NFL great Michael Strahan has been able to maneuver and transition well into seemingly every aspect of his life. From transitioning from the football field to being on a talk show, to co-hosting one of America’s most beloved morning shows on Good Morning America, Strahan has been able to smoothly move into the next phase. But this latest phase in his life completely caught him and his daughter Isabella, off guard.
In an interview with anchor Robin Roberts, the father-daughter duo shared that Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the fall.
Isabella is one of Strahan’s four kids. The former NFL star has two older children — Tanita, 32, and Michael Jr., 29 — with his first wife Wanda Hutchins, before he welcomed Isabella and her twin sister Sophia with his second wife, Jean Muggli.
In her interview with GMA, Isabella said she first began experiencing symptoms of her brain tumor while beginning her freshman year at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “I didn’t notice anything was off ’til probably like Oct. 1,” she said. “That’s when I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, couldn’t walk straight.”
Doctors told Isabella that she had developed a fast-growing 4-centimeter tumor – larger than a golf ball – in the back of her brain, according to the interview. Isabella is now undergoing treatment.
After Isabella originally shrugged it off as vertigo, her condition took a turn for the worse on Oct. 25, when she woke up in the early hours of the morning “throwing up blood.” Her family encouraged her to seek immediate medical attention.
Explained Michael, “That was when we decided, ‘You need to really go get a thorough checkup.’ And thank goodness for the doctor. I feel like this doctor saved her life because she was thorough enough to say, ‘Let’s do the full checkup.’”
Medulloblastoma is a primary central nervous system (CNS) tumor. This means it begins in the brain or spinal cord. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of cancerous brain tumor in children.
It commonly strikes children between 5 and 9 years of age and is rare in people over 30. Outcomes are better when the medulloblastoma appears in children older than five years and when the tumor is diagnosed early. But in Isabella’s case since it was caught late and it was “fast-growing,” doctors had to act quickly.
Symptoms of a Medulloblastoma
- Nighttime or morning headache
- Gait (walking) problems or ataxia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double vision
- Head bobbing
- Nystagmus (an abnormal, side-to-side movement of the eyes)
- Lethargy or confusion
- Hydrocephalus due to obstruction of normal cerebrospinal fluid circulation
A medulloblastoma may appear similar to other kinds of brain tumors. After surgery, a pathologist can examine the tumor cells under a microscope and make a definitive diagnosis.
To see if the medulloblastoma has spread, the doctor may recommend a lumbar puncture to test your child’s cerebrospinal fluid for cancer cells.
Treatment for medulloblastoma focuses on removing as much of the tumor as safely possible and relieving pressure in…