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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Michele Gigliotti

Alli Beckas presented in status epilepticus at age five and was termed idiopathic. She had her first brain surgery at age 13 at CHP due to a new neurologist recommending another MRI. It was misdx as cortical dyplasia. I asked that her slides be sent to Penn Medicine and took alli to Cleveland Clinic. Alli had difficulty learning like my son. She did well but I was a single mom and worked and went to school and had to reteach her all over. Her migraines with vomiting and paresthesias in the extremities made us frequent flyers in the ER. Children’s stopped following her due to age and she was followed at Mercy. Her MRI was misdx by her neurologist and her GI dr caught the Radiologist recommendation. When I saw infiltration I knew we were dealing with a tumor and not cortical dysplasia. We jumped into action. She had burr hole surgery and Dr Monaco and Dr Drappatz pulled her slides from her first surgery and stained it. It was a tumor at age 13. After burr hole it showed it was now am Astrocytoma WHO 2. She rec’d brain surgery without total resection due to the mass being in the right frontal insular region. We then went to Penn Medicine and rec’d proton therapy for six weeks. We did not miss a day even though 3 nor’easter with our train breaking and me hitching her and I a ride to the hospital. She then started chemo at Hillman. It was very difficult. She developed DVT’s put on anticoagulants and hemorrhaged. She had emergency surgery and then put on Lovenox. She had many transfusions and developed Grave’s disease and had to have thyroid ablation. She was in ICU and hospitalized many times due to low blood counts, vomiting and given fluids. She finally reached remission and got occular shingles which lasted 8 months. Her eye still has ptosis and following a corneal specialist at Eye and Ear. I have my daughter. She is a warrior. As a mom this cancer has broke me but she has such resiliency.