When I was 7 and my Dad was in his early 30's he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer and embarked on a serious of operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy that would last into my teens. He, like Emma, spent periods of time in isolation. I have vague memories of visiting the hospital in Glasgow with my brother, waving at Dad through the glass, and then playing in the hospital corridors whilst my Mum sat on a chair by Dads door.
In the 1980's the radiotherapy treatment which Dad was given was very much in the experimental stage - he had huge doses, in retrospect probably far larger than were required. However where chemotherapy had failed to make a difference, the radiotherapy worked - it shrunk the tumours time and again, until his treatment was able to stop and he was not required to be separated from us again.
Recently, whilst clearing out a cupboard, I came across a handwritten poem - which I composed for Dad on his 40th birthday. I was 16 at the time and 40 years old really did seem ancient. Here's a very flattering picture that I drew of Dad at the foot of the page...
And now that he is 40 years
and sprouting silver hairs,
he'll talk about getting a walking stick
and sit in comfy chairs,
but bordem sure won't bother him
nor being over the hill,
he's got his wife for company
and she is older still!
My own husband turned 40 earlier this year, and I'm 37 - the idea that my son may be thinking similar of us is very unappealing!!
But my message for you Emma, is that although Dad was seriously ill during my childhood, with frequent spells in hospital - sometimes in isolation - these days are not at the forefront of my memory at all. I was young and I was resilient - and your children I hope will be the same. I have no doubt that the separation was actually much harder for my Dad than it was for my brother and I. We got to visit, we got to wave - and ultimately - we believed that he was going to be OK.
Which he was!
On his 40th...
On his 50th...
And in the summer of last year - his 60th!
Best of luck to you Emma.
Your girls love you very much -
this time will pass and you will have them back in your arms very, very soon xxx