A Mum’s Message
This week we have a guest blog from my mum, Donna, and her take on what having a child with cancer means, for the whole family.
When Emily was diagnosed with cancer our world changed in an instant forever. I now view the world different. I feel empowered to make a difference and give something back to the many charities that have supported us. I have done voluntary work for over 20 years. This has given me new momentum.
As parents, many of us joke about wishing our children came with an instruction manual. Especially when they are babies. It’s a good job they don’t. I may have sent them back with fear about what laid ahead.
My mother would say its because my house is unlucky and I should move before someone else is stuck down by some disease or condition. Ironically, since moving here my children have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Cancer. But we have also been blessed to be able to add to our family. We don’t feel unlucky but the complete opposite. We are so lucky to have these children. They enrich our live beyond words.
Diagnosis was quick. The prognosis initially bleak but thankfully wrong. Once we arrived at the Teenage cancer trust we felt full of hope and we are full of so much thanks to them. Emily’s faith got her through. Emily’s strength, tenacity and self belief got us through. Family life changes. We were as honest as you can be with a 4,9 and 15 year old. Christmas was rescheduled . Having younger children was a juggling act. The children adapted to the new routine quickly and without complaint. but it was hard, of course. They made it to school everyday…..just but were often in tears and not knowing who would pick them up. Footie practice, choir and GCSEs exams also had to continue as family life had to go on in some capacity, for everyone’s sake. Emily missed home. The little ones missed her and winter coughs colds kept us all apart at times.. Myself and Andrew missed each other. We passed on the motorway like ships in the night. Trying to ensure one of us was at the hospital 12 hours a day and the other was home was a mamouth task, as anyone can imagine.
To all those people who say “I wouldn’t want your luck or life for a million pounds” need not worry. My life is not for sale. My children are the most incredible young people, full of love, spirit and compassion. Their conditions don’t define them or us as a family. Its just a small part of their lives, our lives. Every day I feel proud of my children. Its not about achievements or exam results its about the people they are growing into. The way we cope as a team with everything and embrace whatever life throws at us.
To all those people who avoided eye contact, crossed the road, sniggered at my mis fortune and avoided sitting by us at school events. WHY? Did that ease your conciouses? Did you think it was catching? Its often better to say the wrong thing that not say anything at all. Before you ask, yes this does happen and i feel for anyone who has experienced this sort of shunning, it’s awful
To those family members who offered no support, no phone call. Nothing. Words fail me.
To the people who text, phoned, sent cards, wrote letters. Thank you. It helped so so much.
To everyone who took part in Pie day 2013. Start planning. Pie day 2014 needs to be bigger and better. (plans to follow)
To Meg and Sian who dangled from 196 ft to fundraise while Emily was still so ill. You gave her a reason to get out of bed. Sorry Verity, I know we nearly gave you a heart attack.
To the visitors especially those who gave up their Christmas eve so I could have a few hours at home. Even if you did bore her till she fell asleep (!) I’m sure you all had somewhere else you would have rather been.
To Nat, who shaved her hair off. AND climbed a mountain. You have been an amazing friend to all of us.
To Nagla, Thankyou for the recipes, and saving my daughters life.
To all TCT staff you where amazing. Fiona, thankyou for the dance tips and acting as a one woman tourist board for Dawlish. We will visit one day!
To the other families , Anne, Tom, Fran, Beatrice, Jade, Jayne and everyone else Keep smiling, stay strong. Keep fighting.
To all those who took part in our afternoon tea. Whether you baked, sang, played or simply ate cake. Thankyou. It was emotional but we did it together. It was the catalyst for what happens next.
To the numerous charities who have supported us over the last weeks, months and years. We will give something back to each and everyone of you. So far we have fundraised for TCT Cardiff, Click Sergeant, Leukaemia Lymphoma research. We have volunteered time to Leukaemia Lymphoma research, Teenage cancer Trust and Look good feel better. With many more volunteering and fundraising events to come, if you want to get involved get in touch- there’s something we can all do!
To the bank manager be patient. Having a child in hospital is costly.
Helen, Who became surrogate mum to Holly, Libby and Evan. She picked them up from school, washed and ironed their uniforms, helped them with homework, cooked proper food, delivered Andrew curry and wine. Smiled, laughed and cried with me. Without your love, support and kindness this journey would have been much tougher. If we could choose family they way we choose friends you would be my sister forever. Everyone needs a Helen in their life. (Libby even named a teddy ‘Clover Will Lovely Helen’ In honour of your family!!!)
To Andrew, who gave me the space and support to spend all day, every day at hospital. Who ran the bath as I drove home and dropped everything every time I asked. Who continues to wipe away my tears every day. …….. Love you.
Together we helped Emily beat cancer. Together REMISSION was POSSIBLE.
Thanks for reading,
(hope you all liked my mum’s blog, keep smiling guys, Em x)