A mother's intuition is a powerful thing; even moms-to-be can sense when something isn't right with their unborn baby. And Jennifer Elkins Mizrahi's intuition was telling her that her son's panic attacks were something else entirely.
Before he even turned 13, Mizrahi's son Chasin began experiencing panic attacks. "I got this real crazy indescribable feeling... I would breathe in and get this weird sensation," Chasin said in a video that ran during Megyn Kelly's talk show. The attacks came every month in clusters of three.
Doctors prescribed weekly therapy where Chasin talked about "normal teenage things," but it did little to reduce the frequency of the episodes. "It would happen on the bus, I would get a call from the school nurse; it wasn't normal," Mizrahi said. Deep down, she suspected that anxiety wasn't the root cause of Chasin's panic attacks, so she consulted a friend, a neurologist, who called for an MRI. That's when the brain tumor, called a ganglioglioma, was discovered.
The diagnosis was a source of relief for mom and son. Chasin said he never really felt anxious, so knowing that the attacks were the result of a tumor pressing on his temporal lobe and not an anxiety disorder was comforting in a way. John Boockvar, MD, the vice chair of the department of neurosurgery at Lenox Hill in New York City and the surgeon who removed Chasin's tumor, told TODAY that the tumor was located in the brain's "anxiety center," which explains his monthly episodes.
Fortunately for Chasin and his mom, the tumor was non-cancerous. Chasin had surgery to remove it, and he's never felt better. “Since my surgery, even prior to it, perfect, 100 percent, not even anything,” he told Kelly. Since the operation, Chasin has returned to school, his friends, and the beloved camp he's attended for the last 13 years. He no longer attends therapy sessions.
As for Mom, she says it's important that mothers believe in their instincts. “Trust yourself and don’t stop until you feel you have the right answer,” she said.
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