Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 13, 2013

Fight for life moves to next stage

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A Pauls Valley woman is turning the fight of her life into a true group effort meant help out an even bigger cause.

Kelly Walter first found out a few years ago she has something most of us can’t even come close to understanding — a tumor in her brain.

Even with a recent turn for the worse now Walter, who recently turned 44 years old, is turning her energies toward not only getting more answers about her condition but organizing a team to take part in a 5K run and walk next month designed to help a much bigger group that focuses its attention on brain tumors.

It’s clearly a difficult and emotional thing for Walter to discuss the brain tumor she’s known about for more than six years now.

“Most people don’t know what this is like,” Kelly said during a sit-down chat in her Pauls Valley home that included more than a few tears.

“I have a hard time talking to anybody about this, even my family or anyone else that’s going through this,” she said.

“I was diagnosed in 2006 by a doctor right here in Pauls Valley.

“When I was diagnosed I was just in a fog. It’s hard to describe how I felt. It took me about one year before I was able to come to grips with what was happening.”

According to Kelly, the tumor is attached to her brain area right in the back, which “makes it impossible for it to ever be removed completely.”

In medical terms it’s called a Posterier Fossa Meningioma. Put simply, it’s at the brain stem — an area positioned at the back of her skull where the main arteries and blood vessels intersect. That’s the impossible part.

She got very little consolation when she was first told it was the “best kind of brain tumor in the worst possible location.”

Early on Walter traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to see a team of neurologists.

A year later she underwent what’s called Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, which did result in some shrinkage of the tumor.

At the same time she did experience some brain swelling resulting in some “very disturbing” side effects.

From there Walter underwent annual MRI exams to check on the tumor she now calls “the Beast.”

Along the way part of her daily life has included headaches and issues with her vision and balance, namely dizziness.

There looked to be a shining light of hope even up to a couple of years ago when an exam showed the tumor was stable and not growing any larger.

That outlook took a major dip down after her increasing side effects led to an early exam just a few weeks ago.

“My headaches increased and I had a lot of visual problems,” she said. “I felt something was not right and I needed it checked out.

“The MRI showed it had grown quite a bit over the last couple of years. Any shrinkage I had is now gone.”

None of this has slowed down Walter’s desire to fight on.

Kelly and her husband have three sons with two now grown and the other living with them in Pauls Valley.

They and a number of friends have formed a team affectionately called “Kelly’s Krew.”

This team will take part in a run and walk on Oct. 26 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area that benefits the American Brain Tumor Association.

To help with the effort Kelly is planning a couple of fundraisers here in Pauls Valley.

One is a bake sale set for Saturday, Sept. 21 in front of the local Walmart Supercenter store near Grant and Indian Meridian roads.

(Editor’s Note: More on Kelly Walter’s battle for life and the team’s fundraisers will be featured in the weekend edition of the PV Democrat.)