A 4-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor has survived Christmas thanks to an unexpected turn of events.
When parents Matt and Erin Tietjen found out their daughter needed treatment for anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare type of brain tumor, they decided to take her to Disney World in Florida to fulfill their daughter’s final wish.
The family told Inside Edition that as they were preparing to board the plane back, Lina’s condition suddenly worsened and she needed emergency surgery. They rushed her to a hospital and were told by doctors that the tumor had doubled in size.
But Dr. Samer K. Elbabaa gave them unexpected hope. He said the tumor’s location had shifted, and suggested radical surgery.
“They told us in the very beginning that if we did the procedure on the tumor that it would be devastating to her. It could kill her immediately or it could cause just significant damage to her,” said Lina’s mother Erin, according to Inside Edition.
— Florida Paratrooper (@kjross1970) December 29, 2017
But the tumor had shifted, meaning that the operation could take place, Fox News reported.
“He [Dr. Elbabaa] had told us that because of where the tumor had shifted to, that it probably was something where he could get in and operate,” Matt Tietjen said to the news outlet. “His estimate initially was 50 to 70 percent of the total tumor could possibly be removed.”
Elbabaa reportedly managed to remove about 90 percent of the tumor, giving Lina a new lease of life, and more options for treatment.
“What this does buy us is time with her and time to pursue all different courses of treatment,” said Erin Tietjen.
She felt that the trip to Florida was meant to be.
“When we first got the diagnosis, that very, very first day back in November in the room, the first question I asked, strangely enough, was, ‘When can I take her to Disney World?’ I don’t know why I thought it, it just popped out of my mouth and I look back on that and I think there is a miracle in Florida for us,” Erin said, according to Fox News.
Erin described the experience as a “Christmas miracle.”
“Dr. Elbabaa, I think he might actually be an angel,” she said to Inside Edition. “I really do think that our Christmas miracle was meeting him.”