Doctors thought this 11-year-old girl was pregnant but it was something much more sinister
Cherish-Rose Lavelle lost over 14 kgs in the span of just two months. Fearing the worst, her mother took her to the doctors and came to realize her worst nightmare.
The case of an 11-year-old girl from Queensland, Australia had doctors dumbstruck. Primary schooler Cherish-Rose Lavelle had a mass inside her body that was so big, that medical professionals mistook it for being pregnant; except, it would turn out to be something much more sinister: a 10-kg tumor.
Her mother Louise realized that something was amiss when her daughter began shedding weight at a rapid pace. Fearing the worst, she took Cherish-Rose to the doctor for a medical checkup and examination, but a solution was not to be in reach.
Speaking to the Fraser Coast Chronicle, Louise said: "You always hear of families going through similar things but you never think it'll happen to you. I was in Hervey Bay with my business on Friday and she said to me she was tired all the time and lethargic. She was in a lot of pain, so the next day I took her to the doctors."
She was then transferred to a hospital in Hervey Bay and sent to Brisbane by plane so she could get the medical attention she deserved. After further testing and a slew of procedures, doctors found that the not-yet-teen had an alarming 10-kg tumor growing on her ovaries.
The tumor was the result of an aggressive germ-cell cancer that was reportedly causing Cherish-Rose a lot of pain and had come to affect her personality as well. Her mom says that her daughter once boasted of a bubbly and cheerful personality and that it deteriorated as the tumor worsened.
Talking about the personality changes, Louise said: "Over the last two months, I noticed my little girl had changed and was not the normal, happy singing little girl. She's very theatrical and has lots of personality but then all of a sudden she was always tired and didn't seem as happy."
She told 9Honey: "It wasn't like her. She got picked on at various schools for being chubby. Not a lot, just enough for her to tell me, 'I really need to lose weight, Mummy.' I'd say, 'It's okay darling, it's just baby fat' — we had mother and daughter talks like that. But this was different."
She continued: "She was just not eating. Her arms were really narrow, her little legs were getting skinny, but she had this big swollen belly. And I thought, what is going on?"
By Christmas, Cherish-Rose had grown considerably weak and suspecting anorexia, her mother had booked a counselor. Then came the stomach and back pains and Ms. Lavelle took her daughter to the first available doctor who then sent them to the Hervey Bay emergency ward.
It's surprising to find such a cancer in a girl of Cherish-Rose's age, and doctors and parents both except treatment to mean that she will miss either a large chunk or the entirety of sixth grade, which she was eagerly looking to start this year.
However, the family has been informed that chemotherapy will shrink the massive tumor quickly and that Cherish-Rose can then undergo a surgery to have it removed from her body. Louise said: "She had a procedure to make an opening for the chemo to go into rather than it going into her arms."
"The chemo will shrink the tumor rapidly in two weeks so it can be removed," adding that once the tumor is removed, Cherish-Rose will undergo further chemotherapy for another four to six months to ensure that cancer does not come back.
"It made my heart happy when I heard the news. Although she still has a long journey ahead, it's comforting to know she has a huge chance and she'll go back to the bubbly and happy girl she was before," she added.
Talking to Daily Mail Australia about her daughter's condition, her mom said: "This morning she was bright and smiling but now, she is very down. She's not feeling great," adding that she would have to let go of the reins of her op-shop business so she can spend the next few months taking care of her daughter in the hospital.
Her mother admits that when she first noticed her daughter shedding the pounds, she assumed it was down to an eating disorder, saying: "This is something I want parents to be aware of as I thought she was suffering an eating disorder from being bullied for being overweight."
Speaking about how she was confused on how to deal with her daughter's situation initially, she said: "She suddenly lost 14-15 kg and I started to demand food into her because I was frightened and then when the pain started in her belly and back I was clueless."
She then talked about how it was difficult to swallow the fact that her daughter had cancer, saying: "When I was told she had cancer, I couldn't stop crying, it broke my heart. Now I've been told that it is curable so I'm relieved. Now my life has changed, nothing else matters at all."
Louise says she hasn't told her daughter that she has cancer and that she relogiously avoids using the word around her. However, when someone left a local newspaper near the bed and Cherish-Rose confronted her mom about it, she was left with little choice.
She said: "I didn't say yes or no. I can't lie to her. I've just told her it's a germ-cell tumour: a very big lump we've got to shrink. I'm not even mentioning that to her at this point. It's day by day with her at the moment."
Louise has been fighting battles on other fronts as well. She said that she recently discovered that the manager in her shop was abusing her role and power through fraud and that because of the situation, she had to let her and several others go. A shortage of staff will do little to ease her mind in what is already a stressful and testing time.
But overall, it's a happy outlook. She said: "She'll lose her hair and have to go through all of the yucky stuff. But she has the support of her family and friends and the amount of support from the community has been incredible."
"I'm still trying to get my head around it. Our life is going to be here."
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