By Democrat reporter
Being 13 can be tough on any young girl, but Skye Duncan from Gartloch took it all in her stride, while learning to adapt to life without her right arm. Looking back over the “worst year of their life”, her mum Ann (48) is paying tribute to her daughter for her courageous battle against an aggressive form of bone cancer.
Exactly a year ago the Duncan family were given the devastating news that Skye, who has a twin sister Sara, had Osteosarcoma.Skye had a sore arm for a few weeks but it was a fall from a banana boat on holiday which saw them attend A&E and Glasgow Royal Infirmary on their return. Just days later came the news that she had a large tumour in the arm and then that it was cancerous.
Skye was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children under the care of orthopaedic surgeon Mr Rod Duncan as well as cancer specialists in Ward 6a. Despite intensive chemotherapy, Skye’s condition started to deteriorate rapidly during September.
The decision came that her right arm had to be amputated.
“The minute the arm left her she improved rapidly. She got out of bed four hours after surgery. She hadn’t been able to get out of bed for weeks. Whatever they did in that surgery worked. She went in grey and came out looking amazing with her wee rosy cheeks back. It was like the poison can been cut away,” said Ann.
Ten months of chemo followed, ending on her 14th birthday on the 17th May. Looking back on her time in ward 6a, Skye and her family have many fond memories, despite what they were going through.
Skye said: “It might sound daft but I miss the nurses. They were amazing. You would think because of the job they do they might be sad all the time but it’s the opposite.
“They kept us all going and were so funny. The staff make it 100% better when they sit with you and make jokes. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They let my pals come up to visit me every week and we even ordered in pizza. I also had a pyjama party at my birthday. These things make you feel normal for a wee while.”
Mum Ann agrees: “We need to thank Mr Duncan too; he’s been unbelievable. The whole year while she was going through her chemo, he kept popping up to see her in 6a. He’s a busy man and he didn’t need to but he did. We joked about us having the same second name. Honestly, if Skye was his daughter he couldn’t have done more for her.”
Shortly after Skye was discharged from the Royal Hospital for Children, Ann received an email which brought great news. While in hospital Skye had entered a poster competition run by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity to encourage young patients to drink and eat ice lollies before surgery in order to stay hydrated.
Mr Rod Duncan said: “Like many children, Skye has been incredible in the face of a life-changing diagnosis and the support that Skye has received from her family has been amazing. They are an inspiration to those of us who have been looking after her.”