A 17-year-old girl fighting for her life after developing brain cancer has been told her tumour is becoming more aggressive and faces risky surgery.
Ciara Nelson of Pakenham, Victoria has a high grade glioma which doctors said could not be removed due to the risks of brain damage, stroke or death.
Her mother Colleen initially thought Ciara had suffered a delayed concussion when she started vomiting and complaining of headaches after a fall during a netball game at the end of May 2016.
But after receiving the ‘devastating news’ that the tumour had progressed, she now faces surgery as the only option to save her life.
Ms Nelson – a single mother-of-three – started a Go Fund Me page for her daughter, which has raised more than $112,000 dollars for surgery and treatment.
On an update on the Go Fund Me page Colleen Nelson said they were choosing between radiation and chemotherapy or surgery for Ciara.
‘We have chosen the surgery to give Ciara a fighting chance against this very rare tumour.
‘We only have a two-month window to get Ciara operated on before the tumour grows more making the surgery even more risky than it already is,’ she said.
‘We are shattered that it has come to this.’
Ms Nelson told Channel Nine her family ‘thought we would have longer’.
‘It’s really hard because if you didn’t know, if you didn’t see pictures of what is in her brain, you wouldn’t know that this kid is facing life and death,’ she said.
The surgery will be performed by neurosurgeon Charles Teo.
‘She had a fall and hit her head quite severely on the court,’ she said early last year.
‘A couple of days later, she was vomiting and had headaches. Doctors had Ciara undergo a CT scan and then an MRI as well.
‘While she was in there, the radiologist came out to talk to me and said if she has any more vomiting and headaches, to bring her straight back to hospital.’
A lesion was found on Ciara’s brain and her GP referred her to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton, Victoria.
‘They admitted her so quickly. By the afternoon, the neurosurgeon told us she had a glioma in her brain,’ Ms Nelson said, adding her daughter had emergency surgery that day to redirect fluid in her brain.
‘They drilled a hole at the base of her brain so the fluid had a different way to go out,’ she explained.
‘The tumour was blocking the natural path. After that they told us that it was a low grade glioma and most people can live with it for years without symptoms.
‘I was quite happy to know that.’
But a follow-up MRI in November found Ciara’s tumour had grown significantly and was now considered high grade.
Her mother said it had gone from nine by 10mm in June to 14.2 by 12.5mm in just six months.
‘The tumour had grown quite a lot which it wasn’t supposed to do. It had into a high grade malignant tumour,’ she said.
‘It’s in a place that no one can get to. The doctors keep telling me there is not much they can do except watch it grow.
‘They’re telling me I have to wait to watch it grow in my daughter’s brain. The first thing they say that will go is her eyesight, then her ability to walk.