Four.

I can hear your laughter you beautiful boy x

I can hear your laughter you beautiful boy x

To my darling Jim Jam,

Today you turned four.

I’ve really struggled with you turning the big 4. Really struggled.

I love having birthdays and I love you having them too. We have such fun and you really understand what they mean now. This year we did a Star Wars themed party which Mummy really got stuck in to. I tried my hardest to make Wookie Cookie puns, making my own lightsabers for your friends and even trying to get you guys to play Don’t drop the Storm Trooper. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. But your face when you saw the R2-D2 cake is something I will remember forever.

Being three was one of my most challenging years of being a parent. You certainly took ‘Threenager’ to its full capacity and your attitude has really made me question whether I really am any good at this being a Mama lark. Its been tough but it wasn’t always so bad.

I think the reason we’ve had tantrums and sometimes full on arguments is because you’ve really, really developed this year. Your speech (as always) is astounding. Your inflection in your words and knowing when to say things, even jokes, makes me wonder if you really only have been here for 4 short years. Have you been here before I wonder?

You love numbers and are now trying to subtract and add them together. How did you learn that? I am super impressed. I think this is a Daddy trait for sure.

You started nursery just after you turned 3 and you’ve come in leaps and bounds. You’re making friends and becoming a sociable little lad. Its a joy to see.

Your favourite things are:

Star Wars

Minnie Dog

Marvel comics

All sorts of music – you never stop singing and dancing!

Riding your bike – you give me heart attack every time you race down the hill

Imagination play – please do not ever lose that frantic imagination you have

These are power boosters, don't you know.

These are power boosters, don’t you know.

James, you will be going to school in September and you will be going with a lot of the friends you have made this year, its a big change for you, but I know you will try your best. You get frustrated when you can’t do something straight away but it doesn’t stop you trying. Thats a fab trait to have.

You’ve turned into such a big boy in more ways than one. You’re potty trained now and you’ve physically grown so much. The baby chub that used to get squidged so much, has now given way to long limbs and a slender face.

You are absolutely beautiful though. I am biased yes, but truthful too. P1020442

Your other best friend - your bike!Your other best friend – your bike!

Oh my gorgeous boy, you learnt to swim this year and you are making great strides with your bike riding. You even defeat creepers and zombies whilst zooming down the hill. You still love YouTube Kinder Egg videos, seriously its like baby crack for you, although you have branched out to watching Stampycat (if you’re a parent, you will know what this means)

My sweet, sweet boy, you are an emotional soul with a beautiful heart. You feel every emotion and you can feel it for other people too. One of the comments on your nursery report was how you comfort other children when they are upset. So when you give your Mama a hard time, its nice to know you have a wonderful caring side.

This year also saw me be 2 years Cancer free. It was also the year in which you realised that Mummy goes to hospital and that we enlist the help of the Purple Army. Or what you have affectionately dubbed Pepperami. It doesn’t scare you, but you ask questions about the ‘cancells’ which Mama defeated and you’re very proud when I come home and tell you that I got the all clear from the SuperHero hospital.

You make me want you to be proud. That along with your happiness is all I want my darling.

Lots of changes will be happening in the next few months my darling, some will be harder than others, but know this. I only do anything with you in mind and we will do this all together.

You’re my best friend my beautiful boy and I love that you call me your sweetheart.

Enjoy being four, lets make it the best year yet.

Keep growing strong,

All my love,

Mama xIMG_6444

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Happy 4th Birthday, James Aiden x

Happy 4th Birthday, James Aiden x

21 months

On the 23rd October 2012 I had an MRI which unfortunately showed that I did indeed have a fuckwit and actually, it was a big bugger.

On the 8th July 2014 I had another MRI that would show that fuckwit (and any other hangers-on) had gone and left me with (after extensive treatment) a designer va Jay Jay.

Today Dr Powell, gave me the chance to look at that first scan. And then I was able to see it beside my most recent scan. It helped prove to myself that I’ve overcome so very much, actually, huge amounts, in such a short space of time. That means so much to me, in a period in my life where I’m doubting everything (and I mean everything) I do from the how I’m living my life to how I deal with an email.

I have accomplished something along with an amazing medical team who saved my life.

21 months is nothing. I’m baby terms it is the precipice of the terrible twos. In project terms, it’s the crux of hard work, culminating.
In Cancer terms, its mammoth. It’s a big hairy, wooly mammoth. It’s proving you got through that ridiculously bleak time and through to the other side.

But as I go through each review, I truly feel that the real treatment for the Cancer that destroyed so much is actually happening now. At times, I actually wish I was having the daily trek to radiotherapy or the underlining nausea from that platinum chemo as I dealt with that way better than the dealing with the compelling urge to carry another child or the fact that my Cancer can return.

21 months? Smashed it. Life? Let’s try again. And again. And again.

I’ll spare you a picture of the inner workings of my vagina, but if you did want to see what I beat, let me know ;-)

Thank you so very much for all your support, as always, and for the pictures and texts and messages. What a lovely bunch you are x

Memories

My memory is shocking. Gone are the days where I could correct anyone on ‘facts’ or ‘reason’ because of my awesome memory. I can’t blame it on baby brain or chemo brain or even menopause brain. It’s just gone. I actually have to calculate things when I’m speaking them; write EVERYTHING down. Work stuff I can get by, but I’m forgetting stuff to do with me and that’s what gets to me.

Most days I can rush through, because I’m in a flurry of spreadsheets and queries and people.
Some days glide because somehow the planets have aligned and everything goes as it should.

And then there are days when it seems like time stops; just for a fleeting second. Maybe 5 seconds.
But those 5 seconds are so long, it can feel like you’ve remembered every tiny detail from a time long ago, from the clothes you wore to the smell of a room to touch of a speculum.

Yesterday as I walked through the longest corridor Whipps Cross hospital has, on my way to my complementary therapy massage (that’s another blog for another day) and for anyone that knows this hospital, it’s split into junctions. Pretty clearly defined and there is always a hustle and bustle of nurses, surgeons and family members trying to find their loved one.

Junction 7 is for breast imaging and ultrasound. I usually walk past this corridor as quick as I can because even though I forget to grab a birthday card the day after the birthday or forget to take my lunch 4 days in a row I can remember that area and that day so clearly.

I remember walking in and seeing Sue the receptionist and being ushered to waiting room A. I remember sitting on the polyvinyl seats and shifting every now and again.
I remember holding Pete’s hand and digging my nails in as the minutes ticked by.
I remember saying that I didn’t want him to come into the scan room, that I didn’t want a fuss made.
I remember that I was wearing my red tunic top with sequin hearts and my leggings that were probably a tiny bit too thin.
I remember walking in and undressing and lying on the cold bed with a paper towel for dignity.
I remember the TV screen which less that two years prior showed me a 20 week scan of my Cub.

And I remember the image of something else on the screen.
A fuckwit.
I remember the technicians face of baffled complexity and equally the face of her colleague she asked a second opinion for.

I remember the deafening silence when they realised what they were looking at; the speed in which they turned the screen off as though to spare me.

I remember apologising for making a mess of blood on the bed when I got up (fuckwit was a bleeder).
I remember waiting for the letter to get me pushed up the list for a gynaecologist and the nurse to tell me that I was seeing my GP the next morning.

I remember lying to Pete and to myself when I said ‘oh it’s just a fibroid’.

I knew. I knew it right there and then that it was cancer.

I say the 2nd November is the day that changed my life but the 2nd October played a massive part too.

I can’t remember a card and I can’t remember my lunch.

I wish, oh I wish I didn’t remember this.

18 months

And there we go. 18 months done. I saw the lovely Dr N again on Tuesday. After scaring her about being written about in this here blog (Hi!), she examined me and we chatted about Centre Parcs and compared Mulberry bags, and then she said that my Moo looked good apart from some scar tissue, but otherwise a-ok.
Aces.
But we already knew that didn’t we. This was a ‘phoney’ appointment afterall.

Another thing that Dr N did though was make me cry. Well, not intentionally, and she didn’t pinch me or anything but we were chatting and I burst into tears. Call it the culmination of 10 days of anxiety, call it not having your rock with you (Pete lost his card in an ATM so then couldn’t get money out to get a train so couldn’t come up. He later found his card in his wallet, the numpty), call it whatever. But, cry I did.

I cried because I’m stressed out with work and simultaneously bored. I cried because I’m trying so hard to lose weight but I still look like an oestrogen bloated lump. I cried because I’m sad. I cried because I’m just down.
It could be hormones (most definitely is part of it) or it could be just hitting me now what I’ve been through.

Dr N and I agreed that counselling is the way to go and a review of my hormones. Maybe a step back from work (yea right!).
As soon as she said it, I knew I had to talk to someone.

I need to get this out. I need to get out of my head with a complete stranger and talk it alllllll out. Family and friends are fab but I often try to hide most of it for fear of terrifying them.
I had counselling when I was being treated (remember steroid rage? Jaysus, THAT was interesting) but we need to focus on the future now and my change in path.

I spoke with the wonderful Phillippa (a great oncology nurse and has been with me through everything) and she is going to refer me to a cancer psychologist. I kept her talking for 20 minutes so I know I need to get this out now. If you can call sobbing and snotting ‘chatting’.

I might be 18 months down after treatment, but I guess it never really ends.
I have a long way to go and I need to address my sadness, my guilt and take hold of my future. I need to look after myself a bit better.

No one suits relapses.

And Dr N told me to be kind to myself.

One thing at a time Doc.

Thank you, each and every one of you for your unrelenting love and support.
It means more than you’ll ever know.

And in case you didn’t see it…

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Here’s to dealing with it. Cheers.

Something out there

I’m not really into believing things at the moment; I don’t really have much faith anymore which is a shame, I’m jealous of people who take comfort in their faith.
However, I do believe that there is something ‘out there’. I have to think that way, I’ve lost too many people to think that there isn’t a place in the sky, bundling them altogether.
In my head, they are having tea and crumpets with lashings of butter (everyone loves butter in my heaven and maintaining weight isn’t an issue) and they would be free to come and go as they please.

They might visit us from time to time in the form of imaginary friends to children. Pretty sure that’s who James is chatting to when he’s playing. A person no longer with us, but it’s someone who loves him. He’s always happy and contented, I’m almost overwhelmed with calmness that it could be his Grandad chatting with him or my Evie entertaining my boy. I want to believe that it could be someone who didn’t have much or no time with him on Earth so they are making up for it now.

I know, I know, it’s an out there theory with no evidence blah blah blah but it’s the only thing that gives me comfort at the moment and the only ‘faith’ I can summon.
And yes, this is all heightened by my appointment tomorrow; for my last jaunt to the hospital, My Dad came to see me. I know this is probably my brain trying to protect me/ trying to calm my nerves/ trying to quell the nausea going round and round (delete as applicable). But last night I had another ‘visit’. It can’t really be called a visit, I didn’t see who it was and I could have quite easily have squeezed my own shoulder in my sleep (I’m quite handsey in my sleepy state, apparently) but when I was dreaming about sitting in the waiting room that I could tell you all about in precise detail from the leaflets spouting Macmillan services to the brass instruments hanging from the ceiling to the painted over windows overlooking the square which always has a digger in it, I asked if I was going to be ok. I asked it to no one in particular, I just asked the question. In return I got a shoulder grab and even though I turned my head as quickly as I could, I didn’t see who it was.

But that’s ok. That’s enough.
I believe a little bit more.

Now, where’s that straight jacket?

Does it get any easier?

Tuesday 19th August, 2.30pm.

18 month check.

Bart’s hospital, West Wing

Seeing it written down doesn’t make it look scary. Seeing it written down in my scrawl on a post it note doesn’t make it look scary.
But scary it is and really thats a misnomer too. I’ve had an unscheduled MRI for a hiccup that I had and the results say its clear.

However, fear and anxiety hit me like a brick wall. Its the same every time. 7-10 days before the appointment, my brain kicks into overdrive and suddenly, its time to think about everything and then think about it all over again just for good measure. I think about there being something there on examination of my hoo-ha; I think about what would be the next course of treatment if there was something there; would I need a hysterectomy and then I think how that might be a good thing because then it would take away equipment that I no longer need, because thats how I think of my womb now. Redundant equipment. No longer necessary. No babies here. And then I think about what if wasn’t as simple as removing something, what if this was the appointment that told me that its back and its not going anywhere except to take me down with it.

And so on and so on ad nauseum.

Someone this week asked me if it gets any easier, I think my blurb up there says it all.
In some ways, yes, I think it has. But in many ways, nothing has changed at all.

The waves of panic in times when I need to be clear and concise, always catch my breath. I could be talking to someone about a meeting room booking system and BAM. The image of a concerned doctor drums into my head.

Does it get any easier? Like with many things, I think you just learn to live with it.

Send your prayers, if you pray.
Send your good thoughts and vibes, if you have them.
Send your love, luck and hugs.
And send your pictures of you in purple.
That gesture alone is worth so much to me.

I love you all and here is to the 18 month appointment, which will forever be known as the ‘Phoney’ one.