Suze Orman On Her Painful Spinal Surgery For a Rare Tumor

Suze Orman is opening up about a complicated emergency surgery last month to remove a tumor from her spine, while urging folks not to ignore their health.

“I’ll never make that mistake again,” she told People about ignoring the signs her body is telling her. “That was a journey from hell and back. I sure learned a lot about life, I’ll tell you that much.”

The finance expert spent most of last year ignoring signs that something was wrong with her body, having first noticed a problem in late October.

“There was about five steps to go up to the stage, my right leg couldn’t quite pull me up the stairs,” she said. “I just grabbed the rail and I pulled myself up and I didn’t think about it. I did the whole show standing for about four or five hours. I’ve performed with 104 fever with 5000 people. The show goes on. You get in the adrenaline, and you just do it.”

Later, when she and her wife, Kathy “KT” Travis, went for a walk, sometimes Suze’s right knee would buckle. But again, she ignored it because she was busy.

“I knew what was happening in the economy,” she said. “I knew people were going to need it. My real concern, honest to God, was those people who were going to lose everything.

Then she noticed her right arm was getting weaker. “I was dropping my fork,” she said. “As I was eating, I couldn’t eat – my fork wouldn’t stay in my hand.”

Later that month, she got an upper body MRI.

“[My physician] said to me, ‘Suze, we found something….And we don’t like what we found,’” she remembered. “As soon as I heard his voice. I was like, ‘I’m in trouble.’ What doctor comes into an MRI room?”

Doctors found a 3.2 centimeter schwannoma – a non-cancerous, slow-growing tumor, that affects about one in a million people.

“The spinal cord was wrapped around it, so we didn’t see it. No one ever detected it,” said KT. “This was very one off, very rare, very unexpected.”

Wow! Read the rest of the interview at People.