Saturday, March 16, 2013

Where is your village?

"It takes a village to raise a child" is a much often quoted African proverb. You can imagine how this proverb came to be. The women of a village there for a child's birth, to help the mother through those early days, to look after toddlers while others cooked and cleaned, and to guide each other's children through life.

In our society, we no longer have villages. The rise of suburbia can mean an endless line of houses with shutters drawn, people not knowing who their neighbours are. Families become separated and spread out. Mothers, sisters, aunts, no longer live side-by-side, but many hundreds or thousands of kilometres away. Motherhood is isolating, particularly when your village has been divided.

However today, unlike in any other time, we have the benefit of new villages being created every day, in places you wouldn't think.

For me, my villages exist not just in this suburb, but on-line. Through the joys of the internet I have found many groups where I can get support, share stories, get advice, have a cry and a laugh. I found some internet forums when I was pregnant with Charlotte for Mums all due at the same time. Over 4 years later, this group is still going strong through the wonder of facebook. Yes I know some people don't like it, but for me, it is an outlet, and a way to communicate with the world. I have also found other groups that have helped me navigate this tricky path of motherhood - one for IVF mums, one for brain tumour support, one for young people with cancer, and so on. Each of these groups helps me get through the tough days, as they know exactly what I am going through. 

Of course there are always risks talking to people on the internet. There have been some people come and go who I have questioned their mental state. Some people are just outright mean and nasty. Others a little too eccentric for my liking. Unfortunately some spats do occur; it is sometimes hard in a print media to tell if someone is joking or being sarcastic. I found that I use abbreviations more than I should. I like LOL a lot, even though I never LOL in real life. (I'm more of a sniggerer). And I quite like my winky, smiley face. ;) However I have also met some of these virtual friends, and they are just delightful. But I am proud to say that all of them are my friends. These friends have supported me through the tough times - one group bought me a gorgeous spa voucher when I was first diagnosed as a treat, another sent me flowers when I was in hospital and someone special sent something for the kids. I also would like to think that I am there for my friends too when they need it.

While it may not be traditional, these groups are now part of my village. For which I am eternally grateful.

Where is your village?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Better things to spend your money on

Last week, James and I went to the Home Show. The last time we went there was B.C (before children) and a lot has changed for us. Unfortunately, in that time, we have done very little to the house. I've blogged before about all the grand plans we had, and how we just never had the money.
However we finally feel that we are slowly getting back on top of things. Not only that, but I feel like we are entering a head space where we can actually think about doing things to the house. James and I both feel it is important to keep doing things and improving the house. Otherwise it will literally fall down around our ears.

With that in mind, we had a few things we were interested in looking at. Solar electricity was one of them. Thankfully there were several stalls there so we could see what deals were available. We approached one stall, and loitered a bit before the sales man approached us. What happened next left me quite gobsmacked.

We discussed what our needs were, and what they offered. The salesman was dismissive of us getting a higher kilowatt system. In fact, he was dismissive of us getting solar at all. He turned to me and said "there are probably better things you can spend your money on". We walked away from him quite amused. Perhaps he didn't think we were genuine buyers, however he didn't seem keen to sell to us at all. After thinking about his comment for a while, I actually then got a bit angry. Obviously this man didn't know us, or our story (nor should he really). But I'm not quite sure what he thought was a better thing to spend our money on. I'm sure he wouldn't think that spending $7k on cancer treatment was all that great a deal. Or $20k on conceiving children (especially when most of the population get to do that for free).

Ultimately his comment pushed us to actually sign up for solar (with another company). To us, being able to spend money on something that will improve the house, save us money, and be good for the environment etc is much more exciting thing than spending money on medical bills. And the radiation we bought last year has proved very ineffective at running any appliance. I did try to shoot laser beams out of my eyeballs, but alas it didn't work.

Of course we still have some grand plans for the house but that will involve a trip to the bank before we can do too much.

So with the salesman's comments ringing in my ears, I am reminded of that scene in Pretty Woman where she goes shopping and says "You work on commission right? Big mistake. Huge. I have to go shopping now!"

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Feeling hopeful

The last two weeks have been good. Not just good. They have been great. I feel nearly like my old self again. I haven't had to take any anti-nausea tablets for two weeks. I still feel dizzy but it isn't making me feel sick. I am tired, but not in a sick, fatigued type of way. More in a "I have two kids and I'm a Mum and that is tiring" way. I don't want to jinx myself, but I actually feel better than I have ever felt in the past two years.

I'm sure that the dex is playing a part. Which is hard, as I know I should try to get off it again but I really don't want to. My quality of life feels good right now so why change that? I am slowly coming to accept that I can't lose this weight while on it, but really that is a small price to pay for feeling like a normal person.

I'm feeling so good that I have made the big decision to return to work. I have already started to look for positions and will start applying next week. (I also had a kick up the bum to do this because of changes to our registration provisions and I simply don't see how I can stay registered without working).

In other exciting news, James and I have been talking about renovations we can do to the house and might go to the bank and talk about refinancing so that we can do this. We also have bought some solar panels to go on our roof which is very exciting. We finally feel that we are doing good things for the house that will make it a nicer place to live.

I can't begin to express how good it feels to not be obsessing every moment about how I'm feeling. When the nausea is constant, it is hard not to over analyse and become paranoid. But the last few weeks have just been filled with holidays, house things, playing with the kids, and enjoying life. I am hopeful that this lasts and begins the next chapter for us all.

Monday, March 4, 2013

One step forward, two steps back

Once again time is passing too quickly. We have been quite busy here doing lots of things. James went away for business, they started work on fixing our house, and we finally had a holiday.

I also dropped the dex altogether. But don't get too excited. It happened the same week as the anniversary of my radiation. Normally I like to mark milestones like this, but for some reason I just let this one go. I re-read my blog post from a year ago and I found it quite ironic that just like a year ago, I was sick. Yep I got a cold from the kids which turned into a nasty infection. Nevertheless, I tried to persevere with dropping the dex. I had some positive signs from stopping it - my appetite was decreasing, I could feel a lightness in my mood and my self. However, the nausea was getting worse. And the dizziness. I was having days where I was actually vomiting and needed to take 4 doses of my anti-nausea meds (when I have been managing with one).  I found too that I was forgetting words and really struggling with talking. Then my balance went and I started to fall over (walls are handy sometimes!). So I went back on the dex - up to 0.5mg. After a few days I started to feel better again. Then while we were away on holidays I had an allergic reaction to the sunscreen (this has happened a few times lately with other things; my GP doesn't seem to know why but I think it is related somehow) so I went up to 1mg again.

So two months later I am back to where we started. I am a little disappointed with this. Although last week, all week, was a good week. And the last few days feel like good days. Right now, I feel good if not very confused. Yes I need to be off the dex, but if it gives me a good quality of life then surely that outweighs the side effects?? I should drop it again but James has yet another trip coming up so I don't want to change anything until he gets back. I also need to go and get some tests done and arrange my next MRI but I am just a bit over all of that so I keep putting it off.

In the meantime, I am coming to accept that being good one day, and rotten the next, is just part of my life now. So while today is good I will enjoy it. I'd better go and do something productive then like putting washing away, or maybe have another cuppa.