Originally, nobody mentioned the words “tumour” or “cancer”, Serina says. Instead, they referred to it as a “mass”. But after a drain was placed in Amelia’s head to help relieve the pressure of the fluid (“We were told that if we didn’t bring her in, Amelia probably would have passed away that night,” Serina says) the baby was referred to a neurosurgeon, who confirmed Serina’s worst fears after conducting surgery to remove around 95 per cent of the tumour.
The mass, the specialist explained, was an ETMR tumour, a rare and aggressive type of tumour that forms in the brain or spinal cord, most commonly in young children. In Amelia’s case, it was also malignant.
“How did we cope? There was a lot of adrenaline,” Serina says. “There wasn’t time to stop and think, we were just running on adrenaline and having to move forward. There was no time to sit down and be weak and feel sorry for ourselves because we had to be there, in the present.”
“I felt that if I did let my guard down and get upset, I wouldn’t be able to pick myself up and carry on.”