Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

9 months in

Yesterday was 9 months since a lump the size of a golf ball was found inside Pippa’s brainstem.  Our options have been nothing other than to kill it and Pippa’s doctors have attacked the tumour as aggressively as it attacked her.

The anticipation, anxiety, trepidation, stress and worry leading up to an MRI scan is unbearable.  Not knowing what is going on inside, but knowing that soon you will be updated rips you apart in every direction.  Holding all that together on the outside is exhausting.

Yesterday evening Pippa’s oncologist rang me.  He was sitting in front of Pippa’s scan from the day before and could easily see a shrinkage in its size.  Death to tumour is our ultimate goal; shrinkage to tumour is an unexpected bonus!

We have a very happy little family in our house at the moment but we all know there is still a long path ahead of us.  And just to remind us poor Pippa has spent the night with another sore tummy and then provided a slight interruption to writing this blog this morning for a vomit.

For the time being I feel that we are one step ahead of the tumour and I can’t wait to see the pics for myself next week.





Brain Therapies

During radio therapy at Peter Mac Pippa’s oncologist and nurses strongly advised me that for at least the next two years I should support Pippa in undertaking and pursuing a range of therapies to assist her brain in its development and to minimise the side affects of the radiation.  This was reinforced and supported by her music therapist at Peter mac and by RCDFund and their music and yoga therapists who were also with Pippa  throughout radiation.

Thus, I have committed to an ongoing routine that so far incorporates drumming, yoga and dancing in addition to her sport (currently tennis and basketball).  On top of school she also does online brain training activities and games.   These therapies provide Pippa’s brain with stimulation in rhythm, memory, coordination, meditation, concentration, flexibility, balance  and left/right brain function.

Just as important though, each therapy is so much fun and she loves learning   them.  We are privileged that her “therapists” (teachers) are all special people in her life, bringing with them an abundance of positive energy and enthusiasm for what they love and in turn, sharing that with Pippa.

Drumming, yoga and dancing.  How lucky Pippa is to be able to have so much fun doing therapy!

In the words of her drumming teacher, “Yeah,……Good Work!”    Drumming Lesson



A Science Lesson

Just like any other oncology patient, Pippa is regularly required to have blood tests.  The first one coincided with her very first chemotherapy tablet way back in July:  It was not a very happening time for either of us!  Pippa was scared about having the test and I was resentful and emotional about having to hand over the chemo tablet, “Please darling, don’t cry, it won’t hurt and anyway you need to stop crying so you can swallow this cute little peach coloured capsule…….”  Probably a memory that will stay with both of us for different yet similar reasons.

Blood tests these days are a breeze.  Most often we are at the Royal Children’s Hospital where many of the staff know us as we have been so many times.  Today we needed to have blood taken locally which for one reason or another hasn’t happened that much to date.  Local blood testing came with a bonus thanks to our friend who is in the lab.   Pippa had her very own educational tour and learnt what happens on the other side of the needle.  Just another way to help her understand and process everything that is happening.  Oh yes, and bloods were all good so that was an added bonus!


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