The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

Family Scrapbook | I'm Doing Really Well Now by Rachel Eatmon

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Rachel Eatmon and family Rachel Eatmon (right) celebrates her Bat  Mitzvah with her mother, Kate, and brother, Adam.

"Rachel was diagnosed in September of 1989 with grade IV, non-metastasized medulloblastoma. She was 4 years and 4 months old. She underwent aggressive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and I was warned that she would exhibit severe learning problems and lowered IQ. As soon as she entered kindergarten, I pushed for special services in the public schools. Because of her hearing impairment and learning differences, she was placed in a separate class for students with learning disabilities from 4th to 7th grades, but this year was mainstreamed in 8th grade. Despite a rocky start, she has adjusted well and is doing exceptional work. I attribute her success to strong advocacy on my part and determination and persistence on her part. She has always been resilient and works hard. (Introduction by Kate Eatmon, Rachelís Mom)

"Before I was diagnosed with brain cancer at four, I was an average kid. When I received the diagnosis I was placed in the hospital. I was just doing fun stuffóplaying Nintendo and playing in the play room. I had no idea what was going on while my parents were crying their heads off. I had IVís, needles, blood tests, and finger sticks all the time. I never cried because I was used to it. They said I did better than most adults. 

"I had an operation on my brain to get the cancer out. They got it out and Iíve been cancer free for nine years so far. I had radiation and chemotherapy; they made my hair fall out. Thatís why I have bald spots. I received strong portions of radiation in those spots. The hair will not ever come back.

"This disease affected my grades for a short time. I received some Cís and Dís when I first started school again. Now all I get are Aís and Bís on my report cards. I said that I was an average kid before I had cancer and I started out with bad grades when I returned to school but now Iím being pulled back in to that place again where I was to begin with. Iím doing better than many kids I know. Iím even doing a little bit better than my best friend. I would be on the A honor roll if I didnít have one B.

"So to make this a little more clear, I had cancer that damaged my learning cells and now Iím back to being the average kid I was again. Iím actually performing above average and I am getting excellent grades on my report cards, too. Iím doing really well now."

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Hopeful Resources



Maintaining hope is not always easy. In times of crisis, you may need extra support and encouragement from your family, your health care team, and other survivors of brain tumors. Here are some resources that may help you maintain a positive outlook.