When you have a girl gifted in every way; funny, talented, loving and beautiful,
who can draw, sing, dance ballet, play piano, and spread joy and love through every smile, who dreams of flying and touching the stars and yet so determined, so grounded and strong.
When you have such a girl, you don’t want to think that a life threatening illness can take her away from you and change your life forever.
Hana was misdiagnosed for a year before she was correctly diagnosed on June 23, 2014 with a grade III anaplastic ependymoma brain tumor.
Although surgery was done the same day as the diagnosis, the pressure of the tumor was significant enough to cause extensive brain damage. We were told after 4 days to let go of her, because hopes for her to come back in a normal state were minimal.
We waited day after day for a miracle. And miracles started to happen, breathing on her own, hearing, seeing, blinking, remembering who we are, smiling, speaking, moving the left pinky, eating, sitting, the list can go forever!
We started radiotherapy within 2 months of the surgery, 33 sessions, 33 daily trips to Tom Baker Cancer Centre where her little damaged brain was exposed to the highest dose of radiation. To kill the beast, we accepted all kind of risks including losing her sight, impacting growth, affecting her memory and learning skills. But you can’t compromise with cancer.
If it doesn’t kill you, cancer can destroy your life. Awareness is the first step to saving this life. Starting with the medical system, doctors, family, neighbors, friends, and the whole community. If doctors were more aware of the chances for a child to have cancer, Hana wouldn’t have been misdiagnosed after she had 3 seizures over a year at the age of 8.
Knowing more about childhood cancer will enable people in charge, under the medical system, to do something in the future so that no child has to suffer this pain or has to lose the opportunity to have a normal life.
Hana is fighting every day to walk and dance again. She is still spreading joy, life, and love with every smile. As she always says, “my smile saved me,”and I say, “love saved her.”