When Anna was only four, she came down with strep throat and a double ear infection. Her parents took her to the doctor, who gave little Anna an antibiotic to help her fight the infections. Not long after she began taking the antibiotic, Anna started having headaches all the time – eventually she could not even get out of bed. Again, Anna was taken to a doctor who did tests and told her parents that their little girl had a brain tumor. However, after an MRI, CT scan and various other tests, it was determined that Anna suffered from a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri, in which the brain responds as if it has a tumor, but in fact, it does not. This Pseudotumor caused a buildup of fluid in Anna’s brain and the pressure from that was causing her debilitating headaches. To relieve the pressure, Anna has endured having shunts placed in her brain and revised 13 different times because the increased pressure in her head keeps destroying the shunts. Once, Anna even lost her sight and had to endure an emergency lumbar puncture, which returned her eyesight. In addition to the many shunt surgeries and lumbar punctures, little Anna has suffered through three other brain surgeries and must have a shot every day. Despite all that has been done, Anna still suffers from headaches.
For her wish, Anna wanted to visit Disney World and, according to her mother, Joy, the trip was perfect. Anna enjoyed every moment of it. To make it even more special for Anna, a surprise visitor got to go on the wish trip with the family.
You see, Anna’s father is in the U.S. Army and was able to take a leave for the trip. The family kept this hidden from Anna until the morning before they left. When Anna woke up, her father was there to greet her and attend her once in a lifetime wish trip with her.
“She woke up and he was there. She was sleeping on the couch and when she woke up you could tell she thought she was dreaming. She grabbed his neck and cried,” Joy said.
Joy said that Anna had been having a rough year and that this trip was exactly what she needed.
“She’s had three surgeries in the last three months and just being able to not think about what the real world is was great. She got to leave reality and she wasn’t in pain,” Joy said. “It was amazing.”