Better-ish

I’m feeling somewhat better today, Generally I actually love my life. There are a huge amount of positives, I adore where we live, I have a very close relationship with my kids because life have necessitated I’m around most of the time and although far from rich I never have to worry about food on the table, or a roof over our heads.

There are times however where I have to work at my mental health, I had to when Charlotte was first diagnosed with cancer and Cowden Syndrome and every time she has a scare. I’m going to have to now coming off the back of my younger sons very serious mental health struggles. In all honesty there were points where I found his difficulties and resultant ways of coping harder than Charlotte’s cancer. With cancer it’s terrifying but there is a very set plan of action and very specific planned outcomes of each stage. The professionals speak in terms of action and reaction and hoped outcomes. With mental health it seems that getting help in the first place is a nightmare and then it’s a case of throw things at a metaphorical wall and hope things stick. For two years in my sons case nothing did. Now he seems to have started to find his way out of the mire. I’m incredibly proud of him for that. Depression is a serious illness and like cancer takes lives. I think people often forget that. He’s doing amazingly to get through it.

Anyway so that leaves me with own brain a touch fried, in the past 3 years there have been more than one moment where I thought I’d lose my daughter to cancer or my son to depression, or lose our relationship.

In a nutshell I need to work on my own mental health, I need to focus in not out. The first step to this is to step away from social media. It doesn’t help, we all know that essentially it’s a highlight reel but even within that is the reality that most people have had an easier life than ours. Not all, I know some amazing strong people who have actually had it worse, but on the whole most families don’t have to deal with childhood cancer, or a youngster life threateningly depressed. Thank heavens they don’t I wouldn’t want them to, but equally I don’t always want reminded how much of a struggle our life has been in comparison and continues to be. My husband and I have often joked that the only break we get is a bone. It’s funny because it’s true. Dark humor for the win!

So I’ve a installed a block app on phone that allows access to Facebook and Instagram only once a day, that way I can check for notices by my gym, share work posts and then step away. Only my daughter has the pin to unlock the block app. If I miss that time period either I wait till the next day or have to load the actual laptop. Who can be bothered doing that?

This means all those spare moments on the loo or in waiting rooms will be filled with reading. I’ve taken this approach in the past and found it highly effective and beneficial.

I’m going to journal again,this is something I’ve also used in the past as a tool to focus on the positive and also found highly useful.

Most importantly I’m going to make time to see friends, this has always been the most helpful to me. To work on those real life connections. As much as I back away like a wounded animal when I hurt I need people. We all do.

Finally I’m going to accept that it’s ok to struggle, we’ve been through a hell of a lot in the past few years and my role has been to hold everything together and everyone up. That takes its toll on a person. Throw in perimenopause and crazy irratic cycles even with hrt and it’s a miracle I can hold a thought. Can I hold a thought? Not sure…what was I saying?

I’ve started this as my bathroom book it’s very funny.

Oh and on a totally different note I keep having “omg I had a glass of wine by accident or popped a piece of chocolate in my mouth, I’ve failed me challenge” dreams. Ugh Catholic guilt has clearly found a way to attach itself to this year!

If you find anything of interest or use in my blog please consider sponsoring me and help work towards a cure for Cowden Syndrome. Thank you.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sugarfreeyear

If you’d like to follow me on Facebook that would here:-

https://www.facebook.com/cure4Cowdens

Jealously

Sometimes times I get a little jealous, when I see kids reaching normal teen milestones or people achieving something I would like to. Back to school, prom, taking a great job or doing up the house. I don’t begrudge them in the slightest, heck in fact I’m pleased for them every single time. I just perhaps feel the walls around my choices around our lives a little more strongly that day.

When my children were young working part time worked well, it meant I could be the one who picked them up from school, I could attend every school event and my eldest needed a little more support due nuerodiversity and schools struggles with the nuerodiverse. I had always planned on moving into a more academic field once they were all at senior school level. I have plenty of qualifications ready to go. Charlotte of course just wants to be teen and do all the regular stuff that goes with it.

How does the saying go “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” J Lennon, and so it did. Anyone who reads this blog knows what happened next. My daughter developed cancer, followed by a diagnosis of Cowden Syndrome and later Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Postural Orthstatic Syndrome, OCD and anxiety. She needs me, she needs me to there, to help her with homeschooling, to take her to appointments, to make her food, to look after her. Life took a detour and my daughter became disabled and I became her carer (as much as I dislike the word). Now I want to make it quite clear that I do not resent that in the slightest, I would not want anyone else to do this for her. What I would wish is that we both could have a normal life, that she could be at school and out at the weekend, worrying about crushes and ridiculous fashion, that I could be out at work and furthering myself in some way. That our lives had not detoured. But they have and I think it’s ok to occassionally mourn that, to acknowledge that I wish things were different. To say “honestly I wish my daughter had the opportunities yours does, I wish I had the opportunities you have” I wish we didn’t have a wall around our choices.

I know I’m not alone in this, carers of all ages all over the world face the same thing, it’s a tough thing to talk about though as I am sure none of us want to make our loved one feel that we don’t want to be there for them. Of course we do, what I mourn and again I’m sure it’s the same for most people in my situation is the life we both should have had. I know at times she feels left behind behind by her friends and I feel left behind by life. I feel like my family runs just to stand still as the chance to move forwards just isn’t there, we still fight to every day.

I also know there are those who look down on me for being a “yoga teacher” while their careers have soared, It;s been made clear in both subtle and not so subtle ways. I guess that one is on them for having a narrow perspective of success. It never ceases to sting though when someone puffs up in front of me, boasts of this that and the other then asks with a hint of derision if “I’m still doing my yoga thing” in a way that makes me feel small in comparison.

In reality this year has been a success just in a different measure, Charlotte and I started the year with us both desperately nervous about full time home schooling and by the end of June she had sat 3 GCSE,s at 14, quite successfully I’m sure (we don’t know yet and are rather excited). She is happy and by god that means more to me than anything else in this world and we have time together, a luxury not many families do.

I have freedoms a full time working person doesn’t have, I can run in the middle of a day or go to the gym in the middle of the day while Charlotte is resting. I enjoy the job I have as a yoga teacher, actually I LOVE it especially where I teach at the moment.

Please forgive me though if every once in a while I have a pang of jealously when your teen is off to prom or you get a promotion or buy a new house. I’m happy for you, I genuinely am I just occasionally feel the walls around Charlotte and I.

If you find anything of interest or use in my blog please consider sponsoring me and help work towards a cure for Cowden Syndrome. Thank you.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sugarfreeyear

Thank you ♥️

I’ve wanted to write this post for months, but honestly I struggle with opening up. I’ve become very adept at coping with adversity. A side effect of that is that at times I have a wall around me which is hard for others to break through and for me to break out of. Those who know me well know I’ll always say I’m “ok” even when I’m not and I’ll never ever, ever, ever, ever ask for help. Even when I need it. Heck I have a hard enough time even accepting help when it’s offered! Really I’m a difficult person to get to know properly.

When I started my first bout of fundraising not only was I difficult person to get to know but I was very damaged. I was exhausted emotionally and jaded by people and life. I found it almost impossible to connect with others, their day to day life had really genuine concerns but they were more regular ones. I had had 3 years of slowly being dragged through the process of finding lumps in my daughter’s neck and wanting medical reassurance, to biopsies, to her surgery, to finding out it was cancer. This was followed by the diagnosis of Cowden Syndrome which means this is the rest of her life, she will always need checks and operations. She will always be at risk of cancer. This was followed the next year by a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. At each point when we were waiting to find out a diagnosis it was all consuming, at social events when I started to relax I’d loosen up and begin to talk about her cancer, or the next awful thing we were hoping it wouldn’t be (which it always was the horrible thing) and God bless the person I was talking to they would always get this look of “get…me…out…of…here” I made people uncomfortable. My life was the kind of experience at that time that parents live in fear of. Connecting became almost impossible. At the same time I had old friends of 20 or so years just vanish. I guess they found seeing a kid they’d known since a baby with all this happening was too much. I needed them though and the sense of abandonment was raw and painful.

All of this meant I’d essentially come to terms with the fact that it was me and my family. When I started the fundraising the first year being 260 workouts I’d slip into the gym during the quiet times and get it done. I hoped that people would sponsor me but I had no expectations.

I certainly didn’t see what actually happened coming. The amount of support I received was incredible. A wonderful woman ran a raffle at her business, people bought t-shirts and wore them to comps family and friends sponsored me, some brought in prizes for the raffle I ran at the end of the year, a gorgeous lady made an lovely hand crochet blanket to raffle. My son ran his first ever half marathon and it was up a Cheviot, one of our awesome coaches accompanied him (probably wise he might have gotten lost). My coach patiently programmed the workouts for me working around hospital appointments, exhaustion and general whining. Sometimes people would workout with me, before the sugar free year I had cake regularly left at the gym by a superb home baker and fabulous woman. I had people offer words of support and kindness, offers of coffee and hanging out and just being normal. These amazing people have become my friends and my life is so much better with them in it.

Thank you to each and every person who supported and continues to support me in any way big or small. Not only did we raise over three and a half thousand last year for the PTEN research Foundation in London but you healed my heart and restored my faith in people.

We still have ups and downs, my daughter has a great deal to face, her brother is fighting and doing very well at doing so mental health issues. Honestly at times I struggle with being a carer and homeschooling and the limitations it puts on both Charlotte and my life.

I know however that I have a lot of people who have my back.

Thank you ♥️

Cure 4 Cowden’s – logo & t-shirt design

My wonderful, talented friend Linda over in Portland who designed the logo for Cure 4 Cowdens last year has been busy working on a t-shirt design for this year. I absolutely adore it. What do you guys think?

The plan is to do the same as last year, take orders for size (possibly colour if it’s an option) then place a bulk order. Just need to find a place to make them!

All profits will go to the PTEN Foundation to aid in research towards a treatment or cure for Cowden Syndrome.

via Cure 4 Cowden’s – logo & t-shirt design

First run – since broken toes, feeling jaded with this project BUT exciting new t-shirts!

This afternoon I went for my first run since I broke 2 toes a month ago. Obviously I kept it gentle and ran 2 mins then walked 45 seconds. It was blisteringly hot and I was so worried about getting back into running but it was actually awesome. I really enjoyed it, J dog loved it, all over a success. Not fast, I’m a slow runner get over it. But I was happy with the overall pace on a sandy beach after no runs for 4 weeks and toes that are still healing.

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ther than that a busy day, work, housework etc. I’m still feeling the frustration of having to make everything especially at end of a day. I think the excitement of this new project wore off and now I’m in the “oh my god this is so much work phase”. For example just getting this blueberry mousse (frozen blueberries with silken tofu) date balls and tumeric latte took 15 mins including washing up. Not a huge deal but at 8pm who can really be bothered. I know, I know first world problems of having too much food and needing to prepare it.

Excitingly there are new t-shirts in the works “sweet enough already” I love the early designs already! They will be available to order in a month or so.

If you find anything of interest or use in my blog please consider sponsoring me and help work towards a cure for Cowden Syndrome. Thank you.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sugarfreeyear