It was just after the joy and happiness of Christmas and New Year when my 3 year old returned to school. Who would have ever imagined what the New Year would offer!
It all started one afternoon after school, when my boy started to complain with lower back pain. I checked for any bruising thinking that he might have fallen or hit something at school. There was nothing evident. We thought no more about it that evening, but the pain persisted even the day after, and we decided to check him out at the paediatrician, just to ease our minds. He was given some medicine and had to go back to check him out again after two days. Two days passed, but instead of having no pain, he was now also limping. By the time it was time for his appointment, he could not even bear his tiny weight on his legs. Our minds of course made their own diagnosis, and confirmed something was terribly wrong at the paediatrician, as he told us it would be better if we took him to make further tests at Mater Dei Hospital. He sensed something was wrong and as from that instant our hearts stopped beating.
We went as in-patients at the hospital and immediately ran some blood tests and x-rays. The day after that, we will never forget when the doctor came and told us that our fragile little 3 year old was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. As from that instant the world stopped for us. Lots of questions started to pop up, why us, why my little boy, have we done something wrong and even asked ourselves whether God is really there. That same day our long journey began, and we were transferred to the Rainbow ward, where we can say we met our second family. You could immediately sense the family atmosphere that there was in this ward.
That same day the doctors told us what was to happen from that instant, what treatment was to be given, the side effects of the chemo, the doses and the period of time it would take. We were listening very carefully, but at the same time did not know what was being told to us. We just stopped living.
But on a positive note, our fears and my boy’s trauma were soon to be eased by the jolly atmosphere that the staff at Rainbow could offer. These people are not just doctors and nurses; they are a gift sent from heaven to all the families that have to go through the battle with cancer. One can never imagine that whilst the family is traumatized, one can still joke and laugh.
Room 6 was our home for nearly three weeks. Three weeks of fear, both for us but mostly for our son. He was so afraid of being prodded and checked out, that even during the night, whenever he heared the trolley in the corridor, he would wake up and ask whether they were coming for him.
Once we started getting over the initial shock of diagnosis, and started going to hospital sometimes even day in day out, my boy’s fear started slowly fading and now that a year went by, he runs in to the ward and plays up with the staff.
Now that we are going through all this, we understand better what the Puttinu Cares Children’s Cancer Support Group does for all the families. They are of great help and we all look forward to the events Puttinu Cares organizes, especially the maratona which usually takes places in April.
Nobody knows what life is going to offer, but even from a negative thing in life, something positive always comes out. One has to keep positive and have faith in God whenever negative thoughts appear.