Monday, 31 August 2009

Hospital day beckons

We were planning to take Catherine to the farm today, but she ended up waking up feeling poorly - she felt sick with a tummy ache. She spent most of the day snuggled up with her teddy on the sofa or in bed, but thankfully felt better this evening. Tomorrow we are going to hospital for more Vincristine chemotherapy. Hopefully they will take bloods from her portacath and not use the finger clicker tomorrow, otherwise we will have a devastated daughter on our hands. Our consultant said we will need to have the finger clicker every second appointment, so hopefully the nurses will be ok with taking some blood from her port before we have the 'cold medicine'. Please pray all goes well. Thankyou.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The anniversary of the beginning of treatment

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of Catherine's treatment - she was diagnosed on August 26 2008.
It is hard to believe that it has been a year since treatment began. Here are some photographs of Catherine's journey that I would like to share with you, each one bringing back memories of every part of treatment so far. One more year (and a bit) of treatment to go.

A few weeks before diagnosis.

The day of diagnosis. Catherine was asleep when we were told the news.

Brief respite at home to pack before going into Jimmy's to begin intensive chemotherapy treatment.

The needles and canulas begin

Catherine names her drip 'Melody' because it makes a musical bleeping sound.

Back in London, the steroids begin to take effect. Catherine has now also had surgery to put in her portacath.

Catherine's hair starts to thin and she continues to be effected by the steroids.

A blood transfusion at The Royal Marsden in London.

Hair now completely gone. It is hard to imagine that she had no hair six months ago.

Catherine out and about with her 'hair'

One of our hospital stays. Thankfully, Catherine only had an ear infection.

Through her intensive chemo and out and about in London.

During the 'chicken-pox' scare, although Catherine amazingly never got chicken pox!


Catherine and I have been talking a alot recently about the way that some animals are nocturnal.

Last night Catherine woke up so I went into her room to give her a cuddle. While I was there, I could feel her baby brother or sister moving in my tummy so I told her that baby was also awake.

'Yes', she said, 'maybe he is nocturnal'.

It seems Catherine already has a good idea that babies are night owls!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Crocodiles and pocket money

Last night Catherine ended up sleeping in our bed as she was having strange dreams about crocodiles eating children. It was a bit odd, so I asked her what was worrying her, and then she told me that she was feeling nervous about meeting all the new children and going to her new school in two-weeks-time. She asked me if Mark and I had been scared when we first went to school, and I explained that it was normal for people to feel a bit nervous about new things. She was reassured and then went back to sleep, although for a small person she is very good at taking up the whole bed AND all the bedclothes!

We have also started giving Catherine pocket money - £1 a week - and yesterday she took her little purse to the shops. She decided to buy herself a Noddy painting kit (only £1) and is enjoying having her own pennies. She is already working out that Friday is the day for her money, and I get pestered straight away as soon as Catherine knows its her 'money day'. The start of things to come...

Friday, 21 August 2009


Well, after all the wondering about how Catherine's hair would turn out after it grew back, we now have an official verdict: ITS REALLY CURLY!!! The last few days, as her hair is now beginning to become longer, the cute tufts of hair are turning into proper curls! She looks really cute and it is as if she has spent an hour setting her hair with rollers. She quite likes her curls as they are really bouncy and fair, although the challenge will now be getting her hair to grow quick enough to be 'really long' like she wants it to be. Once I get some photos, I will upload them.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Finger 'prick'

Today's finger prick was not tolerated well by Catherine, as expected. She had a very difficult time early in her treatment when she had to have lots of blood tests in her hands. So anything involving hands and feet was bound to bring back memories of pain and fear. She got very panicky before they did it and quickly realized that the 'clicker' had something sharp and pointy in it. I don't like seeing her in floods of tears, and afterwards she was a bit cross with herself because she thought she had not been very brave. I had to remind her that bravery is not about not being scared, but it is about being scared and doing the scary thing anyway.

We met Catherine's new consultant today and she really likes him. She had to lay down and be examined on the bed, and she was so chilled because last week someone had told her that the Consultant likes to give tickles. So obviously she thought he would be good fun. The Consultant suggested that the slight rash on her cheeks is actually caused by one of her chemo drugs. Catherine is also growing and has the highest Haemoglobin results since she began treatment - 13.6! Normally her HB had fluctuated between 11 and 7. So no wonder she is lively, then! We also met another family and Catherine made friends with the little girl. The little girl is also receiving treatment for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia), but is only a couple of months into her treatment.

We are going back to hospital to have her Vincristine chemotherapy in two weeks, and they will be using her portacath so Catherine will feel more relaxed about this. Suddenly, her portacath and 'wiggly' seem so much more appealing to her.

Thankyou for your ongoing prayers.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Hospital day

Catherine's day at hospital went remarkably well. We arrived and were given a guided tour of the new facilities and were then taking to the special 'no eating area' so that Catherine could fast for her procedure without other people eating in the same room. She had some bloods taken and she is nearly neutropenic (her neutrophils are just borderline) which means that after her chemo on Tuesday, they will drop and she will probably be susceptible to infection in a few days time. Please pray that she doesn't get any infections.

The procedure is very different at the hospital. Instead of taking bloods through Catherine's portacath, they will be using a finger prick instead. This may or may not be a good thing depending upon whether Catherine realizes it is a small needle or not. Catherine is now terrified of needles due to some very bad experiences early in her treatment.

There is also a special theatre for the procedure away from the waiting area. So we take Catherine down a little corridor when it is her turn.

Personally I have been amazed at the way she is adapting to all this change. The nurses commented on how confident she was - she just got there and got on with everything.

At her new house, she only complains a bit about being bored - as any child on school holiday does - but she is not asking to go back to London and she is very settled. She had one night where she didn't sleep well, but she loves it now. Mark wondered whether it is because the house is similar to the one we lived in before training college, and subconsciously she remembers it as being a safe place.

Catherine is now really looking forward to starting school, and if she deals with it like she's dealt with everything else, it will be a breeze!

She is now being a mischief and running round the living room blowing my recorder. She has one of her own, but she's trying to get my attention. I'd better go and carry on unpacking the boxes, but thankyou for your prayers for her first hospital day. God carried her through again :)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Hospital Day

Tomorrow we are going to the new hospital. Catherine will be having a general anaesthetic and lumbar puncture. Please pray all goes well. Thankyou.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Lobsters and goldfish

Catherine has completely worn us out today. All day long she has chatted to us contantly...about everything. I hardly think she took time to stop and breathe!!! She continues to be excited but last night kept waking up and saying she was scared of the dark. So I ended up cuddling her lots but not getting much sleep myself in the process! Tonight she has settled easily, so I'm hoping she will sleep through.

The house is taking shape now, but I've had to take it a bit easier today as 'bump' is protesting at all the bending and unpacking. The last couple of days I have been feeling bump starting to become very lively and I'm looking forward to the time when Catherine will be able to see and feel her baby brother or sister kicking.

Catherine looked really cool today, as her short hair was spiked up and she was wearing her shades. She could easily have passed for a celebrity! We had our first trip out today to the pet shop in search of some goldfish. We got the aquarium out during the unpacking, and Catherine has been pestering me all day to go and see some fishes. We hadn't originally planned to go to the pet shop - only to register at the doctors - but we ventured in on the way back as there was one a few doors away from the surgery. Mark and Catherine were particularly interested in a little blue lobster, but he's a tropical creature, so I think Mark will have to put up with a black moor instead!!! I know I'm good at handling coldwater fish, but tropicals are a different issue.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

New house! New house!

Well, we have now arrived in our new home. Catherine is ecstatic about the new house and has been leaping around the room with excitement. (Mind you, we nearly leapt around the room too!). I have NEVER seen Catherine so excited about anything. She was so excited that she couldn't even get to sleep this evening on our inflatable beds (our proper beds are being delivered tomorrow). Obviously, for Catherine, a new house far surpasses Christmas Eve, Birthday parties or holidays. She even saw the new Corps (church) today and was really excited about that, too.

If you are reading this and don't know how the Salvation Army ministry works then it may sound odd that everyone is excited about this new house. We get sent to a particular Corps (church) and we have no idea what the accommodation will be like. We were really delighted with our new home and it has just been refurbished. Tomorrow all our belongings will be delivered, and the challenge will then be to unpack and find homes for everything.

Next Tuesday, Catherine will be going to her new hospital for the first time for a lumbar puncture and chemotherapy into her spinal fluid (done under general anaesthetic). It will be very new for us all going to this new hospital, but we hope that she will adjust quickly to the different routine at the hospital.

Anyway, I had better go as we have lots to do tomorrow, and I need to stockpile the biscuits for the removal men.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

I will always thank the Lord;
I will never stop praising him.
I will praise him for what he has done;
may all who are oppressed listen and be glad!
Proclaim with me the Lord's greatness;
let us praise his name together.
I prayed to the Lord and he answered me;
he freed me from all of my fears.
Find out for yourself how good the Lord is.
Happy are those who find safety with him.
The Lord is near to those who are discouraged;
he saves those who have lost all hope.
The Lord will save his people;
those who go to him for protection will be spared.

Selected lines from Psalm 34
Thankyou, God, for everything you are doing for our daughter.