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Archive for May, 2013

I know I’ve said this lots of times, but my son is amazing.

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Bailey and the dumbest dog ever. And my foot. Ew.

I love him, I love him, I love him.

I had to take him with me to get blood tests and a scan today. I usually wouldn’t but it was unavoidable and I felt awful about it. People stared a little, sympathy in their eyes as I towed him down a long corridor. My favourite nurse pursed her lips and asked if I wanted to see if the crèche was open.

‘No, he’ll be fine. He’s well-behaved and knows how to sit quietly.’

‘I know he’s lovely, it’s just that if you need to tend to him, we have to start again.’

My son is me. I know him. I can actually feel his feelings, know instinctively how he is going to react in most situations. I felt his pride, ‘I’m almost six, so I know how to be good’, and his offense at being doubted.

‘Honey, you can sit just there quietly and not interrupt, can’t you?’

Eager nodding.

More guilt seeping, the better he is, the worse I feel some days.

After, waiting in the pharmacy, she takes the seat on the other side of him.

‘You’re a well-behaved little mite, I can say that much. I think you deserve a sticker.’

Wide eyes, excited smile ‘Really?’

From behind her back she brings out a whole sticker book, a packet of smarties, a little metal car.

‘This is for being such a good boy for Mummy today. Do you think you can go over there and play while I have a word?’

He looks at me quizzically, I nod so he says ‘Thankyou!’ and scampers off, only to dart back and throw his arms around her, exclaiming ‘I’m so lucky’. She laughs and hugs him back, but I see her eyes fill with tears as he turns away.

Look love’, she begins, ‘I know we probably seem like a group of unfeeling fuddy-duddys sometimes, but in this job, if you don’t have some level of detachment, you’d be crying yourself to sleep.’

‘You don’t seem unfeeling… I couldn’t do what you guys do.’

‘I just’, she fumbles a little, ‘us, me and the other girls, we think you’re fantastic. You’re doing really well. We see all types in here, you know. But we all like to chat to you, even though we wish you didn’t have to come in’

‘Thanks…that means so much’ I probably sound kind of cold, but I can’t have another crying session at the hospital. And I never know what to say when people compliment me.

‘And you’re a good mum. Look at that little treasure. He adores you’

‘He’s wonderful. I don’t think dragging him to the hospital when he should be doing his schoolwork really constitutes good parenting.’ I’m smiling though, so she does too.

‘Because of this unfair mess, he’ll have empathy and resilience in bucket-loads. Don’t forget that, love.’ She pats my shoulder as she walks out.

*****

I always try really hard not to spoil him out of guilt. I want him to know what it’s like to really, really want things, to have to work for them, know how much more stuff means when you’ve earnt it.

‘We need to stop at the shop baby, can you think of anything we need?’

‘Toys’, he jokes, grinning at me in the mirror.

I laugh, ‘How about some bananas and milk, um bread…something for dinner?’

‘Where are we going?’ he asks suddenly, a few minutes later, noticing we’ve veered off our usual route.

‘Just a different shop’

‘This looks like the toy shop!’, as we pull into the parking lot.

We hop out of the car, him asking if we need to buy a present, why are we here, can we look for a little while. I pick him up, struggling under his weight. Balancing him on my hip, I stroke his cheek and say, ‘Pick any toy you want’.

He’s confused ‘What for?’

‘Just because I love you and I want to buy you something.’

We’re there for about an hour, and I don’t rush him. I let him look at bikes, cricket sets, remote control aeroplanes. Eventually he picks up a little container of slime, $4.99.

‘Can I have this?’

‘Really? Are you sure you don’t want something different?’

‘I’ll keep looking’

Eventually I steer him to the Lego aisle (islands, he calls them), and catch him gazing up at the big Lego city boxes, even while he’s holding a much more reasonable fire truck set.

‘Do you want the big box?’

The look on his face is like all his Christmas‘, birthdays and special treats have come together.

‘But it’s huge-mongous. I bet it’s really expensive.’

‘If that’s what you want the most, lets buy it.’

He grins as I hand him the box. It’s a lot wider than he is, but he manages to get it up to the counter, and is almost vibrating as I pay and chat to the checkout chick.

‘I can’t believe I just got that! THANKS MUMMY!!’

It doesn’t make up for anything. But holy crap, it was good to suspend reality and day to day shit for a little while. To not ‘be sensible’.

Today, he just felt heaven sent.

*****

I’m so annoyed my iphone is in the shop, because I’d love to show you guys a picture of him holding the box.

I’m so grateful for him, for kind nurses, teddy bears, sunsets, my friends, soft sheets, love in every form. I’m grateful I express myself writing, otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.

Much love

x

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I came out of that depression fog in kind of a dramatic way I guess.

Let me start by saying I’m usually a really good patient. I’m patient (haha), informed, always on time. I’m the type of person that will automatically assist an old lady to get to the bathroom, will watch other people’s kids in the waiting room, ask if I can make anyone a coffee.

I was as unprepared as anyone to find myself sobbing in a white on white antiseptic office, feeling like I might never stop, over a slight change in treatment.

Of course it wasn’t really about that. Was I crying about the whole shitty diagnosis? The fact I have no one to share this with? That when I picture ‘cancer’, I still get a visual montage of soup, warmth, no responsibilities or expectations and unconditional love? Soft flannel and murmuring voices. I should know better.

Maybe it was realizing how much I’ve lost, and how much I still have to lose. And also, a little bit, how much I didn’t have to lose. It’s not like I can pretend I’ll have a loving, supportive family to get back to spending time with once this is under control. No one is really waiting for me to get better. Sure, I have friends, and sure I love them and they love me, but it’s not the same.

I get that there’s no point in wishing, and most of the time it doesn’t even cross my mind.

I wouldn’t be, I don’t think, had I not been sent to ‘group’.

As in therapy. They don’t call it that, but that’s what it is.

After it became clear to us both that I genuinely couldn’t stop crying, that I was starting to hyperventilate and fairly much entirely lose my shit, reinforcements were sent for, in the form of a social worker.  Who talked to me for about an hour, obviously trying to assess if I was a ‘danger to myself’.

One problem I’m having, is lack of communication in the healthcare system. Should there not be some kind of central records system for everyone to access to check medications, amounts, what I can and can’t have? I think some of the reason I have struggled so badly in the last few weeks is that I’m also coping (or not coping) with unmedicated ptsd. Of course I’ve mentioned it a few times, I started having a gross reaction to my usual tablets when I started treatment last time, and since then it’s been on my ‘treatment plan’ to get something sorted.

And maybe it’s just gone too long. Getting dropped from my usual therapist didn’t help either I guess. And neither did ‘group’. I kind of knew it could go like this, with how delicate I was feeling but after the massive anxiety attack I felt like I should try, more so the social worker would feel better with sending me home, she mentioned that ‘duty of care’ thing a couple of times.

It was fairly awful, and I didn’t relate to anyone there. Not that they weren’t perfectly nice and welcoming to me. I’m just…different. I know, unique like everyone else, right? I guess my situation is unusual, but as I said to my Dr bluntly afterwards, I don’t need a social worker, I need medical professionals to do their jobs.

Total bitch moment, am I right?

Anyway, the point is I feel a little more me. Just totally embarrassed for losing it so publicly, but at least I *had* a cry, because feeling a whole heap of nothing is actually more fucked up, I think. Because this isn’t nothing, and it’s about time I stopped minimizing, and then feeling surprised when it all boils over. Not letting it become your whole life is one thing, not letting yourself grieve, and feel and just be is quite another.

x

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Now the page is no longer blank.

Someone told me to write that once, when I’ve got writer’s block.

I think it’s worked.

Thankyou to the few people who read here and emailed me to see if I’m ok…I appreciate that more than you know. I swear, you meet the nicest people blogging 🙂

It’s Sunday morning here, the sky is blue, it’s one of those gorgeous cool but sunny days. I woke up next to someone who’s not my cat, and who makes great coffee. Someone who kissed the bruising on my hands and wrists, and ran soft hands over my scar tissue skin.

We made toast and listened to U2, I’m not broke, but you can see the cracks.

Everything is temporary, but I’ll take it. Life is temporary, and mine might be a little more temporary than I was expecting, and that’s ok.

Right now, everything is ok

-deep breaths-

There are no happy endings, it’s about being here while you are. Mindfulness is about the only thing helping me right now. And noticing absolutely everything keeps me out of my own head so much, and reminds me of how special this life can be.

x

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Sorry.

I know no-one really wants to read this shit.

But I can’t talk about it, so this is what I have. Where I have.

I’m depressed.

It’s normal to be depressed. It’s a side effect of treatment. Probably also a side effect of feeling like your future is being ripped away, like you don’t want to die, but don’t want to live like this either. Balancing painkillers with productivity is hard. Trying to be strong for Bailey is hard. Making decisions about treatment and if I should send him to school and should we move back next year or sell horses but he wants his pony and I can’t see him lose one more thing is really motherfucking hard.

So I just try and try and try, because of one little boy who is unlucky enough to have me as the centre of his world, and try not to think too much, because it forces me out of that dark numbing depression but into something worse. Its the reminders that the stupid dog has his life more together than I do, that I have 3 horses that I can’t bear to sell, and can’t bear the stress of keeping.

It’s the ‘you might die, and what about him?’, feeling Craig’s desperation as he hugs me on Mother’s Day, every second person telling me about someone who’s dying or dead from cancer, ‘but that won’t happen to you’.

The aching, chills and hot flushes and feeling like 80% of my skin is covered in newly sensitive scar tissue.

I’ll take my numb bubble, for now.

Except my mind won’t let me.

It keeps forcing it’s way out, like it’s bubbling over and I just want to scream at it to leave me alone because I can cope this way.

I know this isn’t how I’ve really been feeling lately, I can read back here and see that, and the way I’m swinging like a pendulum scares me in an abstract, removed, clinical kind of way.

I see myself from the outside, joking and smiling, making breakfast, reading with Bailey and it almost confuses me. Talking to friends, them saying ‘you can cry anytime’…I couldn’t if I wanted to.  I’d love to.

You know it’s fucked when having a cry because you have cancer seems like an unattainable goal.

I’d love to go and ride, dance with my son, skip along the beach and try and shake this ‘nothing…now screaming anxiety….more nothing….PAIN’ cycle but every. part. of my body. hurts.

This is the part where I have a miracle remission, find Jesus, and meet the most wonderful man in the world, right?

x

 

 

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to say I’m starting a new treatment tomorrow…today, actually, it’s 12:45 am, I can’t sleep.

Basically some stem cells get taken from me…they get frozen. When they have a little bank of them, I have some high dose medication (a different type of chemo, and something else). Then they put them back, to help repair some of the damage to my body.

Honestly, when he talked to me about it…I wasn’t keen. But I can understand the logic, and know that since I really want to best chance I’m lucky to have this available to me – and that I respond to it  (apparently it’s not a common treatment here). I think of being like a garden, it’s really hard to go and spray every individual weed…sometimes places get so infected, it’s easier and more effective to poison the lot, then replant the stuff you want to grow :).

x

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This is something I’ve wanted to write about for awhile. Of course I mean absolutely no offense and I know there are plenty of genuine family men out there who wouldn’t dream of straying. I’m sure there are also single men with morals and standards (call me)…I just haven’t met heaps of either lately.

*****

Being single can be hard. It was hard last year, being the new mum in a small school community, from the next (also small) town. Single mums are the furthest thing from a rarity here, and despite what that says about the socio-economic structure, I’m enjoying it. When I lived ‘up the hill’ it was a rarity. I was a rarity. I was naïve enough to think it wouldn’t matter, because it wouldn’t matter to me.

I shouldn’t feel like I have to defend myself but I do. So here’s the disclaimer. I know that fairly often, when I have guy problems, some of the problem is me. I am far from a man-hater. I’ve been in a really bad head-space and at times I’ve unwittingly made people suffer along with me. Here, here, and here. Bad decisions, not being clear on how ill-equipped I really truly was for a relationship because I enjoy the fun parts, letting a nice guy try to talk me around. Not fair. Not nice. Not who I am inside.

However, in these instances I really didn’t do a thing. If a man is attached, to me, he’s unavailable. That’s it. It’s not worth the drama, and causing someone else pain. Sure, he’ll probably do it anyway. Not with me he won’t.

Yeah, I had some problems with other people’s husbands.

And I’m feeling ashamed writing this.

I just, don’t understand, I guess. One incident, which I could write pages on, was (still is, amazingly) one of my closest friends’ husbands… I mean we were all friends, to the point of him talking about how his kids from his first marriage are so close in age to me, that it felt like I was ‘another one of the kids’.

After, I was just like ‘Why? How could you? She’s in the next room. She’s gorgeous and she trusts you.’

And when she asked me to tell her the truth, I did mostly and it just sucked so bad.

That was after it dragged out for about a week, honestly one of the worst weeks of my life, with the he said, she said, wanting to vomit at every school run.

It’s really hard to be social with other mums, without getting to know their husbands. And more than once when I’ve chatted about this (without using specifics about what happened with who), one of my gorgeous friends has been like ‘Yeah, you have to be so careful. It’s not fair. You’d be totally fine with my hubby though’ with such assurance, and my heart has broken for her when it’s turned out that he’s not worthy of her level of trust.

Do men think that because I’m single it doesn’t count or something?

I know socially I can be funny and bright and helpful. But I don’t flirt with my friends partners, I wouldn’t even sit next to them. Does smiling and saying hi to someone constitute an invitation to be groped next time I pass him alone on my way to the bathroom? Does him pouring me a wine give him the right to ask me about ‘a bit of quiet fun’ next time we’re alone in the school carpark?

And you know what, if a man is committed it shouldn’t matter what I do or don’t do.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t contribute to my decision to cocoon up in my hometown for this year.

I’m complicated. For anyone who’s been reading here for a little while, it’s no secret how much I enjoy physical affection…but these experiences made me feel cheap and dirty and ashamed. I don’t enjoy being touched uninvited, by someone who shouldn’t even be thinking of me that way. And -I’m justifying again- I never dated locally. As far as anyone knew there, I was single and celibate and happy that way. I was discreet…I guess what I’m trying to say, for lack of eloquent wording, is that I don’t come across ‘easy’, I’m not ‘known for being open with myself’, quite the contrary.

Is infidelity not as big a deal to others as it is to me?

Can anyone shed any light at all on this for me?

x

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Does anyone else remember, like 5 years ago, when the craze on Facebook was ‘notes’? Before e-cards, status shuffle and Timeline :). Dredged this up from the archives…

1. Real Name: Ashley Jane, and it’s really not that hard to find my last name here, but I’m still not going to make it quite this easy 🙂

2. Like it?:  Nope

3. Favorite Sport: Dressage. Used to love Barrel Racing too.

4. Zodiac sign: On the cusp of Gemini and Cancer

5. Male or female: Female

6.  Elementary: Catholic school first off, then the local government…

7. Middle: Hmmm guess this is American, middle school only taking off here now

8. High: Jesus Christ. An experience. I was probably horrible.

9. College: Haven’t finished. Probably won’t.

10. Hair color: Changes every time it falls out and grows back. Right now dark, and pink and purple.

11. Eye color: Brown 🙂

12. Hair length: Short, spiky, hate it.

13. Current worry:  I’d really like to sleep tonight.

14. Race: Aussie :). Lotsa Spanish, some English and irish.

15. Are you a health freak: I fucking well should be…

16. Height: Short. 5’1ish.

17. Do you have a crush on someone: Masses of people, actually 😛

18. Do you like yourself: Sometimes 🙂

19. Piercings: Ears

20. Tattoos: Just one, Bailey on my wrist.

21. Righty or lefty: Righty – started off ambidextrous but left is ‘the devils hand’ apparently… 

 

FIRSTS-

22. First surgery: Caesarean – thanks Bman!

23. First piercings: Ears

24. First friend: Can’t remember. Can I count our Lassie-dog? Bluey.

25. First award: No idea now.

26. First sport: Uhhh…dancing I think…tee ball?

27. First pet: Bluey I guess, my mums an animal freak like me so we had lots when I was little,

28.  First vacation: Bali and Singapore I think. Would’ve been 4.

29.  First teacher: Can’t remember.

30. First crush:  I don’t know…would’ve been any surfie type I guess 🙂

 

THIS OR THAT-

31. Orange or apple juice: Apple

32. Rock or rap: Rock if I had to pick forever, I like both though.

33. Country or scream o: What is screamo? Probably still that, lol.

34. NYSNC or Backstreet Boys: I feel like I should just leave this…but I had a massive Nick Carter crush growing up.

35. Britney Spears or Christina Aguliera: Neither generally, I think Christina’s got some actual talent though.

36. Night or day: Night.

37. Sun or moon: Moon.

38. TV or internet:  Internet.

39. Playstation or XBOX: Xbox, although I really have no idea about that gaming stuff.

40. Kiss or hug: Both at the same time please.

41. Iguana or turtle: Turtle.

42. Spider or bee: Holy fuck.

43. Fall or spring: Either. As long as it’s not Summer, I’m good.

44. Limewire or iTunes: iTunes

45. THIS LINE IS MOSTLY FILLER – um. ok.

46. Soccer or baseball:  Not really a ball sport kinda chick…

 

CURRENTLY

50. Drinking: Water.

51. I’m about to: Try and sleep.

53. Singing: Crack the Shutters – Snow Patrol

54. Typing: Fuck, I don’t know smartass…

 

FUTURE-

55. Want kids: I sure hope so at this point…

56. When: Almost six years ago seems about right..

57. Want to get married: *cringe*

58. When: God. Stop.

59. Where do you want to live: Hmm. Somewhere cool. North America, east coast-ish.

60. How many kids do you want: One is fine.

61. Any names on the mind: Bman. Haha.

62. What did you want to be when you were little: Everything. I wanted to write and have a dairy farm for agessss.

63. What do you think you’ll be doing: Kicking cancer’s ass hopefully.

64. Mellow future or wild: Either would be fantastic at this point 🙂

65 THIS LINE IS ALSO FILLER

66. Something you would never try: Um. Skydiving, bungee jumping etc. No interest.

67. When do you wanna die: I don’t.

 

WHICH IS BETTER WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX-

68. Lips or eyes: Eyes.

69. Hugging or kissing: Both

70. Shorter or taller: Taller than me, but still on the short side, haha.

71. Tan skinned or light: Don’t mind.

72. Romantic or spontaneous: Both, romantically spontaneous sounds pretty hot.

73. Dark or light hair: Don’t mind.

74. Muscular or normal: -shrug-

75. Hook-up or relationships: Hook ups for now, but really I’m a relationship person.

76. Similar to you or different: Hmm. Similar in some ways would work for me I think.

 

HAVE YOU EVER-

78. Kissed a stranger: Hell yes.

79. Drank bubbles: Maybe?

80. Broken a bone: Only toes.

81. Climbed up a tree: Yep.

82. Broken someones heart: Probably. Yes.

83. Turned someone down: Yep.

84. Had your heart broken: nope never 😉

85. Liked a friend as more than a friend: Of course.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN-

86. Yourself: I’m trying to.

87. Miracles: Yes.

88. Love at first sight: In a way.

89. Santa clause: I wish.

90. Kiss on first date: Sure.

91. Angels: Not so much.

 

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY-

92. Is there one or more people you want to be with right now: Yes.

93. Who is it: Anyone who would lie in bed, rub my back and put up with me sooking?

94. Like someone: Not like…in particular…but yeah I guess?

 

LASTS-

95. Text message: My bestie, just saying Lol. I’m so articulate.

96. Received call: Crazy friend who I love.

97. Call made: Hospital.

98. Facebook message: One of my best friends, who I met through blogging.

99. Missed call: My Dad.

100. Last hung out with: Bestie and Bailey.

:)x

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