Bella is our 15-year-old daughter who loves her family, friends, Jesus, dancing, playing tennis, baking, cooking, music, and performing.
On 2/4/22, after weeks of complaining about blurred vision, Bella fell upstairs in our hallway, which resulted in a trip to Urgent Care.
During a thorough exam by a very competent and caring doctor, it was determined that a CT scan was needed to dig deeper into these odd side effects.
A CT scan at our local Children’s Hospital revealed a mass on the left part of her brain. We were admitted to the hospital that evening for further testing.
The following day a head, neck, and spine MRI revealed a 2x2cm tumor in the left cerebellum of Bella’s brain. We immediately met with our team of doctors at O’Shei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo and scheduled brain surgery to remove the tumor on 2/8/2022.
By God’s direction and gifting, he led Bella’s surgeon, Dr. Li (a fellow believer in Christ), and his team to successfully remove what has now been identified as a medulloblastoma brain tumor. The great news is that the tumor was entirely removed, and it did not spread, which was confirmed again by a spinal tap and post-surgery MRI.
Although the surgery was an extreme success, this type of tumor needs to be treated aggressively to ensure that the tumor doesn’t return. There are two types of distinctions of medulloblastomas; high risk and standard risk. Bella is considered a standard risk because the tumor was fully removed and is non-metastatic, meaning it didn’t spread.
Standard risk treatment includes a regimen of both radiation and chemotherapy. We need to be so aggressive with treatment due to the location of her tumor.
After speaking with our local oncologist, Tiffany and I determined that we wanted to explore some additional options to treat Bella. We were introduced to a radiation therapy called proton beam radiation therapy, which is widely considered a safer option for cranial and spinal radiation, especially in adolescents. Unfortunately, our local cancer hospital in Buffalo doesn’t have access to this therapy, so we needed to look in other areas.
As God has done so much during this trial, he provided us with a new friend and contact of my sister (Christina) that was able to connect us to a team of doctors at New York University Langone Hospital that offers proton beam radiation therapy. After a few tense weeks of 2nd opinions and meetings with multiple cancer hospitals in the North East, we decided on moving forward with our doctors at NYU to lead our ongoing therapy care.
Our doctors work with a proton beam therapy center called ProCure in Somerset, NJ. On 3/8/22, Bella started her first of thirty proton beam radiation treatments in Somerset, NJ. Her treatment is Monday-Friday for six weeks. Our family has relocated to Central New Jersey to settle in and create a comfortable environment for Bella to receive her treatment.
We are blessed to have found a beautiful residential community to live in that has all of the amenities and serenity to be able to relax and rest in between treatments.
We know God has a very special plan for Bella and all of us throughout this trial. We steadfastly believe that God will move this mountain for Bella and use this for His glory and His good!
I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.
Luke 6:47-48 NLT
A note from Bella's dad, Jason:
Thank you for visiting bellasbattle.org.
I created the site to make sure that all people looking to pray, support, and follow Bella's journey have the opportunity to do so. We believe in the power of prayer and know God listens to His people.
I, along with my wife Tiffany (and sometimes even Bella), plan to provide updates on Bella's treatments, condition, and general insight into how she and the rest of our family are navigating our journey. We'll also be sharing faith-driven inspiration that has helped us during this time of struggle.
We are all looking for the hope that can only be found in Faith in Jesus! We are in the middle of a storm, but we are standing firm on our rock, Jesus Chris as our Lord and Savior! Luke 6:48
Thank you for your prayers.
-Jason, Tiffany, Bella, and Julianna