Baby’s fight for life after mum’s intuition proves spot on
AT 21 months old, Rein Boag can't quite understand what's happening when she eats her sterile ham sandwich and a catheter drips drugs into her jugular.
But if she could, she would explain that it's her third day of at least four months of chemotherapy, far far away from her Emerald home at the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
She might also say that no longer did the poking and prodding and needling doctors seem so scary, if only for familiarity.
But perhaps she would first introduce mum, Macie Walker, who found out two weeks ago that her baby daughter had ovarian cancer.
"We were always hopeful it was going to be benign," Macie said of the 1.7kg tumour that has been removed from Rein's pelvis.
"But it is what it is."
For three days every few weeks, Rein will be treated with chemotherapy.
On the fourth day she will be given an immune booster. Then she gets two to three weeks' rest, interrupted only by blood tests.
"She had a phobia of doctors and nurses when we first got here," Macie said.
"But not so much now."
Macie spent six weeks imploring doctors that something was wrong. Rein had a fever and a swollen stomach.
She wasn't eating or drinking or running about anymore.
She ended up spending four days in hospital, on fluids and antibiotics. But the signs of puberty were what sent her to the emergency department.
That's when the tumour was found.
"The tumour was so big it was secreting hormones into her body," Macie said.
Its removal cost Rein an ovary and a fallopian tube. Mum is stoic about the situation.
"It's hard being away from home. You don't have your comforts and your friends, but there's not much we can do about it.
"I'm not sure what will happen in the future. I'm just taking it each day and seeing how we go. We're confident that with the chemo, that will be it."
Macie's family travelled to Brisbane to support her, and a friend set up a Facebook fundraiser with a $5000 goal. At the time of writing, it had accrued more than $15,000 in donations and had a new goal of $20,000.
"I can't believe how generous people are," Macie said.
"I don't think I could do it down here by myself. Thank you to everyone."
Rein turns two in January. The fundraiser for the family is still running.