When Helia was 12 years old, her mother began to notice she was always very thirsty and drinking more water than usual. It got to the point that Helia was losing sleep due to all the weight she gained, so her mother decided to consult with a specialist. It wasn’t until she took Helia to the emergency room at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital that they noticed she was presenting symptoms of endocrine dysfunction. Once an MRI scan was performed, the doctors determined there was a tumor in the pituitary area, which is right behind the eyes.
The tumor was inoperable, but thanks to the multidisciplinary team at Nicklaus Children’s, the doctors came up with a treatment plan that consisted of four chemotherapy sessions followed by close monitoring of future MRI scans to determine that the tumor was shrinking.
"Unfortunately, children who have the same diagnosis, but go to other centers where there is no multidisciplinary team, end up getting unnecessary surgeries or treatments that are not appropriate. Nicklaus Children’s has the only pediatric neuro-oncology multidisciplinary program in South Florida,” said Zaid A. Khatib, MD, Director, Neuro-oncology Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Thanks to the medical expertise at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Helia is now a healthy high school student who continues to attend regular routine check-ups to monitor her condition.