My journey with cancer began in April 2001. At first, there were very few signs that there was anything wrong with me. But one thing my mom and dad noticed was that I had trouble sitting upright in my car seat. Apparently, if the car seat wasn’t angled just right, my legs would fall asleep and I would start screaming. Mom and Dad thought this was a bit weird but they thought, “He’s two and can be a bit impossible.”
Some computer problems in the Kids Cancer Care office inspired a few staff to make some calm down jars and remember that sometimes you need to just take a step back, breath, and watch the glitter swirl!
At first, the doctors believed she was having some digestive problems and sent her for a variety of tests, but all the tests they ran came back indicating that nothing was wrong. Seeing as Maddie was just five years old, the doctors then started to consider that maybe her symptoms were more emotional and that maybe she was just trying to get our attention.
Aria began facing serious health issues the summer of 2016, at 10 months old. She was not gaining weight and refusing to eat solid foods. We worked with our family doctor, pediatrician, occupational therapists, dietitians and an allergist to try determine the cause. She was diagnosed as “Failure to Thrive” on November 7, 2016 by a pediatric GI specialist, in addition to discovering that her liver was enlarged.
It’s impossible to describe that day and the day of surgery. While the surgical fellow finished the surgery, the neurosurgeon came to tell us the tumour looked like medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumour. She said this was not going to be a sprint, but a marathon, so we should take all the help that comes our way. Those days were a blur, but we can remember certain details clearly.
Three days after his 10th birthday, Joel was diagnosed with medulablastoma, a type of brain cancer. It was the darkest day of our lives and the first time Joel ever his father cry. The mass was the size of a kiwi fruit, but the good news was that it was a solid tumour and it was operable.