DECATUR – St. Teresa High School looks after its own.
Angela Bean, 15, a sophomore at St. Teresa, has been diagnosed with pseudopapillary tumors on both her liver and pancreas. Angela will have surgery at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in January, the Whipple, which is a major surgical procedure that will require her to stay in the hospital for at least five weeks.
During that time, her parents will split their time between the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and Decatur, where Angela's two younger brothers, one at St. Patrick School and another at home, will be staying.
St. Teresa sent out an appeal to students, their families and alumni to help collect gas and grocery gift cards for the Beans, and to ask for prayers. On Dec. 15, the school's Jeans 4 Quarters fundraiser was designated for the family as well.
Her mother, Adriene, said Angela first discovered a lump on her abdomen in 2015. It grew and became painful, and Angela had a CT scan which showed a large mass.
“The doctors weren't sure where it was attached,” Adriene Bean said. “We were sent to St. John's (Hospital) in Springfield. She had her first surgery on Oct. 14, 2015. The doctor used a conservative approach to resect the tumor that was attached to her pancreas.”
Angela has had two more surgeries, for stents placed in her main pancreatic duct. Tests showed that the tumors are malignant and will grow back. That means regular scans to keep an eye on the area, and in August, she started feeling “off.” In October, she had an attack of what the family initially thought was pancreatitis.
“She went to the (emergency room) and their scan showed a growth,” Adriene Bean said. “One of the hospitalists suggested we take her to Luries Children's Hospital due to the rareness of her tumor.”
After the surgery in January, and the long hospital stay, the next steps depend on whether the tumors come back. Angela is a dedicated student, and will be homeschooled during her treatment and recovery. The hope is for her to go back to school at St. Teresa when she's well enough.
“We are very stressed, but determined to enjoy the holiday season, and her 16th birthday is the day before surgery,” Adriene Bean said. “Just trying to take it one day at a time, and very grateful that she is in the hands of a renowned surgeon who will provide her with the best of care.”
Angela is keeping her spirits up as best she can. Her cousin, Hannah Bean, recently had a heart transplant, and the two girls encourage each other.
“I'm really thankful to have such a great support system from my family and my boyfriend (Colton Centers),” Angela said. “Without them, I'm not sure how I'd be getting through this. I'm extremely thankful to be lucky enough to have such a great surgeon and surgical team working on me. This whole ordeal is extremely stressful, but I'll get through it with everyone by my side.”