About Me

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I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tea with the Queen...

I'm dedicating this particular post to Dj.

When all this cancer stuff first started going on Dj was 10 yrs old. He transferred to Secondary School in August amidst all the hospital tests, chemo, radiation, scans, appointments, me in severe pain and uncertainty. He had just turned 11 when he started....

So with all this going on at home, he could easily have played the cancer card 'Can't cope because my mums got cancer, Can't do my homework on time, Can't concentrate, Can't behave, Can't cope with the transition from primary to secondary, Can't settle'........ but he didn't do any of the above.

He knuckled down, worked hard at primary to get good results in his SAT's and left with an excellent school report then started at his new school in September.

During his first term of being there I was then in hospital for my surgery, this involved huge changes to his routine at home but he didn't miss a single day of school, handed all of his homework in on time, adjusted to his new routine and made new friends and quickly gained the respect of his tutor who recently described him as 'a very mature, sensible and balanced young man who has quickly proved himself as a role model'

Today we received his first term levels in each subject...
(PG = Progress Good; PE = Progress Excellent; PS = Progress Satisfactory; PU = Progress Unsatisfactory)

English PG
Maths PG
Science PG
Art PG
Citizenship PE
Dance PE !!! (Those who know Dj will understand the !!!)
Drama PE !!! (same as above)
Design &
Technology PG
Geography PE
History PE
French PG
Music PG
Education PG
Oh and his reading age is 16 yrs and 4 months now - 5 yrs older than him.... :-)

I am so very very proud of him along with Rab and the rest of the family. He is an example of exactly how not to let cancer rule our lives.

And....now to explain the tea with the Queen title....Okay, okay I confess, it's not REALLY the Queen!
He has been invited to attend a tea party with the Headteacher tomorrow afternoon which is being held in honour of students who have made outstanding effort in subjects (his 'speciality' was Geography).
For each of the subjects listed above, the school choose one child from each year group (a year group contains approximately 200 children) who excelled in that subject and invite them to this special afternoon tea so that the Head can get to meet them and get to know them better. When you've got in excess of 1000 kids in a school, it's fairly impossible to get to know them all well, especially during the first term - so I think this is a great idea.

In addition a newsletter was sent home to all parents and he's so impressed to see HIS name there:
Headteacher Commendations : 'Dj ** Geography - for commitment to the subject and always working hard'

As I said we're so proud of him....and I even forgive him for driving me to distraction at times. I know he's had a lot to deal with but he's proved that life goes on regardless.

One of Dj's main gripes at Primary school was that good behaviour and hard work wasn't recognised anywhere near as often as rewarding those whose behaviour was often less than desirable.
He often used to feel it was unjust when a 'bad' kid got rewarded for stuff that the rest of them did without question each day. Simple things like getting through the day without hitting another child got them a reward.
The children who behaved all the time found it was getting more and more difficult to accumulate enough reward stickers to be able to exchange them for gold certificates, meanwhile they were sitting in assemblies watching kids who generally can't behave or follow easy rules picking up their gold certificates.
He said to me once 'If I was a brat I'd have my gold certificate by now'...I see his point.
I do understand the incentive in rewarding children when they've managed to achieve something (like not attacking 'my' child that day)...however I also felt that you also need to recognise the 'good' kids.

I like that this current school is more into rewarding positive behaviour and recognising hard work - rather than 'improved behaviour'.

I like that my boy is going to tea with the Queen tomorrow (yes, yes...I know...but she is the Queen of the school)

Well done Dj xxx


  1. I can't begin to tell you how enormously impressed I am by what Dj has managed to achieve in just his first term. So impressed, I showed your post to my mum, and from a former Queen of the School . . .

    "Congratulation to Dj on what would be a wonderful achievement at the best of times. The fact that he's done so very well during what must have been a very difficult time for him shows just what a remarkable young man he is.

    But then he has a remarkable mother. One who has fought authority every single step of the way to give her son (actually, both of them!) the best possible start. No one parent could have done more. You should be extremely proud."


  2. Your profile header needs changing to 'proud mother of 2 amazing boys'!
    When I found you on CancerChat one of my first posts was 'help, how do I tell my boy'.
    Don't they come up trumps. J was sitting GCSE's all through my diagnosis disruption, coming away with 10, including 6 A's and A*s. He even got Music student of the Year. My surgery was just after he started 6th form and I know he felt swamped by the combination of study and 3 hour trips to visit. He never complained, only once commenting about the state of the house in my absence that it was 'untidy'!
    He never says much but I know he has concerns, he'll come up to me quietly for a hug.
    His escape is playing guitar and I know it's been a tough day if the house fills with amplified sounds of Radiohead thudding through the walls. And a good day if something soothing is picked out on the acoustic.
    Well done Dj, keep up the good work.

  3. Well done, Dj! That is exactly how you make your parents and family proud. This school will know you've been there well before you ever leave it, and not for bad behavior. You are proving yourself a young man of quality and maturity beyond your years. Just remember to keep asking your Mum questions and to drive her to distraction occasionally. It's perfectly OK to still be eleven. :-) Thank you for showing us how not to let cancer rule our lives. I appreciate your example. Congratulations on an excellent first term. Enjoy your tea with the Queen.

    Rab, "The best inheritance a father can leave his children is a good example." You are right on target.

    Carole, you seem a little excited here. And you should be. Three cheers for Dj! Thanks for sharing the joy.

  4. Wow! Well done Dj! What a fantastic report and what a brilliant achievement. Enjoy your tea.

  5. wow a wonderful post Carole, Well done Dj!! am so very pleased for him and you all!

  6. Absolutely great news and well done DJ you have done both yourself proud and you mum and dad proud. You have adjusted to the exceptional circumstances surrounding your home life with your mums illness which would have left lesser boys crumbling and shown what you are made of. Long may you continue to shine and progress to what you what you want to do with your life. You have been a credit to your mum and dad and at this time it is a huge boost to both of them and I don't think I have ever seen such a happy posting from your mum.
    Mum and Dad not forgetting you as DJ has obviously been brought up in a very happy, caring and stable family despite the trauma of the last year which is a huge credit to you.
    I hope you enjoy your tea with the Queen DJ and I think mum and dad should enjoy a treat for their "small" contribution as well.
    Take care,


  7. Welldone Dj,

    It is one thing making your parents proud and doing it for them but I am sure you make yourself proud too, give yourself a huge pat on the back.

    I cant say anymore that hasn't been said and mirror Steve's comments to the letter.

    Rab, Carole, James and Dj have all had a part to play!

    T x

  8. Really pleased with your results DJ! You don't take after your auntie for this then! Its great that you are being recognised for your hard work. I know you'll continue to excel for the coming years. At times I have been lead to distraction and my study has fallen down but on reading this post, from tomorrow morning I will pick up my text books again and follow your lead. Enjoy your tea.
    Love Auntie Sarah xxx

  9. Wow Djamel you have made your Mum and Dad also Grandad and myself so proud of you, but then again we are always proud of what you achieve,we love you so much.
    what great results you have for your first term, you should be very proud of yourself, and you well deserve your tea with the Queen of your school, enjoy your day darling , you have so earned it.loads of love Nanny and Grandad xxxx

  10. Tears rolling down my cheeks right now. What's that all about? This is more than me following your story like the archers - You must all be a real part of my life now. I'm so very proud of dj and so chuffed for his gorgeous mum and his lovely family.

  11. Well done Dj!

    I know (I believe) how you feel Carole. My daughter was just starting her GCSEs when we moved house, then I got ill (within weeks of moving). Because it was just the two of us, for almost 2 months she prepared dinner. She usually made her own packed lunches and still knuckled down at school.

    My only fears were around how me being ill would affect my children. I was so scared I'd affect their futures because of the timing (when is a 'good' time for your mum to get cancer?) so the relief and pride when they continue to bring home good reports like Dj's must be more than any healthy parent?

    Maybe this isn't the way we wanted to do it, but I bet we're bringing up much more rounded, stronger, more thoughtful people who will be able to cope with what life throws at them better than most.

    For this I say "in your face cancer". (there may or may not be one or two fingers elevated by way of a gesture at the same time)

  12. Hope you are not too old for a hug DJ because Im sending you a huge one !!!!You area true role model for young people and im glad your school realises that they should not pander to the naughty children but appreciate the good ones like you.Well done.
    You have done a brilliant job Caarole and Rab.xxxxx

  13. To say Dj is special, would be an understatement. He is an absolutely wonderful, thoughtful and mature individual whom I am overwhelmingly proud to call my cousin.

    And I completely understand that he wants those who do well to be recognized as much (if not more) than those who do not attempt to do well,but I want to say this. I know such a system is unfair, and it really should not be that way, but in a few years time he will look back at such times and probably see that the lack of recognition at his old school most likely spurred him on to do better.

    Its not much, believe me I know. But its something.

    Now he is in secondary school and it seems the recognition he is receiving is even sweeter than I think it would have been had he experienced it in primary. Now he probably appreciates it even more.

    Regardless of all this, I hope the tea with the queen was awesome. Scones and things of that nature I presume :-)

    Give him a very very very big hug from me, and same goes to You, uncle and James xx

  14. Carole, You have every right to feel proud! Congrats to all of you, especially since you have been dealing with a few major distractions as well! Kids can be so amazing. My college son and his friends taught me something last week too and I blogged about it as well in my last post. Those kids always give us inspiration don't they? And you know what, the evolving relationships with them just get better and better.

  15. Thank you everyone - Dj has now read and agreed (lol) with all the comments, especially the very complimentary ones about himself :-))

    Seriously though, he appreciated reading all your kind thoughts.

    Much luv from us all xxxx

  16. Carole, I applaud both you and Rab as parents. This outstanding effort began early in life with your ability to parent and bring out the best in your child/ren.
    Congratulations and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts always. I do not always manage to comment however, your posts are being read. Love Chez xo

  17. Carole,

    Congratulations! To DJ, You and Rab. It sounds as if your young man has a good head on his shoulders. It also speaks to your family dynamics and how you face adversity and make the best of it.

    Wishing you all the best of luck.

    Love, Rose Mary xoxo