Professor Charles Teo speaks to Rare pineal cyst sufferer

Amelia Hocking, of Burra, with Professor Charles Teo and a scan of her brain and the rare pineal cyst in the background.

Amelia Hocking, of Burra, with Professor Charles Teo and a scan of her brain and the rare pineal cyst in the background.

Little did Amelia Hocking think 12 months ago she would be where she is today. 

The Burra teenager, 15, has just returned home from meeting Prof Charles Teo in Sydney to talk about her options with a rare pineal cyst that has been discovered in her brain. 

Prof Teo has performed operations on this rare cyst in the past and clients have been given the chance to benefit from it. 

Miss Hocking and her family travelled to Sydney for the appointment. 

The family met with Prof Teo’s offsider neurosurgical fellow Dr Steve Carr, to discuss the diagnosis, what could happen next, the size of it and both the risks and positive outsomes that could come from surgery. 

Miss Hocking began dealing with a range of side effects of the pineal cyst and extensive testing saw her diagnosed with the cyst. 

Surgery to remove the cyst, which is currently compressing a part of the cerebral aqueduct/tectum, will cost more than $100,000. 

Mrs Hocking said Prof Teo confirmed the symptoms Miss Hocking had suffered were as a result of the pineal cyst. 

“It has helped Amelia to see that she is not crazy and what is going on is happening for a reason,” Mrs Hocking said. 

The family, but Miss Hocking in particular, was shown just where the cyst was and its size. 

In a report provided by Prof Teo it said there was a “1.2cm fluid signal intensity lesion in the pineal region with the mass effect in the cerebral aqueduct/tectum consistent with a pineal cyst”. 

As a result of the meeting with Prof Teo, Miss Hocking was offered the surgery to remove it. A decision that could only be made by Miss Hocking. 

This surgery, at $100,000, isn’t supported by benefits and has to be paid upfront. 

“They do believe that she is very likely to experience significant benefits on the removal (of the cyst). He would not put his name to this if he did not believe it would help her. The decision is completely up to Amelia and no one else. I have questioned her about it and she really wants to have the surgery,” Mrs Hocking said. 

There is currently about three people in Australia looking to have this surgery. 

Now fundraising for the surgery, putting everything else on the backburner and struggling to make ends meet at the moment, Mrs Hocking said the surgery was dangerous.

Despite the fact Miss Hocking made the decision, Mrs Hocking is ultimately the one who signs the waiver forms. 

“My daughter could die from this surgery because of where it is on the brain...until she is in recovery and talking, can see and is fine, then I’m not going to rest. It’s hard.”

She said keeping a house that needs work in order, for Miss Hocking’s health, had become tiring and things were starting to mount up. 

“It’s just a constant battle for us, financially and emotionally it’s hard,” Mrs Hocking said. 

“I want her to have surgery, I want her to be ok after surgery and lead a life like any kid her age.”

Fundraising has begun to assist Miss Hocking in this journey to lead a non-crippling life. A gofundme page has been set up: Amelia’s fight 4 brain surgery and already more than $4000 has been raised. 

A raffle is also being held, tickets are $2 and available at Burra BP and Burra Newsagency – this will be drawn on September 18 at Regional Council of Goyder.