Gabriella’s name means “God is my strength” and that is what was exhibited from the moment she was born and was magnified when she was diagnosed with DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), an incurable and inoperable brain tumor, which once diagnosed, only provides children with about nine months of life. She was five years old at her diagnosis.
We were unprepared when Gabriella was diagnosed with a brain tumor on March 16, 2015, and verified the next day after an MRI confirmed ours and our doctor’s worst fear. We sat in a conference room at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio surrounded by our oncologist, a nurse and social worker who told us, “Your daughter will not survive beyond 2015. She has DIPG.” These four letters, this diagnosis, sent us into a whirlwind of emotional uncertainty, insecurity and fear of losing our beautiful little Gabriella.
We enjoyed many happy moments with Gabriella. To be exact, we enjoyed 237 happy days with her. They were filled with joy every day, but they were also filled with great fear of what doctors told us would eventually occur. Death. And she did die. Exactly 237 days after she was diagnosed. She died on November 7, 2015. She was six.