In September 2019, Caitlyn went to the eye doctor for glasses.
The next day, she was told she had a brain tumor.
Her decreasing vision was due to a slow-growing germinoma tumor that had likely been with her from birth and, due to its location, was inoperable.
“She was a little scared,” said her mom, Shea. “She had a lot of questions. She couldn't quite figure it out, because nobody in our family has ever had cancer…. I was in a fog for about two weeks.”
Caitlyn was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; they arrived by ambulance in the middle of the night.
“It was dark. We couldn't see anything. But I remember the next day, a Saturday, they were doing the race in September [the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer]. And I remember just thinking, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ Just to see that, and all the people supporting.”
Clearly, this was someplace special.
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
At Jude, Caitlyn began a treatment program that includes chemotherapy and proton therapy. Even if she’d rather be home playing with her siblings and going to church, Caitlyn has bonded with her care team. “She loves her nurses. Both inpatient and outpatient nurses,” said Shea.
“They’re fun,” said Caitlyn. “They get me.”
She enjoys her doctor, too. “He's funny, and gives me a lot of good reports,” she said.
“He just kinda makes that experience a little bit more relaxed,” explained Shea. “She's the kid who has a lot of anxiety and worries a whole lot. So between him and the nurses, they have really helped.”
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