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In March 2002, Mary Bommarito was an elementary school teacher who taught both math and technology.
Driving home from a computer convention in Grand Rapids, she was hit by another car, and the accident resulted in significant neck and shoulder pain. But even after three months of physical therapy, she didn't see any relief. She also started having dizzy spells in the classroom, bad enough that she had to grab the desk to keep from falling.
"I had presented my case to different doctors, and they just wrote it off to working too hard. They told me to slow down. I decided to get a second opinion at Henry Ford."
Mary met with Dr. Gregory Krol, a Henry Ford internist, who performed an MRI and found a malignant glioma. She was referred to Dr. Mark Rosenblum and the team at the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, who scheduled her surgery to remove the tumor.
Following her initial surgery, Mary underwent radiation therapy and a second surgery. When she began to experience migraine-like headaches, the Henry Ford team directed her to several alternative treatments and to Gilda's Club in Royal Oak for additional support.
Today, her cancer is in remission and Mary relies on several alternative strategies - including massage, yoga, meditation, reflexology and Reiki - to manage her headaches.
Now she focuses on getting the most out of life.
"I thank the doctors and nurses at Henry Ford every day for being alive. After an experience like this, you begin realize what's really important. Life is something to be cherished. Now I watch what I eat, I exercise. I appreciate the blessing of being alive."