Diagnosis: Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma
Last Update: 11/15/21
On December 6, 2020, an ER physician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) told Hope's mother the news that would change their world - we found a mass. At 12 years old, Hope’s headaches and dizzy spells led to a shocking diagnosis of JPA - Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma.
Hope entered the ICU and underwent surgery to remove a tumor two days later. At the same time, Hope also had hydrocephalus - a condition where extra fluid places pressure on the brain. Hope endured a craniotomy, two plates inserted, and a three-inch incision behind her right ear to remove the tumor. Hope spent almost a week in the ICU. She received excellent care from skilled doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and child life specialists at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Her friends, family, teachers, and community rallied to help her and her family. However, Hope still faces a long road ahead of her. She requires MRIs every 3-months post-op for two years.
Although her tumor has not grown back (and hopefully never will!), Hope has suffered from 24/7 headaches/migraines ever since. She is currently under the care of a few doctors at PCH to monitor tumor follow-up, emotional well-being, and headache/migraine management. She is on several medications in increasing doses and subjected to excruciating occipital nerve-blocking injections in the back of her head, however, nothing has worked so far. Out of sheer exasperation, her parents have recently asked for a referral for PT and enrolled in an assisted stretching facility to provide some holistic healing.
Unfortunately, Hope frequently misses school or must leave early due to feeling unwell. Nonetheless, Hope is an excellent 7th-grade student at Altadena Middle School and earned straight A's this spring after going back to school in January. As an 8th grader, Hope focuses on doing her best during this critical year before entering Desert Vista High School. She enjoys art, cooking, playing basketball, and time with her dog, Scooby.