Cancer and other stuff

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Cecily Kitty

I’ve asked my very special friend Laura to write this blog post, as I feel she can write so much better than I can about what’s been happening for her. Regular readers will know about her and friends will, of course, know her very well …


“When Fran asked me to write a ‘guest blog’ I was initially quite reluctant as this is her channel and I didn’t want to encroach.  However, over the last 18 months our lives have become so interwoven, but by very individual circumstances, that I decided I would give it a go.


You may remember that a few months ago Fran wrote about me and my family after a lovely weekend spent together at our home.  She wrote about how we tragically lost our baby boy Stanley in June 2010 from an incurable heart defect, and the repercussions that followed.  Throughout our experience Fran was there and we supported each other.  Her dealing with cancer and me dealing with grief.  Very different things but we had many unbearable clichés and well meaning people in common and both had those feelings of being utterly overwhelmed by the cards that life was dealing us.


Well it’s been quite a year for both of us but Fran was keen to let you guys know (whoever you may be!) that I have hopefully just had my happy ending.  Four weeks ago I gave birth to our third child, a healthy baby girl named Cecily.  However, it was a long pregnancy and not without incident.


Although my pregnancy was straightforward, psychologically it was tough.  I had to have special heart scans and spent a lot of time praying that this time our baby would be okay.  After some appalling treatment by the NHS who did not know how to compassionately deal with a bereaved mother I opted to use private midwives and have my baby at home.  Although this was ultimately a great decision and an amazing experience, my labour was much more difficult than any of us expected.  I had been at it for many hours but things just weren’t progressing and my fantastic midwives realised that my grief was not allowing my body to progress with this labour.


Until they mentioned it, I didn’t realise myself that I had some deep rooted emotional stuff going on.  Then it all made sense.  Perhaps I wasn’t allowing my body to do what it needed to, to help our baby enter the world.  I could feel parts of my body tensing and withdrawing with each contraction and it now appeared that I was terrified of allowing this baby out in case she was ill like her older brother had been.  I couldn’t face losing another child.  I couldn’t face any more heartache.  Maybe psychologically I wanted her to remain in the safety of my womb.  After some cuddles with Big G (the husband) I was ready to start again and, cutting a long story short, several hours later and after a huge physical and emotional journey, our beautiful baby girl Cecily Kitty was born in the living room of our home.


I sat down on the sofa and cradled this precious wonder.  I was elated  and almost instantly this wonderful little being brought her parents some closure and above all some healing.  It had been a harder labour than we expected and brought up issues I had never expected, but holding this baby girl in my arms was incredible and all I now felt was love.  When our 2 year old son arrived home a few hours later, things finally felt complete.  Naturally I will always grieve for Stanley but my two living babies are bringing me huge happiness.


Anyway, this has felt a little self-indulgent to tell you all about my experience but I think Fran knew I needed some cathartic output and I know how much this blog has helped her.  I also wanted people to know that a baby after loss is very difficult and emotionally draining but if you tackle it head on, you can reap the rewards and finally feel joy again.


We have now asked Fran to be one of Cecily’s Godmothers.  We are proud that Cecily will have such a strong role model and we are honoured that she has agreed.  We now desperately hope that Franny will get the happy ending that she so deserves too.  Love you FP x x x x”



I can’t add much to that but suffice it to say I am absolutely over the moon to see my lovely friends so happy again, and to have been given the chance to share in this gorgeous little bundle’s life. See, happy endings do happen.



Today I was sad. It started in the hospital waiting room. There I was, minding my own business, cotton wool strapped all down my arm where they’d taken blood and waiting to see Alison – to find out whether the reduced chemo dose last week is still playing havoc with my blood and it turns out it is so it’s back next week for another blood test to see what the score is and whether this will affect chemo on 1st September (quite likely if it doesn’t pick up) – when I overheard a conversation between two women, one of whom had just heard that amazing line: “everything looks positive, we don’t need to see you again for 6 months”. And I suddenly thought, fuck, I am never going to hear those words again. And I actually cried in the waiting room. Bizarre. You’d think I’d be used to it all now, the constant hospital appts and waiting around, having to take time off work when I’ve got responsibilities in my job, but I’m not and I doubt I ever will be. My life is SO different to how I ever remembered it or wanted it to be and it still feels unreal now. I wish someone would say they didn’t need to see me for 6 months, I wish I had savoured every moment of my life when I was well. I would have done things very differently if so.

But, let’s not get gloomy. Am aware the last few blog posts may have made for heavy reading so things to be positive about: well, clearly there has been one big thing distracting me and that’s been him moving in. Suffice it to say it’s brilliant and terrifying at the same time but I’m going with it. There are boxes everywhere, I don’t know how we’re going to fit both our stuff in or when we’re going to find time to sort it all but it’s not a bad problem to have. It certainly beats the other one anyway 🙂

Denial or bust

First, the boring medical bits. Saw Alison today, my bloods are back on track and at normal levels so it’s green light for chemo tomorrow (yes it is that time already, grrrr). She’s reduced the dose and scrapped the day 8 entirely (normally I have 2 drugs on day 1, and a top-up of one drug on day 8 but it’s caused so many delays and problems that we’ll see how we go without that second hit). Next scan will be after the 5th cycle, tomorrow will be my 4th so about another month. Which is good as I wasn’t really feeling ready for a scan as early as next week which is what it should have been technically. I’ve got a belly like a pin cushion as am still being injected with this blood-thinning drug every day, probably for a good few months. Poor Andy, he’s having to do it as I can’t bring myself to and I don’t think he likes it very much.

Speaking of which, he’s moving in. After a mini freak out thinking it’s too soon and going to be a disaster, I’ve had a few pep talks from the girls and a little word with myself, and realised that it’s actually lovely. More than lovely. He makes me v happy and he virtually lives with me anyway so it’s not a big deal. The new house felt like ‘ours’ rather than ‘mine’ right from day dot and it’s starting to feel even more like our home with every day. We’re really enjoying being here, together. Hurrah. There was a slight incident over some fishfingers (long story) but it was contained and we’re good.

There’s been something weighing quite heavily on my mind recently and I’m starting to question how well I am dealing with everything, and whether I fully understand what’s happening to me and what’s likely to happen. Still figuring that one out but I think I am starting to realise that I could be in a little bubble of denial. Which is weird as, in earlier posts I remember being very much against denial, especially in others. It’s not that I don’t believe it – I have no choice but to believe it when I spend so much time in hospital – I’m just nowhere near being able to process it and come to terms with what could happen in the future. I know the stats and the averages obviously, and I’ve accepted that I probably won’t live as long as I thought but that’s as far as I can go at the moment. I’m not ready to think or deal with the specifics. I don’t want to know my prognosis (which can only ever be a guess anyway), I can’t bring myself to think about what might happen when drugs stop working and there’s nothing more they can do for me or when it spreads. I just can’t, I’d never leave the house, probably not even my bed, if I did. I’ve got plans for my life and yes they do stretch years into the future, the next few years anyway. Rightly or wrongly. I have a relationship to nurture and grow, a career I’m proud of and want to develop, charity work I want to get stuck into because it’s important to me. I can’t let the ‘reality’ get in the way of all that, not right now. I’m quite happily putting my fingers in my ears at the moment and it suits me to do so until I really have no choice but to accept and admit it. Until then, I need to pretend that everything’s cool because when I do that, I can function. I have to believe there is some hope for me. I don’t know what form that hope comes in – it’s just a vague feeling that, you know what, things might, just MIGHT, be ok. And if they’re not ok in the future then I’ll deal with it then but for the moment I’m too scared to face it.

It’s all very strange. I thought I was sailing through this quite well really but I really have had a good think over the past couple of weeks, since all that being in hospital nonsense, and perhaps it’s just another of the many complex stages you go through with this thing. Who knows…

We’re back from Sussex. It was lovely. Feeling much better, like hospital was a very long time ago now.

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