Cheryl Christina Andrianus

A Journey of Fighting Against Teratoma Brain Tumor

Cheryl is a sweet 14 year old girl who is always cheerful and carried her positive-mind.

It all started on Chinese New Year 2015 during school holidays. Cheryl decided to take herself to a dentist to repair her braces and remove one of her extra tooth that was on a misplaced position.

2 days later, she felt something wrong with her eyes that everything looked so blurry and it makes her head spin till she barely walk. She thought maybe she’s been too hard for school, so she initiatively took a paracetamol and painkiller, then everything seems just fine.

Few hours later, it all started again with much worse pain. She vomited due to unbearable pain of headache and her eyeballs can’t be move nor rotate. We directly visited 2 eye doctors in Jakarta but they can’t figure out why her eyes are stuck. They said there is something wrong with the neurons, thus we are referred to visit the neurologist for further medication.

We were so disappointed yet confused with the response from the neurologist, he said that Cheryl was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which is lack of calcium in her bones. Cheryl received a very long prescription in which we think is not suitable at all.

So with all our doubts, the whole family decided to take her for medical check in Singapore. First day, she was been proceeded to do a MRI and the next day went through blood-test. The result shows that the liquid in her brain does not flow and later diagnosed with a brain-tumor. This came as a shock to our entire family and the last thing that we could imagine was for our little sister to have brain cancer.

We were faced with difficult choices, with her condition that gets worse. Within days, she went through an operation to drain off the fluid from her head because apparently the tumor caused obstruction to the flow of fluid in her head. The tumor was also pressing against her visual nerves, hence the blurred vision. At the same time, doctor did a biopsy. We were hoping that it would be Germinoma, however the result was a Mixed Germ Cell (MGC). A malignant tumor (benign) that consists of Immature Teratoma and Pineoblastoma.

The only way to remove the tumor was through cranial surgery. Our family were totally not prepared, so we look for options and other opinions. We agreed to take Cheryl on chemotherapy, hoping that the treatment could shrink her tumor

After 5 cycles of chemotherapy, Cheryl was showing an improvement. She was cheerful, she got physically stronger and we were all convinced that her tumor must have considerably shrunk if not totally gone. However scans showed otherwise. After discussing with the whole family, we agreed that Cheryl require surgery if the tumor stays the same, and it would be best placed in the hands of the expert.

3rd August, The Pre-Surgery MRI was done early morning and still hoping that the tumor had gone. Much to our dismay, the neurologist told us that the tumor has grown doubled in size, meaning that the surgery will be riskier and more dangerous. The operation was estimated about 5-6 hours time. Nothing much that we can say, but praying for her best while she cries and wave slowly before going for operation.

6 hours passed, three doctors from OT come to tell that Cheryl needs more time for the surgery. Another 6 hours later, the doctors told us that the surgery went well. Cheryl’s entire tumor was surgically removed, with no bleeding, and the vitals are all stable.

Cheryl woke up within 48 hours and no drowsiness and this time she is able to recognize us. No memory loss, no stroke. The neurosurgeon said her prognosis was good.

After 3 week recuperation in hospital, today, Cheryl was discharged. We can see her improvement day by day, though gradual, there’s always something to celebrate daily. From the day she started the tube-feeding(NGT), the day her voice became clearer, the day she asked to try eating by herself, the day she ask for a walk, the day she come with us and eat normally (she is no longer fed via tube as I write this). We thank God for her second lease of life…