Emma's family visited Ben's Retreat in October 2023.
Emma was just 11 when her symptoms started; Tiredness, Aching limbs, Night sweats. I was worried she may have had glandular fever so took her to the doctors. And again when there was no improvement after two weeks, then to a&e when her legs hurt so much she cried, they suggested a PE injury or growing pains, they discharged us with paracetamol.
This went on for 6 months until a locum doctor saw us and Emma was sent for an X-ray.
This was 20th May 2010 the time was 6.30pm. I was told my daughter had cancer. The world stopped spinning. My head couldn’t accept that growing pains had turned into cancer.
How would I tell my baby she had cancer?
The Tumour in her femur had grown out of her bone and into her muscle. No wonder she was in pain. Growing pain!!! The tumour was measuring 12cm x 18cm. It was huge. Scans, bloods, and consultants quickly followed then chemo started 6th June.
She was so sick for her 12th birthday 10 day’s later.
September 2010 Emma had limb salvage surgery removing her femur and knee and replacing them with titanium. We also discovered emmas cancer had already spread to her lungs giving her just a 15% chance of survival. More chemo followed and intense physio to make the new leg work. It was soul destroying and heartbreaking. The effects of chemo ravaged her weak body leaving her at just 3 stone.
Allergy to one of the chemo drugs caused mini seizures in her eyes and her skin to peel especially her feet. She was wheelchair and bed bound for a long time.
While all her friends were moving on with secondary school making new friends, Emma was losing her hospital friends daily, it was so very sad. We knew when the curtains closed a child had died.
It became a new normal. A normal that no child should ever have to endure.
Emma relapsed and had two lung operations to remove tumours followed by a 3rd relapse into her other leg (same limb salvage surgery) photos included.
Then she relapsed into her ribs and had two removed.
This then followed a relapse into her lungs again; two more thoracotomies to remove tumours and more time in ICU.
And one again into her ribs..... two more removed.
Lastly the cancer settled into her ribs attached to her diaphragm & heart.
It’s at this point in emmas 7 year fight that her consultant said; “I’m sorry Emma, there is no further treatment”!
Emma was terminal now.
Those words still make me feel sick and cry.
He said 6 months.
We pretended they were just words. We made some amazing memories, family days out, meals, holidays, trips to Lion King......so many magical days.
Emma decided at 18 months past her terminal diagnosis that she couldn’t fight anymore, the angels needed her.
She said her goodbyes, and her Dad and myself sung her to sleep.
She was tired, she was brave beyond compare and she will never be forgotten.
Her heart stopped beating and somehow mine carried on