For the long story: http://ritikamonster.blogspot.com/ Cliffs: After 4 years of misdiagnosis for chronic back pain, doctors "discovered" an 8 inch tumor in my spine. I had surgery on November 13 (lumbar laminectomy, L1-L4). Surgery went well... tumor turned out to be a benign myxopapillary ependymoma (an ependymoma is any sort of brain or spine tumor and myxopapillary means that it's located in my lower back). These are extremely rare tumors. I've looked everywhere/online support groups etc., but I can't find a single person who has experienced what I have. Apparently, the most experienced neurosurgeon in the country only does two of these surgeries per year. I'm not sure what the hell this is. Apparently, there's no known environmental or genetic cause for this type of tumor... so it's sort of out of the blue. The doctor was unable to remove the ensire tumor. Microscopic residual parts remain and there's a high likelihood that this beast will grow back and perhaps travel to my brain. I am considering radiation therapy. Radiation has it's drawbacks-- including infertility, early menopause, spine problems, etc. What gets me most is the infertility. I'm 19 and a college student, and I'm not sure whether I want to have kids. I'm not mature enough to make the decision. I don't want to eliminate myself from the gene pool. I've considered going to a fertility clinic, but it's so difficult for women to preserve their eggs. I keep getting advice from guys to go to a sperm back. It's about 20x more expensive for oocyte preservation and success rates are low. It's hard to freeze eggs since they have so much water. When this water crystalizes, genetic material may be destroyed. I meet with my first radiologist tomorrow morning. The second is at Stanford University Medical center, and I'll probably go with them since they have top tier equipment. Anyway, has anyone gone through this? Does anyone know anyone who has gone through bits and pieces of this? I'm so confused, and I want to know what people have experienced. I'm not sure where to post this, so it's going in multiple forums.