Kristine Laplante could not believe it when her 6 month old daughter Evie was diagnosed with a brain tumour. “She had this crazy eye twitch that led us to our family doctor” says Kristine. “We learned that she had a cancerous brain tumour called a Hypothalamic Optic Glioma. Our lives were forever changed in that moment.” Evie is now 6 years old and has been on chemotherapy for most of her life. “There is currently no cure. Treatment is geared towards slowing the growth of the tumour until the research catches up.”
As we are approaching mid-December and the festive season is in full swing, I’m constantly reminded about my late husband Peter. Christmas to me was Peter. He adored every single aspect of the Christmas season from decorating the tree, to planning/cooking the gorgeous feast, he even wore Christmas jumpers before they came back in fashion!
The MATCH Study: Mindfulness And Tai chi for Cancer Health. This innovative clinical trial conducted by the University of Calgary/Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is now recruiting cancer survivors! As a participant you get to choose which treatment approach you want, or let us assign you to a group if you are equally interested in both. We will measure program effects on psychological, physical and biological outcomes including quality of life, mood, stress, balance, blood pressure, heart rate, immune function and more! Visit www.thematchstudy.ca for more details.
by Dr. Linda E. Carlson, Study Principal Investigator
Thursday late morning Cassie said “see ya later” to the staff while the ambulance crew wheeled her to the elevator. Cassie smiled, the nurses returned the smiles amongst tears, we even snapped a quick group picture. Cass had written on one of the hospital’s white boards earlier that week, “Don’t be afraid, just believe. Mark 5:36.” She pointed to it as she rolled past. I tried to smile, but like a zombie, I slowly followed the gurney. Chris and the kids stayed back with our social worker Kathleen. She spent some time discussing the emotional side of hospice and the idea of “dumping circles”. She wanted to make it very clear to us that Cass was at the center of the circle, the rest of the Hines 5 were in the next circle, followed by Ashley’s almost fiancé, Jeff, along with the rest of our immediate family and close friends. The final circle was “everyone else”. Only support goes “in” and fear, whining, complaining etc. is dumped “out”. This simple concept was how we were to control what was about to happen at our house for what would be the next 40 days. Kathleen made it very clear that it is our job to protect each other.
It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, our social worker was stopping by to see how we were all holding up, or so I thought. You see, our daughter Cassie had just had surgery to remove a large tumor on her spine, which was causing severe leg pain. Cassie had been a kidney cancer patient for the last four years so we were all pretty used to the scan, surgery, recovery life of a chronic cancer patient. Her last set of scans revealed several tumors on her spine so Cassie had decided to remove the largest of the tumors, causing leg pain, and join a trial to hopefully shrink the rest. The problem was, before she could join a trial, the pain and numbness in her arms was getting worse. The remaining tumors were growing fast.