A Thoroughly English Patient

Anyone reading probably thinks I’m a regular person just looking after her poorly son.  Spend a little time with me and you’ll notice that quite frequently I’ve taken to nodding at magpies, picking up pennies on the street and generally looking for signs that someone is trying to tell me something.  This week I went to China Town with my niece and nephew and bought a bag of fortune cookies.  Dipping into it three times I kept cracking open cookies with the same ominous message “Learn from your mistakes”.  This didn’t happen to anybody else.  They all received different, cheering messages.  Its given me pause for thought more than a couple of times this week I can tell you.  I suppose because when you’re dealing with an illness as serious as cancer you’re always looking for anything that can tip the balance either way.

So I’ve been a tad more eccentric than usual . Which doesn’t mean a thing as the English are celebrated for their eccentricities.  You only have to look at the wonderful opening ceremony for the Olympic Games for that.  In a country where rolling cheeses down a hill and throwing sticks off a bridge and calling the game ‘Poo Sticks’ are sporting events I don’t feel so isolated really!

Charlie and I have been three months in hospital now (bar five blissful days spent at home) and its beginning to take its toll on both of us.  I have fundraising to be getting on with and I’ve nearly finished his website www.travelswithcharlie.org.  And thank god for his iPad.! Its seen him through so many days of boredom and pain.  You see he has been in the same room for the last five weeks.  Hasn’t even poked his head out of the door, rarely gets off the bed except to go to the toilet or for a bath.  And he refuses to let any of the nurses take his blood pressure or temperature which happens every four hours.  That is Mummy’s job.  So you see he is every inch my little English patient. And Charlie is wonderfully eccentric so I’m in good company! Today is Charlie’s 8th round of chemo, his last one and he will officially have finished his Rapid Cojec in ten days time.  I should be pleased and encouraged.  I am.  His tummy has visibly shrunk and we’ve been in calmer waters over the last couple of weeks with him only needing platelets every day instead of lots of other blood products.  He’s making progress.  But I still can’t shake the feeling of dread that next week is the barrage of scans to get through for reassessment.  In essence, to check whether the other spots of cancer in his ribs and leg have faded or preferably vanished.  If that’s the case then we can move to surgery to finally, finally take the bastard thing out!  If we can’t I don’t know what will happen.  More chemo is an option.  I’m slightly nervous aswell as Charlie’s dose of neuroblastoma seems to be unusual in that he presented with a overwelmingly large primary abdominal tumour but very little other disease, two tiny spots of it and not in his bone marrow.  His tumour doesn’t behave as they would like it to either.  I’m realistic though.  The constant uncertainty seems to be commonplace with this illness and sadly so does the chance of it relapsing as I read story after story of bad news in doing my research.

But I’m an optimist.  So I’ve found a story of a 10 year old boy called Bobby who beat Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma and has been clear of it a good many years now.  His father Kevin sought to put his son on an organic diet and supplements that would make his body as un-cancer friendly a place as possible. Sounds logical to me so I’m looking into this.  I have to for Charlie.  It may just be what will bring him through this horrific disease.  And if that doesn’t work you can be sure I’ll be flying out to India and going to see a doctor who lives in a jungle who’ll give me some medicine from the jungle that apparently heals cancer.  You see I’m not sure I believe in the science, and I don’t think I believe in a God, but I do believe in Charlie.  So for now I’ll keep nodding at the magpies and picking pennies up I find on the street because as strong as we are we’re going to need some good luck too.

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