November 10th 2018
I have some upsetting news to share with you. My youngest son, three year old Bertie, has been ill for a few weeks. On Wednesday 7th November we were admitted to hospital and he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Since his diagnosis we have been admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital and have started chemotherapy. Everything is moving at a whirlwind pace and yet this is a long haul and unpredictable process.
Obviously we're completely distraught and overwhelmed but at the moment the only thing we can do is take things a day at a time. Staying strong and making sure we are here for Bertie is our priority. They tell us that Bertie's prognosis is good, and thank goodness for the NHS, who have scooped us up and are taking care of us wonderfully. We are a ball of devastation and stress and they are being so amazing with us.
All of this means that I will be away from the studio for some time. I am still the sole maker here at Milk Diamonds, so there isn’t anyone available to pick up this work. This means that all previous timescales are going to have to change, and there will be some significant delays. We have contacted all affected customers by email.
We expect to return to some form of normality in the future, so will continue to accept new orders with extended timescales. We may need to limit the number of orders we accept per month. Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to guarantee any timescales at present. What we can guarantee, is that you will be kept up to date with your order’s progress, and when it is produced, it will be made with the love and time that it deserves.
Inclusions can continue to be sent, although there will be delay with logging these. They will be safe and stored appropriately.
If you have any questions about an existing or new order, my admin assistant, Laura, will be happy to help.
Thank you for your continued support, particularly over the difficult weeks to come.
November 29th 2018
I'm back. Trying to make sense of the balls I dropped three weeks ago when Bertie was diagnosed, and fighting the urge to ring home every five minutes to see how he's doing.
At the moment I'll be concentrating on getting the batch I was partway through finished and out, as well as opening and cataloging all arrivals and sending out gift vouchers and boxes. If you have an order that has been delayed and would like a "gift to come" certificate, please do let us know by email.
Again, I'm so sorry to have totally missed Christmas deadlines, and so thankful to have such amazing and supportive customers.
It seems like a good time to let you know how Bertie is doing. He was diagnosed three weeks ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and has been receiving treatment ever since.
The treatment currently involves four different types of chemotherapy, and following a stay at Bristol Children's Hospital he has been discharged home with day hospital appointments.
He is coping brilliantly and stoically with distressing and painful treatment and side effects, most noticeably a massive increase in appetite (and weight) and reduced mobility. These are both due to some hefty steroids. He still has hair for now, but it will start to fall out soon and has now started to thin out.
Bertie has a port in place in his chest, so all his IV chemo and blood transfusions go through a line into this, something that will remain in place until the end of treatment. He is also having regular chemo into his spinal cord and bone marrow aspirations, both are done under general anaesthetic.
In just over a week he will have an important bone marrow test to see how his leukaemia is responding to treatment. Then we will have a treatment plan for the next three and a bit years. So far he has been lucky. He has a common leukaemia, he is young and early results were looking good. But I can't let down my guard and still feel nervous for the results of that biopsy.
On top of the leukaemia, we have the ever present risk of infection, and we have hospital bags packed for urgent hospital stays if we get a temperature over 38°c, which will result in a stay in isolation and IV antibiotics.
Family life now revolves around Bertie and his care. Poor Gus has had a struggle with this, but our community here in Frome has been amazing and have been making sure he is still enjoying time with friends. Martin and I take it in turns to stay with Bertie when he's in hospital, and as things settle down Martin will look after Bertie while I work at the studio.
Its been the longest and most tiring three weeks of our lives, and we have cried every day, often with sadness, but just as often with gratitude at the wonderful love and support we have around us.
Thank you all.