Our son Finn was just three months old when he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive and fast-growing sarcoma. We spent the first year of his life fighting for it. It was so unreal because Finn was so little. It was like a slap in the face and it just kept hitting us hard and fast—surgery, cancer, chemotherapy. There was no time to think or feel. We were in full survival mode.
My son Mason took a little spill and started crying as he had hurt his leg. It was the end of the party and nothing serious, so we packed up and headed home. Mason complained about his knee hurting. Assuming he twisted it, I had him laid up on the couch to rest the knee. The next day when he said it still hurt I told him we will have to go to the doctors to have it checked. He said, “no its okay” and started walking on it again.
We started to notice that Kaidan wasn’t feeling well the same night he was given his first round of immunizations, so it was tricky to know what was going on. I called Health Link twice that first night, saying he was so lethargic and crying so much. They assured me that it was just a reaction to his immunizations. The next day I phoned our family doc and made an appointment but he couldn’t find anything wrong. He chalked it down to an ear infection and gave him antibiotics. My mama instinct went into over drive, saying, “No way. Don’t give him that.
Diagnosed with cancer at three months, Finn spent the first year of his life fighting for it. He’s finished treatment now, but he’s facing a lifetime of late effects. Monitored regularly for tumour growth, Finn also sees a battalion of medical specialists — from neurologists and geneticists to endocrinologists and occupational therapists — to manage the after effects.
Thank goodness for Great Clips hair salons. Their Back to School Buzz during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is turning haircuts into fundraising and here’s how you and your kids can get involved.
I have tried multiple times to write and share Ella’s story. I struggle partly because I feel this is her story to tell, not mine, but the other struggle is I know that by the time I finish writing this, there will be more to add to it. We are anxiously waiting to hear when Ella’s next brain surgery will be. We know it will only be weeks away. The outcome of this surgery has so many possibilities and we know this because she has already been through three within the last year. That is not including the other surgeries. That is just her brain surgeries. At the young age of three, the number of brain surgeries she will have is more than her age.
Names are pretty meaningful for Jessica. As we drove to the hospital on the morning of her birth, I googled the meaning of the names we had shortlisted, and saw that Jessica meant “a gift from God”. This baby was indeed a gift as it was a miracle that we were even pregnant in the first place. We also knew that our baby had a mass in her brain, so my hope was that the meaning of the name Jessica would help to ensure her survival. Because when you give a gift, you don’t ask for it back.