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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A teenager from China is eager to thank a Colorado doctor for successfully removing her brain tumor — and he did it without cutting open her skull.
Yue Yue Wang is healthy and happy just 6 weeks out of surgery. She’s a bright student, a talented pianist, and a very grateful young lady.
CBS4 health specialist Kathy Walsh paid a visit to Wang On Tuesday. She was practicing a Chopin waltz with skill and passion for what will be “thank you” notes for Dr. Kevin Lillehei.
At 14 years old Wang was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland, and she was having problems.
“Sometimes feel very tired, don’t want to walk,” she said.
Her doctors in China offered to operate.
“They can do the surgery but must open the head,” she said. “Yeah, that’s terrible.”
Wang’s family was worried the surgery would leave her disabled.
“Like cannot walk, and then cannot see very well, and then cannot take care of myself like that,” she said.
But Wang’s aunt from Aurora proposed an alternative. She called her former husband whose mother had a brain tumor.
“The tumor from Yue Yue was the exact same spot as my mom’s was,” Wang’s uncle Ralph Grills said.
Grills’ mother’s tumor was successfully removed through her nose.
“I believe she will be okay,” Wang’s aunt said.
Yue Yue had the same surgery in September at the University of Colorado Hospital with the same neurosurgeon — Dr. Lillehei. He has done about 1,200 of the transnasal operations.
“The tumor (is) gone — no more,” Wang said.
She said she’s feeling great. This month she’ll play piano at a gala honoring Lillehi. Thanks to him, she isn’t missing a beat.
The gala will be held Nov. 18 at the Marriott City Center. The money raised will go to brain tumor research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. To learn more, visit myfavoritenonprofit.com.