On Thursday, 4-year-old Janet Pruneau was scheduled for a blood transfusion and perhaps the insertion of a feeding tube. It was another day in her fight against a mysterious cancer that threatens her life.
Janet, from O'Fallon, Ill., has a brain tumor that has no name and no specific diagnosis, her mother told The Huffington Post. It is confounding doctors as they frantically try to unravel the puzzle.
"Time is obviously of the essence," Laura Pruneau said. "We don't have all the answers."
Janet's ordeal began in April when she began throwing up. Doctors originally dismissed the symptoms as a virus. But then her legs began to feel unsteady, prompting closer examination. An MRI revealed a ping-pong ball sized malignancy. But one question remained: What kind exactly?
Janet's case has stumped experts at several hospitals, her mother says. The child was previously diagnosed with motor delays and uneven muscle tone. She also has a tumor in her arm thought to be benign. But those things don't seem related to the growth in her head, Pruneau explained.
Janet underwent surgery in April to have the brain tumor removed, but aggressive radiation and chemotherapy have produced an infection that has landed Janet back at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
"She's doing well for a 4-year-old child in an isolated room that she cannot leave," Pruneau said.
Janet has received survival estimates between three and 11 months, but the family has also been told the cancer could have a 70 percent survival rate for five years.
"We have her for as long as we have her," Pruneau said.
Asked if she was optimistic, Pruneau, who also has two sons with husband Tom, answered, "That is what we have to be."
Laura Pruneau says bills are mounting. If you'd care to help courageous Janet and her family, click here. View more photos of Janet in the slideshow below.
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