Tag Archives: cancer

My Week

My Week

So this week has been mostly occupied with work and seeing my Dad. He was admitted this week due to dehydration and side effects of the chemotherapy. He had started some palliative chemo to give him some extra time, but has spent the last two weeks in quite a bad way. This wasn’t made better by being admitted to hospital. Short staffed, lack of information and not getting his meds in time hasn’t been great. He’s still in hospital, and next week will decide where he goes from here in terms of treatment.

It’s been very tiring driving to and from their home and the hospital over the past week. Last weekend was lovely, my grandad and other family came to visit my Mum and Dad and we all went to Lyme Regis for chips. It was a really warm day, and the beach was packed. It wasn’t the best day to be there, but it was another memory to store away. I prefer Lyme Regis in the autumn or winter, a little desolate, empty and enough space to breathe.  There’s something about being by the beach, the sea and the smells and sounds of the waves that is really peaceful to me.

Nancy has been so good this week. We have had a few nightmare weeks recently what with chicken pox and potty training as well as a cough and cold to contend with. Chicken Pox was awful, she did cope well but a whole week of being stuck in the house nearly did us in. We were being woken up several times a night, held to ransom with shouts and demands of milk, and a real preference for mummy which was very difficult., as I wasn’t feeling so great myself.

She is more or less potty trained now. It has taken a long time for her to get used to wearing pants but she will wear them now, and accidents are getting few and far between. I am so proud of her, she has coped with this very well. She has also moved up to the bigger group at nursery now, which she was a little hesitant to go to at first, but now she loves it and is really coming on leaps and bounds now.

I’ve changed jobs at work, which was a much needed change and this has made my working life a little easier, and also more interesting as I am getting my head around new ways of working. My new job foccuses on supporting people with a learning disability who have behaviours that challenge. It’s really interesting so far. It has been a good distraction for me recently what with everything else going on.

My sister has now moved out of my house, after living with me for a year. It has been a year of highs and lows, mainly highs though. It wasn”t as bad as I thought it could be, and I know that we will miss her, but she is moving into a lovely house with her boyfriend. They are expecting a baby in January, so she really needed to leave my house. I can’t say I wasn’t panicking for a moment there that she’d be giving birth in my house, but now she’s gone and a new chapter in her life begins. She’s only 7 mins away from me by car so I am sure I will be seeing her often…..

I am trying to scehdule my time better, to make time for all the things I want to do, such as blog, read my books, have baths, watch TV shows, and some fitness too. I am looking at what free time I have, and am going to be more productive with it. Since starting Thinking Slimmer I am being more efficient in getting jobs done, and now I want to focus on getting some ‘me’ time slotted in. I read an article that successful entrepenuers timetable everything in their life, to make sure it gets done, so I am hoping to do a similar approach. I will let you know if I ever manage to do it!

I haven’t been eating as well this week, which I am a little disappointed about. It’s been hard as I’ve been driving up and down, and as a consequence I have felt very tired and not very creative food wise. I am still making better choices than I did before, but I have been aiming to eat as ‘clean’ as I can, and this week I feel a little sluggish as I have let that slip a bit. The best thing about the slimpod approach is that I don’t feel bad or guilty about this, I accept that this week has been hard and I have done what I can – I have written about my slimpod experience and I have lost 6lbs in a month which I am so happy about. It just makes me realise what foods are good for me, and make me feel better. I am trying my best to get organised this week so that I don’t fall into any old habits. I still haven’t eaten any chocolate or sweets, which I am very pleased with. Snacking has stopped altogether.

Anyway, this is my week. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it!

Emily x

I don’t want to stop living because my dad is dying

When I was at work the other day, I was talking about starting to go to the gym. Someone remarked that perhaps I shouldn’t be doing that right now, because, well, you know.
What they meant by you know, was that my dad is dying. And who wants to go the gym when your dad is dying? 

Well, I do, actually. 

Everyday I wake up, and everyday is another day when I know my Dad is not well. He has cancer, stage 4, the worst it can be. Nothing can be done to cure him. It is awful, and the thought of him not being here makes me feel very sad indeed. 

I’ve cried, we’ve all cried. I cried the day they told me, I’ve cried on the way to work. I think of a memory of me and my dad and tears well up in my eyes. I watch Nancy with him, laughing and smiling and cuddling her Grampy, and I feel so sad that he will not see her grow up.

But you know what? I am tired of crying. I am tired of grieving for someone who is still here. I want to live my life, the way my Dad is so proud of me doing. I want to do the things I want to do, enjoy my time, make nice memories for all of us. For him. 

I keep thinking how awful it must be for my Dad. He has to face up to his mortality, a fear we all hold, surrounded by people who are crying for him as if he is already gone. He is being strong, as usual, holding everyone together when inside he must be falling apart. 

I want to make this a happy time. I want to make this time full of smiles, and laughter, and happiness. Not just for my Dad. For me. Should I be feeling worse than I am? Is it wrong to want to go to the gym? To go on holiday? No, I don’t think so.

Maybe this is a selfish thing to say, to write. But I can’t help feeling that it is wrong to be so maudlin and so miserable when this is the only time we have left with my Dad. 

Life should go on, life is what we are here to do. And most of all, I realise that life is precious. Life is so precious and we all take it for granted. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I keep thinking of the tragedy in Tunisia, which happened days after my Dads diagnosis. Here we are, crying over my dad and yet there are 30 people whose lives were taken suddenly and cruelly, no warning at all. No one knows when they will die, just my Dad has been given the heads up. He can say goodbyes, tick things off a list, enjoy the time he has left.

Which is what we should all do really, isn’t it? Enjoy the time we have. I am a great believer in mindfulness, and living in the moment. Our time is now, we won’t get these moments ever again. Let’s make these moments count. 

It is easy to look at everything and start to feel sadness. To look at the calendar and wonder which day it will be. I won’t let myself be held to ransom by Death.

I have reduced my hours at work, temporarily at least, to make the most of this time. Spend time with my family, to take time for myself. I think of my Dad, and I want to make every time I see him a good one. I also look at Nancy too. I want to make sure we have lots of memories and good times to share as well. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I will cry. When it will all get too much. But I need to balance this with some positives. I have to at least try to do this. I can’t feel like a dark shadow of doom hangs over me every day. I can’t pause my life, leave my life in limbo, waiting for the day when ‘it’ happens. And I don’t think that’s fair on my Dad either. Keeping some level of normality must help him somewhat to feel like life goes on too. 

It’s ironic however that the normal you crave, that my Dad and we all want has gone forever. It was gone before we even realised we had lost it. We can’t go back, but we can move forward, and move forward together, smiling not crying. This is an awful situation, but I want to make the best of it, for all our sakes. 

Fish Fingers and Facetime Heartbreak

They told us in the most technologically advanced way they could, via Facetime. I was actually impressed. This was the only time my Mum has managed to Facetime us herself straight off.

I wonder if anyone else has used their ipads in this way. However it was the only way they could see us, virtually better than nothing at all.

As I saw their faces nervously stare back at the screen and I knew it wasn’t good.

As a nurse, I am used to bad news. I hear it, I say it. I am hardened to the cold, grey words.

But when it is personal, when it is your family, the colour and the pain sear into your heart.

Memories and thoughts flash through my mind. Some good, some bad.

I feel a sadness descend over me.

And then I have to snap out of it, and cook fish fingers and chips for my little girl, who keeps asking me what is wrong.

I sit with her and watch YouTube videos of cartoon Monkeys falling off a bed.They fall off, they get up, and they do it all over again.

She must know something is up as she has eaten all her fish finger without prompting, and I silently make a note to use this information at a later date.

I desperately want to forget about all of this. But I can’t, and it’s real.

I feel the sadness grow and spread just like the cancer that has invaded my family.

 

 

 

A Cuppa in Costas: A Magic Moment

A Cuppa in Costas: A Magic Moment

Sitting in the Costa Coffee in the hospital, we must have looked a right spectacle: 8 people, sat all around 3 tables, loud as ever, chattering, ordering teas, coffees, hot chocolates, cakes. This was what it was always like when I was around my family. My Nan, sat in the middle, taking it all in, the Matriarch, her family around her, protecting her, looking after her.

My Nan had been diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, with brain metastases, a few weeks before. We had originally thought it was a stroke, and I rushed down that day in a panic. Would I never hear her warm welsh voice again? Would she need to be in a care home? I was devastated but I never thought that things could be even worse.

When it became clear it wasn’t a stroke, and she was still confused, disorientated, couldn’t finish sentences, hold a fork or recognise people, I knew something was seriously wrong. As a liaison nurse in a hospital, I had seen some of these symptoms before. I was heartbroken already, because before anyone had told me, I knew she had cancer, and when they told me she had a shadow on her lung, I knew it could only be one thing: Lung Cancer. And it was.

I suddenly felt so guilty; it was March, and I hadn’t been down to visit her since Christmas. Me and my Nan were very close, in fact she was close to all her grandchildren, and she had a special relationship with every one of them. When I first qualified as a Nurse, I lived with her and my Grandad, and when I look back now, it was the happiest time of my life. I ate like a King (My Nan always fed me up), and I enjoyed their company. My Nan was a fun, happy, funny person and not a moany complaining old lady. She loved life, and she loved nothing better than to watch films with me of an evening. She introduced me to some of my favourite films in this time: Dead Calm, Frantic, A Town Called Alice, Ice Cold in Alex, What Lies Beneath, What’s Love Got to Do With It, Mummy Dearest, Hostel, Teeth (yes she loved a horror) – I could go on. We also indulged in a weekly wednesday night of watching Most Haunted Live whilst eating mint Magnums. I loved living with them both, and when I left to live in Bristol with Dan, I cried all the way down the M4.

So, a few weeks after the diagnosis, we were sat in Costa Coffee, and we were all together, and I was sat next to my Nan who was enjoying a hot chocolate. Steroids had temporarily reduced the swelling on her brain, and she was her old self again. She was wearing a pink nightie and the fluffiest dressing gown you could imagine. She was looking at me, and I looked up and said ‘Alright Nan?’ and she turned to me and said ‘You are like a daughter, to me’. I could have cried there and then. I think what she meant was, we were close, and I am sure she thought the same for her other grandaughters too. But in that moment, in that instant, I felt she was saying something to me, before it was too late, in her own, special way. I hugged her in that fluffy dressing gown, and we got on with eating the cake.

That was a magic moment for me. My Nan still looked like my Nan; she had her hair, she looked herself, she could talk, she could be normal for a while. 7 weeks later, my Nan passed away, and I was there with her that day, but she chose to leave just at the moment myself, my aunty, and my cousin left the room for a few minutes. She never did like to make a fuss. I wrote a poem about this, here.

I just wanted to write about this today, as I was thinking about my Nan, and that day in Costas, and how much it meant to me, for her to say that to me, right then.

I write a lot about my Nan, mainly poems, and I am sorry if I go on about her, but she was a big influence in my life, and I was devastated when she died. I still am, two years later.

I am joining up with The Oliver’s Madhouse Magic Moments.