The day after we brought our new baby home was supposed to be exhausting and euphoric. Instead it started on a horrific note.
I found out that my cousin’s son, who had just turned two, was diagnosed with leukaemia. I was in shock. He had been unwell the week before but it was assumed it was just his molars making their appearance. He had a fever on and off and was crabby. The usual teething signs. He got a bit better and went back to creche. When he was picked up at midday his grandparents noticed a slight bruise on his forehead. No big deal right? Kids get hurt all the time. Especially highly energetic toddler boys. Then his fever returned with a vengeance that night and he was rushed to hospital. The doctor noticed the bruise and immediately did some blood work. Apparently fever, irritability and bruising is a sign of a blood disorder. How scary is that. Kids have these symptoms ALL THE TIME!!
Now this poor kid is going through chemotherapy and will be in treatment for the next three years. He can’t go to school in this time and at the moment he is in isolation with his parents. They are shattered. His mum cries all day, everyday. His granny is a zombie. The grandparents co-parent him so not being able to see him is taking its toll on them.
It is so terrifying how their lives (and ours by association) have changed overnight. My cousin tried for so long to fall pregnant. It seems such a cruel twist that they now have to go through this.
I can’t help but look at my own kids and feel greatful that they are healthy. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to know they were so sick. I hope to never ever find out. When they were both born we made the expensive decision to store their stem cells and cord blood. It was a gamble like all insurance. Something you hope you never need but when you do you thank your lucky stars you have it. This gives me some measure of peace should we be in the same boat at any time.
Now I look at my brand new baby and I feel guilty being so happy.