PAINFUL JOURNEY: Sandra Evans, of Lennox Head, and her daughters Tahlia, 7, (left) and Lauren, 4. Mrs Evans is about to launch a new book called Eight Seasons about her family’s journey through childhood leukaemia.
PAINFUL JOURNEY: Sandra Evans, of Lennox Head, and her daughters Tahlia, 7, (left) and Lauren, 4. Mrs Evans is about to launch a new book called Eight Seasons about her family’s journey through childhood leukaemia. David Nielsen

Family's brush with cancer

FOR Lennox Head mum Sandra Evans, writing a book about her seven-year-old daughter Tahlia's leukaemia treatment, with all its baffling and infuriating side effects, was better than visiting any therapist.

Being launched on December 10, her book, Eight Seasons: Our Family's Journey Through Leukaemia, does not hold back in documenting Tahlia's hellish two-year battle with leukaemia from diagnosis to recovery.

“I started to write the book because there was nothing out there that normalised what we were going through with,” Mrs Evans said.

Mrs Evans said that both she and her daughter had an intense love-hate relationship with the high-dose steroid Dexamethasone which, along with chemotherapy, was instrumental in Tahlia's recovery.

The behavioural side-effects were so intense, Mrs Evans said. “I asked myself where has my little girl gone, but at the same time I knew how effective the drug was.”

While Mrs Evans praised hospital staff and doctors in handling the physical condition of her daughter's cancer, she said they were on their own when it came to dealing with the psycho-social aspect of the treatment.

“The book is for mums, dads and carers struggling with the every day side-effects of leukaemia treatment, particularly in relation to Dexamethasone,” she said. Mrs Evans said the book was for others struggling to 'tease out' what was appropriate childhood behaviour and what was behavioural side-effects.

“In adults the side-effects of the drug can be violent and even suicidal. In children it shows in strong behavioural changes,” Mrs Evans said.

“Tahlia is in recovery, so we're in unchartered waters. As a mother you can never relax. You take notice of every little cough.”

The book is available from www.ipp-shr-cqu.edu.au from December 10.



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