Advice we found helpful with an ill child

Since we found out Georgie was ill we received a lot of support and practical help, for which we are enormously grateful.

One of the other things we found really helpful was talking to people who have been through the same experience or similar.

So here are pieces of advice we found precious and have been clinging on:

1. Don’t blame yourself!

I have wracked my brain trying to figure out if I did something that might have caused the onset of Georgie’s leukemia. Was it that McDonald’s meal? The stress I had during pregnancy? Taking him to have his vaccines? The “what ifs” are torturous but the reality is that we have done nothing to have caused his illness.

It just happened.

To an apparently healthy baby.

And there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.

2. Don’t ask “Why?”

A father whose baby went through a similar experience told us something that left us breathless. He had prayed a lot about his baby’s illness and God asked him: “Why not?”

We are not guaranteed a trouble-free life when we are born into this world. Bad things happen. Even to sweet, innocent babies.

3. Trust the medical expertise

We have a handful of wonderful doctors and loads of nurses looking after Georgie. And we believe they are doing their very best to help. They are knowledgeable and have experience far above our own knowledge and experience. Ad we feel they are fighting this fight alongside us. It would be foolish not trusting them and being on two different sides!

4. Keep positive

Parents whose babies/small children survived cancer told us that during their ordeal they kept 100% positive and never even contemplated the other option. Babies and small children are very sensitive to our tone of voice and can easily “read” our emotions so by staying positive and trusting God you are setting an example. The opposite is also true.

5. Buy gear that makes life easier for you and baby during treatment

Georgie has a central line that needs accessed several times a day. A mummy who has been through the very same experience advices me to buy baby vests that open at the front so that Georgie doesn’t get upset when his central line is used. Valuable advice!

6. Take one day at the time!

Some days are tough, with fever running high and emotions running low. Take them as they come, give your burdens to God and wait for the following day. It is generally not as bad as the one you are living.

7. Accept help

Our church has been wonderful organising a meal rota for us. We felt humbled by their offer but came soon to appreciate the help. Yes, I am in the house every so often but my mind in not in cooking or cleaning the house. I use the precious time I have to create memories for Emma, to shop for things we have run out of and sometimes, to just crush in bed.

8. Enjoy your child

Yes, Georgie has tubes sticking out and sometimes it is hard to hold him but I always try to give him plenty of cuddles when we are together. I am his mummy and this is my main role: to love, comfort and encourage my baby to live, thrive and enjoy his life!

If you have been through a similar experience, please do share your advice! We find it truly useful!



#Morning Stories

I live with my heart split in two. I have two lives at the moment. One is a “normal”, day to day existence where I go shopping for clothes with my four year old and we share a bun in a coffee shop. The other one is the world of central lines and chemo treatment and tube feeds. The heart-breaking bit is that they are all for my wee baby who is not even four months old…

Days before Georgie was diagnosed, I signed up for the #MorningStories Challenge. Back then, the challenge would have been to get both kids dressed and ready by 8.45, in time to get Emma to playgroup! Oh, if I could turn back the time…

Now, the challenges are much more complex. I try not to think at the other side of my life while I am with one of the children. Try not to worry about them missing me and me missing essential tidbits of their daily existence. A smile, a gurgle, a picture being painted, a deep thought being expressed, anguish being released…

I have two of everything now. Two sweet children. Two toothbrushes, one home, one in the hospital bag. Two pyjama bottoms. Two hair baubles, one in my bedside table drawer, one in my back pocket. And sometimes, two breakfasts. And sometimes none.

The other day the nurses were too busy prioritising the emergencies and had no time for me and my silly need for cereal and milk. So I was glad I had brought some of the BelVita breakfast biscuits with me, they saw me through the morning until things settled down and I got my milk. The lovely ladies at BritMums also sent me a Costa gift card which I will be putting to good use one of these rainy mornings, while baby is busy with the play therapist.

This post is an entry for the #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at

I am planning a big party once this ordeal is over and my baby home. If I win one of the 10 £100 John Lewis vouchers awarded I will put it towards our celebration of being together again!




What the future holds…

040I am spending 24 hours home with Emma, trying to catch up with what is happening in her wee life.

As you can imagine, she is struggling to comprehend the situation and has found various means of coping with it. Like her daddy, she has resorted to chocolate for comfort and like her mummy, she gurns and moans over every small inconvenience…Being home with her and trying to recreate some normality would hopefully see her settling a bit and starting to eat proper food again.

Two days ago we had a chat with the hematologist looking after Georgie. As his case is so rare (she was telling us that the medical journals have only 60 cases documented of his condition, with only one other baby his age having ever had this before!) she is still learning herself. She told us that in the next few days and weeks she will try and contact experts in the area, both in Europe and elsewhere, and try and get their opinion on the outcome of this situation.

As far as she can foresee, there is a 50/50 chance of our baby needing a bone marrow transplant, to prevent the chance of a relapse. That will entail a lot of risky procedures, both for our baby and potentially for Emma, as she could be a potential donor. Body reactions to the new marrow. A long stay in a hospital in England…

I come to you, prayer warriors and friends and ask you to pray today for our future. The dilemma would be excruciating, if we reach that stage, to put both children through risky procedures. To split our family unit for months, with one of us living with Georgie in a hospital far away from home. The doctors will ultimately leave the decision to us, since it can have such a major impact on all our lives…

But I know that God can heal long before that stage. He can put peace in our hearts over the future and prevent this horrible illness to ever return to my baby’s body. And the same almighty God who commanded His people long ago, in the Old Testament, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”(Exodus 14:13-14) can and will command the illness to leave and never return again.

We want both our children home. And soon, Lord, soon!

My Miracle Child


Those of you who have been reading my blog consistently would know that since our precious boy was born we struggled with sleep and what we thought was a very strange case of reflux.

Two weeks ago on Friday things took a turn for the worse and I decided to take Georgie into the A&E. He had this diarrhea he didn’t seem to be able to shake off and was starting to run a fever at night. Plus an extreme agitation and restlessness that kept us up basically all night.

To cut a long(and very painful) story short, last Friday, following blood and bone marrow tests and two lumbar punctures, our sweet baby boy was diagnosed with acute megakaryoblastic leukemia, a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia.  He was put on chemo as soon as he recovered from the critical condition he was in, following the two medical procedures under anesthetic he went through last week.

As you can imagine, we are still in complete shock. Our lives have been tilted upside down, with our baby living basically in the hospital for the foreseeable future, the doctors say.

But we have also been humbled and amazed by the support we received from friends here and everywhere in the world.

And we are also encouraged by the constant prayers presented before God’s throne by people from diverse denominations and countries. We know that our son is well covered in love and care and we trust he will be well and will amaze the doctors with his speedy recovery. He has already responded fantastically well to the chemo, his fever has ceased a couple of days ago and his diarrhea has improved since he was put on a different milk.

o thank you all for being on this journey with us. Spare a prayer for Georgie, press God with requests until the moment is ripe, until He says “enough is enough” and He hands us back our miracle baby, totally healed and unharmed by the trauma of his experience.

My mind is full of thoughts but since I only have a couple of hours at home I don’t have the time to put them all down. I hope I will find a way to write from the hospital, will enquire today of possible alternatives. Meanwhile, keep in touch through my Facebook page where I post an update on Georgie’s condition daily. Many thanks!


Baby troubles

If you have been following my blog for the past few months, you know by now that it hasn’t been an easy ride for me, having a baby. Not the first time with Emma, not the second time around with Georgie. We have dealt with stomach troubles with both. Diagnosed with reflux, they both struggled for the first three months to sleep for stretches longer than 45 minutes to an hour, cried uncontrollably at times and required me to enroll help, with my mum moving in with us both times for months on end…

So you can imagine that I treasure peace and I seek to keep my babies as comfortable as I possibly can. I have convinced the doctors this time too to put George on special milk, in case he suffers from food intolerance. I go to bed ridiculously early, to ensure the baby gets the rest he desperately needs. I have no social life whatsoever at the moment because my kids are my priority.

But there are things that enrage me as they cause unnecessary suffering to my baby. Last week, little George got his second set of jabs. After the first one, he reacted almost immediately with fever, irritability and a stubborn diarrhea that lasted for more than a week. This time around, he seemed fine. For a few days. Then the nightmare began! Fever, incessant crying, baby waking up at night every 30 minutes or so wriggling with stomach cramps and flatulence. Thick saliva that seemed to almost choke the poor guy.

I did my research and realised that the rotavirus vaccine they give in three stages to babies now (there was no such thing when Emma was a baby, four years ago!) causes exactly these symptoms! I did more research and realised that although it seems like an impressive figure, the virus is responsible for 500,000 infant deaths WORLDWIDE, out of a 7 billion world population. So in the worst case scenario, my baby would have 1 in 14,000 to die from it and probably 1 in 140,000 to be hospitalised with it. The thing is, and I am taking a wide guess here, that most of these deaths occur in poor countries where there is a crass lack of hygiene. So that reduced even further the chances of my baby ever being near it, as we live in a country where everything is almost oversanitised, from hospitals to public places to homes( I use bleach excessively and for everything).

So what is the logic in inoculating a baby with a sensitive gut with a live virus that in both cases gave him a mild case of rotavirus, as far as I am concerned? Why is it more important for the health system here to tick a box rather than consider each case individually and act accordingly?

I have decided NOT to give him the third rotavirus dose next month. I need to protect him for further useless pain.

What is your opinion on the subject? I know it is a very hot potato but I am putting it out there as I want to hear your opinion, folks!

Photo Credit to The Guardian

Photo Credit to The Guardian


Hubby’s Fantastic Prawn Pasta!

018Let me start by saying that the picture doesn’t do the recipe justice. At all, like…

Hubby started making this recipe last summer in Thessaloniki. With fresh from the open market, to-die-for prawns. He would have made it at the weekend, when he had the time. Cause, you see, he is Greek and Greeks don’t mess up with food! Food is as important as family to them and it gets as much attention in detail and preparation!

It takes him hours to make it because the sauce involves a lot of simmering and adding of delicious ingredients.

I finally coaxed it out of him this morning, so here goes:

- A dash of olive oil, add a finely chopped onion and fry until translucent(not brown, never brown, folks!).

- A knob of butter then your tomatoes. Half fresh, about 3-4, half canned, a can. Add them to the onion.

- Simmer the sauce with bahari(a Greek spice mentioned in Politiki Kouzina), cinnamon and a drop of honey for 45 minutes. Add a drop of water every 5 minutes or so.

- “Sauce needs to taste cooked tomato, not raw when it is ready!

Now for the prawns:

- Marinate them separately with salt, pepper, chopped tomato and olive oil.

- Simmer them on low heat for about 45 minutes as well, until sauce cooked and dry.

- “Don’t throw the juice out as it tastes prawns!”

I challenge you to try it. He made it here as well, with prawns bought from the Belfast Saint George’s market but declared himself unsatisfied with the taste. Nothing taste the same as in Greece, phisika :-)!


Living Arrows – 16/52

It has been ages I linked to the Living Arrows. Actually, it has been ages since I wrote anything decent on my blog. So, here is a rusty attempt at it!

Emma, since I last wrote about you, you settled a good deal! It helped that you stopped going to the childminder, it was explained to me by experts that you were feeling kicked out of your own house by your little brother, I am sure that didn’t feel very nice!Daddy and I made conscious efforts to spend time with you alone, so that you feel reassured of our love. Here is us having coffee in Belfast, while Bica minded Georgie at home:


You are happy enough to play on your own once you get home from playgroup and your Bica is constantly in awe of your games and the richness of your imagination and play! These last couple of weeks you were home, as you had your holidays, and she was able to enjoy seeing you around, being part of your coffee shop “clientele” and simply bonding with you! She will be missed, she is heading back home on Sunday, I am sure your room will feel empty without her in the morning!

Georgie, you settled a good deal too but just when we thought you were heading the right direction and did a couple of nights of 9.30 to 1 and the 5.30, you started waking up again ridiculously often, sometimes even up to 8 times a night! We put it down to some sort of colic/ wind issues and we truly hope things will settle soon for you. And for us too :-).

Otherwise, you are a lovely wee boy, smiling loads and interacting with us. You love being held, love cuddles from your sister and falling asleep close to mummy and this week, you managed to hold a toy in your hands, for the first time! Well done, son! You will turn three months tomorrow, where does time fly,ha?

10268694_10151984271276512_7726407780479882251_nI love both of you, even if I am still tired most days and grumpy. I know that things will settle soon  and we will be into some sort of routine, sooner than later but until then hope you guys will be able to tolerate me a bit more :-). Proud to be your mummy!



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