Natalie Brooke Osborn (2009-)
Natalie Brooke Osborn (aka Nat, Dotty & Brookey), was born on September 21, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado. Natalie has a twin brother, Evan, and they are now 6 years old. Natalie also has younger twin brothers who are currently 2 years old.
In July of 2011, at 22 months old, Natalie was diagnosed with a large, cancerous brain tumor wrapped around her brain stem. The tumor was discovered by an MRI of her brain at Children’s Hospital Colorado following some symptoms that had developed (head tilt and crossing eye). The discovered cancer was an immediate threat to Natalie’s life and she was hospitalized the same day the cancer was found.
Following the devastation of Diagnosis Day and the initial hospitalization, Natalie had major brain surgery to remove the tumor (with a gross total resection — 100% success) and was in the hospital for months following this major event. When she woke from surgery, Natalie could not talk, eat, drink, sit up, walk or crawl…a condition called Posterior Fossa Syndrome and we were told Natalie had a 50/50 chance of regaining any of those facilities. We also received the pathology results during this time confirming an ependymoma diagnosis. And against hope for different results, we also learned the heartbreaking news that Natalie’s ependymoma was an anaplastic Grade 3, Type A form — which was/is known as the most aggressive and hardest to cure form of ependymoma.
After surgery and recovery, Natalie began 6 1/2 weeks of daily, sedated radiation treatment to the brain/tumor bed. Natalie’s post-radiation MRI was clear and with time, Natalie rebounded from the effects of the cancer, surgery and treatment miraculously well — better than what was expected…
However, in December of 2013, after two years of mostly clear scans (there were some abnormalities/scares at times) and having No Evidence of Disease, a routine MRI discovered that Natalie again had cancer in her brain. This was another heartbreaking and devastating blow to our family…and, especially, to Natalie’s chances of beating this cancer long term. With recurrence, Natalie’s prognosis dramatically dropped to a 50/50 chance of living into adulthood…and we were told that anymore cancer/a second recurrence would be terminal.
Natalie’s recurrence treatment was as successful as her first, enduring through another gross total resection and another round of radiation treatment, with a clear post-treatment MRI. Recovery the second time around, however, was not as successful. It took a full two years for Natalie to stabilize and heal and she still has lingering effects that we deal with continually.
Natalie continues to be monitored by her doctors and has MRI’s twice a year (more frequently if new symptoms appear). Her disease is a life-long, life-threatening one. But Natalie is strong…she loves life, especially nature, animals, school, music, art, friends, cuddling, movies and spending time with her family. And Natalie loves God and has a startling understanding of and hope for Heaven, with a deep sense of His love and purpose in and over her life. Her love of life and God seem to be driving factors behind her inspiring strength…and we are extremely proud of her. She is a gift and we are honored to be her parents. We do not know what the future holds, but we are thankful for every single day we have with each other…and we look to the future with hope; fighting for life, awareness, research and breakthroughs.