Cancer exposes childhood brain tumor patient to a world of art

When 5-year old Kloe Ponce started having severe headaches and experiencing sensitivity to bright lights and sounds, her family never suspected it was a childhood brain tumor. Kloe’s mom sought answers during visits to urgent care centers and hospital emergency rooms near her home in Corpus Christi, Texas. “We knew something was wrong, but we followed recommendations to change her diet, increase her fluid intake and even monitor her blood sugar,” says Kloe’s mom, Maryjessie Soliz. But the episodes continued. Maryjessie voiced her concerns again at Kloe’s 7-year checkup. The pediatrician reviewed her chart and discovered that her growth was stunted. “He told me that Kloe had stopped growing, and she was the same size as a 4-year-old,” Maryjessie recalls. A childhood brain tumor diagnosis This discovery, combined with Kloe’s aggressive headaches, prompted the pediatrician to refer the family to a neurologist for testing. An MRI revealed a mass in her brain — a germinoma brain tumor. The tumor was wrapped around her pituitary gland, which was affecting her growth. “It was scary to learn my child had a brain tumor, but a relief to finally have an answer after almost two years,” Maryjessie says. “When the headaches came, it was like her body would shut down, and we didn’t know why.” In October 2016, Kloe underwent a craniotomy to remove the tumor. Because of the tumor’s location, doctors couldn’t remove it all. They recommended radiation therapy to kill the rest of the tumor. Childhood brain tumor treatment at MD Anderson When Maryjessie began looking at radiation therapy options, several medical professionals and friends recommended MD Anderson. Though she...