Aug 24 2011

It’s been a few weeks since I last updated everybody with how Camille is progressing. The truth is, thankfully, we are undergoing a period of normality and the frequency of “News” is decreasing to low if not boring levels. However, we are now just a couple of weeks away from Camille’s first day at school and the next phase in her life.

You may remember from when I last blogged that Camille was undergoing a lot of tests and observations to assess what help she might need when she starts at primary school in September. We were generally pretty unsure as to what might be required and what she may be deemed to need to allow her to flourish at the school like any other child. I will say that Suffolk County Council have been superb; the amount of people who have wanted to see Camille and the assistance they have given has been a pleasant surprise. We are pretty sure that Camille will be fully supported by the relevant authorities and that her school will be able to use the necessary levels of funding to ensure that Camille can keep up in class.


Camille herself is very sharp, it’s more the issues with her sight, hearing and physicality that could be the issue, so simple things will probably make a long difference. The whole point of the Camille’s Appeal charity is to support children post-treatment, it’s been a positive surprise to see some of the support around education that is already available if you push and are able to get it. That’s half the battle, having the will and the energy to make yourself heard; Hayley has it in abundance.


Camille and her sister are thoroughly enjoying their time at home for the summer although we can appreciate why parents are pulling their hair out during the summer holidays. Hayley is feeling the heat from attempting to entertain the two Munchkins all week while I’m working. Drawing, Play-doh and the park are all things that regularly get rolled out to cover half an hour of the day. By the time I get away from the laptop Hayley is shattered and has been known to conserve energy for the baby by going to bed soon after dinner time. Camille’s energy is improving all the time and it is so nice now that she has become slightly more physical; I don’t fear tickling her belly or carrying her in a silly position or similar. Up until recently, any of these things would have sent her into an uncontrollable flurry of screams followed by inevitable tears and a hug from Mummy.


So, the baby is well on the way to the big day. We are now half way through the pregnancy and now there is no question that Hayley is pregnant. We went along to the hospital this week for the 20 week scan. These days are truly wonderful experiences and I still remember to this day the same event with Camille and Lucia. The question is, what are we having? We did find out but we are not telling friends or family members as we would like to be able to give everyone a surprise even if we know ourselves.


The scan also had an element of fear and trepidation as both Hayley and I believe that Camille’s tumour was present at birth. We’ll never be able to prove it, but it is impossible to disprove and so much points towards that being the case. In any case, it doesn’t stop Hayley and I looking upon images of the baby with a higher level of scrutiny than is normal. We asked the sonographer whether she could see anything and I analysed every picture with my untrained eye for something that I wouldn’t recognise if it was staring me in the face. Everything looked good but a further scan is scheduled nearer the birth to allay our fears.


Another big change is on the horizon for the family but at this time I can’t divulge too much information. Things nearly do happen in threes though and we were considering a house move before we realised how dire the house market is at the moment and how much good hard cash we would need to up sticks. We’ve put any thoughts of moving on the back burner for a year or two so it means that some re-jigging of rooms and some fresh decoration is required in our current dwelling to accommodate a new arrival and to finally get me an office back following some period of time with me working in front of The Wright Stuff and Countdown.


I’m currently nursing a rosey red peeling face after spending Sunday in the middle of a field as Camille’s Appeal hosted our annual summer event to the public of Ipswich. This year we held a 5 mile run and a 1 mile Children’s Wiggle. I took on the run, cantering over rough terrain and steep inclines like a young Giant Haystacks. I finally got into gear after four miles, kicking on like Red Rum at Becher’s Brook; that is until I was 400 metres from home when my legs and lungs failed me leaving me to struggle over the line. The day went down very well and the foot fall at the event was great. I’m trying to think of original ideas to suggest for next year already, my thoughts are on a hand built downhill go kart race; Wacky Races here we come.


In the run up to our fun day on Sunday, we decided to raise the profile of the event by contacting our local paper for some free publicity - unfortunately we have found that whenever we approach the press, we have to give them something in return, ultimately an update on Camille.  The paper spoke to the Camille's Appeal CEO who was careful to only give information on the fun day, however the paper wanted to mention Camille's progress so they contacted Hayley and asked her a few questions, mainly about Camille starting school and an update on her condition.  Hayley was very careful to ensure the paper knew that we were far from over this battle and it would be a long 5 years before the hospital even mentioned 'remission', so imagine our surprise when on Saturday morning we found every newsagents i  Suffolk 'Ipswich toddler beats brain cancer' or 'brave Camille beats the odd's' emblazoned across it's newstands.  The paper had a picture of Camille on the front with the same headlines.


The actual article was very good, but the headlines certainly far from true.  No more press for Camille.


Thanks for your patience.