In August 2012 our lives were turned upside down by the devastating diagnosis that Elizabeth received that Thursday afternoon. Being told your child has cancer is something you can never prepare yourself for and it is something I would not wish on anyone.
Before this day I was running my own business as a childminder, Hubby was working away at his job and life was good. We knew there was evil in the world and deadly diseases but they didn’t affect us so apart from the occasional sponsor money here and there we continued blissfully unaware of the effects that cancer can have on a whole family. I have written many posts about our time as a family during Elizabeth’s treatment but I also held a lot back. I have always had a positive just get on with it attitude and when I felt that slipping I didn’t want to come here and share it with you all. My blog posts about Elizabeth were always about how no matter what life threw at us we were fighting and winning. Yes life was hard but it could always be worse.
I think that phrase came to mind the very first night that I was on the children’s cancer ward in Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital. There were children on that ward with tumours or who had relapsed or who had a hard to treat cancer or who had been in ICU or HDU and although being told my four year old was seriously ill I was also told that she would most likely be absolutely fine at the end. So yes life was shit but it could be worse.
Elizabeth went through a lot during her two and a bit years of treatment but mostly she sailed it, she was hardly ever admitted and we got to fill our days with happiness. However now we are at the end we can see the damage that this lifestyle has caused her.
Not only does she have physical problems due to the effects of the chemotherapy treatments she received but she has come away knowing things that no 6 year old should know. The advert for cancer research stating that they now cure half of all cancer cases leads her to state matter of factly that some of her friends died of cancer. Six years old and she has already faced death and mortality and has accepted it as normal. It is heartbreaking.
Our life now is very different to what it was before. I work at home blogging, organising Blog On and generally trying to keep my mind busy when I am not looking after the girls. Hubby has literally just got a new job and the girls are both settled at school. We still have regular appointments and we still feel the aftermath of Elizabeth’s treatment daily. With the wheelchair taking up a lot of space and nearly constantly being in my field of vision I can not ever forget what we have been through or how far we have come.
However no matter how our life has changed we are one of the lucky ones. We live in the United Kingdom and we have access to amazing doctors, clean hospitals and the correct drugs that she needs. This is not the case elsewhere and with this being world cancer day I would really like people to think about the developing countries. Cancer is there too. One of the biggest risks for Elizabeth during treatment was infection, can you just imagine how that would be for a child in one of these countries? and that is if they are fortunate enough to be near a hospital or be able to get the correct drugs.
Cancer can strike anywhere and anyone. It never even crossed my mind until I was staring it straight in the eyes. Please do what you can even if all you can do is share something about cancer today to spread awareness and make people think twice about it.
We will never forget cancer. I hope one day we will have a cure that will mean that others are not affected.