I stared at the title, “about me”, for 2 days before I started writing this. About me, who am I? What do people want to know? What do I stand for? What have I achieved? What makes a successful blog? Then I decided, for once, to heed my own advice. Be confident, be true to myself, and just write.
A year ago I was a very different person. Today I am Louise, Mummy to 4 beautiful, happy, crazy, quirky, different children, wife to Richard, and I am grateful to be sat here writing this. Grateful to be able to be writing this as George’s Mummy. Grateful for life, love and family. Proud and content with being a Mummy and not having to prove anything to anyone. Because life is so very precious and the journey we have taken this year has shown us that.
I’m 36 years old and have lived in Cookham and Maidenhead my whole life. I’ve always been active, competitive, and loved sports and my passion for running and rugby took off when I went to university. I have 4 children, step son Charlie, 12 years old, Isabelle, 9 years old, George who is 3 and Henry who is 2.
I trained in psychology and primary education and taught for 10 years before giving up to have George 4 years ago. I’ve been ‘just Mummy’ ever since. The most wonderful, exhausting, fulfilling, and totally consuming, and special job ever gifted to anyone. My 4 healthy perfect children……all at school or nursery. Only worrying about what to eat the next day and how many play dates I could manage after school on Friday. Until George’s health started to deteriorate in September 2015. We were in and out of the GP for months, with George picking up bug after bug, plying him with antibiotics all winter, and picking him up from nursery crying in pain from his ears that weeped and ached continuously. George began to have night sweats every night, terrors, and sleeplessness. He became exhausted, we thought he was being lazy and talked about the toxic childhood we seemed to be allowing him to have as he lay on the sofa watching cbeebies. Little did we know that inside his body was shutting down, his own immune system was killing him and his bone marrow was failing.
On the 8th February 2016 I called the doctors for the 3rd time in a week, begging them to stop his pain and help me. I couldn’t give him anymore calpol or nurofen, it wasn’t right…… that evening we decided to take him to our out of hours surgery. Richard walked in cradling George and George suddenly turned yellow. They advised us to go straight to ward 24 at Wexham with a letter of referral. Hushed voices and concerned faces, looks that were to become a factor in our life for months to come.
On arrival at 10pm to ward 24 George had a blood test, was immediately put on a drip for rehydration and monitored. 2 hours later we were told there were abnormalities in his bloods and he was fighting huge infections and needed intravenous antibiotics. They were sending for more blood tests. The atmosphere was tense and I knew they weren’t telling me everything. I knew aleady that something was very wrong. He rode out the night in and out of consciousness as I watched the rise and fall of his chest. The morning of 9th Feb, I will never forget for as long as I live, our whole world came crashing down. George was diagnosed with leukaemia, cancer of his blood. He was hours from critical life support, severely dehydrated and needed pints of blood and platelets to keep him alive. We were told he needed to begin chemotherapy within 24 hours at a primary cancer centre. 6 hours later we were blue lighted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I remember walking to call my parents and feeling like I was a ghost floating through the corridors, watching everyone go about their normal lives completely oblivious to me. I looked on, an onlooker, in a parallel universe, lost, alone and desperate to crawl back into the real world, the safe world I had not so long before known.
The journey we began that fateful day is a long and emotional one, one that we are still on and one that Richard and I tracked and posted about very candidly on facebook. The posts are on this site as a blog for anyone to read who wants to follow Georges fight. I have decided to continue the journey openly and frankly, life after cancer, as a mummy, as a runner, as a 3 year old surviving some of the worst trauma a little body can experience.
George had AML, acute myeloid leukaemia, he had a 50% chance of survival and he would need to undertake 4 rounds of intense high dose chemotherapy to kick start his own bone marrow.
My job as Mummy just became even more important but also I was ttally out of control and the need to get it right became even more real. His little body, his little soul, his little entire being was totally dependent upon, not just me and Richard and his family but upon a wider medical community, and as we soon learnt he was to be loved and nurtured by our entire community!!
Today he is in remission, he has regular check-ups, he is about to begin having his immunisations that he was stripped of through treatment. He is almost deaf and being fitted for hearing aids this month as infections and fluid in his ears is so built up. He is alive, he is happy, he is being a 4 year old and attending nursery. He is also seeing an osteopath every 2 weeks for anxiety and detoxification of meds from his body, he is about to embark on a 16 week psychology programme to deal with anxiety from the trauma of his battle. We are all learning to understand his quirky brilliant difference’s that are ASD. Our special boy, who will always be a little bit more special than many others. But who is alive and ready to take on the world!!
I now want to give back, and keep raising awareness. We are still acutely aware that any point George could relapse, but while we are still able to its important that we don’t just go back to normal. Normal means nothing, I need to do what I do best, be mummy, but that means showing my children that there is a big wide world of kindness out there, that there is more to life than our immediate family. That little things, and little ideas, and small events and acts of kindness and altruism can make a huge huge difference to someone out there who needs it.
Running is what I’m OK at, pushing myself to the extreme is what I thrive on, so what better way to raise money and raise awareness for this horrid destroying disease that is cancer than to run, run hard, run far, run fast, run for people’s lives. My children will grow up surrounded by so much love, but also an understanding that giving and sharing yourself and allowing other people in creates more love, and happiness. We have learnt to never judge.
Fightforgeorge is our mantra but we are not just fighting for George now, we are fighting for a bigger cause and want to be part of #kickingcancersbutt for good!
So who am I? I’m Louise and I want to be a better Mummy from my journey and I want to make a difference.