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.