I Admire My Daughter’s Strength Through Medulloblastoma

Opinion
Article

Ashton’s story starts with her. Our beautiful, big-hearted, kind girl.

sunshine

Ashton is a ray of sunshine, even during cancer treatment.

Ashton’s story starts with her. Our beautiful, big-hearted, kind girl.

Ever since she was born, Ashton has been such a light in our life, with the most contagious giggle. Her love of life, for her sisters, helping others and being so giving and selfless are just some of the things that make Ashton so special.

Ashton has always been someone who loves to be around people, especially her family and friends. She loves taking care of her baby dolls, her real baby (sister Koa), being crafty, baking, decorating, helping around the house. She’s been the calming presence I need in the moments of chaos with five kids.

Ashton's cancer story started before we even knew what it was, in the summer of 2023. She started coming to me with dizziness, followed by headaches and eventually vomiting. She couldn't keep up with her four sisters at home this past summer and was often lying down or by the end of the summer, sleeping often.

After consecutive weeks of headaches, which I chalked up to migraines, I asked Ashton where exactly it hurt, and she pointed to the lower back side of her head.

I knew immediately that was not a normal spot for a headache. That was the first time the “C” word ran across my mind. But as we sometimes do, I told myself, “No way, not us. This can’t be cancer.”

As her headaches started getting more frequent, and the medicine not touching her pain, she came home from cheer practice one night, her head started hurting so bad she was screaming. Cancer popped into my head again, but I still tried to justify it and told myself “I’m just being paranoid. There is no way. Not us.”

Even though I was talking myself out of Ashton’s headaches being something too serious, I brought her to the emergency room at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty that same night, and they sent me, instead, to urgent care where my concerns were dismissed, and the remedy was for Ashton to “drink Mountain Dew.”

We stopped at the store, grabbed some Mountain Dew, went home and went to bed.

Hers symptoms quickly worsened over the next two weeks and her vomiting became more frequent. As she was getting ready for her second day of school, she got sick again and I was done trying to justify everything. My husband rushed her to the ER and it was there they found a large mass in the back of her brain, in her cerebellum. She was rushed to the ICU by ambulance to Cincinnati Children’s where she was quickly admitted. We spend the last day with her before surgery with her closest friends and family by her side, and on Sept. 25, Ashton underwent a nine-hour brain surgery. Her neurosurgeon, Dr. Patel, was able to remove most of the tumor, but unfortunately, not all of it. It had not spread to her spine.

Once the biopsy results were back, we learned that she had a type of childhood brain cancer called medulloblastoma.

Through these past three weeks she's been in the hospital, Ashton has endured what no kid should ever have to go through. She went days without being able to see, with unimaginable head pain, relearning how to walk, count and use her hands.

Ashton continues to surpass our expectations every day and started walking with her walker yesterday. She's doing great, and it's all because of her strength.

She's been so resilient, strong and courageous. I am just in awe of her.

The only time she complained was the night she got out of her surgery, crying, "This isn't fair." Since then, she has not lost her composure and as we've been told, has been an absolute joy to work with according to her nurses, therapists and radiation specialists.

Her love, kindness and joy for life are as contagious as her sweet giggle. Ashton has already endured so much, but it probably won't hold a candle to what is coming with her radiation, chemo, and a fertility procedure, ovarian tissue preservation.

Ashton's strength and positive attitude are what's keeping us all going right now. Our faith and hope are continually guiding us through to the belief that her cancer will be fully eradicated, and she can return to a normal life one day.

This post was written and submitted by a CURE reader. The article reflects the views the author and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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