Of Kirsty Lawton
n the first session of counselling we were asked "Tell me about Kirsty" Where do
you start to tell someone who has never met your beautiful daughter how wonderful
they were. It feels a bit like that now trying to write about her so that people like you who
have never met her know what she was like... The first time I looked at her with her screwed up face and strawberry blond hair
I fell in love with her. She quite simply changed my life.
Everything seemed fine at first. She had a bit of difficulty feeding and sometimes
had the runs but generally she was ok. She was about 4 months old when we were first
alerted to problems. She had a snotty nose and cough which we had put down to teething
but after a trip to the doctors we were told she had a chest infection and was given
antibiotics. This trip was to be the first of many. She has Asthma we were told.
We were given a spacer and numerous inhalers which of course didn´t help.
Over the years she went through good spells and bad but when she was about 5 we got really
worried. Her chest infections were getting worse and the weight was falling off her.
After yet another trip to the doctors we finally got sent to the hospital and after
numerous test she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. She was 6 years old! Our world fell apart on that day. 8th October 1999- I called it "black Friday". "Your
daughter has Cystic Fibrosis" we were told. "Do you know what that is" We didn´t
of course as it is not a very common illness but the only thing I did not was that
there was no cure and my daughter would die. We were quickly admitted to hospital
for a course of intravenous antibiotics which would be the first of many.
Over the years Kirsty got a peg fitted in her tummy so that she could have overnight
feeds to help her put on weight. Before the operation to get the peg fitted she used
to pass a tube through her nose into her stomach every night. Most children keep
it in their nose permanently but Kirsty didn´t want people to see it so she went
through the same routine every night. It broke my heart watching my brave girl do
this horrible thing but she was so determined that no-one would know she was unwell
that she put herself through it. Although she hated having operations, when she had
the peg it was the best thing for her. The doctors decided that instead of treating
her infections with antibiotics when she needed them, the best treatment for her
was to have intravenous antibiotics every 4 months as a preventative measure. Kirsty
hated needles so this wasn´t good. The nurses used to cringe when they had to take
blood from her. She screamed the place down and I´m sure they drew lots to see who
the unlucky person was to take the hassle this time. She eventually had a port fitted
in her arm which was great as no more needles.
Over the years Kirsty and I for that matter made many friends in the nurses in Ward
112 of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. They looked after her so well
when she either went for scheduled appointments or was admitted. They were like part
of an extended family to us and helped and supported us in so many ways. I lost count
of the number of nurses that were at her funeral. They all loved her like we all
did. Her favourite doctor was her consultant Professor Lenney. He took over CF Consultancy
just as Kirsty was diagnosed so she was a "special patient" to him. One year Kirsty
was admitted with a chest infection on Boxing Day and was kept in hospital until
after New Year. Although Prof was not on duty he made a special visit to the ward
to make sure she was ok. That´s the kind of care she got!!! Kirsty´s course of antibiotics lasted 2 weeks and I did them at home so that she
didn´t need to go into hospital and essentially go to school and lead a normal life... and
that´s what she did.
She loved her friends and doing the normal girly things like shopping and the cinema.
She was a home bird at heart and liked nothing better than coming in from school
and getting her PJ´s on and cuddling up to her beloved dog Casey. Her favourite tv
programmes were Most Haunted, Big Brother, The Hills and Gossip Girl. She twisted
my arm to watch Gossip Girl and I still watch it now... I hope she is watching it
with me! Throughout her short life she went through so much trauma. She often said she forgot
what life was like without CF. She couldn´t remember a time when she didn´t have
physio or take 30 tablets a day. She didn´t often stay in hospital but she became
very poorly during her GCSE´s and was taken in much to her reluctance. She was on
oxygen and numerous drugs but still wanted to sit her exams. What courage and determination
my daughter had. She insisted on going into school to sit her English GCSE when she
was so ill. Her courage was rewarded when she passed all 10 GCSE´s with a mixture
of B´s and C´s.
I can´t tell you how proud I was and am of her.
She was an inspiration to many people and I love and miss her so much.