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I had such a fun day, a friend of a friend texted me inviting me to go to the bodies exhibition. I headed in to meet her encountering the latest protest along the way. The thing that struck me most about the exhibition was that although they are real human bodies how unsqeamish I was about it. It was presented in a easy to understand scientific way. The most disconcerting thing I found was that the flesh on the body reminded me a little too much of boiled ham in the colour and the fat perhaps due to the preserving process that is used. I don't think I will be able to look at that meat in the same way again!

Also important to me were the exhibits which showed samples of organs with cancer. It's hard to put into words and explain but I had this image in my mind of cancer. It's big and scary and horrible and even though I have googled cancer and seen images of it, seeing cancer in the flesh (literally) takes away some of the .... fear... I guess.. of it. There were cross sections of livers and lungs with cancer and it was just like I saw on my Mam's xrays, dark spots. A particularly effective exhibit was the one showing a smokers lungs compared to a non smokers lungs. I know there are some who read this who may smoke so I won't harp on about it. However beside the exhibit was a clear perspex box which encouraged people who may smoke to dispose of their cigarettes. It was half full. I saw a pancreas and was struck by how small it was. The pancreas is where my mam had her primary tumour and after seeing this small organ I was struck by how fine a balance our bodies need to maintain to stay healthy. My mams tumour was roughly an inch long. It's still hard for me to imagine something this small, this...insignificant in size is what made her so ill and ultimately led to her death. There were cancers of the penis, cancers of the trachea, all sorts of cancer and I think this was such an interesting thing to see, to take the fear out of it. I know some people may not agree but it helped me.

After the exhibition we went for food then to the movies. He's just not that into you. Surprisingly good. It didn't give the fairytale ending that I expect of movies like this but more like an ending which was right for each of the characters.

It was a fun day and I think I have me another single friend :)
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Busy busy busy busy. I have one more trip to make tonight to a friends to drop off her xmas present, then I will be in hibernation house mode. Speaking of the house it desperately needs to be cleaned. In that annoying way that men of my dad's generation are it generally falls on me to do the brunt of the housework. I don't really mind, true enough its not on my scale of fun things to do but there is a certain sense of satisfaction that surveying all the clean space around me brings. However this cleaning lark dropped off since I started studying for my exams a few weeks ago and having social engagements every night since they ended (yes been out every night for two weeks, yes am exhausted, yes have reached end of sociable tether)means that I am rather horrified as I survey the piles of rubble and rubbish where there used to be clean floor. In fairness to him he cleaned the kitchen and his tv room and it looks great but he's been off work since last friday, it would have been nice if the cleaning extended into the hall or indeed the landing.

On top of this I couldn't find nice flowers for my Mam's grave so instead bought bunches of holly, leaf twiggy things with red berries and pussy willow in a moment of madness thinking "I can make a wreath/arrangement". Clearly I must have been on crack while thinking this, my fingers are so black they have almost fallen off and I have never done a flower arrangement in my life not to mention the whole lack of time thing. I bought some florists wire and this other gold wire stuff so hopefully I should be able to cobble something together that dosen't look like a deranged three year old did it. Hey does tinsel go funky outside? I was thinking of winding some tinsel around the dodgey bits (you know there will be dodgey bits) but am wondering if it will look ok when it rains?

Read )

Ok off to friends, pick up some redbull on the way home then attempt to build a wreath. You have no idea how tempting my bed is right now....
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Snickollet posted a rather interesting blog the other day. While I miss my mother simply because she was my Mam and has always been in my life I also miss the little things she used to do. She was a fabulous seamstress, worked as one professionally before she met my dad. She could alter clothes, hem, take in, let out like nobodies business. Bless her heart she tried so hard to teach me to sew and use a sewing machine. However sewing is most definitely not my forte. I would listen and practise and still end up with wobbly hems, the thread getting stuck in the fabric and lets not even go there with the sewing machine, suffice to say you can sew fabric to your fingers. She eventually admitted defeat and presented me with knitting needles. I can just about knit a scarf. Can't do purle (pearl puarl, sp?) as the wool has a tendancy to snap. I am not a crafty person and admire those people who are naturally, like Mam.

She used to do my laundery. For 20 bucks all my washing for that week would be done plus folded and placed neatly in the basket. Doing laundary is one of my most hated tasks. I have been known to buy new clothes rather the wash the ones I have. She would cook yummy dinners, nothing fancy but what I like to term mammy food, soups and stews, roasts and jelly and ice cream. She was a homebody so I could order stuff off the internet knowing she would be there when it was delivered.

I miss her for the richness she brought to my life but I also miss her for the things she did to help make my life easier.
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Today marks the 364th day of my mothers death. According to the old wives tales you need a year and a day to grieve. That way you get all the "first" anniversaries out of the way. Yeaaah.

Truthfully I cannot believe almost a year has past since she left. The time between her getting sick, getting diagnosed and ultimately passing away was four months. A whirlwind of sickness and death. The days after felt so long as my mind caught up with what had happened. There is so so much care involved in someone so sick making sure they are comfortable,clean, that the pill scheduale is adhered to (of utmost importance when its pain relief we are talking about)not to mention entertaining them, knowing when they need company, knowing when to shoo the ever present visitors away, the many many many questions to ask of social workers, hospice nurses, community nurses. We did this for less then a week but it was one of the most exhausting stressful miserable periods in my life. With that comes the guilt. It was my mother not some stranger I should feel blessed that we had the time with her, to look after her. Instead all I feel is a bitterness, that life is so unfair, that hideous cancers still have no cure. Most of all I am incredibly angry at god. Furious. Not because she got sick but because of all the cancers out there she got this one. This one that is hard to diagnose until its too late, this one where the only treatments involved are a huge surgery if it is diagnosed in time or palliative care to preserve quality of life in the remaining time they have left. Which more often then not is less then a year.

Read )
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So I read the news about Patrick Swayze and while I feel terrible for him and his family and hope with all my heart there is a happy ending I can't help but feel pancreatic cancer is finally, finally being shown for the agressive, life sucking, terrible disease that it is. The cloth of mystery has been thrown off and due to a high profile actor this cancer is being seen for what it is. I posted an entry last year after my mother had been given her diagnosis. I remember when the doctor broke the news thinking, surely chemotherapy might cure her. I'm grimly chuckling in my head how naive I was. Most times this cancer is not detected early enough because the pancreas are located so deep in the body. Problems only arise when patients complain of secondary illnesses. By then the cancer has usually spread to other organs and treatment is that much harder, more aggressive and ultimately less successful.

More )
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So today is mothers day this side of the pond. I can't help but think of this day last year. When she was still alive. We hadn't yet learnt the cause of her being in pain and so tired. She was in good spirits though. The doctors had started to get her pain under control which while good made her more sleepy as a result of the high does of meds needed to manage it. Still though it was a beautiful day so we went outside and spent an hour wandering around the grounds of the hospital, her admiring the flowers coming out in bloom and me slightly panting as I pushed the chair up an incline to get to the rosebushes she loved. We sat there beside the rose bushes her in her chair me on the bench and I took out one of her presents, a freshly made coffee slice from the local bakery. We made small talk, she liked to know what was going on in the outside world with our family, the neighbours, my friends... She started to get breathless and it was time to go back inside, to get her back to her oxygen. Once back inside, she opened the rest of her presents, an outfit for her homecoming (even though we didn't know when that would be), a set of books and a small pot of flowers, mini daffodils. She loved those and sitting here today I can see the ceramic pot they were in on my desk. The daffodils are gone like her. She wore her outfit when she came home and then again a week and half later when she was buried. She was too tired to read the books. They still sit on her bedside table.

Today the weather is reflecting my mood. Grey clouds with an occsional heavy shower interspered with golden bursts of sunlight. In a few hours I will put flowers on her grave. I haven't been to see her since christmas. I've used the excuse of my car being broken as the reason I haven't gone up to the grave. I prefer not to dig too hard to find the real reason. Happy Mothers day. It will be less painful next year I hope.
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Happy Birthday to me, Happy birthday to me, Happy birthday to meeeeeeee-eeeeee, Happy birthday to meeeee.

Thats the noise of my inner voice today. Surprisingly it was a fairly good birthday. It was helped I think from the build up of it.

Thursday a bank brought me and boss lady out for lunch. It was nice but awkward as we didn't have much in common with the dealers so there was awkward pauses. Boss lady and I scarpered then decided instead of going back to work why don't we just go to the pub instead. In fairness we would have only been back in work for half an hour before we could go home but still, yay for having a boss the same age as me. We got to know each other a bit better, she told me about her diasturous love life and I told her about mine. We got to meet some people from the job that we only ever talked to on the phone. It was a good night. Friday some of the work crowd went for dinner for my birthday. This is huge in my book. The biggest difference I've noticed between new job and old job is that in new job nobody likes to hang out after office hours. Fair enough I guess and in old job we probably hung out too much after work but I think you get to your co workers better with a little outside office socialising. That was cool and we all got on really well.

Saturday rolls around and off I go hideously early for an eye test. While there I decide seeing as its my birthday weekend I should really treat myself to those prada glasses I've been lusting over for months (I'm the Imelda Marcos of the glasses world shhh). While I'm waiting on glasses to be done I decide seeing as I'm in town why not do a little shopping. This is a new experiance for me. As I work in town I seldom go in at the weekends as if I need to pick anything up I can do it on my lunch hour. As a result I rush and it's only enough time for essential items. The luxury of having time to wander around did not do anything good for my bank balance. I came out with a pair of gorgeous knee length black leather boots, two pairs of jeans, three dresses, underwear, two tops, some fishnet stockings and a new book. Then I lugged all that back to pick up my beautiful new glasses. Off home to realx for a few hours then time to get ready for a night out. Myself Shiv and Nat headed to TGI's for food and lotsa cocktails. Actually Nat was the dessie driver so she was on the dry. Anyways dessert rolls round and imagine my surprise when the staff come over with a birthday cake for me. Yay! After that we headed to a club where we chatted and boogied around. I got chatted up by a group of guys and although nothing came of it, it was still a nice ego boost (at least I don't look old!). Oh I got a gorgeous ipod nano off Shiv and Nat says she has something for me too. Yay for great friends.

The best thing of all though was a card I got from Dad. A bit of back story, my mam always got me a card for my birthday, I have them all saved up. She was always great at remembering peoples birthdays and anniverseries and all that sort of stuff. I was pretty upset this year because there would be no more cards from her. I just accepted it. Dad and I are crap at cards and gift giving so neither of us expects much from the other. However Dad took the time to buy a card and sign it. It really touched me. I have it on my bedside table. Its nothing fancy but the inscription inside makes me happy. "From the one and only, your Da". So although there were sad tears at missing her terribley, there were also happy smiles of feeling loved by my family and friends.
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I just realised this Sunday is the last Sunday I will be 26. I've come to the conclusion that it's not so much my birthday I dislike but endings. Its rather like a great movie. Although you enjoy the ending you can't help wishing it would go on forever because your just enjoying being in the present so much watching it. I'm not a fan of change, never have been and I don't want to be 27. When I was 26 my Mam was still alive. When I turn 27 she won't be there to give me my birthday card. Or for that matter to remind my Dad it's my birthday. Both of us are so crap at remembering dates it was Mam who always gave us the nudge that it was so and so's birthday and did we want to get a present. Sigh. Popular belief says it take a year and a day to grieve for someone. That way all the first anniverseries are over with. It dosen't mention just how sucky it is having to go through the anniverseries though.

In Dad news he went to the Doctor after I made the appointment for him (he wasn't happy about that) and the Doctor told him he must cut out alcohol, that the pain in his stomach and chest he's getting is from that. He also put him on daily medication which when I google the name of says it's for treatment of "reflux oesophagitis, duodenal and benign gastric ulcers, including those complicating NSAID therapy. Healing and prophylaxis of NSAID-associated benign gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. H. pylori eradication in peptic ulcer disease. Prophylaxis of acid aspiration. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome."* Lovely. He also told Dad he wanted him to go for some blood tests. Dad refused point blank to go to the hospital so the Doc said he would do the blood draw in the surgery. It was the same Doctor that treated Mam. He drew bloods from her too. I'd be lying if I said the paralells didn't make me extremely uneasy. I think Dad feels the same. He came home in a rage saying no Doctor was going to tell him what to do especially one whos only half his age (yes he has problems taking advice from young'ns). I calmed him down saying we'd see how the ground lies when he gets the results of the blood test back. I also pointed out it was nearly ten years since he had gone for a checkup and it might not be such a bad idea for the Doc to be a little more thourogh then he would be for a usual annual checkup. I managed to calm him down enough that he rang the surgery and confirmed he would be in for the blood test on Tuesday. So thats the first hurdle out of the way. I am probably overreacting but I am slooowly starting to freak the fuck out on the inside.

*yes Dr. Google is not my friend, I don't take stuff from the interweb as gospel.
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Sigh, so Dad hasn't been feeling well for the past few days. He's had stomach pain for the past week but it has gotten worse over the past three or so days. Now he's off the drink completely (yay) but all he can manage to digest is rice pudding (boo). He refuses to go to the Doctor until he has this job finished (he works for himself being a general builder and decorater)but part of me thinks he just dosen't want to see a medical professional. Which I can understand seeing how much we saw of them in 2007. I'm worried though. It's not like him to be so quiet never mind staying at home every night and going to bed at 9. He says its only a bit of stomach ache and maybe thats all it is a bit of stomach flu. Mum went to the doctor initially with a bit of back pain and we all know how that ended. Is this how its going to be anytime a relative or loved one gets sick, the feeling in the back of my head that something terrible is about to happen. Death and grief, its a funny old thing. You think you are doing fine then BAM back to square one with the crying jags and hyperventilating. Not enjoying the impending doom feeling at all.

In other (distracting) news, I've made an appointment for an assesment in Curves this thursday evening. I was all prepared for queer opening hours and excercising in the equivalent of a shed judging by some peoples reveiws of it online. However I was pleasently surprised when I went to check the place out. Its opening hours are 8am to 8pm Monday to Thursday and 8am - 7pm Friday with 9am-12pm on a Saturday. Furthermore they have changing rooms and shower facilities. Add to that is a 15 minute walk from work and it does seem an ideal solution. If all goes well on Thursday I think it may be just the thing I need. I want to feel healthy and happy in my body and hopefully this is the start on that road.
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Xmas day wasn't as bad as I anticipated. In fact other then a trip to the cemetary to lay a wreath on the grave and having an empty seat at the dinner table it was much like any other xmas. In a way it was quite peaceful knowing that this year none of the family would be expecting us to visit or indeed to answer the phone. After a fabulous dinner made by yours truely Da and I both retreated to our respective rooms, Da to read his new book that I got him and myself to sleep off the stodge. Thanks to the wonder that is digital tv I wasn't forced to watch xmas tv but instead watched eygpt day on discovery. I loves me some documenteries.

I have been feeling very unsocial lately and I've tried not to take it out on my friends when they text and ring me. I know they are just doing it out of worry for me and I'm determined to step out of this rut I find myself in, sooooo I am going to a new years eve dinner a friend is throwing. It will be full of couples most of whom I know quite well. I have't really shared this but lately I have been feeling resentment toward all these happy couples in my life. I could have really done with someone to lean on when Mam died, still could to be honest. It would be lovely to wake up with someone and lean in for a morning cuddle. The dog just isn't the same! I'm in a bit of a dating funk. I think Dave* has withdrawn from me a bit, we've gone two days without im'ing. I know xmas isn't a fabulous time of year what with his Mam gone but I get the feeling something else is going on. I also got an email from one of the guys on OKC who disappeared off the map. It turns out after we traded numbers he met a girl and has been seeing her since. Thats cool but dammit its typical! Still at least he had the manners to let me know.

Anyways back to the dinner. I'm going but have decided not to stay to ring the new year in. I think I might lose the reason if 12 comes clanging around and I have to witness all the couples smooching. So at 10.30 - 11pm I will retreat home to my bed with a sleeping pill and wake up bright and fresh on new years day. A fabulous plan I think.

Less of the bitter betty and more of the calm cathy I think...

*internet guy I met on OKC. Not his real name.
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T-1 til this stupid holiday is over.
Nerves frayed? Check.
Random incidences of crying? Check.
General grey clouds over my head? Check.
Friends trying their best to distract me but instead pissing me off more? Checkity check check.

It's not that I don't appreciate the trying to distract me and generally being caring but its in the form of "lets go out" and "will I pop round for a chat?" and "party in mine, wanna come!". They don't seem to get that I don't want to leave my Dad alone tonight. An old friend of mine is home with her (rather annoying) boyfriend and they seem to think I will be the person who knows where all the parties are. Ummm I know of a house one but I certainly won't be going. I'm sure they will do the whole "but we are only here for a few days" and "we haven't seen you in aaaaaaages" but I am choosing selfishness today and plan on telling them I'll be getting an early night. If anything is said I will bring out my laser eye stare.

Oh another thing the girls and I had a get together last Friday to exchange presents and P bailed on us as her bf was feeling neglected because she had a lot of work functions on and hadn't been able to see him all week. I haven't been able to see her since November because shes had plans with him most nights. Apparently he has plans tonight and xmas (family stuff) so won't be able to see her. She's been texting me all day asking am I going out, am I going to L's party, will she drop my present off. It's irritating that we were so close for so long and as soon as she starting going out with B the texts and phonecalls dropped right off. I probably am jealous but it dosen't make it any less irritating. I've been short with her but really I am just not up to a chat tonight seeing as I know she will want to fill me in on her and B. I am hoping my funk will pass soon.

Merry xmas!

Worn out

Dec. 10th, 2007 10:45 pm
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So....that was quite the bitter babble yesterday. Most days I'm fine but this pressure has been building and building and building and along with the fun that college exams brings finally exploded. I don't want to come off a horrible scrooge but I'm so fed up of people expecting presents off me and making comments when I don't give them their chocolates/scarf/boardgame. Plus the whole expectation of "its the holiday season you have to be happy!!!!!!!!!" is annoying the tits off me. I mean the only present I can get my mother this year is flowers on her grave. How fucked up is that.

Grief

Nov. 26th, 2007 09:55 pm
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I was over at Snickollets blog and saw this wonderful post about grieving. Or to be more precise how to help people who are grieving. Its a wonderful list and I wish it had of been there when my grief was at it's worst. I could have just handed a page out to all my friends and saved them asking "what can I do".

As Snick mentioned there are so many exhausting decisions to be made, having to think about what you need/want when a well meaning friend asks you is tough on the already hurting brain. I remember for the first week after Mam died my appetite went completely. I'd feel the vague rumblings of my empty stomach and nibble on some water crackers. A sure way to get skinny but definitely not a healthy way. It just seemed like too much effort to stand up, prepare food, turn on a cooker and decide what to eat. I felt as dead as my appetite. Having a healthy meal that can be reheated in the oven/microwave is a fabulous idea, even better is when you put on the lid/write down how long it should go in for. Funny how your never told about the physical pain that accompanies grieving. That was a nasty surprise. Not only do you feel like the world as you know it has ended but it now comes with shooting pains in your bones!!

Another thing I found hard was having to comfort someone else upon hearing of Mam's death. It was all I could do to hold my own shit together but when someone broke down and I had to comfort them? Hello emotional wreck. Definitely get close friends to break the news if you think it will help you.

One final thing, by all means I enjoy talking about my Mam however I sometimes felt backed into a corner when people insisted on wanting to "be there for me". I appreciate it sure but at times it felt like I was being goaded until I was visibly upset. I remember in particular when I went back to work a boss type manager taing me into her office and asking was there anything she could do for me. I politely reassured her that I was fine. She insistantly kept at me telling me about when her husbands mother got cancer but survived although the chemo was rough. It was all I could do not to shout at her "at least she was well enough to fucking receive chemo". Ahem. She ended the therapy session by clutching my hand (I'm really not big people touching me that I don't know) was I fine really? It was at that point I looked her in the eyes and said "Fine enough to be back at work, thanks for your concern" ripped my hand out of hers and left the office.

So there you have it, my take on grieving.
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Yesterday was all souls day.

Newadvent.org says "The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass."

Part of what bugs me about the catholic faith is its fixation on sin. The only way your sin can be absolved is through confession. If you die before your confession is heard by a priest you die in sin. My mother was a good and loving person and I refuse to believe that she died in sin. What she went through in the weeks leading up to her death, the pain etc, well if she blamed god or got angry and sinned, she had more then enough reason to.

Nevertheless my father and I went to the mass of the dead last night. It was surprising how many people where there. I have been so caught up in my mothers passing I hadn't realised other people, other loved ones had passed. I guess I insulated myself in a way while trying to process what had happened. It's hard enough to cope with your own tradgedy without having to deal with that of others. Much of the congregation was elderly. It brought home how young mam was when she died. However a lot more was heartbreakingly young. It made me thankful of the years I had with Mam. Looking at people, the way some of them sat, the numbness frozen on their faces, I could tell the loss was very recent.

Its a strange feeling, praying for the soul of your mother. Hoping that your prayers will pave her way to heaven. Hoping that if there is a god he will hear your prayers. It's not altogether a nice feeling.

Keeping on

Oct. 14th, 2007 11:59 am
baasheep: (Mam)
Thank you for your replies in the last post. That was a particularly bad day. I haven't had a chance to root out any professional types yet. Work has been kicking my ass. I love my new job but they don't seem to have a cluse about managing vacation time. If you have a team of six really only one person should be off at any one time. That way if someone rings in sick you still have adequate cover. Makes sense no? Instead they let two people have 2 weeks off at the same time. Then another is after breaking his leg and so will be out for six weeks. They can't ask the other two to cancel their hol because they had already booked flights etc. Nor for some reason do they want to get a temp. So that leaves a team of me whos been there for 7 weeks, S1 whos been there for 3 month and S2 who is the team leader. As S1 and myself are fairly new its falling to S2 to do all the other 2 jobs plus her own. I am doing the job of the guy who broke his leg and its kicking my ass big time. Average training on this job is six months. I'm doing it unsupervised after a week. I know I have some experiance in this but come on! Ok moan over :)

Seeing as I'm cheap and refuse to pay for an upgrade on lj I don't have access to the photo option. Instead I've downloaded the last photo of Mam as my user pic. It was taken about two weeks before she died. It was a gorgeous day the type of day once you are outside you could almost pretend you where in a park and not the hospital grounds. Mam was so happy that day, there was talk of her being discharged soon, she had her family around her and because it was so nice she was allowed out in the grounds until her next round of meds. Plus being outside she could smoke as much as she wanted :) Its obvious she's not well but she was in such good form that day wanting to know all the news of the neighbourhood. Makes me smile.
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The great thing about living where I live is that within an hour of landing at the airport I am sitting here blogging from the comfort of my sofa.

The good and bad thing about being on a plane is that for the duration of the flight you have to surrender to the fact that all you can do is sit there until you arrive at your destination. For the past few months I haven't permitted myself just to sit and switch off. I'm been afraid of where my thoughts go. I get brief glimpses on my commute home from work and they are unsettling to say the least. I can usually manage to shut them off with the distraction of my ipod or magazine. Tonight gazing out at the inky blackness with a thousand orange lights blinking below I had neither so was forced to confront the thoughts.

It's getting harder to pretend everything is fine. Tommorrow marks the six month anniversay of Mam's death. Its gone by in the blink of an eye with a speed that leaves me reeling. Shouldn't I be starting to accept the fact she's gone? Its still so so raw. I've begun to have dreams of Dad dying, me finding him alone and cold, looking like he's asleep but being unable to wake him. So I've stopped sleeping. It's easier then going through the same event night after night.

I will have to admit defeat soon. I'm tired. I'm getting sicker easier. It's not healthy imposing a self enforced insomnia on my body no matter what solace my mind receives from it. I hate the fact I've been unable to overcome these feelings and may have to resort to professional help. I've managed in the past - an acrimonious breakup, hurtful things by so called friends, mean comments from former co workers, being let down, being made to feel worthless - I've managed to deal with all these myself and come out the other side I like to think stronger. This however is another beast altogther. All my previously tried and trusted methods have failed rather miserabley.

I've noticed I've become more withdrawn from my friends and from the internet folk. I just can't bring myself to carry on the charade that everything is fine. It's too much energy for no gain. I was in London visiting a friend for the weekend and it was exhausting putting on the happy face particularly as she and her bf are going through some hard times. I was there for her all ears as she was telling me the story of how they have ended up in the predicament they are in. As soon as she started asking how I was doing I changed the subject.

I know I need help but I just can't bring myself to ask or accept it.

Soon though. Hopefully soon.
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I'm very good at giving decorating advice to my friends. From bathrooms to kitchen floors to how to fill that awkward corner I rock. Decorating my own place (living room)however not so much. Mainly because I actually have to live with it. Which makes me very indesicive about everything from the wall colour to rugs to picking a sofa. Actually I picked my wall colour a lovely yellowy cream (description of colour isn't my strong point shh). I painted it and was admiring my work when my friend said "what about a feature wall"? What I have to pick another colour now?!?! It makes sense though, the room is oddly shaped and a feature wall would make it more uniform. But I'm baffled as to what colour to paint it. Whatever colour I choose I'll have to live with it. For a while I was thinking gold...GOLD! Then I though perhaps that might start to give me a headache after oooooohh about five minutes (the walls are quite tall and large)so something in the neuteral palette? Which means another trip to the paint store and another headache (paint fumes = headache). Joy.

Next up is flooring, picking a sofa and debating wheter or not to get a flat screen tv.

Control yourselves, its about to get WILD.


In other news I have a trip to the doc on Monday. My usual twice yearly visit to get refill prescriptions. I'm debating wheter or not to say anything about the way I've been feeling lately. Sleep is once again a thing of the past. Teariness at the drop of a hat? Check. Inability to watch anything on tv involving death/cancer/funerals/the elderly without shedding tears? Check. Short fuse? Check. Feeling immensely insecure and avoiding dealing with people face to face where possible so I don't have to put my happy face on? Check. Achey jaw from clenching when sad/angry/tired? Check. I'm worried that if I say all this the doctor will just gaze sympathetically and murmur something about it being part of the grieving process. Oooh that'll make me feel better. Worse still it might be the doc who was Mam's doc when she got sick. He's a lovely guy and very thorough and I know her type of cancer is extremely difficult to diagnose in its early stages. I know all this and yet I'd be lying if I said I didn't harbour any resentment towards him. Hopefully it will all pass quickly and it will be a case of hi hows you? Fine! Canyougivememyrefillspleaseandthanksmmkaybye. Sigh. Back to the decorating.
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I confess I'm finding it harder to visit Mam's grave. Its not so much the graveside and the sadness that goes with that (although thats no walk in the park) its when I enter the cemetary there are so so many graves. Hundreds of people. People who lived to a hundred and four and babies who were born as "angels" (particularly heartbreaking). You can't help but read some of the gravestones. Each one has a note at the bottom. Sometimes I avert my eyes feeling that this is a personal message between the deceased and their loved ones and I have no business snooping. I get upset when I see graves that haven't been tended, they are overgrown with weeds the stone hidden by time and dirt. It gives the impression that time makes you forget and this is what I find most distressing. Perhaps if the grave itself is quite old all the deceased loved ones are also deceased? I miss her terribly and visiting this place hammers home that I will never see her again.

Mam's gravestone is ordered and will be going up in the next few weeks. I'm having a hard time dealing with this. It's so final. I see newly erected gravestones besides Mam's neighbours and it looks like they are softening the ground on the next section up in preperation for opening. Mam's grave is at the back of the cemetary. When I stare past her grave the surrounding area is still countryside with fields and lots of trees. I'm worried when more graves are opened, more people laid to rest that her grave will look like all the others. That I might not be able to find it as easily as I do now (I am notorious for no sense of direction).

When I was up there this evening weeding and sweeping a ginny jo caught my eye. I looked up and there where hundreds of them floating elegantly in the air and when the sunshine hit them they looked like delicate snowflakes. There were birds flying in and out of the hedges. I saw two magpies. Dead heading some flowers on her grave I came upon a ladybird going about her business. With death all around there is still life. It makes it a little easier. As I gathered up my trowels and various gardening implements and walked down toward the main avenue a hare caught my eye. The first time I visited the grave by myself I saw a hare. I was upset then as I was now and this lovely creature with it shiny liquid eyes and gorgeous coat distracted me. I stood in front of him and he stared at me stretching up on his hindlegs with his ears and nose twitching. We stayed like that for a few seconds before he scampered off. As I continued on slowly I could see him keeping pace with me through the gravestones. The sun came out and the marble and granite lit up like mirrors. I was all alone there, midweek seems to be an unpopular time to visit. The sun moved behind me and my shadow lengthened and I stared down at it. Larger then life. Gazing to my right there was another shadow walking beside with me for a split second. I turned but there wasn't anyone there. Looking back the shadow had gone. A trick of the light? Maybe, I don't know.
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So my last day in work was very anti climatic. A little sad because I had been there five years and my present was a hundred euro gift voucher. I mean yay but at the same time I would have appreciated a little more thought and an actual present rather then the non effort that goes into a gift voucher. Its one of the top reasons I don't gift them to people unless they specifically ask for it. The speech tself was quite funny - if only watching my boss who hates me trying to find nice things to say. She fell back on the reliable thanking me for my years of service and saying I would be missed. I followed suit and thanked my co workers and said I would miss them. I thought I would feel a lot sadder then I do. I got a card which they plus all the dealers had signed which does mean more to me then a gift voucher. Roll on Monday! A new job and hopefully the start of good things. I worry if I have made the right move starting a new job. With all thats happened in the past few months I wonder if I shouldn't have waited a while. I read the lovely snickollets blog a few weeks back and this entry really struck a chord with me. She speaks of not making rash decisions after the death of a loved one. The 8th of this month marked the 16 week anniversay of Mams passing. Am I moving too quickly? I guess my question will be answered next week.

In other news I registered for college. Starting the 24th of september I will be studying for a diploma in business. Its a two year course and it involves one evening a week of classes (Monday) and I'd imagine a shit load of studying. I'm nervous. I haven't been in any sort of class based curriculum since 2002 and my experiances of Irelands educational system to date haven't been fantastic. It may be different though when its my own money on the line and studying as an adult with a definite goal in mind rather then a teenager in full time college with no idea what she wanted out of life. The way I'm trying to look at it is that a. it will look good on my cv and b. no matter what I want to do in life I probably will need some sort of business skills so this seems like a good all round course. It looks like the course will follow a standard college year too ie. terms in fall, winter and holiday in the summer. So hopefully next summer I will take a writing course for fun.

My next project is trying to lose some of this damn weight. I've been out for lunch and dinner every day this week and I can see my belly expanding before my eyes! I'm very unenthused about going back to weight watchers but I know it works so I'm just going to suck it up get on the scales and gasp in horror. Can anyone point me to some ww inspired receipes? I need some new receipes to add to my collection. Hopefully that will incentivise me!
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During my typical sunday meandering through the dubyadubyadubya I happened upon a blog - http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/

A few weeks ago whymommy was diagnosed with a type of breast cancer that is quite rare, not your garden variety breast cancer - inflammatory breast cancer. This comes with the added attraction of no lumps or strange bumps which you might be unlucky enough to find during your self exam (which you all do of course). Whymommy was nursing her wee one and has had to wean because of the diagnosis. Worringly enough this type of cancer can often be diagnosed as mastitis. Please please please copy and paste this onto your blog. Since my Mam passed in april raising cancer awareness among my friends outside the internet box has become a bit of an obsession. I will be printing this post off and encouraging them to spread the word. I'd appreciate if you could do the same and help whymommy out. Below is a entry copy and pasted from her blog with her permission.

Thanks for reading my loves.

=============================================================================================

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.



P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you

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