|In Mayfair, on the way to the Inspirational Mother Awards|
Despite being finalists in the Inspirational Mother and Daughter Awards, I have recently been feeling far from inspirational. We have been constantly in and out of hospital with a multitude of different conditions and it is simply exhausting.
Mothers’ Day weekend, when the awards took place, was marred by Yasmin’s steroid-induced mood swings. They were the worse we have experienced since she first started treatment. Veering from grumpy to sad to uncontrollable crying, it is exhausting dealing with her when she is like this and, of course, you sometimes run out of patience.
The awards event itself was lovely, complete with the fabulous Gloria Hunniford, champagne afternoon tea and the stories from incredible grandmothers, mums, and their children. But Yasmin was not her usual lively and charming self as she was on her second day of steroids. As well as manifesting itself in a personality change, the steroids are obvious just by looking at Yasmin. Her eyes become darker, more deep set and staring, her face appears to thin initially, even though she usually puts on weight due to the increased appetite.
|Mothers' Day lunch in Covent Garden|
The next day, Mother’s Day, began well with a lie-in for me, breakfast in bed, followed by lunch in Covent Garden and a stroll in the square to show the kids the funny people pretending to be statues including one person disguised as Yoda floating in mid-air. (Think we worked out how he does it. Do you know?) But, by the afternoon Yasmin’s moods were terrible once more.
Several days later, Andrew left for New Zealand, and the day he left, Isaac got really poorly with some kind of bug that lasted a whole week which meant he didn’t sleep at night and instead I had to spend the nights walking around the living room with him, until Dounya took over for a few hours in the morning.
After five days of sleepless nights nursing Isaac, it was inevitable that Yasmin would run a high temperature so I had to take her into hospital for two more sleepless nights. This was made more difficult by the fact Andrew was away but we were fortunately helped by the lovely Gabriella who brought food and good cheer to our room.
We were supposed to be heading to my parents for the Easter holidays but I cannot go anywhere until I am sure that Yasmin is over her illness – I had to take her back to hospital this morning as her eyes are now sore - and now it seems I have the same virus the children have had. All three of us have red eyes - signs of adenovirus that Yasmin's consultant thinks we have all had.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Andrew and I took the kids to a beautiful farm in Essex with a play centre and we all had a lovely morning while the children got excited about the monkeys, pigs and goats. But in the car on the way back, Yasmin began to complain of incredible pain in her ear which meant Andrew had to take her into hospital for the afternoon.
“We can’t even have one family day out without it ending in a hospital visit," he said.
The week before that Yasmin had been well enough for about a month so we decided to risk taking her swimming for the first time in about a year. Both children absolutely loved it and Yasmin was laughing and playing in the water completely without fear - although all the while Andrew and I were wondering what infection she would pick up.
I commented that I had not seen Yasmin laughing and having so much fun like that – well I can’t remember the last time I saw her just really enjoying herself and forgetting the trauma of her illness. Yes she laughs and jokes with us, but I mean that real belly-laughter when you forget yourself and give yourself up to the moment.
|Dancing in Covent Garden|
He replied that she was "just being a normal child". And it is that that was so striking. It is so rare that she gets to just be a normal child, laughing and having fun.
On top of all the usual health worries, treatment and hospital visits, we’ve also been having problems with Yasmin not settling into pre-school because of all the time that she has spent with adults. She finds it difficult to mix in large groups of children. Now, that we recognize this as a problem, we are taking measures to resolve this, with the school. But Yasmin is due to start big school in September and so we are trying desperately to overcome this social anxiety before then.
Along with all of the health worries that we have constantly, we are now discovering a myriad of psychological problems that go along with the treatment and they are not going to be such a quick fix. It has been a difficult month.
October - end of treatment - seems a long, long time away.