Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The bombshell

Most of the time you're bobbing along, happy in the little bubble that you call your life.

Then along comes a bombshell that snaps you out of your dream-like state and literally rocks your world.

My beautiful niece has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

She is four years old.

When I received the news in a text message, I gasped so loudly Minxy asked me what was the matter.

I muttered 'nothing' as I put on a brave face and served up tea, but she knew from my eyes that something was desperately wrong.

It's funny the things that race through your mind when you hear bad news. My initial thoughts were to find out more information, then how would I tell the children, what could I do to help on a practical level, then after that it was all a bit of a blur as I tried to get my head around the situation.

The last time I saw her was just before I had The Goddess. She's a gorgeous, clever and funny girl with deep brown eyes and smile that you know gets her away with murder.

Half of our Easter Sunday was spent visiting her at The Royal Marsden hospital, which specialises in the treatment of cancer.

Chemotherapy has already begun, and the poor poppet has already undergone a wrath of invasive tests. She looked glassy-eyed, but we saw a few smiles and we explained to the children that she was in special hospital that was trying to make her better.

I wasn't going to blog about this, but family members urged me that I should and that people should know the symptoms of the type of leukemia my neice has, which is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Individually the signs and symptoms could be something your child has from time to time, but put together and it could be altogether more serious.

Signs and symptoms seen most often in childhood acute lyphoblastic leukaemia

Anaemia causing:
Fatigue and limited capacity for exercise

Low platelet counts, causing:
Brusing within the skin
Bleeding from mouth or nose and blood in the stools or vomit

Low numbers of normal white cells, high numbers of abnormal cells and high metabolic rate, causing:
Persistent infections

As it stands she has a 80 per cent chance of survival and the cancer hasn't spread to her brain which is really positive news, but every day takes the family into the unknown. Which frankly is a scary place.

The past 10 days has certainly put my life into perspective. The tiredness, the tears and the tantrums pale into insignificance when those your love are seriously ill.


  1. Wow - my thoughts are with you and your family today. Your niece will be well looked after by the fabulous staff at the hospital.
    As a Mum of a four year old who has previously been hospitalised for anaemia I really feel for you. Thanks for posting the symptoms - that could really help someone.

  2. Oh that's so awful, I'm tearing up for your neice and you and your family. It really does put things into perspective. x

  3. Thinking of you and your family, especially your poor neice, such a terrible thing to happen to one so young. Wishing her a speedy and complete recovery. xx

  4. Oh My, I do hope that she is getting all the help and care that she needs and also that your family are too. I hope that all turns out well. 80% is a good prognosis, isnt it? I am so so sorry

  5. Oh Sharon that must have been such a shock. Wishing you all strength to get through this tough time, and sending you lots of love. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

  6. So sorry to hear about your niece. I shall go home and hold my little ones a bit closer.

    Wishing her all the best x

  7. Oh god how awful. I'm so sorry.

  8. What devastating news, wishing your niece lots of love and all the best xx

  9. I am so sorry to read this. Hopefully all will turn out to be fine! xx MM