A Mother’s Story: Both My Daughters Have Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We are thankful to Stacy Barlow for sharing your daughters’ cancer journeys with us. 
Stepsisters Childhood Awareness Month
Stepsisters, Olivia and Natalie

In September of 2018, our world came to a crushing halt. Our youngest daughter, Olivia was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and 6 weeks after that, our middle daughter was also diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

Olivia started with a fall at church camp that brought on knee pain. After a week or two of it not getting better the doctor ordered an MRI which revealed a tumor on her femur. We thought Natalie had a cheer injury. But after a few weeks of it not getting better, the doctor ordered an MRI which revealed a tumor in her tibia.

Telling our girls they had tumors was not an easy task, however both took it with grace and were ready to defeat whatever was ahead.

Stepsisters Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2
Stepsisters, Olivia and Natalie, at St. Jude Children’s Hospital

We were so blessed to have all our testing and diagnosis through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They also helped explain everything and what to expect with treatment.

Olivia (who is my stepdaughter) and her mother, Bobbie, began their journey before Natalie. They were able to be a great support for her in what to expect. In the meantime, I had already experienced the chemo with Olivia as I would help Bobbie as she needed. The four of us made the best out of the situation and the girls have a bond like no other now.

Most importantly, they were each other’s cheerleaders throughout the 32 weeks of treatment.

Stepsisters with their mothers
Stepsisters, Natalie and Olivia, with their mothers, Stacy and Bobbie.

They endured some of the harshest chemotherapy drugs there are. To be honest, the hardest thing to watch is your children being pumped full of harsh medication. The side effects alone are nothing any parent should watch their child experience.

They made it through a very long surgery that saved their legs. The girls both have a titanium knee to replace the bones that were affected from the cancer. They also had to relearn to walk and are still unable to do most physical activities. However, they are alive and healthy today and we are so thankful for that.

My advice to parents who are going through this is to take one day at a time and find a blessing in every day.

Our blessings some days was a simple smile or the fact that the girls were not sick that day.

The girls are 2 years out of treatment and are considered NED (no evidence of disease). They continue to have checkups and scans every few months at St. Jude. I know I never would have made it without God, my husband, and Bobbie.