Thursday, 4 August 2011

Nearly an anniversary

It is coming up to the anniversary of Catherine's original diagnosis. Since she finished treatment last October she has gained in strength, lost all the extra weight from the steroids and is now running around like any other six-year-old. Despite missing lots of school from her treatment, she is excelling in dance and in literacy and won the end of term certificate for her reading and writing (she did not, however, stand much of a chance of winning 100% attendance!!!).

Since October last year, her mum and dad have begun to heal from the struggle of the preceding two years. I no longer have flashbacks of her treatment and of hospital buildings and procedures (this is something that was a really big struggle after treatment ended, as I had to try and process everything I put on hold in order to cope). I credit Clic Sargeant and Mel for helping me deal with my emotions following my daughter's treatment, both of whom gave me an impartial and important listening ear. My advice to any other parent dealing with this - find someone to talk to outside of your family.

We do not go to the hospital for regular blood tests. The doctors have told us that we would know any signs and symptoms before they needed to do a test. This has really helped us as a family because every time we go to the hospital, we see other families at different stages of treatment and this brings back many feelings and memories. However we still await her 'all-clear' when she is ten years old. That will be a good day!

We continue to thank God for his unbelievable power and sustaining presence in our lives. We continue to pray for every parent and family who is undergoing this horrible and frightening experience. We continue to be amazed at the number of people for whom this blog is an important means of hope and faith. And we still stand amazed that, with God's help, somehow we got through this ordeal.

Catherine now no longer mentions anything to do with her treatment for 'naughty blood cells'. She has long dark blonde hair (which has grown back in rather funky layers) and considers herself to be like any other child. We encourage this. We tried so hard to keep her grounded and strong. It has, however, left her with one very good attitude and slogan. 'Mummy' she will say, 'Andersons never give up'. And we don't. We can't and we wont.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A chink of light in the clouds

Today has been a remarkable day for me as Catherine's mum. I'm not sure what has happened, but I am starting to feel that at last, the knot that has been in the pit of my stomach since Catherine's diagnosis may actually be beginning to untie. Today I have not felt on alert - I have felt free and easy for the first time in ages. I am still fully aware that Catherine had leukaemia and that she still needs blood tests and check-ups for the next four years, but something changed today.

Catherine, by the way, continues to do well and is now back at school after breaking her leg! I met a lady today that told me her daughter still has some leg pain occasionally years after, and whilst I was initially a bit sad about this, I was pleased to know this was possible otherwise the leg pain may have made me jump to some big conclusions (leg pain was the earliest symptom of Catherine's illness).

Anyway, this personal breakthrough doesn't feel like a fleeting moment. I just want those other onco-parents that read our story to know that there is hope and there will be some calm after the storm. Every blessing to you all in your journeys x

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Nearly 6!!!

Two weeks from today and Catherine will be 6! Since coming off chemotherapy, Catherine has been doing really well apart from breaking her leg a couple of weeks ago. This means we have to wait until 13th April to celebrate her birthday so that she will be able to have her cast off and dance like she wants to! She has coped so well with having her broken leg. Basically, she did it running into an older boy in the playground. At first I was really worried that the chemo had damaged her bones but it seems the chemo should not have made a difference. It was her lower leg that was damaged and she had to have a general anaesthetic to re-set the bones, not that she was bothered, having had 40+ anaesthetics before!! Her consultant says she is 'healing remarkably well' so I am sure she will get her dream of dancing at her birthday. That reminds me...I'd better start planning a party...

Sunday, 23 January 2011

How's it going?

Well, you will be pleased to know that my Catherine is doing really well. She has had some check ups following the end of treatment and all is going well for her. No longer does she struggle to walk long distances, she has colour in her cheeks and her hair is down past her shoulders. No more worry about blood counts, chemotherapy medicines etc. Just one bubbly pretty little mischief who is living her life to the full. What an amazing witness of God's healing and grace.

As a family we are still trying to get to some sense of normality. We have actually booked some holidays this year - unusual as you may remember we could not plan ahead or travel far because of Catherine's two years of treatment. We are still very raw from the whole experience. I still feel very stressed about what happened, and my mind and body are still trying to accept that the threat is over. The lady at ClicSargeant said that it is very normal to feel the anxiety of such a big thing as this AFTER the event. Odd but true. It seems that we can go on autopilot for so long, but when the threat is over, our body and mind has to deal with everything that was put on hold.

So this is Catherine and this is me. We are doing ok but still trying to regain some sense of peace. Prayers would be most welcome. And wherever you are and in whatever you are doing, continue to expect miracles. Dawn x