Over the years I have documented Kerri’s Journey in different forms. In 2009, I kept a written diary and in 2012 I wrote a blog on line.I found this both therapeutic for myself and also a great way of keeping all the people that support us updated. I have been threatening for a long time to document the journey we have been on since May but the timing was never right. I think the reason for this was the fact i wasn’t ready to think about what we have gone through over the last few months. I am going to start at the beginning when Kerri was first diagnosed so people unfamiliar with Kerri’s history will get a brief insight into where we were prior to May this year. Thank you all for your continued support, it means so much to us as a family and also thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Kerri was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia(ALL) on 23rd October 2009 after having a persistent temperature for 72hours. Absolutely no other symptoms and really was quite well in herself, She had just started walking the previous month. We brought her to GP, who sent us to Temple St Children’s Hospital where after a few hours observation, they wanted a blood test before discharging us home. This blood test came back grossly abnormal and they were able to identify from this abnormality that Kerri had ALL. When the consultant in A&E told us, myself and Paul were floored, completely. We were transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin and Professor Owen Smith was waiting on us. He looked at her bloods himself and confirmed at 4.45pm on Friday 23/10/09 that Kerri indeed had ALL and treatment needed to start immediately.(Treatment at the time was 2.5 years for girls and 3 for boys)
Our world fell apart that day, and its a day i remember as clear as yesterday. In that moment everything changed, our beautiful, healthy 14 month old first baby had to battle an illness and we were so unsure of everything…. Everything.
Walking on to St Johns ward in Our Ladys Hospital is something you can never be prepared for and you will never be the same again..You feel so vulnerable walking through the doors, and the sight of so many kids of varied ages with no hair is so unnerving on the first day of your journey. You get some insight into what lies ahead for your child and your mind goes into overdrive.
Kerri started intensive treatment that night, and on the Saturday she was brought to theatre To have a Hickman line put in (this is a long line that goes into the chest and into a big vein near the heart, its for easy blood taking and also administering Chemotherapy and Blood transfusions) The kids all call them Freddys.
The next 6 months were very tough and we had some scary times, Kerri had Swine Flu and was isolated for weeks on end. She also developed numerous other infections in her chest, one which led to her spending a week in Intensive Care Unit on a Ventilator. This was one of first occasions that we were told to be prepared that Kerri might not survive. But Kerri would not give up and fought hard and a week later we got home from hospital. Kerri continued to have regular chemo and regular stays in Crumlin over the next year, but we did get to spend some time at home.
That is just a brief insight into the first approximately 9 months of treatment. I will continue the next phase of her treatment in my next post.
Thank you for reading,