Top Stories of 2017: UM Student Has Fresh Outlook On Life After Brain Aneurysm

The Buhner family at Tatum’s new apartment in Oxford.

No parent can ever prepare for the moment that they receive a text that their child is on their way to the hospital. This is what happened to Shelley Buhner when her daughter, Tatum, was having a headache that turned into something much more. Tatum was having a brain aneurysm.

Tatum was working on a research paper in November of 2016 when she began to experience head and neck pain. She texted her mother and said that she couldn’t focus on the words she was writing, and Shelley told her to just take a break. A few minutes later, Tatum began experiencing what she described as “the worst headache of her life.”

Shelley suggested to Tatum that she should go to the hospital for possible meningitis. After a CT scan, Tatum was informed that she was having a brain aneurysm, and needed to receive the proper medical care as soon as possible. Tatum was immediately airlifted to Memphis.

When Shelley was told what was happening, she and her husband, Shawn, borrowed a friend’s private jet and made it Memphis from Texas within a couple of hours. After further examination, doctors informed Tatum and her family that she had arteriovenous malformation, a medical condition that tangles blood vessels in the brain, causing complications with oxygen and blood to the brain. Tatum had to undergo brain surgery.

On November 11th, doctors successfully performed the brain surgery and Tatum was able to return to school full-time the following semester. In March, however, she had to undergo gamma knife radiation to remove a little more aneurysm that was found on her brain.

Today, Tatum is back at Ole Miss for her sophomore year with no medical complications. She is extremely grateful to Ole Miss and the faculty for helping her continue to be a Rebel throughout her hardships. She feels great and has never felt closer to her family or more thankful for what she has. HottyToddy got to sit down with Tatum and her family to listen to their story and how it has affected them to this day.

Ole Miss Student Beats Brain Aneurysm to Stay in School caught up with the Buhner family to listen to their story about their daughter, Tatum, and her battle with aneurysms while still remaining a student at Ole Miss. By Walter Lyle

Walter Lyle is the social media editor of He can be reached at

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