Umatilla High Teen Dealing With Brain Tumor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Umatilla High Teen Dealing With Brain Tumor

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A Umatilla High School sophomore is back home after spending two weeks in a Portland hospital. A Umatilla High School sophomore is back home after spending two weeks in a Portland hospital.

POWER CITY, OR - A Umatilla High School sophomore is back home after spending two weeks in a Portland hospital.

Tieler Kuykendall is a handsome, talented and athletic 16-year-old boy. He's been playing football since Junior High and he's dealt with a nagging shoulder pain for the last few years. But the last time he had an MRI to get it check out, the diagnosis literally floored him.

"He has a brain tumor. It's like, you're looking at his shoulder! How do you know that," said Teiler's mom, Sheila Kuykendall.

"I went blank. My head. I just could not think. I went pale, apparently, and I passed out and fell off the examining table," said Tieler.

That was on February 18th. Four days later he was at Legacy Emmanuel Children's Hospital in Portland undergoing his first of three surgeries, totaling 18 hours under the knife to remove the softball-sized mass.

"He surprised me by how fast he recovered. I thought it make take longer since it is brain surgery. But nope. He went like that," said Tieler's little sister, Shantell Kuykendall.

"This thing broke me. It was hard to come back from, I'm still coming back from it," said Tieler.

The Kuykendall family returned home earlier this week and Tieler is adjusting. He deals with headaches, double vision and fatigue as he recovers with a mass of stitches in the back of his head.

"I have three or four passions. I got two or three of them taken away. That's football, weight lifting and going to school, pretty much. Writing was my other one. Writing's my last one I have. I didn't want to lose that. I didn't want to lose all of them," said Tieler.

"The what ifs, they eat you up. Now, we're just playing, like a waiting game. What is this going to show," asked Sheila.

"This thing could've killed me and I knew that, but I wasn't going to, I'm not going to let it. I said to myself, I'm not going to die," said Tieler.

Teiler's next appointment is on the 21st in Portland to find out whether the tumor was malignant or benign. Then the Kuykendalls will go from there. 

Tieler does have health insurance but his mom isn't sure yet how much of the hospital bills will be covered by it and that, of course, won't cover the travel expenses or the day-to-day bills while Tieler recovers.

Umatilla High School is planning some sort of fundraiser right now but if you would like to help now you can call the school at (541) 922-6525.
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