Voting Ends 5/30/2024 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time

Approaching Totality

   Approaching Totality

250 votes

Name
Levi Olson

Brain Tumor Type
Craniopharyngioma

Date of Diagnosis
2012

Participant Group
Brain Tumor Survivor / 13 - 20 Years of age

Category
Photography/Digital Art

Artist Statement (include type of art, techniques & materials used, what it means to you)
I took this photo of the total solar eclipse in my home town Austin Texas. For this photo, I used my Samsung S23 and two pairs of eclipse glasses which I cut up and used to cover my camera lens. This took a lot of attempts to get but it was worth it for this once-in-a-lifetime photo. This picture means a lot to me because it represents how in life there are light moments and sometimes really dark moments, but at the end of the day, you will always return to the light.

Artist Bio: Tell Us Your Story
My name is Levi I am 17 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 10 years, I have been taking a multitude of 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 many months of missed 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. I will always be grateful to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and medical staff who have taken care of me over the years.


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