Monday, April 15, 2013


We have anniversaries for so many things. The occasion of meeting someone, weddings, births, that trip you took. Some of them pass without much fanfare while others stick in your mind.

I was thinking about dates and didn't even realise that this week 5 years ago was when we conceived Charlotte. Well technically she was conceived months earlier and then put in the freezer, but this was the week that she was frozen, then transferred.

Co-incidentally, this week a year ago was when I went downhill, and was admitted to hospital. This is the anniversary of when things became really hard. It started over the course of a few days, although looking back now, I had been getting sicker for a few weeks before hand. Reading back over old blog posts, I wrote on the 3rd April how hard things were and how fatigued I was. Things got worse after that with increasing nausea and fatigue. In hindsight, we were very silly. If anyone else said "I have these worsening symptoms and a brain tumour" they would have hightailed it to hospital. Instead, I kept telling myself it would get better.

It started on a Saturday when I woke up and I had vertigo. I also had the nystagmus then but I didn't realise what it was. Stupidly, I still kept trying to do normal things. I remember that we went to the shops and had lunch. But the kids played up, and I was just about in tears by the time we got home. The next day was slightly better so I think I thought it would all go away. By the Monday I knew I wasn't coping. I spent most of the day in bed. James and I had a vicious argument when I just lost the plot as I felt so sick. We had a visitor for a short visit who I don't think had any idea how serious it all was, although one look at a worried, stressed James should have given them an idea. That night I went to an acupuncturist; I was desperate. It didn't make any difference to the dizziness, nausea and vertigo but might have been relaxing. I drove there which given I was seeing double was really very stupid, but that was the last time I drove for nearly 3 months. Tuesday was a blur of vomiting and lying down - I was just trying to get through the day until Wednesday when I had an appointment to see my specialist.

It was such a relief to go and see him, even if I did vomit the whole way there. The kids had swimming lessons that morning and I did think that we could still make it after seeing him; again we were in such denial. Even when he said he would admit me I still thought that I would go home after a day or two. How wrong was I.

Three weeks later I was home; fatigued, weak, still dizzy, and medicated to the eyeballs. Every day since then has been a battle to manage my tiredness, nausea, the kids, the meds, appointments, my recovery. I've had quite a few setbacks along the way. Blobby has taken a lot of things from me. I am so paranoid now about my health and the kids as well. I am scared to plan things because I don't know how I feel. I want to go back to work, but on a bad day that thought scares me.

But being sick has shown us how many special people we have in our lives, and for that we are grateful, and we appreciate every one who has helped us along the way.

I have my follow up MRI, bone scan, oncologist and neurologist appointments next week which is making me feel anxious. It doesn't help that I've been having a few bad days with worsening fatigue. I did have some tests done the other day which are mostly normal but made me feel anxious, although my GP has referred me to yet another specialist for follow up. I hope the MRI shows no growth again, and if that is the case I hope I can start to move forward with confidence. Blobby has beaten me up, but I'm still here so he hasn't won yet.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All kinds of awesome

 I am struggling a little at the moment with motherhood. I am tired. And being tired, and being a parent, are really incompatible. Well, being an energetic, engaged, understanding, creative Mum that is. I get very disappointed that I'm not the sort of Mum I want to be. But then who is? What if the mums I see out and about, with clean, happy, children are just faking? What if the pictures I see on other blogs and facebook groups are only the things that others want me to see? Of course we are all going to paint a happy face, but what if that is at the cost of thinking "I am alone; I am not doing this right" when really, we are all doing the same thing? Just trying to get through the day without resorting to alcohol and rocking in the corner.

So today I had an AWESOME day. Filled with all kinds of, well, awesome.

I started the day with a sleep in. Angus didn't wake until 6.38 am. Awesome! (he usually wakes at 6.18am. Give or take).

Once the kids were up and breakfasted, Charlotte decided that she wanted to do some painting. With my awesome parenting skills, I ensured that the mat was on the floor, and smocks were on. We had a great time painting bits of cardboard (Charlotte told me that they were for a dog house, who am I to argue). She then proceeded to mix up most of the paint. But I saw that it was a cool swirly pattern, so I quickly dipped some paper in and made some truly awesome pictures that we can then use to decorate cards with. The kids were happy. How awesome was I!

Swirly painted paper that looks really awesome

I cleaned up hands and faces, and hair, and was feeling pretty happy with myself. Probably should have checked their feet too before they walked all over the house.

Can you see the paint, that was oozing between the toes?
I then went and put the washing on, because I am such an awesome Mum and am completely on top of the cleaning. The kids were playing happily upstairs. So it was nice to walk into my room to see this: a dinosaur, barbie massacre.

Then I decided to make some fresh bread rolls for lunch. How awesome is that! The kids "helped". They truly did turn out awesome.
Fresh, homemade wholemeal rolls. Yummo
I may have made a bit of a mess. It may still be there, waiting for someone else to clean it up.

We went off to the shops to get things for dinner. I made a point to wash Angus' face before we went. I probably should have washed the paint of my legs too, but I was trying to show how awesome I was to everyone.  Perhaps I should have brushed my hair too.

Isn't she just delightful
To top off our day, we went for a play at the local park. After a few minutes, Charlotte decides that she needs to go to the toilet. Right there. Awesome. On the plus side, I did shower them both when we came home, so both children are clean and showered before dinner. Awesome. And I can feel happy that the floor is clean, in parts (mainly the part where Charlotte had yet another wee accident, Angus spilt his milo, and where the paint was. But if they keep this up the whole thing will be clean eventually). The washing is still drying so I don't have to feel guilty about not putting it away (it was a rainy day today).
Angus saying: "Mum, stop taking my picture and help me!"
While I write this, I can hear the kids happily playing together. It goes like this:
Charlotte: "Angus, don't hit me. Angy do you want to jump on me? Angus let's climb on the coffee table!"

So really today was all kinds of awesome. It just depends which way you look at it. I hope your day was awesome too.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recognising how far I've come.

Once again, the last few weeks have been filled with ups and downs. But I have been able to recognise how far I've come.

We really have been very busy. Nearly two weeks ago, Angus turned 2! I can't believe my little baby is growing up. We had a busy few days with Mum and Dad arriving. We had a little morning tea with family on the weekend so there was lots of baking (as well as some cupcakes for his actual birthday which he spent at daycare). It was a lovely weekend. Then on the Monday I had a job interview. I was surprised that I got an interview after applying for the role, since it was a little out of my previous experience. I know everyone finds job interviews stressful, but I don't think that I did quite enough (especially since I haven't heard anything, which I'm assuming means I haven't got the role). 
The fish cake

Angus enjoying some cake
 Tuesday we had a HUGE day. I took the kids off to see the Queensland Symphony Orchestra's kiddies concert. We drove into Southbank and made it to the venue. Charlotte loved it - there was a ballerina, and violins, and tuba's. They do a good show. Angus unfortunately, cried pretty much the whole way through although he did stop to clap. Afterwards we went to the lagoon and had a play in the water, followed by lunch. It was a lovely day. We all had a little lie down when we got home, which is when I realised Charlotte was running a temp. Overnight she got worse (38.9 at one point) so the next morning we had to take her off to the doctor.

With one dose of antibiotics she was already on the mend. So that afternoon on a whim (well not really, it is something we have talked about for ages), we went and adopted a new kitten! Her name is Abby, and she is adorable. Charlotte LOVES her. Possibly a little too much. The poor thing has been put in the dolls cradle, the shopping trolley, the sleeping bag, the dolls house, and carried around like she is a toy.

A very happy Charlotte and Abby the kitten

Also on Wed. I made the decision to lower the dex. I'd been feeling so good, and with the easter long weekend coming up I knew I had a few days with James around to try and wean. Thursday afternoon the withdrawals started to hit me. The fatigue became a lot worse. Friday we had a quiet day (although I did make hot cross buns); Saturday I managed a trip to the shops in the morning but that was it. James took the kids off to Bunnings in the afternoon to give me a break. I was really struggling. Sunday was even worse. I spent half the day in bed with an upset tummy. It wasn't quite how I wanted to spend easter. However by evening I was feeling better.

Monday things were improving and we had yet another big day out to GOMA and the Qld Museum. Today I am feeling a lot better. I am still tired, but I think I am over the worst of the withdrawals. I am a bit dizzier than I would like although I have only had to take the occasional anti-nausea tablet.

Even a few months ago, there is no way that I could have managed half of what the last week held. I was too scared to do something like take the kids out alone in case I couldn't cope. Yet I managed and we had a great day. A few months ago I wouldn't have even thought about applying for a job, let alone go to an actual interview. And even though last weekend was really (really) rough, I bounced back quicker than I have before and I'm hopeful that I'll start feeling energetic again. Even at the gym I have to realise how much I can now do. Last week I leg pressed 110kg. Just under a year ago, I couldn't walk.

I am feeling a little emotional at the moment. The anniversary of my hospitalisation is approaching, and it is playing on my mind. But this milestone just serves to highlight what I've been through, and how far I've come.