Self-isolation diary: Madeleine’s chemo has been delayed


At the crack of dawn on Saturday morning three Lindt bunnies appeared on the doorstep for Madeleine. She has a reward chart for taking her ‘weekend medicine’, an antibiotic given for two days of every week while she’s on chemotherapy.

Madeleine has never found taking medicine easy, and medicines are commonplace with childhood cancer. Chocolate bunnies are her reward of choice after successful completion of both days, so we were extremely grateful for this drop off.

Heidi and I did our online ballet class – it’s the closest we can get to replicating her usual Saturday routine and it actually feels great after a good stretch and some time together.

My husband got his electric guitar out after a long hiatus. His guitars have been largely untouched since Madeleine’s diagnosis. He spent a really enjoyable couple of hours jamming and we were treated to renditions of Gary Moore’s Parisienne Walkways and What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes. The highlight was his duet with Madeleine on ukulele, rocking out to Guns N’ Roses’s Sweet Child O’ Mine.

The boys of the household, Eddie and Padre as he calls his dad, cooked up Mexican as they do every Saturday evening. It’s great bonding time and they enjoy their time together. I doubt we will be able to sustain too many more themed nights as we simply don’t have the supplies any longer.

Sunday saw Madeleine and daddy make ‘rainbow pancakes’ for breakfast as she had watched her favourite YouTuber ‘A for Adley’ make some similar ones.

She just about finished her pancakes, polished off with some maple syrup, when the Hospital at Home nurse came to do a repeat set of blood tests.

The results show that while Madeleine she is not neutropenic (has a low white cell count) at present, her neutrophils and platelets are slightly below what is acceptable for her final cycle of chemo to start tomorrow as originally planned.

The afternoon was a bit of a free for all, with the children moving from the shed to play table tennis, to doing art or playing toys. I did some laundry for the week ahead. My mum regularly takes my washing due to the volume of appointments for Madeleine, but this can’t happen at the moment as she is in her seventies and is herself in isolation.

The whole family took part in a pub-style quiz.

A Sunday roast ensued, followed by a pub-style quiz. This was so much fun. It was compiled by a friend who herself had chemo nine years ago and has been instrumental in supporting me through this time with my daughter. We split into three teams and it was an absolute riot of an hour, really enjoyable. Us parents beat the teens!

At bedtime I had a little downtime so decided to sample the Netflix sensation that everyone is talking about, The Tiger King (not for family viewing) as well as the final film of Bridget Jones trilogy. It was a lovely way to round off an enjoyable weekend.

Mum-of-four Emma Cooper, aged 42, lives in Meir Park with her husband Scott, 47, and children Eddie, 15, Louise, 14, Heidi, nine, and Madeleine, four. Madeleine is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a stage four germ cell tumour, so the family are only leaving the house for essential medical appointments.

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