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Facing Not Fighting

Author: Guest Post

Life can throw huge and unexpected curveballs, and recently loyal reader Stephie and her family experienced a devastating blow when daughter Poppy was diagnosed with Leukaemia. We warmly welcome Stephie to our Wednesday afternoon parenting slot as she shares her dignified, gracious and inspirational account. I know you’ll join all of the team at Rock My Style in sending support and well wishes to the whole family.

Poppy started preschool in late February. Like everything she does, our happy daughter took it in her stride and I was the one left in tears as she bounced her way into the room without even a cursory glance back. We felt like we’d joined a whole new club attempting the school run at 8.30am…quite possibly the earliest we’ve left the house in three years! So many new things to get our heads around and remember each morning. The packed lunch, the extra layers for Forest School and the desperate last minute search for an object to bring in, beginning with the phonic sound of the letter of the week. This week is L. We could have gone with L for Lego or L for Leaf.

L for Leukaemia isn’t at all what we had in mind.

Once it became apparent our precautious trip to the hospital was going to result in an admission, there was some initial excitement at the presentation of the hospital wristband featuring Poppy’s name and birthdate. Something interesting for the preschool weekend book; a tale to tell of an unusual adventure. Not knowing at that point that we would actually have one to stick in for the next 116 weekends. Two years and three months of treatment. Almost another lifetime for a just-turned three year old. That takes us from mere weeks into starting preschool to approaching the summer holidays after her first year at school.
After receiving Poppy’s diagnosis, two days followed of shock and confusion, before a lightbulb moment in which we realised we could take control of this. We didn’t choose for this to occur nor did we cause it to happen. But we can take it by the reigns and gallop on. Our happy, outdoor orientated family way of life doesn’t have to stop; it has just temporarily veered off in another direction. We’ve already learnt so many new things in the past three weeks and just like at preschool, we’ll keep learning every day. I couldn’t even spell Leukaemia to begin with, now I manage to say it aloud to complete strangers without collapsing with emotion.
Like her mummy, Poppy has always loved words. Her absolute delight at recognising the letters in her own name and those of her little sister, Daisy’s is a joy to behold. Her own lightbulb moment occurred earlier this year when she realised that one day she will be able to read all of the words in her own books. We’re writing our own story here. Not one we ever imagined we would have to write, but one we can fill to the brim with happy, glorious moments.
It’s our duty as parents to help Poppy and her sister understand this, to protect them and keep them safe and happy just like we’ve always done. Like so many other things in life, this experience will be what we as a family make of it. We feel strongly that we’re not “fighting” cancer – we’ve taught our girls not to fight. Not unless it’s that gutsy, rebel girls form of fighting which is standing up for what you believe in and not taking no for an answer. I’m talking about the bully in the playground sort of fighting – the hitting/kicking/biting, which is unpleasant and uncalled for. So no, we’re not “fighting” cancer, we’re facing it. Standing tall, breathing deeply and proudly believing that our family values will help us see in the dark.
Wishing love and light to you and yours,
Stephie x

You can follow Stephie and her family on her blog Hello Sweet P.

A guest contribution from one of our readers.

24 thoughts on “Facing Not Fighting

  1. My goodness Stephie, what a piece of writing this is. Lots of love to you, Poppy, Daisy and the whole family xx

    1. Thank you for reading and sending your love, Lucy. I’ve found writing to be a good way of processing my thoughts! xx

  2. I’m not religious but read your blog and just whispered a prayer for you and yours. I dropped my three year old off at pre-school this morning too. I find things like this too scary to comprehend.
    A photographer I admire had a niece who was diagnosed in 2014. She’s at school now. Have a look at Hattie’s Heroes / Gold Geese on facebook – you might be able to find more support there.

    1. Thank you Rebecca, we’re not religious either, but each whispered prayer, kind wish and hopeful thought means so much to us. Thank you for the support advice too, I will definitely look them up xx

  3. This is so beautifully written, thank you for sharing it with us. I am so sorry this has happened to your family and I wish you all the best throughout treatment and in the future. Poppy sounds like such a lovely girl with a positive spirit. I’m sure there will be some tough times ahead but your attitude is incredible and inspirational. Best of luck to you all. x

    1. Thank you for taking the time to wish us well Abi. I’m pleased that Poppy’s positivity shines through this piece, she certainly is a lovely girl and we couldn’t be prouder of how bravely she is coping xx

  4. Wow. I’ve got goosebumps and tears in my eyes. “I couldn’t even spell Leukaemia to begin with, now I manage to say it aloud to complete strangers without collapsing with emotion” What a beautiful sentence.
    Poppy sounds like a magical little girl and I’m sure you and your family will face this together xx

    1. Thank you for your kind words Alice. You’re absolutely right about Poppy too – she is magical xx

  5. What a great piece of writing. Our then 2 year old was diagnosed with a tumor last year and after surgery, months of chemo (didn’t work), months of a different chemo (seems to be working 🤞🏻) we are still plodding on.
    I think you’ve got it spot on, most people I know ask or comment on how we stay so strong, how they could never get heough something like this – But you’ve got no other choice, you can’t ignore what’s happening, you can’t just dissolve into pools of tears and why us all the time.

    I wish you all the luck with this crappy experience and treatment xx

    1. Thank you for your good wishes Claire, I’m pained to hear you’re going through something similar yourself and wish you and your little one every success with the treatment.

      You’re right about the strength to carry on, I’ve had many similar comments myself and the truth is none of know how we will react until we’re facing it head on. It’s certainly not how I expected to feel, but here we are, so we’re making the best of it. Very best wishes to your family xx

  6. I just wanted to write and say how amazing you all sound going through this hideous ordeal. Sending all the positive vibes and luck in the world to you. I hope we read an equally emotional post in the future from you telling how well Poppy is.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to send us those positive wishes Victoria, they have been very gratefully received. I’ll be hoping to deliver happy progress news too…a few tears welling at the thought of it! I do genuinely believe we’ll get through this xx

  7. How beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us all the opportunity to learn from you and your family. Much love and best wishes to you all xxx

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes Becky, every single message of goodwill we receive means so much to all of us xx

  8. Thank you for sharing your writing. I am so sorry this happened to you, I’m sending all the luck and love to your family. Xxx

    1. Thank you for reading and sending us good wishes Lucy, it’s been a classic case of never expecting it to happen to you xx

  9. Thank you for sharing this.

    I really love the way you’re facing cancer, not fighting it. My Mum had cancer and used to get upset about the idea of a ‘fight’ and the implication (in her mind) that if she ‘lost the fight’ it would be because she hadn’t tried hard enough. I feel like a fight puts added pressure on, when in reality it’s all about slogging on and holding your heads high with dignity.

    It sounds like you and your family are fabulous and facing this in the absolute best way. Poppy sounds like a star!

    Thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

    1. Thank you so much Kate – the way your mum felt about it echoes exactly how we feel. That a fight implies a battle to be won or lost, when in reality we have no control over this. Thanks for sharing your own experience and I hope your mum has made a full recovery, she sounds like a lovely lady too x

  10. Thank you for sharing your story and for your amazing positivity at such a difficult time. I have faced similar emotions with my daughter who was born with complex health issues and spent most of the last 5 months in hospital. Like you said, her health problems are never what we would have imagined or wanted but we are writing our own story and hope we too can have a story filled with happiness. Wishing lots of love and good health to Poppy, and to her supermum xx

    1. Thank you for sending us your good wishes Becky, the comments here have been lovely, as I knew they would be. Bouncing every happiness, health and heartfelt good wish to you and your daughter too. It’s impossible to imagine before you’re in it, but taking things day by day or even moment by moment at times has been sage advice which has really kept us positive. Sending lots of love to a fellow supermum and her family xx

  11. Stef your words are beautiful and made me cry. Poppy is the product of two amazing inspirational people. With the love and positivity that surrounds her will she have the strength along with you both to face the trials ahead. I am thinking of you all and you are in my prayers. Sending love to all xxx

    1. Thank you Sue for sending us such kind words and wishes. We gain such strength from all of the lovely people who take the time to wish us well xx

  12. Wow that was tough and beautiful at the same time! It amazes me how much positivity and bravery shines through your words. Poppy weeks so lovely and you seem like the perfect ‘partner’ to help her face the cancer. I’m wishing you all the best and plenty of sunny moments to chase the clouds away.

    1. Thank you so much Anja for your kind words. I love the last line about chasing the clouds away – what a beautiful way to phrase it. Poppy is indeed lovely and facing this so bravely xx

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