We received Livvys last lot of surgery results this week, it’s been just over three weeks so I knew they were due. My phone rang whilst I was treating the kids to lunch in a local cafe, I knew from the number that it was the hospital. I could have said it wasn’t a good time but I needed to know, I couldn’t wait any longer knowing that they were there and ready to be discussed. I listened to the results whilst people around me poured tea and chatted as they tried to decide what filling to have on their jacket potato.
It was a different dermatologist that had rung me, as our regular one was on annual leave. I felt the need to stay upbeat not only because I was sat across a table from Livvy and Eddie as they tucked into their chips, but because it wasn’t our normal doctor, I had to show I was strong and able to take the results whatever they may be.
Another melanoma, another basal cell carcinoma and also for the first time a squamous cell carcinoma. A full house! All three types in one surgery! Does that make Livvy even more unique, to get all three types in one go, I can imagine the amazement down in the pathology lab, as they realise what they are looking at, maybe even checking the date of birth on the paper work that goes with the three sample. Can it be right that such a young girl gets a full house days before her 7th birthday?
I somehow stayed up beat, even as I rang my close friends and family, I managed to keep the front up. A happy mummy getting ready to celebrate her daughters 7th birthday that’s what I wanted to be not a mummy that’s just received the words no mummy wants to hear.
I somehow got Livvy ready for her dance class and drove there still smiling, the words not registering in my brain, they were still floating around not yet filed away in the big folder marked skin cancer.
We arrived for dance class a little early, her dance teacher came bouncing out full of love and smiles.
‘Mummy can I have a word away from little ears please’ she beamed at me.
I wasn’t sure what she wanted to talk about but I knew if it was anything XP related I would break down and cry.
She had planned the most amazing birthday surprise for Livvy and wanted to run it by me first. I was so excited my smile was no longer forced, I jumped up and down like I was the one turning 7 in two days. I hugged her and said you’ve got to tell Livvy and Eddie! I think at this point it was safe to say that the recent phone call just hours before had been pushed right to the back of my mind and Livvys birthday was back there in the spotlight.
We went back over to Livvy and Eddie and she told them what she had organised, they both sat there looking a little puzzled, not fully understanding how it could be possible.
Livvy is a ‘Cats the Musical’ fan, as we all are, we went to see it at the Palladium on one of our visits to London when we had to attend the XP clinic at St Thomas hospital. I was looking for something to do a few months ago for Livvys birthday and saw that the tour was in Nottingham on the night of her birthday, perfect! I booked it right there and then.
Livvy had been telling all her dance class that she was going to watch ‘Cats’ for her birthday which had lead her dance teacher to turn to Facebook with a little request, she knows lots of people in the theatre world due to the nature of her own work. I’m not sure what she wrote but it resulted in the best birthday present any Cats fan could have! We had to be at the stage door before the show to meet some of the cast, in full makeup and costume, not only that but we could go back stage too!
Excited doesn’t come close to the buzz in our house that night or the next day. Imagine turning 7 but also possibly meeting your hero.
‘Will Victoria be there mummy?’ Livvy asked me over and over again.
‘I’m not sure darling’ I told her ‘I’m sure whoever it will be they will look amazing with all their make up on’
She has always admired Victoria, the only all white cat in the show, she doesn’t have her own song like The Rum Tum Tugger or Mr Mistoffelees but when she dances she does so with such grace and beauty that I can see why Livvy wants to be just like Victoria. She really is Livvy’s hero and her idol.
Livvy’s birthday arrived, she ripped the paper from her new roller blades, full of smiles and happiness, spending the most part of the day in her new PJs rolling round and round the kitchen table in them. We sang happy birthday and welcomed friends round to help celebrate our most perfect girl turning 7.
In the afternoon Livvy came running down the stairs in her cat costume announcing that she was ready to go.
‘Are you sure you want to go dressed as a cat?’ I asked. Livvy looked at me a little puzzled ‘yes mummy of course I do!!!’
So we set of to Nottingham with some friends, with Livvy dressed as a cat!
As we walked across the City, Livvy jumping around with her protective mask on dressed as a cat, I joked to my friend that it was hard to tell if people were staring at her because she was dressed as a cat or because she was wearing her protective mask.
We found ourselves sat by the stage door, chatting to ‘ Bustopher Jones’ although not yet in costume, he asked Livvy if she’d seen the show before, she confidently told him she had once before in London.
We found ourselves being welcomed in via the stage door past Mr Mistoffelees costume hanging in the wings, up some steps and onto set. Livvy was in ore, “that’s where ‘Jennyanydots’ comes out!” she pointed to the old car boot. She got to wear an old shoe as a hat, ‘this is from when they pretend to be dogs’, she so knows her stuff when it comes to cats! We had lots of photos on stage and explored everything, soaking in all our eyes could take.
We went back to the stage door and were told that some of the cats were on their way. Livvys smile beamed with excitement!
‘Will it be Victoria mummy?’
First came Tantomile with Cassandra, they greated Livvy with so much love and wished her happy birthday, they asked who her favourite cat was and she told them it was Victoria and Jennyanydots and Skimbleshanks……… The names just kept coming, you would have thought they’d asked her to name as many cats as she could in 30 seconds! We chatted and laughed then the doors opened and out walked the most perfect all white cat, Livvys eyes fixed on her, she couldn’t move, I held her shoulders and kissed her head.
‘Who is it Livvy?’ I whispered to her,
She was speechless. She was frozen solid. The confidence she had just shown as she reeled off all the cats names was gone. More cats came out to meet us but Livvy was fixed on Victoria, she is the one, no cat is higher than Victoria in the world of Livvy.
Soon we found our seats in the stalls, we were sat by the aisle, Livvy wanted the end seat knowing that the cast run down several times during the show. Every time Victoria went past Livvy she smiled and waved, it was like she made a bee line for Livvy. By the time Mr Mistoffelees was on stage in the second act and all the cats left the stage for the aisles, almost everyone stopped by Livvy, she got a high five from Macavity! She stroked Tantomile on the head and got a hug from Victoria. I couldn’t keep up with how many high fives she got and pats on her head as they danced by. She was on a high, in total ore of all the attention she was getting. It was a birthday that will be hard to beat.
We left the show and walked back to the car park in the safety of the moonlight, no protection needed it was the perfect end to a perfect birthday. The most perfect 7th birthday.
The week started with the worst news, news that I will never get used to hearing but sometimes, just sometimes, dreams do come true.