‘My daughter’s death took me to the darkest place, but I’ve learned it’s possible to come back’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: November 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Appiah rang Leukaemia Cares helpline from the point of diagnosis until well after the end of her daughters life. Sometimes Id call them as a means of support, she says, when things got really rough, when her medications were really powerful, and the chemo made her so unwell. She rang when she had panic attacks; an NHS psychologist had told her that these were likely, and that she should breathe into a brown paper bag, but Appiah found speaking to a person more soothing.

With a laugh, Appiah notes that shed ring the helpline at other times, too: Sometimes Id be out with Imogin, and shed be in the pram, being naughty, and all of my patience was going down the drain, and Id phone Leukaemia Cares nurses, and say: Look, Im feeling so depressed, my daughters shouting, I dont know what to do!

But I might also say: Nurse, Im actually feeling good today.

Appiah says the support of an independent person was invaluable: When your child is so ill, you need to speak to someone who doesnt know your name you need an outsider you can unload to. I didnt want anyone thinking: Here Sheila comes again!

You become self-conscious about your situation and dont want to be a burden on your friends and family. With the helpline, you wont be judged: they just listen. You get it out of your system and then go do the shopping at Sainsburys.

When Imogin was well, shed go to school. But she also spent weeks at a time in isolation in St Georges Hospital, with her mother by her side. Once, she had a bad reaction to a medication and went into cardiac arrest. She was crying and saying, Please, please! and they were giving her all sorts of medicine. The doctors were battling to keep her stable and I dived into the bed with her and told her: Youre going to be OK. I lay down with her and I started singing with her. And then, once she stabilised, she said: Now can I watch High School Musical?"

Appiah shakes her head, laughing: Thats what she was like: I was on thedoor of death, but I have something else planned. I want to watch my video and none of you are going to stop me!

Charities sent the pair to Disneyland Paris twice. The first time was fantastic, says Appiah, the second time Imogin was in and out of consciousness. But they said we should go, to make memories, Appiah explains. Imogin got to be a celebrity for a day and went to Hamleys in a limousine to get anything she wanted.

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'My daughter's death took me to the darkest place, but I've learned it's possible to come back' - Telegraph.co.uk

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