08/28/11 — Duke doctors: Local fiddler is going to be just fine

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Duke doctors: Local fiddler is going to be just fine

By Staff Reports
Published in News on August 28, 2011 1:50 AM

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Samantha Casey is seen on the first day of school last week. After a tumor scare, doctors have pronounced her fit and she hopes to be back on stage soon.

A routine eye exam for fiddling prodigy Samantha Casey led to fears for her health, but after undergoing brain surgery at Duke Hospital, the prognosis for her recovery is bright.

Samantha, 15, is well known for her musical talent with "Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam." The group, which also features her father, Daniel, has played at many events in and around Wayne County since Samantha was a child.

So news of her sickness struck her many friends and fans hard.

After her eye doctor noticed signs of a swollen optic nerve during an office visit Aug. 11, he referred her to a specialist.

At Duke, doctors discovered two tumors in her brain blocking the area where the cerebrospinal fluid needs to flow. As a result, the fluid was building up and creating pressure on her brain.

On Aug. 17, Samantha underwent surgery to re-establish the effective flow of the fluid. She spent five days in recovery and returned home last Monday. Doctors said they could see no signs of permanent damage.

Her parents, Daniel and Judy, said the staff at Duke was "great," and indicated that although Samantha's condition will need to be monitored, there is no reason she will not fully recover. Doctors have recommended she refrain from performing until she heals from the surgery, but she should soon be fiddling and singing again, Daniel Casey said late last week.

"Samantha has been very strong in all of this. She has handled this with courage and grace, and we are so very proud of her," Mrs. Casey said.

When school opened Thursday, Samantha, a sophomore at Princeton High School, was well enough to be in class on the first day, wearing a scarf to cover her stitches.

"We have been told that most tumors in that area are benign," Mrs. Casey said. "Nevertheless, Samantha's neurosurgeon will monitor Samantha via frequent MRIs, watching closely for changes and/or growth of the tumors.

"The outpouring of love, support and prayers from our friends, relatives, neighbors, church, school and the entire community has been unbelievable," Mrs. Casey added. "Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are. We'd like to send a heartfelt thank you to all of you and to the excellent doctors and staff at Duke Eye Center and Duke Hospital."

"The love people have shown us, I just can't tell you how overwhelming it has been," Daniel Casey said.