Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ground to a complete halt

There are ways that your body lets you know that there is only so much you can take and enough is enough. My body decided to do just that in the last 10 days or so. I wasn't just tired, I started getting lots of strange symptoms that caused a dash to A&E twice in the space of a week, but didn't lead to anything concrete being diagnosed. After the first visit, I already suspected that stress might have something to do with it, and the second time I was there, the very sympathetic doctor confirmed that. She was lovely, listening to my story from the last few months and telling me that my body was showing classic signs of stress.
I took Thursday and Friday of last week off work, thinking I'd be ready on Monday again. On Saturday, I had quite a good day. On Sunday, I couldn't stop crying, didn't feel like doing any of the things I normally enjoy at the weekend, and had a major panic at the thought of having to go to work. On the advice of my wise dad I went back to the GP on Monday and got myself signed off for a week. I felt so relieved.
That's now three days ago and I'm slowly beginning to feel more like myself again. I'm taking it very easy, still doing things around the house, getting I. and N. off to school and cooking meals, but I'm also sleeping lots and doing things I enjoy rather than things I have to do. I'm still tired and I've noticed if I do too much in one day when I feel good, I pay for it the next day. But the thought of having to go to work next week doesn't frighten me anymore, which is a good sign.

I've definitely learnt something from this. My life is so busy and I put so much pressure on myself to get certain things done - work, the kids, the house, going to see B., keeping fit - that at the end of the day, there is very little if no time at all left to do exactly what I WANT to do, rather than what I feel I SHOULD do. And I'm not going to do that anymore. I am very good at wanting to do things for other people, wanting to make them happy, but in the process, I end up at the very bottom of the list of priorities. I think it's time I changed that and start to learn that it doesn't matter sometimes if I don't go out for a run or a swim, but that I will feel better if I make time to sit down with a book or my knitting.
It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop learning, do you.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have been meaning to post a little update for ages, but have been so terribly tired the last few weeks. Take today for example, I've been up since 7, it's now almost 11, apart from getting the kids to school and stripping all the beds, I've not done much, and I could sleep already.

Mum went back to the surgeon last Tuesday to get the results of the scan and biopsy on her thyroid. Once again, it was pretty good news: there is a growth in her thyroid but it's benign. She has an appointment with an 'internist' (specialist in internal organs, I don't think they exist in Britain) in May who's going to run some tests to see how her thyroid is functioning. If it's not functioning well, he may decide to operate to remove the growth, but as she has no symptoms relating to her thyroid, I expect that all they'll do is keep an eye on it. So, it looks like most of the hospital visits and the waiting are over and we're really out of the woods.

Last weekend I grabbed my chance and took I. over to Holland for 3 days. Back in November, I took N. on his own to see Sinterklaas, and I'd promised I. we'd go for a 'girly weekend' together. I'd postponed it several times, not wanting to take her with me to the hospital, as it's so big and you see so many seriously ill people - not a place for a young girl to be. She'd savedLink her pocket money and done lots of little jobs around the house for months and had managed to save over 50 pounds, which she was itching to spend! We had one quiet day with a bit of local shopping and a coffee at the Hema, then on Sunday, dad took us on the train to Amsterdam. He was born there himself and did his medical degree there, and now that he is retired, he regularly can be found there for concerts, walks and exhibitions, so he knows it pretty well. We started off in the Hortus and then did the predictable department stores which I. loved, and she managed to spend a fair chunk of her money. On Monday I'd booked a pedicure for her. The lady who did it, knew just how to treat her - she was made to feel really special. The smile on her face was priceless and for days afterwards she would show her feet to everybody who'd look. I think it was the highlight of her weekend...

And then we were back and I thought life would go on as normal. Only it won't. My body is protesting angrily at all that we've been through, and telling me I need to take it a bit easier. Lots of seemingly scary symptoms, but deep down I knew it was most likely stress related. I've got a few days off work and I'm just so, so tired. I know it will just take time and I need to be patient, but it has taken me by surprise a bit.

And now I'm off to the sofa for a nap...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not entirely out of the woods yet...

...but the first bit of news was very, very positive: no malignancies in mum's liver!
She hugged the consultant, I hugged the consultant, then I had a good cry, and then we had coffee and cake :-)

Today we're back at the hospital for an ultrasound of her thyroid, so fingers crossed for that one, but the main thing is that her liver is fine, it's probably just had a lot to cope with when she was first ill 2 1/2 years ago.

I'm knitting The Shetland Trader's Aestlight for Mother's Day for her. I'm knitting it with a much, much lighter heart :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010


To mijn grote meid

You were born 11 years ago today, on Easter Monday, 4 days early. I knew throughout my pregnancy that you were going to be a girl, even though we didn't get told at the scans, and that we'd get to use the name we'd chosen years before.
Before you were born, I always thought I'd really enjoy babyhood. I'd be one of those earth mothers, cooing over their baby in the pram, you'd be wearing only handsewn or handknitted clothes, you'd smile back at me and then go to sleep. I thought that when you turned one, motherhood would become a bit boring - well, all the major milestones were out the way weren't they, so what else could there be that could be as exciting as your first smile, you learning to crawl, taking your first steps? And then being a mother to two school age children, well surely that couldn't be any fun at all - what milestones were there to be passed?
Reality couldn't have been more different. I found babyhood hard work, the toddler years interesting but sometimes mind numbingly boring. But when you and your brother left those years behind, something changed and I gradually started to enjoy being a mother. Really, properly enjoy. When I first became a single mother, I'd need my weekends without you two to have some time out and recharge my batteries for the week ahead. But now I miss you and will relish the extra days I get with you.
You have changed so much over the last year. You're not a little girl anymore, but not yet a teenager either. You suddenly don't like the magazine anymore you've had a subscription on for the last 2 years, but most of the other magazines are still a bit old for you. You love looking at make-up but don't use it yet. You're becoming more independent, wanting to go off in town on your own, but needing reassurance that I won't stray far from you. You are becoming extremely good company. You tell me when I look nice or when something I've thrown on that morning doesn't look good. You are my most enthusiastic WeightWatchers supporter. You enjoy watching trashy television with me and we've become real EastEnders fans together in the last year. You're very helpful around the house and like nothing better than when I say 'you can tidy up my room for me if you like?' So much of what we have together, reminds me of what I had with my mum when I was growing up, and I'm enjoying it so much. And maybe there aren't huge milestones anymore as you get with a new baby, but I can't wait to see what you're going to be like in a year, 3 years or 8 years from now.

Happy 11th birthday mijn grote meid.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Basically 8

To my big boy, who will always be my kleine mannetje whatever age you are. For months you have been saying you're 'basically 8'. You like discovering big words and using them whenever you can. Actually and basically are two of those. But today you actually were 8.
You were fine on Monday when we cuddled up on your bed together and I told you I had to go to Holland again to be with oma and would be away on your birthday. I was expecting tears but didn't get any, just a 'that's fine'. But I knew something wasn't right on Tuesday when you weren't up and chatting by 7, and even more so when you were still lying in bed at 7.30 am, crying, complaining of tummy-ache. When I'd taken your big sister to the school bus, we cuddled up again and you told me the tummy-ache was because I wasn't going to be there on your birthday. So despite having to do lots of things that day, I decided you needed to stay at home with me and have some extra attention and above all, some extra cuddles. I think it helped, as you seemed much more cheerful at the end of the day and were happy to go and see pappa as usual on a Tuesday night.
I know right now it's hard for you with all that's going on, but I hope that one day you'll understand why I wanted to go to Holland. Just as you want to be with me sometimes, so do I want to be with my mamma (your oma) sometimes. I wish I didn't have to go to Holland, I wish we didn't live so far away from oma, I wish I hadn't had to make the choice I did today.
I thought about you lots today, I missed you, and I love you very much. Happy birthday big boy.
Mamma xxx