Eye infections amongst other mild infections are rather common with young children. Young kids have a weaker immune system than adults which make them easier targets for infections such as conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis in itself is not serious. It can be treated using eye drops and doesn’t take long to be healed.
This is why it’s not surprising to hear that when Paul and Gaylene Robson’s daughter Stella was diagnosed with conjunctivitis, they didn’t give the matter a second thought.
Stella was prescribed with some of the usual antibiotics. The doctor informed her parents that her infection would be healed within a few days after taking the antibiotics and applying the antiseptic cream.
However, the eye infection did not go. In fact, it was getting worse by the day. Little Stella’s eyelids became so swollen and red that she could barely open them.
The good old instinct of a mother encouraged her mum Gaylene to seek a second opinion after her daughter’s eye infection seemed to be escalating. She took Stella to see an ophthalmologist. Following her examination, Stella was referred for an emergency CT scan at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The CT scan revealed that Stella did not have an infection but a tumour that was growing in between her brain and eyes. This form of cancer is known as histiocytosis.
“The tumour was growing into the orbital bone, the bone that surrounds the eye… it was roughly 1.5 cm and shaped like a bell,” Gaylene said.
Her little girl had to be operated on through a complex surgery to remove the tumour. The surgeons were thankfully able to remove the tumour without causing any damage to her eyes and brain.
Stella then had to undertake an additional 12 sessions of chemotherapy to ensure that no traces of the cancer remained.
Her dad Paul said: “It was the most nerve-wrecking time of my life, the word cancer, tumour, didn’t mean anything to [Stella], to an adult it’s a conversation stopper, but she just takes it in her stride.”
After a year of ongoing maintenance chemo sessions, brave little Stella was finally cleared completely by medics.
“We’re really happy,” added Paul, “and hopefully it continues.”
We are so happy to hear that Stella has managed to beat cancer. Always make sure that if you are in doubt to get a second opinion. Your gut feeling is usually right.