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Welcome

Writer. Mother. Cancer Survivor.

Coffee drinker, animal lover, beach bum.

Contains sex, frequent coarse language and adult themes :P

Leave your judgement at the door thanks.

Ashx

On Divorce

I’m guessing it’ll happen fairly soon, but I still, stupidly, stubbornly, want him to initiate it. This doesn’t seem so much to ask, really. 

I now have a lawyer and a financial advisor and some other woman. I’m quietly devastated. It’s rare to need legal help, rarer to have to request court hearings and ask people to write character references, here. We are starting to pick apart each others lives, to discredit each other, and it kills me. I didn’t want this. I don’t want this. But I want my house and I need my son and we deserve to not live in poverty. Bailey deserves to have a mother at home most of the time and some consistency.

He claims my mental health is a problem, I think him being an asshole hinders him as a parent. I’m too free and easy, he’s rigid, unsympathetic, and detached. Bman’s friends are comfortable here (giggling from the bunk bed as I write) and I know their parents and we’re part of the community, Craig lives with his family and is 10 minutes from his cousins. I rant about chemicals in the water and marijuana prohibition and our failing eduction system, he works a government job. 

I miss the good times so much it’s hard to breathe. I swear he was a good person and we loved each other, and Bailey.

Life changes, and people change with it.

 

Keepsake

 

I’m struggling, badly.

I hate writing these posts, but I hate not writing them more. I’m doing nothing with my life, I feel genuinely incapable of letting go of objects, people, and situations that I know are weighing me down. I’m fairly sure I’ve become symptomatic, some days.

I still have good days, a few in a row, and it’s them that keep me going and striving towards some kind of life. Ironically, my cancer count has continued to fall after stopping mainstream medication and there’s something that makes me think I won’t have cancer forever, that I will reach full remission. I can’t describe what that ‘something’ is but it just feels like something I know, like the sun will set tonight, a deep faith. I’m not religious, but if I was, I would think that God is looking after me in this way, and that everything is going to be ok.

Being in the middle still sucks though. Some days I even consider sending Bailey to school, just to give myself a break, but when my brain fog clears I know we’d both be worse off. I’ve grown more and more disenchanted with our education system, and more distrustful of government systems in general – I think having so much go wrong medically, learning about treatments available elsewhere that are illegal here, seeing a close friend being treated incredibly poorly by the Education Department, having my privacy severely compromised more than once has all taken its toll. Being screwed financially over and over doesn’t help either.

It’s alienating, feeling at odds with society in general, but also strangely freeing. Not my circus, not my monkeys – and all that.

I try not to write about Craig much anymore, but let’s just say he’s a letdown as a father and a human being. On the same day he told me that Bailey hasn’t been doing swimming lessons because of ‘too many bills’, he bragged about his new motorbike. It was Bailey’s birthday a couple of weekends ago and he was so slack. I have protected Bailey’s feelings more and more but unfortunately I can’t keep lying for and making excuses for him.

It’s a horrible lesson to learn that your parents aren’t who you want them to be, but unfortunately I think Bailey will have to start seeing Craig for how he is now, and that’s going to hurt both of us.

We’ll be ok though, we always are.

Ash x

 

(again)

 

Up the hill.

Sometimes it seems like it’s either fucking cold or really fucking hot, but we have been having some in-between weather lately and I’m grateful for that. And rain. On my tin roof. Small things matter.

I live in a town that seems further than the hour, or roughly 70kms, that it stands from Perth. Our house is ‘in town’, on a few acres. It’s usually pretty quiet. We’re walking distance to the Primary School, playground, bakery, post office, real estate etc.

I like so many things about living here. Actual seasons, spring especially is amazing. Seeing hayrolls and tractors and lambs. It’s a horse-orientated area and that can be good and not so good. I have some awesome, amazing, wonderful friends. It’s low crime, people look out for each other, kids play outside and get dirty.

We have horses, dogs, chickens, a cat and a rabbit.

If someone wants to make your life hell though, it’s pretty easy to do. If you are ‘different’, people notice. Not much stays private. If you are ‘interesting’ or ‘unusual’, people will discuss your life like it’s a TV show, and then pretend they don’t know you at the next get-together.

The good outweighs the bad, usually. It turns out people are actually pretty protective of Bailey and I here, and rather than being given the cold shoulder when we came back like I half expected, most people were just glad to see that we’re ok.

Sure, people think I’m left-centre, but in a likable way I guess.

I don’t have many recent photos, and my house resembles a construction zone right now anyway, but here’s a few old ones, mostly of Bailey here.

014 157 107 102 125 131 149 153 157 009 236 237 240 245

Ash x

 

Hi. How are you guys? I’ve been ok. Making some (more) life changes, so I thought I’d write an update post.

Bailey’s sitting next to me doing a workbook, chatting away. We went to work this morning, fed the horses. He likes to come on the quad bike, and to help out with the trucks in the shed. ‘It seems like we never went to have holidays at the beach’ he said, while the stallion nuzzled his hair.

Life is good at the moment, really. I’m settling down, I think. I get anxiety a lot, but I can cope with it. I’ve realised diet plays a huge role in that, and for me vegetarianism feels right. Living out of alignment with your morals to please other people is rarely worth it, and I’m only just grasping that now. I’m trying to redo my house, make it more ‘us’. I get the feeling it’ll never be ‘done’, and that’s great. I don’t have to be hardcore intense all the time with everything. It’s ok to be vegetarian but not vegan. It’s ok to homeschool without being an advocate and opposing the mainstream school system. It’s ok to just be friendly with people, and to turn down invitations.

It’s ok to look after myself rather than everyone else.

I’ve dropped mainstream treatment. Completely. I get my bloods done every three weeks and if something changes I’ll re-assess. Long term low dose chemo has never done enough for me medically to make the side effects feel worth it. I will most likely consider high dose chemo if the time comes but for now I am just continuing to reduce toxins, nourishing my body and mind, and using some alternative therapies. I feel good about it. Right.

Reading back, this all sounds a lot lighter and happier than it has been. The anxiety, depression and ‘what if’s feel debilitating some days. I had a really rough fortnight where I didn’t see any friends, couldn’t deal with facebook, shops, anything much. That happens occasionally. Less as time goes on, I’m hoping. There’s just been so ‘much’ that sometimes my mind doesn’t cope. I know that now, and I know it will pass, even when I’m in the middle.

I read a post recently (I can’t remember who’s it was, so if it’s yours or you know who I’m talking about, shout out :) ) where the writer had decided on a ‘word’ for this year. It rolled around in my head for a few days, and I ‘tried out’ various words. Truth was a good one. Whole was another.

Authenticity. That’s my word :)

Ash x

Image

Just a random snap – pony reunion!

Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed, I get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can stand and sit at the bottom with my hands over my ears.  It feels like I’m in another world, totally removed.

Lately it’s been a daily occurrence, sitting, counting to ten, letting tears escape, rinse and repeat.

I’m starting to get used to the idea that I might not reach this ‘acceptance point’ and feel stable from then on, that it’s going to be up and down, good and not so good days mixed in with cancer counts and banana pancakes, reading eggs and nosebleeds, horses and long drives and friendship and bullshit.

This hurts, you know? It sounds so juvenile but at a base level, cancer has hurt my feelings. It’s not fair. I’m not the type of person who gets sick young. I sleep with men I shouldn’t, get addicted to television series, love avocado and can catch the trickiest horses.  Bailey’s not the type of kid who has a sick single Mum. He’s homeschooled, wants to be a ninja, loses his brain on sugar and likes Adventure Time. I have no idea what these ‘types’ are, I just know we’re not it.

It’s ok. I’m as ok as I can be. There’s no point being otherwise. Last year when I realised I’d been misdiagnosed, mistreated, could have been cured I fell into a hole over it. When I had to write an ‘impact statement’ I felt like I would explode before I got it down on paper. How do you add up hours driving to specialists, whole weekends away from my infant son after radiation, relationship breakdowns, seeing my father cry, the loss of a lifestyle I worked hard for? How could I even halfway articulate how it affects me to know that Bailey didn’t have to know anything about this? That if I’d been diagnosed correctly I could have been in full remission before his first birthday?

These things happen, and no-one is to blame, and that’s the truth. I’ll admit to feeling some closure after seeing my first Doctor, who has no bedside manner, didn’t listen to my concerns, and downplayed independent testing I had done, avoid eye contact until I actually said ‘Fuck You’.

He apologised and it sounded sincere. And I know he would have been asked not to.

*****

So now, I just get to be brave. I’m choosing less treatment in favour of a life where I can play ponies and have my son at home directing his own learning, where we can grow things and take day trips. Where there’s room for coffee, hugs, sex, novels, stargazing. Where I have to be brave enough to deal with the possibility that this won’t pay off, that I may look back and wish I’d done more mainstream treatment. Sometimes, when you have a gut feeling, you have to be brave enough to go with it.

Ash x

 

Hey guys.

I’ve been so sick. I also moved. Twice kind of. I’ve slipped back into my old life and its not awful. It needs work but its ok. I’m ok.

I’m a little fragile. There’s been some big readjustments. The time I was supposed to have ‘off’ between treatment and starting on long term medications was a major fuck up, I ended up incredibly unwell and kind of between houses and broke all at once. Thank goodness for friends and family.

Im trying really hard to be here and make things work. And I am seeing people more clearly – people care so much for Bailey and I here, and I could just never let myself feel that before.

Good days and bad days – here’s a good one -

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It’s starting to seem like Craig isn’t as into being a father anymore, so I have to do more and be more – but that’s an honour and a privilege.

Saw this awesome chick live the other night, at the beach under the stars – amazing.

I miss all my blog friends. I’m setting up my desk and hopefully somehow fixing my computer tomorrow, and I can’t wait to sit down and catch up on what everyone’s been up to. Or to write a real post. I suddenly have a lot to say, words rolling around that I can’t wait to let out.

Ash xx

Continue Reading »

Packing

Last year when I moved, I was so rushed that I was still throwing shit into boxes, onto a tarp, and into the back of my horse float, while my tenants were moving their stuff in.  Kitchen utensils mixed well with clothes, bathroom things, and stationary.

Most of that stuff is still downstairs, still in boxes.

Obviously I had planned to have a big clean out and sort it all and move back into my house (or another house) with shit totally together, physical, emotional, spiritual and financial, but clearly it hasn’t worked out that way. Part of me wants to ditch everything and start again, the other part knows that’s stupid and wasteful and I’m sure there’s some things I’ll need when I get back to reality.

I need to do so many things, instead I just sit and look at the beach.

Not to mention fucking Christmas.

Craig has started being mildly painful again, I think he senses me moving on, becoming self-sufficient and making big decisions for myself and Bailey without his input and is like ‘oh fuck’. I know I shouldn’t engage with him. But a big part of me still wants that eventual happy ending. Especially for Bailey.

It is what it is and all that.

I have to go back for now, but that doesn’t have to be permanent. The plan is, stick it out for 12 months, then see what I can work out. I want to be near the ocean, and have some space. I want to work for myself (so I’m starting a new business) and I want to do everything I can for my health. And I still want horses. Stupidly. The worthwhile things are always hard.

I guess I just wanted to give you guys a little update, but this is good for ordering things in my head too.

In health news, I’m doing ok. I’ve suddenly started having migraines, which scared the absolute crap out of me, but I went for all the relevant scans and there’s nothing new. In the last few months my body has become increasingly reactive to food, which I’ve really been struggling with so I’m thinking that this is just another reaction. Right now I seem to have reactions to wheat, dairy, meat, soy, tablets (!), liquid supplements, summer/ tropical fruits, corn, and I’m sure there’s more. I can eat bananas and feel ok. And fish. Some types.

So I’ve given in and started on meal replacements. I don’t agree with it and I never wanted Bailey to see me doing stupid diets, but I can’t keep vomiting, having cramps, carrying excess weight while being low in absolutely everything that’s testable. So far, it’s a lot better. It’s expensive, tastes awful, but worth it.

The water is so blue today. I’m going to miss this so much. Is it stupid to grieve for places that will still be here? Maybe. This house is going, and it feels like the last link to the small amount of happy childhood I had before life started to implode.

When I close my eyes here, I’m four again, at the beach. I don’t know what cancer or divorce or alcohol or sexual abuse is. My mother has come down a couple of times, and I think she is trying to forge some kind of new relationship with me separate from the truce we’ve established since I had Bailey.

She’s still hyper-critical, but I’m beginning to see that’s more about her than about me.

And I think I’m a better parent than her, arrogant I know. So does she, I can tell when she watches me with Bailey, that hint of wistfulness at what she’s missed and can never get back. It’s true what people say, they grow so quickly, and you get one shot. One.

You can’t fix a childhood, that’s something that I’ve really truly learnt this year. But you can choose to forgive, be a cycle breaker, work with the good stuff. Bailey’s childhood isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but he’s loved and wanted, and he knows that I didn’t choose to get sick and make things difficult. And that I would never choose to leave him. The thought wouldn’t even cross his mind.

So I’m stopping beating myself over the head for things out of my control, and starting to trust that he’ll be ok with me, regardless. He might even learn some important lessons.

Ash x

 

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