After over 30 years in the music business, Tionne Watkins, better known as T-Boz of the legendary, multi-platinum girl group TLC, along with the remaining member, Ronzonda “Chilli” Thomas, finished up their fifth and final studio album, but are still touring to sold-out shows around the world.
As she is nearing the age of 50, we reflect on T-Boz health condition and there was a possibility she wouldn’t even be here to tell the story.
In early 2010, T-boz she revealed she had secretly suffered from complications related to a brain tumor in addition to battling sickle cell anemia.
The 48-year-old star mother of one, revealed that she has been waging a secret battle against a brain tumor that was diagnosed in 2006, saying that she underwent a seven-hour surgical procedure that same year, during which doctors peeled the tumor from her brain stem by making a cut behind her ear. She says she was determined to not make her struggle known to the public.
“I didn’t want pity. I was there to help sick children,” T-Boz says. “Because people are often shocked to hear news like that, I kept it under wraps until now so that I can focus on service, and on raising money for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia. I was not interested in gaining pity for myself.”
While the surgery was successful, it left T-Boz with one side effect: poor balance. In her recovery, she educated others on sickle cell anemia while working on new music with a positive message.
“Doctors, they didn’t give me a happy ending,” T-Boz said, reflecting on her brain tumor and her sickle cell anemia. “‘You won’t live past 30, you’ll be disabled your whole life. You’ll never have kids. I was looking around the room like, ‘I don’t know who he’s talking to cause that’s not my story.”
Apparently, T-Boz was right. Just take a look at beautiful daughter, Chase.
Tumors that originate within brain tissue are known as primary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors are classified by the type of tissue in which they arise. The most common brain tumors are gliomas, which begin in the glial (supportive) tissue.
There are several types of gliomas, including the following:
Astrocytomas arise from small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes. They may grow anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. In adults, astrocytomas most often arise in the cerebrum. In children, they occur in the brain stem, the cerebrum, and the cerebellum. A grade III astrocytoma is sometimes called anaplastic astrocytoma. A grade IV astrocytoma is usually called glioblastoma multiforme.
Oligodendrogliomas arise in the cells that produce myelin, the fatty covering that protects nerves. These tumors usually arise in the cerebrum. They grow slowly and usually do not spread into surrounding brain tissue.
Ependymomas usually develop in the lining of the ventricles. They may also occur in the spinal cord. Although these tumors can develop at any age, they are most common in childhood and adolescence.
There are other types of brain tumors that do not begin in glial tissue.
T-Boz is currently back in the studio and touring with bandmate Chili and Lil Mama.
For more on brain health, visit BlackDoctor.org’s Brain & Nervous System Channel.