Well Saturday was Hannah’s first night back in a comfy bed after a very long time in hospital - hallelujah! Finally her pain seems to be almost sorted bar some stiffness from radiotherapy which is really great news and I’m so chuffed for her. A bacon and egg sandwich, yes some real food for the first time in ages, started our day followed by a lovely time in the sun watching Frank being schooled. It’s bitter sweet watching him being ridden but ultimately gives Hannah a true drive to get back on board and beat this awful disease. Her Grandma and Grampy came for lunch and a catch up which was really lovely before the other Granny came for tea and cake that afternoon! So many visitors, but what can I say, I am a VIP after all (with 15,000 followers on Instagram now – thank you!). Hannah has just started a new cancer kicking diet so everything she eats seems to revolve around broccoli – don’t ask me why – or lots of vegetables, so they had a healthy spaghetti using the soup from lunch time for tea, yummy for some I suppose!
Sunday Hannah feels 100 times better already from a day off from radiotherapy as they don’t do it on the weekends just every weekday. We slept really well too. So we had another day horsing planned to put a smile on Hannah’s face before we had to head back into hospital that evening. Knowing that she has to return to those four white walls makes my best friend so nervous and worried it really saddens me but we have to remember it’s for the best and it’s only because we are trying to make sure she gets better. But anyway for the best part of the day Hannah and I got to watch the pony club area eventing at West Wilts Equestrian. Wylye Valley Pony Club had teams in all the levels so it was a great turnout and we had loads of fun watching everyone. Hannah has already made goals to be competing herself next year! It was sad to think this was the first time in the last 5 years that Hannah wouldn’t qualify for the national championships in Cheshire, something that is always an incredible experience and an amazing thing to do. But again we cannot look at it negatively and only as something to make us strive harder to beat this and get there next year no matter what happens. So that evening we headed back to our board bed ready for radiotherapy first thing in the morning.
Wow a pain free radiotherapy session. We couldn’t believe it! Would it last? Time would tell! Once we had seen the pain team to tell them how well the drugs were going and the doctor we were surprised to be allowed home for the afternoon and allowed home to try and make our own way in the following day for radiotherapy dependant on her pain and whether she would need to stay again because of it. Fortunately, Tuesday morning, our trip in wasn’t too bad – hooray we can stay home! We had to wait over an hour for our appointment though – very dull! Unfortunately that hour with all those people probably wasn’t too great when Hannah is neutropenic… has no white blood cells to protect her… and that night alarm bells are ringing with a temperature of 39.4 – great. 5am Wednesday morning we are back in hospital. Boohoo.
Blood tests reveal Hannah has ecoli. Even better. That’s 7 days of antibiotics, every 4 hours, 7 days in hospital. Fantastic. Well that was a long old week. Hannah felt super dodgy for the first 4 days with a tummy bug which was just horrible to see. On Friday they did an ultrasound of her tummy to check that the infection had not clustered anywhere and fortunately it hadn’t. She needed a platelet transfusion and two lots of blood too. By Saturday we are feeling much perkier so have a couple of visitors to brighten things up. Frankie and Jordan were first in and they painted their nails and played a game of snooker in the chat room. Then Hannah’s auntie came for lunch and finally Laura and Kelly at 3pm for a good chat. After everyone had left she was super tired so slept for 3 hours but it was worth it and lovely to see so many kind people. Sunday morning however we were feeling really low and desperate to go home having been in the four white walls for so long now so we managed to convince the hospital that we could pop home for two hours in between antibiotics (that’s an hour for each way home and two hours at home!) just to brighten Hannah’s day, or try to anyway! Even though it was raining it’s amazing what the smell of home can do isn’t it. The rest of the afternoon was spent making a new rug for the floor of willberry (it’s not going too badly YET) followed by Toy Story 3 (not bad in my opinion). So Monday we are still here but finally get some good news, we can go home Tuesday night which was just fantastic and to come home to steak, cauliflower cheese and new potatoes just made Hannah’s day (thanks Grandma!).
Right! Hopefully that’s it for hospital bar radiotherapy visits for a little while and we can at last remain home until Sunday when chemotherapy starts again for a week. Well that’s our goal! It seems Hannah was determined to make her 4 days at home worthwhile and each day is pretty stuffed so here goes…
Wednesday morning we headed to Wylye Valley pony club camp for their infamous breakfast which Hannah was desperate for. It lived up to its reputation and was totally yummy and great to see so many smiley faces there too. Then we made our way to Grandma’s to collect more wristbands and willberry chocolates to distribute to people. We had radiotherapy at 2.45 but in our typical style broke down on the way there and were half an hour late once we had been rescued - hey ho it was fun! In all fairness we were home by 4.30 so able to give Chesney a really good brush much to Hannah’s delight and then do the best thing of all… RIDE! It’s been 3 whole months since she last rode and has physically been in too much pain to do so before. Finally being strong enough to clamber aboard her favourite and most special pony Thomas was a miracle. We were all so chuffed and so was Hannah. I think the grin says it all. Tommy was an absolute saint and stood like a rock. Hannah was quite upset when her leg gave way climbing up the steps but being as determined as she is she didn’t let it phase her and managed to make it to the top before she dragged it over the saddle and made it on top. Before we knew it she was off around the school grinning so much I thought she would explode. It was the best sight ever. A real day to remember.
Thursday morning we expected a lot of pain and discomfort from the ride yesterday but amazingly Hannah felt really good so it is all looking up! She had radiotherapy first thing too and had to leave home at 6.45 to be there for 8am but it was quite nice to get it done and have the rest of the day to play around with. When we got home we took the dogs for a nice long walk before catching up with some friends at lunch time. Afterwards we popped to Wadswick Country Store (our favourite horsey shop!) with wristbands and chocolates (so please go and buy some!) and also bought a nice new t-shirt in celebration of making it quarter of the way through her radiotherapy (hooray!). Minty and Georgia greeted us with a fabulous pizza on return home and it was lovely to have a really great horsey catch up over the best food. To make the day even busier Auntie Juliet and Cousin Lucy popped in afterwards with chocolate (yum yum) before we went to see Hannah’s dad on the tractor with his tea and we got to have a go at driving the combine! Top day! Definitely slept well that night, I don’t think we’ve ever been so busy!
Friday we couldn’t resist going back for breakfast at pony club camp as it had been so good that Wednesday. It was just as yummy and lovely to see everyone again. Ben the farrier came and put Chesney’s shoes back on at 9.15 as he’s ready to get busy again in the next couple of weeks which is super exciting for Hannah to watch and see. We had to head straight to Chippenham after that to visit Mavis for the first time in ages and she went really beautifully so Hannah was over the moon with her. She heads to Hartpury for her first 1* in the next couple of weeks – both exciting and very nerve wracking – but Hannah is so desperate to be able to watch. We just need to keep EVERYTHING crossed that we have no infections at all so please please please think of us! A flying visit to see Mavis was needed as radiotherapy in Bristol closely followed but the motorway was jam packed so we had to detour and were a little bit late…again! Fortunately they didn’t mind! When we finally made it home we took tea and cake to Dad and Sam on the combine again before returning to a huge surprise… Red Ronald. Our lovely family had purchased a new mobility scooter for Hannah to help her be more independent at home. We couldn’t believe it, it’s so cool and Hannah loves it so much. That evening we went for a walk with the dogs to test it out and it was perfect so Hannah had yet another fantastic day.
So it’s our last day at home and what to do? Let’s ride a pony again! Fortunately for Hannah Tommy got dropped off that morning and stayed all day so we tacked him up and had another go. Getting on and off was much easier now she had a method and a wall to help us. So off she went for a little hack with a huge smile planted on her face and a very proud Granny by her side on Bertie - just perfect. When they got back she even had a cheeky trot and canter in the school and amazingly it didn’t hurt just the smile got bigger! We were all just so happy we cried. That’s what it means to all of us.
Now we head back to hospital for 6 days chemotherapy, not exactly thrilling but it needs to be done to #kickcancersbutt! We’ve all been given a real boost riding again these past few days so we are going to hold onto that and really drive through the next couple of days. Let’s do this!
Thank you so much to everyone for all their ongoing support as it means so much to both of us.
Lots of love, Hannah and Willberry xxx