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  • 4 Years Old

  • Retinoblastoma in right eye

This precious girl with the sweet smile and darling little curls is Jocelyn. On her third birthday, her parents noticed what appeared to be a glare in her right eye. They thought maybe they were imagining it, but both saw it and knew they needed to get her to the pediatrician. The pediatrician referred them to The Thomas Eye Group for a comprehensive examination. They were quickly told that there were atypical cells in her eye and that she needed to see a specialist right away. After seeing the specialist, they were told she had a mass in her eye. They referred her to Dr. Hubbard who is well known for retinal care. After this third examination, they finally had a diagnosis; retinoblastoma. Cancer. This diagnosis was devastating to say the least. They also found that she had a tumor on her pineal gland and one large tumor with severe seeding within the soft tissue of her eye. Heartbroken and scared, her parents sought for answers as to what would come next. What would the treatment plan be? Would they have to remove her eye? After much consideration, they decided to fight the battle to try to save her eye. The plan was six months of chemo therapy through a port. She endured chemo treatments twice per month as well as eye exams under anesthesia. Chemo therapy was tough on her petite body. Not only did she lose her hair, but also her energy and the joys of childhood. The treatment was working. They found that the cancer was controlled and the tumor on the pineal gland was shrinking.

Chemo therapy was tough on her petite body. Not only did she lose her hair, but also her energy and the joys of childhood.

However, within two short months it returned and was more aggressive. Dr. Hubbard decided that she needed intra-arterial chemo. They placed Jocelyn under anesthesia again for this procedure that placed a small tube through her thigh, up through her heart to right behind her eye. This allowed for the chemo to be delivered directly to her eye via her own blood flow. Due to an adverse reaction that only happens in 0.01% of kids, Jocelyn lost her vision and her eye swelled significantly. This swelling lasted four months and they were unsure of what the course of action would be. It only took one month for the cancer to return and it spread rapidly. The new plan of treatment was injections of chemo directly into the eye while she was under anesthesia. At first it worked, but after only three treatments they found numerous tiny tumors referred to as seeds were spreading throughout her eye. The doctor reported that it was so severe that it could possibly spread to other parts of the body. The most significant concern was that it could eventually spread to the brain via the optic nerve. They continued to fight to save her eye with laser treatments and cryotherapy, but ultimately to save her life and spare her from losing vision in her left eye, they decided it was time to remove the eye itself. This decision was the most difficult of all. Knowing that this could affect her confidence later in life, they struggled with the thought of her living a fulfilled life without her right eye. They imagined her on her prom night wondering why she had to endure this. However, they quickly concluded that she already lost her vision and was at risk of losing her life. The wisest decision was to remove the eye to save her life. They fought hard to try to save the eye and attempted every available option; but, saving her beautifully cherished life was the only choice in the end. As they look toward a bright future, they look forward to her prom night where she will shine radiantly; and, they can bask in the greatness of all of the wonderful moments they share. Not only did they celebrate Jocelyn and her dream bedroom makeover, her reveal was on Veterans Day (observed) 2018. Jocelyn’s father is a proud soldier in the United States Marine Corps. From Jocelyn’s dad: “I am currently a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I’ve served in the reserves for 18.5 years. During this time my greatest honor has been able to serve with the finest Marines a person could hope to serve with. We were never perfect, but we always made an incredible team. I was deployed twice to Iraq. The first time, I withdrew from my college classes and had the privilege to serve with a unit that earned the Presidential Citation award. I was on-the-spot meritorious promoted to Cpl after my first deployment. I was deployed again and fell in with another incredible unit. We always meet mission and improved the area that we were in. We were awarded the Navy Unit Citation. I was awarded a combat meritorious promotion to Staff Sergeant during this time. I have been fortunate enough to serve on many funeral honors in every position; to playing the bugle, firing squad member, squad leader, and flag presenter…It has been a humbling experience to be there when our nation’s heroes are laid to rest for the final time…I’ve also been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps. Commendation Medal for my time while serving in a Supply Chief status and my outstanding performance in carrying out the functions and duties of Logistical Chief at the same time. I have earned a Brown Belt in the Marine Corps. Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). I’ve also earned my sixth award for the Selected Marine Corps. Reserve Medal. During the times of deployment the Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Two Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and Iraq Campaign Medal with two stars was awarded. In addition to these I also have been awarded 4 Certificates of Commendations, 3 Letters of appreciation, and one Meritorious Mast.” Sunshine on a Ranney Day is proud to have designed an amazing dream room makeover specifically for Jocelyn.

Photography by Dinah Sutton Photography
Photography by Dinah Sutton Photography