19-year-old Girl Sang Her Way Through Brain Surgery to Save Her Talent

19-year-old Girl Sang Her Way Through Brain Surgery to Save Her Talent

This 19-year-old girl sang her way through brain surgery to preserve her musical talents. Kira Iaconetti loves to sing and act but when an MRI showed a brain tumor, her passion was at risk. Kira was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called “musicogenic epilepsy”. Seizures are triggered by listening to music or singing. Clearly, Kira needed a miracle.

“It was like a light switch turned off in my brain,” she said in an interview with Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Suddenly, I was tone deaf, I couldn’t process the words in time with the music and I couldn’t sing.”

The only option was to perform an “awake craniotomy” in which Kira would be awake as the surgeon worked to remove the tumor.

“...the tumor was right inside the area of my brain that controls my hearing and singing ability,” Kira said. “Messing with it could permanently affect my voice, and because Dr. Hauptman knew how important it is to me to continue singing and acting, he wanted to be very careful when removing the tumor. He didn’t want to interfere with my ability to sing.”

In order to have the best chance of preserving her musical abilities, Kira was asked to sing while in surgery. If the doctors noticed a difference in her voice they knew to avoid that specific area.

“Her voice is so beautiful and her willingness to do something new helped make the whole process interactive, collaborative and exciting.” shared Dr. Shurtleff.

The surgery appears to have been a miraculous success and Kira was up playing guitar and singing while still in the hospital bed. It appears her episodes have been stopped and she is looking forward to using her God-given talents in the future!

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