Last June, my daughter, Samantha started having really bad migraines. I have a son who is almost 17 who also suffers from migraines as well as my mother, so needless to say we just all figured it ran in the family. I decided to take her to the Dr just in case and see what they had to say about all of this. They told me to take her in to see if she needed glasses so I followed that advise and to our suprise they told me that her eye sight was really bad and they were suprised she could read at all. Samantha is two grades ahead in reading so that was quite a shock to hear that. They prescribed her a fairy high scrip for glasses and she had worn those all through last year, breaking them countless times, and into this year as well. She had complained of seeing ” tv fuzz” as she calls it but no one really thought much of it so our life went on as usual.
March of this year Samantha started to vomit and initally we thought that maybe she caught a bug from school and nothing more. She was sick for a little while and then got better and as always before, life went on. She then started vomiting randomly for no reason at all and this time without fever. I monitored this for a little while and then noticed that she had been a little more clumsy than usual, so I then brought her back to the ER. The ER Dr’s said that there was the possibility that Samantha had asthma and that her coughing would cause her to vomit like that…her lungs were always clear as a bell and I tried explaining that she did not have a cough. The next scenario was that she may be allergic to dairy products and that I should limit her intake of those. I then tried to explaine that she drinks milk daily and that she had no other symptoms to support that theory. Finally, he came to me and said that there was a possibility that she has food allergies. Our bodies do change and that may cause such a thing. So, he told me to go home, keep a food log for 2 weeks, and then follow up with her Dr.
Being a mother, we all know that we know our children better than anyone and we know when something is wrong. So I finally headed back to her pediatrician, at Childrens Primary Care here in San Diego ( Rady’s Children’s Hospital) to see if she had any ideas. She took one look at Samantha and pretty much knew right away that she may have a brain tumor. Needless to say I was beside myself. The MRI was scheduled for the next day. It took about an hour and then we left to go visit with our family. About an hour I got the dreaded call. The MRI had confirmed that Samantha had a large brain tumor. They wanted us to return to the hospital immediately.
We arrived at Chidrens and were met by an amazing staff that did everything they could to care for Samantha and comfort all of us.Dr. Meltzer ( one of the head Neurosurgeons there) and Dr. Newman ( A Resident) met with me and asked if I wanted to see the MRI. Of course I wanted to see what was growing inside my childs head.
The tumor was very large and they had already scheduled her surgery for the following morning, Saturday, May 10th, at 9:30 am. The surgery went well but it was a lot longer than they had told us it would be. Samantha lost a lot of blood and had to have 2 transfusions but remained stable throughout the surgery.
It has been two weeks today since the news. Tomorrow will be two weeks since the surgery. Samantha is doing much better now though.They want to wait another 4 weeks and do another MRI because there is speculation that they did not get all of the tumor and Dr. Levy ( Head Neurosurgeon) may want to go back in.
She sees an Opthamalogist weekly right now, Dr. O’Halloran, who says they caught that tumor just in time. She has a lot of vision problems right now that will take months to recover and some of her vision may be impaired for the rest of her life. I will take that over the alternative any day though. She also has physical therapy for her balance. She is walking so much better today than a week ago, it’s so amazing.
There is just so much going on in her life right now but she is quite the trooper and handles it all so well. I’ve not allowed her to see me break down and I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I just don’t want her to worry about a thing, that’s my job.
I still sit here and think that when I walk through that door all of this will be a terrible nightmare but one that will wake up from. I know that you and all the families on the fighplga.org web site have gone through this and are still going through this. I just don’t see how this will ever get any easier. I am extremely grateful for the fightplga.org website because after coming home I was so scared. I am a single mother engaged to a man who left for Kuwait a month ago and for Iraq the night of her diagnosis, so it’s been very hard for all of us. I have worries all over the world it seems but I never dreamt in a million years that Samantha had a brain tumor.
Finding the fightplg.org website gave me hope. It has given me hope that we can make a difference and that there will be a cure for these aweful things. I just hate that any child has to go through this. I have already started asking every business that we enter if they will donate or sponsor something to raise funds for the cause.
THANK YOU so much for your time, your website, your kind words, and your welcome to the team. Reading the stories on there just break my heart. I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend and all of our prayers are out there to everyone who is touched by this disease.
Eden, John, Samantha, Mark, and family