Redonda's Story

Fighting brain cancer, Redonda Marshall trusts her “A-team”

At first, it seemed like Redonda Marshall was having trouble with her eyes.

She was having vague reading difficulties, but an eye doctor couldn’t find the source of the problem.

Then, Redonda began having trouble remembering words. For example, she could picture the broad, silky flower with a darker center and a long yellow stamen. But she couldn’t remember its name — hibiscus. 

“I could see it in my mind, but the word wouldn’t come,” she said.

So, last August, she went to Boone Hospital Center for an MRI exam. There, doctors immediately saw what was behind these seemingly trivial symptoms. Just under Redonda’s skull, a five-centimeter tumor was pushing down upon her left parietal lobe, where language is processed. 

It was cancer, and an extremely rare form — hemangeopericytoma. Only a fraction of all brain cancers fall into this category.

“I was stunned,” said Redonda, of when she learned the devastating news.

But Redonda, who works as a nurse practitioner, knew she was in good hands. While the cancer was extremely rare, Boone Hospital had the perfect team of specialists needed for this fight.

“I knew I had the A-team,” she said. “I felt fortunate to be here. I felt like I could trust them.”

She was immediately admitted to Boone Hospital, where neurosurgeon Charles Bondurant, MD, began planning to remove the cancer. 

“We wanted to be aggressive as we possibly could, right from the start,” she said. “If I was ever going to do something, now was the time.”

The next day, Dr. Bondurant successfully removed the entire tumor. A few days later, Redonda was able to leave the hospital. Her sight and language problems were already gone.

Back home, Redonda said she was blessed with an outpouring of support from family and friends. Redonda, 54, is married and has a grown son and twin daughters attending college at the University of Missouri. She also has two grandkids. She said her family dropped everything to be by her side.

“Their outpouring of compassion and support has just carried me in so many ways,” she said. “I’ve been so comforted by them. In that way, I think I have actually prospered from this adversity.”

Because her cancer has a high rate of reoccurrence, she’ll have regular surveillance screenings for the rest of her life. 

But today, life is largely back to normal. She’s back to working and she can drive again. And little by little, her hair is coming back as well.

“I like to say I have a very nice crew cut,” she said with a laugh.

With her successful surgery and aggressive treatment plan, Redonda’s outlook is better than she ever hoped.

“I could not have asked for a better outcome,” she said.

Stewart Cancer Center
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