Revised Targets

Apr 18 2010

A year ago I turned thirty and set upon the task of achieving ten challenges/ambitions before I reached my next birthday. In June 2009 my challenge came to an abrupt end when Camille was diagnosed with her brain tumour. For the purpose of “closure” I’d like to share with you how much I achieved:

Break a World Record – Unfortunately, I did not succeed in breaking a world record but I did give it a good go. My attempt at eating nine Ferraro Roche in a minute was lack lustre and I just managed to swallow my sixth by the time the buzzer went.

Appear on a TV quiz show – I did audition for Terry Wogan’s Channel Four quiz show but I was clearly not “interesting” enough to make the actual show. I bet the woman who did an impression of Cilla Black got on.

Run the London Marathon – Success! Although I was beaten to the finish by a man dressed as a Womble.

A Tour of the Houses of Parliament by my MP – Well, we did get a tour of 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister’s wife. That’ll do.

Run 800m in Under Two Minutes – Let’s just say I won’t be challenging for Olympic medals in two years time.

Get Something Published – Bingo, I’ve just submitted an article for publication and I guess the blog could count.

Audition for the X-Factor – Sorry, I didn’t.

See the Rolling Stones Live – I think I had to change this to Wacko as the Stones weren’t touring last year. I did manage to get tickets to see the slightly strange musical legend, but then of course he went and died. I will always have the memory of sitting alone on the sofa having just got Camille home for the first time after diagnosis, watching the Michael Jackson funeral on Sky News. It was the worst time of my life.

Attend a Music Festival – Hayley did buy me tickets to the V Festival from a fraudulent website. We wouldn’t have gone in the end, but as we didn’t ever receive the tickets we would have struggled to get in.

Bungee Jump – I am yet to do a bungee jump. However, as of the 28th August I will have achieved this particular ambition as I am doing the Camille’s Appeal sponsored Bungee Day.

Who knows how much of the list I would have achieved if Camille had not become ill, but her journey and the will to get her better remains the biggest challenge and ambition we have ever had to face.

Camille again attended hospital this week for chemotherapy. As with most sessions we had planned our week around a Tuesday admission so Hayley worked Monday and planned to work on the Friday. Our car is due a service too, so I booked the car in on Thursday as Camille was due to arrive home on Wednesday. Unfortunately, when the hospital called on Tuesday, we were told that there were no beds available and it was unlikely there would be the day after. So, we were left with the likelihood of missing the car service and also Hayley working on Friday. Of course, we almost have to wait by the phone as nothing is certain and we could be called in at any time. As you can imagine, Hayley became pretty annoyed with the process; we are at the mercy of the hospital and as much as you try to plan a week, it is almost impossible.

I went to a meeting early on Wednesday. On the way back I phoned Hayley to find that she was already sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, we had been called in only a day late meaning that only the car service required rescheduling. We do understand why the hospital run this process but it doesn’t help us maintain a routine, to achieve what can be construed a semi-normal life. After a night of sickness, Camille and Hayley arrived home mid-Thursday afternoon.

This morning, as a birthday treat, I went for a round of golf with my two brother-in-laws. Having not played for well over a year, it was no surprise that I spent the first nine holes slicing, dicing, cutting and pulling the ball all over the course. I’d been out the previous day to get a box of new balls but it’s hard to lose a ball when you don’t hit it much further than twenty yards. Strangely, as soon as I teed off from the 10th hole everything seemed to click. Sthwack! Ping. Sthwack! Ping. Sthwack! Ping “Fore!”. Well you can’t hit everyone straight can you?

I spent the rest of the day with girls and Hayley, enjoying a lovely lunch and just relaxing around the house. Even relaxing days have their challenges. Camille has now got into the rhythm of having some serious tantrums over very silly little things. She doesn’t tend to kick and roll around on the floor like most other two year olds, instead she screams so hard that she makes herself sick. So today, straight after getting out of the bath, Camille was sick all over the playroom floor and of course herself.  I don’t remember how long it was before Lucia stopped having these episodes, but I do remember it was well after her third birthday. Oh the joy!

So, the next year of my life begins. I’m hoping and praying that this year will be the one that sticks in my memory forever as the year that my daughter gets better, the year that everything changes for the better.