13-Year-Old Who Lost 60 Lbs. With Weight-Loss Surgery Faces Another Setback

Just six short months after Alexis Shapiro’s mom Jenny Shapiro told Yahoo Parenting “we’re just so excited” that the 13-year-old — who’d been battling hypothalamic obesity since her brain was damaged during removal of a benign tumor — was doing “remarkably” well, the family received some sad news. 

: 13-Year-Old Who Lost 60 Pounds With Weight-Loss Surgery: Her Life One Year Later

“Sad to say,” Jenny wrote on the Facebook community page, Hope and love for Alexis, on Oct. 20, “Alexis had a routine MRI. The results are that her brain tumor has grown back.” 

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But like the fighter she has been since the Cibolo, Texan endured brain surgery in 2011 and the damage to her hypothalamus caused her to gain a staggering 150 pounds on her 4-foot-7 frame (she had lost 60 of those pounds in 2014 by undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy), Alexis is facing this latest setback head on. Jenny told People on Monday that her daughter was scared but that, “Alexis has been such a trooper. So brave!” 

Alexis and Jenny Shapiro. (Photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook)

The family quickly consulted doctors and applied for the teen to participate in a proton radiation study at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. By Nov. 2 they got some wonderful news. “Alexis has been accepted to St. Jude’s. Yay!” Jenny wrote on Facebook. “This is what I had hoped for. We did not want to do surgery unless it was absolutely necessary.” 

Two days later, Alexis and her mom were settled in Memphis, where Alexis spent two weeks undergoing testing before heading out to a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. affiliated with St. Jude’s and has a proton therapy machine that her treatment requires. (Dad Ian, sister Kaylee, 11, and Ethan, 9, had to stay home in Texas). “Alexis will spend her birthday and Christmas here,” Jenny wrote on Facebook. “It sucks to be separated as a family but it could be much worse.” 

The Shapiros (Photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook)

Indeed, if the Alexis’ radiation works, “there is an 80 percent chance of [the tumor] not coming back,“ Jenny told People. So as the teen receives the 30 treatments scheduled to be completed by mid January, the family is focusing on making the best of each day. A charity group is raising money for Alexis’ dad and siblings to come visit from Texas and mom is going to put up a Christmas tree in her daughter’s hospital room “to help Alexis get into the Christmas spirit away from home,” she writes. As Jenny told Yahoo Parenting this spring, after all, “Just watching how strong she is makes me push on to do what I can for her.”

(Top photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook)

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