This week we have a guest blog from my mum, Donna, and her take on what having a child with cancer means, for the whole family.
When Emily was diagnosed with cancer our world changed in an instant forever. I now view the world different. I feel empowered to make a difference and give something back to the many charities that have supported us. I have done voluntary work for over 20 years. This has given me new momentum.
As parents, many of us joke about wishing our children came with an instruction manual. Especially when they are babies. It’s a good job they don’t. I may have sent them back with fear about what laid ahead.
My mother would say its because my house is unlucky and I should move before someone else is stuck down by some disease or condition. Ironically, since moving here my children have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Cancer. But we have also been blessed to be able to add to our family. We don’t feel unlucky but the complete opposite. We are so lucky to have these children. They enrich our live beyond words.
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A change in focus. A change in priorities. A change in what matters most. Something I’ve experienced and heard so much in the past few months. Cancer really has a way of throwing everything up in the air, with it landing in different places than thrown.
As I imagine everyone reading this knows, tomorrow is A level results day, regardless of how they know. It could be a son/daughter of yours, a friend, or even you just know because of the news. For some reading this, it will be their own results day tomorrow, and they are reading this blog to distract themselves from the butterflies of (what they think will be) impending DOOM. I’ve been in that place before, last year I picked up GCSE results, and really I should be chewing my nails, waiting in dreaded anticipation. But I’m not, not quite.
Some of you won’t know that I was an AS student before I got diagnosed, and because I did have 3 full months in school (sept-Dec) last year, I did sit some exams. Nowhere near as many as I should of, only 2. So instead of getting four AS’s tomorrow, I’ll be getting two unit one exam marks. So of COURSE I am nervous for the results. I want to have done well in them. The significance just isn’t as great as before.
Just to be in the position to be getting results at all tomorrow is an achievement, no matter how much I sometimes feel of lesser significance to my classmates who’ll be getting full results sheets. I do feel like that, partially because I feel that should be me, partially down to insane jealousy, partially down to the awful feeling that I should have made it happen regardless of my diagnosis.
Thinking I should have learnt my course in hospital is ludicrous, and I know that. Feeling inadequate is ridiculous as well, but it’s something that I just can’t help. Envy is horrible, yet the most natural of all. Education wise, cancer puts you in a pickle!
At the end of it all though, I know I’m lucky. Lucky to have sat those two unit ones (against my Dr’s advice! She recommended a year’s rest). Lucky to have beaten cancer, and be able to return to school in September. Lucky that cancer swept in and messed up my AS levels, something people take at any age, rather than coming in a year earlier and messing up my GCSE’s. I am SO SO SO thankful I got diagnosed after GCSE’s. I know from experience how that has messed people up.
To say my experience hasn’t changed me would be a lie. Same girl, changed outlook. I always was a fan of school, and appreciated it, yet I would complain about it on occasion. I think I can firmly say now, that won’t be happening again at least not in my heart of hearts. Some of the most upsetting things, most offensive things to read during treatment weren’t nasty comments, or remarks about cancer were posts on social media like-
“Hate sixth form” “f**k A levels” “can’t wait to drop out of school”
Sure, they were just fly away comments, and would never hold anything against anyone who said something similar, but it was awful to read. I would be sat, in hospital, ill, thinking about what would give to be able to take a seat in the class for them. Something to think about- if that’s me, a girl who still had massive prospects, knew she would be going back to school felt that such comments were a stab in the heart, imagine what a girl who has never been able to go to school, or a girl who is no longer allowed to go to school due to oppression feels? At the end of the day I am lucky. Blessed. I will never stop saying, and being thankful.
So, the night before the big results day, a change of perspective. The camera of my mind switched focus, looking more at the right now, and my dreams as opposed to grades, figures and league tables. I now just want to get to university, though I want good grades still, I wanted to have the best grades possible before. Like I said I would have been fretting so much over results right now. Though I will be devastated to fail tomorrow, I have so many options. Exams are a means to an end.
That’s just what I want to hit home to people. Though passing is so important, not doing well isn’t the end of the world. Exactly the same as getting cancer- not the end of the world. It’s how to take to that news that matters, how you continue on. Continuing on, for if I’d known I would be picking up grades tomorrow back in January, it would have been some of the best news I could have heard!!!
So, I urge you all, enjoy tomorrow! No matter what the day brings, think ‘I did it!’ no matter what the ‘it’ is.
Good luck all, I hope you all get what you want. I REALLY hope you all get what you want. You’re all beautiful people for reading this.
So, hair loss. Fun topic eh?
However not fun, or exciting it is, it really is something I’ve felt the need to write about for a while now, and I’ve only recently felt totally in the right place to do so.
Hair loss, it’s something that I’ve been through, and so have countless other men women and children in their treatment of chemo, and sometimes Radiotherapy. Of course some other illnesses also see it occur.
As a scientific explanation for the seemingly baffling side effect of hair loss-
“Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells—healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. If you’re not in cancer treatment, your hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours.”
The thing is, during chemotherapy, these cell don’t divide. Meaning the hair follicles haven’t got the cells required to stick the hair ‘in’. So, voila! Out it comes. Perhaps that’s a bit blunt. I do know the VERY scientific reason your hair follicle (and cancer) cells stop rapidly dividing. It’s because the cells spindle fibers are restricted. (I learnt that while dong my biology exam!)
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How’s you all doing? Busy busy like me I hope.
Bit of general update on all that were up to , and news about a fundraising event for Teenage cancer Trust- that is this weekend! Totally like me to have left telling everyone about this event, but heigh ho!
The event is the Trekfest in Brecon, happening this weekend, the 7th-8th of june.
Now most importantly…. What is Trekfest?
-It is a 54mile (!) walk that is done over 24 hours. And when I say 24 hours, I totally mean that! No breaks, the guys and gals doing this will be walking around the clock from Saturday through sunday, in the aim of walking the 54 miles, and all to raise some dosh for awesome charities.
I am not doing the walk myself, you should all be glad to hear, but we are linked with four guys who are! I am totally impressed by what they are doing, I know I personally really struggled when walked 18 miles over 2 days with a good nights sleep, so just imagine 54 miles, in 24 hours WITH NO SLEEP!
The guys doing it are William Fortt, Will Marfell, Iain Thomas, Keiran Kelly, Rob Hann & Paul Poole, who work at Laing O’Rouke.
With only a few days to go until the big challenge, if you are impressed by what these guys are goimg to do… sponsor them!
They are urging people to give up their morning coffee or cafe cake for one day and donate the money they would have spent….. so GO ON. Afterall, while you’re tucked up on the sofa watching Britain’s Got Talent this saturday, they’ll be out trekking through the welsh valleys!
SPONSOR VIA- http://www.justgiving.com/LORTrekfest
or You can give hassle free via text, by texting – LORW69 and £amount to 70070
These guys really deserve to hit they’re target before they head off on Saturday. I guess by reading this blog many of you wll know the good a donation to do, but to put it into perspective
£25 pays for a specialist nurse for one hour to help treat, and be there for a teenager with cancer.
Please give as much or as little as you can, just consider donating.
Check out www.trekfest.org.uk for more information.
In other Emily/RemissionPossible news!
Last Saturday, I sent out my first gift box! It was for the friend of my cousin who’s little girl was recently diagnosed for leukaemia. Though the idea behind the gift boxes is to be for Teenagers, we have now decided to make two categories of boxes, information and gift boxes, inspire by my cousin asking what would be a nice gift to send the little girl.
Though our gift box work will be primarily in TCT Cardiff, we will do teenage gift boxes and information boxes (for any age) on request. These can be sent to anywhere in the country and all we will ask in return is a small donation to fund postage, and to go towards the making of more gift boxes. We hope to get a lot of the items donated as with our current plans, the retail value of the boxes will be quite high, but there will still be some costs.
The contents of the teenage gift boxes is still under development, but the information boxes will contain relevant leaflets to age, diagnosis and treatment aswell as an earwarmer or hat!
We LOVE earwarmers and hats!
If you are interested in getting a box to someone you know, contact us!
Represented TCT at the Mayor of Newport’s charity panel, which was very exciting.
Lastly and MOST DEFINITELY not least, I had clinic today and I am still in Remission!
SO on that happy note, I say have a nice week, donate to these awesome blokes sacrificing their sunday lie in (and night’s sleep) and share us about.
PS. We love getting feedback
PSS. Following a recent incident, if you are a member of the press or media, please do not take images or content and pass them off as your own. Thanks 🙂