About this blog

This blog documents the story of our family after our daughter Yasmin was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was two years old, just six weeks after our son Isaac was born. Now, three, Yasmin is on maintenance treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) until October 2014. The first post is here or you can read how we felt when we got the diagnosis and when Yasmin started the most intense phase of treatment. The main purpose of the blog is to raise awareness of childhood leukaemia and money for the different charities that have supported us during the most difficult of times. We have helped raise more than £28,000 for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital where Yasmin is undergoing treatment. Anyone wishing to donate can do so HERE. All money raised goes directly to into research, better facilities and care. We are now also raising money for Haven House Children's Hospice and I will be climbing Ben Nevis in 2014! You can get more information on Facebook or you can follow me on twitter here.
The blog has featured in national newspapers and magazines while the BBC covered our fundraising here and ITV here.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

YASMIN GETS ILL


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August 21

It had all been going so well. Andrew and I had been married for almost five years, we were running a successful media company and were the parents of a beautiful girl with a son on the way. We were excitedly looking forward to moving into a new home where we could raise our children.

But all changed when our daughter became seriously ill. After seven weeks of hospital visits, more than 10 dashes to A and E, appointments with paediatricians, orthopaedic experts, consultants, rheumatologists, X-rays, ultrasounds and a week's stay at our local hospital we had finally got a consultation at Great Ormond Street Hospital to get to the bottom of our daughter's illness.

Enjoying birthday cake after three days in hospital
The first signs of anything wrong were back in June when we were holiday in the Cotswolds and Yasmin got a nasty virus that rendered our normally full-of-beans toddler immobile and unable to raise her head off the sofa. She recovered after a few days and we didn't think anything more of it.

But three weeks later Yasmin bizarrely lost the use of her left arm. Worrying she had somehow managed to fracture her arm without my knowledge, and panicking about being a terrible mother if this was the case, I carried her for fifteen minutes, at nine months pregnant, on a rare day of sweltering heat, to A and E, almost passing out in the process. Yet, X-rays showed nothing wrong and we were discharged. A few days later Yasmin started to limp. Back to A and E, and this time she was admitted to the children's ward where she was assessed for  three days. This meant we had to cancel her second birthday party at a soft play centre although she was let home just in time to gobble her Peppa Pig Birthday cake.

The doctors believed she had reactive arthritis and her joint pain was a result of the virus that had struck while we were on holiday. We were advised it would most likely clear up on its own within weeks.  Googling her symptoms at this stage, including weight loss, pale skin and joint pain, I did start to worry that she might have leukaemia but my concerns were dismissed by a consultant who insisted 'Children with leukaemia are really sick' and I needn't worry.

Fed up after a week in hospital
But over the next month,Yasmin continued to lose weight, her joint pain increased and moved around her little body. Eventually she was not able to walk at all and she was unable to sleep as she was in so much pain. The paracetamol and ibuprofen she was prescribed had no effect. She was regularly having blood tests and one set showed abnormalities. This led to a terrifying phone call one evening from a doctor who suggested our daughter might have leukaemia and we needed to redo her blood tests.

However, her next tests were normal again and the doctor who believed she may have leukaemia appeared to have been overruled by those who thought it was reactive arthritis. One horrendous weekend, Andrew took Yasmin to A and E on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Yasmin was in so much pain and her temperature was high - we knew there was something seriously wrong. But each time she was sent home and we were told she must ride out the pain!

As the pain spread into her right leg Yasmin was admitted into children's ward once more, where she underwent even more tests and we finally got a referral to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Yasmin was to have a bone marrow which would determine if she had leukaemia or not.



6 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear Yasmin's ill. I wish her strength and courage and the very best x Wishing you all strength and patience too.

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  2. My heart goes out to your whole family and most especially to Yasmin, to whom I wish the strength that, coupled with the expertise and devotion of Great Ormond St and in no small measure the love of her parents, can help her overcome this wretched illness. This is from Colin Randall if the struggle I al having to post it leave the message looking anonymous

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  3. So sorry to hear this news. Such a moving account of the last few months for you - we'll be thinking and praying for you all. Paul, Helen, Dominic and Maddy x

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  4. Karen, thank you for sharing this. Here's to love and strength overcoming adversity. xx Hamida Ghafour

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  5. Thanks for all your messages of support and lovely to hear from former colleagues. x

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  6. Dear Karen, I just found out about this yesterday. I'm so sorry to hear what a roller-coaster of a nightmare you've all been experiencing. On top of the horrendous reality of Yasmin being diagnosed with leukaemia, you've also had to endure the dreadful uncertainty and contradictory advice of healthcare professionals. How heart-breaking it must be for you to see Yasmin going through this, but at least now you know what you are dealing with, I guess. We'll be checking for updates on a regular basis and wish you all the courage, determination and strength to overcome this. Love, Damon & Satoko xx

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