Chapter 36: Happy anniversary

Arthur was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. Went quickly didn’t it? Or did it?! I don’t know. It certainly feels like more than a year that we’ve been doing all this. I remember finding out and not knowing how we’d cope having a child with cancer. Even saying the word cancer in the same sentence as Arthur was hard. Turns out we could cope with it – and it a fair bit extra as we’d later find out.

I think the biggest thing I’ve had to learn to do is focus on the positives. I know we both go on about this a lot but it really is the only way to get through something like this. Like the fact I just got to spend a year at home with my boys watching them grow up. Very few fathers get to do anything like that and I guess in a roundabout kind of way, I’m very lucky that I got to experience it. Of course there was a great deal of heartbreak in that time, but also a lot of laughs and silliness. When I think back over last year my stand out memory isn’t actually anything to do with cancer. It’s getting a Mustang stuck in sand! I guess that’s how our minds work. When looking back to past events we tend to remember them in a more positive light – or maybe that’s just me!

Anyway, enough of all that. It’s been a while since the last blog. That’s not because we’ve not got much to say, it’s more down to the fact I’ve gone back to work so everyone’s a bit busier now.

Let’s start with Freddie. He’s doing really well. No tumour news since his last MRI and no news is good news. He’s on his daily chemo and weekly visits to GOSH. It’s playing havoc with his bloods and he’s neutropenic at the moment (meaning his blood count is too low to have chemo) so he’s had a couple of weeks break. He’s happy though, enjoying school and very much the regular 4 year old

He’s also getting his hair back! And so is Arthur.

Obviously we knew this would happen but my God it’s fantastic when it does! We’ve now got to the somewhat unfortunate stage where they are both at a sort of “grade one all over” length and you might think we’d chosen to shave their head for aesthetic reasons. Freddie has quite a patch where the protons were fired at his head but hopefully it’s nothing a trendy haircut won’t be able to cover up in time. Freddie actually washed his hair yesterday! Who’d have thought something so mundane would ever bring us so much joy! On the downside it does mean we have to buy shampoo again. We’ve saved a fortune this last year.

Arthur had his end of treatment scan and thankfully that was also clear. In a few weeks all being well he’ll get his Hickman Line out, which is great. It means he can go swimming again (not that he can swim) and have a deep bath. The caveat to this wonderful news is that now we have Arthur’s riskiest period. If his cancer is going to come back, it’ll probably do so this year. They give with one hand and take away with another!

The news of the clear scan was a bit nervy. Not just because of the results themselves, but also because we had a cameraman in the consultants room when we were told. This is because the boys are to be featured in a show about GOSH that will air on TV later this year. That’s sort of exciting. Or weird. I’ve not quite decided yet. We had a camera crew at the house the other day. I don’t like looking at myself on film. In my head I’m much better looking and funnier than I am in reality, so maybe I just won’t watch any of it and keep the illusion alive!

And that brings you more or less up to date. There’s another brilliant video of the boys I’d love to share with you all, but it’s a charity video and until we get the go ahead from them we’ll keep schtum. Next time though. It does involve some of the coolest shoes I’ve ever seen, here’s a sneaky preview.

So a strange period really. So much of our lives are back to normal now, but there’s this omnipresent dark cloud above (quite literally in the case of today’s weather) that’s not going anywhere for a while. We just have to learn to live with it and as always, enjoy the little wins and as they come. If you see me in the supermarket smiling in the shampoo aisle, you’ll know why.

Much love, Martin and Nat x

15 thoughts on “Chapter 36: Happy anniversary”

  1. Team Carpenter, we think you’re just amazing! We’re British, so we’re used to living with clouds and I hope the big one you’re dealing with doesn’t block out all the sun… I’ve no doubt you won’t let it x x


  2. Another great post and some really positive news.

    And just for the record, to manage your expectations, you are incredibly ugly and not at all funny! There, you can watch the film now!!


  3. Love to you all. Don’t let clouds spoil your now. A bit of news for Natalie – Angie D had a little boy on the 22nd March named Heath. Love from all at HertsCC Xxxxx


  4. Thank you for making my day, having had a really crap week, reading your updates brushed all that away. I am so pleased your family is going through a relatively ‘quiet’ phase, and may it continue for ever. Freddie and Arthur, although I’ve never met them, are so close to my heart, and recalling your last year of ‘hell’ has just brought me back down to earth and stopped me feeling sorry for myself. The photos of your boys are so lovely. Two very beautiful boys, who have the best parents ever – I wish you so much goodness, and happiness to come.
    Love to you all
    Mel xx xx


  5. I’m so pleased that everything seems to be going in the right direction and I pray that it will continue to do so! We’re all hoping and praying for more trips to the shampoo aisle for you! Love, Chris


  6. Lovely news and enjoy your trips to the shampoo ailse! Always thinking of you guys and pray that there’s lots more sunshine ahead xxx


  7. Brilliant news all round. Buzzcuts are the new rage anyway. Those shoes look amazing, very intriguing… Looking forward to learning more. Much love to you all!


  8. Fantastic news! So pleased to hear the boys are doing well. It must feel odd being back at work though! Will keep my eyes peeled for that GOSH programme, let us know!


  9. Gosh, not the hospital but my exclamation! What an incredible journey you as a family have endured over the past year and it’s still not over yet. I have only just heard and read about your recent trials. Your two lovely boys have been so brave, as have their parents. What resilience, love and understanding. With everything you have endured you still have been able to find humour in your situation. My thoughts and prayers will be added to those of many others. I lived opposite Ian and his sister, Sandra, back in the 1950’s. I am still in touch with Sandra and heard of your blog from Janet, who lived next door to me in Meadow Way, Reigate.
    Anthea nee Smoothy


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