Tears well up in Jennifer Levesque’s eyes each time she recalls the words her six-year-old daughter Myla spoke just a few short months ago: “Mom, I have a good feeling my cancer is gone.”
Every two weeks for the better part of a year, Jennifer and Myla’s father Kyle travelled with their little girl from their hometown of Penticton to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The trip they made in December of 2015, however, stands out the most in the parents’ mind, after they received the results of Myla’s latest MRI scans. Myla was right. The cancer was gone.
“If you have not lived this nightmare, you really have no idea what it is like,” says Jennifer. “My perspective on life has changed forever watching Myla fight and beat cancer.”
Myla was like many other girls her age: fun-loving and adventurous, with a passion for singing, music, animals and Disney princesses. But her life was soon interrupted by constant ear aches, often so bad she couldn’t sleep. Antibiotics did little to ease Myla’s pain, so Kyle took her to see an ear, nose and throat specialist at their local hospital. On January 27, 2015, they discovered the reason for Myla’s earaches: a large, cancerous tumour was growing behind her left nasal passage.
The next week was somewhat of a blur for Myla and her family. She was sent to BC Children’s Hospital for further diagnosis and following a plethora of tests, doctors realized she had rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare cancer that develops in soft tissues like muscle or bone. In Myla’s case, the tumour was pushing against her eardrum, nose and throat. RMS is one of the most common forms of soft tissue cancer in children. With early detection and treatment, most make a full recovery.
“It was such a whirlwind when we first arrived,” Jennifer recalls. “We were taken care of so quickly; her treatment was aggressive and it worked. We are so grateful to have such caring people to help our family through the most difficult time of our lives.”
Jennifer says it was tough for her and Kyle to stay strong while their daughter underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment, especially in the beginning. Myla was rushed to the Emergency Department several times with a high fever; she was so sick she often refused to eat, eventually whittling down to just 36 pounds. In May 2015, she was transferred to Seattle for six weeks for proton radiation therapy. Jennifer says the constant travel and time away from friends and family was exhausting, but somehow, Myla remained calm through all her procedures.
Eight months into her treatment, MRI scans showed that Myla’s tumour had shrunk to about half its size. Four months after that, her scans were clear.
Myla is now in remission, and her doctors will continue to monitor her closely. She visits the Oncology Department at BC Children’s once a month for checkups, and every three months for scans.
Jennifer says the whole experience has transformed her and Myla into extremely positive people, grateful for the simple things in life.
“I just believe if we stay positive, live life to the fullest and enjoy today – that is all that matters.”
We're thrilled Myla has agreed to be our 2016 Bats for a Cause Champion.
Mark your calendars and join us for this year's family fun-filled recreational slo-pitch tournament in Kelowna, BC on July 23 - 24, 2016.
>> Register Now <<
Deadline for registration is Friday, July 15, 2016