Leukaemia | Twelve months on | Back to work | child receiving chemotherapy

Sorry for the harsh titles of these blogs sometimes! I’m trying to use keywords so that other families with children with cancer can find us on Google if they’re looking for positive stories.

Latest hospital visit

We’re due an update as it’s been a while hasn’t it.  It’s been quiet as I’ve been a busy little bee and George’s is on top form considering, so we’ve not been in hospital for sickness, just routine appointments – go George!

We went into Oncology at Alder Hey earlier this week after school for George to have bloods taken which were then discussed at his appointment on Wednesday.  Barry (the port) was given a flush to prevent him clotting up, which was a good reflection of how well George has been – it’s usually accessed more regularly because he falls ill before it ever needs flushing.

The doctor mentioned this week that George’s neutrophils are quite high at the moment.  The average Joe’s neutrophils sit between 4 and 11 but George’s need to be around 1 so that the doctors know his bone marrow is suppressed.  His neuts are 3.8 right now so it’s a sign his bone marrow has started fighting something off (any virus or infection), or he needs his chemo dosage increasing.  We’ve got another two weeks to see what the next move is.

The vegetarian

Sugar the puppy has had her fur trimmed
No pictures of the kids, just the dog’s hair cut

What else is new… Sugar has had a hair cut…. oh and Harriet’s a vegetarian!  that news has come as no surprise to a few of my friends.  One day she just refused to eat “an actual chicken’s leg!?” as she put it.  She’s never had an issue with meat until now… now she’s guilt tripping us all over eating defenceless animals.  In her words “it’s like eating Sugar” – our pet dog.  I get her point.  To be fair to her, I admire the fact she’s made the choice herself, no one she knows is a veggie, she’s doing it purely because of how she feels.  She knows her own mind this one.

Giving up work whilst George received treatment

As you all know, I stopped teaching my antenatal classes a few weeks after George’s diagnosis.  This decision didn’t come easy, but it was the only way forward.  The classes could be quite emotionally demanding and I got to the point where I felt my ladies weren’t getting the best of me anymore.  Obviously they all thought I was completely mad still teaching whilst George had just been diagnosed with leukaemia…. maybe I was!   I just thought it might help to keep in a positive place.

Anyway, no regrets on that front, I was released from a restrictive contract and free from the monthly payments to the franchise.  I could relax and look after my children when they needed me the most.  It was during those periods when George was an inpatient, and we were juggling Oliver and Harriet too, I couldn’t imagine being in a place where I could consider working again – and I’d previously only worked 12 hours a week tops!.

Ready to get back to work whilst treatment continues

Twelve months or so later and I know that I’m ready to get back in the game….not ‘on’ the game… those days are behind me 😉  There’s approximately 2 and a half years of daily chemotherapy and theatre for spinal chemo every few months but now we have our routines in place, I feel like there’s a little opening for me to get some of myself back.  School are now well versed on what they’re looking out for, we know which friends we can rely on if we’re rushing to hospital and we understand the drill once we’re there.

Lisa Rooza stood at Hypnobirthing training
Proper Geek at the Hypnobirthing training

We all know I love a good chat, I also enjoy helping other people and given my 4 years experience working with pregnant ladies, things are pointing in the same direction.  I have had a chat with my friends in the local maternity services and the birthy world and found out that, you know what?  I can do something birthy myself!  I’m a qualified complementary therapist, and have now trained in a method of delivering antenatal workshops called Hypnobirthing.  I have now set up my own birth programme and called it Birth Geek.

Birth Geek

I have lots of ideas for Birth Geek, but for now am not going to bite off more than I can chew.  I’m running antenatal workshops on a Sunday in Warrington, Lymm and Knutsford and offering mobile pregnancy massage a few days a week while the children are in school.  I’ve loved getting my teeth into designing my own website… and final branding is almost there, do take a look.

Not lost the plot yet….

We rise by lifting others quote
that we do….

And so a new chapter is beginning, one I never envisaged even 6 months ago – working whilst my child is receiving treatment for cancer!? but look, anything’s possible.  I’m just going to keep mindful of keeping a good balance.  Given I’ve not been sectioned so far, something is obviously working for us!  Celebrating every small achievement, every milestone, taking nothing for granted and living life to the full is not about to change.

Lis x

Gratitude in all shapes and sizes

So the last few weeks have been busy in our household, I thought i’d be sat at twitching since I’ve finished work but I’ve come to appreciate what amazing friends we have and difficult as some days may feel, there are always brighter moments ahead.

Here’s my list of what I’ve felt grateful for in chronological order –

SSmiling wildly outside Lidl
Yay for my day out!

1. I’ll start with the silliest one,  forget the brave cancer-fighting 3 year old, it’s my first solo trip to Lidl in a long time!  I headed to my supermarket of choice in great anticipation the other week.  I was slightly disappointed firstly, when I realised I had to park in a non-parent bay and walk an extra 10ft to the store, then, to my horror, I’d forgot my trolley pound and had no change… this is a nightmare situation in a Lidl / Aldi type store.  Have you ever asked the militant check out staff for change??

I bought loads of veg I have no idea what to do with because it was cheap and a million kiwis for 12p, then browsed the shovel / tuppaware / clothing in transparent pvc bags aisle, for things I must need.  With my undersized trolley over-packed with interesting veg and not one meal amongst it all, I ploughed on.  With one draped over the top to avoid a kiwi avalanche and shin injuries from the extra metal rack on the lower part of the trolled, I headed for the joy of the checkout queue.

I did the usual obligatory letting a bloke behind me with a pint of milk jump the queue, then the old lady with a loaf, then a woman and a baby with small basket and hold on a minute…? eff you to the next person, i’m avoiding eye contact.

Over-filled shopping trolley
Balancing act

Then, thinking I could stealth pack because I was child free, made the mistake of opening the two bags for life to fit perfectly in the trolley.  Only my shopping didnt fit perfectly did it? and the checkout guy was on a mission to prove his worth to Lidl.  So I ended up running back and to to the bloody packing shelf area with the odd cauli, multi pack of crisps and clinking bottles of, errr, “water” whilst desperately avoiding eye contact with Mrs One-bag-of-Sugar behind me.

I weaved my metre high shopping load back out of the store, smashing into some seasonal bedding plants en route and denting my own car on arrival.  I was satisfied with my first lone shop and grateful that it could have been ten times worse with a 3 year old with no immune system – roll on next week! might go mad and hit Aldi.

Simone Mollie and George
George having the tour of Mollie’s new room

2. The next day having bought a load shopping that should really be eaten fresh, George and I set off for our friend’s Simone and Mollie’s for lunch.  Mollie had moved to a new house so it was exciting to get the grand tour and see Mollie-Moo’s gorgeous new bedroom, complete with her very own fairy door!

Mollie and her fairy door
Mollie and her fairy door

Mollie’s Mummy, Simone, looked after us with tea, juice and biscuits and also treated us to lunch whilst I waffled and the kids embedded play doh into the new furniture.

The new house was proper posh and George is already mithering to visit again soon – you can see just how much here!

 

3. George received a parcel containing something he’d wished for the following day!  You can read more about his beloved pink sleeping bag with fire engines on here.  But what also arrived of Uncle Paul and Aunty Amanda was this beautiful story of the Hare who lost her Hair a highly recommended and emotional read for normalising hair loss and treatment for childhood cancer, or any cancer for that matter! it would be a good book for children who’s parents will be receiving cancer treatment too.  I plan on officially reviewing the book in due course so keep your eyes peeled.

Harriet holding a pile of fabric
Harriet and her new fabrics

4. As a treat for Harriet we’ve been to a sewing class and she’s been enjoying sewing since, so it was lovely to receive a nice treat in the post of Nanny Jane last week. Harriet received some new fabrics to practice with – the new range of bags will soon be in stock so watch this space!

Lisa Karen and Kath pulling silly faces
Weirdos

5. Mummy managed an impromptu tea out with some of the girlies at The Black Swan in Hollins Green, Warrington for food and wine.  It was just what the doctor ordered to offload a little and have a catch up.

6. Daddy had a little break last week too and went to the dirty pub with his Daddy mates… the lush rolled in at a rocking 8pm sozzled and fell into bed snoring, that’s pretty much the end of that story, but at least he got out for a few hours!

George and Seth enjoying ice lollies
George and Seth in the sunshine

7. Georgie then got another play date the following day to allow Daddy to suffer in silence (and also cook us a full Sunday roast!). He visited another one of his bestest friends, Seth!  They enjoyed ice lollies in the Spring sunshine and played beautifully all afternoon.  I think they only paused for drinks and biscuits then disappeared again.  It’s wonderful how he’s still managing to keep up with his little friends (of course while Mummy also gets to drink brews and chats).

8. I had the pleasure of witnessing my Oliver dressed as Monet explaining Impressionism in his school play this week.  I was a very proud mummy waving eagerly to him as he coolly smirked and just raised one palm to me…as in “alright mum, chill”…

9. We were grateful to receive a donation towards George’s new bed from some of our lovely friends (you know who your are) the Mark Gorry Foundation.  George is currently sleeping in his cot bed and whilst is fine for him for now, it’s not ideal when either Mummy or Daddy are sleeping in the same room.  I dread to think how many nights we’ve spent in the foetal position squidged in with him so that the other can get a full night’s kip!  we certainly both have the back ache to prove it!  MGF heard our story and sent us some pennies to help us get a single bed with a pull-out bed underneath.  This is going to make such a difference to all of us, we can’t thank them enough.

The Mark Gorry Foundation, I remember for the “Love your Balls” campaign, after a close friend of mine had the pleasure of working with Mark.  She helped raise awareness for the cause following his death from testicular cancer.  MGF‘s goal is to improve the understanding of the disease and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Testicular Cancer.  We’re very lucky that their fundraising helps any families who are affected by any type of cancer.

Sunset over Woolston
Sunset in Woolston

10. Not one to miss the bigger picture, I’ve really been appreciating the Spring in the air! <cue Damien’s eyes rolling> the sunsets have been breathtaking, and god i’ve missed the mild weather!  I didnt realise just how much I must have been hibernating since George’s Leukaemia diagnosis.

I love the sound of the birds in the morning and looking out over Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve behind us when I open the curtains.  The Spring flowers emerging where i’ve chucked old “dead” daffodil pots from last year in the back and even the amorous wood pigeons that the cat chases…  it’s time we start getting outdoors more when Georgie can!

11. Good old parents evening! Nothing like a parents evening gloat… all positive and both doing great… more importantly Oliver and Harriet’s schooling doesnt seem to have been affected by their sometimes turbulent home life.  Thank you again to our lovely friends who have helped us out so much by dropping them off and picking them up at the drop of a hat.

12. I’ve kept everyone up to date with his treatment, but this little boy’s strength is unbelievable.  Even George’s doctor was surprised over how well he was doing at his appointment on Friday.  He was in theatre for around 2 hours and away from us for 3, he came around from anaesthetic calm and even though he was allowed sit up if he wanted, he refused saying he didnt want a head ache.  This is a far cry from the initial weeks of upset.  I can’t believe how resilient he is, how patient he is or how brave he is.  He’s doing so much better than I ever expected.

 

So it was meant to be TEN things to be grateful for, but I like to be different 🙂  Harriet has got her friend visiting this week as she’s been keeping up with her little jobs with minimal meltdowns – here’s to another couple of weeks of positivity xx