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