Yesterday, January 23rd, was two years since Niamh was speedily admitted to hospital and our lives changed forever.
I went from having a daughter who never so much as got a sniffle, not a sickly child at all (I can honestly say that) - to having a daughter with cancer in the blink of an eye. The randomness of childhood cancer baffles me, it still does. Why her? Was it somehow something to do with me? Bad genes or something? I may never know answers to questions like that. That's something I've had to make peace with in my head because as a parent you crave answers in that situation.
I've mentioned about that day before so, I won't go back over it. It's obviously etched indelibly on my mind and isn't a day I care to revisit often. The feelings it evokes are ones best kept to one side for me.
It's fair to say, on that day, your life changes beyond comprehension. You are thrust into a world that is unlike anything you've ever experienced before and you change as a person. Your life really does change forever, it sounds like a cliche but, it's true. This change is irreversible - you cannot go back. Although, it's safe to say that you crave your old life back - you know, the pre cancer days. The "not a worry in the world days". It's funny to speak of really because we all have worries, money worries, health concerns, school concerns even silly day to day trivial concerns and yes, I had those too. At the time, they were important to me - that is until childhood cancer came knocking and everything I've even known paled into insigificance when I heard the words "your daughter has cancer". My world, at that point, came crashing down around me and it's then that I started to change. I started to hear words I had never heard before like neutropenia, cauda equina, doxorubicin and vincristine. It's a lot to take in at first, a lot to take in but, slowly you do it. Clearly I am now a childhood cancer expert - well when it comes to tumours anyway.
So, to get back to the title of this blog post - the day after.........admittance.
Niamh and I were woken early, bewildered to say the least by a fire alarm going off. We looked out of the window and the fire brigade were there. One of the nurses told us that someone had burnt some toast somewhere probably - which seemed careless and unnecessary. This was our first taste of hospital - the first day of an 8 week initial stay. At this point, Niamh was in a lot of pain and throughout that coming week they struggled to get a hold on it. This eventually led to her emergency operation to debulk the tumour and try to prevent paralysis. A very scary moment for Paul and I.
So, yes, yesterday wasn't a great day for me but, I look at Niamh and see how far she's come since that day. She is improving every day. End of treatment is really just the part of the journey. Life is very different now and Its a very long road we are walking. It's a tough path, an unpredictable one but nevertheless it's one we are ready for........