Melody Berthoud
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Life after Childhood Leukaemia - what happens next

Melody Berthoud
Posted by
25 Sep 2016

Andrew was diagnosed with ALL on 3/10/12 so as we near our cancerversary I am mindful of the 7 month journey we have completed since finishing treatment on 20/2/16. Here is what I have learnt about life as a mummy after childhood cancer.

Life after childhood leukaemia - what happens next:

You get into a new routine surprisingly easily and forget about having to give daily chemo very quickly.

The children forget the day to day trauma; but you don't.

You discover that there are going to be long term effects even when you were really hoping there were not.

'Normal' childhood coughs, colds and illnesses are skewed in your mind and everything worries you.

Lots of people will tell you to get over it and get on with it but it takes a while.

It feels like you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the first 3 months and you don't know how to feel so you generally just feel numb when everyone expects you to be doing cartwheels and whooping.

The first proper sickness will happen and you will be so smug, pleased and relieved that you don't have to take a child to hospital at 3am.

You will feel sad yet happy about silly things like handing over your sharps bin and last tube of ametop.

Suddenly the medical professionals who you saw more often than your friends and family, who have seen you at your worst and in your pyjamas become someone you never see again.

Check ups for blood cancer are strange because they don't take your bloods or tell you your levels they just 'check' you're fine, which you are.

You get more sleep.

You fill out a form asking about current medical conditions or medication and for a while write 'recently completed treatment for leukaemia' but after 4/5 months write... None; and it feels odd.

No one asks for a date of birth. 

Children continue to be diagnosed and some even die. You feel constantly guilty for having a survivor but eternally grateful for being one of the 9 in 10 who survived.

You find yourself staring at your kids A LOT and thinking how utterly beautiful and amazing they are.

The cancer fog lifts and you wonder what important significant world events, books and films you have missed. 

No one arrives with fireworks, fanfares and flowers. Make your own celebrations... And celebrate the end, celebrate the journey you've been on and don't worry about what might be.

Enjoy life, because life is good. 


Eleanor Baggley

Another fantastic and uplifting blog, Melody. Your posts are always so honest and relatable and will be so helpful for other parents who find themselves in a similar situation. I hope Andrew continues to do brilliantly and that things continue to get better for you all as time goes on. As ever, we're here if you need anything. all the best, Eleanor

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