It started with headaches and exhaustion. Then, in October, straight-A student Emily Barnett began falling asleep during class at Burroughs High School, and on a couple of occasions, she didn't make it to campus at all.
By Thanksgiving, her mother, Lisa Barnett, was worried enough to push for a CAT scan, which revealed a cancerous brain tumor.
“It was all up and down her spine,” Lisa Barnett said.
The discovery set in motion an agonizing treatment regimen that began on Dec. 8 with brain surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. It continued with 31 chemotherapy and radiation treatments over six weeks and the harvesting of stem cells for possible future bone marrow transplant.
Her mother and father alternated shifts at the hospital.
Emily, 16, has now completed the fifth of six cycles of maintenance chemotherapy and faces extensive rehabilitation. She will continue to be tutored at home at least through the first semester of the coming academic year.