If you’ve ever raised a small child, you’ll probably be aware just how normal eye infections are. I can’t tell you how many times I had conjunctivitis as a youngster, and eye drops are all too common in every parent’s household.
So I can definitely understand why Paul and Gaylene Robson weren’t overly concerned when they thought their daughter, Stella, had some sort of infection in her eye. Their doctor reassured them, too; he thought the same.
The doctor prescribed Paul and Gaylene some antibiotics and creams to use on Stella’s face. In a few days, he said, the issue would be gone.
Only, it wasn’t gone. Moreover, it was getting much worse as the days went by. Before long her left eyelid turned bright red and had become swollen.
Gaylene decided it was best to get a second opinion on the matter at hand, and so took her daughter to an ophthalmologist. After an examination, they quickly sent her for an emergency CT scan at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The subsequent scan she had at the hospital revealed the truth was far worse than anyone could have possibly imagined. Stella had a tumor growing between her eye and her brain, and she was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare form of bone cancer.
“The tumor was growing into the orbital bone, the bone that surrounds the eye… it was roughly 1.5 cm and shaped like a bell,” Gaylene explained.
Stella immediately underwent surgery to remove the growing tumor, with surgeons able to successfully remove the growth without damage to her tissue or brain.
It was on Christmas eve that Stella and her family were referred to the oncology department. She underwent 12 weeks of difficult chemotherapy to ensure any trace of the cancer was gone. Thankfully it was.
“It was the most nerve-wrecking time of my life,” said dad Paul. “The word cancer, tumor, didn’t mean anything to [Stella], to an adult it’s a conversation stopper, but she just takes it in her stride.”
After completing her original 12 week cycle of chemotherapy, Stella continued to have “maintenance chemo” treatments for a year before being cleared completely.
Luckily, she’s now off the antibiotics, and the family have their bright young girl back. What’s more, there’s no visible difference to her eye, which is so amazing!
“We’re really happy,” added Paul, “and hopefully it continues.”