Colstrip teen undergoes emergency brain surgery at St. Vincent following discovery of large brain tumor

Local news coverage:

Billings Gazette

KULR 8 News

Q2 News

In late 2020 Kenzie Rogers, 17, of Colstrip started experiencing headaches and neck pain.

SVH Emergency Brain Surgery 1“They weren’t frequent enough to cause us to be too worried at that point,” said Cami Rogers, Kenzie’s mom. “But as time went on, her headaches started getting worse and more frequent. I took her to the doctor and they ran a bunch of tests, but the results didn’t show anything alarming.”

By February, the headaches had persisted and Kenzie’s balance was becoming impacted as well.

“I just felt out of it,” Kenzie recalled. “I was struggling at school and work. It got to the point where I could hardly walk without falling.”

That’s when Cami knew they couldn’t wait any longer and sought care for her daughter at St. Vincent Healthcare.

“It was clear that something was seriously wrong with her. She needed an MRI,” said Cami. “I heard St. Vincent was the best place for neurology care, so I loaded her up and brought her to Billings.” 

Kenzie was admitted to the St. Vincent Healthcare Emergency Department and diagnostic imaging scans (CT and MRI) soon revealed a hemangioblastoma, a noncancerous tumor that had formed in the lower part of her brain.

“The tumor was very large and at the base of her skull, which was causing pressure on her brainstem,” Cami explained.

The tumor had caused a blockage that was preventing the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the spinal cord and brain. This condition, called obstructive hydrocephalus, causes fluid buildup in the brain and can cause brain damage and lead to death. 

Kenzie’s condition was more serious than the Rogers’ had realized, prompting St. Vincent Neurosurgeon Dr. Stuart Goodman to perform an emergency craniotomy.

“I feel very lucky,” said Kenzie. “It’s kind of scary looking back and realizing how close I came to dying.”

“There are no words for how incredible the entire team was at St. Vincent. From the second we arrived in the emergency department to the moment we were discharged from the hospital after her surgery, I’m just so grateful. Kenzie has had a phenomenal recovery,” added Cami. “My message for other parents out there is to trust your gut and make sure you’re seeking the right care for your child.”

SAINTS 2021 to Benefit St. Vincent Neuroscience Center of Excellence

Funds raised through SAINTS 2021 will be dedicated to enhancing and expanding the neurosciences department at St. Vincent Healthcare. Whether someone is affected by headaches and back pain or has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or another neurological condition, the St. Vincent Neuroscience Center of Excellence is able to meet all their specialty care needs. Serving over 16,000 neurological patients each year, the team at St. Vincent is committed to customizing each patient’s care plan to give them peace of mind and support as they navigate their treatment and therapies. The Neuroscience Campaign, funded in part by SAINTS 2021, will support several clinic and program enhancements such as a remodel of the Neuroscience Center and construction of a state-of-the-art Multiple Sclerosis Infusion Center. Both projects will increase capacity, comfortability, access to care and technology.

SAINTS 2021 will be held outdoors at Camelot Ranch on Friday, July 30. The evening of celebration will include food, drinks, and live music. 

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