An Artist is Able to Return to Work following Meningioma Surgery

Linda Rosen suffered from recurrent headaches and a seizure as a result of an olfactory groove meningioma. The care she received at Mount Sinai helped this working artist return to her career.

In 2002, Linda Rosen was a 52-year-old working mother and artist in good health, except for chronic headaches. After years of treatment, Linda's headaches were becoming worse. In May she experienced an olfactory aura — a condition in which an individual smells an odor that does not exist — followed by a period of confusion and amnesia. Except for the headaches, though, Linda continued to do well, until she noticed a decline in her sense of smell.

In November of that year, Linda became disoriented and suffered a seizure while driving to a local mall. Although she has no memory of the incident, she drove her car off the road into a cornfield and lost consciousness.

At the hospital emergency room, Linda had an MRI and CT scan, which revealed an olfactory groove meningioma measuring nearly five centimeters, with swelling in the right frontal lobe. Fortunately, the tumor had not affected her sight, nor did she sustain any significant injuries from her accident.

Linda and her family met with Joshua Bederson, MD, Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, who discussed the surgical procedure to remove the tumor, its risks, indications, and alternatives. On November 19, 2002, Dr. Bederson removed Linda's meningioma.

Surgery complex

The surgery involved making an incision over the top of Linda's head, behind the hairline, pulling the skin down over her face and gaining access to the tumor through a small window in the skull above the eyebrows. The tumor was attached to the floor of the cranial cavity, about two inches behind her brow.

After cutting off its vascular supply, Dr. Bederson removed as much of the tumor as he could from the inside, then removed the external capsule. He eventually cut the meningioma free from the brain and optic nerves and excised it completely.

Recovery comes quickly

Linda returned to Mount Sinai nine days later for her follow-up visit. Her incision had healed, and she was neurologically intact except for the continued loss of her sense of smell. She had returned to most of her preoperative activities and was gradually increasing her level of exercise.

During that visit, Dr. Bederson informed Linda that they had found another small meningioma during her preoperative work-up. He reassured her that they could follow the tumor through a series of MRIs. He discussed her treatment options, including stereotactic radiosurgery, should the tumor grow or symptoms arise.

Linda continued to follow up periodically with Dr. Bederson, as well as with her neurologist, for seizure medication management. For about six months after the surgery, she experienced moods swings, something that Dr. Bederson attributed to changes in the frontal lobes of her brain related to the large size of her tumor. Medical management was recommended, and gradually her moods stabilized.

Eight years later, Linda has not regained her sense of smell, as expected, but she can taste sweet, sour, salty and bitter. She continues to monitor her second, smaller meningioma, which hasn't changed significantly over the years.

Linda continues to create art, doing more sculpture now than painting. Although it's not clear whether her success with her art is related to her meningioma experience, she feels that her involvement in her art has deepened.

"I'm selling more, getting commissions, and having more shows," she said.

We can help

For evaluation and treatment of your meningioma, call The Mount Sinai Medical Center at 212-241-2377 to schedule an appointment.