I hope you know…

For you both…

I hope you know that when I leave you, it hurts just the same as the first time I did.

I hope you know that when we part, I always glance back to try and catch your eye.

I hope you know I watch you, while you sleep and trace your frown lines.

I hope you know that I kiss your head as you doze and whisper I love you.

I hope you know, I kiss my hand and put it on your door, as I creep out to work in the morning.

I hope you know how my heart beats faster, at the mere mention of your name.

I hope you know that we’re having chicken for dinner tomorrow.

I hope you know how proud I am of you, of me, of us.

I hope you know I couldn’t love anything as much as I love you.

I hope you know how much you soothe me when I’m scared, I’m weak, I’m sad.

I hope you know I still practice my married signature everyday.

I hope you know I want the Girls soundtrack downloaded, please.

I hope you know how hard it is to get up in the morning, knowing it’ll be hours till I see you again.

I hope you know you’re worth it. You’re worth all this and more.

I hope you know how happy you make me feel today.

I hope, and need, you to know.

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Toddler talks…What is love?

In what potentially could be a new part of my blog, me and James have lots of insightful conversations mainly surrounding a question either on of us has asked.
Such classics include:

‘But why is it raining? I want bubbles’

And the classic which I’m sure lots of Mummy’s have had to encounter…

‘You has two bottoms. Why? It’s furry!’

So with this in mind, after having a very challenging 20 minutes discussing how much I actually loved him and explaining that I have bigger arms so must love him more, James gave a great explanation to that lovely love question.

Out of the mouth of babes — in case you needed clarification, he says that love makes him feel better.

I appear to have something in my eye *sobs*

Toddler talk…I can’t wait to see what else he has to say.

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.

All for him

Today has been hard. I am filled with hate. Resentment is rising.

But I had a chat with James and a cuddle and he said ‘sore right, mummy. Jayes kiss better’.

Because it’s all for him. The hard work, the long hours, the worry.

As long as I see this face and he sees his Mummy, then I can get through today.

It’s all for you my boy.

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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

Mum Mum’s Day

Dear Mum-Mum,

I’ve been thinking about what to write to you for a few days.

We tell each other every day that we love each other.

Either when I am running out the door to work whilst you take awesome care of my boy, or in a little text when you tell me to have a good day, you always end it with ‘LOVE YOU LOADS XXX’.

It is almost always in capitals, because despite the fact that you have an advanced smart phone and a Nexus 7 tablet, that caps lock button still alludes you.

You’ve been a Mummy now for a very long time, I won’t divulge to the readers just how long because in your head you are still 21 and in fact you’ve ‘adjusted’ your year of birth so much you can’t really remember anyway. But don’t worry about that. Whenever I tell people about your age, they are always so shocked. You are such a whizz of a woman, never stopping to sit down for a min, always on the go.

You are however old enough to be a Grandmother. Nothing pleases you more than having all your Grandchildren around, causing mayhem and a noise level that worries environmental health. You are a nutty Nanny and I know for a fact that James thinks youre hilarious with your northern twang, changing the words he’s learning. And Jack will always have you as the Nanny who asked him ‘If he took it in the mouth’ when asking about Communion. Just writing that has made me laugh.

I think having Grandchildren has made you younger because you can be certain as hell your actual children have aged you!

You are also Mum to lots of people who aren’t actually your children. You take them under your wing and look after them when there Mum’s aren’t around. Mummy Jackie was a phrase I know loads of my friends used when I was younger, and even by them now, despite most of us having our own children now.

Mum, you are a lovely lady, even though it does take you over 2 hours to do a food shop, in the same supermarket you have been to for the last 10 years. And we all love you in despite of the fact you have a psychotic cat which you refuse to have re-homed and will quite openly talk to the birds in the trees (a trait which James has inherited, thanks for that). You feed the foxes every night ‘Just in case they get hungry’, and you never forget anyone’s birthday. Even that one person, who, ‘Y’know, yes you know him, I told you about them, the one who lives next door to so and so and is the son of blah blah’. You even send them a card.

You’ve gone through a lot of heartbreak in your life and you’ve watched all your children at some point go through turmoil that you just wish you put on yourself. Now that I am a Mum I realise how much you want to take your child’s pain away.

I saw it in your eyes when you watched my have Chemotherapy. You would have traded places in an instant if you could.

But because you couldn’t do that, you did what you always did. You were just Mum.

You are the best Mum-Mum I could ever want. You helped me more than you could ever know.

Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful Mum, Jackie.

If I am half the Mother you are, then James is gonna have his work cut out when we go food shopping.

That's me and my Mum, that is.

That’s me and my Mum, that is.

LOVE YOU LOADS XXX

Oh you’ve got Cancer? I’m suddenly very busy for a long time.

So as I sit here watching Aztec Camera on Vintage TV (or Sad TV if you’d prefer) I am pondering on another question posed to me by the lovely @Kelliet1085

What i’d like to know is how you delivered the news of your cancer to your friends & family and how people reacted to the news?

How did you feel about the way people reacted, did their treatment of you change, did people pop up who hadn’t shown interest in you before?

Have you seen the Macmillan advert where there are people falling over because the reality of being told they have Cancer hits them, right in the middle of doing something normal?
It is exactly how it feels.
I remember feeling eerily calm when I was told I had Cancer. Hearing the words coming out of Mr Hollingsworth’s mouth was just a confirmation of what I already knew. It only hit me a couple of days later, I think it was after my PET scan, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I remember sitting at my desk in work and thinking ‘Shit, I have fucking stupid cancer’. It was like a punch in my tumour bloated stomach.

I didn’t know what to do, I felt like I was trapped in this cancer bubble. All I could think about was how do I tell people what is going on with me.

As you can tell my main way I communicate well is by writing. Before my diagnosis I only let a few people into my writing, I mainly published to Twitter and not on Facebook, largely because I was worried what people would think about my writing, especially people who knew me on a face to face level.

Once I had ‘come out’ as such on twitter and Facebook, I mainly found that people just didn’t know what to say.
I had a lot of people who were shocked and saddened.

I had old school friends message me after over a decade of no contact, wishing me all the best and following my progress. It was overwhelming the response I got.

I had complete strangers wanting to send me cards, presents, well wishes. People were just compelled to do something, anything. I guess it’s part of our human nature to want to help.

I had chocolate, flowers, gifts and at the last count, I had 40+ cards from people just wanting to be part of ‘Fran’s Army’

But, whilst this was all amazing and I felt such an enormous amount of love in a digital way, I found the flip side to a situation which forced people to feel….well feel numb.

In those very early days where we were also dealing with a bereavement, I craved love, reassurance and just wanting to know someone was there. I didn’t need anything more than someone telling me it was all going to be OK.

When Eve was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, my first instinct was to be with her. I had to be with her to let her know I was always going to be there. And I had to get there as fast as I could, as though being there within an hour would somehow change everything.
I know this is just how I dealt with her cancer diagnosis and everyone reacts differently to shocking news, but to me it would have been alien to not have wanted to be with her at her lowest point.

And yes, I know some people just simply do not know how to deal with someone telling them they have cancer, I get that, I get that completely, but if someone you cared about was going through the worst time in there life, wouldn’t you put aside what you were going through with the situation and just sat with that person?

Just had a cup of tea with them?

Just called them to tell them you were going to visit?

No?

Well, some of my closest family and friends didn’t do that either. In fact after nearly 4 months post diagnosis, I still haven’t heard from some F&F.

I was shocked and I was sad, and yes, I probably should have made more of an effort also, but I guess you do find out who is truly there for you when you most need someone.

Maybe people thought I would be different or maybe they were worried about my physical appearance being shocking (I actually rocked the cancer look, thankyouverymuch) but still, they weren’t (aren’t) there. Maybe people didn’t like my writing, was I too frank or they didn’t like I was sharing so much.
I simply don’t know because I’ve never been told.

So I will leave you with this;

If you have just found out someone close to you has Cancer, or anything else serious for that matter, just take a breath. Think for a minute and remember this: The reason they have told you is because they love you and they just want to hear that back.

Feeling like you are not alone or different at a time when all you do feel is alone and different helps more than you could ever know.