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This Woman’s Headaches Were Caused By Her “Evil Twin”?!?

posted: 04/24/15
by: TLC

And you thought you got bad headaches? This woman's incredible story will definitely put your pain in perspective. Yamini Karanam, an India-born PhD student, had moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, to study computer science, but she found herself unable to focus. She couldn't understand simple tasks, her sentences got mixed up, she had constant, unending headaches, and deep wells of fatigue, according to the Washington Post. All signs pointed to a terrible brain tumor.

Karanam went to a series of doctors who diagnosed her with a cyst. But the diagnosis did nothing to actually solve Karanam's problems. She was still dealing with tons of headaches -- headaches that would send flashes of pain through her entire body. The cyst began to grow, and doctors wanted to operate, thinking it was a pineal tumor, but they weren't prepared for what they found.

She flew out to Los Angeles and met with Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, who performed a radical "keyhole" brain surgery. But instead of the large tumor that they expected to find on her brain, Dr. Shahinian discovered that Karanam was actually suffering from a teratoma.

What's a teratoma? Brace yourself. It's a large clump of bone, hair and teeth. Essentially Karanam had been living with an unformed twin inside her head her entire life. Gross, right? Teratomas are basically twins that don't fully develop and are absorbed by the surviving body. Sometimes they're found externally, but they are just as often found within the body.

Karanam told told NBC 4 that she thought of the recently removed teratoma as an "evil twin sister who's been torturing me for the past 26 years."

Post-surgery, Karanam says she's feeling much better. She should make a full recovery in the next three weeks (though it might take us a little longer to get over the idea of her evil twin, to be honest).