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New Jersey Woman Sings Taylor Swift Hits While Awake During Brain Surgery: ‘Eras ​​Tour’ in Operating Room

A mom from Stanhope, New Jersey, has taken her love for Taylor Swift to a new level.

Selena Campione, 36, underwent brain surgery on January 31, 2024 – but it was no ordinary procedure.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Campione said she visited many doctors to treat some particular symptoms that started in March 2023.

This included tingling and numbness on the right side of his body, which developed into an inability to hold objects in his right hand.

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“I couldn’t use my right arm, the right side of my face was swelling and I had difficulty speaking,” she said.

“I’d almost be stuck.”

Selena Campione, right, and a fellow teacher, wear Taylor Swift-inspired T-shirts. (Hackensack Meridian Health)

Campione, a private school teacher, described how her symptoms “kept growing,” leading to problems walking.

“My right leg, I wouldn’t even feel it,” she said. “I wouldn’t have any feeling in my foot. Part of my skin would turn purple. I wouldn’t feel anything at all.”

The wife and mother sought help from various experts, including neurologists and MRI specialists, and endured several hospital stays. She said she was prescribed eight different medications.

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That was until she connected with Dr. Nitesh Patel, a neurosurgeon and co-director of the neurosurgical oncology program at Hackensack Meridian Health at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

In the same interview with Fox News Digital, Patel revealed his first encounter with Campione’s imagery, which led him to believe there was a larger problem.

campione, patel and a nurse

Campione is pictured on the left, with one of her nurses, as well as Dr. Patel on the far right. He said Hackensack Meridian has performed more awake brain surgeries than any other network in the state.

Patel announced to Campione that she had a low-grade glioma on the left side of her brain, explaining the problems on the right side of her body.

To remove the tumor, the neurosurgeon suggested an awake craniotomy, otherwise known as brain surgery, where the patient is not completely subjugated.

“I was scared to death,” Campione said in reaction to finding out she would be kept awake.

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“I couldn’t even believe it was a possibility. I didn’t even know you could have brain surgery and stay awake.”

Although the news frightened her, Campione recognized that she was not getting better.

champion family

Selena Campione has been married to her husband for 10 years. The couple have two daughters aged eight and six. (Hackensack Meridian Health)

“It was hard for me, but it was also hard for my family,” she said.

“My daughters are little. I missed my daughter’s birthday (because) I was in the hospital. I missed a ton of work. I missed my students.”

“I could see how sure he was that this was what I needed.”

She added: “I trusted Dr Patel’s judgment and could see how confident he was that this was what I needed.”

Why awake?

Campione was numb from the top of her head to her eyebrows and ears, Patel said, and then she was given light anesthesia.

Patel said keeping the patient awake during this procedure helps indicate to the surgeon what is safe to touch and what is not once the brain is exposed.

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“When we get to the surface of the brain, before we touch anything that could potentially cause permanent damage, we want to know what we’re getting into,” he said.

“It’s high-end real estate.”

Campione’s tumor is said to be “in the middle” of the parts of his brain involved in speech and motor function.

Campione brain screening

This projection shows Campione’s brain before (right) and after (left) his brain surgery. (Hackensack Meridian Health)

During awake craniotomies, Patel can test the limits of which areas of the brain can be safely altered by prompting the patient to stimulate the brain by speaking or, in Campione’s case, singing.

“She can talk, she can repeat things, tell us her name, etc.,” the doctor said. “And while we’re stimulating the brain, if she makes mistakes in those actions, we know that’s a critical area.”

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“We could do it in a boring way…or we can do it in a way that’s a little more exciting, and I’ve found that singing is particularly very helpful.”

Patel added that during speech, “the pitch and cadence of each word” varies, as does articulation, which is also captured in singing.

Surgical singing

Once Campione knew she would be singing during surgery, her young daughters “jumped at the chance” to have their mother sing Taylor Swift tunes.

“It’s what’s on at my house all the time, so I can probably sing all of his songs,” she said. “So, of course, I was ready to sing Taylor.”

Patel assured him that since he was a Taylor Swift listener himself, he “was going to take it back” if Campione “phrased something wrong or said a word the wrong way.”

He added: “Plus, it also tests her memory… She knows the words; she should be able to sing the songs. »

Campione admitted that all she remembered was “vaguely” hearing Swift’s song “Shake It Off” playing in the operating room.

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“I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t know anything was happening,” she said. “I didn’t even know my head was split open.”

She added: “I didn’t know I sang until I saw all these videos of me singing.”

champion in surgery

Campione said the nurses were “fantastic” and held his hand throughout the procedure. (Hackensack Meridian Health)

Patel remembers Campione singing along to other Swift songs, including “22,” “Bad Blood” and “You Need To Calm Down.”

“She basically did the Eras Tour for us,” he says with a laugh.

“I don’t want to downplay the complexity of everything involved in brain surgery,” he said. “But at the same time, I feel like the only way to really help patients get over the shock of any brain surgery is to have a touch of humor.”

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In addition to “keeping the mood light,” Patel mentioned the importance of patient preparation – of “knowing that the team there is ready to take care of them, that they are professionally competent and very good in his work,” he said. “But at the same time, we’re all human beings.”

graphic of Taylor Swift and Selena Campione

Taylor Swift is shown performing in Glendale, Arizona on March 12, 2023, center – and on either side, Selena Campione is shown undergoing brain surgery on January 31, 2024. (Hackensack Meridian Health; John Medina/Getty Images)

Campione said he feels “fantastic” since his surgery and has now reduced his medication series to just one.

“I’m doing great,” she said. “I feel pretty normal, which is fantastic, because I haven’t been able to say that for a long time now, and it was difficult.”

She also said, “I am so grateful to Dr. Patel, the rest of the neurological team and everyone at Jersey Shore Hospital.”

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Campione was unable to attend a concert on the Taylor Swift Eras tour due to her health.

She joked that if the pop star wanted to treat her family to tickets to the next US show, “that would be great.”

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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