Two weeks ago we had a meeting in Manchester with the team that co-ordinate Pudding’s care. It was strangely relaxing in a way to drive over there outside of rush hour traffic, in beautiful sunshine, and knowing that we weren’t facing any needles or treatment that day.
We gathered in a room – me, him, the consultant, the doctor running the clinical trial and his specialist nurse – to talk through how things have been going over the last year. There are a few small concerns that we’ll look into; Pudding has been getting very tired again lately, sitting down to rest more often and having more naps. But overall, his weekly enzyme treatments seem to be doing the job of keeping his body working a little better.
We’ve had a blip with the clinical trial of course, meaning that he missed three doses of the enzyme into his brain. The operation to replace that portacath went very well though, and we are now back to the monthly routine of trips to the trial ward.
Pudding is very slowly continuing to add to his vocabulary and make progress in small ways. I was able to tell them how recently he got a snack out the pantry which I’d accidentally left open and then put it back when I told him!!!! (This is huge, people!) Throughout most of the meeting, Pudding was sitting beautifully in his buggy and playing games on his tablet. The consultant commented on his concentration levels and said that in the normal course of Hunter Syndrome he would expect increased levels of hyperactivity by now. Overall therefore, he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the trial meds are working for him.
That’s good, right? So why do I not feel more…optimistic?
So many feelings continue to battle inside me. After the meeting I sat in the coffee shop downstairs and shared biscuits with my gorgeous boy. I watched children and their families passing by and saw PEG tubes and drip stands and monitors. And I was hit yet again by the thought that this is our reality now. The world where all these medical things have become things that I recognise and barely take a second glance at. The world that many people are blissfully unaware of.
Even if Pudding continues to do well on the IT medication it’s just the beginning. The treatment would need to get approval, we would have to fight for it to be funded. Gene therapy may become available and halt the progress of the disease even more effectively. And we continue to hope for all that. But I also have to bear in mind that Pudding will always have MPS – when looking for a new house I still need to think of future-proofing it. Would there be space for a downstairs bedroom or lift? What would wheelchair access be like?
Perhaps when it comes down to it there’s also an element of defence mechanism in my lack of optimism. If I continue to remember the worst outcome, then my world cannot crash too far.
I would so love to have a crystal ball. To look into it and take away the uncertainty. But of course we don’t. So in the meantime we continue learning to live with MPS. And we continue to love our little boy who is beating the odds and teaching us to walk through this world on a slightly different path. Despite how miserable my blog posts can sometimes be (sorry!) this path has many beautiful moments on it – smiles and laughter, wet kisses pressed onto my cheek and satisfying armfuls of chubby cuddles.
I may not be hugely optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the present a lot of the time.
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