Cindy Owens, 34, battled one brain tumor twelve years ago and had a recurrence just eight years later.
After two surgeries and occupational therapy, Owens is living a full life and working as a surgical tech at Cox Hospital.
Owens says more people need to be aware enough of the danger to protect themselves and act early to save their lives.
When she was just 22, Cindy Owens couldn't shake what she thought was a cold or flu
"It was 1999 I was having headaches and dizziness for about three weeks straight. Went to my primary care physician they ruled out the usual things"
But, Owens' relief didn't last long
"A couple weeks later I get a call, you have a mass in your brain. I immediately think I have cancer, I am going to die"
Owens' prognosis was much better "It was in my right front lobe , grade 2" Her tumor was non-cancerous and operable.
Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Sami Khoshyomn says most things that appear to be the flu or stomach problems are just that. "It is a rare thing to have a brain tumor of any kind."
Still. Dr. Khoshyomn says knowing yourself and the signs are key.
"If there is a symptom you have never had in your life all of the sudden you get headache nausea vomiting a seizure, convulsions of any kind of the body weak, paralyzed, arrest in speech, something going on with the brain or until proven otherwise you should assume that"
Cindy Owens hopes no one has to go through what she did, but says because May is Brain Tumor Awareness month everyone should remember you are your own best advocate in life and in medical care.
"Be vigilant, your body is telling you something, and granted, it may not be anything, but it is worth going and getting checked out."
Owen says there are invaluable resources like braintumor.org and information at the National Institutes of Health website.
Dr. Khoshyomn also says there are a lot of resources here locally including a support group that comes together when enough people are interested.