Zoe is 3 (and a half – the half is very important! ). She is an incredible little girl who talks and sings nonstop. She loves music, pink and sparkles, Sylvanian families, playschool and her baby sister.
In late June this year we noticed she was tiring very easily and vomited maybe 3 times over 2 weeks. We thought she was just exhausted from a busy year at playschool and had picked up a bug.
A trip to Temple Street in July diagnosed her with a UTI and we were sent home with antibiotics. 3 days later, on July 15th, she wasn’t responding to them so we bought her back so she could get a new antibiotic. While she was being monitored in the Emergency department her heart rate dropped and she had a seizure. A CT was carried out and we were brought into a room and told there was no good news. Zoe had a mass on her brain and her head was filled with fluid. That was the day cancer walked into our lives.
Zoe spent 5 weeks in Temple Street and underwent 5 head surgeries including 2 tumour resections. Tests revealed that she has ATRT – a cancer of the central nervous system. It is a very rare, very aggressive cancer which usually only occurs in children aged 3 and under. Zoe was transferred to Crumlin hospital where she has undergone 3 rounds of chemotherapy with 6 left to go.
As part of her treatment Zoe needs radiation therapy. As her tumour is in her brain stem she has to have proton therapy which is only available abroad. We have to go to Essen in Germany for this.
We were in hospital with Zoe on a Thursday evening when the news came through we were to travel to Essen for planning the following Monday. One phonecall to John from the Gavin Glynn foundation and we didn’t have to worry about one detail. He took care of absolutely everything – flights, transfers, accommodation. We move to Essen this week with Zoe and her baby sister Holly for 7 weeks and again, John and his team have done everything – even down to my request for a highchair. Nothing was too much trouble. All done with the utmost kindness. It has made this scary jputney as easy as it can be. Zoe continues to approach life in her usual way – with singing, dancing and laughter. She has shown us what it is to be strong.