Friday, 18 February 2011

The old Rich and the old Ally

As we were laid in bed chatting last night I asked him "When will the old Rich come back?" to which he replied "What do you mean?".
I never did get round to answering that question, just kind of avoided the topic but then he asked the same to me, when would the old Ally come back, instead of the one that nags and moans.

This got me thinking about the old "us".  The old us had no cares or worries, we would pack up our tent, get in the car and just pick a point on the map and thats where we would holiday.  We would sit on the beach watching the sun set and talk about the future.  We would talk for hours, laugh at silly things and relish in our freedom.  Along came Jade and the dynamics changed a little, suddenly there was someone else to care for, a new priority for us both.  We still laughed and headed off on random holidays but things were different, we had both changed a little.
We got used to being a family of 3, time flew by and we grew comfortable in our roles as parents. Almost 7 years later Sofia came along and it was all change again.  A new baby becomes priority number 1, the older child priority number 2 then what ever time is left is for us.  The washing mounted up, the rooms were untidy, the garden was non existent but we carried on with the new routine.

Then there was a niggle, an urge that wouldnt go away.  I wanted another child and I didnt want to wait 7 years this time so along came Richie, but this time things were different, he wasnt my priority, Rich was or rather his cancer was.
Again we changed, we talked less and thought more.  There was less laughter, no impromptu holidays and life had a new routine.  I had a new routine, new worries and a new role.

So I think really here lies the answer to my question.  Times have changed, we have changed, life has changed.  We never planned for this, we didnt even imagine that it would ever be like this.  I dont think we will ever be the "old" Ally and Rich, but I would like to think we are a "new and improved" version.  Time will tell :0)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Its been a while!

Well its been a while since I have blogged so I thought I had better get everything down before I forget anything.

Rich has now finished his treatment for the time being and we have had scan dates through.  He has a CT scan on the 23rd and a PET scan on the 3rd March.  Hopefully they will show that the chemo has worked and the cancer has gone.

I am back training for Race for Life this week and its really going well.  I did a non stop run of 20 mins which is bloody amazing considering I couldn't do 1 min when i started!  I have been twice this week and I am feeling GREAT!

I have also decided to throw a "tea party" in aid of the Lymphoma Association on the 10th April.  I am so excited about this.  I have sat awake for hours at night planning and writing letters to people.  I really want to make this as big as possible to raise awareness for Lymphoma.  I have posters and invitations and so many people who want to help its just amazing.   I really hope I can pull this off!

I am feeling great at the moment, so focused and on top of things.  I am sure the happy pills are doing their job so lets hope they keep doing it!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Bloggers block?

As I lay snuggled up to Rich in bed last night I was thinking about what my next blog post should be about, I made a mental note about topics and what to say, then fell asleep all wrapped up nice and warm in his arms.
I woke this morning and sorted the children out then sat down to write but the words refused to come, even now as I type I have no idea where I am going with this post or what I want to say.  Delete has been my best friend today, I have typed, deleted, typed, deleted.  Each time I have read over what I have written and wondered why people actually read this stuff?

It was a radio show that got me thinking about my blog last night, I was in the shower and had the radio on Radio 1 Sunday Surgery listening to Aled Hayden Jones.  The topic last night was death and the people sharing their stories had connections with cancer.  It was heartbreaking to listen to but I couldn't tear myself away from it.  It occurred to me while listening to the show how little people really know and understand about cancer.  One of the questions from a listener was "Does everyone who gets cancer die?"  Well technically the answer is yes, they will all die, eventually, as will we all but cancer does not mean the end which is kinda what they were asking.

There are so many misconceptions surrounding cancer and its really frustrating.  You mention cancer to someone and they instantly think death or old person or smoking.  It is what we have been exposed to all our lives, the dangers of smoking, the dangers of this, the dangers of that but what did Richard do to get it?  Nothing!  He has never smoked, as long as I have known him he has been fit and healthy, not even a cold!
He didnt go out drinking every weekend, he ate his veg and fruit so what did he do wrong?

If I could only achieve one thing with this blog it would be for each and everyone of you reading this to understand that cancer can invade anyone no matter how old or young, healthy or unhealthy.  It does not mean the end of a life as we see it.  Our life has ended, our old life that is, now we have a new life, a different path to follow.  We are the same people but different.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Happy Pills and stress

Today I am going to be selfish with my blog post and talk about me!  When you are a busy mum of 3 and a carer for someone who has cancer, you dont often have time to care for yourself, or at least that is what I have come to discover recently.
Just before I gave birth to Sofia I was diagnosed with PMDD.  I am guessing most of you have never heard of PMDD, I certainly hadnt until I saw my GP.  So what is it?

PMDD or to give it its full name Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a condition marked by severe depression symptoms, irritability and tension before menstruation,  these symptoms can include

  • Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings marked by periods of teariness
  • Panic attack
  • Persistent irritability or anger that affects other peopleTrouble concentrating
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Sleep disturbances
It is said for PMDD to be diagnosed then 5 of these symptoms must be present, I had all of them!
My dr spoke to me about anti depressants which for a number or reasons I was against, then before I had chance to take things further I fell pregnant with Sofia.  During pregnancy I was fine, all symptoms went and I was feeling good.  After Sofia was born it came back with a vengeance but before I had chance to do anything about it I fell pregnant again!  Again all the symptoms went I felt normal.

After Richie was born I started to get those familiar feelings of anxiety and rage so I made an appointment with my GP and this time agreed to try the Fluxotine.  The plan was to take it for 2 weeks during my monthly cycle then have 2 weeks off.  I was sceptical at first but decided to give it a try,
After a while i began to notice changes.  I got bored sitting around all day and got up and cleaned my house, sounds mundane i know but I had no enthusiasm, no motivation and no interest in anything!  Of course I could not see this at the time, but looking back I now realise I had no pride in myself or my home.
I had no energy, I would sleep at the drop of a hat but also stay up late at night because I could not sleep.  I had terrible rages and mood swings and would get quite violent at times.
My Happy Pills have changed this, last month there were no rages, I am stable and calm and have interest and pride again, that is until its time for my 2 week break, then i plummet, i get teary, am tired all the time and feel anxious about everything.
Today was my medication review with the Dr and I discussed how I felt with her.  She suggested I take the Happy Pills full time for the next 6 months.  I had mixed feelings about this and questioned if I really needed them, then we listed out major stresses in my life at the moment
1. Caring for someone with cancer
2. Building a house
3. Looking after 3 children
4. Being unemployed
5. Having a small baby

All of which on their own would be stressful enough but when they are all together then I guess it is no wonder I am feeling the pressure a little bit!  So now it is official, I have moved from being a part time nut job to a full time one!

I feel a bit of a fraud, i dont "feel" stressed but then what does stress feel like?  I also feel like a bit of a fraud, after all it is Rich that is going through this traumatic experience, he is the one having treatment, what right do I have to be stressed when I am perfectly healthy?

Running has helped. I feel good when I run, i forget everything and I am focused.  In time I hope that my running ability will  improve and I can use that to fight this stress.   

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Running and such like

So far the majority of my blog has focused on our "cancer" life but there are many other aspects that make up my life, its just unfortunate that at the moment my focus is the cancer.

So what makes me tick?  First and foremost i live for my children, they are my world.  I always wanted lots of children after growing up in a large family with 4 older brothers, the only floor in my plan is I hate being pregnant!  I suffer terribly from SPD which makes my pelvis unstable and during my last pregnancy it went out of place several times a week.  For this reason, and because of Richards chemo, we decided that Richie would be our last child. How long that decision will last is anyones guess, I am already really broody and so sad that my little man is now a big biffer baby, this was him just hours old...
And this is a recent one of him with his 2 big sisters

The last photo takes me to my second passion, photography!!  I have always loved taking photos and tried to take lots of different subjects.  Up until the xmas before last I just had a simple basic digital camera but that changed when Richards dad bought us a DSLR.  It was the most amazing xmas prezzie ever!!!  Luckily for me Rich has no interest in photography and cameras so I got the full benefit of the camera.
I am by no means an expert and I still have lots to learn, but here are a few of my fave shots

My latest passion is running, mainly spurred on by doing the Race For Life but also because its something I really enjoy and makes me feel fantastic afterwards!
I have always wanted to be a runner but sadly have never had the build or the determination to have a proper go at it.  This time its different, this time I have a good reason for my running and a sense of determination I have never had before.  I get a buzz from completing another step on the training programme I am using (An app for my Iphone called Couch25K)  I was a total couch potato at the start, with no level of fitness at all.  5 weeks in and I am able to do just over 4k with a mix of walking and running.
Today the intervals were 8 min run and 5 min walk.  I went into the gym in quite a negative frame of mind thinking that there was no way I could run for 8 mins, but i did twice!!!  My legs were burning and lungs close to bursting but I pushed myself cos lets face it, I will never get anywhere if i give up!
The next session is a 20 min run, something I have never achieved but this is going to change very very soon!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

In limbo

I think this best describes how i am feeling now.
I didnt sleep much last night thinking about how today would go and what it would feel like to go to the hospital for his last session.
It has become so familiar to us now, drop the children off at mum's, battle to find a parking space in the stupidly small car park then wander up to the Chemo day unit where as always we are sent to the day ward and Rich picks a bed where we then wait to be seen.
This was him sat waiting today:
As usual his assigned nurse Tracy distracted us with her whitty conversation which today took the form of football transfers, boxer dogs and house building.  The normality of the conversation between us all would perhaps seem odd to an outside observer but for is it is perfect.
Then before we know it, its all over!
Rich is currently in bed sleeping it off while I am sat here feeling somewhat in limbo.  One chapter is finished and im waiting for the next one to open.  We have kind of turned full cycle, it began in limbo, waiting and now we have returned to waiting for the next step and being in limbo again.

I am also feeling a little sad that Jade is not the focus of the day and that other people are doing the things for her that I should be doing.  Dont get me wrong, i am very grateful to my family for throwing her a little tea party this evening after school but I am sad for her that her daddy wont be there to share it with her but as i said yesterday it is a small sacrifice to make if it means a future with her daddy.