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I am 45 years old, Married to Sean for nearly 20 years and have 3 lovely children Hope is 16, Jack is 12 and Joe is 6.

Monday, 31 December 2012

As a new year beckons

I have neglected my blog for far too long but life has somewhat taken over shall we say. One of my resolutions for 2013 is to give it more attention, maybe having the added bonus of it being a real catharsis when I do write it.

I can quite honestly say 2012 has probably been the worst year I can remember since 1992/3 (nothing to do with turning 40 of course ;-) . When I was diagnosed with cancer, underwent all the treatment and subsequently discovered it had all been unnecessary, due to a wrong diagnosis. Or 1996 when I finally had my leg amputated.

This year, as well as the usual struggles, stresses and strains, that come with daily life, a family and running a business. There have been far too many hospital visits and stays for our immediate and extended family, culminating with 6 year old Jack having surgery for a badly broken arm at the beginning of December.

Sadly once again we have repeatedly been let down by the NHS, not even just the usual inefficiencies and waits but lies, incompetences and much more.

In amongst that however we have met and been supported by some fabulous nurses and consultants who as they say 'have gone above and beyond'. Sadly they have not 'restored the faith' but reminded us of the human element of this system.

The past 6 months with Mum's hospital stay and subsequent death, after a very traumatic spell in intensive care has pushed us all to the the limit at one point or other. Being part of and waiting for lengthy investigations to take place has been a living hell

To have her so cruelly taken was heartbreaking. I cannot describe though the swell of pride I felt for my most amazing role model, as I delivered her eulogy in her village church where there was barely standing room left. Or when I watched my father accept the degree posthumously on her behalf that she so very nearly finished.

One thing she would have been exceptionally proud of is how close it has brought my Dad, Brother and I. We have pulled together through this nightmare and are starting to come out the other side. Things will NEVER be the same without her and it is hard not to feel bitter and angry standing in a cemetery, in the pouring rain, whilst placing a tinsel covered wreath made by three little children who miss her terribly.

This couldn't have been done either without our other halves quietly propping us up throughout it all.

I also give thanks to those friends who have provided what we have needed, when we have needed it, often when we have not even known what it was! A card, a hug, a casserole, child care, a costa coffee!!! And as for those who haven't, well as they say people come and go eh, even those you least expect.

I must move into the New Year bearing in mind a quotation from the book 'The Life of Pi' ' “Things don’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.’’

Here's wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2013, with the strength to face all that life throws at us.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Only a small cut......

....makes or breaks things...when you're a leg amputee.

Often there's no reason it's happened, nothing's changed, you've put your leg on like you did the day before, you use the same lotions and potions, do the same activities and yet....when you take the leg off it looks like someone's been at it with a cheese grater (and one of those cheapo ones too so they're even sharper ;-) 

In reality the only way it heals is leaving the leg off. Errrr not possible with a nearly-one-year-old, two big kids and an active job. Ha, forget the optional extras like going to the gym. The thoughts of going to pick the cat dishes up to feed them makes you wince just thinking about it, not to mention lugging a 11kg baby on your other hip!! This isn't being dramatic either, it's just REALITY. 

The most frustrating thing is the quick change. From being able to be so active to being so incapacitated literally overnight. I KNOW it's my own fault too as I dared say to the osteopath yesterday how difficult it must be, physically and psychologically, for those with a progressive,  changing impairment as 'mine is pretty static and I know what I'm dealing with' - famous last words.

People always suggest plasters, padding, dressings etc and this is a good idea but from years of experience I've found they have to be small enough to be able to get on the awkward shaped end of the residual limb, sticky enough to stay in place in the warm, damp environment BUT not too sticky that they rip the rest of the skin off around them on removal OR disintegrate over the course of the day. Padded enough to provide some cushioning but not too padded that you can't get the intimately fitting liner over the top! So, yes, a minefield in other words! Off back to the chemist and docs shortly looking for solutions. 

I guess the only thing I can liken it to is a popped blister on your heel where your shoe has rubbed and the skin is red raw then you STILL have to wear the same shoe, with no added protection. Errrrr x 10 :-) 

It does worry me because as times goes on, with, dare I say it....AGE (OMG yes I am FORTY this winter!) the flesh and muscle lessens and the skin thinner, no matter what you do, therefore the bone protrudes quite a lot. And there's NOTHING you can do about it. 

So, you may say, get used to it, it's life as a leg amputee and the reality is these times will become more and more frequent over the years. Well it is easier said than done because you DO get on with life, manage, have an equilibrium of what you are able and are not able to do, then POW out of the blue, not anymore. You have to rethink your activities, how you'll get places, even seemingly simple things like walking the children round to school from the car park. It makes you frustrated and cross. I know it won't be forever, this is short lived and there are of course people far worse off but 'bad leg days' STINK.

Oh well at least I actually sit down for once, with sleeping baby on lap and actually have chance to update this blog on my iPhone! 

Thankfully I have such a good other half and friends who take some the stress away.

I was listening to a great radio show the other day with an ex marine injured in The Falklands who picked  Chumbawumba's 'I get knocked down and I get up again' as his final song choice. Brilliant! It's definately my new mantra!