A Magnolia Tree Blossoms - Chapter 7
Rebecca's First Sponsored Walk
It has now been two years that Rebecca has been on treatment, and she has battled each day without fuss or complaint. Even when she has had her bloods done, or had chemotherapy; she has never found reason to complain. The only thing she has not liked, was the injections; then and only then does she fight mother and the nurses. Mother saw this as a positive action that was happening, as she saw her fighting her leukemia with the strength and the determination to win. Besides, no one really likes injections at the end of the day.
Rebecca's treatment will finish in a few weeks time, and so far, most of her treatment as been as an out-patient at the hospital. She is still prone to infections, and it is then that she has to be admitted to hospital; for the routine three day spells of having antibiotics and tests.
I have been a big part of Rebecca's leukemia, and the house as never been the same when she was not around. As her big sister, I would paint her pictures; and buy her some CD's so she could listen to them in hospital. I would also bake her some cookies, ready to take to the hospital when father took me; and when we arrived at the ward, she would always be pleasantly surprised, as she greeted me with a big hug and kiss; as she told me that her and Timothy had been tormenting the nurse's. They were little devil's according to the nurse's, who often said that they would play tricks on them; and make the other children laugh with their antics. Then when it was time to leave the hospital, I would always give her a big hug back; and tell her that I would phone mommy later and then ask to say goodnight to her.
I had missed Rebecca so much, but over the last two years I had learnt to adapt. I was fortunate to have been young myself when Rebecca was diagnosed, and we both had grown up with her illness; and to us it was just another hurdle to jump. Mother and father never spoke about Rebecca's illness to me, in the same way as the doctor's did to them; but they never left me out, and explained to me how things were, to the best of my ability to understand. They had always been thoughtful in their approach to this, so as not to leave me out; as they let me be a big part of the situation by going with them to hospital when she had an appointment.
Rebecca was now four year's old, and she is now in remission. It was so hard to believe that she ever suffered with the likes of leukemia. She has gone back into her old ways, where she sits in the garden with her dolls; and plays at tea parties, as well as being adventurous by climbing the old pear tree at the end of the garden; much to mother's annoyance and concern. It was so nice seeing her enjoying the things that she could not do whilst on treatment, that we all take for granted. She has also got her appetite back, which mother thought she would never ever see. Rebecca had to have a nasal gastric tube for the last two years, because she would not eat whilst on treatment; and has since gained a healthy few pounds since her treatment stopped. She had her last check up a week ago, where her consultant was delighted with her progress. Rebecca is now doing really well, and has another adventure coming up; as she is soon to be attending pre-school in September.
Rebecca is a very loving but cheeky little girl, with a big sense of humour. She has thrown many spiders and worms at me, sending me screaming around the garden; and as soon as the antics are over, we sit in the garden playing with our dolls; and of course not to forget to mention her ever faithful Mr Pipkins teddy. She does sometimes talk about her stay in hospital with great detail, as she remembers part of her treatment quiet well. I often assured her that it was all over now, and that she is in a much better place; as i told her how brave she was with her diagnosis and treatment. Mother was very relieved, as it has been a very stressful two years; but she is looking forward to getting Rebecca into pre-school; and then for her to return back to work on a part time basis.
Rebecca adjusted well to post treatment life, and she is now able to enjoy the happier times with us; which just reminds us of what we have all missed out on. A lot of people have asked our parents a few times, what they could do to help; and as Rebecca had quite a few blood platelet transfusions; all mother and father would say is for them to consider giving blood. But what Rebecca would shock us with the most, is what she told us next.
She had met a lot of nice people in hospital; and she had heard about lots of people helping with the hospitals children's cancer charity. Rebecca heard that there was a sponsored walk happening in our local park, and she wanted to be part of this. Mother could not believe what she was saying, but she never told her no; as she encouraged Rebecca to do what she felt she could do, and not to overdo things with the sponsored walk. Rebecca was four and a half when she took part in her first sponsored walk; which was scheduled to take place in our local park in Haggerston. Rebecca was going to walk around the park twice, where the other supporters were heading for ten laps. I also decided to walk the two laps with her, and together our sponsorship forms soon got filled up with names from school, as well as that of our neighbours. It was a day of fun and adventure, with bouncy castles for the children; as well as stalls and amusements, and a mini fun fair. It was also a very successful day, with the park being full to the brim with spectators who encouraged Rebecca on her two laps, and continued with their support for the other walkers. The organisers were very proud of Rebecca, and they knew great things were going to come from this special young lady. Rebecca stayed by the finish line, as she congratulated every person who helped her with the sponsored walk; giving them an orange rosette for the day, and a bottle of water to help them quench their thirst. When the last person came across the line, it was then that she decided to go and enjoy herself at the fair with mother and me.
The next day after her first charity event, mother asked her what she would like as a special present for her hard work. Rebecca asked mother for a nice flowering tree, to go into the back garden where she loved to sit and relax. So mother got us both ready, and we then drove to the garden centre. When we got there, and then managed to find the flowering shrubs and trees, it was not long before there was one that stood out. Rebecca chose a white and pink magnolia tree. She thought it was absolutely beautiful, as she saw a few of the flowers had dropped to the floor, so I picked one up and placed it in her hair. Instead of buying the small one which Rebecca had picked out, we made out way to the back of the garden centre where the bigger shrubs were, and it was there that we saw a much bigger tree. There in the corner stood this large tree that was about eight feet tall, and in full bloom. Mother thought that this would be a better choice, as it was already established; and once in the garden it would give us instant shade when we wanted to sit on the lawn. Mother then asked Rebecca if she wanted that one, and Rebecca was over the moon, as she told mother that she would like it very much. One of the members of staff then caught our attention, when they asked if we were ok and could they be of any help. Mother enquired about the tree, and then asked about delivery times. The assistant told Rebecca that she had good taste, as she was going to buy the tree herself if no one wanted it. She then asked Rebecca if she wanted one of the flowers from the big tree, seeing as she had a smaller one from the other section. She was given a bigger flower, and then the assistant placed a sold sticker on the tree, where we then made our way towards the checkout.
"Do you want a tree Manda?" She asked me
"No Becca, if you remember, I have my flowers in the garden; as mother planted those sunflowers for me when I too was very young, so I do not need a tree." I replied
"Ok, well we can have this as our tree then if you like, because we both sit in the garden. It does not have to be just my tree does it?" She asked me.
"No Rebecca, if you would like to share your tree, then it is ok. I am sure Amanda will be thrilled to share your tree with you." Mother told her.
Although we did share the tree, inside I knew that it would always be Rebecca's tree. Two days later the tree was delivered, which gave father enough time to dig a hole and prepare the soil; as Rebecca got her spade out and helped where she could. The only time she was told to keep out of the way, was when he put fertilizer into the hole; just before the tree was lowered into position. Rebecca was so excited when she saw the tree being delivered; and even more excited when father placed it carefully into the hole. Once Greg and father positioned the tree, and then filled in the hole, Rebecca went into the house and fetched a blanket, and sat under the tree with Mr Pipkins, where she was careful not to lean against it and disturb the soil.