A 12-year-old Mt. Juliet girl continues to battle a rare form of cancer nearly three years after she was first diagnosed.
Bishop Mikaelian, who celebrated a birthday last week, was diagnosed with ganglioglioma, a rare brain tumor in March of 2009.
Her mother says the tumor is twisted around her daughter's brain stem and due to its location, doctors are unable to operate.
The tumor is also what doctors refer to as a “sudden death” tumor meaning Bishop could die suddenly or live for years with the tumor.
Bishop spent the Christmas holiday in the hospital but was released Tuesday after fighting yet another bout of pneumonia.
It has been a tough road for the Mikaelians, who relocated to Wilson County from Gulf Port, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, yet they continue to fight.
The same year the Mikaelians found out Bishop had cancer, her brother, Warrick, was diagnosed with autism.
“It is hard because you want a normal family, because you feel like you can't go out in public and have dinner together, you can't do things with out bring medical equipment with you,” Bishop's mother, Allison Mikaelian told Nashville's News 2.
Since her diagnosis, Bishop has endured months of chemotherapy, enough to stunt the tumor's growth but not shrink it in size, and countless stays in the hospital.
She spent four weeks in the intensive car unit in February of 2009, was in a medically induced coma for eight days and on life support.
Unable to eat or drink, doctors had to perform a tracheotomy and Bishop is fed through a g-tube in her stomach.
Chronic pneumonia left Bishop with weakened motor skills and unable to walk. Now, thanks to intensive therapy, she went from bedridden and fully dependent on a wheelchair to moving around on her own.
Therapy has also taught her to talk again with the trach.
Allison Mikaelian says the support the family has received from the Mt. Juliet community been overwhelming and the small town 20 minutes east of Nashville is a place they'll forever call home.
“The community, just friends, neighbors, [even] strangers have just been so supportive and awesome,” she said, adding that in the face of such adversity, her family has actually grown closer.
Mikaelian said, “Even with my husband and I, we are so close and a lot of times things like this separate families, and to John and I, I think it has brought us a lot closer and we understand each other.”
The Mikaelians will continue to ride the rollercoaster of emotions attached with the ups and downs of battling cancer and will continue to be thankful for the support from the community.
An account has been set up to help offset the family's medical expenses. Donations to the Benefit Account for Bishop Mikaelian can be made at any Wilson Bank and Trust branch.
To further help the family, Bishop's fellow Girl Scouts have set up an online store selling handmade soaps, candles, jewelry and other accessories.
Visit Bizzy's Boutique online at BizzysBoutique.com.
Follow Bishop's battle with cancer and ongoing treatment at CaringBridge.org.