Dealing with the C word
09.06.14 | Posted in General
Last November, as I was giving my eldest daughter Milla a cuddle (then four years old), I noticed a lump on her neck. The next day my husband took her to the doctor. This led to a series of tests at the Sydney Childrens’ Hospital, all of which came back normal, until a few months’ later when I noticed the lump had grown significantly.
Worried, we took her back to the hospital and over the course of the following weeks, Milla had a biopsy and numerous tests and scans done. The results came in and our worst fears were confirmed with a cancer diagnosis. She has Hodgkins lymphoma.
The last few months have been incredibly confronting, and it’s without a doubt the most stressful experience I’ve ever been through. Milla has been through two rounds of chemotherapy, and navigating all that comes with this has left our family paralysed at times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished with all my heart that it was me going through this, and not her.
However, we’re coping by using the same formula that we always do – by trying to find the beauty in it, and by trying to be in service to others when we can. Milla has often been by the bedside of other kids, laughing with them and trying to cheer them up. And the other night we brought in a stack of food and snacks and asked the nurses to wheel them around and offer them to the other patients and their families on the oncology wards.
Another way we’ve coped is to reach out to friends and family who have been so generous and have showed an extraordinary capacity for love. Our gorgeous friend Jerusha Sutton who photographed my last birth and also did a family shoot the day before we started treatment, captured one of Milla’s chemo sessions about a month back. We hope to be able to use her stunning images to help other families going through similar experiences. Since that treatment, Milla’s hair has all but fallen out, and she’s puffy and has put on a lot of weight from the steroids, but I know my little spirited girl is still in there, and will be back soon.
Last weekend was a happy time as we celebrated Milla’s fifth birthday, and again Jerusha was on hand to take pics of the ‘Frozen’ themed party.
I’d like to honour my team at Business Chicks who have been so gentle and supportive of me, shielding me from things I haven’t needed to know about while I’ve not entirely been myself, and stepping up to keep the wheels turning. I’d also like to honour my husband who has found strength and a sense of humour and practical solutions when I haven’t been able to. And both our families whose love and concern for Milla equals ours.
We really hope we’re nearing the end of this journey for our family, and know that we can get Milla on to a path of complete wellness and strength. We suffered a small setback on Friday, and we’ve been at the hospital since. While you’ve all been enjoying a long weekend, we’ve been cooped up here in an isolation room! As it happens, the Sydney Children’s Hospital is holding one of their annual fundraisers – the Gold Telethon – today. They’re trying to raise $4.5million. We’ve gotten behind this with a donation, and I’d love for you to too. If you feel compelled, here’s the link: goldtelethon.org.au