Medical advancements have come a long way in modern society. We’ve learned so much about the human body and how to treat its ailments. However, there are still moments that surprise medical experts, resulting in a medical mystery. In 2018, an 11-year-old girl from Texas had a brain tumor that mysteriously disappeared.
A Rare and Fatal Condition
Roxli Doss was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, called a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG. The condition is so rare that only 300 cases are diagnosed yearly in the US. There is no cure, and, in most cases, treatment, radiation, briefly prolong a patient’s life. Less than 1% of children live beyond 5 years. However, Doss is a medical mystery.
DIPG is an aggressive cancer that forms in the stem of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for many functions including regulating the heartbeat and breathing. It also consists of nerve cell bodies, meaning it plays an integral role in forming brainstem nuclei. Because this type of tumor rarely occurs in adults, experts believe the tumor’s development is linked to active brain development during the early stages of life.
Becoming a Medical Mystery
“It is a devastating disease. You have decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk. Eventually difficulty with breathing,” said Dr. Virginia Harrod. She was Roxli’s doctor at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin and supported their family every step of the way. After being given only a few months to live, Doss bravely started her radiation treatment. Her parents, by her side, prayed for a miracle.
Just over two months after diagnosis and treatment, doctors were shocked. Doss was a medical mystery; her tumor had not only shrunk but disappeared altogether. Medical professionals did warn that the tumor may come back, but by Christmas of 2018, Doss was able to enjoy the holidays with her family cancer free. Sadly, the next two years would be a continuous battle for the young girl. She would continue to face complications related to DIGP. In April of 2020, she passed away at home with her family.
Leaving Her Mark on the World
She was described by the people who knew her as many things, including a gentle spirit with an infectious smile. Roxli was an avid learner and well-liked by students and teachers. She kept a positive attitude through her struggles and, along with her family, found strength in their unwavering religious beliefs.
A medical mystery has a tendency to leave medical experts in a state of confusion. Nonetheless, they are always aware that most cancers are aggressive and have the possibility to come back with a vengeance. Although Roxli Doss lived a short life, her tenacity to fight inspires many young people facing the same, or similar health challenges. Additionally, through treatment, she was allowed to live a little longer, love a little more, and touch more lives than she likely ever imagined.
Keep Reading: Mystery of Woman Who Vanished After Going to the ER Finally Solved 32 Years Later
- “Roxli Sloan Doss.” Funeral Innovations. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
- “11-year-old girl’s brain tumor disappears in medical mystery.” CBS News. Dr. Tara Narula. December 18, 2018.
- “Do medical miracles actually happen? expert weighs in on how 11-year-old girl’s brain tumor disappeared.” Mount Sinai. Samantha Lauriello. December 18, 2018.