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Serious Surgery

May 17, 2022

Poked and prodded, Bruno rode a roller coaster of loud machines and sharp needles; woken up routinely through the night for tests and vital checks. 

Bruno spent a lot of time inside confined MRI and MRIV machines, unable to move for 20-30 minutes. The use of these magnetic imaging techniques was crucial to monitoring and studying the tumor both before and after surgery.

CBS29 news covers Bruno’s story on the air. Her “faith” bracelet is featured in the photograph. (Courtesy of the Ginny Strong Facebook page.)

“They were my time with God,” Bruno said,” I was not lonely in there because I felt Him with me.”

She prayed through most of her time in the machines and listened to worship music.

Bruno has become more of a spiritual person throughout the recovery process. Prior to her seizure, Bruno had been losing touch with her Christian faith.

“The thought that someone could perceive me as hateful, judgmental, or part of a specific political party all because of my faith made me really uncomfortable sharing my beliefs outwardly,” she said.

Family and friends visit Bruno on Jan. 18 before surgery outside the hospital. (Courtesy of the Ginny Strong Facebook page.)

Her faith, however, helped Bruno remain hopeful in the hospital, especially during times when she was alone and trying to comprehend her tumor.

Along with her renewed faith, Bruno’s friends and family helped her to stay strong.

Her mom became her one visitor and her father’s work at the hospital allowed him to pop by and check on her.

During the day Bruno’s mother, Kate, would help her call friends and navigate her phone, since her doctors prohibited screen time. 

Nights were the loneliest for her since her medication caused insomnia and neither of her parents was allowed to stay over. To pass the time, Bruno got to know the night shift nurses.

A week before her seizure, she committed to the JMU nursing program. Bruno has said that her experiences in the hospital only affirmed her choice.

While in the hospital, Bruno would announce her vitals when nurses came to check on her, monitoring herself just as much as they were.

Bruno surrounded by gifts sent to her by various friends and teachers while in the hospital. (Courtesy of the Ginny Strong Facebook page.)

Her nurses were her support system. Not only was Bruno able to confide in them, but also learn a bit about their tasks and what she would be doing as a nurse in the near future.

“I consider some of them to now be my closest friends,” Bruno said.

The night before her surgery was the worst of all. Worried that the next time she woke up she wouldn’t be able to speak or understand anybody, Bruno had an anxiety attack when the nurses came in to draw blood. Two of her favorite nurses rushed to her side, set up the movie Moana, and held her hands until she fell asleep. 

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