With the season of hay fever and rocketing pollen counts coming to an end, we can proudly say that eye infections were quite common in those days. Infections like conjunctivitis or pink eye prevail mostly in the pollen season, especially in children. But the good thing about conjunctivitis is its short stay. Although antibiotics and intensive care are necessary, pink eye infections fade away on their own.
That’s exactly what one family thought when their daughter, Stella, had a minor red lump on her eye. Paul and Gaylene Robson didn’t worry much about the infection, but they knew it is important to consult a doctor.
The physician prescribed antibiotics and ointments, assuming it was a regular eye infection. The Robsons were assured that it would clear up within a few days. But the swelling in their benign daughter’s eyes told otherwise.
It was only when the swelling increased and the redness in the eye worsened that the parents sought for an emergency ophthalmologist. From there, Stella was sent for a CT scan at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The CT scan was able to show the actual cause of the swelling: a mini bell-shaped tumor lodged between her eye and the brain. The tumor was slowly evolving and metastisizing to the orbital bone. Gaylene said that the tumor was about 1.5 cm in diameter and shaped like a bell.
Stella was later diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a fairly rare bone cancer. Thankfully, her parents agreed to go through an emergency surgery and the doctors were able to successfully remove the malignant tumor. Fortunately, no other tumors have developed in her body and she was healthy after all the chemotheraphy that she have gone through.
Paul called out Stella’s cancer as the most ground-breaking experience of his life. He said that the words cancer and tumor were incomprehensible to his daughter. But to adults, they meant oncoming danger.
Stella underwent an additional one-year “maintenance chemo” treatment every three weeks.
Paul went on to state that his daughter would undergo scans every three months for a few years. Hopefully, when she will be in year 5 they can finally progress to scans on an annual basis.
Stella is now off the antibiotics and her family is grateful to see their daughter back in action. She has no visible scars or any damage to her vision. The Robsons expressed their gratitude to the Royal Children’s Hospital for their immense efforts and for the treatment of their daughter’s condition.
As of us, we hope that Stella’s cancer never returns and she enjoys a perfectly healthy life.
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