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"Keep on the Sunny Side"

"Keep on the Sunny Side"

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Levi Olson

Age Group (If you are a caregiver/family member please check Caregiver/Family Member)
Youth: 13 - 20 Years of age

Describe your art here - type of art, techniques and materials used, what your art represents and what it means to you.
I used my Samsung A10e phone to take this photo in my neighborhood.

This photo reminds me of the song “Keep on the Sunny Side” which has special meaning to me because my parents sung it to me around the time of my first brain surgery at age 5. I remember them singing to me at both the Ronald McDonald House as we waited for my surgery to happen and as I recovered in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Please include your age, tumor type and date of diagnosis (patients & survivors only) and let us know how art has impacted your life.
I am 14 years old and a two-time brain tumor survivor. At age 5, I was diagnosed with a large craniopharyngioma on 5/7/12. It was successfully removed through my nose (endoscopic endonasal approach) on 6/11/12 at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP). The tumor destroyed my pituitary gland so for the last 9 years I have been taking 4-5 different meds every day to compensate for the missing hormones. They allow me to live a normal life despite having adrenal insufficiency and diabetes insipidus.

In 2017 I was hospitalized at Dell Children’s Hospital of Austin with many challenging physical symptoms that caused me to miss most of the spring semester. I was eventually diagnosed with severe anxiety. With the help of my therapist and anxiety medications I was able to recover fairly well that year. Unfortunately, in the winter of 2018 strong physical symptoms returned including constant headaches and I missed months of school. After a terrible 6 months I entered a 3-week in-patient pediatric pain program at the Cleveland Clinic. That program helped me learn to manage my anxiety in ways that are still useful to me today.

In June 2019 a recurrence of the craniopharyngioma was discovered through my annual MRI. We again made the trip from my home in Austin, Texas to CHP and the tumor was removed on 7/12/19 by the same surgical team. We will always be grateful to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and medical staff who have taken care me over the years.

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