#dosomethingyummy - Link Up - Week 4

Welcome to the #dosomethingyummy Writing Prompt Link Up for Week 4 - the final week of our CLIC Sargent Do Something Yummy awareness campaign.

Your writing prompt for Week 4 was "Survival" and you had a choice of three types of post:
  1. Personal post.  Tell us your story of survival.  What did you overcome?
  2. Yummy post.  Do you know someone who has had cancer and survived?
  3. Creative writing.  Get your kids involved again - give them the prompt word "Survivor" and ask them to draw a picture or write a story and post up the results.
I also asked if you could tag someone this week (you may have to also remind them to post their link here in the widget) because I wanted a super-response for the final week.  Let's see if we can hit 50 link-ups!  And, you're going to hear it here first... yes, I'm going to miss posting these prompts and linkys each week - it's been an enormous responsibility but also a fantastic experience and something that I'm proud to have been a part of, for many reasons.  I will be hosting a round-up post in a week or so with lots of geeky stats and enormous thank-you's so don't forget to look out for that.

I have written my post for this week using a mixture of prompt 1 and prompt 2 and you can read it by scrolling past the link widget.  If you have written a #dosomethingyummy post please link up below but don't worry if you haven't joined in yet - the linky will be staying open for the whole of February and March.  If you are here to read the entries it would be great if you could share this post, or any of the ones linked up, on your social networks.

Click here to add a new link 
(linky will not display after one week but is still open)


I think it’s obvious that I’ve got to come full circle and write about Rachel’s battle with cancer and, ultimately, our survival as a family.  Every time someone asks me how I coped with the news that our 14-month old baby had cancer I have to say “I didn’t cope – I existed.”

But do you know what half of the problem is?  I truly don’t remember a lot of it.  I feel I should, but I went into mental shut-down shortly after our wedding (ten days after Rachel's initial diagnosis) and concentrated on getting through one day and onto the next.  You have no idea of time as each day merges into another and all your efforts are concentrated on medical schpeel, machine bleeps, the colour of puke, how many vitamins the dietician can cram unseen into favourite foods and making sure you have an endless supply of mouthwash and swabs to ensure that no infection enters the body in the obvious places.  You become used to the judgmental stares from people when you take your sharps bucket to the chemist for disposal.  Flushing Hickman lines and changing dressings becomes second nature.

You learn to brush off comments from “caring relatives” such as, “I shall pray for her.  God has sent this as a test" and you don’t respond with “OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, WHAT 'GOD' WOULD ‘TEST’ A 14 MONTH OLD BABY?”   And when your beautiful daughter has been given the much wished for all-clear after six months of destructive chemotherapy has been pumped endlessly round her tiny body you learn not to respond to , “Aaahh, the power of prayer,” unless it is in a blog post 20 years later…

You have more children and your paediatric team ask if you want those children tested for cancer; mainly because the type of cancer was rare there are hardly any statistics about it and, because there are hardly any statistics, it is unknown if it is hereditary, gene-based or just a “fluke”.  You refuse partly because you are sick of the inside of hospitals, partly because you don't want to put any more of your children through possibly unnecessary medical procedures and partly because you don't want to know the results.  You have no idea what damage the chemotherapy has done to your child’s body but you don’t really care because they are a survivor and you’re just so grateful to have them with you.

But at some point in the future (or now, my past), you sit back and think: Holy SHIT… did that really happen?  You look around and try to work out why or how this awful disease chose your family even though everything now seems OK on the surface.   You wonder how to continue parenting and whether you are too harsh and protective because you don’t want to risk losing your baby again or whether you are too lax with boundaries because you don’t want to risk losing your baby again…

And it falls apart, and you pick up the pieces again.  You patch it together the best you can and you continue muddling along because there is no plan and no script and you have to forge your own way through this parenting lark.  It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future because you still have to carry on and take each day as it comes.

And then you realise that the child who you thought wouldn’t make it to her second birthday is approaching her 21st birthday, has two beautiful children of her own and that we all survived.