Teacher returns home after risky operation

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:28 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grant Elementary School music teacher Melissa Guillotte returned to Columbia Thursday, a week after surgery for what turned out to be a malignant brain tumor. She has been recovering at home since her return.

Guillotte’s doctors told her she has a Grade III Astrocytoma, considered a moderate level brain tumor, which usually spreads to surrounding brain tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site.

“She made it through the surgery fine,” said Crystal Church, principal at Grant Elementary School. “They removed all that they could see, but because it is a Grade III, they think that there is possibly more cells there.”

Guillotte, 22, will undergo radiation and chemotherapy beginning in two to three weeks, Church said. But the music teacher is also planning to return to work next week, working around her treatment.

Only a handful of surgeons would take on this type of surgery, which is risky, Church said. One possible side effect is loss of movement on the right side of Guillotte’s body.

“She is experiencing some difficulty with the movement of her right arm, but is expected to fully recover with time,” Church said. “We are extremely optimistic and hopeful that the radiation and chemo will get rid of any of the possible remaining cells.”

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