Embracing Life After Brain Surgery – Kristopher’s Story

A Surprising Diagnosis

It was a normal day for Kristopher Dahir. He was out on his usual run when his legs felt strange, again. He had been experiencing unusual leg spasms for a while. “The symptoms began by me having seizures in my legs and so I was running or doing whatever and all of a sudden, my leg would just start twitching and start doing some crazy things,” he recalls.

Kristopher consulted his doctor, which led him to a neurologist. An MRI image of his brain was ordered to find out what was causing his unusual symptoms. The results revealed a brain tumor. With this challenging diagnosis, Kristopher wrestled not only with the decision of whether to remove the tumor, but also with the key choice of selecting a surgeon.

Although some friends urged him to go out of state for his brain surgery, Kristopher set up an appointment with local board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Demers, of Sierra Neurosurgery Group. During the office visit Kristopher asked, “What if I want to go somewhere else?” Dr. Demers told him, “If we get in there and there’s anything that does not look like something I know I can take care of we’ll just seal it back up, and we will help get you wherever we need to take you,” which put Kristopher at ease. Kristopher paused his duties as a Sparks City council member, ultimately deciding to trust the surgical skills of Dr. Demers and to stay in Northern Nevada for his complex brain tumor surgery.

In Expert Surgical Hands with Dr. Demers

“The most important thing in the doctor-patient relationship is trying to be honest with patients about what problems they’re having, about what the risks are of doing surgery,” says Dr. Demers. “If that’s something that I would recommend, but also what the risks are sometimes of not doing surgery.”

Every brain surgery is significant, and this was an intricate one. “Because this tumor involved the edge of the superior sagittal sinus that large draining vein, there was definitely a possibility that removing this tumor could take his life because of bleeding from this vein or from what we call an air embolism actually having air sucked into that sinus,” recalls Dr. Demers.

The option of not having surgery was not a reasonable one explains Dr. Demers, “If he didn’t have surgery we knew that we might be able to control he seizure symptoms with medications, but if he’s already presenting to me with weakness because that tumor is putting pressure on that motor strip then waiting to do surgery means that the tumor would have had an opportunity to get larger and when those tumors get larger they put more pressure on the brain and possibly cause irreversible damage to the brain.”

A Serious, but Hopeful Brain Surgery

Kristopher faced the surgery with a determination deeply rooted in his faith. The uncertainty of the brain surgery weighed heavily on him. “The week coming up to the night before (surgery) I sat and wrote letters to my kids and my wife saying goodbye,” he says. “The list of the potential problems that could come were very real. I believe I get to live a life of what it means to have hope and faith and all those things and so we really live his out in front of everybody.”

Implications of the surgery’s outcome also affected his wife, Melissa, “It was very scary; it was very disconcerting. My faith is strong and so I rely a lot on prayer,” she shares. “It also helped me just to focus on what a gift it is to have had this much time with this person that I love so much and if this is all that I could have… it was worth it,” she emotionally adds.

Clyde and the Community

To bring some humor into such an uncertain situation they named the brain tumor Clyde. Fortunately, after surgery, Kristopher retained his mental and motor functions, and they found out the brain tumor was not cancerous. Then the full focus turned to Kristopher’s recovery including physical therapy to restore the mind and muscle link.  “We like to look at our lives as a as a story. It’s been an adventure,” says Kristopher.

Because they chose to stay at home, during this challenging time Kristopher and Melissa felt the support of their friends, family, and community. “Being able to have those loved ones around to support us, and to be there at the hospital, and to say, ‘Are you okay?’ and ‘Can I bring you some food?’ that meant a whole lot,” says Melissa.
“And then even for recovery as soon as we were able to come home to just know that we could be here in our own surroundings with our support group network of humans to be there with us, I think that was really helpful,” she remembers.

Being close to loved ones gave Kristopher a strong support system, helping both his emotional and physical recovery. The convenience of local care also eliminated the stress and logistical challenges of long-distance travel, allowing him to focus on his healing journey in a familiar and comforting environment.

Getter Stronger Every Day

“Probably one of the most frustrating things for anybody who walks through something like this is that the things that you know you can do – you just can’t do them,” states Kristopher. As the months have passed, he feels an improvement in his energy and is resuming his pre-surgery activities and community service with vigor and determination.

This experience has made Melissa especially grateful to Dr. Demers, “Thank you so much for this. For giving me more time with this person that I love more than anything and giving our kids and our grandbaby the chance to have more time with him.”

Looking back, Melissa also says, “I’m so glad we stayed here, and I think it was the best option for us.”

Local Care Supports Recovery

Today, Kristopher Dahir is active and well. By opting for local care, he chose not just an excellent surgeon and medical team, but a community invested in his well-being. You can view Kristopher’s story on YouTube.

Sierra Neurosurgery Group is widely known in Northern Nevada for its exceptional surgical skills and a team of experienced neurosurgeons, pain management physicians, and sports medicine experts, providing top-notch care close to home.