Chemo Crew take on Chepstow!
Hello again, Willberry Wonder Pony here hoping all of my fans out there haven’t missed me too much. I hear I have quite the fan base now; 12,000 followers on Instagram and 2,000 on twitter! Oooh I say, I do feel rather special, although Hannah keeps reminding me I “mustn’t let it get to my head else it’ll get as big as my belly” which personally I think is rather rude.
So let’s head back to last Sunday shall we, Hannah’s first Sunday in a long time she’s been out of hospital. So out of all the things you could do on a Sunday what do we do?… Get the cows in of course! Now initially I didn’t think this was one of Hannah’s smartest ideas, especially as she is on crutches and a little slow to manoeuvre. Cows, being cows, can often be flighty, a little like a horse, and fast. Hannah was slow.
The cows were fast…
Hmm…. However, Hannah being typical Hannah, and stubborn as she is, trundled off down the track with myself in hand and Dad and Grandpa by her side. Half an hour later a herd of cows return, myself and Hannah crutching on behind – no issues there then it would seem. That afternoon she slept like a baby, obviously worn out by the mornings exertions. When she awoke we played monopoly and I was the banker. If anyone else in this family were it then there would be cheating so I’m the only trustworthy one. It was a good, solid game that Hannah won so she slept happy that night. She also slept well because the pain team had finally found some pain relief that works – HALLELUJAH! Phew… well so we thought…
Oh dear, maybe we did overdo it the day before. The pain is back and it’s angry for sure. Well we had 24 hours of bliss, 24 hours of 0 out of 10 pain, 24 hours of not needing breakthrough pain killers (she takes these when in pain between taking her morning and evening ‘long acting’ painkillers that don’t seem to ‘long act’ at the moment) for poor Hannah. But she keeps on battling through and Monday morning we went food shopping which for her was for the first time in ages and for me it was the first time ever.
It was so much fun riding in the seat in the front of the trolley, who knew there were so many kinds of food. So many kinds of apples! Surely the supermarket could have given me, Willberry Wonder Pony, some carrots for free?
Don’t they know I’m a VIP? Hannah’s mum gave me a very stern look when I had a little nibble off the tops of the carrots. I don’t see why it was such a crime. A lady called an occupational therapist visited Hannah when we got home and she looked around the house to find ways of helping Hannah get around more independently. They are going to put some bars in the shower to help her stand up, raise the bed so it’s easier to get in and out of and put another rail up the stairs so Hannah has support on both sides when climbing them. All good stuff! Hannah’s friend Minty came for pizza AGAIN at lunch time – I think that’s the only thing those two eat – and they had a lovely horsey catch up. Once Minty had gone Hannah had a good dose of painkillers and another snooze with me (it’s a growing trend this nap) once again clearly out done by her morning of adventure. When she finally awoke from her slumbers she did a bit of blogging but of course she is nowhere near as good as me at it.
Hannah had an awful night with a serious amount of burning pain in her leg and not much sleep Monday evening. Thank goodness I was there to see her through it… it’s so hard to see her suffering. Three lots of painkillers later and we made it through to Tuesday and we were on top of the pain…for a little while anyway. Fortunately today was much quieter and Hannah just had a couple of visitors to see so she spent most of the day led down, reading the horse and hound, finishing her blog and snoozing away. So we’ve made it to Wednesday and golly that was an early start at 6am! Talk about spoil my beauty sleep Hannah! It was for a pretty good reason though; we were going cross country schooling! So we left at 7am and made the seriously long journey of 3 hours to Austin O’connor’s yard to meet Tom there with Mavis. The best bit was that Lucinda Green was teaching them AND she recognised me and Hannah straight away giving Hannah a big hug! I could see just how elated Hannah was by the whole situation and she learnt a huge amount about Mavis and from the other horses there. The serious pain Hannah went through during the journey up there was worth it for how big a grin was pinned on her face for the rest of the day. The journey back was slightly less painful as she slept for the journey home after walking around wore her out so much! When we got back the physiotherapist was there so it was fortunate she had had a rest on the way home. She started her exercises today, which I know Hannah had been really excited about, and the physio was pleased with what they did. She left exercises for her to do each day and I know Hannah will do them as she is so determined to get stronger and independent again. We slept from then until late in the evening – clearly a very busy day today!! However Hannah woke to some horrendous news, a professional event rider who had supported her weeks ago, just as I was taking off, had been diagnosed with cancer, his name was Ben Hobday. Her phone was binging non-stop bing bing bing bing bing people telling her, wanting her to say something, do something, message him, help him. It was all very over whelming and made Hannah quite emotional. First it was the shock, then it was the realisation, then it was the sadness and concern. I suppose the exact same pattern that had occurred for Hannah but on a far larger scale as he is so well known. We shed a couple of tears that evening and I was a good mop for once.
Exceedingly bad pain started our day on Thursday so not a great start but Hannah still did her physiotherapy and worked through the exercises well. Luckily the nurse came to take some blood from Hannah at lunch time and we were able to discuss the hurting. Another lot of painkillers later to add to the two lots taken we were back on top of it.
Hannah had a couple of hours bliss before it wore off again. Her blood was all good at the moment so we have to wait until Monday for the next check to see that all the components of her blood are in the right quantities and the same for different cells, especially white ones as they gobble up the bad guys. The bad thing is that chemotherapy destroys these white blood cells unintentionally so Hannah has no defence to infection. If anything is too low she will need a transfusion, which is when I become #chiefbloodpony for blood or #chiefplateletpony for platelets! Clever aye. Unfortunately white blood cells cannot be transfused; instead the body has to fight to make them again after they’ve been destroyed. If Hannah gets an infection when the white blood cells aren’t there she goes to hospital and is put in isolation to be treated but she is desperate for that not to happen so that she can go and watch Mavis competing at her events. We also posed for a photo to post online to support Ben Hobday hoping to put a smile on his face because we #eventerssticktogether!
Hannah wrote in her diary ‘leg stop hurting PLEASE’. Not good is it and I hate being so helpless just as I know her mum and dad feel too. We spent most of the day in the sun and lots of people seemed to pop in and say hello. Hannah had a very exciting delivery that morning, she received an onesie. But this wasn’t just any old onesie, oh no, this onesie was special. It was special because… it was me! An incredibly kind company called All Stitched Up have designed an onesie called the Willberry Onesie which is on sale NOW (you need to go get yourself one!) and £10 - yes a whole £10 - of each one is going to cancer charities! That’s pretty cool isn’t it? Where can I get one do I hear you say? Well! Here’s the link my friend: http://www.allstitchedupdesign.com/ and click on Willberry! Simples! So I really really really really think that you should get one too. Pretty please with a cherry on top! It would make Hannah very happy indeed.
So anyway back to Friday, Hannah’s Grandma came to see her and then went to Bath to collect her prescription of more painkillers, well what a pallava! When she got there it wasn’t ready so they told her to come back in an hour. She went back in an hour only to find that the prescription had been written wrong, it was 12pm at this time mind, so needed to be rewritten by a doctor and wouldn’t be ready till 5pm! Poor Grandma had to wait for 5 hours just for some pills and didn’t get back home to Hannah till 6pm – what a long day. So Willberry Wonder Pony gives Grandma a big kiss to say thank you. Overall Friday was a nice resting day for me and Hannah so we have both charged our batteries ready for our tomorrow!
The most exciting day of all was Saturday, because I got to have a go at eventing! Yes me, Willberry! First things first Hannah was so happy to finally make it to an event where Mavis was competing. Every time she had intended to go before she had been in hospital or caught an infection so to finally get there she was over the moon. We had missed Mavis’ dressage that morning as it was very early on and she didn’t jump until late afternoon and as travelling and sitting is so difficult for Hannah due to pain we travelled to Chepstow at lunchtime instead, just before the showjumping. If Hannah had been in pain, waiting for hours would have been unbearable. So, once Tom and I had course walked this whopping great big course we hopped on board Mavis. Now I have to say I think Tom had the more comfortable seat as I found myself hanging on for dear life from the stirrup leather keeper. Not the most flattering of angles for me for photographs either I must say! But once we got going I soon settled down and left the pro to it.
Talk about throw me in at the deep end! I’ve never done a single event in my whole entire life and they stick me on a horse I’ve only ridden once and send me round this huge course that is being ridden by competitors that have been 4*! We haven’t even talked about the competition I’m up against. Even so, I needn’t have worried as Mavis jumped a beautiful clear round. Now for the cross country eeeek! Now that’s what you call big and scary! I didn’t have much time to think about it though as wooooosh we were away and Mavis flew round again – good girl! Hannah was so chuffed with a double clear in her first intermediate-novice and I’m so chuffed she was there to see it. So we are both totally and utterly plonked after yesterdays efforts. For me it was hanging on very tightly and for Hannah it was staying awake for more than 6 hours and remaining upright! This week we have a couple of things planned but all our hopes are pinned on Barbury on Friday. Hannah keeps on being pessimistic and thinks she will have an infection by then and is bound to have to miss it but I’m hopeful that my best friend is going to be lucky and get two trips out on her little break between chemotherapies. Let’s keep everything crossed that she can make it!
Lots of love,