The few weeks leading up to Caleb's diagnosis I began to get a niggle that something wasn't quite right. As I watched the other boys pile out of his classroom at the end of the day the other kids had colour in their faces. They seemed to have smiles and energy left at the end of each school day. Caleb looked different. I would frantically ask other parents if it wasn't just my child who fell apart as soon as he got in the car?Nobody seemed to be going through this... All Caleb was interested in was going to bed....As the days rolled on we noticed huge noticeable glands appear in the back of his neck and at night bedding would be soaked in sweat, that's when this niggle became an ache and a huge concern.
I'd convinced myself it was glandular fever... Pritch had convinced himself it was worse - a lot worse. Days went by where we went in and out of doctors appointments. That week I'd decided to keep Caleb home from school.
It was a Friday evening.
I'd picked the others up from school and was cooking dinner, when my GP randomly showed up on my doorstep. I must have had a moment of crazy as my mind was filled with what a fantastic GP he was to come and 'randomly' check on my son....it was this evening everything changed for our family after one phone call.
When your husband is medical it has its advantages but this for him was most definitely a disadvantage. He knew too much without them even telling us. I remember the silence on the end of the line as I strained to over hear what this doctor was saying to my husband at 2am. He showered them with questions on the phone and all I kept hearing was 'He needs to come in right now!'
Couldn't we let him sleep and bring him in tomorrow? These are the words I remember my husband persistently asking. I ran to the bathroom, my stomach a mess, my heart raced as I imagined everything under the sun I knew or had heard about childhood cancer.
All the way there I tried to stay positive and kept pushing my brain into pretending this was just another 'check up' and all would be fine in the morning. Caleb was confused, my husband was earily quiet.
I needed answers.
Those answers came shortly after returning to the hospital when Caleb was encouraged out of the room and into the playroom about 3.15am. A team of doctors stood awkwardly in our room explaining he had a type of leukaemia and we needed to leave for Bristol first thing.
I was a mess, the couple of hours after all I remember was looking for medical people to talk to me asking them if they had children i'm not entirely sure why and asking more questions that no one seemed to be able to answer: Why is this happening? What have I done wrong? Was it the pregnancy? Would he die?
Morning rolled in and thankfully Pritch's sister and mum came to look after the girls and one of my best friends appeared and offered to take the boys home for as long as was necessary. Looking back now this was definitely the Lord's doing. I have four other kids...... so the prospect of travelling up to Bristol for emergency treatment with only 5 hours notice was just insane.
The next few hours were a real blur I didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing. I had so many 'why' questions...and I just could not pray (something I usually find great comfort in). I felt like someone had completely numbed me mentally. I had no idea how I felt about anything anymore, other than life didn't seem fair and I just kept thinking 'He's only 4 years old'!
On day three we found out that his leaukemia was treatable and after three and a half years of treatment he has a 98% chance of being completely cured. My hopes and heart were lifted on this day and light began to seep back in. From then on we spent the next few days trying to come to terms with it all and explain and teach this all to our son.
People visited, gifts were showered upon us. All those visits and gifts have a special place in my heart and in Caleb's.
We learned how to feel again and how to learn to give to others again, even if that was just an encouraging word. I've never walked such a big trial as we did in the two weeks I write about today.
But we came through it. My little boy laughs and plays and enjoys life just like his peers. Yes we've had to adjust to the regular hospital visits, his regular blood tests and my germophobia!
But we are so THANKFUL.
Thankful for each day I have with him.
Thankful we live in a year and country that he can be treated.
But mostly I'm thankful the Lord has allowed us to walk this and brought us through it stronger than we were before.
Was God there in Bristol when I literally felt nothing....? Yes. He sent so many to the hospital to speak to my soul, to encourage me not to give up to keep clinging to my heavenly Father through the ache the pain and the sting. Teaching me that when life's not certain God is.
For readers who I haven't met in person yet: Caleb is still very stable and finishes chemo in June 2020.
This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago!As you can see Caleb's loving life and is one happy little lad!