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About this blog


About this blog

I’m a wife and mother of two boys. I am a Christian, I work part time as a criminal lawyer and I love to run. On Tuesday 2nd February 2016, my son Isaac was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the age of nine years old.

  • Patient Name: Isaac
  • Cancer Type: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia
  • Age when diagnosed: 9

The final sprint to the end of treatment

1st May 2019

We are getting to lots of lasts!

It was 22nd January 2016, three years and three months ago that our eldest son Isaac was admitted to hospital with a temperature. He had numerous procedures and tests for the medical staff to find out what was wrong with him. On 2nd February 2016, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Our life was thrown into one of treatment plans, chemotherapy and hospitals. And when you hear the news that treatment will take until May 2019, it feels like a lifetime in that moment. You can’t help but think and mourn of all that will be lost in over three years of treatment in the life of a nine year old.

But here we are! It’s 23rd April 2019. We have done 39 months of treatment and the countdown clock shows one month to go. One month. Four weeks on Thursday. Following the 53 Vincristine chemotherapy infusions, 19 in the intensive four phases of treatment and 34 in this final phase, there’s only one to go! It’s the same with those dreaded steroids; just one course left! It’s the last nil by mouth, general anaesthetic and lumbar puncture this week. 30 doses of the daily chemotherapy tablets to go. We are getting to lots of lasts!

The rhythm of trips to the hospital and life in treatment is so familiar it could’ve been like this forever, but on the other hand, the time has flown by. A little like training for a marathon, the training plan feels like a lifetime, but the week of the race feels to have arrived in a moment.

Family in front of green screen

We are a family of runners

Although Isaac was diagnosed in February 2016, looking back, the first sign of the leukaemia was in the December 2015 when he developed back pain while he was training at the athletics track. He loves running as much as we do, so when he was diagnosed, we decided quite early on that to give back to charities that worked so hard around childhood cancer, we’d continue to do the thing we knew best and try and raise some money to give back.

As we enter this last month we thought we better mark it with some pretty epic races as a finale – The London Marathon, The Rat Race Dirty Weekend, and The London 10000,

This weekend is the London Marathon. It’s me, Simon (my husband, Isaac’s dad), and Lisa (Isaac’s aunty) who are taking this on. I’ve done one marathon before, it was London last year, also for Children with Cancer UK and I hated it! (But that’s another story, see my blog from last year). This year, above all else, I am determined to enjoy it! Children with Cancer UK, having teamed up with Beads of Courage UK, are giving 500 of their runners a pair of beads to run with, one to be kept after and the other to be given to a child in treatment to add to their beads. All three of us have been selected for this. I cannot tell you how much that means to be part of something so special. Isaac has collected his beads of courage ever since the day of his diagnosis. Each bead represents treatments, procedures, stuff, he’s had to go through. And it’s his way of telling his story. He is at around 1750 beads. We’ve even got a piece of the London 2012 Olympic track to frame them around at the end. So the fact that we get to carry such a precious thing, on what will be an emotional journey of the marathon anyway, has added poignance, knowing that we can nominate Isaac to receive one.

So that’s how we are spending our last month!

Just 13 days after the marathon, it’s the Rat Race Dirty Weekend – that’s the world’s biggest obstacle race consisting of 200 obstacles over 20 miles. Both me and Simon will be doing it, joined by 24 other friends and family. Not only that but Isaac, Noah, some of their cousins and loads of their friends are also doing the Young Mucker (40 obstacles over 6k). I was already booked into the rat race in 2016 when Isaac was diagnosed, so my training took a big hit and it was a painful race in so many ways as I cried my way around just thinking of my reason to run and all that we’d been through at that stage. In 2017 the Young Mucker was the first event Isaac was able to do, and as his friends accompanied him round and helped him do it, we all wept as they came into the finish. So, this, just days before the end is very special.

The London 10000. Well this wasn’t on the plan! But….Children with Cancer UK launched their new fancy dress costume! It’s an end of treatment bell! Isaac finishes treatment on Thursday 23rd May, the run is Monday 27th May and Isaac rings the End of Treatment bell on Friday 31st May. So it feels very appropriate to do the ridiculous and run a race that week dressed as a bell! As it was Aunty Lisa’s idea, she will be a fellow bell with me! Neither of us have ever contemplated running in fancy dress, let alone done it, so this will be a first (and last!).

So, that’s how we’re spending our last month! And as the days tick down, it feels like there’s a dawning of a new season. We are excited to celebrate the end of treatment, but we are just grateful and thankful for the amazing care we have had, as well with the amazing work of charities like Children with Cancer UK working tirelessly to improve cure rates, reduce treatment side effects and bless families in treatment with special days to give amazing memories throughout treatment. We have had so many amazing treats and experiences, these memories definitely are more prominent than the mundane day to day hospital ones and will last a lifetime.

So if you’re running any of our three races for Children with Cancer UK, have an awesome time! Give us a shout! And when it gets tough, remember the difference you are making to lives of people like us through the money you’ve raised. And for that, we are so very grateful.

Marathon update – we did it!! Well, I said I wanted to enjoy it after last year, and that’s exactly what I did! I loved every minute!! And I finished in 3 hours 40 minutes! As I turned onto the mall with 200m to go I just burst into tears! I was so overwhelmed that I’d done it not just within the hard 3:45 target I set myself but quicker. And as I could see the line, I allowed myself to glance down at my trainer to see those precious beads I couldn’t look at for the rest of the race through fear of losing it completely. I sobbed that last 200m to the point that a fellow runner asked if I was okay! What a day!

Check out Liz’s WordPress account for more of her blogs at: lizfell.wordpress.com
23.04.2019

Want to share your story? Please email stories@childrenwithcancer.org.uk

 

Trainers with beads of courage