A Pennsylvania teen who found out she had the most deadly form of brain cancer when she was seven-and-a-half-months pregnant delivered a healthy baby girl on Jan. 4.
On Dec. 10, 2017, Dana Scatton, a college freshman in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor, a deadly form of brain cancer.
Just one month before her diagnosis, she began to feel symptoms, but she thought they had to do with her pregnancy.
“I was really overtired,” Dana, who turns 18 on Jan. 12, told The Daily Advertiser. “But things kept getting worse. I was forgetting to swallow and my speech got weird. Then my legs started not responding to things — when I would walk, my legs would drag. That’s when I really got concerned.”
At the emergency room, an MRI revealed she had a 2.3-centimeter brain tumor, which turned out to be cancerous.
On Dec. 12, she went with her mother, Lenore Scatton, to discuss plans for treatment with doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was then that she asked Dr. Jean Belasco, a pediatric oncologist, what the survival rate was — and she was told “there is none.”
“It was a lot to take in, but we prayed and thanked God in the office that day,” Lenore said.
When Dana returned to the hospital a week before Christmas, she told her doctors that she wanted to hold off on radiation treatment until she delivered her baby. But her symptoms became so debilitating, that she was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day and had to immediately start radiation to help alleviate her symptoms.
“I feel like God just directed the doctors to help decide what I should do,” Dana told the outlet. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start radiation without having the baby because I didn’t want it to hurt her. But I couldn’t decide what to do — it was too hard.”
Her baby girl, whom she named Aries Marie, was born eight days after she began radiation. Doctors confirmed that the treatment didn’t harm her 4 lb., 6 oz. daughter.
“I am just the most proudest mother ever,” Dana wrote in an emotional Facebook post after the birth of her baby. “She honestly is stronger than me and I mean that. God has been working wonders in my life and has been carrying us to the victory line. This battle already has been won.”
Despite knowing that there is no cure for her disease, Dana finds joy in caring for her new baby girl.
“God has been taking care of so much,” she told The Daily Advertiser. “Like with the whole radiation thing, I was so worried about the baby, but when I was in there, I felt like he was holding my belly. I feel like I am just going along with him. My choice is to trust God with everything.”
The experience has also given her a new outlook on the short life she’s been able to live.
“It was such a wake-up call,” Dana said. “Getting death thrown in your face … it’s so real. It really shows you what’s true. This world doesn’t matter, it’s temporary, you know? When I found out, I immediately let the world go. It’s like, that doesn’t matter anymore. We have to look at the eternal life. We all think we have so much time … honestly, I feel thankful that I have this time to wake up and realize what’s right. And I want everybody to see that. Even though others didn’t get the news that I did, I want them to wake up. I feel blessed that I have this time to make things right — others don’t get that time — death happens in the blink of an eye.”
A GoFundMe page has also been created to help with Dana’s medical and treatment expenses.