Posted by Auntie Heather (Heather Methven) on Oct 09, 2011
The last three and a half months have been an emotional roller coaster for my family and I. It started on June 24th, 2011 (a day I will never forget) and it still continues to this day.
I was heartbroken when finding out that my curly red headed angelic angel was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and the doctors said she had around 3 months to live.
I was horrified and shocked when looking through hours and hours of websites and research, trying to find a cure for my Stella. I was constantly on different DIPG support groups and this horrendous DIPG has taken the lives of too many innocent children. There has hardly been any progress in the last 35 years with finding a cure for DIPG. The sense of helplessness and hopelessness is too much too bear.
I was devastated to see my sister fall apart with depression and anxiety. I am Michelle’s big sister, yet I cannot protect her and guard her from this atrocious situation her and Aimee are both forced to deal with. I feel powerless because there is nothing I can say or do to take away the DIPG or pain she is constantly going through.
I was depressed to see Mishi and Aimee’s close family members and friends falling apart. We are all coping with Stella’s diagnosis in different ways. Everyone has been very determined to keep strong in front of Stella but when Stella is not around the courageous front disappears, exhaustion takes over and the despair sets in.
I feel that my way of coping in this unfair tragedy is denial. I see her losing her abilities one at a time and I see her medication constantly increasing, yet I am always hoping and praying for a miracle. I haven’t truly accepted that she might not be with us one day. I am fearful to think about how I am going to handle the rest of her deterioration.
I have only broken down in front of Stella twice since the diagnosis. Stella does not like it when people cry and both times she said, “Don’t cry Auntie it’s o.k. I will fix your boo boo with a band-aid”. If only I could fix the DIPG. Stella and I were watching television and there was a bunch of children riding on horses. Stella looked at me and said “Auntie when I’m big I ride the horsie”. This was one of the times that I broke down in front of her. I looked at her with tears overflowing in my eyes and said “Of course”. I am grief-stricken that there will be things she wants to do that she will never have the opportunity to do.
Although there have been a lot of negative emotions on this horrific journey, there have also been some positive.
As a family we have never been closer and more supportive of each other. I have spent more time with my family then I ever have before, it is time that I will treasure and reflect back on with many cherished memories.
Aimee and Mishi have made sure that the last couple of months have been spectacular for Stella. She has been to various cottages, Sesame Street Land, play dates with her best friends, monthly Stella birthday parties and Christmas in September. They are making sure that Stella is a constant wonderland full of happiness and bliss.
Stella is only 2 and a half years old, yet she has touched more lives than most adults. Our families are blessed to have so much love and support from the community. Family, friends and even complete strangers have been inspirational and willing to help throughout this difficult time. There have been numerous successful benefits and fundraisers that have ensured Mishi and Aimee can stay home from work and be with Stella.
Children usually aren’t diagnosed with DIPG until the age of 5. I think that it is a blessing Stella is only 2 and a half because she does not know what is happening to her. She is unable to walk anymore, her speech and eyesight are getting worse daily, she sleeps most of the day, yet she still manages to have her infectious laugh that makes my heart melt like butter. Her high-spirits are a testament to us all.
I am grateful, I was blessed with the opportunity to have Stella in my life. Being Stella’s auntie is truly a gift!! You will always have a place in my heart and soul!!
Love, Auntie Heather
Photo by Silke Fischer