Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Leukemia - Siblings

Dealing with Leukemia is not only difficult for the patient, it is difficult for the entire family. We have done several things to help Jemma's siblings deal with this crisis. First we have talked to the two older kids a lot about her illness and they are starting to understand what is happening. They are aware Jemma is very sick and has cancer. They also understand she will be treated for 2-3 years. We have also spoken about the science of what is physically wrong inside her body.

 They know that it will be difficult for Jemma, but also for the entire family and that our lives will be much different. We have talked about how their lives will be more difficult due to this illness. We will be making frequent trips to the hospital. We won't be able to travel the way we used to for quite a while, and there is a good chance we will need to change some of our weekly activities.

We believe that it is very important to spend quality time with the older two children. Time that is focused on them and not on Jemma. My husband and I traded one night at home and the hospital. It made everyone feel better. I was able to go on a long walk/run/bike ride with the kids, while my husband had the chance to take care of Jemma.

Every effort is being made to keep their lives as normal as possible. They are continuing with their history co-op, dance, tennis and music lessons. We have stopped homeschool which we planned to do this week anyway. We were planning a summer holiday to Michigan that was expected to last four weeks. After finding out Jemma had Leukemia, we decided to send our two older children to Michigan as planned, while my husband and I stay in Germany to care for Jemma. Between their two sets of grandparents, friends and other family I know they will be well taken care of and have a great time.


  1. Julie and Jeff,
    I read your blog and was shocked to hear about Jemma. You are both special parents and to read about the strides you both have taken to support Jemma and your other children is really inspirational. We are close to Homburg and if there's something we can do (including sending fluffy socks)! we would love to help.
    -Max N.

  2. A package is on the way tomorrow, but we didn't put anything in there for the siblings. Once they get back from MI they might a package waiting just for them. If you can trade off hospital days with your hubby that will help, it was crazy here when James was in Iraq and Grace was in the hospital. At least I have a 17 and 13 y/o to watch over Hannah and each other when we need to make hospital trips. (Grace has been hospital free since March 2011!)

  3. This will be hard on your other children but giving them individual time is good. Sending them to your parents stateside will be good also because they will be spoiled and have everyone focused on them. You both are making the right decisions for your family. I admire your strength. If it works out in August I may come to see you but only if it is good for all of you:) Take care of yourself my friend.

  4. Your grace and determination are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your daughter's story with us. Praying for her and you and for the rest of your family. Visiting from NOBH.

  5. Praying for your family...and I love that you are really thinking through how this could affect the rest of your kiddos.
    We went through a difficult genetic disease with one of our daughters and our kiddos were forever impacted.
    We were actually just talking about this at dinner tonight.
    Thank you for sharing with the NOBH family.
    Kara @ The Chuppies/NOBH

  6. Thank you. The more I read the more I realize how difficult this will be on the other two kids. It's so scary. Actually I think because we are homeschooling they will be able to participate and spend more time with Jemma. I'm hoping this will help.


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