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.

13….14

Dear James,

Your 3rd New Years Eve is upon us and tonight we say good bye to 2013.

What a tough year its been my gorgeous little boy. But we’ve had some brilliant times as well.

No, you're cheeky!

No, you’re cheeky!

This year you have come on in leaps and bounds. You continue to amaze us with your speech (even making new words and phrases which just melt me on the spot). You really show your caring side, just today you tucked me up on the sofa with the blanket and clutched my face and gave me a proper puckered up kiss (not like the face slobbering ones you usually do) and told me to ‘Sweep well Mummeh’. I could have cried when you said that, you just know how to perk me up.

You have discovered Superheroes this year with your favourites being Iron Man and Captain America. You declare that you are Iron Man, Daddy is ‘Capin Merica and Mummy is Hulk’. I can only assume that is because you don’t like to see me angry rather than the greenish hue you see me in. Ahem.
But you also think Katie Perry is Mummy too, so I can’t really complain.

Rockets and Space are also your favourite things.

Rockets and Space are also your favourite things.

James you had your first proper haircut in 2013, which made Mummy weep but it just made you more handsome (if that was possible) and look so grown up it was as if you aged 3 years right in front of my eyes.
It still has a mind of it’s own and I just know that in a few short years, you’ll want to shave it all off to control it, so forgive me when you look back at photos of yourself with unruly hair, I just wanted to keep you small for as long as possible.

DANCING! Oh how you love to dance. You walk around with tippy toes; I am so tempted to sign you up for dance classes! You just LOVE music. Saban (Kasabian) is one of your favourite band and Pharell Williams ‘Happy’ takes you to your happy place. Its a joy to watch you dance. And yes, you still dance with me. ‘Dance me Mummeh?’

You are learning your alphabet at the moment but you love to count too, although you appear to be superstitious already and refuse to say 13. Just as well we are going into 2014. And now you are starting to use your imagination when you play with your little characters and especially Dave Minion.

I think you could be a leftie...

I think you could be a leftie…

We’ve had days out and visited lots of people. You met loads of new people too and charmed them all with your fantastic smile.
You’ve also been a complete and utter….tinker. You really know how to push Mummy and Daddy’s buttons and boy, do you do that on a regular basis.

James you are stubborn as you are lovely (a trait from both your parents. Sorry about that) and you have a determined nature. You definitely get frustrated when you can’t do something right. Take your time my darling, it’ll all come together.

We’ve got lots to look forward to next year, none less than our first family holiday together and perhaps we might actually put some roots down.
You’ll be starting nursery too, just another step into losing you to the grown up path you must follow. I’m both daunted and excited for you.

Who knows what this year will bring, but boy am I glad we all get to do it together.

Protective over baby Molly. How I wish I could make you a big brother.

Protective over baby Molly. How I wish I could make you a big brother.

James, Mummy turns 30 in just over 50 days time. Thats like WELL old. I am very excited about this. When you are older, you will understand why. I want to tell you everything this year gave us. The good and the bad, for it makes up everything we are today.

You saved me James, you and your Father saved me this year. You think I’ve been raising you, when really you’ve been teaching me all along.

Lets teach each other lots more things next year…lets try learning how to lie in, that would be awesome.

I love you so much, my wonderful little boy.

Swoon...

Swoon…

Keep growing strong,
Love,
Mama x

Here we go again…

Another year is about to end, with the promise of a shiny new one about to descend.

No denying it has been a tough year, but I’ve been very lucky also.

The last couple of months have been especially trying. I’ve felt like I have needed to prove myself in every aspect of my life.
Work.
Friends.
Married life.

I honestly don’t know whether I am coming or going. I could sit here and wax lyrical on everything that is wrong with me. I feel like I should write it down as if to justify my behaviour.

Part of me wants to do that, get it out there and let people know. List everything down. Outwardly I might be fine, but fuck me, am I a mess inside.

Part of me wonders why on earth I have to write anything at all. Do people not realise what I have been through this year?

Part of me wants to hide. Hide in a very dark place and wait for Spring.

Part of me knows I should try to move on as much as I possibly can.

Part of me…well you can see from above why I feel at such a loss.

I made an appointment for my Doctors for the 23rd December; I need to stock up on my patches but also, I need help.

Psychologically, I need some assistance. Not necessarily through meds (but I am open to that option) but maybe some therapy.

When you finish your treatment for Cancer, if you are lucky (like I am) you don’t see anyone (doctors/nurses etc) unless you need to or at scheduled appointments. For me, it has felt like you’ve been cut loose from the pack and you are out there to defend yourself.
And that was fine in the beginning, you are given a new lease of life, you’ve beaten something and for a moment, you are invincible.
But now its a bit farther down the road, and you’re still doing well, but the novelty of conquering cancer is waning.

I found myself looking in a dark hole. I was looking at a girl I used to know.
A girl who was paranoid about every tiny thing.
A girl who just wanted to please everyone and not upset the dynamic.
A girl who, at one point even considered leaving her job, just to make it so that her colleague was happy.
A girl who cried herself to sleep because she had forgotten to reply to a text and the recipient was upset because of that flippant forgetfulness.

I realised I had changed. I’ve written about it before, and although this whole bloody situation has made me stronger, it also took away some of my softer side.
I don’t suffer fools gladly and you can’t walk all over me anymore. And the other day, I realised that what people didn’t like about me anymore. They couldn’t take me for granted and weigh me down, because I simply don’t let it happen.
Someone recently told me that I was cold-hearted now, that I didn’t care as much as I did before.
To a certain extent that is true. Although I care about the bigger things now, the people and things that are important to me instead of fretting about the small things.

I think it is because I am being told I need to move on. I need to get over that fact I can’t have my own children anymore. I need to stop playing the cancer card. So I’ve just stopped it.

I guess I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve anymore. I think I used to make myself too vulnerable to people (why do you write a blog then?!) but I have shut that down now. I rarely talk about my personal life in work (apart from James because he is farking hilarious and EVERYONE should know about his antics) and actually I go to work for a rest from my ‘real life’. I get an eight-hour break from having to deal with the shit storm our family had to go through.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my little family. They have got me through the worst time imaginable, but it pains me that I/we have lost so much along the way.
I can switch off at work and forget what I have done to our family and just pretend to be someone else for a little while.

I can pretend to be Frannie, who gets her job done (and works bloody hard to do that) and flirts with people and can talk about stupid inane pish without letting any of the other hurt in my life get in the way.

But all that has changed recently.

The crushing anxiety which feels as though someone is sitting on my chest is creeping back in. The shaky hands are there, which is becoming noticeable when you pass something to someone. The paranoia that people are talking behind your back is ever-present, as is the nausea that follows it.

So why am I writing all this down, on the cusp of the New Year, which is to symbolise a new beginning? Because I want to leave all this shit in 2013. I don’t want it to drag me down in 2014.
I will never regret this year. This year I BEAT CANCER. I was on DAYBREAK for crying out loud.

But on the 23rd December I was meant to go to the doctors and I didn’t.
I bottled it at the last-minute.

I know I need help. I can admit that much. But I don’t want to go back to how I was. I like the bolshy, takes no shit, Fran. She’s pretty fucking spunky. But I do love some of the old Fran. She was kind and amazing.
How do I get both. Is it even possible?

So, here we go again. The constant loop inside my head.

HRT – Hot Really Hot Totty

Mrs S, would you like to follow me?

Oh good gracious, who is that Doctor Man? He is bootiful. *Tweets how beautiful he actually is*
I wonder if he’ll take my clinic?

10 mins later

Miss P, would you like to follow me?

I would follow the hell out of that man. He’s gorgeous. No wonder he’s a gynaecologist.

10 mins later

Mrs Crimp, would you like to follow me?

Crimson. Actually crimson, with a side of maroon and a portion of being my clumsy self trying to walk over.

Mrs Crimp, good to see you, I’m Mark, one of the registrars under Dr Allen, I’ll be doing your review today.

Hmmm. Uh ha, yep *glazed look*

How you doing, feeling OK on the patches?

Yep all good. Feeling well. I tend to have more hormones raging through me than a teenage boy at times. Look at my hair! It’s all lovely and thick.

Ah, yes. That’s a bonus. But what about internally, no hot flushes or night sweats.

No, I’m all good at night.

And dilation, that’s going well? Managing to dilate 3 times a week?

Yes, oh yes in fact I’m just using my husband now. *winky face*

Oh right, well lucky him. And that answers my next question. Sexually active?

What now?! Oh, yes, sorry. Yep all active.

And are you experiencing any dryness?

My ezcema has flared up a bit but I’m a bit stressed and it’s cold, init.

Erm, ok, but I meant vaginal dryness.

OH. Oh I see, erm, *cough* nope. *A new colour for red*

Well pop on the bed and I’ll do a quick exam on you.
Ahh yes, all looking good.

Oh thanks, that’s nice to hear.

Right, well as long as you’re happy, then we won’t need to see you for another year, but we’ll do a bone density scan on you.

Oh, so this will be the last time I see you? *wibbly lip*

Technically yes, but that’s a good thing.

Depends what thing your talking about.

Nice to meet you, keep up the good work!
*flashes mega watt smile*

*swoons and everything goes rose tinted*
Thank you Doctor.

*walks into chair, stumbles, exit stage left*

Finally! A perk to all this. A fit Doctor.

Look at me! I am stunning. I have less facial hair than this faux Doctor and your foof is still broken. Soz. But look at my eyes!

Look at me! I am stunning. I have less facial hair than this faux Doctor and your foof is still broken. Soz. But look at my eyes!

A Sign

There’s lot of things happening in the world of Crimp. Changes yet again in our little world. Never people to ebb and flow, we are once again flying by the seat of our pants. More on that to come soon.

I’ve been struggling. Really struggling. Outwardly I look alright. Tired perhaps, working hard will do that to you. But inwardly, my heart is heavy. It’s being crushed by anxiety. It’s physically dragging me down. I caught a glimpse the other day and I saw that I was slouched and aimless. My awesome posture long gone.

Timehop is both a blessing and a curse. It’s reminding me of the little things that inevitably bring me to my 1st anniversary. Little nuisances of unbearable pain from what would have been my last ever period, to the slow wait to have my scan on the 2nd October. I’ve deleted and re-installed the app, my own form of torture I think.

I am dreading the 2nd of November. It can’t possibly be nearly a year since my life, our life changed completely.

Is it really only a year? I’ve aged far more than that.

The brink of tears has been ever more present of late; sometimes I let them come. Tumbling from my eyes like they are trying to escape my inner hell.
Sometimes I can blink away and move on and get on with whatever spreadsheet happens to be open.

I’ve been looking for peace, even for just a little while.
My Mum, an awesome present finder, once gave me a pouch with some little stones which, on each one, has wish, love and hope on them. Somehow, I lost the hope stone and at the time I laughed. Of course I lost hope, what the fuck was my life going to entail!

Today, I changed my hand bag and whilst clearing it of the 40,000 receipts and other toddler debris most mothers carry, and there tucked into a corner pocket, I found this…

20130918-190741.jpg

Of late, I’ve really found it difficult to comprehend anything to happen for a reason, and my faith really has taken a beating, but I’m trying, really trying to see this as a turning point.

Someone, somewhere wanted me to find my hope again.

A sign. Lets hope I can let it back in.

How Not To Have A Career

Welcome to Blog Therapy.

Today sees another anonymous blog and its all about dealing with work and career, once you become a Mother. This guest poster is asking for some advice.
Take it away…

When I was 16, a combination of a great teacher and a university taster course planted a seed in my mind and suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I suddenly had a plan, I knew how to get there, and I was excited.

I must admit to being a little smug about it too, many of my friends at school had no idea what they wanted to do, and even after graduation from university some of them still didn’t really have a ‘plan’. But not me, I was sorted, I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

And I did it! I did better than I could have imagined at A-Levels, and enjoyed nearly all my lectures at uni (not the ones at 9am on the morning after the local student night admittedly) and despite a family crisis of the largest magnitude I still came out with a First Class degree, and a job! I couldn’t have been happier.

So, 15 years after that light bulb moment, how have I found myself in a perceived successful career, feeling like I don’t belong?

I’m trying to think of the moment where it all went wrong. There have always been down sides to the job (as I think there are in every job), and I’ve always been good at moaning. But I did well, climbed the ladder, and was doing ‘ok’. But since returning from maternity leave I have struggled to find my place, and struggled to find much enjoyment in it. Although everyone has Sunday night blues, mine have reached monumental levels and now seem to start on Friday. My stomach drops when I turn the corner into work.

Aspects of my job that used to excite me, international travel, now make me feel sick. I hate leaving my little boy, I have the biggest attack of the guilts.

I have fallen out of love with the industry as a whole; I don’t like the power our customer has. I’m not at all comfortable with the corporate hospitality (aka arse-kissing) my role now involves.

But what about the plus sides, there must be plus sides? I’m well paid. I get a company car. I live exactly 2.5 miles away from work, which is always useful as at least once a week I forget my phone. A company iPhone that is. I managed to negotiate 4 days a week so I get one precious day with my boy. Oh, and I get free lunch.

But now I actually feel trapped by these (well, maybe not the lunch, I’m not that shallow). I can’t see a way out. Worst of all I think my employer knows I’m trapped so have little interest in me as they know I won’t leave.

But I also know I can’t go on. I have just found out the expectation is that I will do more international travel in the near future, and I spend all my waking moments trying to work out how to get out of going. I have considered breaking a leg. Seriously.

I’m sure people will be thinking ‘her job sounds amazing what is she moaning about’ but I am really not happy. It is affecting my home life, I’m exhausted and don’t have any inclination to do anything outside of work. The only thing that keeps me going is my day off with my boy.

So what next? How do I get out? This is the big question. Every option I look at I think ‘yes, but…’and find an excuse. But I have realised that the only way things are going to change are if I change them. I know I need to get out the industry and the corporate world, but that is so frightening. I literally know nothing about anything else.

Is the grass always greener?

Is the grass always greener?

So a lot of gin has been drunk, and tears shed, but for the first time in a long time I’m starting to feel excited in between the periods of doom. I still have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do, but I know I’m going to do something. I’m not sure how I’m going to get round the obstacles, I’m pretty sure I will have to take a significant pay cut. I’ve had people tell me the grass isn’t always greener, but surely when there is no grass left then it’s worth a punt?!

Does something have to give?

Does something have to give?

If you would like to take part in Blog Therapy, get in touch via email firstimehitched@gmail.com

Photo credit – Google Image search, mumreinvented.co.uk

Going Dutch

The wonderful Helen has been back for more blog therapy today and this time she’s giving us an insight into the frustrations she has to deal with on a day to day basis with her disability.  Take it away H….

 

Blog Therapy 2 – Going Dutch

 

I’m a born worrier, but of late I’ve been more upset than normal. I read people’s tweets and timelines, I chat to real life friends & I’m jealous. Not of their new phone or latest Mulberry* bag, but of the fact they can take their kids to the park, do messy play or bake some cupcakes. You see I can’t do those normal, everyday things with my toddler without it being a military operation because I’m disabled. I can’t stop worrying how my disability will affect my daughter and I know I need to overcome this for both our sakes.

 

I became disabled at the age of 28 through illness, I was previously very fit and well. The best way I can describe how becoming disabled affects you is to ask you to read this piece which I stumbled across thanks to @MotherScuffer. It’s an excerpt from an analogy written to describe parenting a disabled child, but it also works well describing the life-altering change of becoming disabled from previously being able-bodied too.

 

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The gondolas in Venice. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Holland versus Italy

Holland versus Italy

 

Using this analogy, before I became disabled my husband and I were well on track for a life in Italy, but when I became ill we ended up in Holland and our lives completely changed. I hated Holland at first, the piece above describes my journey perfectly as I came to terms with my disability. And although Mr W would prefer life in Italy, he has adapted to life in Holland too. I’m lucky – he’s a once-in-a-lifetime travel companion & he learns the lingo quickly.

 

We’d been living in Holland for over 10 years when Lia was born there, almost 3 years ago now. And this is where the problem of Going Dutch really started for me. To me it feels like Lia was meant to have Italian citizenship, but she’s ended up Dutch instead. This worries me – she isn’t ever going to truly know what normal everyday life in Italy is like until she’s an adult & gets her own passport to get there.

 

I know things could be worse – we could be metaphorically living in Siberia or in a country with spiders the size of dinner plates. The rational part of me counts my daily blessings of living in Holland, of which there are many. We have Lia full-stop and she is healthy herself – she is the biggest blessing I could ever have. We have our families spend a lot of time with us in Holland and some amazing friends to help and support us there. I know all of these things and yet I still can’t help but worry about Lia growing up in Holland.

 

  • What if when she grows up Lia holds it against me that she’s Dutch? Italy has the best ice cream & she loves ice cream. Lia will inevitably miss out on opportunities in life because of me, though we will try to minimise this.

 

  • What effect will Holland have on her? She’s already used to seeing me in hospital, bed bound & in pain. I see the confusion in her eyes when I’m unable to get out of bed some days, her fright when I suddenly squeal with the intense pain of a shock muscle spasm and it breaks my heart every time.

 

  • Most, if not all, of her friends will be from Italian families & she’s going to an Italian school. She’s going to stick out like a sore thumb being Dutch. Kids pick on other kids who are different. Is she going to get bullied because of being Dutch?

And so on, and so on…

 

At the moment I’m finding that socialising with other families is like I’m torturing myself by reading Italian guidebooks all the time. I get tantalising glimpses of Italian family life, one that’s not ever going to happen for us – I’m never going to leave Holland again, I know that.

 

So what do I do? I can’t ignore the fact that Italy exists. So I know I somehow need to come to terms with all of this – to learn to enjoy being a family living in Holland, to wake up and smell the tulips if you like. And I need to do this soon so that I can be the best tour guide to Holland, and to life, that I can possibly be for my daughter.

 

*not true, would give my right arm for a Mulberry bag, for the record.

 

If you would like to take part in Blog Therapy, drop me an email at firstimehitched@gmail.com. No problem big or small x

 

Photo credit – Google image search