Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Leukaemia Birthday

On the 20th May last year we left our home in Africa and headed to the UK – a very sick Kezia and the rest of us would enter a life with leukaemia the next day. The story of our certain escape from Kezia`s death is recounted here.

Next week, Tuesday, will be the end of the first year of treatment, passing from visits to the hospital 2-3 times a week to 2-3 times a month.

Between these two occasions, we would like to thank the many people who have helped us, whether materially, morally, through their work. Sorry it is all initials those mentioned, if they read this, will know who they are. If, as this is written, we have forgotten anyone, many apologies …

First, and in chronological order, our doctors here, Noel, Bemvinda and Irene who told us to “get her out” (or she”ll be dead within 1-2 weeks), my ambassador R, my Consul R. and my Honorary Consul J. for getting us all to the UK in three days, to L at the local travel agency for giving us credit on the tickets.

To Dr. K. and his team at the local general hospital in the U.K., who did the original preliminary diagnosis and arranged our immediate transfer to the RMCH.

Very especially to the RMCH, to our consultant Dr. J. and our Clic Sargent social worker T. To the other doctors, the nursing staff, the lab staff, the porters, cleaners, canteen staff etc etc. Two particular nurses on Borchardt Ward, H. and E., many thanks, you know who you are. And the voluntary ambulance drivers who show us such love.

To our Primary Care Trust healthworker, C.

To the anonymous bureaucrats in the Immigration and Nationality Service who extended Nanda´s leave to stay and allowed Jaime to be with his mum.

To Jean, the Primary Care Trust accountant, who asked no questions.

To our friends that we made in the first four weeks on Borchardt Ward – A. and H. They symbolise the courage that cancer. To their husband and father S. now with terminal cancer.You inspire us.

To Lucia, a friend of H.´s, and a colleague in Borchardt, but who we met coincidently over the Internet. You are also an inspiration.

To Sao, Nanda´s long-lost cousin in the UK.

To B. and R. at the Hotel M., here, for both moral and material support – you have been friends for so long, I lament your leaving now.

To T. here for continuing support and the donation of a laptop.

To Aunty Laura who rings every week and her daughters Jessica and Philippa.

For me here in Africa:

To Myron, who I met only recently, and to your wife dying from cancer now. I think of you lots. Please show her a photo of Kezia – I look at the family photo you left everyday.

To Henry, Charles, Tom, Martinho and all my other work colleagues.

To my neighbours, Kini and others who look out for me and help out whenever they can.

To Hamilton and Kiste who work for us here. You have helped me so much without family around me and to protect me. You have been through thick and thin with me, your trust I value beyond words.

To the people in the blogosphere who inspire me to keep this going: Alex, Kathryn, Andy, Patty, John Crippen, Rob and Lauren, Potentilla etc.

Last and above all others – my brother Pete, my sister-in-law Paula and our friend Margaret … there are no words to express what we feel.

And finally I will say thank you to all those who work in and all those who believe in the NHS for letting our daughter live the past year.


lucia said...

woohoo!! A year through..what a milestone!!

Anonymous said...

A big thankyou to you as well, your blog site is really excellent and always interesting. I am so delighted for Kezia that she is starting maintenance. Her life will be so much easier from now on.

I said I'd get back to you on Barretstown. It's really aimed at ill or recovering kids who are over seven and who can attend the camp by thenselves (with a big leap of faith by the parents). They run a few weekends for families to attend with younger children like Kezia and all transport to/from and the weekend is paid for by the charity. They also run a 10 day camp for siblings of sick children. I never would have considered allowing my 7 and 8 year old go away for that amount of time but having been there and having been daily tortured to be allowed go I have decided let them go next summer. Seemingly there will be kids from all over Europe. My 7 year old wept all the way back to Dublin such was his despair that the weekend was over.

For the parents at the family weekend its slightly happy clappy but that's from the perspective of an older, sort of cynical parent where the average age of the staff is about 19 and mostly north american. I did really enjoy the sports, painting and having all my meals cooked and cleaned up (I would pass the drama though next time). They even put all the parents on a bus and sent us to the pub which was great but then they couldn't get us home. I think with a family similar in age to ours you all would enjoy it and it is fairly handy from the UK. There is a mini hospital on site so there's no need to bring anything but your meds.

Roll on another year,

Rosie mammy to Leonie on maintenance