SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – Former American Idol contestant Avalon Young is picking right up where she left off as she battles a brain tumor.
Young, a 26-year-old California native, recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor roughly to be the size of a peach. The Feb. 26 procedure at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center in La Jolla lasted about 16 hours and kept Young hospitalized for two days.
Young, who made it to the final eight on American Idol five years ago, said she didn’t know whether the risky surgery would cost her the ability to speak or otherwise cause paralysis.
Upon waking up, she recalls moving her fingers on both hands to be sure they still worked right.
“I told the doctor, I said, ‘Please, just anything that happens, please pray that my right side is going to work,'” she said. “Because being a guitar player and a singer and a writer, my right side is my most important.
“I woke up and it was pretty dark in my room, but I was breathing and talking and able to eat, and then I saw my mom there and I was like so stoked I wasn’t alone in there.”
Young told KSWB she knew she had an issue last summer when she starting feeling a twitch in her shoulder. After initially being told it was due to anxiety, her symptoms started to worsen and an MRI later revealed she had a lesion mass tumor on her left frontal lobe.
The surgery left Young with 29 staples on the left side of her head, which was shaved to accommodate the surgery. She expects they will be removed in a little more than a week.
Doctors were not able to remove the entire tumor, and Young may require future treatments. But for now, Young said she’s feeling well and trying to maintain her confidence level.
“I’m good. I’m young. I’m able to overcome all of these things,” she said. “If I need another procedure in four, five, six, 10 years in the future, then I’ll face it when I come to it. Right now, I’m so happy.”
She’s since returned to her guitar, saying the feeling of playing it came right back to her like muscle memory.
“I was worried about how my creativity would be, how so many things would be for me,” she said. “I was really naive. You get an operation on your brain and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m starting to feel like myself more every day.”
Young recently debuted a series of new hoodies amid her recovery that depict a version of her motto “humor in the tumor.” A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the American Brain Tumor Association in Chicago and the Department of Neural Sciences at UCSD.
They are available online at avalonyoung.bigcartel.com.