Updated March 27 at 2:27pm

Gist to undergo surgery for brain tumor


PROVIDENCE – R.I. Department of Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist will undergo surgery to remove a believed benign brain tumor next month and will take an approximate two-month leave of absence for recovery, the department announced Tuesday.

Doctors discovered the tumor, believed to be a meningioma, during Gist’s recovery from a concussion she sustained in early July. Meningiomas are commonly non-life threatening.

“I am…grateful for the outstanding team at [the department] that has been working hard to transform education and that will continue to lead these efforts during my recovery,” Gist said in a statement.

Gist will work on a limited schedule up until the late September surgery in order to recover from the concussion before her operation and plans to return to the department full time after her surgery recovery.

“I know that the Commissioner faces this challenge with a positive attitude and a tenacious spirit, which will help her make a quick recovery,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement.

The Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman George Caruolo said plans are in place to help the department run without interruption in Gist’s absence.


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I am a big fan of Deborah Gist, so this comment is in no way a personal attack on our cherished champion of RI education.

That said, I would like to put some perspective on the brain tumor business. I have been living with a meningioma for over 10 years. Every year, I go for an MRI, and it has been stable. It will only become an issue if (not when) it grows and pushes up against my optical nerve (causing migraines or impaired vision).

I wish Deborah a speedy recovery, and that they find her tumor to be a benign meningioma. Hope this comment helps to put the media frenzy at ease.

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