A Colorado Springs police officer was recently diagnosed with a rare kind of brain cancer after suffering a seizure in her police cruiser.
Officer Brianna Ragsdale was taking her longtime friend out for a ride-along in her police cruiser when the seizure suddenly hit.
At the time of the medical emergency, it was also her second-to-last shift as a patrol officer. Ragsdale had accepted a detective position with the Colorado Springs Special Victims Unit after three years on the job and several more working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the start of her law enforcement career.
Her friend, a preschool teacher with first-aid training, said they had just received a call about a fatal seizure incident when she noticed Ragsdale showing signs of a seizure herself.
“I tried to go into that side of my training of just being very clinical and recognizing the symptoms for what they were and trying to get her into a recovery position,” Korissa Mucaria said. “It wasn’t until afterward that it really sank in that not only was she having a seizure, but that was also my best friend who was having a seizure.”
Ragsdale said the seizure came without warning.
“It was out of nowhere, and I was rushed to the hospital,” Ragsdale said.
“I remember looking down at my body, and I thought for a second like, ‘I must have been shot or something,’ because the last thing I remembered was working,” she added. “And then I’m all of a sudden in the hospital, and I don’t know what’s wrong. All to find out that it was a seizure, and then to learn that the seizure was from a tumor, which is cancerous.”
After performing an MRI, CT scan and a biopsy, doctors diagnosed Ragsdale with an Astrocytoma — a rare form of brain cancer. Doctors found three tumors on her frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain controlling speech and movement.
The stage of her cancer is considered to be stage 3, with “1” being the best and “4” being the worst. Remarkably, Ragsdale’s symptoms are not as severe as expected.
“The doctors say that I am rather … surprising because there’s no neurological side effects as of right now,” Ragsdale added. “I have some headaches, but that’s it. I don’t have a loss of balance. I’m able still to talk and articulate things, and they’re kind of in shock by that, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign.”
Ragsdale, who is a single mother of three daughters ages 10, 8 and 5, is maintaining a positive attitude. She even planned a trip to Disneyland with her children after receiving the news.
“I’m trying to have a very positive attitude, and my goal is to beat this and to come back stronger than I was before,” she said.
The officer said she plans to go to Cleveland for treatment, where the plan is to shrink the tumors until they are small enough to be safely surgically removed.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe has been created to cover medical costs and support Ragsdale’s family. So far, over $8,000 have been raised.