Sep 20 2010

Camille has now been off the chemotherapy for over two weeks and although the hair is yet to start growing back, the sickness has generally subsided and she is able to put on some weight. The problem is that she isn’t just putting on weight because she will look better for it and it will build her strength up; she’s putting on weight in readiness for her operation. Everything we do at the moment is all leading up to the operation with no thoughts post September breaking through to our current thoughts.

Well, that may be untrue. The fact is that is the way that I’m seeing things at the moment. I’m working really hard to ensure that I get everything to reasonable position before I hand it over for a few weeks. I look at Camille and I can’t see any other little girl than the one standing in front of me, the little girl that will definitely be with us up to the end of the month. I’m not thinking about what life would be like without Camille as she currently is; my tears a week ago haven’t returned but the vacant procession of my working week has continued to the point where I am better off away from it. Here’s the point, Hayley is not necessarily limiting her thoughts to the next few weeks. Like the past fifteen months, Hayley’s thoughts go on much further into the future which is making these weeks even more difficult for her.


We are also trying to give Camille some happy memories between now and the operation. This weekend we packed our bags and headed for a weekend in Windsor at Legoland. Camille was joined over the weekend by all of her cousins to make the experience truly memorable for all of us. We all set off in convoy on Saturday morning and Hayley, recently insured on my car, led the way south and around the M25. The traffic was awful for a weekend and eventually after carving our way through thousands of cars we landed at the main entrance to Legoland. I hadn’t been before and was struck by the view over Windsor and out to London from the entrance to the park. We got straight onto the rides and firstly queued for the big tyre water ride. The height restriction prevented Camille and her cousin Jake from going on in the end but I think she found great comfort in seeing Daddy and her other Uncles and Aunts coming off dripping with water. Camille was not so shy when we arrived at the next ride, the junior pirate ship. I say junior, but even Hayley’s brother was less than excited about going on. I sat next to Camille with one arm around her to offer her some comfort when the ride began to sway and rotate. The arm was not needed as she began to giggle like crazy as we set sail on the high seas, but after one too many waves the giggles turned to insecurity and we were lucky to finish the ride without any tears.


We continued through the afternoon, Camille enjoying the spinning spider ride with Mummy. We would have enjoyed the log flume, but after 45 minutes queuing the ride broke down and we had to leave empty boated. This seemed to be a common trait for the weekend as the following day, after traversing the ramparts of the dragon’s castle we sat on the big rollercoaster. We began to mosey around the track and whoosh we were off until seconds later as we hit the second incline we stopped……..and we stayed. As the carriage stayed frozen 40ft in the air, a young member of the Legoland team came sprinting out of a door wearing steel toe capped boats, hard hat and donned with a harness. After three or four meaningful strides, the young buck spun on his heels and ran back inside as quickly as he had come to our rescue. A few minutes later he returned, slightly out of puff, but with the keys that would let him into the ride enclosure so that he could set us free. He was soon joined by two colleagues who helped us to safety. It seems a little funny that they were covered in more safety equipment than Edmund Hilary as we climbed down in shorts and flip flops with a five year old.


Before all of this excitement took place we realised that the big rides at Legoland were a slight disappointment as the pain spent due to the length of the queues didn’t deliver the level of joy from the resulting rides. After a long first day Camille was zonked and on the way back to the Beaumont Estate Hotel a few miles down the road in Old Windsor, she fell asleep, which is where she stayed for the rest of the evening. In fact, we managed to unload the car, check in, dump our bags, go down for a drink and a meal and watch half of Dream Girls back in our room without even a stir from our exhausted little girl. The hotel was great to look at and the rooms were really quite special too, taking into account the decent rate we were charged.


I’d already gone to the bar to get a drink for Hayley and I in the bedroom while the girls slept. Naturally my clothes had slid off as I lay in bed watching Beyonce and Hudson wearing my underpants and socks; just then Hayley decided that she could manage just another schnifter. So, I obliged by getting dressed and hiking the half mile back to the bar and then back again with her favourite tipple. Hayley had hardly sipped the drink when she turned to me and said “I just want to watch the end of the film before….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”. She was fast asleep, with a full Bacardi and Coke twinkling in the bedroom light. Just as Hayley fell asleep, Camille stirred and woke up. Very quietly and sweetly she manoeuvred herself into a position where she could watch the singing ladies. Once the film had finished we turned off the lights and we both went back to sleep.


.As we were in the car on the second day, Camille suddenly said “Mummy, what’s in my head”, to which Hayley replied “It’s a tumour Honey”. Camille accepted the answer and said “…and they’re going to take it out?” I was dumbstruck as she spoke about her operation with no fear or trepidation. She finished by saying “….and they’ll put a mask over my face?” Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. It’s not fair, it’s really not fair.