Butterfly Anna
Posted by

Coping with my 8 year olds emotions

Butterfly Anna
Posted by
28 Nov 2015

My brave daughter

One of the hardest things about having blood cancer is feeling totally out of my depth as a parent, sometimes being a parent isn't easy in normal circumstances but this....well this is super hard!

On the night I was admitted to hospital I disappeared out of her life in an instant and when she did come and visit me I was too ill to communicate.  I remember crying and crying about this once I was a little better and able to process it!  I felt like such a bad mother, how could I do this to my precious daughter, how could I put myself first?  Friends told me I was too ill to do anything else but still!

I remember her wanting to give her money to the nurses on my ward to help!  We made loom band bracelets for the Race for Life to sell to raise money!

During the months in hospital she would come and visit but I wouldn't let her stay too long, she was so brave and rarely cried!  She was so strong through it all however now its all coming out!  I know this is good all the crying and screaming but its also distressing.  And I don't have all the answers.

She doesn't want to be away from me and I struggle to get her to go to school.  She's asking me all sorts of questions and says that she is scared.  She's scared that I will get ill again, she scared that she will get cancer and scared that people she loves will get cancer.  She has also been worried about spending more time with me than my husband as when I was in hospital it was just the two of them most of the time!!  She seems so angry at times but then so am I.  It breaks my heart to think what she has had to face and seeing me so ill with no hair, crying, tubes everywhere, blood transfusions, crying with pain, etc.  

I missed her first dance show as I was in hospital under neutropenic care yet she went on stage and smiled through the who thing!   How did she do that when all the other kids had their mums there!

I do worry about how all this will affect her in the long term and am determined to help her and I would love to hear from anyone else about this!

Much love Anna

Find out more about Anna's diagnosis with AML 



Hi Anna,

First things first I do hope that you're now well after all your treatment. What type of blood cancer did you have?

I'm really glad that you got in touch and want you to know that what both you and your daughter are feeling is perfectly natural and completely understandable given everything that you've been through together.

As a mum it is almost impossble not to feel guilty that you're not there for your daughter when receiving treatment but none of this is your fault and you did the very best that you possibly could at the time. Similary, it is completely understandable that you should now worry about your daughter and the impact that your being ill has had.

It is not uncommon for both patients and family members to cope well during treatment but then find things difficult later once they've had a chance to stop and reflect on everything that's happened. Certainly this was the case for me after my treatment for CML.

The important thing to appreciate is that support and help is out there should you wish to pursue it. Counselling is one of these options but it's not the only one and our Patient Experience team are here to help you access any information or support that you may need on 0808 2080 888 or via email at support@bloodwise.org.uk



Hi Anna, I too have an eight year old daughter, and a five year old daughter too. They coped remarkably well with my first round of treatment, but since my relapse it has definitely affected them a lot more. I think being told that Mummy was all fixed, and then just a few short months later it started all over again has been very hard. They are being brilliant though. We've tried to make sure they have people they can talk to if they want to, and my eight year old in particular has a close circle of friends she has confided in.  My five year old doesn't understand as much, and does get a bit clingy when I am at home, but fortunately she's young enough thst she will probably forget a lot of the details with time.

I missed Christmas last year with my family, and my daughter's fifth birthday, but as a family we coped. Have you spoken to your daughter's school? My daughter's school have been very supportive and they have access to various counselling support services if required too. 

So far we haven't used such services because we don't want to make the girls feel like there should be something wrong, if that makes sense. We've tried to keep life as normal as possible for them. 


hi there!  And thank you so much for replying, at last I know of another family with an 8 year old!  Yes the school have been great and she does have a lady there she can talk to and I too am not sure about the counselling route yet as we are hoping that in time she will feel more secure.  She kept a lot to herself until it talked to her and told her that she could tell me anything, since then she has been very open with her feelings, she told me that she hadn't wanted to talk to me about it as she didn't want to upset me!  I know its going to take time.  Is it AML that you have?  So sorry to hear you relapsed, the treatment is so difficult and I don't know how I would cope if I had to go through it again.  Are they giving you the same treatment as before?  Really hope to hear from you again and hope we can share our experiences to help eachother. regards Anna


Hi Anna, yes it is AML I have. I was diagnosed on 8th December last year. I had 3 cycles of FLAG chemotherapy and was given the all clear in April, but in August a routine biopsy showed it was back. I was told then I would need a stem cell transplant because chemotherapy alone would not stop it coming back. I've had 2 further cycles of chemotherapy. FLAG again for the first round, and then because that wasn't effective, I was given a different type of chemotherapy called GCLAC. I am now waiting for the results of my biopsy to see if that has wiped out the leukaemia so I am ready for a stem cell transplant.

Andy has been in touch with me via email and I think he is going to pass on my email address to you so we can keep in touch and compared notes. 

Jane x


Hi Jane, ok I will wait for Andy to pass on your details, I haven't heard from him yet about it? If you have mine already please do get in touch!  I had AML, had 4 cycles of chemo which was sucessful so far so no transplant needed.  Been researching and it all depends on the gene mutation you had as your treatment was different to mine so would be intereting to know what yours were.  I know what mine was.  Hope to hear from you soon Anna x


Hi both, 


I am sorry for the late reply - Andy is not in the office today, but I would be very happy to put the two of you in touch.  Would you both like to email me at kkeightley@bloodwise.org.uk and I can do this for you today?


Many thanks, 

Kate - 

Patient Experience Manager


Hi Kate, have you forwarded my details on?  I haven't heard anything, I did reply to your email. Thanks Anna