The official news site of Albemarle High School.

How It All Began

May 17, 2022

“Six minutes after posting our TikTok, the ambulances were on their way.”

Senior Ginny Bruno and her friend senior Carter Weaver were supposed to have a fun day of scary movies, sledding, and making TikToks together. Instead, at 6 pm Sunday, Jan. 16, Bruno began to seize on the floor. 

The girls were sprawled out on Weaver’s bed with a bag of barbeque chips between them, waiting for the neighborhood kids to abandon the sledding hill. 

“I was trying to respond to a text, but I could not read or understand what it said,” Bruno recalled. 

Weaver remembers being confused “What don’t you understand?” 

Bruno joked that she must be having matcha withdrawals, a drink she and Weaver share a love for. Bruno brushed off the small headache and weird confusion building up inside her. 

On her way back from a quick bathroom break, Weaver heard a scream and saw Bruno falling to the ground, seizing uncontrollably. 

“If you have never seen a seizure, it looks exactly like what they show in the movies,” Weaver said. “I was in a state of pure panic.”

I was in a state of pure panic.”

— Carter Weaver

Initially, she thought that Bruno was joking– the possibility of a real seizure was too much to comprehend. Quickly she realized it was no joke, and Weaver and her mother were on the floor cradling Bruno in their arms. 

“I was yelling for someone to call 911 until I realized my phone was in my hands,” Weaver remembers. 

Bruno came to consciousness twice before the ambulance arrived. The first time, she did not recognize anybody. 

“That was the most terrifying thing,” Weaver said,” How could I comfort her if she did not know who I was?”

The second time, Bruno was back to her regular self, clearly confused and exhausted but joking like normal. 

Bruno, laying in Mrs. Weaver’s lap, hugged her tightly. “I was scared,” she said,” I didn’t have my mom.”

Despite intense snow, the ambulance was able to rush Bruno to Martha Jefferson hospital in order to run some tests. 

She was taken directly to get a standard procedure MRI, not expecting anything major to be wrong since she began acting so normal again after the seizure. 

The results were a shock.

Bruno and her family learned that she had a brain tumor that had been growing for at least 10 years. 

The tumor is big, 3.3cm, about the size of a large grape. It is located on the left side of her brain, 2 inches up from the bottom of her skull. The tumor is a danger to Bruno’s ability to understand or speak, and, un-attended, a danger to Bruno’s life.

An MRI of Ginny Bruno’s Brain tumor at discovery. (the tumor is within the yellow circle) (Ginny Bruno)

“I don’t really think they knew how to tell us,” Bruno said. “I remember doctors came in and pulled up the scan. They had that look in their eyes.

I had that feeling when your chest sinks.”

Singing and music are a huge part of Bruno’s life. She is the drum major for marching band and sings and plays saxophone with the jazz band. She was already looking forward to the return of the jazz band’s annual Swing Into Spring concert at The Jefferson when she had her seizure.  

The threat to her ability to speak and sing was especially scary for Bruno. 

“Singing is everything to me.”

The tumor at discovery was stage one, meaning it had grown very slowly; however, doctors were unsure if it was cancerous. 

“Immediate surgery was really the only option,” Bruno said. “It was not possible for me to leave the hospital without having some kind of treatment.”

Bruno’s father made her a diagram, explaining what was going on in her brain by drawing out the location of the tumor. “I want to understand my own brain,” Bruno said, “it gives me peace to know exactly what’s going on.

It was a lot to process, but I don’t remember feeling scared or crying, it was more accepting reality and convincing myself that I could push through it.”

Since her father works there, Bruno and her family decided to transfer to the UVA hospital for the upcoming surgery. 

At first, the tumor looked like an easy removal that could be handled by a pediatric surgeon. Then an angiogram, a type of medical imaging, revealed more complications. 

Bruno had blood vessels traveling through the tumor. This made removing it without severe damage to existing brain tissue or uncontrolled bleeding much more difficult.

“It felt like the news just kept getting worse and worse.”

It felt like the news just kept getting worse and worse. ”

— Ginny Bruno

Bruno remembered being nervous about getting her blood drawn and getting weighed at the hospital, things, after being measured and monitored for months, she is now desensitized to. 

Along with everything else, she had turned 18 in December and was now classified as an adult. Covid restrictions allowed her only one visitor in her room at specific times, so she went through much of the process by herself. 

“I wanted a tattoo when I turned 18, but instead I signed the papers for brain surgery,” she said.

Leave a Comment

The Revolution • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All The Revolution Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published.