September

It’s after midnight and I should definitely be in bed, but after reading other stories of childhood cancer tonight, I’m compelled to write instead. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and there are stories of it everywhere I turn. Stories which make my heart ache. Stories which make my chest tighten. Stories I never thought our family would have anything in common with.

I’ve had lots of compliments on my writing in the past month, and yet I still find myself surprised that people are reading along! Writing is a therapeutic release for me, and a way of documenting our journey through this adventure. I read posts back sometimes, and know that I will read them many times over again. I don’t want to wallow in sadness, but sometimes I need to remember those moments to truly appreciate how far we’ve all come in the 5 short months since our world changed forever. When Poppy and Daisy are older, they may want to absorb and make sense of this adventure too and with the blog to guide me, I’ll be much better equipped to find the right words when those moments come.

Though I’m often praised for my honesty, I’m stil not convinced that the blog tells our whole story. How could it? Our days and emotions career wildly between huge highs and massive lows. Nothing is ever mediocre anymore, it’s either wonderful or awful. I can’t remember the last ‘okay’ day we had. There doesn’t seem to be room for indifferent anymore. Once again, last weekend was a tale of two vastly different halves. Saturday was awful, Sunday was wonderful. The week prior to this one was a generous run of brilliant days, to balance out the lows of the week before. We climb steep mountains every week and sometimes we reach a flat top where we can enjoy the view up high, but other times we come crashing straight down the other side.

I wrote moments of this from the car, with Poppy fast asleep in the backseat after her chemotherapy at the hospital this morning. She does so well to keep going and keep pushing on, that sometimes even I forget exactly what she has been through. I’ll notice that she seems a bit tired and suddenly remember she was in for chemotherapy earlier the same day. Her tiredness often overcomes her in the afternoon, particularly after a busy week. When I say tired, it’s hard to imagine the depths of it and how quickly it takes over her body. It’s so instant, it’s like turning off a light switch or a car running out of fuel. No matter how hard she wants to, she physically can’t go anymore.

Poppy woke from her nap rejuvenated enough to enjoy a cafe lunch, followed by a toddler group at the library. Conversation was light, and her cheeks were pale, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to receive a phone call from the hospital with the results of her latest blood test showing that she needed to come back in for a blood transfusion. Whilst her peers excitedly prepared for the start of preschool, Poppy was hooked up to an IV of a stranger’s blood and yet again, I watched as the colour flowed back into her cheeks and the spring jumped back in to her step. Nothing short of a miraculous transformation and one that never fails to completely amaze me.

With September in the air, I’m reminded that this time next year, it will be Poppy’s turn to start school. We don’t know which one she’ll be going to, how long her hair will be or how much stamina she’ll have to make it through those long school days, but I do know that by following her lead, we will be determined to make a success of it in whatever way we can. I couldn’t be prouder of each step Poppy takes on this journey, and as the end of delayed intensification looms, and I gaze at her five metre strong beads of courage, I am once again in awe of the brave little girl we gave life to.

September also brings a time of reflection, a moment during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to remember the many other children not starting school or preschool this year, or those facing incredible challenges to stand alongside their peers. Here’s to more funding, more research and one day…a cure x

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