"Oh go on Mummy, get the unicorn hand luggage label". We are in Primark, Palma and my Littles had convinced me to get this silly unicorn luggage label for our forthcoming trip to Brighton. How can I say no to them, I like making them laugh and so we bought it.
The smallest Little loves Little Mix and if I were to be totally honest, so do I, and when we saw they were playing in Brighton we knew we had to go, all four of us travelling to Brighton to make some fantastic memories. Hubby had planned the trip around me to make me as comfortable as possible, perfectly timed flights, a Mercedes to pick us up from the airport to take us to the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel for three nights. How perfect. We would be at the hotel in time to freshen up and go for a walk along Brighton Pier to play on the penny machines, buy sticks of rock and maybe have fish & chips (well you have to don't you!)...
I always envisaged Hubby and I growing old together and one day sitting on deck chairs on a pier somewhere in the world, looking out to sea...
Once landed I rushed to the toilet as was desperate and Hubby went to collect our luggage... unicorn case wasn't there. Was quite sad to see this same small case go round and round on the carousel with it's little unicorn label on, which wasn't ours. Pain was getting quite bad by now and the dawning realisation that someone had picked up my case by mistake was now overwhelming. I was holding it together for the Littles who by now were crying. Teenage little was crying because she knew how much pain I was in and hiding it and the smallest little was distraught because she blamed herself as the trip was for her. Comforting two children with their own needs was a task in itself along with not panicking knowing I had no immediate pain relief anywhere in reach. It then turned into a Coleman rescue mission. We flew EasyJet and the woman on the missing baggage was incredible, we looked at flights to return home, maybe I could fly back to Palma and they could stay. Made the Littles cry even more. Hubby was contacting my team at Clinica Juaneda to get my medical notes emailed to us, I was calling all of the local hospitals to see if I could go and get some morphine and our amazing driver was sitting patiently for over two hours whilst we waited at Gatwick airport to see if the person who had picked up my case had realised and would return to collect theirs which I had. Cases were completely different apart from the freaking unicorn labels ... roles eyes! Littles stood with glassy eyes just watching. EasyJet lady suggested to just go to the local A&E, so we did. Oh wow, the Urgent Care Centre at Crawley were just amazing, put me in a side room on a bed with all of our luggage - well obviously minus mine - we waited for my medical notes to be emailed through from our wonderful girls at Junaeda, whom we now class as friends and I was given a top up morphine. In the meantime, I received a call from the other unicorn label owner and off we went, back to Gatwick airport to wait for them... 2 hours later I was reunited with my drugs. We got to the hotel 8 hours later than planned.
Little Mix were amazing, it wasn't Cold Play by any standards but it was just wonderful to be there holding the Littles hand for a while until she got her confidence to let go and dance. I watched her, beautiful child inside and out, and tears poured, big hot salty tears that if you tilt your head back you can hold them in for a while but then they just poured over my face and I let them. She asked me if I was sad and I said "no baby, Mummy is just so so very happy". I think her and I will hold that memory in our hearts forever.
Hubby and I were determined to make Summer '18 a wonderful time. Who knows how long I have, do any of us really know what the future holds? We decided to move out of the city (Palma) as it would be too hot for me and having a 15 year old Little and a 10 year old Little was going to be a challenge. I can not walk around for long, the beach is really not an option for me, so we decided to find a place in the countryside in Mallorca with a pool for six weeks, somewhere we could take our doggies too. I will not even bore your eyes with the details of how difficult it was to find the perfect place, but we did. Pool and vegetable garden... how perfect is that! It has been a joy. We have spent time with friends, old friends that have grown with us as a family, people that we hold dear to our hearts. Friends here have popped in to say hello and showered us with love and support and even cooked for us. We are blessed and we know this. We have had the most amazing summer, filling the girls with beautiful memories and we are truly grateful for all of the love and support that we have received.
So I did my 4 rounds of the new chemo during this summer break (12 weeks in total starting from May) and the dreaded TAC scan was ordered. I can never and will never get used to the liquid that I have to drink before this scan, it tastes like warm pernoid. Makes me involuntary gag, burp and heave to the point that I think I am going to be sick, much to the amusement of Hubby who tells me at every scan, that I have drunk worse! I cry in these scans, more than I do before the results. The whole process of it. Drinking the liquid, getting into the gown, having the IV put into my arm, going through the donut scan machine. I lay there and the enormity of why I am doing it makes me sob every bloody time. This time though, I was DETERMINED not to cry, so I didn't take any make-up with me, proudly telling the Hubby I wouldn't need it this time. So, I'm on the bed, about to go into the donut and the nurse who I have not seen before asks about me, I explain I'm 48 nearly and have stage IV inoperable Colon and Rectal cancer to which she looks at me and says "wow, you are so full of life", makes me smile and I sing I Have A Dream by Abba as I go through the machine. Walk out of the room to meet my hubby, I'm smiling from ear to ear and he is crying. My heart breaks again, fuck you cancer I think, and we hold hands and head to the car park to go home.
One week later and results are in ... oh here we go we think, we never get good news and because of the rare BRAF mutation we know what we are faced with. In we go to see my doctor who is beaming. Everything has shrunk, everything... we sit there and look at each other. We have been given a small lifeline. We never in a million years expected that! I am not sure how this has happened but we will go with it... thank you conventional medicine, thank you alternatives and thank you to my amazing Hubby, incredible Littles and to my tribe... my people that keep us afloat on this cancer river.
As I floated today in the pool, I looked up to the bright blue sky and smiled... I feel for the first time in a very long time that I have a chance, I have to continue to work at it and not take it for granted but I'm loving this life now and boy do I want to keep having it.
I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream