Shane: It took a while to actually realize that it was cancer, it was life-threatening. And, as soon as that realization sunk in, it was really hard, because there was nothing that I could do. Her life depended on the doctors and the nurses, so we had to sit back and watch it all happen.
We were so hopeful, because she had a really high survival rate at the start, but then she relapsed. A number of times. And every time she relapsed, there was less of a chance. And every time she relapsed, it got even less.
Teagan: Our parents didn’t treat her any different. There were times when she wasn’t sick and she just didn’t want to go to school. Our mom would usher her out the door. They wanted her to keep up with her friends and go to school…be a normal kid. That was best for her. If we were going to a hockey game, she was bald, so she’d put on a warm hat, a scarf, and she was coming. It helped her in more ways than anything else.
Julia had to do daily stretches because one of her medications affected her legs. And if we didn’t give her stretches, she wouldn’t be able to walk properly and she’d have to go into a wheelchair. The stretches were painful. She hated it. Her hands and feet were sensitive because she felt pain all the time. Even when our mom would cut her nails, it was a huge deal. She would be bawling because it hurt. It’s a normal thing that none of us think about, but it hurt her. We just can’t even understand or comprehend how much pain she actually went through.
Her final relapse diagnosis was in October 2012. They didn’t think she would live past Christmas. But she did."
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, do something meaningful today to support families affected by childhood cancer: http://www.kidscancercare.ab.ca.