Well, well, well…. I always wanted to write a blog but never imagined in a million years it would be this that gave me a kick up the arse to start it. Just over 6 weeks ago my 3 year old son, George, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
George’s journey began before Christmas 2015 following a bout of tonsilitis which he seemed to be taking AGES to recover from. Around 4 weeks after his course of antibitotics had finished, a few things had gradually been noticeable that led me to book a GP appointment – it was nothing major at the time, George has “third child syndrome” where it takes quite a lot for me to take action. He’d been off his food, had stopped running around with his older brother and sister and generally looked a bit pastey… It was only that he’d developed a limp that made me actually call the doctors.
Luckily for us, our local GP in Warrington was well on the ball and immediately referred us to paediatrics at Warrington Hospital. It was Christmas and the staff were fab with us, we had a visit from some of the Warrington Wolves players and Father Christmas had visited every day!
After a couple of weeks of various antibiotics, around 15 Doctors (it was the Christmas period!), Xrays, ultrasounds and an MRI!, a lady Doctor at Warrington put her foot down and managed to get George transferred to Alder Hey Childrens Hospital.
I can’t tell you how emotional I was following the ambulance blue-lighting down the M62, not dangerously I may add! it just always seemed to be on the horizon. We arrived and were instantly put at ease, with a full explanation of what was going on, why we were in Oncology and would we like a cup of tea 🙂
I was still thinking, “look at all these poor children with cancer” at first, and worried how i’d cope speaking to anyone… since at this stage I just felt sorry for everyone else!? We knew George was going for a Bone Marrow Aspiration the next morning to rule out any thing nasty as far as we knew. So far, George’s bloods weren’t presenting like someone with cancer, hence being in Warrington Hospital for so long.
George was first on the list to go down to theatre the next morning, so there wasnt much waiting around. That hour he was in for, felt like the longest hour of my life…. that is until we had to wait for the results, then it was the real deal in terms of being on the edge of your seat – im talking no saliva left, sitting upright like meerkats, waiting for someone, anyone, to give us news.
I cant even remember the exact time, but whenever our Doctor came over to us, she looked as shocked as us and apologised saying “i’m sorry but it is!” I remember saying “it is what!?” and she said “it’s Leukaemia”. I think I let out a bit of a yelp and Damien wept. We were led out of the ward then to a side room where I stared at some cups of water wondering whether they were for us or not and listened to the doctor’s voice… but not really listening. Strange how you respond in these situations.
We were told our baby had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. He has cancer. As upsetting as it was to hear, I hung on the fact that ALL is apparently the most treatable form and has a high cure rate. That’s all I needed to hear.
We’re 6 weeks in now, and we’ve learnt so much. Things about ourselves, our relationships with family and friends, things about childhood cancer and our other two children. Sometimes I feel like my 10 year old, Oliver, is more like 20 these days – he carries George around (cue the “He ain’t Heavy” music) when he needs help and hugs me when I look upset. My daughter, Harriet, mad as a box of frogs as she is, is keeping everyone up to date on George’s treatment, behaviour and draws diagrams of bones with good cells and bad cells in.
As much has our lives have been thrown into turmoil, I have strange feeling of being complete at the same time. George, once he’s through this, will be stronger, as will we. We have challenges and no doubt more tough battles ahead but bring it on, George will take it all in his stride with the strength of his family and friends behind him x