Mama

Being a Mum with Cancer is not easy. Imagine being the Mum of a Mum with Cancer.

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Everything I hide from my kids. All the tears and fears. The Darkness. She gets it full throttle. As quickly as this happened to me it happened to her.

For a little while I felt guilty for putting her through this, I wanted to stop her hurting.

Something changed in me.

Why I am feeling guilt? I’ve done nothing wrong.

Wasted emotion.

So instead of letting this displaced guilt consume me I started talking to her. Open and honest sometimes really raw feelings.

What I saw was her strength grow.

Her Power grow.

All the while I felt guilty and didn’t want to burden her I was depriving her rights as my Mother. Denying her right to pick up pieces. In trying to protect my Mum I wasn’t allowing her to be my Mum.

Im grateful I learned this early on.

If you are reading this and you are carrying the guilt PLEASE speak out to the people who love you.

In the Words of Aquababie ‘let your momma love on you’

 

not a fashion blogger.

I have never strived to be fashionable, I hold comfort above style always.

Losing my hair was an eye opener into the fashion world, the Instagram fashion world at least.

I loved seeing dresses paired with trainers.

Finally I didn’t feel like Lilly Allen in her early days.

I got brave being bald.

I wore things I never had the courage to before.

With a history of feeling like I never quite got it right and feeling inadequate on nights out I finally found my confidence.

Surprisingly it wasn’t in my clothes.

It was with my smile.

I had so much going on in my life with treatment and baldness I was just happy to be dressed and out.

It truly doesn’t matter what you wear if you are not confident.

You could be head to toe latest Topshop full glam and blow dry and still not look as good as the confident women wearing old jeans and minimal make up.

Saying that I do own garments that enhance my confidence.

I feel that is the key.

Your confidence has to start within.

Self love and self care.

Once you’ve nailed that you can throw a kick arse outfit on without even thinking.

I don’t believe in having one style either.

Different moods call for different colours and textures.

Inspire

Watching Sunday Brunch the other week I watch an interview and preformance with a singer Chris of Christine and the Queens.

I think its important to let you know when I was younger I would get obsessed with a piece of music or song. I hear something and it makes me hungry. Drunk hungry. When your drunkness and hunger are about the same level. You don’t eat it or devour it you inhale it. Thats me and music.

I don’t listen to radio or watch music tv. I don’t know kiki or if she ever did love me.

Not because I’m so alternative. But i do know what I like. I have an album for every mood. Tried and tested. I’ve even evolved with songs. Like a relationship. Sinnerman by Nina Simone has meant so many things throughout my life but I think I finally get it.

As an avid watcher of Tim and Simon they actually have some random but interesting stuff.

So back to Chris. French born but fluent in English explained their writing process and how a song written in French can translate to a completely different mood. I was blown away with their sense of humour and complete grasp of two languages and the artistry that comes with both.

I haven’t inhaled someones music like that for a long time.

Learning from someones words and ideas isn’t that same as following someone. A teacher and a leader are not the same thing. Wanting to expand what is already there in conversation, to add to the conversation. We all bring so many qualities, unique to our own experiences but some people are so closed they blindly follow. Desperate to belong.

You’re saying be your self but you’re wearing a uniform.

Just fucking love yourself.

In my head…

I start blog posts all the time (in my head), I think oooooh I should write that down but sadly I am too bloody lazy!

I think of a million things that I could do before I sit down with the laptop. I am a realist so this isn’t a promise to write more just an acknowledgement that I should.

But right now Im here typing so lets see where we go.

Im sitting in bed with Effy (who by the way is moaning because she wants to play a game on my phone but doesn’t get how to play it so she makes me do it then moans even more because I am touching my own phone, vicious cycle) I have the fan on full even tho it isn’t warm and Im freezing but the moment I turn it off I set on fire, like every inch of my skin is burning. This is menopause on steroids as every medication I have to take has Hot flushes (ridiculous name, I prefer burning flesh of doom) as its side effect. But I tell myself its a small price to pay.

My only problem is all these little prices I am paying really are starting to add up. Like a trip to Primark, you see something and its £2 and your like omg £2 so you pick something else up, why wouldn’t you! It’s £2!! You get to till all proud of your self for being such a bargain hunter and you can’t wait to show your next doors neighbours cousins bestfriend the hilarious t-shirt you got her because it was £2 but then the harsh reality hits when the cashier says that’ll be £112 please. FUCK!

That is pretty much my life. I get slapped with £112 on the daily. Sometimes more then once. But I’m alive.

Did you know there was difference in being alive and being alive? That is not a typo. Being alive BC (before cancer not christ) being alive was awesome, life was an unwritten book. You live like everyday could be your last because you could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I am a big fan of that bus. I wish I could live like that bus might hit me. Not in a suicidal way. Metaphorically speaking. Its a good way to live. Like I said big fan of the bus.

Being alive after BC and being stage 4 (not curable) my bloody book has its ending and it doesn’t involve a fucking bus! It involves years (hopefully) of toxic poisons keeping the cancer from spreading anymore. My book is a black comedy of pain fear and more pain.

So you see all the while a metaphorical bus could make you meet your maker your ending isn’t written you are free to be a little reckless because you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Imagine the irony is a fucking bus kills me and not cancer!

 

My Wedding…

Kev and I were already engaged. He proposed Christmas eve 2012 but we never set a date. It was always something I wanted to do but never made it a priority. I did know how I wanted to do it. I wanted a church wedding with the reception in my Mum and Dads garden. I didn’t want a sit down meal just a really good buffet with a cheese and pineapple hedgehog and sea food galore. My Mum always called it the Darling Buds of May wedding as hay bails and mismatch tables chairs and glasses are my thing. I am not sleek chic or sophisticated in my taste. I like colour and clashing and wildflowers. But it was a pipe dream, something I thought we might get around to doing when Effy was older.

It wasn’t un till I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer did I realise just how much I wanted to marry Kevin.

One drunk night it was discussed with friends and the wedding planning started. When your in survival mode there is no waiting. I couldn’t save and plan and do it when I was better as I didn’t know if I would get better. My cancer had spread to my lymph nodes already and I knew in my heart I had to get married now. It soon became apparent that the wedding I wanted was not the wedding I would be getting. I was ok with that.

I brought my dress from ASOS in the sale for £57 and I felt beautiful when I tried it on. Even bald and puffy I felt special. I tried it on several times a day and just swished and swooshed in the mirror.

Everything after that just fell into place. I contacted the Artisan Dried flower company and asked them if they could rush through a wild flower crown and I found some shoes I liked in Monsoon. My something borrowed was Mia’s bridesmaid dress. I got the most beautiful little dresses in Matalan that colour matched mine for Kevs little sisters and a pale pink one for Effy. Kev weirdly wanted to wear tweed but I ordered him the most amazing hot pink suit from Topman. Bertie already had his suit he just needed an occasion to wear it.

Being so ill in treatment left no time for procrastinating or indecisiveness. I also have the most incredible friend, Hayley Baker. She has helped me endlessly. Who has not stopped helping me in every way and on every level. She also commissioned the Florist from her own wedding, Red Lipstick Flowers to create my bouquet.

I wanted to incorporate my sister and Kevs Nan in a subtle way so the button holes were flowers dedicated to them. The men in my family wore my sisters rose and the men in his wore his Nans.

I think we pulled it off…

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Our Venue was Sutton Registry Office which limited us to 40 guests. The ladies there were so lovely and helpful. The Cancer Card can be handy sometimes. Due to my Chemo regime I never knew how I would feel so I was worried about planning and inviting more guests to an evening reception incase I had to go home. So I kept the wedding secret. I invited my some of my closest friends and family and made a conscious decision to let go of any guilt I felt for not having all the people I wanted there. We managed to convince the owner of our favourite restaurant to open for us and do a 3 course meal for our guests. With the help of my amazing friends Hayley Lauren and Danielle we transformed the restaurant with white Roses, Gypsophila the centre piece of dreams and borrowed wedding decorations! I even hung a canvas of me and Kev at a party in that same restaurant. It was so special and personal.

My Mum has always said ‘What is meant for you won’t pass you by’ and it has proven itself true over and over. I received a message from friend who is a make up artist saying that she would love to give me a little makeover she knew what I was going through and just wanted to make me smile. I replied with I’m having a secret wedding fancy doing my make up! Olivia Caley came on the morning of my wedding and made Mia and myself beautiful! My other make up artist friend Hannah did my Mums which was so important as my Mum shaved her head when I lost my hair so I wanted her to feel confident and beautiful.

My wedding was everything I didn’t know I wanted. Every part of it was filled with love and friendship and trust. Everything a good marriage should be. I was blessed and gifted and made to feel so complete when actually my life was crashing down around me. My reality was dark and painful but for one day with the help of my Husband and my family and my incredible friends it was bright light and comfort.

There is one other person who I could never thank enough, who I am in complete awe of. Katie Gingernut with a Camera. She captured the heart and the essence of the day.  I will never get bored of my wedding photos. It wasn’t a traditional wedding, we didn’t have a cake or a first dance. We didn’t have the grounds of a country estate or those big light up letters to take pictures by. But when you have someone so pure hearted and so talented take the time and care to capture every moment nothing else matters.

My wedding was planned in 4 weeks and was the best day of my life.

 

 

 

Who am I?

It’s been less then a year since this shit show started. In less then a year I’ve had to deal with my diagnosis, endure a pretty horrific chemo routine then I got burnt to a crisp in radiotherapy and before I could take a breath I was in a 9 and half hour operation which nearly finished me off as my body went septic. I live in pain which is how we found out it got to my bones.

I was always a cup half full kinda gal. I’m trying so hard to be like that again. I find myself constantly saying I’ve got the best of a bad situation and I’ve got this. What does that even mean? I have a got the bad of a bad situation. I play down my surgery scars to make it sound positive. Who wouldn’t want their Gunt removed and smaller pert boobs?? It’s the surgery of dreams right?  Who am I trying to protect? Myself? I’m not sure.

I’m not strong or brave I’m not even fighting. You cant fight something you cant win. I turn up for appointment I detach myself from reality to hide the fact I’m petrified. Blood tests, cannulas, injections, bad news it doesn’t stop. It will never stop.

I feel like I’m existing not living. I have responsibilities as a Mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I have to go on like nothing has changed.

I don’t know who I am. I have a different body a different face/hair a different mind. Why is no one trying to get to know the new me? Maybe they will if I stop pretending to be the old me.

 

 

Surgery and Cocktails…

Knowing that the bastard cancer got into my bones is so frustrating. I am thankful it’s not active. It has left scarring on my bones which cause a lot of pain but I’ll be fucked if I’m giving into it.

My surgery has been completed I have the boobs of a 24 year old. I am thankful for that.

I have always seen life as gift so it hasn’t changed my outlook. It has however made me even more thankful.

I am thankful for every morning.

If I have to share my life with cancer and it’s bastard treatments then I will share it with making the best memories and taking advantage of the best situations.

Every time I am knocked down when I get up again I’ll have a cocktail in hand and a smile on my face.

You don’t have to win to enjoy playing.

Irrational fear

I’ve been scared of spiders for as long as I remember. They freak me out and make my whole body recoil.

I’ve been scared of cannulas for just under a year. My veins were effected from my very first chemo. My first failed cannula felt like a failure. It was such a small thing but it was the first time my body had let me down. It was a small thing but what it symbolised was big.

The Hospital is like a time machine for me. Certain rooms, smells or faces take me instantly back to a time I’d rather forget. As I type this the ECG room is to my left, when I saw it I winced. The last time I had to go in there I was burnt from Radiotherapy. Not sunburnt, open weeping deep burnt skin the Nurse had to stick the probes on to. I haven’t thought of that day un till now. When ever I’ve need an ultra sound, if I get the room I had when they first told me I had cancer I get a wave of sadness, I can see myself crying and I can feel everything all over again.

It’s not all bad though. The Outpatients waiting room (where I’m sitting now because they have the most comfortable chairs) is my most peaceful place. When ever I’m here to see a Doctor its always good news so I don’t dread it, every outpatients appointment I leave smiling.

Always find your Outpatients waiting room.

 

I’m not a rubber ball…

Who decided that we should bounce back to what we were before? If that was natural order we would have never evolved.

It is really sad mourning who you were. Some do it better then others. Lets not forget misery likes company after all and a sad version of you is more comfortable then a new you. Allowing myself to feel excitement not fear is a big thing for me. I have always been a glass half full person, I never worried about things before they happened. All I do now is worry about things, ALL the things! It is totally new to me and its exhausting. I would love to bounce back to my former self but I can’t so I have to move forward.

You can’t live with the dead and I feel that part of me died the moment I was diagnosed. What I didn’t see that in the darkness a new me was reborn, like any newly birthed thing its weak and vulnerable. It needs feeding, loving, teaching and protecting so it can grow.

That is how I see myself. As delicate as a newborn. Growing by the day, getting stronger and stronger. I may not be who I was but I am excited to see who I become.

 

Who knew?

Who knew I was suffering? I didn’t.

I was just doing what everyone else seems to be doing. Their best.

What I didn’t know is not everyone feels how I feel. Now looking back I feel a bit silly about that. I have let myself down. If what I was feeling was a physical, or could be seen I would have been straight to the doctors, like I did when I had cancer. But I didn’t. Instead I have struggled and battled and for the life of me I do not know why.

Mental Health is a labyrinth. There is no blue print or map. No rhyme nor reason. A scary mass of fear and confusion. Unimaginable pain and paranoia. Self loathing masquerading as self confidence. A big fat smile and the need to fix people. Looking selfless making it even harder to be selfish, to take the time to look after yourself. Its a trap, every way you go.

Not everyone is the same, we have different levels. I have never felt that the world would be better with out me. It breaks my heart that anyone could believe that of themselves. What I have realised is that loving yourself is not arrogant. Demanding the best for yourself isn’t being spoilt. That there are no prizes for putting everyone first. For me to get better, I need to love myself.