Osteosarcoma

Still picking up the pieces

I’m feeling so sad tonight for a variety of reasons, most of which I can’t even write about on here, but there is one huge one that I’m struggling with.

My girls.

My beautiful girls. The girls who have took this year in their stride. They have been beyond incredible in their attitude, empathy and expressing their emotions. I could not be more proud.

But during this year, somewhere along this horrendous year, my girls have grown up.

And I’ve missed it.

Lily was only 3 when I was diagnosed and I remember that when it was all over I felt like I had missed out on her growing up. I didn’t know what her favourite dinner was anymore, what she liked to do or didn’t like. I remember this being so hard and I struggled for a long time with this.

Now it’s happening again.

I feel like I’ve been the shittest Mum to those girls this year.

I’ve been so consumed in Ellis and his needs and treatment, that I haven’t given them the time they need.

Iris doesn’t need me. She’s not fussed. It’s Daddy who she needs. When she can’t sleep, when she hurts herself, she doesn’t come to me anymore she goes to him. It’s beautiful to see their relationship blossom over this last year, but it selfishly hurts so much to see mine with her disappear.

She can now read so well and is absolutely thriving at school. She is super sassy and insanely crazy! She makes me so proud but I miss her desperately. I miss the months that I wasn’t here and I know I can never get them back. The weeks spent at the hospital, the times when I was here in body but my mind was always somewhere else to do with hospitals.

I threw myself into Ellis and getting him better.

Lily’s got a beautiful character and just gets on with things. She has a love for learning that hopefully will never change. She loves school and has settled back in with ease into her new year. She has to go to breakfast club and after School clubs every single day to fit around my work, but she never moans. Tonight I found a practice Kent test paper on her bedroom floor. She got 100%. She didn’t even show me. I’ve cried a lot lately, but this set me off again. Why didn’t she tell me? Why wasn’t she excited to show me? Did she think I would say I don’t have time? That kills me inside. I think back to things she has told me or shown me this last year and that’s exactly what I’ve done. “Not right now Lily, I’m just on the phone to the hospital” “Show me later Lily, I’m just trying to work out Ellis’ appointments”.

And then there is Beth. My mini me. The stubborn, funny, amazing eldest. She’s been pushed out more than the others, because of Covid and her dads we didn’t see her through the whole of lockdown. We kept in touch with FaceTime and texts, but I missed her so bad. I haven’t been involved in her schooling this year at all. She’s gone into year 11, the most important year and I feel like I’ve blinked and missed it. She is the most empathetic (not that she will know what that word means 😂) girl I know. The struggles she has faced have been huge, but she’s smashing life.

I feel guilty beyond any words can express about this year.

The impact it’s had on us a family is huge and I’m not sure if all of it can be repaired.

I have some serious making up to do with those 3 little ladies. I need to show them I’m here and not going anywhere. I need to get to know them again and start making memories.

I wish I could scoop them up and say sorry. Sorry for being a shit Mum. Sorry for not having time for you, sorry for not being the Mum you all deserve. But I had a battle to fight and I gave it everything I had.

Things are different now. I’m here.

And nothing is going to pull me away again.

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

World Mental Health Day

As it’s World Mental Health day I obviously wanted to write a blog. I want to talk about PTSD and triggers.

Tonight I am staying out with my mum and sisters having a girlie night with wine, face masks and a take away! I’ve been so excited for this for so long until now.

I have packed so much that it warrants my huge suitcase and I’m not even sorry 😂

But as I opened it, I felt sick. The last time I used this one was when he had covid. I usually unpack them as soon as I got home, but for some reason I had left this one.

All the horrific memories flooded back.

The industrial hand gel, the leaflets about his admission, a little certificate that they give to all children who use the transport to intensive care, his mouthwash for the chemo ulcers, handheld fans because England hasn’t invented air con yet 🤦🏼‍♀️

On the certificate it had the date. 4th July. Independence Day. The day that changed me forever. Things could have been so very different that day. They weren’t and I’m beyond grateful. But these memories will haunt me forever.

Most days now, I feel I’m doing ok but small things like this take me right back to that moment.

I can still hear the machines, the panic in the nurses voices. The smell of hospitals and the feeling of pure fear.

I’m sitting in the safety of my own bedroom, I can hear Ellis shouting like a little girl on his Xbox 😂 but my heart is still racing. It’s like part of me is stuck in that date and won’t move on.

I’m really proud of myself and how I have coped with this year and I know this will take time but it’s the hardest bit. The bit that creeps up on you when you least expect it. The bit that lingers around and attacks you if you dare to be happy.

I know he’s ok now and I know it’s in the past. But past or not, it happened and it was very real.

Physical pain leaves scars for people to see and understand. So does mental pain, but these run a lot deeper.

How can I fix these types of scars? No amount of creams or plasters will fix these. I have counselling once a week, which I find so difficult. I can open up on my blogs, but face to face is so hard. I feel vulnerable and stupid. I feel like I don’t have the right to even be sad because things are ok.

This week we had the awful news that one of the beautiful children on the ward with us didn’t make it.

This news ripped through me like a knife. Other children on the ward have passed away during Ellis treatment, but we had spent time with this boy. His Mum and I had bonded over the gross hospital food and shared similar stories about being a cancer mum during a pandemic. We got on so well and laughed so much. During one of my hardest weeks, talking to her and her boy saved me. So to hear the devastating news last week hit me hard.

Again, with that bit of news, I was back there. Back in hell.

Hell for me will always be there. It will always be somewhere I revisit from time to time and I have to accept that.

It will never be over. But I will learn to cope with the feelings a bit better. Hopefully one day, I will be able to look back and not feel the fear pounding in my chest or the terror bubbling up in my stomach.

It will never be a nice place to revisit, but I know that one day I will be ok with it.

I still have a lot of work to do on myself and my own mental health, but being aware of that is the first step.

Mental health is not something to be ashamed of. It’s something that needs to be spoke about and discussed.

Sometimes, it’s ok not to be ok.

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

Cancer does not have a face, until it’s yours or someone you know.

Today, the tears finally came. Months of not being able to cry came to a halt today.

A beautiful little boy who we had the pleasure of meeting on our ward, passed away on Monday.

He had bone cancer the same and Ellis and his Mum and I bonded over the rubbish hospital food and lack of wine!

See this boy wasn’t at the beginning of his journey. He had crossed the finish line and rung the bell.

He did it.

This is what a lot of cancer parents struggle with the most when treatment ends. People assume it’s over. People assume that when their hair grows back, they’re fixed.

But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ellis has a 55% prognosis from 5 years after the date of diagnosis.

5 years.

We have not even done 1 yet.

The treatment being over is just our safety net gone. It’s our constant check ins with the team, having the nurses and doctors on hand to answer any questions. You get used to feeling safe…. in a world where actually, you know you’re not.

Then as soon as you get comfortable, it chews you up and spits you out.

Back into the real world, but for this next part you have to do it on your own.

I feel so many emotions tonight. I feel an almost guilt like feeling, why that poor family. What did we do any different?

I feel sad. Beyond sad actually, but tonight I’m too emotionally exhausted to find a more suited word.

I feel scared. What will these next 4 years have in store for us? I can’t even let myself go there. I feel sick.

It’s 2020, how is this still even happening.

How are our children still not beating this horrible disease. There has to be more that can be done. Right?!

I don’t want this life anymore for me and my kids. Enough now. But there is nothing I can do. I can’t stop it.

As a Mum, you promise yourself you will protect your babies. You will keep them safe forever, no matter what. You would die for them if you had to.

But I’m not in control of our situation. Not at all.

I pretend I am, to them. Lily writes me letters thanking me for keeping her brother safe and it breaks my heart. But I’m not. No matter how much I want to.

I wish things were different.

I wish it didn’t exist and it wasn’t a thing.

I wish every child would be allowed to have their whole life ahead of them and not have to spend their precious last months in a hospital having barbaric chemotherapy.

I wish it didn’t like children. I wish it took one look at them and went the other way.

It’s not fair.

And I can’t see it changing anytime soon.

If you’re with your babies tonight, let them have an extra cuddle. Read them an extra story. Kiss them that little bit more.

No, I can’t promise to keep my babies safe forever, but I can promise I will love them for eternity.

And that has to be enough.

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

What cancer didn’t take, Covid did

I’ve not wrote a blog in a while, partly because I’ve been back at work which has been crazy busy, but also because I’ve not been great in my own head.

Covid definitely has played a huge part in our story. We had only just started out when the world went into panic. Only 3 months into it when lockdown happened. Because there was a definite buzz before it took hold of the world, all of our hospital appointments have always been the same. We had restrictions in place a long time before the world did.

Life as a cancer mum during a pandemic has been hard. For reasons that until now, I had never thought about.

I’m on a few parents Facebook pages, for those who’s child has cancer. Super supportive, super helpful and a real sense of belonging in a world where you have never felt more misunderstood.

In these groups, we would see posts about how their child got through their treatment but having days out, having family visit the hospital and making sure they felt as loved as possible. Amazing.

But we couldn’t do that.

I felt a huge sense of guilt and unfairness. Those little things are so important, a huge part of resilience and recovery, but it had all been stripped from us.

1 parent per child to any appointment, and chemo- even his last one.

The responsibility of retaining and relaying that information to the other parent was huge. Decisions that had to be made on the spot, forms signed with only one parents signature and face to face meetings with just one parent, who was already full to the brim with information, trying to speak on everyone’s behalf.

Us cancer mums (and dads) supported our kids- but who supported us? No friend to go out with for a drink during the hardest times. No shopping trip stopping for cake and coffee to let off a bit of steam.

We were alone.

And in some respect, I think we will be forever.

It is no ones fault. I have so many amazing family and friends around me, who will listen to all my stories. But when no one has seen it first hand, it leaves you in your lonely little covid club once again.

End of chemo has been tough for this very reason.

How can I expect other people to even try to understand the enormous pride and relief that he made it to the end, when they don’t have the scarred memories in their heads of children on the ward who didn’t. The posts on the parents groups notifying us all that their child wasn’t as lucky.

You develop this coping strategy, like it’s a game. The worst game you have ever played. Jumamji on steroids.

Every single low make the highs that much higher.

After all, when you have been surrounded by death and dying for the past year, living is pretty spectacular.

You will never truly be able to understand what someone is going through, but being able to go through it alongside them gives you an insight.

To have done all this on our own means that no one can even try to understand. No matter how hard they want to.

Myself and Gavin are the only people who will ever be able to try to understand what the other person went through as we shared the load completely. We both did chemos, we both did part of the op and we both did appointments. But even with that, we did them on our own because of covid.

Support groups stopped, play rooms closed and only 2 parents allowed in the kitchen at one time meant that we were reminded of just how alone we were every where we turned. Nurses and doctors with facemasks on, which made it difficult to read their faces, feeling so impersonal.

Parents had no support.

The children were incredible as ever and all had their parent by their side, running on empty making sure they catered to every single need of their child. Like superhero’s without the abs.

We had no one.

The days were long and the nights were longer. It was like prison. Not even able to pop to get a coffee because the restaurant had closed. Not allowed to leave our room at rainbow ward, so stuck in it for the whole duration. No human interaction apart from the amazing PPEd nurses who would come and stop his machine from beeping.

No one could predict covid, but we can all learn from it.

Human interaction is vital. Support is vital. To let someone they are not alone is vital.

If you know a parent of a child with cancer during a pandemic, ask them about it. Chances are they will not be able to stop talking!

We need to be heard. Not in a ‘look at me’ kind of way, but because we have the whole weight of the world on our shoulders under normal circumstances, but covid has made that load a million times heavier.

So take a walk in my shoes, see what I’ve seen, hear what I’ve heard, feel what I’ve felt. Only then will you be able to start to understand the way I now am.

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

Finding peace at 12,000 feet

So this happened.

I raised over £2200 for CLIC Sargent this weekend and it was incredible.

Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I struggle with my own health as well as this years hell with Ellis.

Living with a cancer diagnosis is something that will follow you around forever. From health declaration forms and travel insurance to the inability to give blood or donate stem cells.

It limits you in ways you would have never thought about pre diagnosis.

Things that matter now, never used to and vice versa.

When it’s over, you are entered into a weird club of survivors. People who have fought and won. Forever feeling scared, felling lucky and a lot of the time feeling guilty.

What did I do that made me beat it?

What made me the lucky one?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s incredible. To know the very same body that malfunctioned and grew cancer is the very same body that fought back and got rid of it.

But I always think of the people who are left behind. The ones still fighting. The ones who grew too tired.

Two very good friends children are still fighting their battle. How can I possibly be happy when I know that. Their battles are longer, there has been more scares, more hurdles. I’ve never met these people in person, but they have quickly become family.

When they both finish, we all finish.

No one gets left behind.

When we celebrated Ellis’ end of treatment bell ringing and being told he was in remission…. I didn’t cry. Of course I was so happy. I can’t even explain the feeling of relief and sheer elation. But I didn’t cry.

You see things on tv where families receive the news and it’s huge. They cry, they hug. There is snot by the bucket load and everyone is so overwhelmed.

That wasn’t us.

And why? Because it’s all still there. It’s all still raw. Knowing that there were children on the ward you were in, who shared the same bay as you…. who didn’t make it. They weren’t as lucky.

Like a soldier coming out of war, knowing victory has been made, but still struggling with the things they have seen, the things they have heard.

We didn’t skip over the finish line, we crawled. With battle scars, emotional wounds and baggage that will stay around forever.

But yesterday, I truly felt peace.

Peace for the first time in a very long time.

After the initial adrenaline rush, we drifted down to the ground at a pace that felt like we weren’t moving. I could see France, London… there was no limit.

It was breathtaking.

It was the clearest day, not a single breeze in sight either. Perfect for being pushed out of a plane!

That part was my favourite. It felt like I was up there hours, soaking up the views, relishing in the peace and quiet.

It was my moment.

My moment to draw a line under it all and to move on.

7 years of fear, hospitals, emotional rollercoasters, tears…. finished.

This has had a really weird effect on me today and possibly why I’ve not felt great all weekend.

I don’t feel anything. But for the first time in 7 years, it’s not because I’m numb. It’s because I have accepted it’s over.

It really is all over.

And it feels normal.

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

My Army ❤️

I sat with a friend tonight and looked at pictures of this past year. We spoke about the bits I’ve not shared with anyone. The boring bits that never made it to my blogs or social media, talking about little funny moments, the really hard moments and all the insignificant bits in between. Even the bits that probably made no sense to someone else, but to me it was all I knew for 9 months. The drug names, pictures of the ward, the parents kitchen, the lift lobby were I spent hours by myself looking out over London. I’m pretty sure to them, it was boring, but to me it meant everything. To be able to start talking about it and say these things out loud, to be able to process what’s gone on are tiny building blocks in accepting it and moving on. To look back on pictures from the beginning and reflect on how I felt, was therapeutic. I realised how far I have come and how much I have changed.

I am feeling much more positive since my last blog. I’ve started back at work, the kids have gone back to school and things are finally feeling more normal.

I had my first encounter with an internet troll this week, which could have broken me, but it didn’t. I felt compassion for her. She has been following my story for nearly a year and has chronic illness herself. She lives in America, where the covid situation is very different to ours. She knew this. But she still chose to steal my picture from Instagram and post it to a silly Facebook page- you know, the ones where people make fun of others to make themselves look good.

She posted about how irresponsible it was for Ellis to go back to school and how I’ve had parties with ‘hundreds’ of people to celebrate.

At first I read every single comment. Comments telling me to die. Comments telling me I should have my children taken away from me… all because he went back to school.

She took a post from an already broken mum, a post admitting I was so scared and nervous about him going and changed it to boost her ego. It’s very sad how someone could be that heartless.

At first I was angry, I had just come out of the hardest two weeks of my life, where I felt I was on the verge of a breakdown. As soon as I saw it, my heart sank. I felt sick. At that point, I was terrified I would go back to that place.

But then something happened. Something beautiful and amazing.

All of a sudden, those nasty vile messages were replaced with positive encouraging messages praising me and my choices, praising me as a mum and telling her she was wrong for doing what she did.

That was the moment I knew I would be ok.

I had a whole army behind me. Nearly 200 messages in my inbox supporting me and picking me back up. Some I knew, some are my girls who I know have always got my back ❤️ But some were strangers. People I had never met or spoken to, telling me how without realising it, I had lifted them up when they needed it the most. The words were so empowering it was humbling.

This is why I over share.

My Instagram and blogs are honest and raw. I strongly believe life is better when you’re honest, so I try to love my life by that.

So this is a thank you, to everyone who has been behind me. It wasn’t a case of taking sides, it was girls empowering girls (and some boys 😜) and making someone feel so supported, not because you had to but because you wanted to.

I feel on top of the world today. I feel like I am on the right path to getting better and finding me again. I feel strong.

And that’s because of my friends. People I’ve known my whole life, people I’ve only known a few months and people I have actually never even met, but who are only ever a message away.

So remember how powerful your words can be. If you see someone struggling, message them. It’s not about finding the right words to say, it’s about saying any words you can to make sure they know you’re thinking of them.

Words can hurt, but words can also mend.

Use them wisely

Xxx

Osteosarcoma

Harder than I ever thought it would be.

I’m not sure if I’m even going to publish this or whether it’s just going to help me process it all. Either way, I’m writing it out.

I’m struggling at the moment, more than I have ever have.

The thing that has got me through this last year is the end goal. The bit after treatment where we can be normal. I longed for those day’s back.

But I didn’t bank on normal not being there anymore.

I feel so guilty that I’ve missed such a huge chunk in the girls lives. I miss being a mum, a proper mum. I miss knowing what they like to eat, how iris likes her bedtime routine, what Lily’s been up to. I feel so detached from them it hurts. They have grown up and have changed. Yes they are resilient, beautiful little ladies, but I’ve missed all that. I’ve missed the goodnight kisses, the lazy mornings, the trips to the park.

This is huge chunk of my life and their lives that I can never get back.

How do I go back to normal when everything is so different?

How do I feel at home in a house where it’s all changed.

I’ve hit rock bottom. Didn’t think pain like this existed, but here I am. I’m defeated. I’m exhausted and I’m weak.

I have been looking back at photos from America which was only last October. Little did I know this was the best time of my whole life. I had the most amazing job lined up, I was processing and learning to have a life without my Grandads. The kids were doing so well at school.

It was over.

My hell of a journey, my end point. I had reached it.

Looking at the photos and seeing the smiles, the laughs, the memories…. it doesn’t make me happy, it makes me sad.

I want that. I need that. But I don’t know how to get it again.

I long to feel the normal mundane routines of school and work. I long for those huge genuine cuddles from my girls because they’ve missed me, not a subtle head turn away from the TV because they are so used to me not being there.

I can’t imagine life being the same again. Well it’s not, I know that. But similar at least.

I feel like everything is spiralling around me. There is so much noise, so much panic and rushing.

I need to be still.

I have been talking to a lovely Macmillan counsellor and he has really helped me understand a few bits.

I need to take some control back in my life, this isn’t me. I make bold decisions based on trusting myself, I challenge myself to fight harder, I do things that scare me to laugh in the face of all things cancer. If I carry on like this it’s won again. I know this.

I don’t want cancer to be my enemy anymore. I don’t want it to be something I have to beat.

I am ready to roll over and accept it. That doesn’t mean it wins, maybe it was never a competition in the first place.

The last 7 years of my life have been consumed by it. I’ve blamed it, I’ve hated it and I’ve feared it.

Not anymore.

Maybe it didn’t take anything from me after all, maybe it was just a by product of the situation. Maybe it was lessons that I needed to learn. Maybe it was lessons that have set me up for new challenges in my life life my job, new friendships.

I am not the person I was 7 years ago, so I think I’ve been pretty unfair on myself to feel guilty that I’m not the same person I was before Ellis’ diagnosis.

I want to be better, I want to grab life with both hands and shake the fuck out of it. I want to go on amazing holidays, eat amazing food, laugh so much I can’t breathe.

But my main focus now is finding me again. The new me. The girl who actually, against all odds is still standing. The girl who has learn that it’s ok to show that I’m vulnerable and that I’m sometimes not ok. The girl who feels lost and doesn’t know where to start.

But I will start.

And that’s the most important thing.

Osteosarcoma

What messes you up the most is the picture in your head of how it’s supposed to be.

Summer 2020.

The year that the summer holidays were meant to be the best.

Treatment was due to be over, PICC line out and I was determined to have as much fun as possible to make up for the last 9 months.

But in reality, it doesn’t work out like that. It never does. Things very rarely go as you planned, especially when you put so much pressure on yourself to achieve it.

I felt as if I had something to prove almost, not to anyone else but to myself. I felt like I had let them all down with this disaster of a year and wanted to make it up to them.

This resulted in me nearly having a breakdown last week. Ironically, I have never felt so low.

This summer in reality has been more tests than we’ve had since January, the uncertainty of potential blood transfusions, another call from the cardiologist asking to see him because something has shown up in his last echocardiogram. It’s been a mixture of relief, guilt, anger, sadness.

Someone close to me last week helped me verbalise why I am feeling this way.

Imagine you are at a Theme Park. You queue up for the biggest, scariest ride. You know it’s going to make you shit your pants but you are already in the queue so you have no choice other than to ride it. You build yourself up with all of these emotions, you are terrified but pretend to act cool like you’ve got your shit together. You can’t back out as the queue is one way, so you have to just carry on. As you get closer, the fear intensifies. The ride itself goes relatively quickly… you just go through the motions and accept it for what it is. As long as there are no complications that is. Then once the ride has finished, you get off. Back to the same place you were before, but with a tonne of emotions and adrenaline rushing through your body. You try to walk but your legs feel like jelly and you’re heart is pounding. That’s where I am.

During last week, when I was already feeling low, someone from my past contacted me. I was told that I was a joke plastering my life all over social media. I was told that Ellis would grow up embarrassed by me because I share his life.

That sat with me for a few days, eating me up inside.

It made me really question everything. Was he right? Was I bad Mum? It very nearly was the straw that broke the camels back. I nearly deleted all my blogs and social media thinking he was right when he said everyone is laughing at me.

I spoke to Ellis about it. He reads all my blogs anyway so knows what I share. I have never shared the intimate details, it has always been my account of what has happened. He looked at me and said “He’s not even important, just ignore him. I don’t know why you even reply.”

He is right. As always. This man, a man who hasn’t been in my life for 13 years, his opinion actually didn’t matter. Pretty sad to think that after so long he still sees satisfaction in trying to bring me down. Why anyone would take pleasure in tearing someone down is something I will never understand, especially when its very clear that they are already struggling. But last week, I was doing more damage to myself than you ever could, so nice try.

But I am worth more than some random mans opinion.

My kids are proud of me, my family and friends are proud of me. It took his comments to make me sort myself out.

My blogs have been read over 11,000 times worldwide.

Not that I have to justify myself to anyone. Especially a sad lonely man with anger issues.

I don’t seek validity in others anymore, I make sure that I am true to myself. If you don’t like me, don’t talk to me. It’s simple. But I will never change based on someones opinion.

I am slowly learning to be honest with people too. We had a great day Saturday with a picnic to celebrate Ellis’ 13th birthday and his end of treatment. So many amazing people came to celebrate with us, it was very humbling.

I was asked by lots how I was and I answered honestly. Im not great, I am struggling, but I’m getting there.

What I have learnt this summer is that things take time. You can’t box feelings up in a neatly organised time frame. Feelings fluctuate, one day I feel on top of the world, the next I am googling self admission to mental homes because I feel like I am losing my shit.

We all paint this ideal picture in our heads about how life should be. When we meet someone new it’s always the same questions. Are you married? What job do you do? Do you drive? We suss each other out based on a made up scale of success that is rooted deeply in our society.

But when was the last time you asked someone if they are happy? Surely that’s a much more accurate scale of success?

To be happy in life is successful.

To be successful is not necessarily happy.

Think about it.

xxx

 

 

Osteosarcoma

Just sad.

Today is hard. I’m feeling so sad for no reason.

These last 9 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. One day I feel powerful and on top of the world and the next I feel like crying. Today is that day.

Nothing has happened, Ellis had his last two appointments yesterday at UCLH and all we are waiting on now is PICC line removal. It’s his birthday Thursday and we have a picnic celebration Saturday.

I don’t feel like celebrating.

I know that sounds silly. All I’ve done for the past 9 months is moan that I want it to be over, now it is I feel I don’t have to right to moan.

I feel like I should be having the best summer ever, making the most of our time off together but the truth is, most days I have lacked motivation to even get up.

I’m tired. Not the kind of tired where you can get an early night, the kind where your soul is tired.

I still haven’t cried yet. Not since the beginning. I desperately feel like I need to, but I can’t.

I feel like I’m stuck in limbo land where I just can’t feel anything.

I’ve been a shit mum this summer, I’ve not done much with the girls, not done much with Ellis on the days he’s been home. I see other families having days out, laughing, being silly. I want that. I don’t even have an excuse not to have that anymore.

I feel like I need to talk about the past 9 months, like really talk it through but to who? My counsellor is still not working due to COVID-19. Everyone else is so busy. I have the most amazing people around me, but I feel like a burden to them if I talk to them about it. Afterall, who would want to sit for hours listening to me going on? It probably wouldn’t make sense anyway. It will just be me talking about the really boring parts, the bits that never made it to the blogs. The everyday stuff. The stuff that I know I need to process in order to be ok.

I feel different. I feel like I have changed. I want more from life than to just get by. Life can change so so quickly. Would I be happy as I am if things changed again? Absolutely not.

I think about Christmas this year, that has always been my goal the whole way through. Last year I was so scared. I thought that he wouldn’t be here. I felt guilty for even thinking it, like somehow I was letting him down. I know that sounds silly.

I have put so much pressure on this summer and Christmas being perfect that it’s made it so much harder.

Nothing is ever perfect. Not the Facebook filtered lives you see, not the Instagram perfect pictures of how life should be. Life is fucking hard.

So why do I continue to raise the bar and push myself into making a ‘perfect’ life. That’s not me.

I just want a break. I want to empty my mind of hospitals, tests, children hen pecking me 24/7 that they are hungry or she looked at her the wrong way.

I want to feel like me again.

Not a hospital mum, not a super woman who has to do everything, just me.

I want to laugh so much that my belly hurts.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

This is such a moany blog, but when I feel I need to write, I write. No filters, no editing. Just writing.

I don’t even have a witty ending for this one. This is just it.

Xxx

anxiety · Cancer · confidence · Coronavirus · Covid-19 · Family · Lockdown · Mental health · nhs · nurse · Osteosarcoma · wellbing

My time to give something back.

So this week I have been a bit quiet in the world of social media. I’m still alive, I’m not in an alcohol induced coma, don’t worry. I’ve been a real life grown up this week.

I have been concentrating and working hard on something that means a lot to me.

When Ellis was discharged from intensive care at Great Ormond Street and back to our local hospital, we were picked up by two lovely men from St John Ambulance, because Covid-19 meant that the NHS has been stretched to its limit. The two men were amazing. They put us both at ease, one was even commenting on how cool Ellis’ scar is and making him laugh. They were genuinely nice people.

These men were volunteers. They did what they did because they wanted to. That blew me away.

In a worldwide pandemic, where most peoples first thought is to run and hide, these men had voluntarily put themselves on the front line.

Amazing.

It made me think about how unique my situation was. I had been in hospitals during the whole pandemic, I know the ins and outs of the hospitals Covid-19 procedures and I’ve lived and breathed a Covid-19 positive environment.

Just like Cancer, Covid-19 doesn’t scare me.

I could help.

With that along with my vastly growing skill set of mental health nursing and counselling I genuinely think it would be something I could use to give back.

So last month I signed up to enquire about volunteering for them.

And today, after a month of interviews, inductions and training courses I’ve done it. I have qualified as a SJA First Aider ❤️

Without Covid-19 I would be getting ready to go to events to provide first aid with an amazing team, but they have all stopped. SJA volunteers are being called on in hospitals, care homes, blood donation facilities…. anywhere help is needed. This is where I will be going.

I have had the most surreal time getting to this point. I have made some amazing new friends who have kept me sane during some surreal moments 😂 and reassured me on days like today where I have been terrified of failing.

I have ordered my uniform, ready for me to get stuck in.

2020 hasn’t all been shit.

It’s been the year where I lost everything, but gained so much more.

A year where possibly, I might have got a bit carried away with filling up my spare time…. working full time, completing my counselling course and now being a SJA First Aider.

But hey, it wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t a tad bit excessive and out of the ordinary 😂

I’m happy. Happier than I’ve been in 9 long months. I’ve used the dark days and turned them into something amazing.

I am proud of myself and I’m not ashamed to say it.

Xxx