Support Networks

I have seen this article floating around Facebook today and it really made me think

http://www.babble.com/parenting/to-the-mom-without-a-village/

It talks about how it takes a ‘village’ to raise a child i.e. the support networks we have around us to help us bring up our children. These networks can be family, friends, education providers, healthcare etc. These networks also provide a variety of support from guiding children to providing support for the parents.

However this can easily be transferred to illness and in my case, cancer.

Over the past year or so, support networks have been a big thing for me, from my family helping out with my little monkeys (& in the case of my dad, providing us all with more meals than I can remember) to my newly found friends (both old friends who have become closer than ever to all the women on the cancer support groups on Facebook) & my wonderful hubby, who in the nearly 5 years we have been married has had to deal with more than some people who have been married for 20 years. There are also the goodness knows how many nurses, volunteers, doctors and Macmillan workers (to name but a few) who have had to listen to me pour my heart out when all they have really asked was how I am.

People often ask how I am able to cope? How am I able to stay up beat and keep on fighting? The truth is, without these people, I really don’t know.

Having cancer at 31 is an incredibly hard thing to get your head around. I assumed when I turned 30, my biggest problem would be how to cope with a hangover now I’m that tiny bit older and the best way to cover up a mum tum. Sounds silly I know but some days it would be nice to have just these problems.

The other week, some friends arranged a trip out with our children but I had to decline as I was having treatment (& after some messing around from the hospital I ended up having to postpone it until the next day). I felt really rubbish about it because nowadays I have to plan my life around my illness, it’s not like re-arranging a hair appointment. If I miss treatment it’s…. well it’s not possible. I wish I could have more time for friends but it isn’t always easy. With so much going on in my life, it is easy to forget to get in touch with people and make arrangements to see people. The reason I am so close to my best friend is because we constantly text, message and meet up. I can be feeling really crappy as I’ve had a bad day but just one message, even if it is something completely random, can make me feel so much better.

I know I’ve probably rambled on but the point in this post is really to thank everyone in my support network and try to show you all how much you all mean to me.

x

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But you only work part time!

Recently, I have been feeling quite tired and seriously lacking energy. I am still adjusting to working life and in a pysically challenging job however, I still have people wondering why I am so tired and getting upset, stressed or worried about the little things because at the end of the day, I only work part time.

Yet people so easily forget.

I am a mum of 2 young children (4years and 2years), I have a house to run (cooking, washing, shopping etc), I am working towards a degree, I work (only part time mind you) and there was something else…… oh yes, my everyday battle with cancer! I know I look well and, after a cup of tea, I am a fully functioning member of society but I still have to take around 8 tablets a day, be injected every 3 weeks with 2 types of drugs and every 4 weeks with another type of drug. My body is constantly fighting, constantly working with and, at times, against the cocktail of drugs being pumped into me. I have a weakened immune system because of all of this too as my body cannot recover as quickly as it use to.

Sadly this problem affects everyone who has an invisible illness. So next time you feel the need to berate someone who “only works part time”, think about the reasons behind it. Are they ill? Do they have other commitments?

Don’t ever assume that part timers are the lucky ones.

Chemo- A year on

I can’t believe I finished my chemo a year ago! 

Last summer seems a complete blur of hospital trips and admissions and feeling the awful side effects from all my medication but fortunately things are a lot better now. Although I have an uncertain future ahead of me, I am trying my best to get on with things and try to find something that resembles normal (if such thing exists). There are some things I am still adjusting to but hopefully that will come in time. 

Thought I’d also share a hair update. Although I’m particularly keen on it at the moment, it is growing back quite nicely