On July 27, 2018, at the age of 7 and after a couple of months with a headache, Hannah had an MRI and was diagnosed with a ping pong ball sized tumor on her brainstem. She underwent a 6 hour brain surgery to remove most of the tumor and then, due to a complication while putting a drain in her back, she had to have another surgery in which they cut out a part of her backbone to fix the problem, and then had it stapled back together. This recovery was very painful and she ended up getting an infection which required another hospital stay and surgery number 3 in less than 2 months. In October, her follow-up MRI of her brain showed that her tumor had grown and had infiltrated her brainstem. Hannah and her parents met with the oncologists, and it was decided that she begin a year-long chemotherapy treatment. Surgery was scheduled for Hannah to have a port placed in her chest through which she would receive her chemo medicines and have blood drawn. When her parents told Hannah about her needing to have another surgery, Hannah paused for a minute, took a deep breath, and then said, “That’s okay. Boys dig scars!”
Hannah has completed 6 of 12 rounds of chemotherapy and smiles through it all. The future is a little unknown at this point, but Hannah and her family are committed to facing it with optimism. The hope is that the chemotherapy will stop the growth and possibly shrink the tumors in Hannah’s brain. It will be a long, hard battle, but Hannah is a fighter. After all, she is Hannah Banana Strong!