Little Girl's Rare Brain Tumor Leaves Doctors Stumped After It Completely Disappears
While I was on my honeymoon many years ago, I learned that my dad had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
It was a glioblastoma, the most common kind of primary malignant brain tumor. Median survival rates stood around 18 months, and doctors didn’t hold out a lot of hope for him.
He lived for almost six years after diagnosis and didn’t end up dying from the disease. Though physicians are usually right, they were off on their timetable with my dad.
A group of doctors have also struggled to understand what is happening with a young girl from Hays County, Texas. According to KENS, 11-year-old Roxli Doss was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in June.
It’s a brain tumor that’s every bit as nasty as it sounds. The medical community didn’t expect Roxli to last long.
“It is very rare, but when we see it, it is a devastating disease,” Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Dr. Virginia Harrod said. “You have decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk, eventually difficulty with breathing.”
Believe it or not, that description actually undersells how nasty the disease can be. In a 2012 paper published in “Frontiers in Oncology,” Katherine E. Warren wrote, “Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) are amongst the most challenging tumors to treat.
“Surgery is not an option, the effects of radiation therapy are temporary, and no chemotherapeutic agent has demonstrated significant efficacy. … The median survival for children with DIPG is less than 1 year from diagnosis, and no improvement in survival has been realized in more than three decades.”
Despite the terminal diagnosis, Roxli’s community rallied around her and threw a fundraiser for her care.
She also underwent weeks of radiation. Then her parents did they only thing they could: They got on their knees and began to pray for a miracle.
“And we got it,” her mother, Gina Doss, said. “Praise God, we did,” her dad, Scott Doss, added.
That’s not hyperbole or exaggeration. Roxli quite literally experienced a miraculous healing.
As part of her treatment, doctors put her through numerous scans. The most recent MRIs show no tumor — none at all.
“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable,” Harrod said. “The tumor is undetectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.”
You might think that the whole thing was just a misdiagnosis. But Scott Doss said, “At Dell Children’s, Texas Children’s, at Dana-Farber, at John Hopkins, and MD Anderson, all agreed it was DIPG.”
Doctors are carefully monitoring Roxli and put her on immunotherapy as a safeguard. For her part, the 11-year-old is just happy to be back riding horses once again.
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