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Originally published Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM

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KOMO-TV anchor Kathi Goertzen undergoes surgery again

Longtime KOMO-TV anchor Kathi Goertzen had surgery Wednesday, the latest in a series of operations for an aggressive brain tumor she has battled for 11 years.

Seattle Times staff reporters

Longtime KOMO-TV anchor Kathi Goertzen had surgery Wednesday, the latest in a series of operations for an aggressive brain tumor she has battled for 11 years.

Goertzen's surgery began around 9 a.m. and ended 10 ½ hours later, according to KOMO News Director Holly Gauntt.

She said doctors told Goertzen's family they successfully removed parts of the benign tumor that continues to grow and estimated she will now spend two to three days in intensive care. "They think it went well, but they expect the recovery to take awhile because it was pretty intensive surgery," Gauntt said.

Goertzen's family, Gauntt added, stayed strong by reading the thousands of messages Seattle-area residents left on the anchor's Facebook page, which late Wednesday had nearly 36,000 fans.

Goertzen spoke to TV viewers Tuesday evening. "I'm still Kathi. I'm still me," she said. "I miss being in my anchor chair."

She said the tumor has given her a "crooked, sagging face and inability to break into the wide smile I so much enjoy. I have faith the surgery will be successful and this face will improve."

The tumor has been growing for more than a decade. It's caused her to take breaks from her anchor job.

The diagnosis that she had a tumor near the base of her brain was first made in 1998 when her face became numb and she lost hearing in her right ear. Surgery and radiation treatment followed. Her hearing returned, but there was always the chance the tumor, a meningioma, would regrow. And it did.

She had a second surgery in 2005 to fight the tumor, which couldn't be fully removed because it is intertwined with various nerves. In 2008, she had two surgeries.

Goertzen said she could escape from view, "But I can't stay under the covers. I have too much life to live."

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054.

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