Michael Strahan's 19-year-old daughter is chronicling her recovery from a malignant brain tumor. See the most touching moments from her personal vlogs
At the beginning of the year, the 19-year-old model and college student revealed she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor known as medulloblastoma in October 2023. She's recently started sharing her recovery in a series of YouTube vlogs detailing her symptoms, treatments and outlook as she takes a break from her studies. All proceeds from her videos will go to benefit Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center.
"It's been like, two months of keeping it quiet, which is definitely difficult. I don't wanna hide it anymore 'cause it's hard to always keep in," Isabella said when she announced her diagnosis on Good Morning America, with her dad beside her. "I hope to just kind of be a voice, and be [someone] who maybe [those who] are going through chemotherapy or radiation can look at."
Take a look at some of the most significant moments and milestones from Isabella Strahan's honest and vulnerable recovery vlogs.
When She Revealed 'I Don't Really Feel Like Myself'
In her first video, titled "How It Started," Isabella reflected on how different her world looks from the year before. She was enrolled as a college freshman at the University of Southern California and working as a model, posing for major companies and campaigns.
During her YouTube vlog, which was posted on Jan. 11, Isabella said Sephora recently released an ad she shot in May 2023.
"It's super exciting, but I remember being so excited to go to the store and take a photo, like a selfie, with it and I can’t do that right now because no one knows what I'm going through," she said, having recorded the YouTube video before sharing her cancer diagnosis with the world. She added, "I don’t really feel like myself or that person in the ad, so I don’t want to take a photo with it."
Isabella Opened Up About Her First Symptoms
Isabella also looked back on the first signs of her medulloblastoma in her vlogging debut. It started with vertigo-like symptoms, getting headaches and feeling dizzy to the point where she couldn't walk in a straight line.
An ENT diagnosed her with an inner ear infection, but Isabella recalled how she sensed there was something more, since she was also experiencing nausea and vomiting.
As she and her dad told Robin Roberts in their Good Morning America interview, the college student sought futher medical attention when she started throwing up blood. After a full MRI at Cedars-Sinai hospital in L.A., doctors found a fast-growing tumor in the back of her brain. Isabella underwent emergency surgery to remove the 4-centimeter tumor.
Getting Support from Family and Friends
Her first vlog featured footage and photos of her loved ones visiting her and celebrating her 19th birthday in the hospital with cake and balloons. She gave shoutouts to her sister, her roommates, her parents and her dad's girlfriend, Kayla Quick, for their love and support post-surgery.
Isabella Talked About Her New Perspective
As the video wrapped up, Isabella discussed the insight she gained in the past few months. She said she was focusing less on "the little things" and looking towards what truly matters.
"You can really like, learn how to be positive, be nice to people, ‘cause that makes the biggest impact," the teen said in her vlog.
She added a hopeful thought for her viewers: "I just hope anyone who sees this knows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that things will get better because every day is another day closer to getting better and closer to feeling better,” Isabella said. “Progress takes a lot of time… try to see the positive things."
She Made the Decision to Freeze Her Eggs
Because radiation and chemotherapy can affect fertility, Isabella decided to freeze her eggs.
"That was not fun for me. At all," she recalled in her second vlog, titled "Rehabbing from Brain Surgery." Quick noted that Isabella hated the hormone shots in particular, which were administered in Isabella's stomach several times a day leading up to the procedure.
The young model underwent her egg retrieval on Thanksgiving Day in Columbus Circle, right near the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"It was like a CIA operation, getting there," Quick joked, adding that the family had a big Thanksgiving dinner together after the procedure.
She Talked About Moving Back Home with Her Family in N.Y.C.
In vlog No. 2, Isabella filled in her viewers on everything that happened after her surgery and rehabilitation in L.A. With Sophia and Quick by her side to fill in her memory gaps, Isabella recalled how she moved back to New York City to start radiation treatments.
While it was difficult to take a break from school, the young model focused on the positives of being at home in her video, which was posted on Jan. 12.
"It's really nice to have home-cooked meals and just be around the dogs," Isabella said, adding that she would be posting her favorite meals on her food Instagram account, @NYCParm.
She Opened Up About Cutting Her Hair
Isabella opened up about shaving her head and how she's adjusted to her "new look." She said goodbye to her curls — which had started thinning after radiation treatments — during a 4 a.m. FaceTime call with her twin.
"It's definitely sad because...I didn't really cut my hair [before]," Isabella said, adding that her aunt shaved her head in solidarity.
She Opened Up About Finishing Her Radiation Treatments
"It’s been a long six weeks, and I’m very happy to just hopefully heal my head from all of this ‘cause the side effects and everything get to you," she said while heading to the hospital for her final session. There, she gave her YouTube viewers a peek inside the room, where they were already playing music by her favorite artist — Bryson Tiller.
Once she was done, Isabella got to ring the bell to signify her completed treatment in front of her loved ones, who showered her in hugs.
Her Post-Radiation Treatments Celebratory Meal
The family's joy continued after they left the hospital and headed to brunch to dine on Isabella's favorite: Thai food. In the YouTube video, which she uploaded on Jan. 16, Isabella can be seen digging into a big bowl of Pad Thai noodles.
The Post-Radiation Check-In
Isabella got real about how she was feeling physically at the end of her vlog, which she titled "Ringing The Bell to Celebrate Finishing Radiation!" The 19-year-old said she was feeling nauseous and had an ongoing headache, but she also noted how much her symptoms fluctuate over a week.
“It’s just waves because you can feel great one day and then horrible the next," Isabella explained from her bedroom. "It's frustrating but it is what it is, and you can't really control how you feel."
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