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Bilbo's Journey - Childhood Cancer Awareness

Day 211: Asking For Help

#donate4bilbo, bilbosjourney, childhoodcancer, godberstravel, reality of cancer, asking for help

And it is true, “the only mistake you can make is not asking for help. The last few blogs I’ve written have had people in tears and I know we’ve painted a pretty bleak picture. I’m not going to lie it has been rough. And writing posts on this blog, whilst hard to write has been incredibly cathartic.

Asking for Help

On Wednesday I made the very important decision to ask for help. The call for help wasn’t to one person it was to multiple people.

I raised the red flag to say I am not OK. And for my own mental health something needs to give.

I think in all honesty the blog I wrote last week was a cry for help and the support and comments gave me the strength to accept that I need to take some time out.

And the reason for needing help is that last Wednesday at 3pm I reached my breaking point.

Breaking Point

I was stood in our garden with the sun shining on me a pile of wood either side of me and I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t breath I was having a panic attack.

Why in that moment did it all become too much? Does it even matter what it was that made the house of cards fall? Not really. I think it just shows i’m only one person, i’m human and it is ok to not be ok.

The Flood

I didn’t go into too much detail about the flood we’ve had.

In the grand scheme of things last week it was a minor detail. We were on the high of meeting Prince Harry and I didn’t want to dampen (see what I did there) the joy with the story of our flood. So here it is now…

When we got home from Oxford on Tuesday Bilbo was agitated. The chemo had pretty much destroyed his taste buds and he was due his second dose of steroids. We’d had a long and exciting day but the house was now in chaos.

Harrison wanted a shower and to be honest, him being occupied was one less thing for us to worry about whilst we sorted out Bilbo.

Harrison and Bilbo both have long indulgent showers – ALWAYS. They will play in the shower for hours if we let them and sometimes even when the water has long been switched off.

Once Bilbo was finally sorted I took him upstairs for his bath.

As I poked my head into the ensuite to check on H I quickly realised the ensuite was a swimming pool. I screamed for him to remove the toy he lodged in the plug and waded through the water to turn the shower off.

There was at least an inch of water…

Damage Limitation

Rich ran up with a mop and bucket, my throwing a towel on the problem was futile.

As he stood there mopping I could still hear running water. And to my horror there was water running through the lounge ceiling light. Not just a little bit of water we’re talking the tap on full just splashing onto our carpet floor.

#donate4bilbo, bilbosjourney, childhoodcancer, godberstravel, reality of cancer, asking for help
Flood water pouring through our living room ceiling.
#donate4bilbo, bilbosjourney, childhoodcancer, godberstravel, reality of cancer, asking for help
Here is the water damage to our ceiling.

Why is this important or relevant?

It is important and relevant for two reasons:

Firstly immediately after this happened there were various people offering to help.

My Uncle Terry offered to come down from Nottingham to make the electrics safe. And our NCT friend Arran offered up her husband our lovely (local) friend Rod to also make it safe. Which he did the next day.

Secondly we now have the aftermath of this flood to deal with.

We are covered on our insurance but this is a whole extra amount of life admin we could do with out.

Someone has been to assess the situation. Another person has come to see how much drying out the house needs. Tomorrow the builder comes to sort the ceiling out. We need to re do the lights and electrics and replace the entire ensuite.

We now have the worry of doing work in the house with Bilbo here. We’re not 100% sure if he we will need to go and stay with my mum until it is complete, due to dust and the worry of mould spores since he’s likely going to be neutropenic over the coming weeks.

It is a headache we could do without!

And then Wednesday…

I didn’t sleep very well on Tuesday night after the hospital. And by Wednesday I was exhausted, emotional and broken.

Wednesday was supposed to be a good day. Bilbo and Harrison were having their playhouse delivered and built.

Bilbo wasn’t great, he looked poorly and tired. So we kept him home from school.

We were all really excited…and then it arrived. And it couldn’t be built. I stood surrounded by wood not knowing what to do and I broke.

In that moment everything felt too much, I was overwhelmed and I couldn’t breath.

More Than Just a Playhouse…

#donate4bilbo, bilbosjourney, childhoodcancer, godberstravel, reality of cancer, asking for help
After the disaster on Wednesday it was Grandad Steve to the rescue. We can’t thank him enough for sorting out the base and then putting the whole thing up with Rich. The boys LOVE it!

Of course it wasn’t just the playhouse, or the flood.

It wasn’t the terrible day in hospital, or Bilbo being more sick than normal. It wasn’t the steroids. The thought of him losing his hair again. It wasn’t just the insane food requests or paranoia about sickness/nausea. It wasn’t his behaviour being up and down. The lack of sleep.

It is all of the above. And on top of that i’m trying to work full time and be a mum to a 2 year old who’s pushing his boundaries. A wife, a daughter, a friend and leader.

Asking For Help

And what I realised is that I can’t, I can’t do it all. I’m not a superhero.

I don’t have magic powers to make it all easy, to stop me from feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I don’t have the power to make more hours in the day.

And so on Wednesday I took the incredibly difficult decision to ask from some time off of work.

And I’d like to acknowledge how grateful I am that I could do that. That my boss, my team and my colleagues understood and supported my decision.

On The Home Straight

We’ve been incredibly lucky over the last 211 days, we’ve barely spent any time in hospital and Bilbo has been kicking ass.

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Whilst I tended to the garden Bilbo sat quietly and made this. I’m in awe at how we had the vision to make it with no help or no visual.
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Bilbo also made a Triceratops out of stones. He told me it is looking up at the stars. He’s so blinking clever!

But hitting the home straight has stirred up so much emotion, emotion I wasn’t prepared for. And it has hit me hard. It has hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I feel like those first few weeks (induction) are haunting me.

Even today when I walked to M&S for lunch it was like I was reliving all the emotions. I was teary looking at the window ledge where I sat telling the story of Bilbo’s diagnosis to family and friends in that first week. That spot because it had the best mobile signal.

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This is the corner I sat in relaying the diagnosis story over and over. Today when I walked past it gave me chills.

Staring down at the Pret and remembering sitting with Claire and Lisa explaining where we were at that my son had cancer.

How’s Bilbo doing?

After last week, he’s doing really well. The steroids finished on Tuesday and we’ve had 7 days off.

They started back again today so we’re in for a rough week as his emotions will go up and down. But this is the final time we need to ride the steroid rollercoaster.

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Today in the Kamran ward we had some visitors.

We went to Oxford today and Bilbo was a rockstar. He was super brave and didn’t even cry when he had his dressing changed. We couldn’t have been prouder of him.

Ticking Off The Chemo Drugs

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This shows the different types of chemo Bilbo has had and how many we have left. Seeing the list on the left feels overwhelming but seeing the numbers on the right makes me so happy.

And today was the first time we could tick off a chemo drug for good. And over the next few weeks we’ll be able to do a lot more of that and man it felt good.

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This is the last time Bilbo will have Daunorubicin. This is the first time we’ve been able to tick a chemo drug off the list.

Today I tallied up how many of each chemo he has had and how many he has left.

The small milestones are what i’m clinging on to for now whilst we get through this last 6 weeks before maintenance.

Another Way You Can Help…

Give Blood…so much is needed right now. I was called this week to remind me to book an appointment. If you can then please do… and don’t forget to tag us on social media #donate4Bilbo you can download the sign here: #Donate4Bilbo poster.

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Richard gave blood this week… #donate4bilbo
#donate4bilbo, bilbosjourney, childhoodcancer, godberstravel, reality of cancer, asking for help
I also gave blood this week.

3 Comments on “Day 211: Asking For Help

  1. We all talk about overwhelm but few have experienced the true meaning of that word like you. Glad to hear you asked for help. Glad you can talk about being on the home straight and ticking off meds for good. Always, always thinking of you. Much love xxx

  2. Kim, I’ve spotted a typo … ‘I’m not a superhero’. Fact: yes you absolutely are. You are more than 200 days in to this and you are still standing tall and scrapping it every day = SuperHero.
    Asking for time away from work and a little help in all of this is a brave move, but thats you – brassy as hell.
    Always here if you need anything. Booking my next blood donation next week.
    Xx Eve xx

  3. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. By sharing your story – the highs and the lows – you are changing lives beyond the obvious. Much love – Ali

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