Grace's hearing loss journey
Grace and her parents Emma and Adam have been through a lot in the vivacious toddler’s short life—successfully fighting stage four cancer, undergoing major surgery, and enduring extensive chemotherapy that resulted in significant hearing loss.
Now, despite all the odds, Grace’s cancer is in remission, and she is finally able to start living the life she has fought so hard for. With the holistic care of a team of leading NextSense experts and the support of her dedicated parents, Grace is building her social and communication skills and started her first term at the NextSense Spoken Language Preschool.
Read the final part of Grace's three part story. If you missed the first two chapters of her story, click part one and two in the column to the right.
A new exciting chapter begins
In early 2021, despite undergoing major surgery and months of chemotherapy, Grace’s cancer had not improved.
‘We had entered into a stage called ‘watch and wait.’ So basically, our doctors said that chemotherapy is not working, she's not getting better. Her oncologist was also worried she would develop toxicity.’
In February 2021, they stopped chemotherapy, and instead watched and waited to see where the remaining cancer was in her body.
To the utter relief of Emma and Adam, a month later Grace’s tumor markers started dropping by themselves. By September 2021 they finally got the news they feared would never come—Grace’s cancer had gone into remission.
‘Adam was on loudspeaker on my phone, and he immediately finished work early and came home to celebrate and tell our family. There was lots of hugging, screaming and “I can't believe it”,’ says Emma.
Since Grace’s cancer went into remission, Adam and Emma have finally been able to think about their family’s future. They want Grace to be proud of what she has achieved and are adamant that she should never feel bad about her hearing loss or her scars.
— says Emma.
‘I am putting little steps in place now to give her confidence. She has fought so hard—so, what if she's got hearing aids? So, what if she needs a cochlear implant? They're just markers of her achievement and I want her to be proud of them,’
The desire to nurture Grace’s pride in who she is, including her hearing loss, is one of the many reasons Grace’s parents chose to start of Grace’s schooling at the NextSense Spoken Language Preschool.
Julie Kaney, director of the preschool, met with the family prior to Grace’s enrolment. They are eager for Grace to be surrounded by peers with, and without, hearing loss and peers who have ‘hearing things’ just like her.
Grace had her orientation day at preschool in Term 1, 2022 and according to her parents, could not get into the classroom fast enough.
‘Grace ditched Adam and I at the gate and ran in—she was super happy to have a parent-free hour,’ Emma says.
While there are still challenges ahead, NextSense will be there to support Grace and her family every step of the way.
‘After everything, we feel like the NextSense employees we have worked with are just a part of our family. We have been through a lot together,’ Emma says.
The family want anyone else who is going through similar challenges, to know that you are not alone—others have walked this path and made it through the storm.
‘No matter how bad things are looking, what you think your child’s life is going to look like, if they are still alive, there is always hope. You have to stay positive,’ says Emma.