This has been one of the most awful weeks of my life.
And now that it’s finally over, I can talk about it.
It’s not a blocked tear duct.
We became aware of that fact last Thursday, when a trip to confirm Lysander’s blocked tear duct with the local opthalmologist turned into ‘I just need to have a word with my supervisor’, which turned into an examination from the supervisor and a ‘Will you wait here for a while? I think I’d better have a word with a paediatrician’. And that turned into a ‘We would see you here, tonight, but our facilities are limited. This is the name of a colleague at St Thomas’s – he’s aware of you and would like to see you tomorrow morning’.
And suddenly we found ourselves being seen by one of the most respected opthalmologists in the country and our tiny son booked in for an urgent MRI under general anaesthetic.
It’s been a dreadful week.
We were sure that he had cancer. It was the word that everybody seemed very careful not to say.
It snowed on the morning that he was due to have his MRI and we very nearly didn’t make it to the hospital. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I think that I have probaby aged by a decade this week.
It took two hours in a black cab to reach the hospital. Two hours of a screaming, fasting baby whose misery continued through the long hours of waiting for a fresh slot to open for his MRI. There was a general anaesthetic, a butterfly kiss on the cheek of an unconscious baby, his face still wet with tears.
The nurse, concerned alongside me because the MRI seemed to be taking longer than it should. Being rushed to his bedside when he finally woke, too hysterical for milk. Holding him, stroking his hair, soothing him back to sleep.
But it was all worth it because the MRI yielded results and a few hours ago, we returned to the Evelina Children’s Hospital to hear the news.
It’s not a blocked tear duct. It is a tumour.
What is causing the bulge under Lysander’s eye is a capillary haemangioma, a strawberry birthmark in an awkward position. It will be treated with beta-blockers taken orally every twelve hours and this time in a year, it should be gone.
He’s going to be fine.
He’s going to be fixed.
My tiny blue-eyed baby doesn’t have cancer. He’s not going to lose his eye. He’s not going to lose his life.
We are holding our babies extra tightly tonight. I feel grateful, I feel relieved, but mostly I just feel tired. It’s been a very long week. I was due to start back at work this week and did indeed go in on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. My employers have been brilliant and incredibly supportive, but it was just the worst week for this to happen. I want to go to sleep for a long time tonight and not wake up until noon.
Fat chance of that, with baby twins. We have a better chance of dancing on the moon tonight than an uninterrupted sleep.
But it’s okay because there’s an alternate universe somewhere where we didn’t get good news today, where we would be trying to decide what information to share with friends and family. Where every moment would seem even more precious for its fragility. Where we would be wondering whether we would eventually raise one of our twins not as a twin, where we would one day tell Balthazar “You had a brother once”.
I am counting my blessings and going to bed.