Young woman survives brain hemorrhage caused by cancer treatment

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – If learning she had cancer wasn’t enough, a young woman in her prime was nearly killed by the drugs used to save her.

Ali Bello thinks being in the right place at the right time saved his life. She was 23 and living her dream – a new job, good friends and having a good time – until the unthinkable happened.

“I came home one night and realized I had this headache,” Ali said.

Ali was diagnosed with leukemia, and after a week of chemo, she developed severe headaches and vomiting.

A CT scan showed bleeding in his brain.

“I had just had my chemo treatment and had thrown up in one of the bedpans and felt terrible,” she said.

“It was because of his cancer and the chemotherapy drugs he was given to try to cure his cancer,” said his neurosurgeon, Babak Jahromi, MD of Northwestern Medicine.

Rescue drugs did not reduce the pressure.

“Because the bleeding was so heavy, things happened very, very quickly. She was slipping deeper into a coma to a point where she was close to death,” Jahromi said.

Ali nearly died twice that night. Jahromi said he performed skull flap surgery faster than he had ever done before, removing a large portion of his skull to make room for his brain to swell and hopefully , recover without further damage.

Ali had to relearn how to use the left side of her body, and after several weeks she was able to resume chemo. Today, two years later, Ali is cancer free.

“I think it would be great to get my life back and be able to do things on my own and get back to my running and my boxing and all those things that I love,” Ali said.

“From someone who was near death to now being able to do laps in a pool, despite his disability, it’s just a miracle,” Jahromi said.

Ali is still recovering from his brain hemorrhage. She takes occupational therapy and physiotherapy classes and works with a personal trainer three times a week, all with the eventual goal of coming back and living on her own.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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