Avery's Adventures and Accomplishments Part II

Avery's Adventures and Accomplishments Part II

Read Part I of Avery's story here.

Five years. It has been five years since Avery was first diagnosed with her unfriendly brain tumour, the Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma (JPA). What has been happening since this diagnosis?

Well, first, she was able to meet her idol! It was July 9, 2014, that Lady Gaga saw her story, Avery became a guest of her show and did a meet and greet with her after. Let me tell you, what an experience! She upgraded the seats too so that Avery could at least see less blurry-like. The dancers spoiled her as they kept going to her and giving her costume jewelry that they were wearing on stage. Those who were in the piano bar area knew Avery's story and they kept saying how brave and how proud they were of her and it was awesome to meet her. Then after the show, waiting for Lady Gaga to come into the room, she entered with such grace, and I was star-struck. Why? Once she put her dog on the ground, the first person she asked for was Avery!! Avery!!! Avery put her hand up, and squeezed her and said, "Social media sometimes can do amazing things!" I was crying. I was shocked that I was in the same room with her. When it came to the one-on-ones, she spent 45 mins with Avery, talking to her about being bullied, and how it was not fair that she was in that situation and how she should be able to stand up for herself and that no one should ever pick on her for something that she cannot control. It was an incredible evening and Avery will never forget that moment. Neither will I.

Grade school was over and it was time for high school. It was in the summer of 2016 that we learned Avery has another tumour growing. Now we have two tumours. The first one that the doctor was able to remove 70% of, and now a neighbour. We do not know the make up of this tumour. We have been doing MRIs every 3 months, and now every 6 months. The funny thing with these tumours, is that one will shrink and one will grow, and then the tumours would switch with the shrinking and growing. The second one is still a bit small and surgery at this point would not help, since the brain is grey and so is the tumour. We are to wait for it to get to a certain size so that the doctor will finally be able to go in and remove both at the same time. 

In high school, she was treated differently. At her old school, there were many issues with accommodating Avery so that she would be successful. The new school wanted to help, but unfortunately, were not that helpful. While she was attending this school, there was an opportunity for her to attend a band camp in the summer time and that they would pay some of the cost. This was a life changing week for her. 

Avery is going places!The camp was held at W. Ross MacDonald which is a school for the blind/deaf. Since Avery's eyesight has not come back with the removal of partial first tumour, she was qualified to go. Here, she was among people who were like her, visually impaired. After a week of being there, she was ready to go there and further her academic career there. She told us all the positives that were there for her and since this school is 3 hours away from home, we had to carefully consider this. But when your child looks at you at says, "I will be with people who are just like me", how do you say no? You cannot. As parents, having seen her struggle with other kids in the school who did not understand what she is going through, you know that this will be a good decision, and while she is away, you miss her like crazy, but you know that this is going to be good for her.

So here we are now. She is attending a new school who has brought her many new opportunities in her life, and she is able to do things that the other high school could not offer her. While she is still struggling with a few things, in time, things will get easier. She is opening up a bit more about her brain tumours and she is now no longer denying the fact that she does have a vision problem, whereas before, she tried to disguise it for so long. She has become stronger than I could have ever imagined, and she is well on her way to do great things. She is on her way to setting many accomplishments and she is definitely going to experience many adventures. 

If it was not for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, I think that our family would have been lost. We did not know where or who to turn to or get the information that we needed to pull ourselves together. It has been such an honour to give back to them and so grateful that they have always been here for us when needed to vent or celebrate a milestone. 

As I stated before, the eyes are the windows to the soul and she has a lot of soul to share.  

 We are grateful to Avery and her family for sharing this story and are already looking forward to the next installment! 

Story shared in January 2019

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