"The doctor felt a hard lump in her tummy and ordered an X-ray. Then an ultrasound. We will always remember the sight of the doctor running from his office to the scan room to consult with the doctors there. We just knew. It’s cancer.” Erin, Emeline's Mum
He sent us for immediate admission at Westmead Children’s. The next few days were a blur of scans, surgeries, biopsies, tube insertions and removals, nurses, doctors, statistics, names of chemos and other treatments, overall an 18-month treatment timeline. As parents, we fight so hard to protect our children from any harm but there’s nothing we can do about cancer. Suddenly it’s in our lives threatening to take away one of our beloved kids.
"We started with chemotherapy the following week. Emeline had a primary tumor in her abdomen and it had spread to lymph nodes in her chest and neck. After a year that included five rounds of chemo, an 8-hour surgery, one round of high-dose chemo that required stem cell rescue, 12 rounds of radiotherapy, and three rounds of immunotherapy, she unfortunately still has some stubborn lymph nodes in her abdomen and chest that are still active. Fortunately, they appear to be quietly retreating and we hope she will reach NED (no evidence of disease) in the near future." - Erin, Emeline's Mum
Emeline is a strong, bright, cheerful little girl. When she was born, all the nurses and doctors noted how strong she was, how she kicked at them during all the newborn tests. She was labeled a "vigorous female" in the hospital notes from birth. After diagnosis, she has shown just how much fight she has, especially when we try to get her to do something she simply doesn’t want to do. She has always been our warrior princess.
Emeline loves people. She adores her big brother, Caleb, and loves trying to keep up with him. Sometimes she plays too hard and annoys him. It's not uncommon for me to have to ask Em to leave her "bruh" alone, or to stop tackling him. She loves to dance and will often pop out of her chair at dinner to do a little dance around the room when she hears a song she likes. She loves being a big sister to baby Indie, even when Indie tries to mess up all the beautiful set-ups Em carefully puts together. Emeline loves princesses, twirling in pretty dresses, painting mom's nails, going to ballet class, making art, singing as loud as she can, and poop jokes (loves poop jokes!). She is everyone's friend and just wants to play with you.
"She is four and a half years old. As her mum, I've been lucky enough to stay home with her so we've been together pretty much 24/7 from day 1. She's my little mini and it's very odd for me to even get through a shower without her head popping in asking me to hurry up so we can play." - Erin, Emeline's Mum
This has been a long, hard, bumpy journey, at times dark and painful, but at other times a learning experience from which we have no other option but to grow and thrive. Our family and friends have come together to lift us up and carry us through the darkest days.
We don’t know what’s to come, we don’t even know what’s next in terms of treatment because her cancer is proving to be more stubborn than we expected. But we do know we won’t be fighting alone.