By Tyler Comer
Last season, Eller, junior, was one of the best players on the Trojan’s volleyball team, leading the team in kills and total attack attempts. However, at the conclusion of the season not all was well.
“After Thanksgiving, I started noticing my hair was thinning out, I was having three to four headaches a day that lasted for three to four hours at a time,” Eller said.
When the symptoms didn’t subside, Eller chose to see a doctor and was then referred to a neurologist who, after an MRI and other tests, diagnosed her with a benign brain tumor in the pituitary gland on her brain.
After receiving the news, Eller attempted to continue playing volleyball only to find that physical activity triggered the symptoms. She was then advised to refrain from those activities, including simple things such as running.
“Going through this process was devastating,” Eller said. “It’s always been easy for me as a Christian to praise God through the little storms that you go through, but I had never experienced anything like this. Volleyball has always defined who I am and has always been there as an outlet if I am stressed or upset,” Eller said.
Eller then began to focus her energy on ministry opportunities. She recently spoke at both a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event and a Student Athletic Advisor Committee meeting.
Eller has started to work out and practice with the team again. Her doctor allowed her to begin jogging again a month ago. While the symptoms remain, they have not been as severe as they were.
“That’s just the Lord’s blessing I guess. I had been praying about it, and I think that was just one of those things. An answer to prayer…no side effects from physical activity.”
At the end of December or in the early parts of 2013, Eller will return to the doctor for another MRI. This will be the big day, when doctors decide whether or not they must remove the tumor or let it be while continuing to monitor it. As long as it hasn’t grown, they don’t want to touch it.
“[The tumor] is not something you just want to remove. [Only] if you have to,” Eller said. The operation would be a “high risk” procedure because of the hormonal impact, among other things, that the pituitary gland helps control.
Regardless of the outcome of the MRI later this year, Eller insists that she will be playing volleyball her senior year, next fall.
“I definitely hope to be on the court next year, but I know that I have a greater purpose than just sports [at Trevecca],” Eller said.