Friday, 29 July 2011

Talking to Children

On Wednesday we lay down on our bed with I&S and told them that H's bad back is caused by cancer, and that the doctors can't make it better but are giving H medicine to try to stop it getting worse.

We answered all their questions but they didn't ask about death, so we didn't say anything.  S said that she'd seen a television programme where they could cure cancer, so we told her that not all cancer is the same but mummy is a cancer doctor herself and will get the best possible treatment.  IA* said shouldn't we tell the other boys, so we told them we already had.

They realised it was serious, if only from our tone, and they both know already that people can die of cancer, but we had lots of hugs and they seem to have taken it very well.

About an hour later IA remarked on the lump on H's scalp, which he's not noticed before.  So the conversation seems to have been well-timed.

Yesterday we took S to meet her best friend, who lives 20 miles away so they don't meet very often, in a park halfway between us (next to S's former school).  Within minutes the friend came up to me and asked whether H has got cancer.  Which she has.

*using initials to identify a grammatical subject goes wrong when the initial is 'I'.  Hence 'IA'.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


We went on holiday to Cornwall last week, with I&S (the other boys were still at school).  On the Monday, we'd booked a surfing lesson.  The weather - driving wind and rain - was perfect in the eyes of our instructor, but a bit on the cool side for us.

After the lesson, we got most of the way back to the surf shack (in the grounds of our hotel) before it all got too much for H and she sat down at the side of the path unable to go on.  But after a rest, and encouraged by a kind dog-walking lady, she managed to totter the rest of the way to a hot drink at the shack, and thence to a long hot bath.

I was rather shaken.  It's easy to forget that she's not physically as strong as she was.  In future I shall try to dissuade her from doing physically challenging things other than ones she's really keen on.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


I see that I forgot to mention that H has had a fortnight of radiotherapy (ten treatments) to her neck.  We don't want to take any chances on spinal cord compression that high up.

Sore throat

H has been suffering for the last week and a half from a horrible throat infection, caused by a combination of damage to her throat from the radiotherapy and damage to her immune system from the chemotherapy.  Strangely, referred pain in her ears is the worst part of it.  Her consultant has agreed to defer the next round of chemotherapy, due last Wednesday, for a fortnight to give H a chance to recover.  The downside of that is that in so far as the chemotherapy has been inhibiting disease progression (and no one knows how far that is) the disease will have a fortnight unchecked.

It seems to me that the infection may have been brought on by the 5k run.  I don't know whether H would have done the run if she'd known this would have been the consequence.

We've booked a week's holiday in Cornwall starting tomorrow.  H has perked up a bit today, so it looks like we'll be going.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Race for Life

H ran the local "Race for Life" 5k yesterday - not as fast as last year, but very probably faster than anyone else in the middle of a 3-week Caelyx cycle.  It was important to her, and I was proud of her, again.