Seminar Addresses PTSD from Childhood Cancer

Posted at: 09/17/2013 11:06 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- On Tuesday there was a "webinar," or online seminar, on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with childhood cancer. Though a nationwide seminar, a woman from Rochester says she, and many from the Rochester area were tuned in.

Shanna Decker was one of hundreds across the nation to tune into the seminar, helping those who've been directly affected by childhood cancer. "A lot of our families from the Rochester area are taking part in it," said Decker. She works with the "Better Tomorrows" cancer group, and says she's met many in the community who are dealing with challenges since their cancer diagnosis. "There are 150 new childhood cancer diagnosis’s at Mayo every year, so that's a lot of families," said Decker.

She got involved because she too beat the deadly disease. She was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at age 7. "Since my own cancer journey, I've been able to help thousands of other people who have been faced with childhood cancer and there's not a day that goes by that I'm not appreciative of everything that I have in my life," said Decker, knowing the recovery, can be the hardest part. She underwent 47 weeks of Chemotherapy as a young girl, but that wasn't what changed her young life dramatically.

"This would be where my knee joint was, that's the back of my knee and my thigh," said Decker. Her thigh and knee had to be amputated, and doctors reattached the healthy part of her leg. A recovery process that took years. "I had to learn how to ride a bike again, learn to walk, learn to run, eventually learn to skip and climb on things again, but it took many, many years to regain those parts of my life," said Decker.

It's been roughly 15 years and she says she's so thankful and happy, knowing her story, can change others’ lives. "I think that seeing anyone who's survived an obstacle that you've been through, is definitely the greatest hope that you can have," said Decker.

The webinar was actually put on by one of Decker’s friends out east. Social workers and doctors from across the nation spoke, addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among cancer patients and interacting with viewers.