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Bilbo's Journey

Day 9,10,11 – Cancer we Hate You

The last 3 days have been a lot to deal with, we knew they would not least because being at home, being almost normal made it really feel like the week in hospital was a bad dream.

So what’s happened in 3 days…

Bilbo has had X2 blood tests, X1 cannula in, X1 cannula out, X2 general anesthetics, X1 bone marrow test, X1 line insertion, X2 chemo, X1 platalet transfusion, sterioids twice a day, gastro medication daily and observations throughout each hospital visit.


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Milton Keynes Hospital Visit

On Tuesday we met the oncology team at Milton Keynes. Dr Aye and Jodie our key worker for treatment in MK, they were both fabulous. I was in the right frame of mind to tackle a recap of what exactly is going on. We walked  through the treatment plan, the different types of chemo meds etc. Jodie talked me through the support we can expect from MK and reassured us no end. I left feeling much better about understanding the current process and procedures.

Unfortunately the situation for Bilbo wasn’t as pleasant. He needed to have his bloods done cue trauma for him.

The worst part of this journey

I can confirm through our experiences this week that there is nothing worse than hearing your most precious little human screaming, suffering and crying out your name. Asking you to make the medical team stop, telling them to go away “I’m tired” “I don’t like it” etc etc. And when the noise stops his eyes still tell me everything.

For those who don’t know Bilbo well, he is the same as me, his eyes are big and wide and he can’t conceal how he really feels. The combination of the sounds and the look, crush us. And has continued to crush us on Wednesday and again today.

In one long week Bilbo now has a fear of needles and in particular the cannula has caused a lot of stress. It’s hardly surprising but when every treatment involves it in some way you can quickly understand that stress levels are high. He also has a gastro tablet that is causing ridiculous amounts of stress it comes in tablet, he can’t swallow it. We’ve been crushing it but it sticks or has lumps, it tastes gross and night after night it is breaking my heart negotiating ways we can get him to take it.

We just have to hold him tight, sssshhhh in his ear stroke his face, tell him how brave he is and how this will make him better. It feels shit!


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Too cool for a pictures mummy!

Wednesday saw us return to Oxford. At 6:30am the sat nav said we’d arrive at 7:25. And then we hit traffic…my stress levels began to rise we were supposed to be at the hospital for 8am – we finally made it at 8:20am.

Bilbo was on the list for his first bone marrow test and his first general unaesthetic. Being on the list means nil by mouth (NBM). NBM for a child isn’t easy, NBM for a child on steroids is stressful, almost as soon as we got into the car Bilbo was complaining of being hungry…as we sat in traffic he complained of being hungry and as soon as we arrived at hospital he was complaining of being hungry…

As per usual everyone in the team on Kamran ward put us at ease ready for his procedure, he cried not because he knew what was happening but because the sleepy medicine was going into the cannula. And just like that he was asleep.

It was quick and before we knew it he was out, awake and up eating toast and cheese sandwiches.

As the newbies I took a moment to reflect the day unit has 5 beds and some shared seating…it was full and as one child woke up and got up they were stripping the bed ready for the next one…other 5 year olds, toddlers, babies, older kids, girls, boys – cancer doesn’t discriminate.

But hold on a minute a conveyor belt of BABIES/CHILDREN being put to sleep for invasive procedures WTAF!!! A stark reminder that cancer sucks F**K you cancer. And also a reminder I’m still not classing myself fully in the cancer club as I look at other poorly children and tilt my head and get tears in my eyes and then realise that’s us too!

I registered to give blood

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I stole some time away to hunt down a parcel that had been delivered to the hospital but hadn’t made its way to the ward.

My walk took me via the blood donation center for the hospital. And I popped in to see if I could register myself and make an appointment. Not many places do platelet transfusions but you can at John Radcliffe.

As I stood giving my details my eyes wandered to the people relaxing hooked up to the platelet equipment. Suddenly I couldn’t breath, then my eyes welled up and hot tears came from no where. Right in the middle of the blood donor reception I was a blubbering mess. They ushered me into a room and gave me some water. I was mortified and a little embarrassed, but then super proud of the people I could see.

I wondered if they had any idea just how important what they were doing was? How eternally grateful I was to them for providing us with precious liquid gold. Find out more about donating here. I will be back next Wednesday to give blood.

Wall of Love

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A tree from Bilbo’s friends at nursery. H’s fingerprint is on there along with all the carers.

We were home by lunch and as we pulled up we met the postman he was weighed down with a pile of letters for Bilbo…such thoughtful, beautiful letters, cards and gifts. A heartfelt thank you. Our wall of love is taking shape nicely.


Bilbo was on the list again today, but he needed his platelet transfusion before he could have his line procedure. Again the topic of conversation was food, when could he have food and what food would he have once he was done. Unlike yesterday we had to take him down to radiology for his treatment. I carried him the whole way as he was already tearful, fearful and upset. We left daddy in the waiting area. He screamed as soon as they started to even look at his hand, he gripped me and shouted “mummy no” like Wednesday he was suddenly silent. I laid him down kissed his forehead and was ushered out. My heart ached, my bottom lip quivered, my poor baby.

Rich and I took some time out to get some breakfast and I let it all out, whilst I waited for my cheese toastie in pret I sobbed. And when we sat in the little parent room on the ward I also sobbed. I’m sobbing right now. I F**King hate this situation, I hate that my baby is so poorly, I F**king hate the journey to Oxford (even though i’m not the one driving) I hate the F**king gastro tablets I have to crush every night. And tonight I can’t bare the fact this is at least 3 and a half years of our lives. HOW ARE WE GOING TO COPE?

I HATE this life

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This is what chemo look like…

So there you have it, I hate this life that has been chosen for us.

I hate that I was so excited my son got to have a line put in because it is better than a cannula, how is that a thing. I hate that when we get a glimmer of a smile from Bilbo today when he was allowed to pick from the bravery box. I am surrounded by families on their own shitty cancer journey. Cancer does discriminate it picks all the bloody nice people to pick on…

Ray of Light

After 3 shitty shitty days the knock on the door from my good friend Lex saved us tonight. She came bearing freshly made bolognese sauce from her slow cooker. The beautiful tree made at Tippy Toes by Harrison, the teachers and Bilbo’s friends made my day and the bath time with Harrison where we sang and danced to Baby Shark made it all a little less shitty.

We now have 4 days at home before we start the next round. We have to keep an eye on Bilbo’s temperature religiously to make sure he doesn’t get sick or get an infection. I’m terrified for him to sleep on his own as the chemo he had today is gross. I need to wear gloves when I help him to the toilet and make sure I wash him. And there’s a sick bowl on the side.

We don’t know what is in store for the next few days, time will tell…

How can you help?

Keep being there for us, keep supporting us the way you have been and please, please, please donate blood if you can.


9 Comments on “Day 9,10,11 – Cancer we Hate You

  1. What a tough journey you guys are going through, so hard to read about how emotionally painful it is. It must be so very difficult to see your baby go through all the treatments, and so scary for him. I know you can’t fix things right now, but just being there for Bilbo even when perhaps he can’t be calmed is everything he needs, having his family right by him, holding him, and bringing some normality to this shocking experience you are all getting accustomed to. Keep doing the baby shark dances, keep letting the tears flow and keep looking after yourselves so you can stay strong. I hope the next four days have lots of happy moments and some down time for you all x x

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kim. I cannot imagine how difficult it is. Please be open about anything any of us can do. Much love to you and the family. ❤️

  3. As a mum of three boys I can’t imagine how you must be feeling today / yesterday / tomorrow but I am in awe of your strength . Following your journey from your words is inspiring and Letting others know how to make just a small difference in such difficult times .
    I am a blood donor and tomorrow I will
    Be donating for Bilbo and also giving my first sample for platelet donation which I fit the category for .
    Your all doing amazing #f**kyoucancer !

  4. There is no greater love than the love expressed in the defence of a child. And restraining Bilbo, forcing Bilbo, blocking out his screems etc. is what you must sometimes do. Bilbo will one day stand over your graves – with his children maybe – and weep with pride and thank you both for his life. He will tell you, “All I remember mummy and daddy is love”.

  5. I have been thinking of you and your family every day since I walked off a plane from London to the US and saw Madhur’s email. I am inspired by your bravery and honesty, and, as a mother, can only imagine your pain. Please know that you’re supported and loved and all of us who are your fans at work are here and willing to help and support you whatever you need. We will donate blood, platelets and more and help as we can. It’s a long road ahead and we will all be there by your side. Xx Janine

  6. I am crying anytime I am reading your lines. F**k cancer, this disease is horrendous. I can’t even imagine how distressing it must be to see your baby boy so poorly. I can’t give blood now but my partner is going to and I am telling your story around asking people to make a gesture. Stay strong Kim, with all your family. Thinking of you a lot Lydia

  7. Kim- I’ve not thought deeply about the importance of donating blood until reading of Bilbao’s story. It has really resonated with me. I’ll be searching for places here in Albuquerque this week and going in. Love to you and your family, my friend. Give Bilbao a big hug and let him know though I’ve never met him, I’m all the way in Albuquerque, New Mexico thinking of him and of ways to help other kids just like him.

  8. Kim, I’m so sorry to hear this news. Our little ones are the greatest gift life can give us and apart from a few grazed knees, we expect everything to go well. And then it doesn’t.

    I wish you were in Melbourne where we have an amazing children’s hospital and resources. So from what I’ve seen from family and friends with similar challenges, here’s what I would say to you:

    – Try mixing the tablets with honey or jam, not to disguise the taste but because they are slippery and will slide down more easily.
    – Here we have a couple of organisations that do special activities for children with cancer – Make a Wish and Starlight Foundation – I’m sure there will be an equivalent in the UK. Register with them so they can start looking for that fun thing Bilbo might be able to do and look forward to so that getting through the canula issues might be helped along.
    – I know it is early days but make sure you give yourself respite – you need to be rested and well to help Bilbo. And you all need to feel normal – having Mum hover is probably not normal. Not having coffee with your girlfriends is not normal either.
    – It’s a long journey, be patient, be positive and trust the strength of the human spirit to fight.

    All my love and good thoughts are with you Kim.

    Marion xx

  9. I have been thinking of you today. Life is so precious, give Bilbo a big hug and I will do the same with my daughter.

    Stay strong and do reach out if you need anything.

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