Welcome to my Warrior Mums, a collection of family journeys from parents of children/adults with special needs.
Some of our mums are advocates or established campaigners, one is a midwife, then we have two nurses, three teachers, two solicitors and a GP....
Their stories have been a learning curve for parents and professionals alike.

We've had to adapt to so many government cuts and policies in the last few years and it's taken its toll on families. This blog has given parents the opportunity to share their individual experience of their unplanned life with a vulnerable adult/child.

Some parents have had great support with wonderful professional guidance, whilst others, sadly, have been lied about and deceived, blamed for their child's 'problems' by some who have no understanding of their disability. Facts about their family life have been distorted and manipulated into many untruths, making parents aware their reputation precedes them in every meeting they attend. They feel judged, disrespected and ganged up on. Telling their story in Warrior Mums puts their truth 'out there' for all to see.

A major concern is that when a young person reaches the age of 18, regardless of whether they have autism or a severe learning disability, legally, they are classed as an adult. As a parent you can no longer make decisions on their behalf. If your loved one is in the care of the state and you upset the care staff or social workers then the chances are they will stop you from visiting or from having any contact. Information regarding medication or any other health issues about your loved one's welfare is withheld, all under the guise of your loved one's 'best interest', pulling out the Court of Protection/Mental Capacity Act gagging cards. The cruel message to parents is clear - - tow the line, stop asking questions and taking too much interest or lose contact with your child.

It's hard to believe this government are locking up people with special needs, people who would have had more freedom in the 70s living in big 'institutions' than they do in 'independent living' today...

We have to do something to stop this abuse of power. We have to do something today...

Michelle Daly

15 June 2014


Cortical Dysplasia - Epilepsy, Autism, Learning Disability, Repeated knee dislocations.
This week's story is introduced by Warrior Mum and midwife, Lesley Chan...

It is with much admiration that I introduce this week’s warrior mum Caroline Needham from Lincoln, who as a single parent provides full time care to her daughters Yasmin (Yaz) and Eloise (Ellie). Caroline shares her story of years of hospitalisation for her daughter Ellie and numerous brain surgeries for congenital epilepsy known as ‘Cortical Dysplasia’. Caroline is also supporting Yas through her diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, having lost her own mother at such a young age and this irreplaceable support, Caroline in the face of adversity is a dedicated full time mother, advocate and full time carer to her two beautiful daughters. 

I feel able to relate to some of Caroline’s experiences, in particular helplessly watching her new-born undergo numerous surgeries, while equally battling with hospital acquired infections too.  For each general anaesthetic and the trust we place in a surgeon, no matter how many surgeries, each one is as disempowering and worrying as the very first one. The anxiety and the strain this can have on any parent and their relationships with siblings and partners, can at times be overwhelming. No doubt exacerbated by long periods sleeping long distance in hospital environments, a lack of parental control and the isolation and loneliness this brings any parent. Moreover, there can be periods of maternal guilt for leaving other siblings at home in the care of others.

Most parents in this situation will have been exposed to a fast track nursing degree without the certificate or the salary; this is sadly your only escape route and discharge out of hospital. This new found knowledge and expertise in your child’s condition and their needs, is daunting but necessary. As most families will no doubt relate to facts that our children require 24/7 nursing care, even when in hospital and how our role never stops, not even during hospital admissions. This new role consists of how to care for your sick or disabled child, this whole new learning opportunity and new life that no mother or parent actually planned for. This unconditional labour of love and passion Caroline has for her children is a heart-warming read.

"Never give up or give in. 
There is always a chance and a choice. 
That is what my girls have taught me."

Ellie and Mum Caroline


I was born in an RAF camp in Wegberg Germany. We returned to England before I was one year-old.  My dad was in the RAF so we moved around a little when I was very young. I was about 3 or 4 when he got posted to Waddington near my mum’s home town of Lincoln and there we stayed.
My parents split up when I was 9, got back together when I was 11 and then split very acrimoniously when I was 15. I have one elder brother, John, who is 5 years older than me. We had a normal brother/sister relationship when we were younger (fought a lot!). We are very close now. Our mum died when I was 18 and our dad still lives in Lincoln. He remarried in 1991 and has remained so to a lovely lady called Lorraine.  My brother and I never really did get over losing our own mum. It was very sudden and unexpected.

When I left school I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I went to a tiny business college and learnt how to type and do office skills which helped me get a place on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) at a local firm of Solicitors where I started as an office Junior, then receptionist and finally promoted to a secretary. I worked there for 2 years before moving on to another firm of local Solicitors. The legal office "community" were quite close-knit back then and I became friends and met up for lunch or drinks with some of them. One of them was Clair who worked at a practice over the road from me and one day when we arranged to meet up for drinks her brother came along. 

Stepping out in style

This was Carl. We spent a lot of time together and soon started going out. I was 19 by then and Carl was 26. We quickly bought our first house and got married 17 June 1994.  
We were together 23 years. We split up last year - my choice...lots of reasons. However we do still get on well and share our responsibilities together for our daughters.

M. Tell us about your two lovely daughters?
Yasmin my eldest is 15. Yaz has had a difficult childhood as has problems of her own. Diagnosed as ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) although I am not entirely convinced.... Yaz has always struggled to process and retain information....walked at 10 months old but never crawled (which I now know wasn't a particularly good thing). Did not speak until she was two and a half and was doubly incontinent until she was about 7. Dyslexic. Dyspraxic. Low tone. Have done lots to try to help Yaz ...chiropractic work...physiotherapy...intensive learning which has resulted in her being able to read . And write from age of 9. 

At the moment to boost her energy levelsI have taken her to a nutritionist and we have altered our diets and added mineral vitamin supplements. Yaz also rides which has helped her balance greatly. Think we have done a good job because despite all her little things Yaz is a happy funny cheeky loving beautiful young lady. It's been hard as school didn't give her much support so we've done it on our own. That coupled with the fact that when she was four and a half when Ellie was born. 
Yasmin with Dad

Ellie in Florida swimming with the dolphins
Eloise (Ellie) is 10. My pregnancy was normal as was the birth, although I thought it was a bit weird that Ellie went to sleep and didn't or wouldn't feed for ten hours. We took our little girl home the next day and spent two blissfully unaware weeks as a happy family. Then one Tuesday morning I noticed Ellie twitching like she was having a seizure. I freed off her clothes thinking she must be too wrapped up or that I had imagined it. I saw no more seizures that day so thought I must be mad. The next day when we were getting ready to go to the Registry Office she had another 2 seizures in quick succession. I was glad Carl witnessed it too. Ellie seemed to come out of it ok so we whizzed to register her birth and quickly returned home to our planned meeting with the health visitor to explain our concerns. She phoned our GP who got Ellie admitted immediately to Lincoln County Hospital. Our lives changed more than we could ever imagine that day. 

Poor little Yaz went to school talking about her baby sister, expecting her Mummy or Daddy to collect her when school was over, but was picked up by a friend instead and her little life became a turmoil as did ours. 

Ellie had a seizure immediately on being admitted to hospital and we spent a week and a half watching her being tested and having medication pumped into her. The Paediatric Consultant thought it was metabolic but her seizures were getting worse and worse and when Carl asked for an MRI scan the Consultant said "There's no need for that". 

Ellie's seizures were clustering tonic clonic, myoclonic, absences and could not be controlled...so intractable seizures. This was almost too hard to bear...she was only tiny 6lb 6oz when she was born. When the Consultant had run out of ideas he referred us to a specialist 40 miles away at Nottingham Queens Medical Hospital. An MRI was carried out as soon as we went through the door and the results were almost immediate. Ellie had a very rare condition called Cautical Dysplasia of her front right lobe (basically a flat spot on the brain ...no channels in that area). And the specialist, Dr Chow said "Ellie is a really good candidate for brain surgery". Well. That blew our minds. I remember saying to Dr Chow well it could be worse. 
What I meant of course is that it could have been inoperable cancer or similar and my baby would die. However I did prepare for the worst. Carl was always more positive but Ellie's seizures were getting worse and worse. The concoction of medications pumped into our baby was horrendous. We were desperate to rid her of this Demon.

We all went home for two or three days over Christmas. It was difficult trying to have a normal family time whilst in between giving my tiny baby rectal diazepam. We were rushed by ambulance back to Queens at Nottingham on Boxing day. Dr Chow had worked hard to try to manage the seizures but it wasn't happening. I never left Ellie's side and like lots of parents with a very sick child, effectively became her nurse. 
Dr Chow said she had a good friend and colleague who was based at Birmingham Children's Hospital. He was the Consultant Neurologist there and Mr Walsh was the surgeon. We had a choice. Birmingham or Great Ormond Street. We chose Birmingham which was almost 80 miles away from home.

M. How was Yaz coping when you were at the hospital with Ellie?
Yaz was really struggling with our family being torn apart. We did spend odd days at home and spent precious time with Yaz but Ellie's seizures were so unmanageable and frequent we were often rushed back to hospital by ambulance. Dr Chow arranged for us to be transferred to Birmingham whilst Carl came later in the car stressed and agitated as he didn't know what was happening or where he was going. 
Poor Yaz was again left behind.
It was incredibly hard to see all the poorly children on the ward and we actually had a child next to us die. It was too much to bear. I never left Ellie's side wondering how much more she could take. Her little body was bloated and her moments of clarity were now none existent. Mr Walsh had never operated on a child as young as Ellie. We were given the choice to wait a little but it was so dire we said go ahead. Our baby was lucky in the fact that her seizure were not generalised. They were definitely coming from the point of her front right lobe. It was decided on 25th February 2004 that she was to have a right hand haemispherectomy to disconnect and partially remove some brain. They were hopeful it may even stop the seizures. Ellis was just three and a half months old.

Ellie in hospital

It is as clear and concise to me today as it was that morning I handed my beautiful so very poorly baby into the hands of Mr Walsh. He looked into my eyes with a serious gaze but with a nod and Carl and I came through those doors from the theatre and I pretty much collapsed. Mr Walsh must have heard my wailing too. I thought my baby would die that day. 

This sounds terrible but as Ellie was seizing pretty much all the time, whatever happened it would release her from her pain and suffering. All sorts of thoughts rushing through my head not least what are we going to tell Yasmin. The Staff Nurse told us there was no parents room at the hospital so it was up to us what we wanted to do. I believe she said something like come back at 4pm. It was about 8.30 in the morning. We were told to keep our phones on but they would not call unless there was a problem. Well I just wanted to hide from the world whereas Carl was immensely strong and said we should go shopping. To the Bullring in centre of Birmingham. 
I wanted to sit down every few feet but Carl kept me going. My phone rang at about 1.30pm and I swear I thought I would keel over. It was Linda a cousin of Carl's, asking how things were. We were looking at Christening outfits for the girls ...not my idea but like I say Carl was keeping me buoyant. It was a very surreal day in our lives...for me it almost felt like another labour but without the physical pain except I had pain in my heart and immense worry. Anyway, we made it back to the hospital and there was no news. We waited about another two and a half hours. Mr Walsh came in and my goodness he looked ashen. He must have been worn out. He said its done and all went well. He explained that the brain is like a jelly at this age and very maleable. He could not be certain but he felt it had gone very well and that Eloise was in ICU and we could go and see her. 

Well the tables turned immediately on seeing Ellie. Carl was very unnerved and his confidence was knocked. Our little baby was screaming and had a huge bandage and so many tubes coming out of her it seemed impossible to get close to her. One nurse came to us and said we cannot calm her and she had had maximum dose of morphine and they could do no more. I knew at that point that Ellie was going to survive. I asked if I could hold her. The Staff looked a little shocked but I waded through the tubes and held Ellie, who looked like a little screaming wobbly jelly and I told her I was sorry but that she was going to be all right. It did calm her a little but we all thought it was probably the morphine. It made her very agitated when they topped it up. The next couple of days were hard but the tubes and drains gradually came away. 

Mr Walsh thought Ellie may need a shunt fitted but she defied that. The professionals also said they thought as her right hand brain had been disconnected and some removed that Ellie may appear like a stroke victim and be unable to move her left hand side. Ellie defied that too - able immediately to move all four limbs. Amazing. I was just in awe of Ellie and her resilience and zest for life. I was breastfeeding her and had to express but after just a week or so I was back feeding her. 

Ellie was amazing going from strength to strength and no sign of any seizures at all. The doctors were so pleased and said that the longer she went without the seizures the greater chance she would have of being seizure and medication free.  About 3 weeks after surgery Ellie had just been seen by the doctor when she took a deep breath and turned blue. I panicked and blew gently in her face to make her breathe. She had a breathe but also had a seizure. 

The demons were back. 

I never left Ellie's side except to go home for the odd few days. 
It was sporadic. We were trying now to regulate the seizures with medication. Once Ellie had had that first seizure, between March and May 2004 her seizures got worse and worse. We had loads more tests umbilatory ecgs to try and establish where these seizures were coming from and whether they were general seizures or specific. Our worst fears on the results were that although they were still mainly "sparking" from a small piece of brain still linked from behind her right eye/eyebrow, it was also damage that had been caused probably from previous seizures and scarring on the left side of the brain. Mr Walsh said he would have to do further tests before he could consider MORE surgery. MORE surgery? Oh my goodness. I could not bear it. The thought of my baby going through that trauma once more? What were the alternatives? Mr Walsh after lots and lots of tests and meetings came back to us with Dr Philip and say resurgent would be carried out. At this point Ellie was back up to 25-30 sometimes more seizures a day. Again clusters and very debilitating. It was like watching someone press the reset button on my now 6 month old baby and Ellie would forget how to do basic things like feed ...smile... it broke our hearts. Yaz talked of her baby sister all the time but had been without her or me more than she had seen us. That breaks my heart and I think about her trauma too, often. Not a lot we could do about it. Many parents make these sorts of decisions all the time...you have to do what you think is best at the time. I knew if I were to help Eloise I could not leave her side. I hardly slept. Carl drove back and forth so many times to Birmingham from Lincoln and back again. I do believe if I hadn't stayed with Ellie things may have been so different. Don't get me wrong for the main her care was second to none and I feel very privileged for Ellie to have such great nhs care but there were sometimes I thought "if I had not been here...." I shudder to think. Anyway. On the 19 May 2004 Ellie went for resurgery to remove as much as the right brain as possible.

That day was a bit of a blur to be honest and all I really remember is that Ellie was out of surgery much quicker and I felt more positive...and was so right to as Ellie went straight into recovery and not ICU and onto the ward very quickly, as she did not have any morphine this time. Mr Walsh explained he was happy with how the surgery went and that he had removed just as much of the right hand side of the brain as he could. This always takes my mind to Ellie's MRI's post-surgery as you can literally only see the left hand side of her brain as its just filled with fluid on the right. A little eerie and totally amazing to think how Ellie has learnt to function so very well in the face of adversity. 

She started her recovery and everything was going very well until she became unwell with a diarrhea and vomitting bug on the ward. This was about a week or so after her operation. It was horrendous.  
My baby was so ill. I remember the nurse and I changing her sheets six times in an hour. Also, again I did not leave her side and so pleased I did not as one night at change of nurses shifts Ellie was so sick as she laid on her back and so weak she could not turn over and nearly choked to death on her own vomit. I screamed for a nurse but they were in changeover talk so no-one heard me. I picked Ellie up as best I could and she coughed it all out thank goodness. I think that was one of my lowest nights. I remember being really angry and I could not even talk to the nurses. There was a lovely nurse...a larger than life Caribbean lady called Dee and she said "What is wrong with you, girl?"... I wanted to pour out all my anger but did not. It wasn't her fault but I never did ask much of the nurses while Ellie was in hospital. I nursed Ellie as best I could myself. I felt cross that one of the only times on the ward I needed them they weren't there for Ellie. Anyway after that they put me and my baby in isolation. 
It was an incredibly lonely time. 
No-one could tell me why my baby was so sick and we were feeding her through a tube through her nose. There were no signs of any seizures but Ellie was incredibly poorly. I forbade Carl or Yaz to come as Ellie was really struggling. As the weeks went by I nursed Ellie very much on my own and after 3 weeks started to show some improvement. A nurse came in one day and said to me "Oh is Ellie getting over her superbug now?" I was gobsmacked. A superbug? I thought how much more can Ellie take? Anyway. I asked if Eloise's silk nasal tube could be changed and it was arranged. Two nurses came in and took the old one out. There was so much coiled in her tiny stomach and it looked like it was starting to rot...It was disgusting. The nurses said it should have been changed earlier. A new one was fitted and Ellie quickly improved. 

I got Ellie out of the hospital at every opportunity. We walked and walked the canal and riverbank and streets of Birmingham to get fresh air. I would be gone for hours but no-one really noticed...which was good. It was like breakout! 

It took her about 6 weeks to recover and it was such a relief when she was discharged; we could finally go home. Now the real work to aide Ellie's recovery could begin. We had not seen any seizures at this point so all was going well. I had seen some physiotherapists and play workers in the hospital so that had given me some pointers. 

At home it felt weird without support. Felt strange to be a family at first. Gradually we put the pieces of our lives back into place and carried on. We quickly had I put of an amazing Community Nurse to whom I owe so much for her time and patience.  

Gill, a physiotherapist was put in place and was top of her field. That first time she saw Ellie - laid on her back - head fixed to the right staring. Ellie could not move at all.  She was 7 months old and could do nothing. 
Yaz and Ellie
When Gill signed her off 3 years later I remember her poignantly saying she did not think Ellie would ever do anything... but Ellie could now sit up on her own and had a walker and some piedro boots and the cheekiest smile and giggle. This was a sign of things to come on her journey to recovery.  
After a few visits Gill tentatively asked about Yasmin. We talked about her balance and concentration issues. GILL very kindly took Yasmin under her wing and did physio with Yasmin at her school. If it was not for Gill noticing Yaz's difficulties we would probably not have got the help she needed. 

M. Mothering two children with special needs must have been exhausting.
We all worked tirelessly and it was hard. I remember thinking what is the point? That sounds terrible but when you try day after day and week after week and there appears no change and not looking likely of things changing...I would get out of
Ellie with Mum
bed the next day and sigh and say let's see what today brings and that may be the day that a particular exercise would just click with Eloise and that would be another major hurdle jumped.  Never given up or in.  There is always a chance and a choice. That is what my girls have taught me.  Eloise stayed visibly seizure free for about 3 months. 

Then there were little absences and these led on to myoclonic seizures. However, Dr Philip at Birmingham was keeping a close eye on these and we managed to find medication that seemed to control the seizures reasonably well. They seemed to occur mainly during the night and it was quite distressing. My little girl would often scream out but they only lasted maybe 30 seconds. The fit would often leave her bouncing and full of energy and not apparently needing the sleep that the rest of the family so very much  needed. This can be true of Eloise today. Even at 10 years old Ellie can bounce around for hours but her seizures last maybe between 10 and 30 seconds. However there are other nights where Ellie sleeps through but it took years for that to  happen. 

Ellie also had the help of a very valuable but apparently little known service called Portage. An educational based learning system through play in the home.  A wonderful calm intelligent lady that helped me with the concept of where Ellie was developmentally and what the next stage would be. The tiniest of steps were reached and gradually we achieved more and more goals together. I was so lucky to have these gems of people in my girls' lives. In fact I actually did the training to become a Portage Worker and volunteered for a few years. I would like to go back to it sometime. Such an undervalued service.  
My children's lives had never been "textbook" so it was a great learning experience for me also. I tried my best and with the help and guidance of these special people, Yaz and Ellie began to thrive. 

M. As much as you loved your daughters did you feel trapped at home?

There was a time or two I thought we would never venture out and wondered how life would be but the Health visitor got Ellie and I out to a music group so we were mixing with others. She also told me about this fantastic creche for children with additional needs and asked would I like to look around it? I did, was totally impressed and Ellie began to attend there Wednesday and Friday mornings. The team of 4 staff there were amazing. Ellie was going from strength to strength though still far behind her peers and when I look back I think I was beginning to run out of steam.
Ellie was about 20 months I think when she started at creche. It was just what she needed. And me too. Physio and occupational therapists and speech  and language went in to creche to ease burden of so many appointments and staff carried out physio plans. It was refreshing. It had been a long haul and just what we needed.

M. How did it feel being out in the big wide world again? 
Great to meet other families too that didn't stare and feel you as a parent were being judged. That is a difficult thing to come to terms with when you have a child / children with additional needs. Not only do you have to get to grips with their condition but also how others react. It was only about 5 weeks after we had  been discharged from Birmingham QMC that we went on holiday to Cornwall. We went to the Eden Project one day. Eloise had had major brain surgery so her hair had been  shaved and her scar was very very prominent. We were sitting on a seat and a lady passed us. She looked at Eloise and stared as she walked by. Then her gaze turned to me and I actually believe she thought I had perhaps hurt Eloise as her stare looked angry and she kept looking distasteful  as she walked away. I felt so very upset but was too timid to say anything. People who know me would say I was a different person then. Very timid and quite shy. Not so now. I have learnt to be that person who will stand up and say what I feel ..fight for my girls corner when I need to.  
Ellie was issued with a walker at creche and we piloted through the professionals we got to know a scheme called Team Around the Child where the Specialist Health Visitor, another amazing professional called Sue brought together as man  professionals as she could in a meeting every 6 months to make sure the Child In question got the correct care and equipment they needed to progress.  The first few were held at our home and I provided tea and cakes and many professionals came - even the Consultant Paediatrician! Always makes me laugh but those meetings were so very important and these days are called ESCO's

M. Did you consider returning to work?
I had not returned to my job as Facilities Management Assistant at our local Council as Ellie's needs were too great. Let's face it, looking after a disabled child is a full time job in itself. With so many appointments to attend. My goodness there was no time to work. .  
Unfortunately for the staff at the creche they often could not get me to leave so I washed up..cleaned up around the children and became a volunteer. I have worked with these special people ever since hoping I give a little back. 
Yaz and Ellie
When Ellie turned three we had looked at schools and settled on St Francis Special School in Lincoln. A fantastic school with equally as special people. A very family feel environment. I think it was felt at first that maybe the school was not the right choice but once Eloise started it so WAS the correct setting. Eloise had all professionals she needed within the school so TAC finished quickly. She began saying a few words and her walking was coming on a treat. She learnt to manoeuvre around without her walker and had a helmet just in case she toppled. She really didn't like the helmet and would not keep it on. 

Ellie's left side is weaker than her right and she does not use her left arm or hand at all. We did try physio and still do encourage her left side but I feel Ellie chooses not to use her left hand and is very dexterous with her right hand ... I often call her Mrs Tickle from the Mr Men she loves. 

Ellie's seizures have been a little up and down over the years so far...but I feel have been worse during growth spurts or illnesses such as a common cold. Mostly seizing during the night but controlled with medication morning and night ... no more intervening with diazepam or likes. Thank goodness.

Ellie is a very cheerful bubbly cheeky little girl. She used to chatter a lot...babbling really. However about 4 years ago she had a problem with her left leg. I got a call from school saying they thought she had a green stick fracture of her left leg. It was devastating news. Ellie's walking had been going so very well. She had a vocabulary of about 43-46 words that were regularly spoken. 

It was Christmastime. 

It all stopped. 

Ellie stopped. 

No talking. 

No walking. 

M. That must have been devastating after all you had been through.
It was so hard. Ellie shut down. It broke my heart. It was like she had lost her will and drive to push forward. She started to suck her thumb. It seemed all she could do to soothe herself. 
It took a good 3-4 months to get her back on her feet. It wasn't a green stick fracture but no-one really knew what had happened. Again we all pushed forward but Ellie's words didn't return and she didn't seem so bubbly for a long while. Her seizures got worse and we even talked about the ketogenic diet. However Dr Phillip changed Eloise's medication to what she is on now and at least her seizures settled.  
Ellie has been at the same school with the same staff for 7 years, which has been a great help. She slowly began to walk again although her confidence was knocked. She bit her right hand through frustration and still does today. 
Yaz and Ellie at Lincoln Cathedral

Her progress was slow and then it was discovered that her previously good right foot, ankle and leg was suffering because of compensating for her left leg's weakness. orthotics at Lincoln would not help so we referred ourselves to Queen's Medical Centre at Nottingham. Another Angel in our lives called Eleanor cast Ellie a much more appropriate splint for her left leg in the hope we would not need one for her right leg. Unfortunately it did not help and a right splint had to be cast, which really helped.  
Sadly, her speech has never fully returned. She says a few words but I feel it is her choosing to not speak.  
Life for Carl and I was difficult. Carl worked shifts and wasn't there a lot. Ellie was getting taller and heavier and life was a struggle.
Ellie was still having difficulty walking and still no speech. Not helped by the fact that Ellie's left knee dislocated Christmas 2012. I had taken Ellie upstairs to bed and as she began lying herself down on the bed she started screaming. I couldn't see what was wrong but she was crying and shaking and then Carl noticed her knee. It was dislocated. She was in agony and we immediately called an ambulance. It was Boxing Day night so we had a long long wait at the hospital before it was put back in place and backslabbed. I felt broken for my daughter. She tries so very hard always to bounce back, recovering from all that pain.

M. How do you manage to lift Ellie when her leg is in plaster cast?
She and I had to sleep on the floor downstairs. The lounge became our bathroom, bedroom and dining room for five long weeks. Then we managed to get a lighter weight plaster fitted, which made life a bit easier. However Ellie's left side was compromised again. Getting in the car was almost impossible. School were brilliant as always. Good job Ellie could go to school. She was so sick of my company at home and it gave me a break for a few hours. However, everything has a knock on effect and when her pot was removed she had a pressure sore on her heel. This took another eight weeks to heal..
Ellie after her 15th knee dislocation
She soldiered on but life seemed harder than it had been in a long time. Ellie is nearly as big as me now and it's been a very long time since I have been able to lift her. Over the years the lifting etc taken its toll on mine and Carl's backs. Ellie had been having a little bit of care but obviously the moving and handling was a massive issue and no-one could help. I have some truly amazing special friends and they all mucked in and helped with me doing lions share of lifting. Ellie always tries to help. What a star she truly is. 
Yaz helped making cups of tea. My older daughter has really struggled this last year.... I think it took her back to darker times. Yaz hates to hear her younger sister scream. Ellie's knee has dislocated 15 times now and it's so upsetting to hear her cry out in pain. We are under an amazing consultant at Nottingham who, and quite rightly so, is reluctant to operate as it's such an invasive procedure on an already weak left leg. So we wait. 

But there have been some good times. We had the most beautiful holiday gifted to us by Wish Upon A Star in October 2012 to swim with the dolphins in Florida. We also went to Disneyworld and the Warner Studios. Both Yasmin and Ellie had the time of their lives. It warmed our hearts to see them having such a great time.  

How is life today?
Easter was last dislocation and a very lovely doctor gave me pointers how to relocate Eloise's patella myself...which I did manage to do once. Seems stronger all the time. Last year was breaking point for me. I realised my marriage was over and that to look after the girls properly I needed to live in a bungalow, which is where we are now. 
Life is much easier...if there is such a thing....Ellie has been saying a few words again recently and although her naughty knee rears its ugly head occasionally we are managing it. Ellie is going for an assessment to hopefully get a communication aid at school. Hopefully it will help with her frustrations. Yasmin has had two exams with the help of a, scribe and extra time .... I know she will achieve all she wants in her life. We are all very positive and life is good. You can always find me with my girls ...or walking our dog Kipper who is our little Angel. 

Caroline, thank you for sharing your story. 

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  1. Anonymous22:27

    Hi Caroline, just re-reading your story, which I think I commented on,on Twitter when it first came out. Michelle posted my story today. It was scary as I have never revealed anything about myself on social media before, or shared photos of myself, but hopefully my story will help others. I didn't realise I could comment on the Warrior Mums stories on Michelle`s blog - I`m useless with the computer and still trying to get to grips with social media! Anyway, I just wanted to say that I was very moved by your story, and very impressed by you as a Mum. I cant believe how much your family has gone through! You are such an amazing Mum, and your girls are beautiful. I hope things are continuing to improve for your family :-) How are Ellie & Yaz doing at the moment? And how are you?? Anyway, I just thought I would pop by and say hello, as I am now officially a Warrior Mum like you :-) Take care Caroline, Jane x PS - what a cute dog :-)

    1. Jane, unfortunately Caroline is not on Twitter and missed all the tweets about her amazing story.

      When I was writing Caroline's journey, the image of her pushing her tiny baby aimlessly around Birmingham, so far away from home, and so alone, stayed with me for days.

      She's a fabulous Mum and all her time is devoted to giving the girls as great a quality of life as possible.

      I wish them all the best for the future. xx

  2. How my son survived epilepsy.
    My son at the age of 13 suffered from terrible seizures as a result of the terrible condition called epilepsy according to EEG results and this was very humiliating and life threatening because he was continuously on life support drugs and medicines but none seemed to cure all they did was revive him and the seizure kept coming to him this lasted for 8 more years. The last time he had seizure in may last year i was called where i worked that my son had a terrible seizure, he was also revived from that but that day i wept. I was fortunate enough to explain my ordeal to a friend who invited Dr. Joseph who came and started treating my son with his medicine at our house for two months and in 3 months the seizure never happened again they were gone and even up till now he is very fine without any epileptic symptoms. Today he is 22 and i believe he has been cured. I think Epilepsy has a cure simply try to reach the doctor on (josephalberteo@gmail.com) for more information about his treatment process or how to get his medicine. Do not give up on yourself, i hope my son's story motivates you.