The final chemo

I can’t know for sure that my sixth chemo was the last one I’ll ever have. I’ve come across too many women lately who’ve been through this more than once to take anything for granted. But it’s the final one for now; a door gently closed. Because Elodie had been projectile vomiting on and off…

The fifth chemo

The night before my fifth chemo, Elodie put in her best night’s sleep in weeks. And of course, Joseph somehow got wind of this and gave us his worst. At 3am, I woke up to find him sitting on the floor at the foot of our bed. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. ‘I’m just…

The letter to my children

To my son and my daughter, I am going to do everything I can to overcome this cancer and spend the next forty or fifty years with you. To this end, I am having poison pumped into my body that steals my energy and my hair. I am having parts of my body cut off…

The bright side: kindness

It’s not all bad, having cancer. It’s mostly bad, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, but I have been absolutely flabbergasted by some of the things that have happened since my diagnosis. And it’s about time I took a break from the sad stuff and talked about it. I already knew that my family were…

The fourth chemo

There’s no doubt about it; the chemo sessions are getting tougher. Before the cold cap is fitted each time, one of the nurses covers my hair in conditioner. I remember being told at the first session that I shouldn’t use my favourite conditioner for this as I might never want to use it again. By…

The third chemo

At some point, when I wasn’t paying attention, what was happening in our lives stopped being a crisis and became our new normality. Because, however surreal and awful things are, life creeps in. There are trips to the supermarket and potty-training disasters and playdates. Everyone has to be fed and have their teeth cleaned and…

The second chemo

A couple of weeks passed. Things were a mess and we were just about coping. Each day, there were logistics to deal with. Who was visiting Rachel in hospital? Who was looking after the babies? Who was taking the older boys to nursery and picking them up? Friends (mine, Rachel’s and my parents’) had descended,…

The tragic twist, part two

In my last post, I detailed the day of my sister Rachel’s stroke. What I didn’t explain is that, for many years, my sister has neatly doubled up as my best friend. She’s the older one, so I’ve never lived without her (and I never wish to). But we weren’t always close. As teenagers, we…

The tragic twist, part one

After eleven days in Sheffield, Elodie was transported by ambulance back to a hospital in Leicester. And Paul drove home. It was almost strange to have him there, after what had seemed like such a long absence. Once we’d confirmed that Elodie had arrived, we drove to the hospital to visit her. She was in…

The first chemo

As Elodie turned one week old and there was no sign of her or Paul returning from Sheffield, my mum stepped in to accompany me to my first chemotherapy session. It was a big day for our family. I had to be at the hospital for 8.30am and could expect to be there for most…

The longest week

Monday No day should start at 3am with the onset of labour and end twenty-two hours later with you being wheeled down a corridor to say goodbye to your newborn daughter, who is being transferred by ambulance to an intensive care unit at another hospital. But last Monday did, for me. It feels like a…

The birth

Last Sunday morning, Paul drove me to the hospital for the induction of my labour. I was 34 and a half weeks pregnant, and everyone was in agreement that my baby girl was big enough to come into the world. My oncologist was hoping to start my chemotherapy treatment a few days after delivery. I…