In the latest episode of her YouTube series, Isabella, 19, arrives at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina to begin chemotherapy
On Wednesday, the 19-year-old student and model posted the sixth installment of her YouTube series, where she's been sharing her health journey after having emergency surgery last October to remove a large medulloblastoma — a type of malignant tumor — in her cerebellum.
In the vlog, Isabella is in North Carolina at the Duke University Hospital Cancer Center laying in a bed preparing for surgery to get her chemotherapy port placed. The device will be surgically implanted and attached to a vein in her upper chest area in order for healthcare providers to draw blood and give treatments without a needle stick.
“So I’m getting my port placed today, which is a device that goes on your chest for administering chemo, getting my blood drawn, all that fun stuff,” Isabella said sarcastically. “I’m not excited.”
The college student then prepares to get an IV, admitting that it’s “not my fav” and “something I don’t want to do.” She sweetly asked for a countdown before her doctors inserted the needle, taking a deep breath and squeezing a stress ball.
“It didn’t hurt that bad,” she said after visibly wincing through the pain of the needle.
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However, Isabella’s IV didn’t stay in and she had to go through the entire process again.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find my veins, so they had to bring in an ultrasound to see where they are,” she said. “Glad that’s over.”
Isabella’s vlog then showed her taking a break during the day and playing cards with her aunt as she prepared for more tests and treatment. She explained that it’s been a difficult day as she continues to keep a smile on her face.
“I’m waiting for a kidney test. It’s blood draws at specific times so I’m killing time,” she explained.
“Busy day,” she continued. “I got an IV put in for this kidney thing…never fun. Healing from my port surgery…not fun at all. I now have a wire in my chest. They just put radioactive dye in my body and then I have a blood draw, and then an EKG, then I have another blood draw, then I have an MRI. So it’s a busy day.”
Isabella told her mother that her neck really hurts and her chest is sore from getting the port placement surgery.
“Not the most fun,” she said in the clip.
Isabella first shared her diagnosis during a segment on Good Morning America alongside her dad. She was diagnosed with the condition in October after she started experiencing headaches — which she initially attributed to vertigo — during her freshman year at the University of Southern California.
“I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, couldn't walk straight,” the teenager told Robin Roberts. 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.
Doctors discovered Isabella had developed a fast-growing, 4-centimeter tumor, larger than a golf ball, in the back of her brain. She underwent emergency surgery at Cedars-Sinai to remove the mass on Oct. 27, a day before her 19th birthday.
Following her surgery, Isabella underwent several rounds of radiation treatment, as well as a month of rehabilitation. "I got to ring the bell yesterday," she told cancer survivor Roberts, 63. "It was great. It was very exciting because it's been a long 30 sessions, six weeks."
She has since been documenting her journey in her YouTube series, which she started to benefit Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center.
"It's been like, two months of keeping it quiet, which is definitely difficult. I don't wanna hide it anymore 'cause it's hard to always keep in," Isabella said on GMA. "I hope to just kind of be a voice, and be [someone] who maybe [those who] are going through chemotherapy or radiation can look at."
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