Caroline is half way through treatment! Yesterday at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital she finished her fifth round of chemotherapy. Tomorrow she starts six weeks of radiotherapy. Go warrior girl!!
Chemo’s not the same here, some of the experience better, some, well, different.
Same But Different
Medications are named differently, protocol times are different and despite being already wiped out by chemotherapy itself plus having every wee recorded 24-7 to ensure kidney function during IV hydration, patients are weighed every night at midnight and have bloods taken at 4am. Hmm. Nothing like adding to the fatigue.
As it’s an American hospital, essentially private, meals are provided by ‘room service’ ordered from a menu. They are actually healthier than anything we’ve managed to eat out so far, with crisp broccoli and green beans! The doctors and nurses are very friendly and Caroline’s admission ran smoothly.
It’s almost possible to forget that she still has a life threatening illness. The doctor attending (Consultant, to us Brits) couldn’t feel her lump anywhere!
Sick and Tired
She had a really good cry in hospital, for missing home and wanting to be back in the UK, in addition to the usual chemo ‘hangover’ nausea. We’re now back at the hotel where a large pile of post was waiting. Reading the messages really cheered her up. I’ll post some here in future.
I haven’t posted many images of Caroline feeling really poorly as she’s not wanted people to see them. She gave permission for this one and I feel it’s needed to show everyone that despite all the fun we have, she really feels dreadful a lot of the time.
After chemo she painted one card, drawn and sent by an old friend of mine, before snuggling up to sleep – the best cure for any hangover, whatever its cause!
Beautiful black and white ink drawing by Ariel Lewis, painted in watercolour by Caroline Brown!
Despite the activities we’ve done so far Caroline doesn’t want to be in America. The mail she’s receiving is both distraction and reminder of friends and support at home and around the world. HUGE thanks to everyone who has sent her little rays of sunshine in the post. Your postcards and parcels really do cheer her, and us, up.
She is, however, completely bemused at being told how strong, brave and courageous she is. All the children I’ve met going through cancer treatment seem to have the same attitude. It’s not even an attitude. It’s simply that this is what their life is, has become obviously, but it’s their life. They are so utterly in the present moment.
The Lessons of Children
I consider it each day Caroline has to endure something she doesn’t want to – another scan, chemo drugs that will make her ill for days on end, the upcoming radiotherapy. In trying to make sense of it I can only say that it’s proof of how infinitely adaptable us humans are as a species. The children are enduring daily what most adults consider horrific treatments but they get on with it without a murmur. Caroline is once again teaching me lesson upon lesson about life, the universe and everything. And it’s far more profound than 42.
Please Keep Your Prayers and Positivity Coming
I’ve tried hard and so far failed to elucidate on the importance and joy that everyone’s support provides, be it a call, a message, a postcard or letter, a quick Facebook comment or a hug.
With Caroline starting radiotherapy this week it is all the more important that we focus on minimising the side effects both short and long term. I’ll post more on these soon.
Circle of Love
Whatever your spiritual leanings, there is something intensely powerful in the knowledge that people around the world are intent, together, united one way or another, on Caroline’s recovery. For me it is massively spiritual. Not religious, but spiritual. It doesn’t matter who you pray to or what you call God, the power of prayer and positivity are immeasurable.
You don’t need to be religious to pray and in many ways getting bogged down in the dogma and theology of religion can stop the messages of soul, spirit and love being heard.
It’s impossible to name everyone who is supporting us through this battle. The following list gives an idea of the now thousands of people powering us onwards. It is a circle around the globe. These are only my own friends and family; I know many friends of friends are also with us so the wave of positivity is huge.
There are Budhists, Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists and many other Christian denominations, Pagans, Druids, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Hindus and Shamen praying for Caroline! As well as many, many people with no religious affiliations at all. Friends from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Gibraltar, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, America, Canada. People praying, meditating, saying Masses, sending vibes, thoughts, petitions, angels, positivity and love.
Not only that, people are telling me about their own struggles in life, with cancer, death, illness, their relationship troubles, depression etc so I am able to return the favour of prayers for their intentions too.
It is a truly enormous circle of mutual understanding, help, human kindness and most of all love. I don’t yet know how, but it’s a chain of humanity that I would love us all continue to tap into, use and strengthen throughout Caroline’s treatment and beyond.
So THANK YOU with all my heart for being part of the momentum of our journey.
Whatever you call God; Jesus, Allah, Divine Feminine, Great Spirit, Collective Consciousness, Buddha, Universal Energy, Light, Love or nothing, you are doing something amazing, not just for Caroline but for everyone else in the circle we’ve inadvertently created. Our souls know what we are about even if we do not! Just don’t stop praying, because it’s working!
Radiotherapy starts in earnest today.
May Caroline’s angels stay close through the next weeks of treatment, and may her recovery be complete.
My prayers and love are with you all and as a great Irish comedian used to say, may your God go with you.
Read more about Caroline’s cancer journey at Caroline’s Rainbow.