Category Archives: Onco Parents

The Importance of the Immune System

The Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders.

Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.

One of the important cells involved are white blood cells, also called leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations in the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

For this reason, they’re called the lymphoid organs. There are also clumps of lymphoid tissue throughout the body, primarily as lymph nodes, that house the leukocytes.

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Dealing with Phantom Limb Pain after Amputation

Some children who have been born without a limb or who have had a limb amputated feel pain in the non-existent body part. This is often called phantom pain. This pain is caused by damaged nerves from the amputated limb that continue to send signals to the brain. These signals are interpreted as pain.

While the pain the child experiences is not caused by an actual injury, the sensations are very real and can include burning or shooting pain, achiness or cramping, or pins-and-needles feelings.

The sensations of phantom pain are very real. Following an amputation, there are still nerves present in the remaining portion of the limb and these nerves send pain signals to the brain and tell the brain that the limb is still present.

Phantom limb pain is a well-recognised pain syndrome which can resolve on its own with time, but because pain can interfere with your child’s quality of life and decrease physical function, there are  various treatments available.

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Emotional Stages for Parents of Children with Cancer

Hearing the doctor say the words “your child has cancer” will never be easy to hear.

Parents go through several stages throughout this process much like the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

However, unlike losing a loved one suddenly, cancer can go on for several years with many highs and lows.

This results in stages varying in timing, duration, and cycles.

By acknowledging and understanding the possible stages you can better progress through the phases parents’ may go through.

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Childhood Sarcoma & Limb Amputation

In support of Supergirl Shanaya the First’s imminent arm amputation tomorrow, 2 March, 2018, we thought we would post something around the subject of Childhood Sarcomas and limb amputation.

Before we go any further though, please join the Little Fighters Cancer Trust in supporting Shanaya and her Family by downloading the pic on the left and using it as your Profile pic for today and the next few days to show them how much support there is for our little Butterfly Princess.

For those who may not have been following Shanaya’s journey with cancer, histology results on 13th September, 2017  confirmed that she had Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. The bottom half of her left humerus had been eaten away; the top part of the left humerus was fractured and there were metastasis in both her lungs.

Shanaya has since undergone intense chemotherapy treatment cycles over the past 6 months, but unfortunately her arm was too damaged and could not be saved and the decision to amputate at the shoulder was made.


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Supergirl Shanaya the First Battles Ewing Sarcoma ~ Part V

And so Shanaya’s Journey with Ewing Sarcoma entered a new phase in 2018.

This would include 2 more intensive cycles of chemo with all the bells and whistles that go with it, major surgery or surgeries, and the possibility of maintenance chemotherapy – but at least the end is in sight…

Mommy and Daddy decided that because our Supergirl Shanaya the First had already slayed the first 4 intensive cycles of chemo and all its side effects like a true warrior princess, she could draw up a “Dream List” of things that she would really like to do, and they would try their best to make them come true.

January started off early with hospital admission number 10 since Shanaya first fell ill in April 2017 – in that short period of ten months, this poor little princess had undergone:

  • 10 hospital admissions;
  • 8 times in theater;
  • Far too many scans, blood tests and doctors appointments;
  • 5 months of misdiagnosis and ;
  • 5 months of Chemotherapy


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Supergirl Shanaya the First Battles Ewing Sarcoma ~ Part IV

And so today we continue with more of Shanaya’s Fight against Ewing Sarcoma…

Ewing sarcoma is the second most common bone cancer in children. It occurs most frequently in the long bones of the legs or arms, the pelvis, chest wall, spine and the skull, but can also begin in the soft tissues and not involve bone.

This disease most often occurs in adolescents, with nearly half of cases arising between the ages of 10 and 20. Ewing sarcoma is somewhat more common in males than in females.


During December 2017, Shanaya’s blood counts took a nosedive, and with a blood platelet count of a mere 18, she was admitted for her first blood transfusion.

Fortunately she was able to go home the next day, so was ecstatic as she hates to be away from her brother Unma with whom she is really close and who she misses terribly when she is in hospital.

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Supergirl Shanaya the First Battles Ewing Sarcoma ~ Part III

Young Shanaya took to her battle with cancer as she does everything else – with a determined smile, even when she was really not feeling well.

Mommy was there with her in the hospital every step of the way, and because Shanaya is Daddy’s Girl, so was her daddy Shane whenever he could be.

Unfortunately, due to the chemotherapy treatments, Shanaya lost her beautiful long hair, but she was not fazed….

No hair not going to stop me from being the diva princess I am. I am the one ‘n only Shanaya the First!

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Supergirl Shanaya the First Battles Ewing Sarcoma ~ Part II

So today we continue with Shanaya’s story as promised…

Having no luck in resolving the problem of the swelling and pain in Shanaya’s arm, her worried parents eventually resorted to sending the specialist a photo of her arm on the 5th September, as it was not looking at all normal.

The specialist referred Shanaya to yet another orthopaedic doctor, who ordered more x-rays and advised Shane and Lee-Anne that it looked to him like Shanaya had a bone tumour but told them that he would need to do a biopsy with full histology to confirm it.

On the 7th September, little Shanaya underwent the biopsy, an MRI, a CT-Scan, more X-rays, and various blood tests.

The doctor got the histology results on 13th September, 2017 and they confirmed that she had Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. The bottom half of her left humerus had been eaten away; the top part of the left humerus was fractured and there were metastasis in both her lungs.

Shanaya was then referred to the Oncology unit at which she is still being treated.

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Supergirl Shanaya the First Battles Ewing Sarcoma ~ Part I

Many of you on our Facebook Page are familiar with the battle that Shanaya, aka our 🦋 Butterfly Princess 🦋 is currently facing, together with her very brave parents, against Ewing Sarcoma.

Most of you, though, do not know the full story, and because it is so important to share the stories of our Little Fighters so that others may learn, and because Shanaya is facing overcoming another massive hurdle very soon, we will be sharing her story and some insights into fighting this Childhood Cancer over the next two weeks….

Thanks to Shanaya’s Family for allowing the Little Fighters Cancer  Trust to publish her story in order to create Childhood Cancer Awareness and perhaps offer some insight to other parents who are going through the same battle.

Shanaya was born on the 1st November 2013 to parents Shane and Lee-Anne, and soon melted everyone’s hearts… she was a typical little princess and had a completely uneventful childhood as far as illnesses go, until one night in April 2017…

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✨Foodie Friday✨ Nutritious Recipes & Snacks

Ensuring that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient nutrition, which is necessary to improve their immune system so that they can fight the cancer, is not always easy, especially when you are a single parent, are dealing with the side-effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or have other children to look after as well.

The following quick meal and snack suggestions can really be of big help if your Child with Cancer is missing meals while having treatment or waiting for appointments.

Some of these meals/snacks may not seem like the most healthy of choices, but if your Child with Cancer has a poor appetite, it is important to focus on high-protein and high-energy foods and fluids.

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