At the young age of 13, Kailen Adams of Chattanooga, Tennessee received news of the unthinkable from her doctor. She had a brain tumor. After researching her best options for treatment, Kailen’s family and her medical team chose doctors at Shriner’s Hospital in Atlanta to remove the tumor, returning her to a normal teenage life.
Fast-forward ten years later, Kailen enjoyed a happy marriage with two children, and worked as a 911 dispatcher in north Georgia, just south of Chattanooga. Life was moving along well until she began to experience dizziness in January 2017. Her condition continued to deteriorate, causing much concern for her family. Kailen visited a team of neurosurgeons in Chattanooga that discovered the unthinkable–another brain tumor.
Not wasting any time, Kailen was scheduled for surgery in Memphis, Tennessee to have the brain tumor removed. Although surgery was successful, Kailen still required intense rehabilitation to get her life back. Her family wanted Kailen to be close to home, so after carefully reviewing the options, they chose HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Chattanooga.
Kailen admitted to HealthSouth Chattanooga in May 2017. Upon her arrival, she had a trach tube, vocal cord paralysis and a feeding tube and she could not use her arms or legs. Kailen voiced her concerns through a communication board, but lacked the coordination to even effectively use it. Her personal rehabilitation team evaluated her needs right away and set out to develop a plan to get her independence back.
Following a rehabilitation plan of at least three hours of therapy day, five days a week, Kailen was challenged to give her best effort to move forward. Advanced technologies, experienced therapists and around-the-clock registered nurses who specialize in rehabilitation encouraged, motivated and cheered her on to reach her goals and set new ones to maintain momentum.
After 82 days at HealthSouth Chattanooga, Kailen was discharged home, walking out of the hospital with only a walker for assistance. Her trach was gone, she spoke clearly, and she enjoyed full, nutritious meals to keep her strong. Kailen’s mother was not surprised at her amazing progress, as when they had first arrived at the hospital, she learned that one of her elementary school friends was to be Kailen’s nurse supervisor, putting her immediately at ease.
Today, Kailen is living life as though no tumor ever existed. She is thankful for the medical teams who helped her get her life back, including her HealthSouth Chattanooga family. One of her most recent Facebook posts says it all.
“I’m no hero, but I work alongside a few.”