And what do you tell the children?

So how do you tell your children that their daddy has cancer?  How do you tell them that it's advanced cancer and he will need a huge regimen of chemo, surgery, radiotherapy, more surgery, more chemo?

And what about when one of those children has a learning disability?

We don't need Cancer to remind us to seize the day

There has been a big gap since my last post.   I have had a post in draft for a while, one about the arrival of our lovely little cocker spaniel puppy Pluto and how he has turned our world upside down and had such a huge impact on our family.

But along came something that turned our world upside down even more, and has had a bigger impact on our family than we could ever imagine.

Andy, my brilliant, opinionated, insightful, clever, rock of a husband has cancer.

And the world as we know it will never be the same again.

The parent room conversation I wish I could have had with Ashya's mum

December will mark 10 years of me riding the "parent of a medically complex child" roller coaster, I have seen a lot of things, been through a lot and I guess I can sometimes find myself in the position of sharing my experience and thoughts with other parents.

Often the best conversations I have had have been in the parent's rooms of children's wards, late at night when you try and have a few moments over a cup of catering tea, flicking through gossip magazines without really taking them in, your mind preoccupied and mulling over the day's discussions with the medical team.

Are you a clicktivist?

The Ice Bucket Challenge - that all went pretty viral very quickly didn't it?

One minute some sports people in the US are filmed pouring buckets of ice water over themselves  Then gradually videos appeared of people in the US doing the Ice Bucket Challenge for something called ALS.

Then suddenly one day, Bill Gates is getting in on the act, and the Beckhams and then it's everywhere.

Richard Dawkins & the danger of generalisation in 140 characters

You have probably noticed that I don't normally jump on the bandwagon when someone makes a crass comment about disability - I might send a tweet or two but that's as far as it goes, I tend to think the Cllr Colin Brewer's of this world are not the mass voice of reason and intelligence and only represent a minority.

But today I really feel the need to write about someone who commands a huge global audience and is well known for his reasoned arguments based on scientific logic.  Richard Dawkins is a respected scientist, Vice President of the British Humanist Association and Ethologist.  He is the author of many best selling books on Science and Atheism and commands a huge worldwide following.

I remember when...

I remember when you could walk

When you only had one tube

attached to a benign pump

when we dared to dream

about mainstream school



a life of your own

when caring for you didn't need a nursing degree

or a 24 hour team

when we had hope

that you could just be a little girl

and not a patient

or a condition

or a diagnosis

now we just hope

that we can fill your time

with love and laughter

and take away the pain

I'd give you one.....

......and so would my children

We have had the conversation about what we want to happen to our organs when we die.

Have you?

Have you thought about it?

Have you discussed it?

Have you registered as an organ donor?

More importantly

Have you thought about what would happen to your child's organs if they were to die before you?

That's the tricky one isn't it?

They choose vanity, we choose life

This picture appeared on my facebook timeline this week....

I get a lot of medical pictures and information coming through my timeline, it's inevitable when you consider how medicalised our life has become.  But on closer inspection I discovered this is not a picture of two people on IVs in hospital.  No, this is the actor Ryan Phillipe and his girlfriend relaxing while having intravenous infusions of vitamins and fluids in order to give them an energy boost.

Take a stand for Daisy

Retard - that word hits me like a knife through the heart.  9 years ago it would not have.  I did not even know what the politically correct term to refer to what we now call learning disability was.  

I grew up in a time when  the word mongol for a child with downs syndrome, spastic for someone with cerebral palsy  were the accepted terms used by all.  In the playground we would let the words trip off our tongue without a second thought - spaz, thlid, mong.  It was the world we lived in at the time, we didn't really think about the meaning of what we were actually saying.

Thank goodness the world has moved on.  Thank goodness people took a stand and pointed out that these words were wrong, derogatory, insulting.

Do I inspire you?

I heard this week that my blog has been shortlisted in the the Inspire category of the equivalent of the the blog oscars, the Brilliance in Blogging Awards or BiBs (some of you may remember that two years ago I reached the final of these awards).

Another brick in the wall

Today we sent a letter to our local education authority, we have made a request for yet another of our children to be assessed for support for special education needs - that's 3 out of four of our children who learn differently, who need support to help them access education and achieve their potential.  Realistically though it should only be one of my children who needs this extra help - Daisy is the one in special school with a learning disability, visual impairment and highly complex medical needs which limit the time she can spend in school.  It's completely logical that she should have a statement and funding assigned to her to help her reach her potential.  But my boys, differently wired, with their own unique learning styles, they have high IQ's, they are eager to learn, they just learn differently - the way they do things, their idea of success and achievement, it's totally out of kilter with our modern day, sausage machine education system.

...with a little help from my friends

This Sunday I am running the London Marathon again.  I ran it last year thanks to a golden bond place from ShootingStar-Chase, Daisy's Hospice.  Those people who know me well and follow this blog know that running is my thing, it's my way of keeping sane in this crazy world I live in.  Last year I  raised lots of money for our hospice when I ran the marathon, it was a way of giving back for everything they have done for our family over the years.

Botox, more surgery and another curve ball

It's always great when a plan comes together and the beginning of this year has seen all the frantic and stressful attempts at trying to get some co-ordination around Daisy' care paying off at last.

As we near the end of March she has already had two hospital stays involving multi-disciplinary teams and we have started getting some more plans and answers in place as a result.  The first stay, which I blogged about here)  involved surgery to assess her airway and remove a second set of adenoids.  She moved onto the neurology ward, via the urodynamics day ward and spent 3 days hooked up to a telemetry machine.  Daisy was amazing - not only had she started the week having to endure another anaesthetic and surgery, she then had to have some very painful tests on her bladder, closely followed by having EEG electrodes glued and taped to her head.

Rare Disease Day 2014

28 February 2014 marks the seventh international Rare Disease Day coordinated by EURORDIS. On and around this day hundreds of patient organisations from more than 70 countries and regions worldwide are planning awareness-raising activities under the banner “Join Together for Better Care”.

Rarer than rare and a confirmed diagnosis

Last week Daisy had her whirlwind, multidisciplinary admission into Great Ormond Street where, following gargantuan planning and co-ordination efforts we managed to compress the equivalent of a month's worth of consultations and procedures into a 5 day stay.

The week started off under the ENT team where Daisy had an airway assessment (some scar tissue on the larynx but structurally OK) and removal of her adenoids.  This was the second set of adenoids she had removed, 6 years ago the first set were taken out together with her tonsils but very rarely they can grow back, and as we know with Daisy rare is a word she is very fond of!

Comic Relief, Team Honk and a little girl with a big heart

OK first things first - what in heaven's name is Team Honk?  Team Honk is the name of a social media phenomenon, driven by bloggers to raise funds and awareness for the Comic Relief charity.  You can read more about the origins of Team Honk here  - About Team Honk

2014 is a Sport Relief year (where sporting challenges become the focus for the Comic Relief fundraising) and Team Honk has come up with a brilliant way for the blogging community to be involved and hopefully raise over £20,000 for Sports Relief.

When you child's playstation habit makes you burst with pride

I really, really did not imagine I would ever write a post with the title "when your child's playstation habit makes you burst with pride", but a couple of weeks ago that is what happened.

You see I have this love/hate relationship with games consoles - the neurotypical (read non-aspie) parent in me who believes in healthy exercise, being outside, riding bikes, kicking footballs, throwing rugby balls and hours spent in a swimming pool, hates games consoles, they are a modern day evil turning our children into dribbling, square-eyed, monsters...

However, the other parent in me, the one who is trying to understand how her children tick, who is aware of the one who is differently wired, who is desperately not trying to turn in to her parents  (anyone remember the comments their parents made about your favourite bands during Top of the Pops?)........

Reflections & Resolutions

This is the toughest time of the year for us Special Needs Parents, New Year brings with it not a sense of expectation but almost a sense of dread  - what will this year throw at us? Where were we this time last year, where are we now?

For me it is a point in time, close to Daisy's birthday where we can mark where we are with her, and it tends to take all my normally optimistic and mindful outlook to drag myself out of the gloom and focus on the year ahead as I look back on what has happened so far.