Sixteen year old Nicholas Polo began experiencing a variety of unusual symptoms while training for high school football season. It started with relentless headaches that were not responding to over-the-counter pain medication. Soon, he was battling neck pain, nausea, vomiting, and double-vision. He and his father thought he was suffering from a herniated or bulging disc.
Initially, he was prescribed physical therapy, but it did not help relieve the pain or other symptoms. He then went to a neurologist who instantly knew something wasn’t quite right by looking into his eyes and seeing that he was having balance problems.
After undergoing an MRI, Nicholas was diagnosed with a pineal gland tumor of the brain and was referred to John A. Grant, M.D., F.A.C.S., attending pediatric neurosurgeon at NSPC and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Winthrop University Hospital.
“Dr Grant put our minds at ease,” says Nicholas’ father, Richard Polo. “When this happens, you want the best for your son. We were fortunate to be so close to Winthrop and close to the neurosurgeon instead of having to drive into the city.”
Dr. Grant performed the brain tumor surgery and stayed in close contact with Nicholas and his family throughout his treatment. Focused on his son’s recovery, Richard appreciated having the ability to call Dr. Grant directly when he had questions.
“I had Dr. Grant’s cell phone number, and he answered me back every time I called, says Richard. “It was something to have your son’s neurosurgeon on speed dial!”
Nicholas treatment was a success. To celebrate his recovery, he was given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a University of Central Florida baseball game. He threw a perfect strike!
“There’s a life lesson,” says Nicholas. “I just want to be like Dr. Grant and save peoples’ lives like him. My life has changed and I’m happy to be alive because of the stuff I went through. It’s a sign for my future.”