Dr. Yong, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System, she felt like she was in very good hands. Both her son and her daughter were able to easily access her doctors, including Dr. Yong, to ask any questions they had; a factor that Judy felt was an important contributor to her quality of care at Mount Sinai. Judy says the entire team at Mount Sinai was patient through the process, and that they assured her that she would be back to normal soon after her surgery.

In March 2017, Dr. Yong performed a bifrontal craniotomy, a surgery where he made a careful incision in the scalp behind the hairline, and then removed the bone behind it to target and remove the tumor. During Judy’s surgery, they removed a grade one right falcine meningioma, and discovered a second left falcine atypical meningioma hiding behind it, which was also removed. Though her surgery was somewhat complicated, the adept and skilled hands of Dr. Yong navigated her surgery without a hitch. “He has Golden Hands.” Judy says. During her physical rehab, she was asked what her goals were for recovery, and she stated that she wanted to be able to “bowl normally.” Her rehab team enthusiastically created a miniature bowling lane for her, with plastic pins and balls to throw, which made her recovery fun and personal, as well as remarkably fast. She’s now excited to report that in June 2017, she explored the national parks, has a vacation cruise scheduled for November 2017, and that her life is back to normal. “What I want people to know,” she says, “is that you can have a life after brain surgery. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Yong and the entire team at Mount Sinai for getting to where I am, and so quickly.” Best of all, she’s back to bowling with a high game score of 188 – which she’s very proud of.