Preparation for this trip had been taking place for months now. Everyone had been counting down the days.. except my clueless mum. We were about to celebrate her very special birthday in the city of love, Paris. I was so convinced that there would be no obstacle that would in any way jeopardise this trip as I would be on maintenance. And maintenance seemed so simple.. So I thought.
I may have only been on maintenance for about 5 weeks but I had discussed my plans with my specialist nurse and consultant months before the trip to ensure I would be okay before we hit the confirm button on all the trains tickets and accommodation. If only I knew that luck wasn't going to be on my side the few days ahead of the trip.
I felt perfectly fine.. I was settling into my new treatment regime and preparing for my life away from frequent hospital visits. This was going to be my time now, cancer had done it's bit in controlling the majority of my 2015 so I wanted to start making the most of what was left of the year. This trip to Paris was going to be my starting point. For my mum too.. She has worked since she was 12 years old so to say not working at the moment to care for me has taken its toll on her is an understatement. After this trip she was going to look into getting her own life back which included returning to a working environment.
Shit. I woke up with a throat as dry as the Sahara and it was 5 days until Paris! Shit. Nothing a little difflam and soothers can fix I told myself.. Yeah right. The next morning; words stronger than shit were said. I used the torch light on my phone and shone it down my throat, a standard procedure that everyone follows through with when they have a sore throat. Shit, I could see little white specks on my sore tonsils. Brilliant. Off to the doctors I went and to my joy the doctor that saw me right before my diagnosis was the only one available.. a doctor I am not utterly fond of. "Ah I remember you, I sent you off for your blood test before your diagnosis" he said with a slightly disturbing smile on his face. I stared at him with slightly frowned eyebrows and no expression on my face. What did he want? A medal? A thank you? He obviously remembers that appointment slightly different to me. I refuse to turn a blind eye to the fact he told me I needed psychological help and that he would send me for a blood test to put "your mind at rest" I quote from him. All feelings aside, I smiled and thanked him for my antibiotics and left. But this was not the solution to my problem.
It was Monday. All packed. All excited. Even more excited knowing that this was going to be the surprise of my mum's life. She knew something special was happening for her 50th birthday and that we was headed to Manchester for a couple of days to visit her best friend and her family. All was to be revealed.. but first I popped into UCLH for a quick blood test. I had no qualms about my blood result but I had to keep my mum at the hospital for a little while as everyone else prepared themselves for my mum's arrival at London Euston.
The nurse closed the curtains around me as I sat on the chair. "Your haemoglobin is 7 and platelets are 11.. we would like you to have a transfusion". No, this cant be happening to me. The clock was ticking and we was due to catch mum's fake train to Manchester with our fake train tickets within the next hour and a half. Anyone that knows about blood transfusions know that it takes a lot longer than an hour and a half to prepare the blood and transfuse it.. So for me this was not an option. I just burst into tears. All this planning for nothing. I was ruining everything. Cancer had taken back its control on my 2015. I continued to cry as my mum tried to find a phone number to call on our fake Manchester train tickets to attempt to change our train time. "You cant!" I explained without a proper explanation. I shooed my mum away as the nurse came to speak to me, to my relief they were allowing me to go! I was due back at UCLH on the Thursday and I promised them I would do my best to avoid getting any cuts or bruises or to do any strenuous activities whilst I was out there as it was likely that my blood counts would continue to drop as my body was not entirely accustomed to my maintenance drugs. Therefore, I was taken off them for the duration of my trip and was going to be re-evaluated the following Thursday.
Luck then decided to pay me a visit for a couple days. For those couple of days I was able to thoroughly enjoy my time in Paris. Although I did get an hourly "Are you okay?". I spent the most amazing couple of days with the most amazing people exploring one of the most amazing cities (if you haven't already figured.. It was amazing). It is safe to say my mum had a pretty fantastic and unforgettable 50th birthday as she actually turned the big 5 0 in Paris! I am so thankful to my Auntie Diane, Dave, Danielle, Jay, Natalie & Rhys to playing their part in this special trip. Although they are not blood related to me, they are more like a family to me than most of my actual family members.
|The 8 of us touring Paris on the Big Bus|
Notre Dame.. The home of Quasimodo
Those couple of days spent in Paris was a little sprinkle of happiness added to my life. It also allowed me to see the life I have ahead of me and reminded me of the life I have left behind. On the other hand, luck didn't stay with me for long. By the Friday I was admitted to my local hospital with an infection, most likely related to my throat, and it was back to my reality of a cancer controlled life. But I refuse to believe that my life will always be like this.. and soon.. or more like 2017.. I will live a life where I will not be frequently reminded of my battle with cancer and cancer will certainly not control my existence.