I’m a single mum of 3 with a 10 year old diagnosed with leukaemia a month ago. I know the facts and figures; in 2012 leukemia developed in 352,000 people globally and caused 265,000 deaths. Alarming, I can do nothing other than have faith in the future. The chemotherapy is tough and I have to be strong for my little Benjamin.
When Ben started chemo he lost all his hair in a week and continuously throws up all the time. The steroids are also making him blow up like a balloon. He stays in bed most days and due to the heavy medication load. Also, we have to be so careful from any form of germs; he cannot be in contact with anyone who has not had a full antibacterial body wash. This makes his life very lonely.
This new hygienic home life is really constraining. My neighbor gave me the name of an organization where you can book anyone in the health care business online. From work, I am able to get nurses, caregivers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, masseuse…anyone who can help me alleviate the burden of this disease. Ben now gets so much extra care that it makes him feel loved and cared for. They also teach us the dos and don’t of the lifestyle we all have to religiously follow. Moreover, without them now I would be lost!
The father of my children moved to Africa years ago for an oil and gas project and has never returned home. We kept in contact for a while and then little by little less and less. He found a new life in Nigeria so we no longer exist and the children have lost their father figure for the moment (we hope). We do not even know if Ben’s dad even got the news of his diagnosis.
Presently we must say that in this terrible situation we have put all the cards in place for the best to happen. In this worst case scenario, Ben receives the best care possible; has a wonderful loving family supporting him, incredible care taker team following his every move and the flexibility of his school skyping him for classes every day he is up to it.
We are very lucky to be living on a continent where medical facilities are everywhere and the annex caregivers in abundance. We are also blessed to have generous neighbors who share our pain and find solutions to help us. Our community really is doing everything to give us the support that we need in an unconditional manner.
World Cancer Report 2014. World Health Organization. 2014. pp. Chapter 5.13.