That Dark Lonely Place…..

That’s where I have been recently…

It is a very lonely place when you are burdened with a chronic pain condition. For the last six years I have suffered mine. Anger, despair, isolation, desperation….. but also acceptance. During the latter half of 2013 until August 2014 I had a period of normal pain. Normal pain is there every day, every morning and every night but it is manageable. I can just about function, be a mum, be a friend, be employed and enjoy my passion for all things equestrian. Life is ok, I feel blessed for my two healthy children, supportive friends, my handsome four legged boy. I can actually enjoy life.

Then the flare comes… August this year, out of the blue, no warning. Just bam! Here I am!! A big flare and the aint nothing you can do about it Im going to wreck your life for as long as I please! And so it did.

Until four days ago, as quickly as it arrived, it left. Sunday afternoon.. nothing special happening… no change in my day, what I’ve eaten, what I’ve drank….  nothing different to the last two and a half months…. its just left. Oddly I was at my breaking point the evening before. The lowest of my lows, many tears and desperately lonely.

So, four days on and I am very much hoping my body has recovered, that the inflammation has calmed. IC is a silent predator, I still have it, its still lurking in there. I can feel it every day. I still use six catheters a day…. should I dare to hope? Should I make plans? It could come back at any minute. This is my plan…. enjoy everyday. x

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Times Are A Changing.

020Hello wordpress world, there have been a few changes in my little world of late. The most monumental was my youngest son starting primary school.

I was a tad anxious about A starting school but a week in and so far so good. It took him such a long time to settle into the nursery routine I was concerned he may find school difficult. I know its early days but Im really happy and he seems very happy too! Seeing him dressed in his school uniform, shirt and tie, makes me burst with pride and  tear in my eye. My baby is growing up too fast.

The other big change was, not quite as momentous as the first but actually more stressful!

Ten days ago I took the decision to move yards. After 6 months of trying to accommodate other people, watching my horse become more and more neurotic and the increased yard politics, I couldn’t stay there a day longer. Ive been thinking of moving for some time originally hoping to rent a small yard myself. It quickly became apparent that this option was just about impossible. So, after looking at a couple of yards where DIY was available I picked one. The following day I told the yard owner I was leaving in three days. End of!!  

Moving day was Saturday 17th, with the help of my very good friend, it went with out a hitch! that was the first good omen. Arriving at our new home during a torrential down pour ( I was on my third jacket by this time) we were greeted by the yard owner Denise.

Denise owns the yard but most of it is rented by a professional showjumper and his partner where they produce youngsters for competition. They also have their own horses plus schooling liveries (people who pay them to work their horses) The pro’s horses are like the F1 of the horse world. Me and Finlay are more the RAC Rally haha!

Denise uses a couple of stables for livery horses and I am lucky to be one! Everyone appears to be friendly and helpful, a really laid back atmosphere!

With in an hour of being in his new stable Finlay was already calmer. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing, this horse who had become so upset in his previous stable where even grooming him had become impossible was now completely chilled out!!

Five days on and he’s just getting better and better! He now doesn’t bother when his neighbour goes out leaving him, he doesn’t barge the door or chew constantly. He has his own paddock next to his stable neighbour and is now happily turnout out everyday!

Non horsey readers will think, whats all the fuss about lol, well moving a horse is a bit like moving house! Stress! But now that its all done I couldn’t be happier! I finally have my lovely boy back, my lovely big Finlay is happy again x

Graduation Days!

This little family of mine has had some major events recently. Two graduations at opposite ends of the education system.

My youngest son who is five graduated from nursery a week ago on Friday! Complete with mortar board and certificate they had a great time! With lots of party games, balloons and general mayhem! It was a wonderful to see my little guy growing up and now ready for his first year of primary starting in August.

The second graduation was on Wednesday the 4th of July in Aberdeen. This one was a whole lot more serious, less games and balloons more pomp and ceremony! My eldest son Ben who is 22 years old this month graduated with a degree in Language & Linguistics. Four years of hard work and study finally realised! Not only did he achieve his degree but he worked his way through University to support himself financially! To say Im proud of him is an understatement!

We travelled up to Aberdeen on the Wednesday, its around 200 hundred miles or so, and stayed in a very lovely hotel. It was more than I could afford but I wanted this trip to be special for Ben, something he would remember. We had a good drive up and arrived at the Ardoe Country House Hotel mid afternoon. Set in its own country estate with spa, swimming pool and tennis courts, I could’ve stayed for a week!

I haven’t travelled much since I was diagnosed with IC so I was a little apprehensive but I managed to cope with its challenges throughout the trip. Staying in a hotel is a real novelty for my youngest son who proceeded to charm and amuse hotel staff and guests alike! Of course going to sleep even when exhausted was a tall order, he didn’t give in to the tiredness until we were all in bed and lights off around 11pm.

The following morning we had to be at the University early to collect robes and have photographs taken. Having ones photos taken that early in the morning is not for the faint hearted! I fear I may look rather old and haggard (photos have not arrived yet) However seeing my first born standing there in his robes and mortar board made me burst with pride. With his little brother gazing up at him in complete awe just made my heart melt.

Photos done, we proceeded over to the great hall. My youngest had his ipod to keep him amused during the ceremony but we did have to be seated quite some time before it actually started. As the graduates filed in I could see Ben walking to his seat, tall and proud. After all the initial introductions the chancellor lead the prayer. Cue mini melt down from youngest! Just when it all went quiet he changed games to the running dinosaur which had a very catchy theme tune. Would he turn it down? Nope! When a very pompous grumpy man turned around making obviously disapproving gestures I felt mortified. For fear of a total tantrum I did my best to reason with him, to no avail.

After 15 minutes of very bad behaviour he clamed down ( little shit!) and managed to just about see through the rest of the ceremony without further upset.

Near the end of the degree presentations it was time for Ben to receive his, until this point I had kept myself together pretty well but as soon as he made his way to the stage I felt the tears come. Tears of joy, pride and love for my son who was the first in our extended family to attend University. I quickly picked up my phone to distract myself and recorded this amazing moment in mine and my sons life.

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As we (the families) were leaving the great hall, after the graduates, a very kind couple came over and said to my youngest what a good boy he was sitting through the ceremony. I said how I felt others were disgusted that Id brought my sons little brother and that he had disrupted their enjoyment. They said on the contrary and that he did really well! I felt so much better and started to relax a little.

Outside the sun was shining and we enjoyed the atmosphere, watching  everyone milling around, with some wearing amazing traditional dress of students families who were of African origin. So many different cultures, it truly was a great day!

Back at our hotel we packed and checked out, if only I could afford to stay another night. Youngest stated he wanted to stay for a 100 days!! The drive home was long, I was very tired but we arrived safely and negotiated Glasgow rush hour to get back to Ayrshire around 6pm.

Two days later I’m still on a high. The trip used up this years holiday money but it was worth it. Maybe we will have a holiday next year. x

Its Good To Talk

Its good to talk, so said a very old tv advert for a telecoms company. I agree, it is good to talk, especially during times of turmoil. So why do some men find it impossible to talk, ask for help or allow anyone in?

Is it that we are all a product of our upbringing, have we learned patterns of behaviour from our parents? Or is it based on gender?

I raised one son on my own and now 20 years later find myself in the same position. My eldest son who is approaching his 22nd birthday communicates well, he and I have always had a good relationship. From an early age I encouraged him to talk, talk about anything and everything and I now do the same with my five year old.

I think its vitally important that young children learn to talk, especially boys.

We are all a product of our upbringing to a certain extent but we can also learn! We can learn from our past mistakes. Isnt that the point of making mistakes? To learn from them?? I guess no one can be forced, one must be ready to talk and accept help but watching someone go through that process is heart breaking.

I went through a very tough couple of years after separating from my ex. I thought the stress and heart break would never end. But it did and I learned a few things about myself. I admitted to myself that I hadn’t treated others as well as I could have in the past. Id been very selfish and took many things and people for granted. That experience along with the chronic pain condition I have made me more humble, more appreciating of what really is important in life.

As I watch my friend suffer the demise of his marriage in a foreign country far from friends and family all I can do is offer a shoulder to lean on. I can see his turmoil. I can see alcohol controlling his emotions. I can see through his attempts at humour to ward off any sympathy or words of affection. His family reach out to him yet he rejects all offers of help. I talk about gaining some control again, I plead with him to stop drinking but then I think, is this what he has to go through to learn the lesson? To learn from past mistakes? To learn to talk?  

Its easy to shut oneself off from all emotion in the aftermath of a difficult relationship. I’m still wary of letting myself feel anything for a member of the opposite sex but it does get easier with time. As for my friend, I really don’t know if he will trust ever again. 

I hope he finds the strength be open and honest and more importantly talk. Exorcise those demons G x    

 

IC : A Better Day

Finally a day with less pain!

Interstitial cystitis has a mind of its own, it makes up the rules and you must follow. You have no choice, no control. 

Two weeks ago my symptoms worsened, for what reason I do not know. I ate the same things, drank only water, took my meds… but the last two weeks have been awful. That is until today!

Finally a day of moderate pain but manageable levels. I rode my horse, played with my son in the garden on a beautiful sunny afternoon and took a short shopping trip to my favourite butchers for some local  free range organic food.  

Will I sleep tonight? Would be lovely to have a good sleep after two weeks of interrupted slumber. It would be the icing on the cake and Im praying this isn’t a blip. To have two good days in a row would really cheer me up!

I have received an appointment with my Consultant in four weeks time. This will be the first time I have seen him since the failed procedure on 28th December 2012. I have mixed feeling about this, on one hand I am really angry that (1) He never explained the possible negative outcomes. (2) He didn’t bother to see me post-op and (3) There was very little post-op follow up. I was left to get on with it basically.

On the other hand, what is the point of seeing him at all?! I know there is nothing more that can be done and I know I’ll just be annoyed the moment I see him, annoyed at his lax attitude to my treatment. There are no other options apart from removing the bladder.

Maybe one day scientists will create a cure or an artificial bladder… who knows! 

I live in hope.