michelleAfter being hospitalized for COVID pneumonia in August 2021, Michelle Blake-Davis was home recuperating. Though her oxygen level was slowly improving, she began to notice a new symptom: dizziness. “If I gargled with mouthwash or turned my head quickly, I’d get lightheaded,” she says.

Michelle’s primary care physician felt it could be long-haul COVID, which has a wide range of symptoms. She went back to work picking and shipping product at Boston Scientific, but the constant movement brought on a lot of dizzy spells. Worried and scared, Michelle reached back out to her primary care doctor, who referred her to Dr. Michael Cohen, a head and neck surgeon at BMC.

“When I first met Dr. Cohen, he gave me a sense of confidence. He explained everything and reassured me that he would take good care of me. Dr. Cohen is a jovial person, just like me. I knew everything was going to be okay.”

An MRI of Michelle’s brain looked good, but Dr. Cohen saw what he thought was a tumor on the side of her neck. He ordered a CT scan to get a closer look. Sure enough, Michelle had a benign deep lobe parotid tumor that was smaller than a grape. He went over the options with Michelle, recommending surgery due to her young age and the risk the tumor would become cancerous. After talking it through with her “everything” — husband Justin and daughters, Nicola, Teneisha, and Fiona — Michelle chose surgery.

"Don’t be afraid. Get your family involved, ask your doctor what they recommend, and then go for it."

The surgery on June 14 went “perfectly,” and Michelle was discharged a day early on June 15. Though she is grateful to have accidentally found the tumor, Michelle still struggles with dizziness. But when she heads to BMC next week for further evaluation, this time she won’t be scared. “Everyone on Dr. Cohen’s team is awesome. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll find answers for what is causing this.”

Michelle’s advice for others facing a scary diagnosis like she did: “Don’t be afraid. Get your family involved, ask your doctor what they recommend, and then go for it. At the end of the day, the decision was mine, and I went with my faith. I knew that Dr. Cohen was trained for this, and that God was going to be there with him.”

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