Friday, 22 February 2013

A tough conversation....

I have someone special in my life, it's my step sister & she has Acute Myoloid Leukemia, she has been battlng this bastard cancer for just over a year now & it's got the upper hand...

She has tried everything humanly possible to beat it, her partner scans the World Wide Web daily looking for & connecting with researchers, Doctors, naturopaths, anyone who can offer them hope to run this cancer out of town. Conventional chemo is what is keeping her alive at the moment, her bone marrow is packed with leukemic cells & as they spill over into the blood the chemo sweeps them up, it keeps the symptoms under control, in fact at the moment she's doing okay, it's no cure but as long as she doesn't get an infection the status quo can remain.

She has been in hospital for 8 weeks this time, she's been in Medical High Dependency, she's been knocked down by continual infections, stomach blockages & that god awful C-Diff but to quote her when she gets yet another 'death speech' from her Prof - 'I'm not ready mentally or physically to die yet so you do your job & treat my infections & leukemia, I'll do the rest'. What a girl!

I get to visit at least twice weekly & spend a few hours with her, some days we just sit & be, others we piss ourselves laughing. One time I walked in to find her being weighed, she looked up at me, bald & stick thin, pumps the air with her fist & says - 'Whoo hoo, I've reached goal, 65kgs', I couldn't make it to the loo fast enough (weak bladder after 2 kids), I was crying with laughter....

Today was a good day in so many ways, Prof has been encouraging her to get out of her room, the same 4 walls for 8 weeks can drive a person nuts, so I came up with a cunning plan. Grab a
wheelchair from Information & spring her out of the joint, down to the courtyard & soak in the sunshine. The plan nearly fell apart before it wheelchairs! I had a brief (albiet bad) thought of turfing out the smokers in wheelchairs out the front of the hospital that sit under the 'No Smoking' signs & chuff away but thought better of it! So stealing a wheelchair would have to happen from somewhere else. I went upstairs & roped her partner into my crime, he disappeared, only to return 10 mintues later with a wheelchair, I didn't ask where it came from, best not too I reckon.

We got all the nurses in on it & the excitement was infectious, they loved the idea & thankfully so did my step-sis! Now, pj's off, undies - check, bra - check, street clothes - check, sunnies - check, sunscreen (for the noggin) - check & off we went. Her partner was pushing the wheelchair & I was in control of the IV pole, it was tricky but I managed. Have you ever been into the bowels of Westmead Hospital? No, neither had I but down we went & found a quiet little courtyard with a gentle breeze, the sun streaming in & no swooping magpies. I watched this girl breathe in & relax, she could hear the birds & feel the sunshine on her face for the first time in weeks. It really is the little things, the smile that lit up her face bought tears to my eyes, she held my hand & we sat.

We sent her partner off to get coffee & the conversation began, I can honestly say it was one of the most harrowing convo's I've ever had....see, she's dying, we all know it & for the first time she actually admitted it, she told me I am the only person she's ever said it out loud too & she sobbed, gut wrenching, soul destroying sobs, I held her hand for dear life & let her cry. She has no hope, for the first time she believes that the alternate medicines her partner has been finding for her are not going to work, the only thing keeping her alive is the chemo, she wants to stop but feels she can't let her partner down, he has invested so much time & love into her illness she feels stuck. I sat & I listened, what could I say, in the end I told her it was her decision & hers only.....

I felt so helpless, she's 25, just 25....

We sat for a while longer, drank our coffee, she watched, we drank, she's nil by mouth!

She closed her eyes & enjoyed the sunshine, we smiled & held hands........

Lisa xx

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Now we are six.....

I so love Eden's Fresh Horses Brigade this week....if there was an open mic at a birthday party 'What would you say?' Words can be so powerful and for me this says it all....

As a child I was so in love with this poem by AA Milne & I still love it today, I can see myself as that small child, standing up straight telling the world that I am now 6,and I like it!

 Now We Are Six - A.A. Milne

When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new

When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more

When I was five I was just alive
 Now I am six I'm as clever as clever, So I think I'll be six now, forever and ever.....

I'm now 46 and that poem still bring me joy, I think I'll be 46 now for ever and ever!

Lisa xxx

Friday, 2 March 2012

It's a sign.....

Continuing on from last week & joining the Fresh Horse Brigade, Eden has put another post out there asking about signs that Guardian Angels are amongst us & that sense that everything will be ok....

I know with absolute certainty when I can smell my Mum's perfume, Clinique's Aromatics Elixir that all will be ok. My Mum died very suddenly in 2008 from a DVT & I remember as clear as yesterday when we came home from the hospital, in the early hours of the morning, getting into bed & trying to get some fitfull sleep. As I lay there I suddenly smelt my Mum's perfume & this sense of incredible calm washed over me, I settled & managed to get some sleep. The odd thing was, I don't own any of that perfume, it was hers alone, I never wore it, it wasn't even in my house!

In the weeks & months after her death it was a very troubled & turbulent time. I was engaged in a legal battle with her then 3rd husband & we were having heated emails about who should go where on her final plaque. He wanted his daughters above me (her only child) on the plaque. It was in the early hours of the morning that I sat at the computer & wrote him a heartfelt email putting my case forward, as I sat there again I smelt very strongly my Mum's perfume. Again, that sense of calm washed over me, I knew I was doing the right thing & it would turn out ok.

There have been so many instances when I have been feelingbdown & not coping with her death at all that I smell her perfume on other women & feel that sense of calm, almost a connection to my Mum again & I find myself saying 'Hi Mum', to me all becomes right with the world & I know with absolute certainty that things are going to be ok!

Lisa xxxx

Saturday, 25 February 2012

I'm sorry.....

I have never done this before...

Today I read a post that really struck a cord with me over at Edenland's blog, a link is to the right of this post, it was about being sorry, so here goes...

I'm sorry that at times I'm not the person you want me to be.

I'm sorry that I make mistakes & struggle at times with being a wife, mother & friend.

I'm sorry that I am no longer a daughter.

I'm sorry that I can't make you happier.

I'm sorry that I never feel good enough.

Does it makes sense to say that I am not sorry for being sorry? Feeling sorry causes me pain, but that pain makes me realize I am alive & exactly where I want to be....

Lisa xxx

Monday, 30 January 2012

How can I survive Year 12.....

Well today my 17 year old is officially on the fast track to finishing school, he has a total of 26 weeks to go & between him & my husband I am already a mess!

I am stuck in the middle & I really don't know how to handle them both. Mr 17 seems unmotivated, unenthused, almost as though he just doesn't want to be there. My husband is angry, stressed & looks constantly at his apparent lack of work & has a fit!

Me, well it's not that I don't care but I value my relationship with Mr 17 & really feel that as a parent all we can do is create an environment within which he can work & study & the rest is up to him. It is ultimately his life & if he won't work then there are consequences. I have had the leaving school & get a job discussion but he wants to stay in school.

Am I wrong in my thinking, do I need an attitude adjustment?

How can I manage both my husband & Mr 17? I am very serious, I need help! My husband says he doesn't want to be seen as the ogre but he's acting like one. I am watching him push Mr 17 away & it's upsets me.

We have just had a slamming door fest here, Mr 17 has supposedly done 2 hours of maths revision, husband went to check, reckons its not enough, it's hit the fan with both of them slamming doors & Mr 17 leaving the house to go for a run....

I feel sick, and this is only the beginning.....

Lisa xx

Monday, 7 November 2011

My journey so far.....

Today I returned from one of my many visits to the psychologist feeling good. I am getting better, I still have my ups & downs but in general more ups than downs.

I have learnt quite a bit over the last few months - quite a lot about my relationship with my Mum.

I had been feeling very guilty about going through this process as I felt it was a betrayal to her memory, weird I know but in my mind it was a criticism of her & the way she raised me. After much discussion during my sessions our relationship was really put in perspective for me. A big step.

To give you some background I am an only child, my Mum was married three times, her first husband, my father I have never met, her second husband, my stepfather (he adopted me in 1972) left when I doing my HSC. That same year my Mum tried to take her own life. They briefly reconciled only to divorce in 1991, the year I got married. That same year she met her third husband, they were together for 17 years, married for 8. 

Our relationship had its issues over the years, nothing major, normal mother/daughter stuff but I was privy to every aspect of her life, we were the one constant in each others lives, we could rely on one another each and every time. 

During one of my sessions I was asked by my psychologist to use two little Lego figures to demonstrate to him my relationship with my Mum. I chose one with a green dress for her (her favourite colour) & one with a red dress for me. I then placed the figures side by side......

Interesting he said, I had shown our relationship to be one of partners, equals, the relationship you would normally have with your partner or husband, not your Mum. There is no wrong answer but a healthier mother/daughter relationship would be one where the figures face one another (a learning pose) or mother in front, daughter behind pose (mother leading pose). Those are the 'traditional' relationships whereby you are learning off your parent & as you develop you are given the skills to go it alone. Disappointment is part of that relationship but not necessarily betrayal.

I have been working really hard to change my thinking & understand that I am in no way responsible for my Mum's life choices, they were hers alone and through that I have started to change. I don't want to end up like my Mum, extremely overweight, not dealing with stuff & ultimately unhappy. I know I am on the right path.

I am looking after myself, putting me first for a bit. Over the last 6 weeks I have lost 5.3kg, I have a long way to go but for the first time in my life I have not opted for the 'quick fix', I am doing it the right way, the weight is coming off slowly, that's the way to do it. I have also chosen to add a Lifestyle & Nutrition Coach (Nicky Lavigne from to my support network. I met Nicky on Twitter, we catch up in real life & I have come to consider her a very close friend.

An added bonus with my sessions is that I come home & talk to my husband about what we discussed, this is opening up the lines of communication again. We actually talk to each other for about an hour after each session, he actually hears me!

I am in no way near the end of my journey but have certainly put a dent in the process. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel & that feels good!

Lisa xx

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I'm beginning a journey......

Today I have begun a journey.....

I had my first appointment with a psychologist, I have not been in a good head space of late, I'm sad, I'm not sleeping, I'm withdrawing from my family & my friends & it is only getting worse. So I took myself off to the world's best GP & sat there & cried, then I cried some more, we talked, I unloaded, cried a bit more & then she did some test where I scored a 28, wrote me a Mental Health Plan & wrote me a referral to see a psychologist, I have depression.

I'm not surprised, when I think of the shit that I have been through over the last 3 years, the sudden & tragic death of my Mum, the contesting of her will etc. I've been tap dancing through my life these last few years trying to convince everyone around me that I am okay, here I am on top of Pandora's Box (which is my life) trying to keep the lid on as I tap away, waving my arms in the air giving the performance of my life. I was good, but I'm tired now & I need to deal with my shit.

I'm a little scared, I'm not sure where this journey will take can only be good, right?

So as I sit here writing this I feel drained, I'm close to tears, but I feel positive. We will talk about a range of stuff I suppose, my feelings, my fears, my hopes, my childhood, my Mum, her death, my father, my first stepfather, my second stepfather, the fact that not one of them is in my life anymore, my husband, my marriage, my kids, my friends, all the things that make me who I am today.

I need to be kind to myself & take it day by day, because I have to believe I will get better & there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Lisa xx