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Ill. woman has life-saving surgery at UW Health after doctor said her tumor was inoperable

Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 15:29:27-05

WISCONSIN — One Illinois woman was told her brain tumor was inoperable, and she would have to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. That was until UW Health got involved.

Sun Lim, 64, was diagnosed with grade 4 astrocytoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-growing brain tumor back in March.

Her local doctors told her the tumor was inoperable and said she would have to undergo rounds of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, Lim's oldest daughter, Angel Recht, was not satisfied with that treatment plan.

Recht did what many of us would probably do in this situation, and she searched the internet to see if there was another option.

“I searched the internet for ‘inoperable brain tumor’ and found a story about a patient treated by a Dr. Mustafa K. Baskaya,” Recht said.

After reading the article and learning more about Dr. Baskaya, a UW Health neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Lim and her family called UW Health.

They spoke with Letty Geanon, a UW Health nurse practitioner, who works with Baskaya and eventually face-timed with Baskaya.

Recht, Lim and her family decided that surgery was the best option and they wanted it to be done by Baskaya.

On March 31, Lim’s surgery was scheduled. Two days later, she was admitted and Baskaya performed a successful surgery on April 3.

While Lim's family couldn't be in the hospital room with Lim due to the coronavirus pandemic, UW Health professionals, specifically Geanon, worked hard to make sure Lim and her family were informed.

Geanon made phone calls, met with Lim's family outside the hospital, and helped Lim feel welcomed and safe with the pandemic raging around the Midwest, UW Health said in a press release.

UW Health said the primary concern during surgery, and why her original care team in Chicago thought the tumor was inoperable, was the risk to her motor skills and speech.

Now though, seven months later, Lim is doing well.

“Prognosis is better than without surgery, and we have given her the best chance to beat the odds,” Baskaya said. “She is not paralyzed and functionally 100 percent.”

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