LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A Lansing woman’s life was turned upside down when visited the doctor for an ear infection–and discovered she had a brain tumor.

“No big deal; it’s just a brain tumor,” said Annette Courtier.

Courtier went to her doctor for an ear infection; little did she know, her doctor would also discover she had a benign (noncancerous) pituitary brain tumor. She was diagnosed in August of 2022.

But this didn’t stop Courtier from living; in fact, she said it helped change her life for the better. Courtier had just enrolled in school at the University of Michigan before her diagnosis.

“I never had a moment of fear. I never had a moment of, ‘Oh my god, I have a brain tumor. I never had that moment; I still haven’t had that moment. It’s always been, ‘this is just a brain tumor.'”

Courtier said she was trying to get out of a dark place after losing her sister to cancer in 2019. But when she found out she had a tumor, she said she wasn’t going to let it affect her goals.

“My sister passed away in 2019 from stage four cancer. I didn’t have stage four cancer; I wasn’t going to die,” said Courtier.

“I think having school and focusing on the brain tumor is what saved me,” she said. “Because I was in such a deep, dark depression because of losing my sister, it refocused…me. Those two items were the catalyst for change in my life. And that’s why I think I say ‘it’s just a tumor.’ Because if you focus too much on something, it’s gonna make it negative.”

Courtier was doing homework in her hospital bed at Henry Ford just days after surgery. She continued school and graduated on time this past August.

“A brain tumor doesn’t stop your life. Your life is what you make of your life, and that’s what I did. So again, working on finishing my education, finishing my bachelor’s degree, which I did,” Courtier said.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in four people may have a benign pituitary brain tumor. Courtier wants others to know it’s important to be your own advocate when it comes to health. If you feel something is wrong — get it checked out. Don’t wait for it to go away, because it could just get worse.

“Having brain surgery, recovering from brain surgery, going back to work. All of those things. I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. I didn’t give myself time to dwell on it, because it wasn’t necessary.”

And in her recovery, Courtier has lost over 100 pounds. She said she’s now living life to the fullest.

“When I want something and I will do it, and I will get there no matter what mountain is front of me; I’m going to climb it,” she said. “This mountain happened to be a small brain tumor, removed through my nose. “