Poppy has been on sparkling form for the past few days, after back to back hospital days tired us both out at the beginning of the week. Her weekly blood count showed her neutrophils (the white blood cells responsible for fighting infection) had dropped below 0.5, meaning that we needed to stop her medication to allow them to build back up again. After administering her a cocktail of drugs for the past 11 weeks, I found it a little unnerving at first. Like that feeling you get when you think you’re forgetting something important you’re supposed to do.
We soon got used to it, athough Poppy did note the lack of stickers on her sticker chart and a fairy box present has been a long time coming this time around! Luckily for her, her present reserves have been bolstered by the arrival of several parcels – a rainbow care package from some thoughtful friends and a brand new quilted snuggle from Project Linus UK. Another one to add to our ever growing list of “Charities we love”, Project Linus UK aims to bring comfort to poorly children by providing them with a handmade blanket made by someone from a team of local volunteers. Poppy is delighted with it and it has become her snuggle of choice for her daily rest on the sofa. I’ve since learnt that they also provide for siblings, so I’ll get back in touch to ask if we could please have one for Daisy too. Though she may not be aware of Poppy’s growing gifts at her tender age, it will be nice when they are older for them both to have one with special memories attached. I also learnt this week that Beads of Courage run a smaller sibling programme, designed to recognise the important part they play in journeying alongside their sibling’s road to recovery. The packs are currently in high demand and sold out, but I’ll be purchasing a set to put away for Daisy when I can. She’ll be almost Poppy’s age now when this is all over, so I’m sure by then she will enjoy collecting a record of her own part in this story.
Seeing Poppy sparkle this week, it’s been very reassuring to know her true self is still there beneath the layers of medication. We’ve had a lovely few days in her company and both girls have lifted our spirits, when I needed it most. Our days have been spent in a blur of walks around the local area, and time spent in the garden, alongside some cafe trips, craft activities and visits from grandparents. Cancer-wise, the only appointments in our diary have been a meeting about a charity fair in Poppy’s honour and two fittings for a wig arranged by The Little Princess Trust. As it happens, Poppy has opted not to go for the funded real hair wig they have offered her, and has instead chosen a fabulous, purple number! She has worn it for all of two minutes since bringing it home, but is delighted with the colour of it and it’s a nice option to have if she feels like it. As far as Poppy is concerned, it’s more of a welcome addition to her dressing up box than a necessary accessory. Her mobility has improved even further, to the point of being able to take a few steps unaided and it was a delightful surprise to see her emerge from her bedroom dressed in full fairy ballerina princess regalia ready for Thursday’s trip to the local cafe for lunch. She brought a smile to many faces on the way and was their customer of the day I’m sure!
Three weeks ago, when we were offered our holiday by Hannah’s Holiday Home Appeal, we had no idea if the timing would be right for our first days away from the comforting reassurance of home and the familiar road to the local hospital. We were guessing at the schedule of medicine and hoping that it would coincide with a spell of wellness. Of course, things can change very quickly and there’s still a chance we could end up in Southampton General with a temperature spike or sign of infection, but for today, as that’s all we’re looking ahead to, I couldn’t be more excited to be heading off on our holiday.
The buckets and spades have been packed alongside the sharps bin and cool bag full of medication, and after a blood count from the community nurse and a physio session at home, we’ll be on our way. Holiday, here we come! x