Medical professionals mistook a five-year-old girl's invasive tumor for an eye infection, wreaking havoc on her family.
When Gaylene Robson took her daughter Stella, now six, to the hospital when the girl’s left eyelid became swollen and bright red. The doctors prescribed antibiotics and creams, which did little to quell the swelling.
Gaylene then took Stella to an ophthalmologist for a second opinion where he sent her to get a CT scan at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. The scan revealed that the girl had a bell-shaped tumor growing between her brain and eye and would need emergency treatment.
“The tumor was growing into the orbital bone, the bone that surrounds the eye ... it was roughly 1.5 centimeters and shaped like a bell,” Gaylene told Daily Mail.
It turns out that Stella had an extremely rare disease called Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Experts spent two days scanning Stella before determining the best way to eliminate the fast-growing tumor, which was threatening her eyesight and eroding the bone, according to the Geelong Advertiser.
Luckily, the cancerous growth in her eye was removed by a surgeon without any damage to her tissue or brain.
Stella has now started a combination of weekly chemotherapy treatments and a high dosage of steroids.
“It was quite a little roller-coaster for her, she’d be emotional and hungry and tired, then she’d recover for a week and then it would be time to get back in and have another lot of treatment,” Gaylene told Daily Mail Australia.
What’s more, the powerful cancer-fighting drugs have left her immune system at risk for diseases at school.
“If her temperature went above [100.4 degrees] it was a trip straight to the emergency department,” her father Paul Robson told Daily Mail. “We took her to ED about seven or eight times.”
Since going on chemotherapy a year ago, Stella is now free of the rare cancer with a 20% chance of relapse.
As of March 21, the six-year-old has stopped taking all antibiotics and is back to her normal self with no visible scars and 20/20 vision.