You have Mail

Just this morning it had crossed my mind that I should send Angela Carless some form of electronic Christmas greeting, so seeing her name on my phone at lunchtime wasn’t as surprising as it might have been. Perhaps she was sending me Christmas greetings… lots of people do at this time of year? I hadn’t been following the news headlines lately or I might have guessed what was about to happen – or at least what she was asking permission to make happen…

We go back in time, fall down the rabbit-hole, a wormhole, into forgotten events and emotions: Sam has a brain tumour again.  There I was living as if he doesn’t! I’d put that story to sleep and turned my back, trying to get on with a normal life – as much as is possible with the shadow always in the back of your mind.  But here is the reporter, wanting an update, asking for a story that is ‘on topic’ – and the subject under debate is ‘conventional v. alternative medicine in the treatment of brain tumours’.  This would appear to be something we know something about… bona-fide experts in fact, as good as they come, with the scientific qualifications and the personal experience to match.

Angela has been good to us – once again the story is bought not given, which is enough of an incentive for Sam, especially at the moment. She knows us all and has treated us with respect, seeking to help us by bringing Sam’s cancer journey to public notice, hoping it will spark more than debate, perhaps even new research.  We set our feet on this path many months ago now and of course we must continue it – despite the vulnerability of going public… that’s why I’ve been writing about it all this time: it was through this blog that Angela first found us! She is gladly granted her telephone interviews by both father and son.

Father and son, 2008

Father and son, 2008

But there’s a new twist to it this time – we are being brought out of storage to shed light on another tragic tale: the disagreeing parents of a young child locked in a court battle over his treatment. According to the Daily Mail, he’s post-op brain tumour resection and due radiotherapy follow up: this is the standard treatment to prevent regrowth. Dad says he must have the best that can be done, mum balks at the dreadful side-effects it threatens and does a runner with her son…

As I wrote to Angela when she asked for my quote – it’s heart-rending stuff! They’re caught between 2 evils and are disagreeing which is worst. The mother wants to believe there is another way – of course she does; she wants to believe, to hope against hope, that medical science has got it all wrong and so decides to put her faith in alternative methods to save her son’s life.  As Martin always says, it’s all about what you choose to put your faith in – and who trusts doctors anymore? Surely you can look it up on the internet yourself!

But the underlying issue, of course, is that no-one wants to face the evil at all, just find the best way to circumvent it. Mortality strikes again!  We all have to look it in the eye it in the end, but when it’s your child the loss is almost unbearable… That’s why they call it ‘the cancer journey’ – it can only be lived a step, a day at a time; emotions have to have time to catch up with reality. I guess this poor woman hasn’t had a chance to let hers do that – to let the diagnosis and prognosis sink in and become real; of course she wants to escape from that kind of pain, from losing her son even before she loses him – a living mourning.  I do know something about the valley of the shadow…

Sam son

Sam early on in his course of radiotherapy

I wonder what will be printed in tomorrow’s Daily Mail – it’s basically a rehash and update of the original Mail on Sunday story that they uncovered when doing their archive research.  I hope they don’t set father and son against each other again with their editorial choices – or make me feel a victim – or cause a barrage of online attacks on Martin from the alternative medicine brigade who seem to pathologically hate scientists, even when they are long-suffering, compassionate, even grieving fathers.

We’ll have to wait and see tomorrow: as I said, it’s only possible to cope with this journey one day at a time.


About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Mothering, Sam's journey, Something to say, Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You have Mail

  1. John Lowton says:

    Thanks Sally Ann, x

  2. Sally Ann says:

    For those who have been searching for our article, an editorial decision was made to hold it over until Saturday’s paper. I haven’t checked to see if it’s in there yet: perhaps I won’t. As they have bought the story it is up to them what they do with it now – a lot to trust for and to be honest my emotions have been very stirred up by having all this happening again. Perhaps I will just ignore it! #notlisteningfingers

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