How life changes…and how you can’t always control it. As a busy mum of two and full-time policewoman, cancer wasn’t a welcome visitor in our world. My son Matthew was 8, his sister Hannah 9 and life was just lovely. I was at work one morning policing a demonstration when I was told my son had been rushed to hospital…he’d had a tummy ache the day before and I had come home from work early, this day I was being sent home from work early. I turned up at hospital just as a paediatric Dr was explaining they suspected appendicitis and the appendix was duly removed, what followed was a short stay in ward c3 with us being told there wasn’t an issue with his appendix. A scan later that week changed our world. Matt had a Wilms tumour, kidney cancer.
Words are being said, but shock, debilitating and powerful, stops you hearing, and also understanding what is being said. This was in March 2000, surgery, chemotherapy, sickness, loneliness and a whole wealth of overwhelming feelings brought the year to a close. 6 monthly check-ups turned to yearly check-ups, something we actually enjoyed…but those check-ups brought about life-changing conversations, Matt’s cancer had returned, more chemo, radiotherapy, surgery and a return to a world we didn’t want to go back to.
When I hear people talk about turmoil, I really do understand that feeling of numbness, overwhelming reliance on the medical profession to make your child fit strong, well and healthy feature in your daily prayers…you would sell your soul to save your child this pain, to save your family unit going through the suffering and agony that a diagnosis gives you. Support is out there to help you make sense of some of the overwhelming feelings and angst you go through. Supporters at the hospital walked in our shoes but kept grounded by keeping their own socks on…how can you ever repay those that made a difference from the day we moved onto ward c2?
Fast forward 16 years and Matthew is the proud father of an amazingly gorgeous little boy, an absolute example of dreams do come true having been told he would never have children he beat the odds. Naturally, I’m an incredibly proud nana and mum.