Sibling of the Month - September 2018
Sisters Shania (13) and Sadie (7) are a beautiful example of how sometimes bonds between siblings can be strengthened during very difficult times. Shania was diagnosed with ewing sarcoma in June 2017. Her diagnosis, illness and treatment brought about many challenges and changes within their family.
In this interview our Siblings of the Month talk big feelings and silver linings with Friends of Karen Sibling Support Specialist Siobhan Casey.
What makes your family special?
Sadie : That everybody loves each other!
Shania : We’ve all been through a lot together.
What has been the hardest part about Shania’s cancer diagnosis?
Shania: Being away from Sadie when I was in the hospital. At one point she wasn’t allowed on the unit because she was too little and they were afraid of germs. That was for about two weeks. I felt sad, upset and definitely homesick.
Sadie: That was really hard for me too. I also have worries that I only talk about sometimes.
What were some changes within the family since the diagnosis?
Sadie: Shania was bald but now it’s growing back.
Shania: It wasn’t so bad because it took way less time getting ready - no more combing knots.
Sadie: It was also a big change when Daddy had to switch to the night shift so that he could be home with Shania during the day when Mommy went back to work. He gets home very early in the morning and then sleeps. We both miss him a lot.
How has Friends of Karen helped your family?
Sadie: It helped in a really good way. It helped me to not be so afraid of the worries I think about when sister is in the hospital.
Shania: They helped moneywise and with gifts. Sibling support definitely helps me get my feelings out.
What are some of your favorite activities that we’ve done together? (Sibling Support)
Shania: I liked making the tree - celebrating my unique beauty and strength even if I am different now. I worked on that for an hour and a half...I was so tired afterwards.
Sadie: We love playing with our worry eaters and we use the special mailbox we made to send letters back and forth to Daddy when he works the late shift. It helps us when we miss him so much.
Has there been any good that has come out of the experience with a serious illness?
Shania: I got to go to school in my pjs and we also got a lot of sympathy food - cakes and cookies. It was delicious but everyone in the house gained weight!
Sadie: When she was in the hospital I got to video chat her every single night before we went to bed.
How would you describe your sister?
Shania: Sadie is energetic, talkative and playful.
Sadie: She knows me so well! I like it now that she’s feeling better and plays with me. She isn’t so tired from the medicine now. Also, she’s cheerful and makes me feel better when I’m sad.
If you could give advice to a family in a similar situation, what would it be?
Shania: It's going to get better and you'll get through it.
Sadie: Give kisses and hugs.