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It was hard to believe there was a time bomb ticking inside my little boy, harder still to be sent home to watch and wait for things to get worse.
The doctors wanted to give Nathan a chance to grow before subjecting him to a bone marrow transplant.
Every day with Nathan was precious and I found happiness in simple pleasures like holding both my children in my arms.
I was forever taking photos of them, aware that our time together could be limited.
My daughter wanted honesty so I told her that Nathan’s cancer was waking up and that there was more chance of losing him than keeping him.
The doctors would do all they could, but if the worst did happen, they would make sure he wasn’t in pain.
But of course I worried, especially when a search on the internet uncovered a tenuous link with a rare form of leukaemia.
I tried to tell myself I was being paranoid, but six months later Nathan caught a serious stomach bug and we ended up in A&E at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where I shared my fears with the doctor.
Nathan’s leukaemia was ‘indolent’, or slow-growing: it was there but hadn’t yet progressed to a stage where it affected his health – and in spite of his bug, he looked perfectly healthy.He was a typical boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine, Buzz Lightyear and annoying his big sister.Like Jess, he was a fussy eater so I devised a sticker chart to encourage him to try new things, but it became a losing battle.Seven years later, in 2003, I was ready to risk it all again when my son Nathan was born. I was a single mum by the time he arrived, supporting us all by working as a manager for a local authority, but I gave my children the love and stability they needed, and in return received a sense of fulfilment that was like no other.My anxieties persisted but I looked to a future surrounded by grandchildren, secure in the knowledge that, no matter what, Jess and Nathan would always have each other. Then I noticed a couple of marks on my baby’s tummy that didn’t go away.