When Izabel (5) began suffering headaches, her family initially assumed she had a virus. But her symptoms didn’t improve, and after several trips to the hospital she was diagnosed with a breath holding condition. Then she stopped speaking, which was attributed to behavioural causes – but her mother was still concerned.
Izabel would wake in the morning with headaches so severe they made her vomit – but then she would feel better for the rest of the day. After several more trips to the GP, Izabel’s mother insisted upon a CT scan – which revealed a tumour in her brain: medulloblastoma. She immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumour and install a permanent shunt to remove excess fluid and reduce the pressure in her skull.
Following her surgery, Izabel underwent 6 weeks of radiation and 4 rounds of intense chemotherapy. She unfortunately experienced a rare reaction to one of her chemo drugs and developed Red Man Syndrome, which causes flushing and severe itching on the torso, neck and face, leading to extended stays in hospital and additional medications to manage the reaction.
Izabel suffered a stroke and seizures during the surgery, which have left her with cerebella mutism and ataxic cerebral palsy, which mean she is sometimes not able to speak, and cannot sit up or walk without assistance. She also suffers from extreme fatigue as a result of her treatment.
But in January Izabel was declared no evidence of disease, and she is determined to enjoy life! She is learning to write again, has been back to school for the first time this year, and has even been out for a bike ride. She smiles every day, and is an absolute inspiration to those around her.Share