Cancer Changes Everything
“It does. It really does,” said Angel Montgomery, before hundreds of high school students in a normally loud gymnasium where, this particular morning, you could hear a pin drop.
Montgomery and her family are finding that out the hard way.
Her daughter, 12-year-old Tyra Liko, a Grade 7 student, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour late last year.
“She is going through something no child, no person, should have to go through.” Angel Montgomery, speaking of her daughter, Tyra Liko, 12.
“Did we know she had cancer? Absolutely not,” said Montgomery.
Her daughter used to be involved in volleyball and gymnastics.
In late October 2016, she was complaining of headaches and dizziness, and was starting to vomit.
“She would try to come to school but could not concentrate,” said Montgomery. She would sometimes have to find a dark room to sit in – and vomit again.
“She was suffering,” said Montgomery, “As a mum, that really upset me.”
On Nov. 27, a date where “I remember everything so clearly,” her daughter got up and threw up again. It was time to visit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa. After an X-ray, the first radiologist could not find anything – but another glance by a second radiologist caught something. That radiologist “saw something was wrong,” specifically, a black spot at the back of Liko’s brain.
“Oh my God, what is that?” Montgomery remembers asking.
“I don’t know,” came the reply.
As they spoke, a neurosurgeon was on the way to the hospital. Not all tumours are cancerous, and brain tumours are rare. But this brain tumour was cancerous.
Later that week, Liko underwent 13½ hours of surgery.
“We all cried a lot those days,” she said. Liko was in hospital for 26 days, from November to December.
Finally, the family got some good news: the neurosurgeon was able to get all of the cancer. However, Liko faces 55 weeks of rehabilitation, taking her through February 2018. She has already under gone the first of nine cycles of chemotherapy. The process has been “very hard on her,” causing her nausea and stomach pain.
“She is going through something no child, no person, should have to go through,” Montgomery said.
The family continues to struggle, beyond worrying about Tyra. Her father is missing a lot of work, Tyra’s sister came home early from college to help, Montgomery herself has reduced her work hours drastically, and other family members are contributing money to keep the family going.
“We miss who she was,” said Montgomery.
It has been a long hard journey for Tyra and her entire family. She has had the incredible support of her family and friends and the entire community, especially her siblings Brock, Payton and Kade and her mom Angel. Tyra fought through 67 weeks of brutal treatment from start to finish, and rang the end of treatment bell in March of this year.
She still has a long road ahead, but she is a princess warrior and will face any further medical adversaries with her fantastic smile on her beautiful face!
A true CANCER CHAMPION!
Alexa, Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario 2018