23. Christmas Eve

Everybody else is preparing for the festivities, a very strange feeling because that would normally be us....
What we didn't know was that this was to be our last ever Christmas together ,and what a way to spend it.
Tony was given a lumber punch and the 'Red' drug,on return from theatre we were told that he had everybody laughing because of his humour, he had apparently told the nurses that he was a 'drug pusher' for the last 15 years pushing sherbet dips,caffeine and salt and pepper. It was so funny to listen to him, it was of course a side effect of the drugs he had been given but it just brought out a little more of his sense of humour.

As the day progressed so did the reality that we would be spending this Christmas in this sad old dingy building with all the other sick kids and their families.
Many were give a reprieve and allowed to return home for a few days, but not Tony whilst all his friends were out having a good time he was fighting for his life.

For me...what can I say,how can I explain to you how I felt. I had one son possibly dying in front of my eyes and another 125 miles away in possible danger of another sort. As a Mum I felt useless that I couldn't help either of my boys as I should have been able to.
Laurrie was slap bang in the middle and so it was down to me to put on that brave face and false smile to try to make us all believe that it would come good in the end.


22. The Journey Begins.....

Tony was started on Copadin 1, this was the first of five days of chemotherapy. He was very chirpy all day , and even though he was on a drip it never stopped him from messing around.

I couldn't keep up with his appetite, he was eating like mad and couldn't seem to get enough food, probably a side effect of the steroids that he was now taking.

So far so good, no sickness and apart from having to drag the drip to the bathroom every 2 minutes the ordeal didn't appear nowhere near as bad as we expected.

As for me.... how can I put into words how proud I felt of this courageous young man. I stayed until 7pm that evening and then headed to Clic House to spend another night away from home


21. Preparation Day

Today was preparation day for the start of COPADM 1, in other words the start of the intrusive chemotherapy.
He had to endure scans and an echo of his heart to ensure he was well enough to start this gruelling treatment., tests revealed that his platelet count was low and this sadly gave him a bad headache.

I was staying in a house close by provided by a charity called CLIC (Cancer and leukaemia in children), without their help I don’t think I would have been able to have coped.
There was another couple staying there who were from Greece, their son George had been receiving treatment for quite a while, and although we were all going through the same it was really hard as the Mum spoke very little English.
She found it difficult to visit the hospital without getting too upset and so spent most of her days at the house cleaning, we all deal with these tragedies differently.

My daughter had also come to Bristol to stay in the house for the Christmas period, this was certainly going to be one that none of us would ever forget.
For me it was one of the first time I recall my new partner having a problem with alcohol, he got very drunk with the Greeks, however as a lot had happened during the 10 months that we had been together I brushed it aside assuming that it was his way of dealing with things….how very wrong I was, and how much I would have to pay in the future you have yet to discover.


20. A Little Revenge


With the letter compiled, full of the emotions that I was feeling towards this man and his family, off I set determined to seek some sort of ‘revenge’ albeit only a fraction of what I really wanted to do.
The previous night I had stayed up all evening planning how I was going to ensure that this piece of filth would not get away without me having my say.
I had arranged to pick up my sister as she wanted to make sure that I never did anymore than I had said I would and get myself into trouble.

So together we took James back to the house and handed him over to spend Christmas with this family, instead of with us and his brother who was possibly going to have his last Christmas ever.
After dropping him off we took a copy of the letter and delivered it to his parents house, after all they were as much involved, they were part of 'The Team'.
We then went to his place of work and waited….. Armed with the card, letter and a leather belt, I marched in through the store to confront him.
He saw me coming and tried to escape to the store room, but as previously said, nothing on this earth was going to stop me…I chased after him and cornered him so that he had no other choice than to face me.
I forced the letter, card and belt into his hand and said these words which I remember as though it were yesterday…

“You **********. The scum of the earth, how dare you send MY son a card and have the nerve to write from 'Dad' inside, after all the lies that you have said about him to the courts to ‘win’ custody of my baby. You kept hospital appointment letters for Tony which may well have been the difference between life and death. Have the card back Tony doesn’t want it and take this letter, read and digest how you and your parents have torn my family apart, and then do us all a favour and take the belt and hang yourself from the nearest rafter!!”.

The whole of the Electrical Store when deadly quiet and not one person attempted to stop me from having my say….
They say revenge is sweet….No way, it didn’t stop the fact that Tony was possibly dying and we were to spend Christmas in a hospital 120 miles away from James.
Where was I going to get the strength to help these children?…I was so lonely, nobody could possibly understand. How could I give all 3 children the 100% of me that was needed, there wasn’t enough of me to share around.
But from somewhere the strength came and I pulled myself together and drove back to Bristol the following day to start all over again


19. A Woman Scorned

Laurrie and James were settled in bed for the night, Tony was in hospital 125 miles away being cared for by David and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity I was able to sit in my own home and reflect over the last 10 months.
I felt as though I was being punished for walking away from a marriage that was slowly destroying us all, more to the point my children were the ones who were suffering…But what would have been the consequences had I of stayed ?
Tony would have still got poorly and then what would have happened, no doubt my ex would have made a great show for the outside world at what a good Dad he was , but no-one truly knew how he had been treating them. Would he have started to talk to Laurrie and Tony ? Had Tony got cancer because of the stress that he put him through? Would James have been safe….Would I have been encouraged to give up my job, and he provide for us instead, so that I could look after my children as a mother should, instead of being the breadwinner that he expected me to be …and how dare he send a card with ‘best wishes from Dad’….he wasn’t his Dad, he gave up that right when he took James from us and lied and lied and lied, and had now taken to sleeping in the same bed as my little vulnerable little boy. Tony’s biological Dad hadn’t been around since he was 2, but this was the man that despite how he treated him, Tony regarded as his father and even took his surname.
So many thoughts reeling through my head, and I knew all the answers…the hatred towards him started to build and build as the evening progressed, I truly wanted to kill him. My little boy was safe in bed upstairs and I had to give him back in the morning. I cannot even begin to put into words how I felt, I was being emotionally ripped apart, I just couldn’t give each of my children the 100% of me that they all needed, wanted and deserved.
And where were MY family when I needed them, 4 sisters who were all mothers themselves and a father shacked up in another country with his new wife. I had one sister who couldn’t do enough and looking back I should have allowed her to do more but because nobody else was forthcoming it didn’t feel right that I should put such a heavy burden on her shoulders, and so all my heartache was passed onto my new partner David.

That evening I wasn’t able to sleep and decided that I couldn’t go back to Bristol without speaking my mind to my ex and passing him back the card as Tony had asked me to do.
I knew that he would be working (in a large electrical store) and that once he saw me he would run, and so I decided that my best option would be to put what I wanted to say in writing so that I could hand it to him if I couldn’t get the chance to talk to him.
I also decided that as his parents were also ‘part of the team’ as the judge had said that they should also be given a piece of my mind. After all this normally feisty little woman that I am, had been unnaturally quiet over the last 10 months so as not to upset James. However the time had come and I just had to do something….
And so all through the night as my children slept , my thoughts were put into writing of what devastation this man and his parents had done to me and my children through their lies and actions.
Tomorrow would my day and come hell or high water nobody or nothing was going to stop me……………..


18. My return home

I was really anxious to see Laurrie and James away from the hospital and be able to explain what was happening to they’re brother. As Laurrie was 17 at that time she fully understood the situation , but how do you explain to your estranged 6 year old son ? …especially under the circumstances.
The Clic Social Worker was fantastic in this area and was able to give me some good sound advice. She provided me with a little book based on the ‘Little Men’ characters and the storyline was about a child who had a tumour. The book was interactive in that James would be able to colour things in and add his own feelings etc.
When I collected James from his fathers house he was sent out to the car on his own, holding a card in his hand. When we arrived home I discovered that the card he had was addressed to Tony at the hospital. When I phoned Tony later that day and told him he asked me to open it….inside was a ‘get well’ card signed from ‘Dad’.
Tony was really upset by this , this was from the man that had the audacity to lie in court about my whole family, Tony included, to enable him to win the residence order for whatever purpose he had in mind. Tony’s reaction was ‘give it back to him Mum and tell him to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine!’
I couldn’t believe that this man was still prepared to hurt my children, he must have known how Tony would have reacted after all what he had done to us, or was it a case of him thinking that because we were facing death that all would be forgiven ? Well he would be given that answer soon, but not today, today was for me James and Laurrie and no-one or nothing was going to upset us anymore.
Today was quality time with my 2 healthy children while David was pampering Tony 125 miles away.