Aimee Green was driving on a Sacramento highway with her boyfriend, Gianni Westlake, on Feb. 20, when the car sped out of control and crashed, leaving her unconscious and the car totaled. But the 24-year-old woman soon learned that the near-fatal crash was the least of her worries.
“We had no broken bones and no severe injuries. We both came out of it okay,” Green tells PEOPLE. “But during the routine CT scan, they found abnormalities in my brain … later that night, around midnight, they told me, ‘I’m sorry, you have a brain tumor.’ ”
Doctors discovered the massive tumor located on the right side of Green’s head just above her ear. They said it had been there for at least a year, Green recalls. The tumor is blocking her cerebrospinal fluid as it grows rapidly, wrapping around her brain.
“I was completely scared the whole time,” she says of the moments she got the news. “I just froze and I felt like my heart completely stopped and my whole world was turned upside down.
“You hear all these sad stories and all this stuff happens to other people, you never really take the time to think this could actually happen to me.”
Little is known about the tumor, as Green says doctors won’t know whether the growth is cancerous until it is removed and tested. However, the process has been delayed as doctors develop a plan and Green battles with her health insurance provider to cover the medical costs.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Green’s growing medical costs. She says the financial struggle has only compounded an already difficult situation.
“It’s so stressful. I just find myself a lot more depressed lately and a lot more down. I’m really, really hard on myself,” she tells PEOPLE. “I used to be really productive and had lots of goals. Now I sit at home and I’m not able to complete a task or a simple goal.”
Green says she now knows why she’s suffered migraines and seizures for years. She has long had trouble keeping on weight and doctors told her that the tumor is the cause of all these symptoms. As of now, her future is uncertain.
“It’s really discouraging and really, really emotional. It just gets me down. I still can’t wrap my head around this and believe it’s all happening to me,” she adds. “I’m only 24 and I haven’t traveled the world, or even been to Disneyland yet. Not having support from my family hasn’t been the greatest. I only have my boyfriend to support my right now. It’s definitely tough on the both of us.”
Doctors have told Green that she’s lucky the crash led to the discovery of the tumor. She says they told her that without the crash, she likely would never have been aware of the tumor and could have died within months. Now, as she shares her health journey on Facebook, Green wrote in a March 14 post: “Being in the car accident was truly a blessing in a disguise and I couldn’t be more grateful that we caught it early.”
But that doesn’t make the reality of her situation any less worrisome.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve always been healthy and I’ve always tried to be a good, nice person. It just sucks that you think you’re healthy and you think you’re making the right decisions … then all of a sudden, one second, one accident, changed my whole life and my outlook on everything. It’s been really difficult.”