Michael Strahan and his daughter, Isabella, 19, have revealed that she is currently battling a malignant brain tumor known as medulloblastoma.
During their sit down interview with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America”, Strahan said, “I literally think that in a lot of ways, I'm the luckiest man in the world because I've got an amazing daughter.” He continued, “I know she's going through it, but I know that we're never given more than we can handle and that she is going to crush this."
Isabella was diagnosed with the tumor in October, almost one month after she said that she was diagnosed experiencing headaches at the beginning of her freshman year at University of Southern California.
"I didn't notice anything was off till probably like Oct. 1,” she said. "That's when I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, couldn't walk straight." At first, Isabella believed that she was experiencing vertigo before her symptoms took a turn for the worse.
"I woke up, probably at like, 1 p.m. I dreaded waking up. But I was throwing up blood," she recalled. "I was like, 'Hm, this probably isn't good.' So I texted [my sister], who then notified the whole family."
As her symptoms continued, she was encouraged by her father to seek medical attention. Michael said, “That was when we decided, 'You need to really go get a thorough checkup.' And thank goodness for the doctor. I feel like this doctor saved her life because she was thorough enough to say, 'Let's do the full checkup.'"
Isabella went to talk about the process she went through with the various tests she had to undergo. "She did an [electrocardiogram, or EKG], there for my heart and like, other stuff, but she didn't have an MRI machine, so I went to [get an MRI] somewhere else. And then she calls me and she's like, 'You need to head to Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center] right now. I'm gonna meet you there.'"
After the tests, doctors noticed that she had a fast growing 4-centimeter tumor that was larger than a golf ball at the back of her brain. The former NFL player said that once he learned of the news he said that “it didn’t feel real.”
"I don't really remember much," he said. "I just remember trying to figure out how to get to LA ASAP. And it just doesn't feel real. It just didn't feel real." He added, “But rarely someone who's 18, 19 years old. But it's still scary because it's still so much to go through. And the hardest thing to get over is to think that she has to go through this herself."
Strahan continued, “Doctors said, 'You shouldn't risk trying to put her on a plane to get her to the East Coast or to another doctor. We know what it is and we should get it out as soon as possible.'"
A day before her birthday, Isabella underwent emergency surgery to have the mass removed. She had to learn to walk again, but with the help of her sister and family she was able to do so.
Isabella has hopes of returning to school after she is done with her treatments. We will continue to keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers.