It has been exactly 55 days since I was last in the Pearson office in London. The week before Bilbo was diagnosed I traveled to our Hoboken office for a leadership team meeting. It was a great week, I was left energised and excited. I had new things to be working on for 2019. Plans to share with my team and I was overflowing with ideas.
I took the red eye back to London. I asked my taxi driver, kindly to put his foot down so I could maybe make it back home before the school run. Making it home with minutes to spare, I could see Bilbo looked so pale. By Monday we were admitted into hospital and well you know the rest.
Today was a huge milestone for me, it was the first day I made the journey into London, walked through the turnstile and faced up to all the familiar faces who I’ve come to call family.
And Pearson really is my extended family.
In the 10 years i’ve worked there I’ve traveled the world and met incredible people across the globe, I fell in love, I bought my first house, Bilbo was born, I got married and we had Harrison. The people I have worked with have been through all of that with me. Pearson has supported my volunteering efforts with refugees. I was given the opportunity to try a new career which I love and throughout I’ve made life long friends.
But despite feeling at home in my office it didn’t stop me from feeling nervous. Would I be able to keep it together? Would Bilbo be ok? What would happen if he gets a temperature, i’m at least an hour away. How would he feel about a hospital visit without mummy? How would I feel about the questions people might have?
I knew I would have at least a couple of moments and I wasn’t wrong. Sorry Jo for getting the full blub fest at 7:45am. And as the day went on I was able to feel more normal and more at home. I picked a good day to visit, we had sneaky Santa, a team meeting with all my colleagues across the globe and I may or may not have shot Dina in the foot with a Nerf gun.
Dinosaurs and blood
For anyone who has been paying attention Dinosaurs are a staple in our family. Bilbo has been obsessed for years and Harrison is following in his path. So my other tears came on my train home tonight as my social media feed filled up with pictures of colleagues in Hoboken giving blood. A huge thank you to Brandy for pulling this together with my other colleagues in Global Corporate Affairs and Marketing. Anna, Christine and Will you make most excellent dinosaurs!
Colleagues held up #donate4Bilbo signs, they were visited by not one but three dinosaurs. I was overwhelmed by the gesture. The Red Cross came into the office and over 30 people donated blood today. That is 30 people like Bilbo being helped with valuable blood when they need it most.
To every single colleague who helped pull the event together and those who donated THANK YOU!!!
Dinosaur puppets and books
And a huge thank you to my colleagues in the Secondary UK Sales team. Not only were the dinosaur hand puppets a huge hit (Bilbo took his to hospital on Tuesday) Harrison has insisted on reading the dinosaur story book for the last two nights and has gone to sleep with it.
How is Bilbo?
We started week 6 of his treatment plan on Monday. This included a general anesthetic, lumbar puncture and a new type of chemo through his wiggle line. He was an absolute champ. Calm, polite and didn’t complain once about being hungry despite being nil by mouth from 7:30am to 2pm.
He has managed a full day at school today with a very short break for his second new chemo drug. His blood counts reflect the chemo he’s had and so we know he has to be careful about picking up germs over the coming weeks.
When I asked him tonight what he’s enjoyed about school there was no stopping him. He told me he loves painting. He’s making a Christmas decoration for me. We practiced some of the songs he’s singing for his Christmas performance. And he can’t wait to go back tomorrow.
And as long as Bilbo can we will make sure he has the chance to go.
Things are changing
Bilbo has needed anti-sickness this week, he hasn’t before. We learnt this the hard way on our way home from Oxford. Poor Bilbo threw up from about 1 mile from John Radcliffe until Milton Keynes. It took a dose of anti-sickness to make it stop and he’s been on it ever since.
He’s not eating as much as he was. We expected this as the steroids withdrew but he’s finding it harder to know what he wants to eat. His taste buds are changing once again.
He hasn’t been so attached to me. We’ve spent time apart, he’s actually played in his room. I went to London today this is HUGE. He did ask me tonight as we read Superworm if I was going back tomorrow, i’m not!
I have my boy back
Whatever the next few weeks, months throws at us i’m just clinging to the fact I have my boy back. He was so lost in the fuzz of steroids. To families just starting out or heading into week, 3,4,5 of steroids. Please know IT WILL GET BETTER I PROMISE!
I’m cherishing every moment he jumps on the bed singing, runs around the supermarket, sings Christmas songs, tangles himself up in the duvet for kicks. And the cuddles, the big Bilbo cuddles that I longed for and finally got back tonight.
As I told stories about Bilbo today to those who asked, I repeated many many times how brave he is. How he handles the whole process of being poorly with courage. He’s very matter of fact and I love that about him. He shows such strength and maturity for a 5 year old little boy.
We finish this week and the weekend sees the start of the “banana medicine” his antibiotics we now give every weekend. And we repeat this week again. Ahead of extra chemo (being part of regimen C) and then a break when we have another MRD.
We need to think about whether we keep ourselves in the trial for the next phase. Lots to think through here.
And we carry on trying to enjoy as much normality as Cancer will let us.
For those who were there for me today, for those who gave just the right amount of hugs, said the right thing, or just gave me a look THANK YOU!