KSHB 41: Liberty teen discovers tumor size of 'small cantaloupe' after nudge from coaches
By Lindsay Shively
Eighth-grader Kendra Littlejohn is grateful to be back in class at South Valley Middle School in Liberty.
She's returning to some normalcy after a journey she never expected to be on.
One of the first signs came when she decided to try cross country last year.
“I felt sick all the time and tired,” Kendra recalled.
The family had already noticed a bit of a change and talked with doctors.
"Over the summer, we had been to our primary care doctor and we had shared concerns about bleeding,” Katherine said.
But Katherine admits that as a mom and dad, it was tough for them to know what changes were normal or not for their growing teenage daughter.
Next came a trip to the hospital and a shocking discovery. Kendra had an invasive, ovarian tumor called Dysgerminoma that no one knew was there.
“Eighteen centimeters, so I would say, maybe a small cantaloupe,” said Dr. Joy Fulbright, a pediatric hematology oncologist who treated Kendra at Children’s Mercy Hospital. “It is not uncommon for it to take a long time to figure out what’s going on because pediatric cancers are rare. So it’s very often that symptoms have been occurring for months. So I always tell parents, don’t feel guilty.”
Kendra started chemotherapy treatment and then surgery.
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Learn more about the Children's Mercy Cancer Center