Read Joel’s Journey
I was given devastating news, the words no parent should ever hear, that my son Joel, then aged 5, had cancer.
He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) the most common childhood cancer.
I was 36.5 weeks pregnant and here I was, facing birth of my new baby son, knowing my middle son was going to be fighting for his life.
Joel was admitted straight to hospital and the next day he was fitted with a Hickman line which would be used to give him Intravenous Chemotherapy, antibiotics and many other medications.
Two and a half weeks after being diagnosed he became very sick, it was discovered Joel had developed Sepsis and this was clinging to his Hickman line.
He had to have an emergency operation to remove his line and a temporary one was then fitted.
This all came the day after his baby brother Jaden was born – I was stuck in the maternity hospital while Joel was in surgery for over 3 hours.
I should have been ready to take my new baby home, for his first night in his Moses Basket, instead I took him straight to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital to be with Joel.
At the end of Joel’s first month of treatment his bone marrow was tested, he was moved onto a more intense plan as his Leukaemia levels were not low enough.
Joel spent 9 months in and out of hospital (in more than out), he lost his hair, was sick, was sore all over, yet he rarely complained.
The needles were the worst for him, sometimes 5 adults were pinning my baby down, while I told him ‘it is all ok, it is all going to be ok.’
The guilt a mother goes through doing this to their child, a child who doesn’t even understand why they are ill.
I hated the fact I was always in hospital with Joel and Jaden, while my oldest was left at home with whoever would have him, but what else could we do.
Thankfully I had the support of my friends, family and of course everyone at Banks O’ Dee Sports Club where I worked.
Joel started maintenance treatment, a programme of mainly oral chemo, other meds, weekly bloods and monthly hospital visits – the intense stuff thankfully appeared to be behind him.
He embarked on his 3 year countdown to the all-clear, a plan which would continue until 2020.
I returned to work, life was better.
Things took a turn for the worst Joel was back in hospital, crippled with severe headaches.
My worst fears were confirmed the following evening when I was told Joel has relapsed and now the Leukemia was in his spinal fluid.
He is now back undergoing high intense treatment – most of that will be in Aberdeen, but Joel will also have to go to Glasgow to receive Radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Joel has another long fight on his hands and we are taking each day as it comes, his 2 brothers have had the bloods taken to be tested to see if they are a donor match, if they don’t match we hope to find one in the form of a donor (non relative).
If you would like to help taking part in our Group Cycle Marathon or any donations would provide a massive help to support Joel through this and give him the chance to enjoy life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read Joel’s Journey.
Amanda (Joel’s Mum)
Would you like to become a Bone Marrow Donor?
Below are links to register as a donor: