Onwards & Upwards 😀

Well hello! I Haven’t blogged for over six months. 
Haven’t had the time. 
Time…… something I’m almost always late for. This isn’t a New thing. Happened when I was a teen. I’ve got better though. Never more than half hour late….. mostly!! 


But ALL of my time is being taken up caring for and being a mummy to my little toddler ( I say toddler in the loosest of phrases ) as that’s exactly what Dylan is trying to do. 


My 7 year old baby is turning into the funniest, cutest, most loving incredible little toddler. The little boy stuck in the mind and body of a baby is starting to develop ever so slowly, but ever so…….


Dylan by rights should be in Year 3 ‘Juniors’ but instead I’m still continuing to home educate my pre-school aged little boy. 


Dylan’s developed the most wonderful character. He’s oh so funny makes us laugh 24 hours a day ( sleeping is still not very high on his priority list 😴 ) He’s into everything now, he’s even found a love for Peppa Pig and does the cutest little snort when watching her. He picks Peppa up along with the remote and that’s him verbalising what he wants to do. 


He plays with his toys (I say plays. He does a lot of throwing and squashes a lot of potato waffles over his toys, toys like to eat you know!) 

For a non-verbal child he makes a hell of a lot of sounds and communicates by using ‘ ‘Dylan-aton’ (Makaton is far too common 😂) 


McDonald’s, Fruitshoot, sweets and choc (dairy free of course) have all got their own signs. Dylan invented them all and they’re fab. 

Both his Nana’s have their own names. Nana S is Nana Mum (he’s picked that one up from me calling her) and Nana F is Nana Bum Bum (no words!) 

Grandpas Taxi ride to McDonald’s has its own sign but I couldn’t even type what he does. We just know. 
As for Papa, Dylan mimics the funny noise he makes down the phone. So everyone has their own ‘new’ identity. 
The absolute love of Dylan’s life is his big sister Gaga, whom he sits at the front door whilst she’s at school desperate for her to be home. 

Eeeeeeeeeeee (Daddy) gets the credit for clearing up sick. Dylan’s MTX chemotherapy injections make him sick and he continues to tell me daddy clears it up (even though it was me!) Dylan jumps all over Daddy when he gets home wanting to play. 

As for me, Dylan’s learnt to climb on my lap, rest his head on my shoulder and give me a ‘Dylan Cuddle’ I’ve waited over 7 years for this and I happily stop dead to cooperate as these cuddles make me the happiest proudest mummy ever. Oh and when he blows a kiss too, I’m in heaven. 

He’s a quirky little character, loves playing ‘I see’ and literally hits himself in the face covering his eyes. Loves (trying) to do head stands (this worry’s the life out of me as he is so fragile) He points (well pokes, scratches and basically hurts) to my face parts as we learn the eyes, nose mouth etc. But no. Dylan prefers the neck. (Have you ever been pinched on the neck by a small 7 year old. Ouch!) Giggles when he try’s to do the conga, pulling on the back of my top singing La la la. 


He will only drink out of a new orange fruit shoot, has to be Asda teeth and lips and now loves a fish finger. Absolutely loves a shopping trolley and a credit card (don’t know who he takes after??) 


He lay on the floor with his head down if he’s had a seizure and gives a little cry to tell me if he’s in pain. Points to the top of his leg each evening before we inject his Anakinra and goes over to the chair when it’s time for his immunoglobulin infusions. But when it’s time for his chemotherapy he knows this makes him sick and does the sound effect to go with it. 


Honestly the list goes on of how funny our handsome little man is. Our teeny little boy who has the rarest of undiagnosed condition, doctors didn’t think would make past 5 months old, wouldn’t walk let alone sit up. Continues to amaze and inspire me daily. He lights up our lives and we wouldn’t change him for the world. He’s taught us to laugh again and to cherish every single day we have with him. 


It’s Dylan’s Story & he writes the chapters. No one is invincible, every day is a gift to each and everyone of us. Live. Love. Laugh 💙


Please follow Dylan’s Story on Facebook 

Dylan’s Story in connection with the Tree of Hope charity are in our second year of fundraising to build Dylan a safe and sterile sensory room he deserves. To donate Click here

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(I’ll get by) With a little help from my friends 👭👭👭


Wow Wow Wow, I am dizzy from the excitement of Sunday. I am overwhelmed with the funds we have raised, I am touched with the amount of people who came to support us. Friends I haven’t seen since primary school came to show their support, one school friend even cut her family mini-break short to be at our event. 

Sunday wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many people; 


Firstly my fabulous friend Karen; we turned an idea we had on a crazy phone conversation into this monstrosity

You have dedicated your time 24/7 to Dylan’s story, stuck in your office on cold nights and hot days. Working non stop. You are an incredible friend and an incredible person. 

Harry; all this materialised by a sheer chain of coincidences. Wow. What you have donated to Dylan’s story goes above and beyond the call of duty. There’s not many people out there who would take a family of strangers under their wing and work solid along with their gorgeous family to help raise money for my little boy. The Howard’s, an incredible, selfless family helping others out of the kindness of their hearts. You are lucky if you come across people like this once in a lifetime. A true gentleman and a true friend. 



Jimmy & Chrissy; a quick phone call from Sonia and you jumped on board the Dylan’s story train. Knowing nothing about us other than we are a friend of your daughters friend. Offering your time, welcoming us into your life. Introducing us to the Abridge committee and becoming our friend. You really did drive this to being what it became. 

When Karen and I walked into the Bar on that Tuesday night we couldn’t have anticipated what was in store. Bev, Danny, Steve, John, John, John and the rest of the Abridge committee. You welcomed us into your village and into your hearts you have given up your own time to help us and how you all worked on the day was spectacular. A group of incredible people. Dylan’s Fun Day had the most prestigious venue we are so lucky to have had everyone of you on board. 

Katie Piper the most inspirational woman I can proudly say ‘ I know ‘ wanting to be part of our special day after following Dylan’s Story. Generously giving up your Sunday so you and your daughter could be part of our day. Becoming an honouree ‘Dylanette’ you rocked that T shirt and worked as an amazing team with DJ Guy drawing our grand raffle. 

DJ Guy Powers; what did you say that for??? Offering to assist at a charity event when chatting at the end of a party we hired you for in March after you were touched by Dylan’s story. Little did you know what I had up my sleeve!! In the process you have become our friend. You are quite possibly the kindest, loveliest man (too slushy???) there is. You gave up a whole working day to be part of Dylan’s fun day and wow did you do an amazing job. Everyone has said how spectacular you are. I hope everyone whose booking a party for their kids this year book Krazy Kids Disco. You really are a fabulous ‘Guy’!


Huge huge congrats to you and Jodie on your upcoming wedding. 

My lovely friend and footballer Josh Wright. Thank you for your support in the lead up and on the day. I heard the winner of your signed football shirt was very chuffed to win it. 

Jessica Wright for your support on the day and for your donation to our raffle, a stunning black evening dress from your With Love Jessica range. 


Danielle Armstrong and Debbie Douglas; glamorous TOWIE stars thank you for your support on Sunday. 


Robert & Alex only the best Printing Company around! From responding to my email which most people just ignored, printing our logo, printing our T-shirts, keeping up with my ever increasing demands even though you were hugely busy with your own orders and making my Dylanettes stand out in the huge crowd which there was on Sunday. We will definitely keep in touch and get together very soon. 


Harold Black; our honouree Dylan’s Story photographer I am so excited to see the professional photos & thanks to his wife Marian who did not stop pacing the field all day. 

To The Tree of Hope; without having a registered charity number we wouldn’t have been able to raise anywhere near what we have, we wouldn’t have been donated such prestigious raffle and tombola prizes. Having you behind us is an unbelievable achievement. 


To those of you who came along 9am on a Sunday morning to assist in our set up; Dan Payne! Lee Neary! Jonathan Yarlett & the cream-cheese bagels!, Katie Maidment & Hollie, Laura Nygate, Emma Goldman, Harrison Myers, Debbie Shepherd, Abi Shepherd & Ziggy & Ross Barrington; transforming the Abridge field. 

Through the day people were helping without me even knowing; my brother Uncle Elvis; modelling a designer high vis vest almost single handedly controlled thousands of cars going in and out of the car park, Lloyd Nygate your vocation in life has been fulfilled – a fairground assistant! Richard Saunders and Darren Kantor who too rocked the high vis vest! Rachel Kellinger & Steve for your assistance on the stalls, Paul & Danny O’Hare for arranging the most competitive stall on the day – Speed Shooter (can we book you for our next event??) & thank you to anyone else I may not have mentioned. 

Cousins Adam Myers & Debbie Allen bonded for life through the exchange of a Kidney worked together on Dylan’s Keepy Uppy stall even charging people to talk to them. They are most definitely the ‘Dream-Team’

The amazing Stage One Theatre group and their Jack and the Beanstalk characters (book your tickets for their fabulous Christmas Panto here Jack & the Beanstalk

Jimmy Ray and the Lovely Elain Gilby for entertaining the crowds with their stunning voices. 

Leigh Young, the only person who I will give two mentions to in this blog. ‘The Don’ ‘The Bank Manager‘ and the ‘Bar Man‘. It probably was the biggest birthday party anyone in Essex has ever had!! 

Lou Karamanlis; what a job you had to do, many would want to do it just to cause pain to the Myers Bro’s (The new Mitchell Bro’s) and many watched in pure amusement at the agony they were in. Paul Myers, it’s lucky you weren’t too busy on Sunday to knock down a few pints to numb your pain. Thank you for assisting your brother raise almost £3000 to help your gorgeous nephew Dylan. 

Our Sponsors Elliot Leigh Property Management Ltd thank you for starting off our fundraising and being a huge part of our event. Thank you Leigh & Eliiot 

Glyn Hopkins your cars looked so prestigious on the field on Sunday. We are so grateful to have had you as our sponsor too. Thank you Fraser


Uncle Gresh whom I gave the task of creating our logo and what he came back with first time was perfect. He created a child like professional logo which incorporated a swan & therefore the brand ‘Dylan’s Story’ was born 


As we are nearing the end of this extrodonary list of thank you’s there’s a group of people I simply couldn’t have done it without. My friends some I’ve known for over 30 years and some for only a short while. But these girls are a huge part in my life and am so lucky and grateful to have them. 
The Dylanette’s 



Debra Yarlett, friend for over 25 years who I can go months without speaking to but when we do catch up its like to was only yesterday we spoke. 


Jaclyn Dunne, from the first day at Secondary school aged 11 we became good friends, been at each other’s wedding and there through thick and thin. We went to see Take That aged 15 and still going to see them in our (late) 30’s 


Nikki Tyler BFF’s like our girls would say for over 18 years. We have taken on the roles of surrogate mothers to each other’s daughters & can talk about endless rubbish for hours on end as long as we have coffee and cake! 


Sonia Farrow; it may have only been this time last year that we met but it feels so much longer. I am so happy that you chose to move your children to Scarlett’s school. I know this is a true friendship which will last the duration. 

Sophie Horton, you was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you 😂😂😂 and here we are 22 years later. Through good times and bad times we’ve stuck together. My bridesmaid and true friend.  

Tara Williams my other bridesmaid, what can I say my darling. Since the first day of primary school aged 4, 35 years of true friendship. There’s been highs and some rotten lows but we are always there for each other like sisters. 

Natasha Saleem and Nadene Stevenson like two angels appeared to help us out of the kindness of your hearts. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you Nadene and getting to know you better Tash. Thank you. 

I’m nearing the end for those who haven’t dropped off to the land of zzzz’s 

My family, mum, dad, Fran & John, brothers & wives, partners, nieces and nephews. Life changed for you all the day we found out Dylan was a poorly child. I know it took a while to accept that’s he isn’t your conventional grandson. A unique, one off, one in a billion child who I know not one of you could love any more if you tried. All the Nana’s and papa’s, Richard, Scarlett & I couldn’t get through each day without your love and support. 

Richard my rock, by coming home from work early so I can fly back and forth to meetings, to being ignored when you are home because I’m constantly working on the computer or doing paper work. I simply couldn’t have done any of this without you. I’m sorry dinners have been rubbish I guess now I best get back to my place – the kitchen!! I really hope you are proud of what I have achieved for our baby boy. 

Little Miss Scarlett for putting up with mummy being so distracted for so many months, you’re ideas have been inspirational you have such a clever head on your little shoulders and are truly the best Dylanette there is. 


So it appears after realising what everyone else has been doing you may think I have literally sat down with my feet up for months! Which indeed I have!! (Not for choice) 


Seriously though, all the blood, sweat tears and broken bones have been worth it. 
Thank you to everyone who has helped, donated, sponsored and came along to support us. Sunday wouldn’t have happened without every single one of you. 
I sincerely hope I haven’t forgotten anyone but if I have (I blame the morphine I’m on after my operation!) I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. 

I feel very lucky and honoured to be surrounded by such amazing and wonderful people.
Finally, and by no mean least. The star of the show. Whom it’s all been about. The person who has aged me terribly but makes me smile every single day. The love of everyone’s life Dylan


Tomorrow isn’t promised so please cherish every day. Life is a precious roller coaster. We take the ups with the downs and get right back up again. 
If you haven’t donated yet. There’s still time via Tree of Hope / Dylan’s Story and please keep linking and sharing Dylan’s Facebook page

🎼Like a small boat on the ocean🎼 

I have been hit by writers block once again with so much going on in my life recently to know exactly what to blog about and where to start is a headache in its self. 

Hearing Dylan belly laugh for the first time in almost a month is the only inspiration I need….. 

From losing his independence because of a nasty arthritis flare up, to having multiple virus’s leaving him lethargic and lifeless, to now hearing him laugh makes me feel all warm and gooey, the love I have for this helpless child is indescribable. 

So the hot question I have spinning around my head is ……

” Why the hell do we keep putting him through all these (unnecessary) intrusive procedures ?? “


For every General Anaesthetic attacks his already compromised immune system, leaving him prone to more illnesses. Meaning his already compromised life expectancy is at risk. 
Having so many underlying illnesses means every time he’s attacked by a virus or an infection all of Dylan’s problems decide to rear their ugly little heads and upset my boy and us all.  

And for what???? 

Every parent of an undiagnosed child can almost certainly guess the outcome of these investigations we put our poor innocent children through. 

” Unfortunately Mr & Mrs Dylan’s parents the results of the recent test show nothing’s wrong “ 

Hmmmm obviously there is something wrong for my beautiful little boy, who is approaching his biggest mile-stone to date, his 6th birthday, is stuck in the body and mind of a baby. 
Yes he has 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect little toes but he also has more than 

  • 20 horrid diagnosis, 
  • Is under 15 different teams at Great Ormond Street Hospital 
  • Has 4 different Clinical Nurse Specialists, 
  • Is on 15 different daily drugs, 
  • Has 1 weekly subcutaneous (chemotherapy) injection, 
  • and 1 weekly infusion 

all that’s missing is his Partridge in a Pear Tree – his overall genetic diagnosis. 

So yes something is obviously bloody wrong. 

Every suggested investigation brings so many emotions. 
At the beginning we thought 

‘we shall put him through this xxx procedure as it will give us the answers we are seeking’ 

To the next investigation:

‘the last test was wrong now we will get our the answers we are looking forward’ 

to 

‘the last 20 tests couldn’t have been performed correctly at least now we will get out answers’ 

to now, after more than 50 different investigations my left and right side of my brain have its own conversation; 

(left side of brain pipes up) ‘is there any point putting him through all this again to not get any answers’ 

(Right side of brain debates) ‘but this might be the test to answer our prayers’ 


In the mean time if Dylan spends a whole month, following one of these procedures with his health deteriorating and  being rushed back and forth to A&E is any of it actually worth it??? 


So the real question is when do we say enough is enough?? 

It’s not giving up is it?? 
It’s just letting Dylan live with his Undiagnosed Condition for as long as he’s able to and continue to let him belly laugh over the silly little things that make him the happy little chappy he is. 

But please, do not judge me when you read on Facebook later this year that Dylan is undergoing yet another (pointless) investigation. As you never know, “dreams can come true” 

But in the mean time I’ve dedicated Rachel Platten’s fight song to the strongest fighter I know….. Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me 💙


Please don’t forget to support us in anyway you can – September 11th, put it in your diary now for its Dylan’s Fabulous Fun Day It is going to be a spectacular day. Fundraising via the Tree of Hope to help make Dylan’s life simpler. If you are able to donate as little as £1 Dylan would be incredibly grateful. Please click on link above or TEXT DYLS65 to 70070

Until next time. 
Dylan’s Mummy xx 

Confessions of a ‘Shopaholic’ & a ‘Special Needs Mummy’ 🛍

Confessions of a Shopaholic, oops that’s another story, I mean Confessions of a Special Needs (SWAN) Mummy…. 

  

 
(Hubby, please bypass this paragraph it is not for your eyes 👀). Well if I am honest having a Special Needs Child and being a Shopaholic seem to go hand-in-hand for me, for if Dylan is having a good day, to celebrate, I shop 🛍 and if Dylan is having a bad day, to compensate, I shop 🛍. The fact is I shop full stop 🛍🛍 and the fact that I can do it in person in a shop, online at home or on the go from my smart phone at the hospital is just a bonus 🛍 😉🛍 24/7! Fact shopping is therapy. 

  
One of the ‘greatest’ things about being a ‘Special Needs Mummy’ is that it has taught me to become the person I am today. A Selfless, dedicated and hardworking mum who values every single moment of every single day. 

Life is a gift but Dylan is the biggest gift *albeit in the smallest of packaging with no label! 

  

I’ve heard so many cliché statements over the years I thought I’d share with you my ‘Top Five’ I  am sure other Mum’s! (Parents!) of Special children can relate to this…..

  

  • ONE: Special Needs Mums are always asked “How do you cope?? I couldn’t……” 😩

Firstly yes you would!! You would have to, just like I have to. There’s very little choice in the matter. You may think I go above and beyond the call of duty for my special little boy but I only do what is needed to keep him well, happy and here. 

Anyone that says they couldn’t cope obviously doesn’t have to. 

I often hear….

I haven’t slept because my child was (delete as appropriate) teething/being sick/has a cold” (etc. etc.) In fairness if I was to only have one interrupted sleep, I’d feel rotten the following day too. But the reality is I haven’t had a full nights sleep in almost six years……. It’s normal in our unconventional lives

  • TWO: Special Needs Mums are always told 

You need to look after yourself, you need to be well to look after your child……” 🤒

Never had a true word been said, and in theory a walk through the park but in reality it’s a marathon and there really isn’t enough hours in the day to put yourself first. For when the 24 hours in  a day are dedicated to caring for your sick child, us mums tend to slip on to the back burn. *tends to be a slight juggle when a Special Needs Mum has her own health problems. 

We would all love a weekend trip to a Spa once a month or even once a year (*once a decade or even once in a lifetime would be more like it!!) but our kiddies come first. Period!!

  • THREE: Special Needs mums are always asked about………. Siblings and “How does ‘she’ cope??” 🤔

As a parent you want to give equal attention to all of your children. In my case two. But when you are blessed with one ‘Special‘ one and one equally as special but her needs are purely of wanting sole mummy attention, this can be hard (*back to my juggling act). As a Special a needs mummy when their non special needs child is a capable, clever and intelligent ten year old you expect them to do a lot of mondaying tasks but when you realise the tasks in hand are to pass the oxygen and help comfort sibling following watching mummy give home injections, the tasks are not too mondaying after all. It does feel like there is never enough of my attention to go around. No matter how many trips to ‘Smiggle‘ we do!! On the plus side she gets unlimited iPad time whilst I’m on phone to endless Doctors, Nurses and Therapists!! 

  • FOUR: Special Needs mums would have been asked along their journey 

If he doesn’t talk, does he sign” NO! “How do you communicate with him??” 🙄

Communication, or lack of it in our case is starting to get frustrating. Frustrating for our son who at nearly six years old is still babbling the same six sounds he’s been saying for almost four years. Cognitively, not able to sign, yet fully aware of what he would like to ask for. He finds other ways of asking, pointing, grunting, crying, changing tones in his voice, laughing when we get it right and pushing away if we get it wrong. Frustrating for us when when we don’t get it correct first time. 

People automatically assume communication by speech is natural, and generally it is. But in our home it’s not so we have to find our own way to communicate.  

Special Needs Mums have to learn to understand their non-verbal children. It’s just another part of the job! 

  • FIVE: This one only us SWAN Special Needs Mums will have heard…… 
  • “What do you mean ‘he’s’ Undiagnosed??”
  • “When will ‘he’ be Diagnosed??”
  • “How does it make you feel ‘him’ being Undiagnosed??”

And only a SWAN mummy can answer……. 😳

  
Without a diagnosis life can be very isolating. Families often feel like they don’t ‘fit in’ and without a diagnosis it can be very difficult to answer questions about their child. They don’t know what the future holds for their child – Will they walk? Talk? What will their life expectancy be?

It’s been a long journey for us a family coming to terms with Dylan not having a diagnosis. I’ve been through lots of grieving stages for the child Dylan isn’t. 

  • Denial, he will get better, it’s just a blip, the doctors don’t know what they are talking about (all of them!) 
  • Anger, why me, why Dylan, why us, it’s not fair (*throws dolls out of pram)
  • Depression, fed up, can’t carry on, peers all continuing in their ‘normal’ path whilst Dylan is stuck in the mind and body of a baby. 
  • Acceptance, realising we have been blessed with ‘THE MOST’ amazing little boy, one who is unique, a tough little fighter, who is incredibly handsome, very determined, extremely long and happy, a little boy who just takes whatever life throws at him with a pinch of salt. Accepting we are the luckiest parents alive to have been sent this little angel who has make us the strong loving parents we are today. Realising Dylan puts the ‘Special’ in ‘Special Needs’. 

Did you know six thousand children are born each year with an Undiagnosed Genetic Syndrome. Undiagnosed Children are known as SWAN’s. (Syndrome Without A Name) 

  
SWAN is a term used to describe disabled children who are thought to have a genetic syndrome or condition that doctors have so far been unable to identify.
SWAN is not a condition, it is not a diagnosis and it does not refer to one specific syndrome or condition. In fact, the reason that many children remain undiagnosed is because it is highly likely that they have a very rare syndrome or condition.

SWAN is a lifeline to hundreds of families like ours. To raise awareness for Undiagnosed children, like Dylan, this Friday, 29th April is Undiagnosed Children’s Day. It is a nationwide event to increase awareness of undiagnosed genetic conditions and raise funds to support SWAN UK, the only dedicated support available in the UK for families of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions.

  
So after almost six years of Why, What, How questions we are retired to the fact that Dylan may never get a diagnosis. Even if he was diagnosed it wouldn’t change the daily care Dylan requires. It would be so rare & wouldn’t make Dylan better or change his life expectancy but it may help others in the future which is why we will continue with Genetic studies. 

And so he writes the story #dylansstory  

  
Follow us on Facebook Dylan’s Story

Lucky Star 🌟⭐️🌟

It’s has just hit me as to why I haven’t been able to blog as frequently of late. 
  

Yesterday on Dolphin Ward whilst seeing Dylan’s paediatrician and discussing Dylan’s ongoing infectious diseases (throat and oesophageal tract infections) it occurred to me that we have no pending procedures under general anaesthetic due any time soon. Normally I’d get told that they’d look down his tubes whilst under GA but seen as Dylan has had almost every intrusive and inquisitive investigations in his almost six year little life there’s practically nothing else that can investigate into at present. 
So he needs his tubes looked into, also needs a dental examination both under GA but neither want to be done as a sole procedure. His knee will need operating on approximately at 7 years old we were told, but seen as Dylan’s legs are the length of a 9 month old baby that’s not gonna happen anytime soon  

  
So I should be able to take a breath and relax surely??? 

  
It approximately works out that’s he’s been put under for something or another at least once every two months of his existence. Wow. That’s a lot of sleep this child’s had (hehehe!!) 

So what I think I’m getting at is that it’s now boring…… Is that a correct thing to say?? 

 
We’re back to regular routine consultant appointments….

  • Rheumatology – happy that his inflammation is under control with both his daily steroids and his cytotoxic injections. 
  • Orthopaedic– can’t operate until he’s older
  • Endocrine – can’t help him grow 
  • Neurology – is flummoxed with the abnormalities they found on his scan last year 
  • Genetics – starting him on the 100k genome project in May 
  • Immunology – I’m giving him his regular infusions, but my boys IG levels are still dropping whilst on the drugs
  • Cardiology – regular reviews 
  • Gastro – at a stand still, although his reflux is back with a vengeance 
  • Respiratory– under review 
  • Optometrists– he WILL not wear his glasses
  • Dental – under review 
  • Along with 2 dozen therapists, community teams and local teams (all that’s missing is a partridge in a pear tree!!!) 

  

Is it boring that we have no ops pending?? Surely not. NO! This is my time to enjoy my little boy. Dylan ‘Peter Pan’ M. 

  

So I should count myself really really lucky, 

  • The Past – we’ve been through really tough times, touch and go at times 
  • The Future – we’ve got tougher times ahead I know 
  • The Present – we have a happy amazing little boy who simply put, is my baby, he doesn’t sit still, he’s constantly on the go 24/7, he’s obsessed with his car tights and Adidas hoody, he handles pain amazingly, he takes everything that’s thrown at him in his stride, he’s never angry. As long as he’s got his Birdseye Potato Waffles or Mcdonalds chips along with his orange flavoured Fruit Shoot and shock horror a brand new addition to his food regime Teeth and Lip sweeties he’s happy as Larry (who is this Larry??) 

In Dylan’s world it’s a happy place. I’d happily swap places and live in Dylan’s world. It seems a lot nicer place than Mummy’s world. He’s a lot happier there than I am in my world. 
I am so Lucky as I have Dylan 24/7. We do everything together. He is my world and he makes my world perfect. 
So for now I’m going to be thankful of the time we have away from being an in-patient (which has turned into being the norm for us), and enjoy every second of normal life, well normal-ish!?!?

Dylan’s my bowl of #luckycharms 💙💙

 

(Who) Run the World 🌍 ((Girls) SWAN Mummies) 👭👭👭👭

Eeek I did it!! *shouts with a sigh of relief. It’s done. It’s over and I am on the train travelling back to Euston to reunite with the 3 loves of my lives 💙💙💗. Without tears (on my part) with a little wobble (on my part) a whole lot of Facetime and all in the name of love ❤️

  

Separation is desperately hard for me seen as I have never done it, not in Dylan’s lifetime anyway. But when I was asked to attend SWAN UK’s Bloggers Workshop I knew I had to, no, I wanted to go! 
 
Blogging is my tonic 🍷Blogging is my release 🤔 Blogging is my way of sharing the realisation of my world, Dylan’s Story to all you lovelies who take the time to read it and follow our little life adventure 🤗

Firstly, let me tell you how amazingly well my gorgeous husband coped, one full night of no sleep out of the two *he got off lightly, welcome to my world Mr. M!! He even got to take Scarlett shopping, went for a meal with the kids and as exhausted as he says he is, was elated at well how he managed and so was I. *now I know I should be jumping for joy and re-packing my bags but in fact I won’t be doing it again anytime soon so don’t worry mummy’s on her way home! #missedmyfamtoomuch

  

SWAN UK; Syndrome Without A Name means a whole lot to me. Having a medically complex child with no diagnosis is like having a cheap handbag. #nolabel. Now, I am not comparing Dylan to a Michael Kors Handbag *my other love ❤️👜 I am simply saying it’s hard sometimes not having a label for your goods! And after being so involved in Undiagnosed Children’s Day (UCD) 2015 knew it was so important to get on board and help raise awareness (& funds) for UCD 2016 (29/04) 
And boy did I do it…. Staying in Birmingham for two nights! Travelling by tube and train *all by myself #idontdopublictransport #alone 

SWAN UK is a small charity which started as an extension of Genetic Alliance which was established in 2011 with a 5-year grant. Today, SWAN UK has its own brand identity and two prestigious corporate organisations who are in partnership raising money to help this charity whom help hundreds of families. But these alone can’t keep a charity afloat. It’s actually not just money we need. ITS AWARENESS. 

SWAN UK provide support, shares information and increases awareness and understanding of undiagnosed genetic syndromes For children like Dylan. Because families like ours  find it harder to get the help they are entitled to because they do not have a diagnosis *in brief SWAN is fab and do loads for families like us. But sadly 2016 sees the end of the 5-year grant so this is where they need your help. 

  

Yesterday, 13 like-minded, fabulously gorgeous woman, all who write superbly about their own lives with their SWAN/’s and 3 SWAN representatives sat around in a large meetingroom,  technology everywhere, with copious amounts of coffee flowing ☕️, yummy pastries 🍩 and even an afternoon pick me up of Prosecco 🍸to discuss how we can make Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2016 more #outthere *in the words of my daughter! 

  

In my opinion *and please don’t get me wrong, each and every charity is as important as the next to the relevant people but some are just more known and publicised than others and if I could I would give to them all… So, back to my opinion, a children’s cancer charity may find it easier to raise money because there is a lot of awareness and publicity around this sensitive subject. If you were asked you to donate £1 of your hard earned money to help a child with cancer almost everyone who could would. Right?? If someone asked you to donate to #HavenHouse a children’s hospice to help a child with a life-limiting condition you would. Right?? But if I asked you to donate £1 to SWAN UK to help an Undiagnosed child like Dylan. Would you??  There is just not as much awareness and understanding in the general public of the importance of SWAN UK, similar to the lack of support there is for some families within the medical profession *not all may I add. 

The stigma of childhood cancer or a children’s hospice would possibly have a bigger impact on the general public’s heartstrings. But the reality is Undiagnosed Children need even more help raising funds and raising awareness as many of them, like Dylan are life-limiting, complex, medically challenged, non verbal, non mobile…. You get me know. Right??? *there is a just giving link, which can be found on SWAN UK’s website but I am not asking you for your money at this stage, just to think about where you give your money too **thats not to say I won’t ever be offering you the link to SWAN UK’s just giving page

Did you know (in a survey) 5 of the top 10 words used to describe experience of parenting an undiagnosed child are…..

  • Isolated – no other child is like Dylan
  • Frustrated – will he walk? will he talk? Will he ever get a diagnosis? Why us? 
  • Lonely – hours in hospital waiting rooms! Hours in traffic to and from appointments? What feels like hours waiting for your child in recovery.  
  • Anxious – will he have a seizure today? Will he be poorly today?
  • Stressed – do I need to prove an explanation for this *shouts very loudly! 

* Swan mummies and daddies have more unanswered questions than parents of children with a diagnosis and some live day to day unsure of the next 

  

    So lots of talking and listening and taking notes was done and whilst I would like to continue raising awareness for Dylan’s Story and his undiagnosed genetic condition, I will be coinciding this with raising awareness for Undiagnosed Children’s Day which takes place on the 29th April. 

    Dylan’s Story has done a little bit of media but if anyone reading this feels they might know someone in the media albeit news, breakfast shows, radio, Nationals, locals….. I am on a mission, please help by forwarding them Dylan’s Story details after all 2016 marks the year of Dylan becoming the 6-year old baby!! 
    As my train approaches the station and before my feet hit the streets of London Town, to sum up my weekend away, 

    • I have, with my humungous suitcase got a train to and from Birmingham
    • Shared a hotel room with a friend I’ve only met virtually, 
    • Met 12 other fabulous ladies, 
    • Had 2 lovely meals out, 
    • Sat in an 8 hour conference, 
    • Talked till I lost my voice,
    • Had a little bit of ‘me’ time, 
    • Had not one but two child free sleeps *feel worse for it I must say
    • But to top it off, my 3rd favourite man came top in our poll!! #robbiewilliams

      

    So, before I go on my promote, promote, promote mission I’m gonna get off this train, get myself home and squeeze my babies. Mammas a coming for ya x

    Keeeeeeeep Blogging….. (Ps Dylan you’re my favourite!) 

      
    Our busiest, most productive and healthiest filled to the brim festive period is over with thank goodness nothing bad to report. 
      

    Amazingly 2015 was Dylan’s 6th Christmas, not so amazingly he still didn’t have any understanding of meaning or the excitement but he enjoyed it. He enjoyed our manic two weeks of constant fun with family, friends and Mickey.  


    With all that go you’d think it’ll be time for us to settle into a quiet January….. Fear not, January is where it all starts again. For on the final and 12th day of Christmas Dylan ended up in A&E, a little blip but Dylan makes sure he keeps us on our toes. Putting his mark firmly on 2016. 

    Hot topic of conversation in the blogging community so far this year is about a blog about us special needs parents blogging. In so many words it’s a blog about how *’we‘ manipulate our children by blogging about them without their consent and do it for attention. #itsnotusattentionseeking #crippingthemighty #bloggoff (Dylan’s daddy said)

    I wholeheartedly am a mummy of a special needs child with a life limiting condition who has complex health issues and enjoys sharing my experiences. Quite frankly I want to shout about Dylan’s progress from the roof tops but I also like to share the not such good news. #raisingawareness #welcometomyworld  

     Why do it do it? 

    • I blog in hope that I raise awareness for undiagnosed children #undiagnosed
    • I blog so that other special needs parents read my blogs and  can relate to similar experiences. 
    • I blog to get ‘it’ off my chest so I can deal with whatever’s thrown at us next. 
    • I blog in hope that someone somewhere at the beginning of their journey that I am on sees some kind of light at the end of the long tunnel I am still in. #standstillinblackwalltunnel
    • More importantly I blog to see if there is ‘another Dylan’ out there. I want to find him or a ‘Doctor’ that just might have an incline of an answer I hope might get in touch. 
    • But mostly I blog about experiences personal to me and my family.  

    Most of us blog because we find it; therapeutic, informative and to raise awareness. We do not exploit our children, (perhaps if they were able-bodied and verbal we wouldn’t have a need to blog.) We only do it with every good intention and reasonings. 

    I absolutely love reading others bloggers views on being a special needs parents, a lot of which I can relate to, empathise with and learn from. 

    * I speak as ‘we‘ on behalf of the **SWAN bloggers community **I am so nervous but also so looking forward to the SWAN UK Bloggers Workshop later this month. It was be the first time in Dylan’s life I’ll be separated from him for over 24 hours. But that’s another blog. Watch this space. #excited #nervous #SWANUKbloggersworkshop

    So what does 2016 have in store for Dylan’s Story?? Lots of visits to GOSH, Lots of blood tests. Physiotherapy, a new Speech Therapist, continued infusions, exciting new home education, SNAP, Haven House, SWAN meet ups and what ever else is thrown at us. 

    Plus I’d love if 2016 is the year we get to take Dylan to Disney……. 

    As for me I should have been in the circus;  Being a mummy, a wife, a carer, a daughter, a sister an auntie and a friend (not the best one at times I know) 

    • My job has no set hours.
    • No time off 
    • No holidays
    • No sick pay
    • No lunch breaks. 

      
     

      My Job requirements to be a special needs parent require; 

      • A willingness to be available constantly. 
      • Responsibilities include availability to work under immense pressure; 
      • sleep deprivation, 
      • putting my child’s needs before my own, 
      • Provide around the clock care
      • Intake of humungous amounts of caffeine… 
      • Being a real life superhero! 

        

        Role concists of being a;

        • Play therapist, 
        • Physiotherapist, 
        • Occupational Therapist,
        • Speech Therapist,
        • GP,
        • Pharmacist,
        • PA,
        • Nurse,
        • Teacher
        • Chauffeur, 
        • Carer, 
        • His eyes,
        • His ears,
        • His voice 

        Length of contract

        • Ongoing – please g-d forever

        Hours of work; 

        • 24 hours a day 8 days a week.

        Salary

        • £50 odd a week Carers Allowance!  

        Quitting is nonnegotiable.

          

        I take it all in my stride but I don’t claim that it’s the easiest job I’ve ever had. 

        Along with managing my daughters busy social life, running the home, cooking, cleaning, ironing etc. etc. etc.  

        I wouldn’t change a single thing.

        So now dare tell me not to blog about my life, my family and my special son. 

         I have been blessed. 2016; please make it a good one for my Dylan, my superhero. 

          
         

        Simply having a wonderful Christmas SWAN time 🎄🎅🏻

        The Only way is EssexMas SWAN stylie  
        SWAN kids go Krazy at Krazy Kids 

           
         
        At this magical time of year theres no better time to have a SWAN get together so when Lauren asked me to arrange an Essex Christmas gathering I immediately said YES

          
        Because I have soooooooo much free time??? and must be completely bonkers I set to work. 

        I wanted something small and intimate, somewhere clean, warm and indoors, Easily accessible from M25 & M11. 
        A hall? Toooooooo big………

        A restaurant? Tooooooo noisy……….

        Soft Play? Juuuuuuust right!! 

        And at Only the, best, soft play in Essex – Krazy Kids Cafe !!!

        Next on my to-do list; a Santa, and due to unforeseen circumstances we had to find a very last minute replacement. Who better to take the job than my dad. Never have I laughed so much as my daddy doesn’t really resemble Father Christmas in any way what so ever – especially now he’s on his strict diet!! Hahaha!! Although sounding more like Mr. Bean than Father Christmas, he was perfect for this job & done me proud. Well done Daddy Claus. HO 🎅🏻 HO 🎅🏻 HO 🎅🏻
          

        Carefully choosing individual gifts for the children’s development ages as opposed to their chronological age along with gifts for their siblings. Awwww seeing their little faces when Santa gave them their presents completely melted my heart. 

        These children, our SWAN’s, put the Special in Special Needs. Beautiful inside and out. 

        Scarlett & Gracie were two beautiful santa’s litter helpers, Santa couldn’t have managed today without you both.  

          
        Now for our make-shift grotto…. Thank you to the Ongar Mums Group (OMG) for lending their grotto props. Large Lollypops and CandyFloss. I felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as they’ve been in my hallway for over a week. Secretly I’ve been dancing and singing ‘Come with me and you’ll be In a world of pure imagination Take a look and you’ll see Into your imagination’ 

          

        No party is complete without an honouree face painted Superhero! A huge thank you to Lyndsey who has given up her own time to paint our little SWAN’s, their siblings and all the mummy’s. Even Dylan’s Nana too got painted! 

          
        Meet my new friends…. Sarah; my lovely little co-elf, baking cakes & putting mine to shame!! My virtual partner in crime lol!! 

          

        Donna, Corrina & Lynette you lovely ladies. I am so pleased to have met you, your hubbies and babies. Together we make up the ‘Essex SWAN Crew!’ The Only way is definitely Essex!!!! 

          
        But none of this would have been possible without our Lauren, everybody’s best friend. This lovely lady spends her life living out of a suitcase, travelling up and down the country, arranging, organising and coordinating nationwide. I am so pleased you made our party and hope you like your special Swan Christmas prez. 

        Huge thank you from Dylan & me for being with us and sharing some of our huge experiences this year. 

          
        So that’s all the prep and thanks done. Here’s how our party went…. We are lots of cakes, we drank lots of coffee, all the mummies had their face painted, all the kiddies laughed and played making new friends with a common interest; their Swan siblings, us adults made new friends, we’ve made New Year arrangements, ate some more cake, then ate some party food, had selfies, group photos, met ‘the real’ Father Christmas 😉. Had a bit of a boogie to Little Mix, pulled crackers and generally had a ‘Wonderful Christmas Time…….’
          
          

        It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄

        Being blessed with a Special Needs child is not on the top of everyone’s wish list, but when life gives you no options it’s sink or swim. I am paddling for my life right now and in return I see my little boys smiley face and it makes me paddle harder.

            

        Today I met a mum who touched my heart 

          

        For the first time since the words ‘life’ and ‘limiting’ entered our vocabulary we mixed in a social group of others on a similar journey to us. 

        For today was the children’s Christmas party at Haven House. Rich had to work so I took the children alone. Dylan had a ball, he loved the panto – ‘Naughty and Nice list’ and I loved that he sat on my lap for the duration and I used his hands to wave, clap and join in with all the actions. 

          

        Being a Special Needs mummy takes guts. You need to be fearless. It can be a quite lonely place. You need to be a medical journal, a nurse, P.A, voice and mind plus all the usual jobs of a mummy and more. 

        When you decide and if you are lucky enough to have children, an unconditional love like no other, warms your heart and takes over your heart too. But to become a legal guardian of somebody else’s Special Needs child take a strong and courageous woman and that’s who I met today. A lady I instantly felt a bond with, we only chatted for a short time whilst in the queue to see Father Christmas but the love she had for her foster daughter filled my heart with joy and pride. For this lady had the choice to take all of the above along with her regular mummy duties bringing up her own two children and appeared to do it with such strength and grace. She has the most beautiful little girl whom I hope to see again at Haven House one day. 

          
        Which brings me onto what being a Special Needs mummy is all about….. 

        As 2015 is drawing to a close, a year which started off with an incredibly poorly Dylan, a fairly good middle and one which is ending with another prolonged chest infection. Here’s my list which sums up yet another challenging year. 

          

        1. You feel like you are living in a surreptitious world; you will witness ignorance and incomprehension, you will witness miracles that no others see as a miracle, and you will treasure every single moment. 

          

        2. You are dealing with a real life situation far beyond any expectations, and you just deal with it. 

        3. If you’re lucky, you will have met parents that walk the same path as you
        . You will march alongside together, although your roads take different turns and have different bumps along the way, you can take comfort in the similarities. 

          

        4. This year I have learnt to admit how hard it is, I don’t have to be a cheerleader, upbeat and positive all the time. It does hurt. It is tough and sometimes I feel deflated. But OMG it can be so rewarding when he does the smallest of things and that’s the best pick me up any mummy can get. 

          

        5. You are allowed and can say ‘No‘ to doctors and it’s ok to know more than them!

        6. It’s ok to let your child set the pace

        7. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not allowed to grieve for your son’s childhood he is not able to live. ‘Sliding doors’ is my interpretation for it. Try not to think too deeply, just enjoy the journey your child is on. After all he writes the chapters in his own story, and he only sends Special children to those he knows will cope best
          

        8. It’s a lot harder than I might make it look being a special needs mummy, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, week in and week out. I might put on a smile and some lippy but it’s right there from the minute I open my eyes to the minute I close them and not forgetting the time in-between. 

        9. Pencil it in has never been a truer saying. For no plans can ever be a permanent fixture as chances are that I will need to rearrange. To all my lovely friends whom I have cancelled on numerous occasions this year I appreciate your understanding and constant support. 

        10. Being a special needs mummy can be a very lonely job. Sitting awake during the long cold nights with your son, waiting in hospital waiting rooms, endless meetings for one thing or another, of late ECHP. For us living with the unknown itself is lonely. But when you are lucky enough to have the most wonderful true friends who are always there, bend over backwards to help and just put a smile on your face you know you’re not alone. Old friends and new, ladies you know who you are and I couldn’t get through each day without you.  

          

        My amazing family, parents, in-laws, siblings. My wonderful, intelligent, caring and beautiful daughter Scarlett and lastly my rock my husband Richard. Thank you I love you all. 

          

        Last but by no means least, the reason I get up each morning, the reason I am the person I am today, my inspiration, my love, my life. Dylan xxxxx

          

        Wishing you all a fabulous Christmas, a Happy New Year and to a hopeful, successful and healthy 2016. It’s Dylan’s story and he writes the chapters.

        Love Dylan’s Mummy 😘 

          

        Bows 🎀 Presents 🛍 and a Wheelchair ♿️

        The lead up to Christmas, my favourite time of year. But like every year I wonder what Dylan will make of it. Last year, his fifth Christmas
        he recognised Christmas trees and pointed to the lights, this year, Christmas number 6 I am hoping Dylan will get a little pleasure from the festive period.

        I love this festive time of year, the build up to Christmas is the most exciting. I love being a Christmas Fairy and spending all my money on my children, husband and loved ones ensuring they all have the most fabulous gifts (note to hubby…. I still love receiving gifts too – mostly of the designer handbag sort lol!!)

        Dylan’s always the most difficult to buy for, as he is not age appropriate and his level of development plateau’s. This year I have found some beauty’s for my little prince! Can’t wait to give him them

        Those of you that know me know I love to, in my spare time, which there’s not much of in my world,  make beautiful handmade hair bows. I enjoy doing two Christmas fetes each year locally.

        This year, as we are in the process of starting Dylan’s Story Charity (not a registered Charity yet) I will be putting all my sales towards Dylan’s new wheelchair accessories, which we went for fittings for today. So if you buy a bow from my stall you’ll know you are helping a great cause

        Which leads me on to…….

        Every single hurdle is tough and not one is in the ‘mummy hand guide’ But of my hardest yet, which even though I have been expecting it for years, acceptance is tough. Today was Dylan’s wheelchair assessment…..                                                             You see my five year old baby fits so snug in his McLaren stroller I’ve wanted to keep him in it. He’s happy in it. It’s lightweight, & great for doing Christmas shopping with!!

        However, Dylan, who is already Hemevertibrae T6-9 (slightly curved spine) is leaning to the left putting a strain on his spine and pelvis meaning he could fix in this position. Now we don’t want that, so my broken heart aside, we tested the wheelchairs. We have decided to go with a ‘special buggy’ wheelchair. It’s bulky, it’s heavy, it’s ugly and horrible and if I am honest I totally hate it but Dylan took to it like a duck to water, or a SWAN in our case.


        Although he refused to smile for the pics, he did really like it.


        It should be delivered after Christmas so time for me to mentally prepare myself to push a ‘wheelchair’ around. Sell lots of bows to help fund it. But like with everything else that’s been chucked at me I will learn to love it and deal with it just fine. After all my beautiful boy will be in it

        To sum up how I’m feeling knowing my Dylan’s going from a buggy to a wheelchair is heartbreaking, admitting the truth hurts, life stinks sometimes……


        Then I look at my gorgeous happy little boy and absolutely nothing else matters but his health and wellbeing.

        Dylan mummy loves you more than you will ever ever know. 💙💙💙