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 can be found here or you can read how my husband Andrew and I 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 its impact on families and to raise money for the different charities that have supported us during the most difficult of times. We have helped to raise £33,000 for charity so far, including £30,000 for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital where Yasmin is undergoing treatment. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at our JustGiving page 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 where Yasmin has been attending for respite care. You can get more information on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter here.
The blog and our fundraising efforts regularly feature in national newspapers and magazines while the BBC has covered our fundraising here and ITV here.

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Thursday, 7 February 2013

LIFE ON FAST PLAY




It is more than eight months since Yasmin became ill and six months since she started chemotherapy treatment yet it feels like less than three weeks, rather than three seasons, as though we have been living our lives on fast play.
The developmental difference between a two-year-old and a three-year-old is immense: in this time, our chubby, confident, toddler has transformed into a little girl. But, because her appearance alters dramatically, week by week, due to her drugs and level of sickness, it has been hard to register which changes are brought about naturally by Yasmin simply growing up. 
In the week following the third round of orange chemo Doxorubicin, she remained on the sofa, listless. Her eyes appeared haunted and at times unbearably sad. She looked much older than two and a half.
One night on the way up to bed, I hugged her and promised her that she would get better and we would be able to have lots of fun and I would take her to visit Peppa Pig in her house. This appeared to cheer her up and a short while later, she repeated with a smile: “I’m not better yet, but I will get better and then we’ll have some fun.”
She was so tired she would ask to go bed at 6pm only to wake up an hour or two later starving hungry. She was back on a week’s course of steroids and was eating huge amounts again. As with the previous times, she craved only certain foods and her latest food addiction was cheese on toast. She was averaging eight slices a day along with three to four Weetabix and portions of whatever Andrew and I were eating. This meant that her frame altered over the week from painfully thin to chubby with a pot belly. Because my mother, who was visiting, told her she needed to grow a ‘lovely fatty belly’ she was delighted with the results and kept lifting her top up to rub her tummy.
After seven, long, boring, days where I was housebound with the children, Yasmin’s energy returned and she gradually became her normal, happy, self again. She excitedly pulled her boots on and said she wanted to play outside and build a snowman or a snow dog. The snow, which had lasted for almost the whole week, all melted away, just the day before. But Yasmin was pleased to be out and able to play on her swing and slide.
She has remained well for the past fortnight which has meant Andrew was able to do a photo shoot with the kids at home and I have been taking them both regularly to the park. Isaac is so happy to be out, looking at trees blowing in the wind. He has spent so much time indoors. He is seven months old tomorrow and has cut his first tooth. We will celebrate his birthday with a family trip to Great Ormond Street.
Yasmin was due for her most intense dose of chemotherapy to date last Friday but because her neutrophils were down to 0.6 her treatment was cancelled until tomorrow.
As we are expected to be there the whole day, Andrew is also coming in. We imagine Yasmin will be wiped out once more. But as long as tomorrow goes to plan we are then only three weeks away from maintenance treatment. A step closer to a normal life.





3 comments:

  1. Sometimes the hospital staff get you down because they seem so casual about everything. It looks to you like your child is going downhill rapidly and yet they just nod and say everything is as expected. I wanted to say to them "Yes I know you've seen it all before, but I haven't, so please show me some sympathy while you're telling me the fact that my child looks like death is perfectly normal!" But I never did.

    Having said that, you appear to be doing fine, but you have my sympathy, lol. I'd forgotten about the fat face they get with steroids. We went so far as to "fatten up" Andrew's avatar on the Wii console when he went chubby!

    Lovely photos too.

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  3. Those are gorgeous photos of the kids. I'm so glad to hear today went well and here's counting down those 3 weeks! Hope they go smoothly for you all. Jayne Xx

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