I will never forget that moment, coming out of the MRI suite when the technician directed me toward a room where Shelly was sitting, waiting for me to return. Shelly had already been devastated by the images and what the radiologist had said. The images revealed a massive brain tumour, which we later confirmed as a group 3 metastatic medulloblastoma – one of the worst and most aggressive forms of childhood brain cancer.
We learned to live in the moment in a way that only something like this can teach. Joy could be found in heartache and hope was hidden in the darkness. The support around us bolstered us and helped us crawl through the unknown life-territory we had been forced to travel.
Being deaf hugely compounded everything for Jason and I. The hospital does not have interpreters, so every time the doctors and nurses would come and talk to us, we had no clue what they were saying.
It all started with extreme pain in my back and knees. What I thought was just an injury from playing volleyball turned out to be a tumour in my abdomen. The tumour was massive. It was 20 by 10 cm—about the size of a cantaloupe. I was 15 and had to quickly come to terms with the fact that, not only was I dealing with cancer; I was carrying around a 15-pound tumour in my abdomen that I hadn’t even noticed growing.
“After her surgery, Sofia was initially totally paralyzed. It was terrifying. She couldn’t talk, move or see. She was completely mute and blind. She couldn’t hug us for three months. This was the girl who was doing summersaults and jumping on the trampoline the week before her diagnosis.”
Before Kevin and Cameron Olmats were old enough to understand, their brand new baby brother became very sick. Little Ethan was only three months old, when he was diagnosed with infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Although his time on earth was brief, Ethan made a lasting impression on everyone he met—especially his big brothers.