In February 2012, only one year into her doctoral program, Paulino was having trouble concentrating and was experiencing regular headaches. She went to a neurologist who recommended an MRI. When the results came in, the news was dismal. Paulino was diagnosed with stage-2 glioblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor.
Paulino started to have seizures and had to withdraw from classes at NSU that spring. Her doctors said the tumor was too small to operate at the time. They continued to monitor Paulino and cleared her to go back to school later that year. Once the tumor was large enough to safely operate, she underwent successful brain surgery in June 2014 and returned to school that fall.
She was not alone on her journey back. One of Paulino’s professors, Jaime Weiner Riskin, PharmD., also survived a brain tumor.
“We have a scar in the same place, and her hair had grown back a lot more than mine, and I always think of her when I do my hair,” Riskin told a Channel 7 News reporter. “I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s growing back like Crislus.’”
Five years after beginning pharmacy school, Paulino graduated surrounded by her husband, Elliott Anico, along with her family and classmates. Upon completing her board exams and becoming a licensed pharmacist, she plans to move to Parkland and pursue a career at Publix.