The miraculous recovery of one 11-year-old Texas girl diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor left doctors perplexed. Now, only months later after receiving the terrible verdict, little Roxli Doss is back to being her old joyful, active self.
It was back in June when, following several tests and screenings, Roxli was told she was suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG. This is a rare and particularly aggressive type of cancer that develops within the brain stem.
For the majority of cases, surgery is not an option. Its position among nerve cells makes any operation highly risky, potentially leaving patients with nerve damage. Radiation and chemotherapy can only reduce symptoms, which include decreased ability to swallow and talk, sometimes loss of vision and even difficulty with breathing.
Pediatric cases of DIPG have a median overall survival rate ranging from 8 to 11 months. With such prospects, the family was naturally devastated, yet grasped at every little piece of hope.
Roxli underwent weeks of radiation courses, staying strong and never complaining. In the end, it seemed everyone’s prayers were heard. Follow-up MRI scans were unable to detect any trace of cancer. This took everybody by surprise, especially since doctors at Dell Children’s, Texas Children’s, at Dana-Farber, at John Hopkins, and MD Anderson, all agreed it was DIPG.
Little Roxli will need to have regular check-ups and be closely monitored. While the experience she went through will always be with her, at least now she can resume having a normal childhood.
Inspirational stories like these are important reminders that sometimes the unexpected or the unlikely can still happen.