Going through school with Justin reading his devastating news about his darling baby girl definitely made my heart hurt thinking to myself it’s not fair just like hundreds of other people would have felt. I felt as though with the following I have I can either help raise awareness for childhood cancer, raise much needed funds for Justin and Jacqui & help get what I could to help Marley and her auction night.
12 days into the new year majority of us would have been excited to see how the new year would to unfold. What adventures we’d endure next and how it could be better than the last year that’s passed. Though for Marley a nine-month old little girl her world was about to change as was everyone in their family.
On the Friday 12th of January Marley had high fevers that weren’t able to be lowered and like any worried parent they took her to the hospital to get checked over. Once blood cultures were taken they were sent home on antibiotics. The following Monday Jacqui was called and told to cease giving Marley the antibiotics as there was no infection. Thursday 18th January Jacqui got little Marley out of bed as per normal at 630 am and thought to herself that Marley really needed a shower as the nappy smell was awful. Little did they know until they undressed her for the shower it wasn’t just soiled like a normal dirty nappy is, it was filled with blood and blood clots. She was actively bleeding as Jacqui screamed for Justin to come help her.
Knowing that something was wrong with their little baby they bundled her up and woke up her older sister Lucy who is just 2.5 years old and rushed to the hospital.
That’s where everything changed.
“It shows that one day you can a beautiful happy little baby you think is healthy and everything then it all changes” Justin said.
An ambulance was called straight away at the hospital for Marley to be transferred down to Westmead Children’s hospital 1.5 hours away. Jacqui said “we knew something was really wrong because every test we had done they would call the head person in charge of the department and two more doctors.”
After two ultrasounds.
And a MRI scan where little Marley was placed general anaesthetic the news was delivered on Friday 19th January.
Two doctors and a social worker delivered the news that no parent wants to ever hear.
Marley has a rare aggressive cancer called yolk sac tumour which was found in her vagina. A rare highly malignant tumour that is usually found in children under the age of three but in their ovaries or testis. So in this case Marley has an extremely rare type.
Hearing the words that your baby has cancer is not what any parent would want to hear. It doesn’t seem fair that someone so small could even have such a thing.
As the weekend went past with no news they waited until Tuesday and were delivered with what’s to happen next.
Marley had to have another general anaesthetic for a CT scan to see if the cancer had spread in her lungs and for a central line to be placed in her chest. Waiting for what felt like forever Wednesday afternoon they were told the cancer has not spread into her little lungs – Jacqui and Justin celebrated what felt like a win to them and even more so Marley.
Thursday 24th January Marley had a PET scan to see if the cancer had spread anywhere else in her body. The results came back later the evening and Marley had stage one yolk sac tumour and Chemotherapy was to start STAT.
In all of this little Lucy became unwell and stopped eating and drinking properly. For a toddler this would be so overwhelming and confusing for her. After a visit to hospital herself she was connected to IV fluids and became better. As you can imagine her whole world has changed dramatically as well.
She hasn’t been at home where she normally would sleep or had her normal routines. Her mummy and daddy are in and out trying to keep it together for Lucy but also being present for Marley. With Jacqui spending every night by Marley’s beside and Justin staying in the parent’s hostel down the hall, Lucy has been with her nan Marisa in the Ronald McDonald house.
With Marley having to endure 6 months worth of Chemotherapy their lives are a lot different now than what they thought less than a month ago. Chemotherapy is given for 5 days and then on the 6th day Marley is injected with another medication to help her white blood cells grow faster to prep her for the next round of Chemotherapy.
The first day of Chemo Marley was exhausted she couldn’t even keep her head up, day two and three she seemed okay and by day four and five it hit her hard. She was screaming constantly and sleeping minimal. Since chemo has started the nights are long. With no more than three hours sleep before she wakes crying and needing to be resettled. As you can imagine a 9 month old baby can’t tell you how she’s feeling and I think that is what makes it so much harder. Take away the age and the fact that cancer is awful all together but trying to parent a small baby who can barely say two words without cancer can be exhausting trying to guess what’s wrong, having a baby with cancer and having to do this would be horrendous. Is she sick? Is she in pain? Is she tired? Is she hungry? Constantly second guessing yourself and just trying to do the best you can.
Jacqui and Justin’s day begins with getting Marley’s blood taken to get her counts for the day. Then they take her to any other tests they need from Marley for the day – kidney tests, hearing tests or more blood tests. They hook Marley up to her Chemo and wait for 2.5 hours whilst the chemo is delivered into Marley’s body. Marley usually naps after its finished as she’s so exhausted from it. Meanwhile they try to take it in turns to take Lucy for a walk or a play. When they have visitors they also help playing with Lucy and keeping her feeling so loved and cherished. Something that’s also so important in this journey.
Whilst fingers are crossed that they’ll be able to take Marley in-between the hospital and home it’s still very early days. Justin was the sole income earner for their little family. Justin was meant to return to WA as he worked FIFO at the end of January and has had to cease employment at the time being as his baby girl is his main priority for him right now.
With a page setup by their friends and family where people are able to donate money to help them out a fundraiser night is also currently in the planning stages on the Central Coast NSW.
If you’d like to donate to the fundraiser as a business owner or attend the event please feel free to visit the page
Also if you’d like to donate for Marley’s journey to help Justin and Jacqui please feel free to here even $5.00 helps. – Justin & Jacqui
Being a parent to my own children I can’t help but whole heartedly feel for Jacqui and Justin and I truly, like thousands of others, hope Marley has a speedy recovery and knows how much we’re all thinking of her and her sister Lucy!