SASAKWA, Okla. (KFOR) – Spring 2022 is a whole new world for 17 year old Paige Eberle of Sasakwa, Okla. She’s back to shooting clay pigeons with her dad and was thrilled to dress up for prom.
Two years ago, she was in a web of constant pain.
“It was very strange; it was in my back but radiated around to my ribs,” recalls Paige.
Repeated trips to the emergency room did not give her or her family any answers.
Her mother, Amy, recalls, “She was in the car and she was miserable and she looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I think I’m dying.’ She said, ‘I’m not being a dramatic teenager, I really feel like I’m dying.'”
That’s when they called their family doctor again in desperation, and he told them to head to OU Children’s Hospital where Paige went through a battery of testing and tentatively shared the ominous results.
“I felt like they didn’t want to believe it was what it was. Her diagnosis is so very rare,” said Amy Eberle.
That diagnosis is fibrolamellar hepatic cell carcinoma, a rarely seen liver cancer.
Paige recalls, “When she said you have cancer,’ I sat there for a minute and a part of me thought, ‘Finally, finally I have an answer as to what was wrong with me.'”
Three rounds of chemotherapy had no noticeable effect, and surgery brought new surprises.
Amy Eberle explains, “The liver tumor had invaded up into her diaphragm, so the resection and taking the tumor out was a lot more complicated than they thought.”
Recovery would take time.
The isolation Paige experienced was punctuated by happy moments at Jimmy Everest Cancer Center, including visits from therapy dogs, art projects and the encouragement of JEC doctors.
“Dr. Khan is the best doctor ever. We’re just going to put that out there right now. We love him so much,” said mom and daughter with a laugh.
The good news is that Paige’s strength is returning. The scans remain clear and with the help of their community, this family of six is adjusting to life after cancer.
Their community of Sasakwa also lifted their spirits.
“Everyone I knew rallied around us and lifted us up. It was amazing,” says Amy as she wipes away a tear.
The days are looking so much brighter for the Eberles. Paige’s tumor is gone and her scans are clear, but she’ll be closely watched for years to come.
“I can actually go out and do stuff. I’m not having that aching thing in my body that I don’t know what it is,” says Paige.