TV personality, MICHAEL STRAHAN's daughter, ISABELLA, 19, reveals she's been diagnosed with Brain Cancer

Thursday, January 11, 2024
 – American TV personality, Michael Strahan's 19-year-old daughter has revealed she's been battling a rare brain cancer

Isabella broke down in tears as she candidly disclosed her battle with a rare brain cancer. She also revealed that she had to undergo emergency surgery after doctors found a tumour bigger than a golf ball growing at the back of her brain.

The USC freshman appeared on Good Morning America with her dad on Thursday morning, with the pair opening up to Robin Roberts about the youngster's 'serious' diagnosis.

Isabella told Robin: 'I'm feeling good, not too bad. I'm very excited for this whole process to wrap but you just have to keep living every day through the whole thing.'

Michael and Isabella revealed that the teenager's medulloblastoma diagnosis came after she began suffering from 'excruciating headaches' during her freshman year in college when she was just 18.

'I noticed something was off since probably September,' Isabella, who has a twin sister, Sophia, shared. 'Like October 1st, that's when I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, [I] couldn't walk straight.'

Initially, Isabella says she mistook her symptoms for vertigo, explaining that she 'looked that up' online and 'associated it with walking straight'.

Michael confessed that when his daughter shared her symptoms with him, he never considered that they might be indications she was battling cancer, particularly because she was just 18 and was so 'young, strong and healthy'.

'You know, [she was] 18 years old at the time, you're not thinking this,' he said. 'Maybe it's vertigo, maybe it's something else. But she's young, strong, healthy.

'Look at her, she looks great.'

However, on October 25th, Isabella's condition took a severe decline, with the teenager revealing that she began throwing up blood soon after waking up.

'I woke up at probably like 1PM,' she recalled. 'I dreaded waking up but I was throwing up blood.'

Joking that she thought, 'this probably isn't good', Isabella revealed that she texted her sister to tell her what was going on - and she then 'notified the whole family'.

It was at that point that Michael said the family decided Isabella 'really needed to go get a thorough check-up' with a doctor, adding: 'Thank goodness for the doctor... I feel like the doctor saved her life.'

Isabella said the doctor 'did an EKG and other stuff', before sending her to another facility in order to get an MRI.

'So I went to take [the MRI] somewhere else and then she called me and she said, "You need to head to Cedars-Sinai right now, I'm going to meet you there,"' she recalled - explaining that the doctor gave her no other information about her diagnosis at the time.

Once at the hospital, Isabella was told that she had developed a 'fast-growing 4cm tumour in the back of her brain' that required emergency surgery.

According to Michael, he was told about his daughter's brain tumour before she was, explaining that he 'doesn't remember much' about the moment he learned of her diagnosis, but that he just 'remembers trying to figure out how to get to LA ASAP'.

Isabella was ultimately diagnosed with medulloblastoma, which - according to GMA - accounts for 20 per cent of all childhood brain tumours and is typically found in around 500 children each year, most commonly those between the ages of five and nine.

On October 27th, one day before her 19th birthday, Isabella underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour, with Michael stating that doctors wanted to 'get it out as soon as possible'.

'It sent a signal of how serious it was when they said, "Hey, you shouldn't risk trying to put her on a plane to get her to the East Coast or another doctor. We know what it is and we should get it out as soon as possible,"' he recalled of his conversation with doctors.

Thankfully, doctors told the family that, although serious, they are 'confident' that they can treat Isabella's cancer.

'She was heavily medicated, as you can imagine,' Michael revealed while sharing several clips of his daughter in hospital in the days after the procedure.

'But she would have conversations, she had a lot of her friends - they would come over just to sit with her.

'And there were times when she was in a lot of pain. She was sleeping a lot.'

Following the surgery, Isabella underwent several rounds of proton radiation therapy, which she completed just one day before she revealed her diagnosis to the world.

'I got to ring the bell [signifying the end of treatment] yesterday,' she shared with a smile. 'It was great, it was very exciting because it's been a long 30 sessions [over] six weeks.'

As Robin complimented her for 'rocking' her bald head, Isabella went on to reveal the other 'side effects' that she experienced during her radiation treatment, explaining that she has suffered from 'fatigue' and extreme 'dizziness'.

'I would say I experienced fatigue,' she said. 'Not too much nausea, but definitely towards the end, because it kind of builds up throughout the weeks.

'Dizziness, I've been very dizzy.'

Isabella is due to start chemotherapy in February, revealing that she will undergo this step of her treatment at Duke University - where her twin sister Sophia is studying.

Michael praised Isabella for 'going into every day with the best attitude', even in the face of such a scary diagnosis.

'One of the good things with the YouTube channel is that it's going to Duke, it's going to help their children's cancer centre and let people see that there is hope,' he said.

'You have to just go into every day with the best attitude, which is what she does.

'I literally think that, in a lot of ways, I'm the luckiest man in the world, because I've got an amazing daughter. And I know she's going through it, but I know that we are never given more than we can handle.

'And I know she is going to crush this. As much as I need her, I don't know what I would do without her.'

However, he admitted that the experience of watching his daughter go through her cancer battle has made him realize that he 'probably isn't as strong as he thought he was'.

'You learn that you're probably not as strong as you thought you were when you have to really think about the real things,' he candidly shared. 'And I realized that I need support from everybody.

'You think that I'm the athlete, the tough guy, [that] I can handle it [because] I'm the father of the family.

'You know, it's not about any of that. It doesn't matter. It's really made me change my perspective on so many things in my life.'

Looking ahead to the future, Isabella said she is hoping to return to the University of Southern California, where she wants to 'get back into a routine' and 'restart' her experience as a college student.

'I'm looking forward to going back to college and moving back to California and just starting my school experience over... not over, but just restarting things, getting back into a routine and something that's enjoyable' she said. 

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