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.

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Three.

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To my darling James,

It’s that time of year when Mama reminisces of when the trees bloom their blossom while I waited for my Spring baby to arrive. I remind myself how I waddled and paused for contractions to pass as I made my way to the Auntie Giu’s car. It took
20 minutes to walk 30ft.
Every time I go over a cattle grid it takes me right back to that journey to the hospital. I’m pretty sure that sped up the dilating for sure, although I wouldn’t recommend that method.

Today you turn 3.

What do I say to you about you turning 3?
You are challenging, inquisitive and strong willed.
You are stubborn, bolshy yet beautifully kind.

You are my boy, my baby, my absolute world.

How on earth is it ever possible that you are the tiny age of 3, yet 3 is simply a magnificent age.

Off to be a Superhero again....

Off to be a Superhero again….

1095 days ago you came into our lives and simply changed it forever. I say simply because loving you is the easiest thing in the world for me. Being a Mother, now that’s the hard part.

James you’re a threenager in the making with tantrums that can break a ninja.
A wibbly lip that melts me into putty with a tiny tear to guilt trip me for days.
But that smile. Oh that smile makes me fall in love with you everyday.

You make me hap-pea too my boy.

You make me hap-pea too my boy.

You and I can talk for hours and very often we do. You tell me everything that’s in your head and everything around you.
Your imagination is running wild and I hope you never lose it. Having something so amazing will keep you entertained for hours. Trust me, it’s what keeps Mama sane sometimes. Going into your little world, making the mundane around you more exciting.
But everything is exciting in a 3 year olds world. From taking the train to a far away land (Liverpool Street), to going on holiday (staying overnight at Auntie NaNa’s), to jumping off a pirate ship (jumping off the side of the swimming pool).

Your favourite things are:
Gary the Snail
Rockets
Dinosaurs especially Andy’s Dinosaur adventures
Surprise eggs (Kinder surprise)
Racing (running from room to room)
Making tea with your red teapot
Singing
Dancing
Pharrell Williams, Kasabian and Elbow
Your best friend Johnny
Minnie Dog and Lexi-bum
And you love everything ‘dis much’.

Big smiles when you're with your Minnie Dog.

Big smiles when you’re with your Minnie Dog.

As with every letter I write to you, I always say how well you talk and there is no exception here. You love to chat and enjoy nothing more than a natter on your phone. Which is also your hand.

Your manner in which you do things whilst bull in a china shop-esque, is also mixed with the grace of a dancer. Except for when you thump and we have to tell you to be be quiet otherwise you’ll wake baby Molly.

You’re still in love with Baby Molly by the way and you have a soft spot for lots of other ladies too. Flashing your gorgeous brown eyes. I simply cannot think where your flirtatious side comes from.

James, sometimes (I mean this in the nicest possible way) you can be a little shit. You are definitely in the ‘how far can I try my parents patience’ stage and for every wonderful thing you do, you follow it up with ratbaggery of some kind.
But, you’re good most of the time, so we won’t ship you off to boarding school anytime soon.

James, things are changing and you’re growing up faster than I’d like. Soon you’ll be at nursery full time and then before we know it, you’ll be in school.
But never, ever forget that no matter what age you are, you’ll never stop being my baby.

Sharing cheese with Mama

Sharing cheese with Mama


Having fun with Daddy.

Having fun with Daddy.


And as we keep saying to each other and to Daddy, you’re my best friend.

Enjoy being 3 my sweet, darling boy.

I love you more than you’ll ever know

Keep growing strong,
Love,
Mama x


Selfie poser

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.

Wonder Women – Part Two

So that wonderful Victoria Marks only went and ran her 10k in 57 frigging minutes!! How amazing is that!? If you would still like to donate to her cause, please do so here…http://www.justgiving.com/fighttheFW Victoria is up to £192, lets get her up to £200!

Now, Wonder Women – Part two.

The group of ladies who will be running there Race for Life for me tomorrow in Regents Park, are amazing. Two of them work with my big (little) Sister and have been such a support for each other over the years, it felt natural to them to want to do something for her little (big) Sister when Cancer came a calling.

As one of the runner’s Julie so nicely put it, You’re friend’s with Giu, then you’re friends with her whole family. Bout right too.

Tomorrow 4 women will take part in Race for Life, and as there motto goes, they are definitely sticking two fingers up to Cancer:

Julie

Julie

Julie – Avid motorcycle rider when younger.  Arsenal fan. Loves Johnny Depp.

Sharon

Sharon

Sharon – Always been into sport and has dabbled in many including boxing!  Budding cake decorator. Spurs supporter – Please don’t let this fact stop you from donating.

Kiera

Kiera

Kiera – Brilliant trainee hairdresser and lover of angry birds!
Katie

Katie

Katie -Member of successful girls football team that won the league this season. Go on the Girl! Spurs supporter – I repeat – do not let this stop you donating!
They already said they will walk round the course, but they could do pigeon steps all the way round, at least they are getting there butt out there!
I just know they will have me in tears of laughter and tears of overwhelming love.
So please, yet again, dig a little deep and donate a couple of pounds.

Purple Power

Today I asked for some help.
I asked my army to step up and to give me good vibes, prayers and thoughts.

I then went one step further and asked you all to wear something purple. In my head, seeing all those pictures of people wearing purple just for me, spurred me on.

I sat in a tiny office today and Dr Powell’s Registrar, lets call him Dr Awesomesauce, told me (3 times no less) that the scan showed ‘no cancer activity’. Fuckwit wasn’t seen. It’s disappeared.

They couldn’t confirm that a white flag been left.

The nitty gritty of it all is, and I quote, ‘it’s responded excellently to treatment and no activity is shown on the scan, but we will closely monitor you every 3 months’.
I’ve not stopped crying. Every call I’ve made, every text I sent since finding out I’ve just balled my eyes out.

I think we’re still in shock. I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I keep expecting to wake up.

I walked out into that corridor and I screamed like mad. It just had to get out.

I can’t even begin to thank you all. I don’t know where to start. I looked at my phone today and all I saw was a sea of purple.
You will never know how much I feel loved and supported by every single one of you.
I love you all and thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support.

Now you can have some home leave soldiers, I’ll expect you back here in 3 months for some more purple power.

I am always looking for more recruits…if you don’t sign up, I’m setting this little one on to you…

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Powell-erful Words

Picture the scene.
I am sitting in bed, languishing from post-theatre sleepiness. I’m holding my arm because the canula has just been removed and blood has basically pissed up the side of the wall.

Pete is sat beside me, eyeing up my chocolate crispy flakes.

All of a sudden Dr Powell appears.

Dr.P: Hello you, er, you ok?
Fran: Yea, I like to be dramatic. It’s a momentous day.
Dr.P: Look, it all went really well today. You finished your last 1/3 of this. A major chunk.
We’ve had a look and, well it’s shrunk. It’s shrunk massively. It’s looks really good.
Fran: *wibbly lip*
Dr.P: It’s responded so well to treatment.
Fran: *massive tears start to fall, more wibbly lip*
Dr.P: You’ve done so well.
Fran: Oh god, you’re not lying. It’s gone really well hasn’t it. *sobs*
Dr.P: *looks away* Now stop it or I’ll cry
Fran: *full on floods of tears* Thank you, thank you so so much
Peter: *Fat ugly tears* Thank you Dr. Powell
Dr.P: You are so welcome. Now, we’ll see you in 4 weeks, it’ll probably show abnormality still, but the radiotherapy is still working. We’ll scan you in three months and take it from there. *wipes tear*. Ok, get home now.
Fran: I can’t thank you enough.

So there we are. Fuckwit is really going.

I can hardly believe it.

I am beating this. I am physical proof that it’s going.

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*wibbly lip*