What started when 10-year-old Sophie Caulton “accidentally” vomited during a holiday abroad has turned into a health ordeal that has left her mother “sad” even though the little girl was “still right in front of you.” .
Since the first episode of illness in New Zealand in January, Sophie became increasingly ill over the course of four months.
“At first it was just random vomiting in the morning,” Andrea Caulton, Sophie’s mother, told 7NEWS.com.au.
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“Then the vomiting would become more frequent and she would be sick for more parts of the day.
“When she started having headaches and said her vision was blurry and the floor was getting “shaky,” we asked for an MRI.”
After health authorities in her Gold Coast hometown “couldn’t figure it out” and suggested she may have been suffering from stomach problems, her parents rushed her to Brisbane’s Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) in a desperate search for answers.
At QCH, doctors immediately agreed to give Sophie an MRI scan, much to the relief of Andrea and her husband Mathew.
Less than two hours later, Mathew and Sophie were taken to a private room and given a diagnosis: a pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumor.
“The way they explained it was that she had a stone in her head and that stone was disrupting the flow – the water flow of the river – and making her sick,” Mathew said.
Days later, Sophie underwent surgery to remove the tumor.
This part of her treatment was a success. The tumor was benign and was completely removed, so it is unlikely to cause her any problems in the future.
“She came out of surgery and when she woke up she could talk,” Andrea said.
“Everything seemed fine. She even looked good.”
However, Sophie suffered from a syndrome known as posterior fossa – a rare and little-known side effect of brain surgery – which is believed to have occurred when she had a drain removed from her head days after the initial operation.
When she woke up from this procedure, she was unable to speak and had lost her fine motor skills.
For the next two months she could only communicate with a thumbs up. Your language and motor skills are slowly returning.
“Their language is slow. And the tone of her voice is completely different. “That doesn’t sound like our daughter,” Andrea said.
“She was able to walk independently. She wobbles and her balance is quite off.”
Sophie continues to undergo physical, speech, occupational and vision therapies as she eases back into school.
However, due to a lack of knowledge about Posterior Fosser Syndrome, it remains unclear to what extent Sophie will recover.
“It’s completely different now. You’re grieving for your child, but it’s still right in front of you,” Andrea said.
“Navigation is very difficult. You hope a little, but at some point you have to accept that this is the new Sophie.
“With the posterior cranial fossa, you don’t know. Every brain is different, every child is different.”
With the family’s life “unhinged” by an ordeal the likes of which one could never imagine, Andrea is buoyed by the support of Sophie’s school friends.
It was a girl, Sadie Selling hats decorated with the phrase “You know the drill,” one of Sophie’s favorite sayings.
“For a 10-year-old to miss her friend so much and then come up with an idea to help her and put that idea into action… It’s just incredible that a 10-year-old would do that for her friend. “said Andrea.
“It really helped her recovery a lot.”
A GoFundMe was founded to support the Caulton family.