16 April 2011

D-day minus one

The story of how we ended up in the Queen Alexandria Hospital on 12 April 2011 is a testament to my Wife's self-belief. Paige was sick in Trinidad back in March with a bacterial infection and the doctor, puzzled by two items on the blood test, advised that we get a follow-up test done on our return to England. By this time, Paige was back to her normal bouncy, fiesty (in the words of the doctor on call that night) self and the GP (quite reasonably) did not think that a test was necessary. Lisa insisted. The test was done at 1500 and by 1700 the GP called and told her to take Paige to the hospital. By 1915 Dr Walker told us that she was almost certain that Paige had Leukaemia (the formal diagnosis was given the next day). Her white cell count was 120 (normal levels are around 10) and she was dehydrated (they started a drip almost immediately).

How do you react to such news? Dr Walker came in to the room and told us to sit down - both of us declined: we are big, hard-backed adults. Nevertheless, it hit us like a freight train. Leukeamia is one of those illnesses the reputation of which precedes it  - and most us know little about it (for example, survival rates are upwards of 85%, on average). And yet...surely this only happens to other people? You know, in the movies?

And then, because we are both control freaks, we started asking all sorts of practical questions about treatment courses, likely hospitalisation periods, etc. Because practical considerations can distract you from all of the (unpalatable) possibilities. Plus, focusing on what you can control helps to take your mind off how actually how helpless we are in this situation. That's not true: we have a huge and important role to play in Paige's fight.

But we sure felt helpless that night.



  1. Gosh, Im so glad you started this blog and it is a testament to what wonderful people you and Lisa are that you have time to think of family and friends at this trying time. I will support you guys in prayer. Everything happens for a reason - dig deep and I know you will find the strength and wisdom and peace to handle this. When I met the kids in March in TT - they brought so much joy and inspiration to me (given my own situation). The only thought I could have about them was "Wow..what perfect little miracles they both are". Paige will be fine.. I know it in my heart... the purpose will be revealed in time. All my love to you guys and hope to see you soon when I am in the UK.

  2. I just realized that the first comment I posted last night did not get published. Think I forgot to type in the "password". Anyway--Essentially I was encouraging both Russ and Lisa to ALWAYS stay positive and project this attitude to little Paige, regardless of tests etc., because what medical science still can't measure is the effect of patient attitude on recovery. But we do know that it is enormous. So stay strong. Paige will be just fine. She came into this world with a feisty spirit for a reason, and she will draw on that powerful resource. We will send up lots of prayers from this side of the family, and lots of positive thoughts and good karma to Paige's little cot. Love Love, Auntie Angela (Rickford)

    PS: I totally agree with Margaret Rose's sentiments that the reason for this will be revealed to you later.