Two years ago, when we learnt how long Poppy would be receiving treatment for, time stood still. Our world as we knew it stopped turning and we spent the next few weeks living in our own little bubble as we processed what was happening to our family.
Strangely, we find ourselves back in that bubble now. It’s odd timing for it to coincide with the last few months of treatment, bringing a sense of symmetry and parallel to our whole adventure. Back then, we had no idea what the future would hold, how many family gatherings we’d be able to attend, how much school Poppy would manage, how we’d actually continue living a life which was changed beyond all recognition.
In a recent holiday hospital, I met a mum whose daughter had just been diagnosed with the same type of Leukaemia as Poppy. Upon learning we were approaching the end of treatment, she asked quite simply: “How’s it been?” Faced with such a huge question, I realised that my memories are overwhelmingly good ones. The ones that instantly sprang to mind were all the things Poppy had been able to do, not the darker days when she was so poorly. “Honestly? I can’t quite believe we are here. We have lived so much more life than I ever imagined when we were stood where you are.” She exhaled. I remember that feeling. Like I was constantly holding my breath without even realising it. With every step forward we took, each tick on that overwhelming flow sheet, I released a tiny bit of air I didn’t know I was holding onto.
The last two years seem to have simultaneously gone by in a flash and been endlessly lasting. Where we are now has always felt such a very, very long time away.
For such a long time, we’ve wondered how to celebrate. Agonised at times over how to get it right. Do we let it pass into the night and slowly fade away? Celebrate big with everyone we know? Or a simple celebration with the 4 of us? Obviously, that decision has been taken out of our hands. For now at least. The end of treatment bell which I have imagined Poppy ringing every day for the past two years will still be waiting for us, whenever that may be.
Right now, the important thing is not how we celebrate the end of treatment, but that we are approaching the end of treatment at all. We have 5 weeks to go.
One day less is now 749 days less…x