The diagnosis was shocking, the treatment horrendous. Jemma as a tiny baby spent two years having chemotherapy. The first three months as an inpatient in Great Ormond Street Hospital, then constantly in and out of our local hospital in Farnborough.
How did we cope? It seems weird looking back – my husband had to keep on working and since he worked in London, he would commute on the train with two year old Robyn.
He would get her to Great Ormond Street Hospital for 8am and pick her up at 6pm to take her home to her own bed. Even this simple act of a daily commute had issues. Morning commuters were not always receptive to a very talkative two-year-old in their carriage.
On one journey Robyn announced to the carriage: “I’m going to Great Ormond Street to see my sister, she has leukaemia.” The silence in the train carriage that day was deafening.
While Robert was at work I spent all day in a room caring for both my girls. We did this for more than three months. If someone asked me now to care for a sick baby and a toddler in one room every day, all day, I don’t think I could – yet you do, we did, and I know we are by no means the only family.