Middle TN teenager fighting to save her vision after rare tumor - WSMV News 4

Middle TN teenager fighting to save her eyesight after rare tumor

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee teenager is sharing her fight against a rare medical condition that's robbing her of her eyesight.

Alexis London, 14, says she is living in the moment and turning each of these moments into an image she'll never forget.

"When we had fireworks on the Fourth of July, you had to really watch them, because what if you can't see next year? It's like, really, take the chance to look at stuff," she said.

Over the past year, Alexis has been losing her ability to see.

She first went to the doctor last fall after a routine eye exam at school.

"The first time we got a call from the school nurse and Alexis's cheerleading coach. She called and said, 'We had an abnormal vision test,' and wanted to make sure I got her checked out," said mother Tammy London.

Doctors found a tumor on Alexis's optic pathway at the center of her eye.

Dr. Adam Esbenshade, with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says pediatric brain tumors are very rare, some 20 times less common than in adults, and treating them is extremely difficult.

"It's a lower-grade type lesion, but it's not in an area where you can take it out. If we went in to take it out, it would make her blind completely," Esbenshade said.

Radiation was another option, but it would cause long-term memory loss.

So doctors opted for chemotherapy, hoping to stop the tumor's growth.

So far, it's working.

"Some days are better than others," Alexis said.

The treatment has caused Alexis to lose hair and a lot of weight, about 25 pounds, which is why she has to wear a feeding tube.

But Alexis is quick to point out what she's gained, including new friends and cheerleaders in the nursing staff at Vanderbilt who help her celebrate each victory.

But between each victory, she's planning for what could happen, while finding peace in something she's never been able to see.

"If I am going to go blind because of my brain tumor, then I'll be seeing through God. That's how it will go. I mean, I'm OK either way and any how - either see through him or see through my own eyes," Alexis said.

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