Triumph After Tragedy: Rashyra Watson’s Story

“I’d been experiencing it since high school, I was always sleepy and throwing up, but never thinking anything about it.”

At this time last year, Detroit senior and biology major, Rashyra Watson was experiencing intense migraines, nausea and dizziness; all familiar and recurring symptoms.

“I was feeling really sick and having headaches, on a scale of 1-to-10 it was a 10,” Watson said. “My co-worker made me go to the hospital and that’s when I found out I had it.”

Watson drove to McLaren-Central Michigan Hospital where after close examination, doctors revealed that her brain was bleeding from a tumor growth. In that moment Watson says she didn’t know what to feel.

“I didn’t have any emotion. I didn’t know to cry. My main worry was that I wanted to go back to school,” she said.

Within minutes she was boarding a helicopter to a Detroit hospital. That was the last thing she remembered before slipping into a coma.

When she reached Detroit, she began to flat-line.

“My whole body shut down,” she said.

Although that moment was a bit foggy for Watson, the severity of it all was clear to her family and friends.

“It was nerve-wrecking for my friends. My mom, dad and family were terrified,” she said. “They were nervous and crying.”

After the brain surgery, her doctor recommended she take a break, but Watson was determined to continue her academics.

“The doctor wanted me to take a break, but I said ‘no, I need to get back to school’,” she said.

Watson didn’t want to think about the surgery or all the complications that landed her in the hospital. She recovered, went back to school and began working.

“I didn’t want to sit at home and think about it, I do things on my own,” she said. “I just went on about life, school was my distraction.”

Watson said she didn’t take the time she needed to heal.

“I try not to think about it. I can easily help others with their problems and emotions, but when it comes to me it’s a bit difficult,” she said.

The experience has given her a new outlook on life, she sees it as a chance to work even harder and to continue to inspire and help others.

“It’s changed me because I don’t complain as much. I could have had cancer or passed away,” she said. “I try not to hold grudges as much because life is too short.”

Watson says that too many people throw “pity parties” and allow tragic news to control their futures. She offered some advice for those going through similar situations,

“Sometimes you need to talk to people and take the time out to listen to another person,” she said. “Be careful what you say because you never know what someone else might be battling.”

Watson wants others to know that she is doing better.

“If there’s one thing I want people to know about me, it’s that I’m very strong,” she said. “The issues that I had with my health last year have made me stronger.”