Deseret News – He survived a rare tumor and an 8-hour brain surgery. Now, this renowned pianist is bringing a Gershwin classic to Utah
Following the surgery, Cole had to face tough questions: Could he still do it? Could he still have a professional music career?
SALT LAKE CITY — Kevin Cole knew something was wrong when the right side of his face started going numb. He just didn’t know how serious it was.
After experiencing some hearing loss in his right ear and persistent headaches, the renowned pianist found answers in an MRI scan: He had an acoustic neuroma — a benign but potentially life-threatening tumor that develops on the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. It had been growing for several years.
An eight-hour brain surgery would remove the rare tumor but could also lead to significant hearing loss. Piano was his life — he’d been playing since age 4. Still, the musician had zero hesitation and moved forward with the surgery.
“I wanted this out of my head as soon as possible,” Cole wrote in an email to the Deseret News. “I knew I was almost certain to lose hearing in my right ear in order for the surgeons to get all of the tumor.”