Miracle Weekend Follow Up: Kayla Aolick
During our 2013 Miracle Weekend telethon last June, we shared many stories from patient families and caregivers, explaining the need, and the miracles that take place inside the walls of BC Children's Hospital each and every day.
The show, and these stories, inspired many of our viewers to share their own stories about BC Children's with us. Last year, 22-year-old Kayla Aolick shared her story, and we are so pleased that she wrote in with an update for our viewers during this year's Miracle Weekend broadcast.
My name is Kayla Aolick and I'm 22 years old. I've lived in the rather small community of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island all my life.
In July 2003 my whole turned upside down when I was told I have cancer. On July 14, 2003 I was diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma brain tumor. Being only 11 years old at the time I didn't know what was going to happen to me, if I was going to survive. I decided I had no choice but to take this battle head on and try to beat this.
My treatment plan was surgery (two surgeries- one to place an EVD tube to drain fluid on the brain, one to take out as much of the tumor as possible, take out EVD tube and place ommaya resovoir), and radiation. The doctors said chemotherapy wasn't an option because of where the tumor was located- the pituitary gland. After my surgeries I had to stay in BC Children's Hospital for about 8 or 9 days til I was steady on my feet and able to sit up on my own etc. The nurses and doctors I had during this time were nothing but the best to both me and my family.
On October 3, 2003 I started my radiation treatment. My treatment took place in Vancouver since they had a special machine that could pinpoint where the cancer is and do the treatment there. My treatment was set to last 6 weeks and could give a lot of side affects that show up even a few years after treatment. My radiation treatment destroyed most of the hormones in my body.
Once I finished my treatment, I started to slowly get side affects. In April 2004 I had a seizure while I was in the shower. I kept sporadically having seizures every few months til it started to happen more frequently. I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder in 2008. In July 2004 my ommaya resovoir had stopped working and I had to have emergency surgery at BC Children's Hospital to have it replaced with a VP shunt.
I've been a cancer survivor for almost 11 years now and my epilepsy/seizure disorder is more controlled now that I have a seizure alert dog guide. I graduated from high school 4 years ago and do a lot of volunteer work for organizations that have helped me. I've only had to stay at BC Children's once since 2004 for my epilepsy/seizure disorder. I really miss being able to go to BC Children's, and talking to the doctors and nurses, now that I'm a graduated patient.