In June, Roxli Doss started getting headaches. By August, her parents were praying for a miracle.
As KVUE reports, until recently, the 10-year-old from Buda, Texas, was a healthy girl who loved horseback riding and socializing with friends. But earlier this year, Roxli began experiencing strange symptoms. Her father, Scott, told KVUE:
“It was in early June Rox started having headaches and the headaches developed into nausea and she even had double vision.”
Roxli’s parents took her to a series of doctors and specialists before getting the devastating diagnosis. Roxli had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive and incurable brain tumor.
“It was very bad,” Scott said. “It was the worst news we could have had.”
According to the Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Resource Network, DIPG is a tumor that grows out of the brain stem and primarily affects children between ages 5 and 7. Because of the way the tumor develops, the cancer cells mix with healthy cells, making it difficult to remove surgically without damaging other tissue.
While radiation therapy can have temporary benefits for DIPG patients, the tumor nearly always returns. And chemotherapy has not been effective in treating DIPG. In other words, DIPG is inoperable and incurable. Fewer than 10 percent of children diagnosed with DIPG survive more than two years after diagnosis.
Dr. Virginia Harrod told KVUE that, eventually, the tumor would end up controlling Roxli’s ability to see, talk, and breathe:
“It is very rare, but when we see it, it is a devastating disease. You have decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk, eventually difficulty with breathing.”
Roxli went through radiation therapy, though her parents were aware there was no cure. That’s when the community came together to help the Doss family through their difficult time.
In August, hundreds of Buda residents attended a benefit to help with Roxli’s medical expenses. Friends set up a GoFundMe campaign for the Doss family. For parents Gena and Scott, it was also a reminder that they weren’t alone. Still, they knew the odds were against them. Scott told KVUE:
“The doctors guide us, but really the true guidance that we’re looking for is from God because that’s who we need our help from right now, and we’re really just praying for a miracle.”
And they got it.
With no warning or explanation, the tumor in Roxli’s brain disappeared. Doctors could find no sign of it on her scans. Harrod told KVUE:
“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable. The tumor is undetectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.”
When Roxli was first diagnosed, multiple specialists agreed she had DIPG. Now, doctors have no way to explain why the tumor vanished.
But for Roxli’s parents, it’s very clear. They prayed for a miracle and got one.
“Praise God we did,” Scott told KVUE. His wife added:
“Everyday we still say it. It’s kind of our family thing that God healed Roxli.”
Doctors even double-checked Roxli’s results just to be sure they weren’t mistaken. And Roxli is still going through follow-up treatments, including immunotherapy, to be on the safe side.
Roxli’s parents are both grateful and overwhelmed. Months ago, they were told that their daughter only had a few years left, at best. Now, she’s back to riding horses — as active as she was before her DIPG diagnosis. As Scott told KVUE:
“We didn’t know how long she would be healthy and, look at her, she’s just doing awesome.”