JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 12 year-old is living a normal life after beating the odds.
Katie Upton had a cyst in her brain about the size of a lemon.
Her doctor, Phillipp Aldana of the Wolfson Children's Hospital, says it was likely there since she was a baby, and slowly grew. Aldana says it could have been life threatening.
"It was the hardest thing I ever did," said Katie's mother, Jennifer Upton. "Not going to stop the surgery right before it started. Just sitting there. I wanted to run as fast as I could and tell them to stop. But you can't. You know it's the best thing."
At the age of 11, Upton began to have terrible headaches, she wasn't able to focus, and felt something wasn't quite right with her vision. Her mother took her to an ophthalmologist, who noticed her optic nerve was swollen. That led to more testing, questions and fear.
"You just don't know what's wrong with your child," said Upton. "You begin to think the worst."
Jennifer's quest for answers eventually led her to the Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, our regions only hospital just for kids, where Upton said her child got the gentle care she so desperately needed.
When Katie decided to go ahead with the surgery, have her skull opened and the fluid from the cyst removed she feared many things. Including losing her hair, and possibly her life.
"I might not get to go to 6th grade and be with my friends, said Katie Upton. "And I could possibly die."
Upton says Dr. Aldana took good care of her. So much so that she and her grandmother decided to make him an elaborate quilt. One adorned with a mountain, rich colors and crafted with love.
First Coast News was there as Katie went through her final MRI, and we're happy to report that she is doing just fine.
Now 12-years-old, she's looking forward to starting the 7th grade in her home town of Tallahassee on Monday.
First Coast News