My name is Fiona and in May of 1989, at the age of 15, I was diagnosed with a Ewing Sarcoma in my right hip. I soon began a 13-month course of chemotherapy at the Royal Children’s Hospital
The chemo treatment required that I stay in hospital for five nights one cycle alternating with a three day cycle the next and this happened every three weeks.
In between these treatments I tried to live as any other teenager would (minus the hair) and attended school but often ended up back in hospital for blood transfusions due to low blood counts.
The tumor responded well to the chemo, and in the December had shrunk enough to be removed surgically. Following the surgery the chemo continued and I also underwent a course of Radiotherapy at Peter MacCallum.
Finally in the June of 1990 the doctors said the treatment was complete and I was in remission. I still remember this time vividly and was so happy and relieved it was finally all over. I was most excited to have my hair grow back and despite being warned it may grow back differently it came back the same.
Well seventeen years on, I am a healthy thirty-three year old. I am still required to attend check ups annually as there are numerous potential long-term complications from the chemo drugs I had. I don’t mind going in for an hour one a year for monitoring to ensure all is ok.
As a result of spending so much time in hospital I was inspired to become a nurse and gained my bachelor of nursing. I currently work in community nursing and enjoy this.
I have been married to Jamie for nearly 8 years and we have two sons. As a consequence of the Radiotherapy I was left infertile, a fact I knew from the time of treatment. In order to have a family we chose the road of untercountry adoption and both our sons are adopted from South Korea.
Our eldest son Mitchell Min Soo is three and a half our youngest son Lachlan Joo Hyeok is four months old and has only been home with us three weeks. They bring us so much joy and we are so happy we were still able to have a family.
Having cancer has also had an impact on those around me. My parents Faye and Michael Love have been involved with CIKA for years and they gain satisfaction from being able to fundraise for research into cancers such as the one I had. My sister Sarah was involved in the various support groups for teenagers and siblings with cancer, and is now in the health profession too.
I don’t dwell on the fact that I had cancer all those years ago but it certainly influenced the person I am today and I will never take my health for granted again.
|Sadly Fiona passed away in 2016 as a result of uterine cancer. A memorial service was held on 28 June, and in October 2017 the |
CIKA team came together to remember and recognise Fiona and all that she and her family have done for CIKA.
CIKA had purchased a biomedical freezer in memory of Fiona and, along with her parents Faye and Michael, her sister Sarah,
Fiona’s husband Jamie, and all her wonderful friends, we were able to share the journey of her life.
The morning commenced with a presentation from CIKA vice president, Ellen Webb. Then followed Fiona’s story told by her
husband Jamie. Dr Louise Ludlow, Coordinator of the Children’s Cancer Centre Tissue Bank updated the guests about the work that she undertakes and the valuable contribution that the new freezer has provided.
Fiona’s mother, Faye, concluded the event and extended thanks from the family for the support that they had received from all