Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Last Steroids - Whoop Whoop!!!!

Yesterday, Catherine had her last Vincristine chemotherapy. This means that this is the LAST TIME we are ever going to have to give Catherine the steroids that make her feel so miserable and low. I am delighted. No more 'grumpy medicine'. No more Catherine feeling really rubbish. All we have now is a few more days left of her daily chemotherapy medicines. It really is all coming to an end.

Today I asked her how she felt about coming to the end of her treatment. She replied that she was nervous and excited but that she is scared about having to have all her immunisations again. She has developed a real fear of needles and I am not sure yet the best way to tackle this. I think I will need to talk this through with her consultant.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Leeds 2008

Catherine - my one-in-six-million girl

As Catherine's treatment gets closer to ending, my head is going into overdrive. I keep having flashbacks. Vivid flashbacks of the beginning of her treatment that just interrupt my usual daily thinking. I've found I can divide these into a few main images:

1. Mark and I wandering round the carpark at Jimmy's hospital trying to phone Lorraine, our support officer on our study placement, minutes after Catherine had just been diagnosed.

2. Being in the isolation room at Jimmy's, with Catherine, then aged 3, hooked up to 'melody' her drip (so-called because melody bleeped and was musical)

3. The day at The Royal Marsden when they couldn't get the cannula into one of Catherine's veins. It took five attempts because the chemo had made her veins less visible. The following day, they put a portacath in.

4. Speaking to the lovely surgeon after he had completed her surgery to implant the portacath.

5. Eating in the canteen at Leeds and staying at the 'Home from Home.'

I have been told that these flashbacks are known as 'processing'; I don't like it very much. I've also become abnormally sensitive to anything about children's cancer or hospice care. I was in the bank the other day and there was a collection bin raising funds for Butterwick Children's Hospice. Fancy trying to speak to the cashier whilst holding back tears! Very bizarre. Also the charity bags that come through or door to raise funds for children's hospices and cancer care just set everything off in my mind. Occasionally I look at her and the thought crosses my mind that without God and the medical profession she wouldn't be here now. Every birthday since her diagnosis I have just been like 'wow'. Fabulous!!!

Our Consultant tells us that this is probably going to be the hardest part of our journey - Catherine stopping chemo. We have been on 'alert' and just dealing with getting Catherine through this for two years and we now have to come to terms with what has happened. I still think that the early days of diagnosis were the hardest, but the 15,000+ people praying for Catherine certainly shared the burden and played a huge part in her healing (thankyou, Jonathan, for setting that up for us - your Goddaughter loves you and so do we).

We still have two years of checks to go until Catherine is given the all-clear. She is in remission, which came unusually early of course (God is good), but it is now time to adapt to another new way of life. Catherine cannot remember a time without medicines and hospital trips to see her Consultant. I imagine this blog will be used quite a lot in the next few months. It will be a place to share memories and Catherine's progress. It will be a place to give thanks and let everyone know the people that most helped in her treatment - the friends and the medical professionals who have done so much.

So there will be more to read in the coming days, and as Catherine has taught us, we should always continue to expect miracles. She was the one in six million children that was diagnosed with leukaemia. Now she is healed we can all look forward to the blog entries of 'what Catherine did next' :)