About us - Bilbo's Journey

Day 590: 15 Weeks Of Isolation

Summer Vibes in May

We’ve been isolated now for 15 weeks and I wanted to document some of experiences – good and bad. In some ways it is COVID-19 time capsule so we can look back and remember some of the good times, some of the hard times and some of the completely bonkers moments.

We have missed people, we have missed socialising. I have missed having people over for wine, for a cuppa and for food. BUT we’re remained safe and this has been our number one priority. We’ve had lots of laughs, we’ve made a tonne of memories and we will continue to reinvent ways to amuse ourselves.

15 Weeks of Isolation

We’ve been isolated as a family for 15 weeks, that is 105 days, 2520 hours.

We adjusted pretty quickly to life under lockdown, this wasn’t our first isolation rodeo. BUT there was one very big difference, everyone else in the UK was starting to isolate too.

We began our isolation before everyone else and were put into the extremely vulnerable group. This meant we had to shield. Initially it was for 12 weeks but a few weeks back we were advised that they didn’t think Covid-19 presented extra risk to children with Leukaemia. COVID-19 guidance for children and young people with cancer undergoing treatment.

We believe the guidance is helpful for helping us weigh up the risks, but it is not based on enough data for us to start venturing out to far. We will remain mostly at home in our safe bubble with limited social distancing until for the forseeable.

Food Glorious Food

Very quickly it was apparent that getting a regular online food delivery wasn’t going to be easy.

We’ve had HelloFresh weekly since Bilbo was diagnosed with cancer so three meals a week was covered. Our milkman could deliver bread, eggs and other items other than just milk. But not having control of our weekly food shop was frustrating and was incredibly tough on me mentally.

In the first few weeks we sought out ways to get food delivered, we ordered meat online, beer, wine and a lot of cheese. We discovered new companies who were able to deliver a variety of food options and supported local businesses.

We became inventory ninjas, we even managed to defrost the freezer and used up long forgotten frozen food items. I’ve never seen our cupboards, fridge and freezers so well organised.

Things We Will Remember About Isolation

We’ve enjoyed the slower pace of life and spending time together as a family. The morning mayhem has been replaced with a calmer routine.

Bilbo has loved making YouTube videos and is delighted to have some new followers:

We’ve been so incredibly lucky to have isolated with my mum and the boys have been able to attend Nanny school. The boys have been able to keep up their learning whilst enjoying gardening, cooking, making pirate ships and lots of fun.

Our favourite night of the week has been Friday’s family quiz night, after joining the NHS quiz in the first two weeks, we decided to attempt our own version. 15 weeks on we’re still going strong, we’ve dressed up as Disney characters, Harry Potter characters, movies, music, British sitcoms, musicals and food and drink.

Being safe at home has meant being imaginative about how we’ve spent our time, the boys have enjoyed “camping” in the playhouse. We’ve chalked EVERYTHING – the pavement, the playhouses, the walls and the fence. We’ve baked, we’ve crafted, we’re growing plants in the garden. We’ve built more train tracks, playmobil towns and zoos, duplo castles and every imaginable police station. We’ve learnt about the lifecycle of a butterfly and frogs. We’ve named bugs on land and from the pond. We even found a dead snake.

Bilbo and Harrison have missed their friends and most Wednesday mornings we’ve enjoyed Zooms with friends and family. We’ve had quizzes, scavenger hunts, dancing, storytelling and show and tell.

Harrison

Harrison has grown in so many ways, he’s literally shot up and has out grown his clothes, his shoes, his bike and scooter. He’s obsessed with all things police, superheroes and calling everyone including our neighbours “my love” And isolation has been the time he’s finally given up his dummy. It wasn’t easy (it still isn’t) but he’s managed it!

He has renamed himself Harrison Gavin Godber Jack Sparrow Police Lightening McQueen Jack.

He has also shown a keen interest in baking and has some mad skills in the kitchen. He is showing more of an interest in learning and in the last 15 weeks he is writing his name and has managed to learn all his numbers.

Bilbo

Bilbo’s had the idea to sell toys from our driveway for The Henry Allen Trust and made £200. He’s still mad for Minecraft. He’s been making plans for his future career, he’s an adventurer in training, he still wants to be a Lego masterbuilder and is obsessed with Egypt.

Cancer life has also carried on, chemo clinics are now over the phone and we see the nurses for bloods every 2 weeks. And we did have to visit Oxford a few weeks back you can read about it here: An Unusual Lumbar Puncture

We’re incredibly proud of Bilbo’s work ethic throughout lockdown. With my mums help his reading has improved dramatically. He’s enjoyed keeping up with his maths and enjoyed exploring different learning through ActiveTeach and BBC Bitesize.

Bilbo has also kept up with his streetdancing, joining his classes through Zoom.

Life Under Lockdown

Family Portrait
Family photo time…
  • We’ve clapped for the NHS every Thursday
  • We’ve joined zoom calls for with family, with friends, for quizzes, scavanger hunts, birthdays and even to say goodbye to my nan.
  • We’ve enjoyed the sunshine and created a flourishing garden full of all the colours of the rainbow.
  • We were slow on the uptake but we’ve succumbed to Joe Wicks and his desire to get the nation fit and signed up to his 90 Day Plan. (we’re 30 days in)
  • We’ve explored a lot more of our local community and appreciated how lucky we are to have such a beautiful place to live.
  • We’ve been noticing nature, enjoying the fresh air and all the wonderful weather.
  • Rich has run round the block more times than he can rememeber.
  • Every other meal has been cooked on the BBQ (almost) and we’ve drank a lot…wine, beer, gin and now we’ve moved onto cocktails.
  • I’ve cut everyone’s hair including my mum and we’ve chalked our hair the colours of the rainbow.
  • We’ve enjoyed “midnight” walks in the dark and Bilbo has even tackled his first 7km.
  • We’ve ordered robots to deliver shopping.
  • The boys have enjoyed doing lots of fun things at Nanny school.

Things We’ve Missed

And like many people we’ve missed and mourned our old life.

  • I miss Emma my nail technician
  • I miss Gianni my hairdresser
  • We missed going on holiday at Easter and we aren’t going to be able to go to Florida at Christmas
  • We missed Bilbo’s Make-A-Wish trip to Denmark the home of Lego in May
  • We all miss our family and friends
  • We miss our freedom and being able to be spontanious
  • The boys have missed school
  • I have missed the interaction with my work colleagues and I miss London

But as we tick off the 15th week i’ve had to double check if it really is 15 weeks because somewhere along the line i’ve lost a few. Weeks definitely feel like they blur into each other.

What Have We Learned?

We quite like spending time with each other. It hasn’t felt challenging to hang out with each other all the time. Our bubble has been comfortable. And we’ve actually taken to time to be grateful and appreciate our lives. We have a lot of outdoor space and we are very imaginative with ways to use the time. And if i’m perfectly honest life with kids under 6 years old isn’t that rock and roll, Friday night quizzing has been a pleasant novelty!

We’ve learned to slow down, take a moment to breath and take notice. We’ve been living in the present. We have appreciated what is on our doorstep. I have worked harder on relationships with people, checking in and speaking more often.

I have also learned to take care of myself. It has only taken 590 days of cancer to really truly understand the meaning of self care. I am 30 days into a 90 fitness progamme, so far i’ve lots 3kg and 16.5inches – i’m fitter, stronger and leaner. I am focused on being healthier, for the first time in a VERY long time, i’ve stuck at something and i’m incredibly proud of myself.

We have no idea when life will go back to normal…none of us do. And is normal even an option? So instead we are focused on moving forward, we have big milestones fast approaching. Bilbo reaches the half way point of treatment on the 7th July. Harrison’s birthday is coming up. Harrison is due to start Bilbo’s school in September if he’s able and Rich and I will celebrate 10 years together.

It has been a bonkers and strange start to 2020 here’s to the other half and all that it has in store.

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