Eleven years tumor free! My story


Olivia Oescher

Olivia Oescher out to eat with her family at a restaraunt.

Did you ever think that something so tragic would happen to you but in the end it would make you even stronger? I’m here to tell you my story of how a devastating event made me the person I am today. And it all starts in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when I was just four years old.

Everything goes back to one strange day back in the beginning of September when I was four. That morning it was the same as usual but something seemed off to me and I didn’t know what it was. My mom was helping me get ready for preschool and she had noticed that I was putting my shoes on the wrong feet and scooting down the stairs on my bottom. She really didn’t think anything about it except for the fact that I wanted her attention. At that time, she was taking care of my new baby sister and spending more time with her than me, so she just assumed that attention-seeking was in fact exactly what I was attempting. When I made it to preschool we started playing a game where we had to find something the teacher had hidden in the room. When it came to my turn, the teacher had noticed that something was off because the object was right next to me on my left side and I still didn’t find it. The teacher called my mom and told her that she thought I wasn’t seeing right. After that, my parents proceeded to take me to the nearest eye doctor to look at me. At that time I didn’t understand what was happening, but all I knew was that my mom was really worried about something. The eye doctor looked at me and told my parents to go straight to the Children’s Hospital. My parents did what they were told but still didn’t know what was wrong except that my sight was less than perfect. We finally reached the hospital and the doctor examined me. He then went to my parents with the startling news that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor called Craniopharyngioma and that they would have to operate before the next day or I would be fully blind in both eyes. I was so scared and confused about what the doctors were doing to me and what was happening, but before I knew it, I was off to sleep.

 I remember waking up feeling drowsy, dizzy and very confused as to why some of my hair was cut off. When I saw my parents, they explained to me what happened as best as they could and told me that I only lost sight in my left eye. The reason for losing sight in my left eye is because when the doctors took the tumor out it damaged the nerve of my left eye leaving me without vision through the eye. The tumor had also destroyed my pituitary gland, which is why I take the medicine to control what the pituitary gland would do. One of the hardest things without this gland is that I have to be careful around someone who is sick because I can get sick too, but have the symptoms ten times worse. After the surgery I had to do MRI’s every couple of months to check if the tumor had come back. The reason for checking is that it could come back and take away my vision in the right eye. About two years later after my surgery my tumor had returned. The doctors were afraid to operate again because it was too soon for another surgery. My doctor decided to do radiation. I had never even heard about this before and it made me nervous. It turned out to be not that bad and all I had to do was lay still on this table while a machine spun around me.

Laying on that table with the machine spinning around me I would listen to the song called “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus which says The struggles I’m facing, The chances I’m taking, Sometimes might knock me down but, No I’m not breaking. I may not know it, But these are the moments that I’m going to remember most. It would help me push through. When it was all done I did feel a little tired, but that was all. I had to do this process each day for thirty days straight. 

Ever since, the the tumor has not returned, but I still have to go for yearly MRI’s just to check. I recently just went for my latest MRI and I am excited to say this one marks eleven years clear! And even though I have been tumor-free for a long time, I still have to take the medication I was given from day one. Throughout my journey I have had many struggles and even wanted to give up at times, but I continued to push through. I have learned throughout this process that it has made me even stronger and more brave from going through these things. Without these medical conditions I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I am very lucky to be here now and share my story with others.