Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Mum's Story {having a baby girl with cancer}

Written by my mumma. Read here for some context.



Once upon a time, along time ago, in fact almost 30 years ago, Emily was born. She was the most beautiful baby the nursing staff at the hospital had ever seen , or so they told me. Needless to say in her fathers (Matt) and my eyes she was absolutely gorgeous, a perfect little sister for her perfect big brother, Jon.

Within 12 months or so we noticed that Emily had a milky white spot on her right pupil. After numerous visits to the local doctor with no satisfactory answer, her dad was talking to his optometrist about this spot. The optometrist knew immediately what was the problem and suggested we make an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

At that time Emily’s grandfather’s wife was matron of Sydney Eye Hospital and an urgent appointment was made for us to see the wonderful Professor Billson who headed up the team at the hospital. Within a couple of days we heard the worst news any parent could imagine. Our dear little girl had a tumour in her eye, a rare childhood cancer called Retinoblastoma.

After this frightening diagnosis followed a week’s stay in the Camperdown Children’s Hospital where Emily endured numerous tests, scans and x-rays. Many of these were invasive and very traumatic for an 18 month old toddler. Day after day Em endured having needles attached to her tiny little arm and secured by slabs of foam covered board so she could not bend her arm or remove the cannula, radio active dye injected into her blood stream, sedation so the doctors could conduct invasive tests, all to determine if the cancer was to be found anywhere else in her precious body.

Thankfully the outcome of these explorations revealed that the cancer was isolated to her eye only! At the beginning of this journey we could not have imagined getting any worse news than we had received, but by the end of that week in the Children’s Hospital we realised how lucky our family really was. We met many other families whose child had retinoblastoma in both eyes with blindness being the only positive outcome. (Not to mention the numerous other families who’s children were critically ill and with no hope of recovery).

We were to learn that Em’s tumour was growing outwards, not inwards towards her brain, which would have lead to far worse health outcomes for her, and possibly even death.

Throughout this challenging time for Emily and her Dad and I, Jonathan, who was only just 3 needed to be left at home in our town with a family friend so that he was not exposed to the constant assault on his little sisters body. Needless to say he suffered  from the loss of the time and attention and the security of knowing that Emily and he were both safe. Jon and Em were inseparable friends when they were young and while away from Jon, Em would constantly ask for her Jonny. I think she found being away from him just as difficult as her time at the hospital.

After the rounds of tests we were allowed to go home for a week before Em was to be admitted to the  Children’s Hospital for the operation to remove her eye.
Prof Billson had explained the procedure to us; the eye would be removed, the muscles attached to an acrylic ball, and then she would have 6 weeks for that to heal before being fitted with a prosthetic eye. Sounds simple really, doesn’t it? We were assured that this procedure would cause no pain to our little Emily and we were not to worry! As if!

The operation went smoothly and the Prof was very happy with the outcome. Em was returned to the ward with a bandage around her head, swooping down to cover her eye and just about half her face. She had always been a hardy little girl and at this time she amazed us and the nursing staffs with her resilience and determination to just get on with life. Within a day of the operation she was riding a trike around the ward and out on the verandah! There was no stopping this little girl.

Within a few days we were allowed to return home and resume normal life again. Matt and I had been shown how to care for the empty socket where Emily’s sparkling blue eye had been no more than a week ago. This routine was most unpleasant for Emily and caused a significant amount of stress for her and the rest of the family. But nothing would hold Em back from enjoying her life and so as a family we picked ourselves up and went about living life. With a patch tightly adhered to her face, Em, Jon, Matt and I walked to the beach, played in the sand and waves, climbed monkey bars, went for holidays to other beautiful beach locations, trying to re-establish some sort of normality in our lives.

It was while on our planned Christmas holiday to Tuross Heads on the South Coast of NSW in 1984 that we noticed that something didn’t look right with Emily’s socket. It looked like the implant was falling out. This couldn’t be happening! We rang Prof Billson and described what we saw to him. “You better bring her in “ he said. So we packed the car and the children and drove the 4 hours back to Sydney.

Here began 6 months of operation after operation to try and find an implant, which Em’s little body would not reject. Each time Emily was wheeled into the operating theatre all we could do was pray that this would be the last time she would have to endure this torture. Each operation was a new attempt to save Emmie’s muscles so that she would have the best possible movement when her prosthetic eye was fitted.  It took a week or two after each operation to discover that it had failed. Finally Prof Billson spoke to us about a procedure he was developing which used fat from the patients own body implanted into the eye socket. He convinced us that this would provide the outcome he wanted for Em.

She became his guinea pig.

This time he prepared us for what was to be a  very painful operation requiring a skin graft on Em’s chubby little bottom! He warned us that she would be in a great deal of pain and the recovery would be most unpleasant. Not only was Emily to endure another long operation and more discomfort in her eye but also a very sore and tender bottom.

Emily has had to endure more than most children should have to in any childhood, before she was 2 years old. During all this time Emily continued to be a busy little girl who loved playing with her bother, going to the beach, and generally getting into typical toddler mischief. Her Dad and I drew so much strength from her during this time as she would smile and laugh as if life had always been like this. What an amazing little girl she was.

Just before her 2nd birthday we took Emily to the artificial eye maker in Sydney, Taylor and Treffry, where  she entered the next stage of this horrible journey. Having an artificial eye made is a very slow and imprecise process. A mould must be made of the socket, then created into an acrylic shell, a hand painted eye must be produced to perfectly match the existing eye, showing blood vessels, flecks of gold and yellow, blue and green added to make it look life like. Then, after all this is done, about a week later, the fitting occurs. This is incredibly painful as you can imagine and the eye rarely fits perfectly the first time. So in and out it goes while the oculist fusses and fiddles with little bits of wax to try and make the eye sit and look better.

At last, the patch came off, an eye was fitted and for the first time in over 6 months our dear little girl had 2 beautiful little blue eyes looking at us.

This is the beginning of Emily’s  journey. You have met her at The Beetle Shack and know her as she is now. Until this time you have not know this part of her journey, but it's always been there forming part of the patchwork quilt that is her life. And it is up to Emily to decide if these early patches in her quilt add beauty or not.

However she views it, I think she is a beautiful, strong, determined woman and thank God for her every day.




 milky white patch visible in right eye.





 With first artificial eye at 3rd birthday.


Post written by this utterly baben' woman.
Check her out in full '80's regalia. 
Those Specks! Mum, you shoulda kept them!



99 comments:

  1. Oh, what a story, thank goodness you are here - both of you. I cannot imagine much worse than having a child suffer from cancer, what a journey you both went on. Thank you for sharing that part of your childhood x

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  2. What an amazing story and told only the way a mother could. I had no idea, Em. xox . P.s That shot where your mama is wearing the cherry top – it's so you with brown hair!

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    1. I'll happily take that Claire, I think my mum was a total betty!

      xo em

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  3. Wow! What an amazing story! As a mother you could ever imagine your child having to go through such a traumatic experienc. And you yourself must have gone through so much! I have three daughters and I don't know how I would handle such a scary situation. Thank you again for sharing that story.

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  4. My lord that is hard to hear : but such beautiful, eloquent resolve from your mama.

    Thankyou G'ma Beetleshack for sharing your story. I'll hug my smalls a little tighter tonight and give thanks x C

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  5. What a beautiful, brave girl you were/are, Em. What a beautiful (totally baben) brave mum you have too. Beautiful patchwork xox

    P.s we spent our holidays in the 80s at Turros Heads too

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  6. A truly remarkable story. Talk about counting blessings twice! What a beautiful family you have Em, the love captured in those photos is so clear and strong. I can't begin to imagine the reserves of strength your mum and dad had to find within themselves to get through that time, and your resilience as a little one to just keep on being a gorgeous little girl. Oh and the nurses weren't just saying you were a beautiful baby for something to say, it was the first thing I thought when I saw the photo - what a beautiful baby! Thank you to you and your mum for sharing your story in this way.

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  7. Oh wow Emily!! Who would have known that you have been through such a full on journey! Beautiful story and I think you are such an amazing and beautiful person (and your mum is so hot in those cool as specs too ;)

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  9. Wow, Em. What an extraordinary story. My heart broke at the thought of your gorgeous little two year self going through so much pain and trauma, and the agony of your parents. I wonder how much you all carry inside from this? Kellie xx
    PS Em ... cutest kid EVER.

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  10. A few paragraphs to cover what must have been such a stressful time. So glad there is a happy ending though...

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  11. That is more than any toddler (or parent) should have to endure! But it sounds like you did with good spirit. My FIL has one eye, but that is because he put a tungsten tip carbide saw blade through his face and nearly took himself out. His eye sometimes doesn't quite follow the other one, but most of the time you wouldn't know. I wouldn't have had any idea if you had not told us - but now your comment months ago about your wonky eye makes complete sense. Em, I think you are beautiful. And I'm glad that you have shared parts of the journey of your life with us.
    S x0x

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  12. Oh my goodness. What an incredible, inspiring story- one that has brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing it with us all. xx

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  13. Gosh! Lost for words here! What an incredible family you have! Happy Mothers Day to the both of you! xo

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  14. Oh Em. My heart hurts thinking about what you and your family went through. Just want to give you and your Mum a big hug. x

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  15. What an incredible story or love and triumph! (Needed a few tissues reading this!)

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  16. Em, those early patches in your quilt add an immense amount of beauty. xxx

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  17. What a wonderful story...so I'm just curious, but do you have to get a new eye as you grow? Or do you have the same one as you did when you were 2?

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    1. Hey Marfa, thanks for asking this question!

      Yes, a new eye needs to be made and fitted every couple of years. I'll be writing about that when I tell the next part of the story.

      xo em

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  18. Wow, what a journey for you and your family. I can't imagine going through cancer with a child. Your Mum is an amazing strong woman to write about what must have been a very difficult time.

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  19. Oh Emily. You (and your family) are brave, strong and courageous. What an incredible story x

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  20. you truly were a very strong & brave little girl em! & very beautiful too!
    & of course you had a strong family near to support you to this difficult period in your life.
    a story to show that life is very precious & needs great strenght.
    thank you & your mother for sharing this with us!

    xx
    evdokia

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  21. My goodness what a story! What a traumatic experience that must have been for you and your family. So glad for the happy ending :) And clever doctors of course.

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  22. Em, I never knew this story. I feel the need to hug you my friend. Praise God for bring you through this. xxxx

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  23. oh my goodness, your mum is amazing, strong, and loving.

    And you, wow, you rock lady! xx

    *crying*

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  24. Dear Em's mum, thank you for sharing your family's story. Had a few tears as I have a little 15 month old girl myself and can't imagine what your family went through. Bravo on then also raising a woman who not only survived but flourished. LOVE the photos - what a beautiful family!

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  25. wow, what an amazing story. And beautifully told. there's always so many layers to a person that we dont see on the surface... nice to get a little glimpse.. thanks for sharing.
    And your daughter looks so much like you did then xx

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  26. I echo everyone else here- this is an amazing story told with such love, So glad you posted this Em, Love Jxx

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  27. What an incredible story Emily. Thank you to you and your mother for sharing. Btw, how much do your small gorgeous people look like you at the same age!!??

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    1. I know- my little Lady Baby looks exactly like me (except with a ginger top)- this is the first time I really saw it!
      xo em

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  28. Oh Em... I fucking love you.

    And Nanny Jo, my heart bursts for you. What a woman!
    x

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    1. you too claire but geez tidy up your language- don't you know that Nannyjo will read this ;)

      xoxo

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  29. PS - that picture of you in the blue bathers on the beach.... Hello Zephie! x

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  30. And you totally have your Mums smile... That 80's cherry top is YOU!

    ... and I can see where you get your 'fruity' style from ;) x

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  31. Wah! What you have endured as a young pup, Em is just too difficult to even contemplate. Your family too. So horrible, really, but yet... a wonderful mother's day story, Em. x

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  32. Oh gosh, what a story, you have me in tears thinking of all that little Em and your poor family went through. I can only imagine how stressful it must have been. Thank you for sharing this part of your 'story' with us all Em xx

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  33. wow emily. I don't really have any words.. obviously I don't know what your mother sounds like, but I could hear her telling her beautiful, heartbreaking, triumphant story. your story. I could hear her voice - and her heart. does that make sense? what a beautiful family you have x

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  34. wow, it bought me to tears to. What a beautuful girl and a fabulous family you are! (Loving the sunglasses too...super stylish!)

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  35. Tonight I found you and your beautiful blog after coming here from Woogsworld. What a loving tale told by your mum. Every joy, heartache and fear felt by me. I'm a mum of kids aged 40 & 33 and am very glad to say they have escaped illness that you endured. Great post just before Mother's Day. Bless Mothers!! And Eye Surgeons who know their stuff.
    Denyse

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    1. Thanks for visiting Denyse and for your heartening words!

      xo em

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  36. Emily I am totally floored by your previously untold story! what a journey! you are an inspiration! loving your blog, i often have no time to leave a comment as surrounded by my own personal mayhem this end but just had to say something today! love and hugs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  37. This is an amazing story Em, and my heart goes out to that little girl who was so resilient and strong. But what really stands out for me is the love and strength of your lovely, lovely mum. I know, you know how heart breaking it is when your child falls and she went through so much more. Beautifully told and bravely shared, thank you x

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  38. Oh Em, what a beautifully written piece, so eloquent and inspiring. My heart aches for baby Em and her family. But what an incredible story of love and strength.
    I feel privileged to have read about this part of your life, it is so emotional and so personal.
    What a little trooper you are Em, a gorgeous, sweet soul... the photos illustrate just how much.
    Thank you and your lovely Mama for sharing xoxo

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  39. Being a mumma to a child with chronic illness, this struck a chord with me for sure. I almost made it through without a tear but the last sentence had me unstuck. Beautifully written Em's mum, thank you for sharing.

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  40. Thank you (both) so much for sharing this with us. This beautifully written story is really touching. It just shows what a strong and loving family you were/are!

    And by the way: you in the blue dress and in the bathing suit at the beach? I so see Zeph, especially in the smile!

    Fine

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  41. wow miss em - big kisses - btw - you were totally cute with that eye patch on...

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  42. I couldn't even see the keyboard properly as I was crying too hard. I had to leave it last night and come back this morning.

    What can I say? This was real life. Real terror. Real triumph. Real real love.

    It was the pictures that really did me in. To see you as a little girl (your eye patch, the smile still on your face, your brother, your family) brought this home to me.

    I can't imagine what this would be like. Not really. Because if I imagine too hard I'll start bawling.

    Thank you for sharing, Emily. I still think you're the bravest blogger I know. Really.

    Also, CUTEST LITTLE GIRL EVER! I thought it was Audrey. Nope. YOU!

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  43. I'm glad everything's fine now. :) and I agree, that little patch looked very cute on you! And also, you have a great mom who shared this story with us!

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  44. what a fantastic post. i read it this morning and have been thinking about it througout the day. what sweet pictures too.x
    lots of love
    sian

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  45. Wow, what a beautiful moving post - thank you to both of us for sharing it with us. x

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  46. such an amazing post! wonderful to hear about your childhood journey and your mum's parenting one.love it emily.

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  47. far out, thanks so much for sharing, heartbreaking!

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  48. Thank you to your mum for writing such a beautiful piece. And, thank you to you for sharing such a moving story with us all. I'm so happy you are now ok. x

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  49. thanks for sharing. amazing.

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  50. You're amazing, you're mum's amazing. What a legend. So beautifully written. I can't even imagine what that time must have been like. Makes me love you even more xxx

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  51. this post had me in tears. a beautiful story of love and strength, courage and triumph. i could hear your mum telling her story. thank you.

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  52. Beautiful story. Written with such gentle honesty. I love what she said about this being part of the patchwork of who you are - a beautiful patchwork in the hand of the master quilter!

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  53. Our two year old son was born with a lung condition. My heart breaks everytime we realise a hospital stay is brewing, it breaks when I have to help hold my baby down while various procedures are carried out and, sometimes most of all, my heart breaks when our four year old son valiantly packs up some of his special toys for his "little one" to take then collapses sobbing, but still waving, into his dada's arms as we leave for yet more time in hospital.

    Emily, your post has uplifted and inspired me. Some days I don't know how my family will survive this time, but after reading your mum's post I feel inspired. We can and we will. Thankyou so much.
    p.s Crying and typing is quite tricky. xx

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    1. hey Anon, thanks so so much for your comment here. I'd love to email you privately. If you get this msg and feel like it, please email me at ebeetleshack(at)gmail(dot)com

      xo em

      you will not only survive, you will thrive!! xx

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  54. As the mother an 18 month old (healthy thank the Lord) baby girl, my heart goes out to your mum and dad. I can not begin to imagine the absolute hell they must have lived through.

    As mothers, it's a really tough job at the best of times, but I hate to imagine just how much harder life would be if a child had a medical condition. I guess this puts things into perspective huh.

    Thank you, and your mum, so much for sharing this part of your patchwork blanket.

    PS - I can see where you get your amazing smile from :)

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  55. So wonderfully strong, your whole family must be. I can barely manage with Eve's blocked tear duct I can't imagine the struggle that you all got through.
    Thank you for sharing

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  56. You have a beautifully strong family, who has obviously been through more than any should, I can see how proud you are, and they are of you.
    Rhi xx

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  57. What a vibrant sparkly little girl you were (much the same as now really)This must have added so many shades to the person you are beneath. I cannot imagine how hard this must have been for your parents, something like this can either tear a family apart or make them close forever like your family. I guess that must be your silver lining to a very dark cloud. melx

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  58. wow what a beautiful story your mum wrote, happy Mother's day to both of you

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  59. I can tell you and your brother were much loved by your parents. Wow so brave the 4 of you. I am so happy to have 'met' you... you gorgeous woman you xxx

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  60. I dont know if I have the words to say how inspiring you all are.
    I have shed many tears reading this post and can only imagine what it must be like for you to read this Em. I totally get why you needed to drive and give your mumma a big hug!
    I already thought that you were an amazing family and now I have no doubt.
    Thank you for trusting us with this story - and showing us what being brave really is.
    x

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  61. Ps - as you know Em I already thought that you were a gorgeous spunk but now I kinda have a crush on your Mumma too!!

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  62. Em, I read this last week but didn't get a chance to comment. Reading your mum's story just moved me beyond words. What an amazing woman she is. And your dad. And your brother. And you....
    Still kind of speechless. But just want to say how much I appreciated you sharing this very sacred story of yours. It makes all of us just love you all the more, and it must be so helpful and inspiring to other parents who might be going through the same thing, like Anon above.
    God bless,
    Ronnie xo

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  63. Besides the heartfelt incredible story of your childhood, can i just point out the obvious and say how beautiful your family is and how precious baby Em was!!

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  64. Pretty amazing and powerful post Em. Thanks to your mum for sharing it, it must have been extremely hard for her to relive such a difficult time. It's a reminder to us all to be grateful and cherish what we have, and for those that are in a similar situation is must be comforting to hear a story with such a positive outcome.

    xxx

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  65. Probably due to personal experience, I've come to associate the big C with endings. Thanks so much for the reminder that it is survivable (and more!) You are amazing. Thanks to you and your mum for this xx

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  66. Geez woman, I have no words for this.

    We all knew you were amazing, this has just re-affirmed that for us.

    And whoa, what a cute kid you were! Little Miss looks just like you!

    Have a lovely Mother's Day, won't you?
    Rach x

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  67. A truly amazing story. You were beautiful from the day you were born and still are today (inside and out) P.S. Circa 1987 my mom had those glasses too! Same color even. I always swore she was the only one. Who knew?! They were just stylin' ladies :)

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  68. What a beautiful, brave little girl to go through such an ordeal, and an amazing family behind you, thankyou so much for sharing your story :)

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  69. Thanks emily for sharing this amazing story with all of us. What an ordeal for your parents and you to have gone through and how thankful you now must all be. We have a new darling daughter - also called Emily - such a pretty name! Happy Mother's Day :)

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  70. Beautiful story...thank you to you and your Mum for sharing. It is amazing how strong we really are, as children and as Mother's.

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  71. Wow! That is a very special story and written so well.... It's also struck a chord with me, with my son... he was born with a cleft lip and palate and has had many surgeries to endure in his eight years, with more to come... but what a strong and confident boy he is! and how much he has made me grow as a mum. Thankyou to your mum and yourself for sharing such a lovely story :)

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  72. you are amazing. your mum, amazing. beautiful words from a beautiful family. thank you for sharing. xx

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  73. I read this last week but didn't comment at the time as it raised memories of a time when Dr suspected our daughter of 2 had leukemia. Those days of waiting for test results were like an eternity, our emotions so very raw...thankfully we didn't have to travel down that path.
    Your story is amazing Em. You and your family are such an inspiration!!!

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  74. You look like a family made of strong stuff,still smiling through some awful times in those family photos.

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  75. Such powerful memories, beautifully shared. What a strong, wonderful, loving family you have. I look forward to reading the bits you remember from those early days - such a big thing for a little one to go through.

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  76. Wow! What a story.
    Your Mum is quite the story teller too.
    Can't help but imagine how much support she would have felt if there were a blog-world back then.
    How cathartic it would have been for her to share.
    I look forward to reading the next part And I totally loved seeing all the kiddie pics. x

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  77. This is so touching, I actually cried when I read it. The words your mum's used sound so genuine too, I could really feel what you must have all been going through..
    though of course I couldn't, I can't have any idea of how horrible and traumatic it must have been.

    I have a little sister who had a small hole in her heart, I can't remember exactly what it's called. It meant she was always getting tired, my lively, lovely sister, at only 2 years old, when she should have been running around with friends, without a care in the world... like you in your childhood story.

    The nurse we went to regularly never realised this was the ptoblem with her, she would run a few steps and then start coughing, and have difficulty breathing. Yet she found the same problem in my sister's cousin's heart, which was much smaller than the hole in my sister's.

    One day, she fell and cut her cheek and needed stitches. we took her to hospital, and the doctor saw there was something else wrong with her. and they found the problem immediately. It makes me cry now to think about it... If they hadn't found it then.. If they hadn't found it then, or in the next 6 months, my dear little sister would have passed away. It was such a shock.

    She went in for heart surgery shortly after, and luckily it was successful. If it hadn't been...

    Thinking about this I wonder all over again at how such small children have to go through such things, and it breaks my heart. Well done you, for being one of those children and having come through it with such determination:) and although I'm not a mother (I'm only a teenager) I know how it can feel, so well done to you, your mum, your dad, and your brother. Thank you for sharing your story with us, it's good that we can all experience what others have- all towards a better world.

    Thank you:)xxx

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  78. Em thank you (and your mum!) for sharing this heartfelt story. Life is just an amazing thing isn't it.. you can either choose to live in hope and determination or let life slip you by.

    Blogging is a beautiful thing as it allows all of us to understand each other that little bit more. I'm looking forward to reading your next installment. xx

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  79. oh my. Many tears shed today. And my baby girl just turned one. Just cannot imagine. Big love you special people! x

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  80. Hi, I want to thank u both for sharing. I
    am a mum to a 16 mnth old girl who lost
    her eye 4 weeks ago, like u she has a
    fat graft taken from her little bum.
    She is doing v well. I worry for her
    every single day, will she be constantly
    teased, etc... Your photo's are so
    gooood I would never know you have a
    prosthetic eye :-) Yours and your mum's
    story gives hope to a family like mine
    so thank u ever so much for sharing xx
    Martine & Matilda

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  81. What an extraordinary story and so beautifully told by your Mum. So thankful for the wonders of modern medicine. xx

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  82. wow.
    wow.
    wow.
    so beautiful you all are.
    and damn girl, you're 1 brave cookie!
    thanks for sharing.

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  83. oh this story brought me to tears! what a beautifully written piece and what an extrodinary journey you have had! You and your mother are a super brave pair..xxx

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  84. Hi Em,

    I've seen your name about on various blog comments and social media platforms, but it was your beautiful work for little tienda that brought me to your blog and this story.

    Thank you for sharing what must have been a very private pain so publicly on your beautiful blog. From what I've read in the comments, your words have already brought hope, inspiration & encouragement to other families facing struggles with health in their own families.

    Continued success to you and I look forward to more of your words and creativity shared.

    Love & hugs,
    Gabs x

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  85. Hi Em,

    I've seen your name about on various blog comments and social media platforms, but it was your beautiful work for little tienda that brought me to your blog and this story.

    Thank you for sharing what must have been a very private pain so publicly on your beautiful blog. From what I've read in the comments, your words have already brought hope, inspiration & encouragement to other families facing struggles with health in their own families.

    Continued success to you and I look forward to more of your words and creativity shared.

    Love & hugs,
    Gabs x

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  86. Hi Em,

    I've seen your name about on various blog comments and social media platforms, but it was your beautiful work for little tienda that brought me to your blog and this story.

    Thank you for sharing what must have been a very private pain so publicly on your beautiful blog. From what I've read in the comments, your words have already brought hope, inspiration & encouragement to other families facing struggles with health in their own families.

    Continued success to you and I look forward to more of your words and creativity shared.

    Love & hugs,
    Gabs x

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  87. Amazing story, you can feel how proud your Mum is! You look like a little doll in the picture with the red jumper!

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  88. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a mum to a 7 month old daughter and had tears in my eyes reading this x

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em