When I start to write it all down I start to realise that every day we were venturing further and further into something you can never be prepared for.
I definitely wasn’t prepared for this. I loved my family and as anyone who knows me will tell you I enjoyed life and even more I enjoyed my family. Like all mother’s, I live and breathe every day for my children.
I wasn’t prepared for my smiles and happiness to be changed and I never thought that in 2017 with a new year I would be bringing with it a whole chapter of fear.
Our ‘Visitor’ from the haematology ward was quickly becoming the man who’s every word we were starting to hang on. Pulling up a chair in his room, I tried and failed to contain my tears of shock from our short walk through the waiting room, things were becoming increasingly clear to me. Cancer was knocking loudly on our own door.
To establish it our ‘Visitor’ is now our consultant. We trust him with our baby’s life. Paul and I are both smart enough to hold our hands up and say we don’t have a clue, never mind the knowledge or experience to make any decisions on how our baby is treated. His word is gospel and we take great care in following it.
He had brought us round for two reasons. Number one is a presumption that it part of the process of gently weaning you in to what lies ahead. Number two was the most important to show us what was found on Nates X-Ray’s.
We had been previously told he had a large mass and a measurement of 13x13cm had been given loosely but what we were shown I don’t think we had even considered. We had been so engrossed on finding out what it was and how big it looked we had rarely stopped to consider the effects it was having internally.
I was to learn and come to realise in those moments that the night I felt those lumps it wasn’t the tumour I was feeling. It was his organs. His organs that make his body work so perfectly, his lungs, his heart, his intestines, his bladder every organ in his body was pushed and misshapen.
Misshapen? This monster had been hiding. It had hidden itself so well it had misshapen every organ in my baby’s body. Silently crushing everything that was his and trying to destroy. It had no compassion for his beautiful soul and it didn’t care that he was only a baby.
Every organ squeezed so tightly against his aides, pushing up towards his lungs and only then did it start to push out the way. Giving us the indication that not all was right with our baby’s body.
I should probably tell you that I have recently seen a picture of his rumour since its removal and I felt nothing. I felt nothing because I think you have to have some sort of emotion or be able to relate towards something to be able to hate it. I felt nothing because there are no words strong enough and no emotion harrowing enough to allow me to feel anything. If I was to feel something I would tell you it was relief. Relief that my baby wasn’t suffering silently anymore.
We were all out of tears, it was more a state of shock now. We had a week to go home and act as normal as possible. I was scared I still felt like Nate was a ticking time bomb but we were promised this time we weren’t being abandoned and as soon as they knew we would be told. So, we waited. I don’t know how we filled those agonising days but when you feel like you don’t have any strength left I have soon learnt that we have a reserve that will pop their head up.
We had to use those reserves because we had Alfie at home who we had to hide our heart ache from. He knows though in his own way and it’s so sad that his way is now a place of protection. I feel like he should resent the time and extra attention his brother requires but yet he doesn’t. Nathanael is and always will be his ‘baba’ and he is proud to warn off threats, letting everyone know his ‘baba has a sore belly’. Sometimes my heart aches when I hear him say it, “Please God let those innocent words be of truth” A sore belly not a large tumour.
It’s no surprise that at the end of the next week we were told that our baby had what they had suspected all along a ‘Wilms tumour’. Our ‘healthy and happy’ baby boy was diagnosed with cancer and with it we entered a whole new world of fighting for survival.