The only hand that we can play is with the cards that we’ve been dealt.

The only hand that we can play is with the cards that we’ve been dealt.

I woke at 6.30am this morning with a migraine – nothing unusual there. I took my usual prescription medication and lay back in bed to wait for it to work.

However, instead of getting relief, I became sicker and sicker.

This was the day that we were getting solar panels installed, so the men were here doing that, as well as a joiner and an electrician. There was a lot of drilling. My husband attended to them.

I stumbled to the bathroom and found a receptacle to bring back to the bedroom into which I could vomit.

By midday I still couldn’t even sit up in bed without triggering an episode of vomiting bile. I was starting to feel very desperate.

Then I remembered the stash of medication still in Leah’s bedroom. I tried to remember if we still had any of the powerful anti sickness drugs she used to take when she was having chemotherapy.

Then I realised that even if we had, I wouldn’t be able to swallow them, as I was too sick.

Then I remembered the hyoscine patches – Leah used these in conjunction with several other anti sickness drugs to combat the severe side effects of intensive chemotherapy.

My eldest daughter was dispatched to search Leah’s medicine drawer and thankfully she soon returned with the patches.


I stuck one behind my ear and lay motionless for another hour. By 1.30pm I was able to take oral pain relief that took the edge off the pain and enabled me to sit up in bed at last.

Since Leah’s anniversary I have been concentrating on my positive memories of Leah. I’ve been trying to train my mind to remember the good times.

This morning has temporarily taken care of that.

Memories have flooded back of  our beloved child who was so ill from the side effects of her treatment, that she was simultaneously on four anti sickness drugs – ondansetron, nozinan, metclopromide and hyoscine patches.

Still she vomited.

She even vomited up her nasogastric tube.

It was horrible.

It was a great relief in September ’13 when Leah’s gut healed and she was able to eat normally again.

Our relief was short lived though, as Leah developed a succession of side-effects from her treatment, each one a disappointment and each one greatly interfering with her quality of life.

On the 27th December ’13, as we travelled to a routine appointment at Belfast City Hospital, Leah vomited profusely in the car. That was the first clear sign that something was seriously wrong.

It was in fact, the beginning of the end.

Leah kept insisting that day that she wasn’t sick, that she had vomited because of drinking some water too fast.

I think Leah denied feeling sick for two reasons  (her CT scan later that day showed that she was seriously ill):

A) Leah no longer knew what it felt like to be well.
B) She was desperate to go to the family party that was arranged for that night – her first since her transplant.

Leah continued to vomit frequently until she went on the ventilator on Thursday 2nd January. Then she was tube fed again and her gut seemed to settle down.

Life is rough sometimes.

However the only hand that we can play, is with the cards that we’ve been dealt.


Many times life doesn’t make sense and we don’t understand why things happen the way they do.

As a Christian I believe that somehow or other, the cards that I’ve been dealt were chosen for me by a loving God.

There are days that it doesn’t FEEL like it, but I believe that God has, does and will give me the strength to face every situation.


I believe that this world is not all there is.

Jim Reeves expresses it well in his song

“This World is Not my Home”

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord what will I do.