A MOTHERS FIGHT
Today I write this with sheer pain in my heart, the pain isn’t from our 4 year old son Franck having leukaemia it comes from the haters that want to take me and my family of 4 down. I initially wanted to write about the first few days of Franck being diagnosed but recent events have brought this to the forefront of my mind, so I feel it necessary at this time to express the feelings I have right now!
Franck was diagnoses with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia the day after Ruby’s (older sister) 7th Birthday, 5th October 2018. Obviously this destroyed our world as we knew it. When we met our consultant, who is amazing btw, I distinctly remember her saying to both Paul (husband) and I in the procedure room on starlight ward “this is the time when you will find out who your true friends and family are. There are 2 types of people, ones that will support you every step of the way and ones that will turn this onto them and make this into their drama”. Low and behold within the first week this happened and the saddest thing was that it was my Mum. I know she has problems herself, ones that she won’t admit to, that we’ve all brushed under the carpet but this was the time that I REALLY needed my Mum. I’m not denying that I’m perfect in any shape or form but I had just been told that my son has a life threatening disease and the treatment plan was 3.5 years. I needed the support. Instead I heard statements like “has Paul gone back to work”, “ I guess you’ll have to go on benefits like everyone else” “ I have a business I can’t just drop everything” my heart sank and forgive me if I’m wrong but yes I did shout and I did scream because you know what I needed to. I remember screaming “from one mother to another can you just please understand?!?!?”
This then caused a ripple effect, Paul text my stepdad as a cry for help asking for them to support me. For some reason this caused anger in my stepdad who proceeded to come up to the hospital the next day to confront Paul, however in the mean time he’d sent the message to both my brothers and Paul’s parents to what can only feel like forming an army against us. This however had no effect on Paul’s parents as they agreed with everything that was written in the said text. The message then sparked anger in my eldest brother who as I later found out was told by my sister in law to not come up to the hospital and confront me. This advice was ignored and he came up to a children’s cancer ward to intentionally confront me on a matter that was none of his business. I have never denied that I’m rubbish in an argument, if I feel I’m getting attacked my defence walls immediately come up and I will shout, but that gets perceived as “I’m an angry person” (I’m literally shaking whilst writing this, all those belittling feelings are coming back) I remember my brother standing over me whilst I was led on the hospital bed laughing and repeatedly laughing and saying “you’re an angry person” at this point Franck came into the room and told him to “get out and leave my mummy alone” my brother walked out of the room raising his voice down the corridor saying “you’re an angry person, you need help”. As you can imagine I felt like I had been repeatedly kicked in the stomach 1000 times. The whole ward heard this and Paul had no other option but to tell my brother to stay away from us. Ok let’s be honest he probably used a few swear words...
Whilst we were in hospital for the induction stage, it soon came to light by what our consultant and nurses were telling us that the first 6-9months were the hardest and that we needed to be financially secure because Paul would not be able to work. Franck and ruby needed both of us around during this time. There was no question that we needed help financially so we set up a gofundme page. We didn’t want to as it wasn’t in our nature but we panicked and thought if we don’t we are going to lose our home and business. We are absolutely overwhelmed with the response we got and are still getting, we reached our goal of 50k within months and people still want to fundraise for us. Being in this environment opens your eyes to what other families are going through which is why we’ve used the companies that work with us to fundraise for the hospitals Grand appeal and the haematology & oncology (starlight) ward in Bristol’s Children’s hospital to make this whole experience easier for other families, the kids going through such awful times and to give back. This is something both Paul and I are extremely passionate about and we will always fundraise for these brave kids and their families. Leukaemia will affect Franck’s life forever, he will beat this and ring that bell after 3.5 years but he has to look after himself because if not it could come back in later life or he could get another form of cancer.
Anyone with even an ounce of compassion would understand that this is the most hardest time of our lives and that the emotional struggle is real. Not having that financial strain is a god blessing and we cannot thank everyone enough!!!
Now let’s talk about our social media presence... both Paul and I are heavily into instagram as we all are (let’s be honest) and we use it as an outlet to show our supporters what Franck is going through, we certainly don’t hold back and show the pain that Franck has to endure every time he has to go down for a lumber punch, have chemo injected into his spine, his port accessed, chemo stabbed into his leg... the list goes on and I’m sure you can imagine from a parents point of view that seeing your child go through this is torture. We are using our experience and our following to raise awareness for this horrible disease that although is rare, affects so many kids in the U.K. Our consultant has even asked us to because like any other ward, hospital, disease, awareness is key because they rely heavily on funding.
We can all judge behind our phones over posts and stories on Instagram but social media is a smoke screen. Sometimes I think I’ve seen friends recently when in actual fact I’ve seen them on IG and totally forgotten to stay in contact because you feel like you are in contact with them every day. People will sit behind their phones and get angrier and angrier at what they see and start hating on you and it’s pure jealousy but you don’t know what happens behind closed doors, you dont know the struggle some people are going through but their picture or story says otherwise.
I have another older brother who has done just this, in the last day or so after I’d clocked this was happening, the lack of contact, never asking how Franck is, never coming to see us. When you know you just know and it hurts. I would spend days crying about it. I had to take charge so I blocked him from my Instagram and phone contacts, in fact I blocked everyone in that circle. I cannot let this in, I have to concentrate on my family and be strong for them. I was out taking one of my dogs for a walk and bumped into him, I noticed that laugh, snigger he did, (just like my other brother had done) so I knew he knew. His wife who was also there was asking about Franck’s treatment we were going into hospital for that day. I told them he was going in for an echo to check the chemo hadn’t damaged his heart, which I was very nervous about because what happens if it had? I wasn’t in the mood to confront the situation after he asked why? I told him why and he insisted we talked about it there and then. Oh no I wasn’t going to be controlled so I started to walk away because I know what I get like when they start to go in on me yet that wasn’t good enough and I was called “pathetic” “angry” etc etc...
When Paul confronted him via a telephone conversation, it all then came out... “we have an agenda” “we are living the life of Riley on other people’s money” “we should be asking how he is” “he can’t wait for people to see the real Paul” Gobsmacked, dumbfounded, shocked, the list goes on.
Do I really deserve all of this? Am I a horrible person? Am I even angry? The answer to all of these questions is NO, however I will always question myself and will let those horrible thoughts come into my head. I’m just a mother fighting the worst fight of her life, trying to stay strong to get Franck, Ruby & Paul through this.
Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who has my back, he would rather deep the negativity than see me hurt and in pain and that speaks volumes. I have amazing friends who are my REAL family and other members of family who are being super supportive. With every situation there is always going to be negative people that will try and take you down but these people will only make us stronger. I know my truth...