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Monica Robins: "There's a lesson here: You don't know what anybody's dealing with"

As the 3News' Senior Health Correspondent prepares for her second brain tumor surgery, she opens up on how she's faring mentally this time around.

CLEVELAND — There's a lesson here that you don't know what anybody's dealing with. And a lot of people, you know, they're like you, "you have such a great attitude and you're handling this so well." And what they forget is that I'm in a business where it's my job. Never let you see me, sweat. 

I always knew that they didn't get all of the tumors. They essentially left me with four. So one was on my optic nerve. One is three millimeters from crushing my carotid artery. One's on the back of my left eye. And then this one in my eye socket, the problem was my symptoms can came back and I started feeling that I bulge a little more and everyone kept saying, 'but I can't tell, I can't see it.' Well, I can feel it. And I kept telling them something's not right. And finally, I called my doctor's nurse. 

I asked, "Do you think it's possible I had Graves Disease all along and you just happened to find a brain tumor too?"  And the nurse said, "you know what, let me run that by the doc." So that's when they ordered a CT scan. You know what? I'm so glad we did. So when I read the medical report, I knew exactly what I was dealing with and it was a kick in the gut. So for a few days, I was under the assumption that I was gonna have to go through that whole craniotomy again. And they were gonna, you know, cut my head back, open and go through the whole nonsense all over again. When I found out about this TONES procedure and that this procedure was available to me, my entire outlook changed. But at the same time, I realized, you know, this surgery could go anywhere from four to 15 hours and they really don't know what they're dealing with until they get in. 

So I have no idea what to expect when I wake up. I have no idea what I'm gonna look like when I wake up or when the swelling goes down, I'm anticipating I'm gonna wake up with an incision on my side, because they're gonna need my rib to rebuild my face. What's that gonna be like? There's so many unknowns with this. And granted, yes, there were unknowns with the other one, but I seemed better prepared for the other one. And I felt like I had more time to study. This one was just sort of deal with it. Yeah. Life throws curve balls all the time. You need to pick up the ball and whip it back at life and say, "uh, no, you're not gonna stop me. I'm gonna keep doing this."  I cannot worry about what might have happen or what I might look like. Again, I have no control over that. That's out of my hands. What I have control over is how I'm going to handle myself. When I look in the mirror and see what I'm dealing with, that's in my power. And I've, I have every intention of getting mad and figuring it out. But when I wake up and it's time to get moving, that's on me.  

You can watch an extended version of Monica's interview in the player below:

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