Thyroid

Family.

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Family. A word with so many different meanings. What does it mean to me? It means unconditional. Genuinely caring and wanting the best for them. Not necessarily physically seeing each other, but knowing they are always there. Knowing if you ever need anything, they will always have your back.

THAT is family.

Not a half hearted attempt at “How are you” or “Haven’t the children grown” Well yes, kids do tend to do that and if you saw them more or asked after them, you would know.

Family doesn’t always have to mean blood related. Just because you share someones DNA or you brought them into this world, does not give you the automatic right to be ‘family’ in my opinion.

My children are extremely lucky to have such an amazing family and extended family, that luckily enough they don’t miss out on those related who simply don’t bother. They don’t know they exist. And to be honest, I kind of prefer that.

This means they won’t grow up with the same self doubt as I did, the same insecurities as others close to me and the same feelings of rejection over and over again which unfortunately, is all too common in ‘families’

That is the hardest part about family members like that. The trail of destruction they leave in their wake. We are the ones who pick up the pieces and have to rebuild our shattered illusion of growing up in this type of ‘family’, or the ones who have to explain to our children why Mummy doesn’t have a Daddy. “Well kids, Mummy’s Daddy is a narcissistic who is totally incapable of thinking about anyone other than himself. He doesn’t want to be my Daddy or your Grandad, because even though he was forgiven time and time again and given more opportunities than he deserved, he choses not to be in our lives.” Hmm. Not sure that will work. I’m ok with my kids thinking you don’t exist.

I am fortunate enough to have my amazing Mum in my life who keeps me grounded and gives us all enough love for two. My Step- Dad who stepped up when, lets face it, he probably wasn’t thrilled of the idea of three teenage Step-Daughters with daddy issues. My husband who is the most loving, amazing , caring Daddy to Iris and equally amazing Step-Dad to the others. This man has put my faith back in the word Dad. And someone who most wouldn’t include- My ex husband. Without our amazing co parenting, our children wouldn’t be the people they are today. He buys the kids Mothers Day presents for me, Christmas presents and even buys Iris gifts at Christmas. Our ultimate goal is to make sure all of the kids are ok, mentally as well as physically and all 3 of us do it bloody well.

Then there is my sisters. My best friends, right from the beginning. The ones who would drop everything to help each other out. Thats pretty cool.

Last but not least there is my extended new family. My in-Laws (As if my family couldn’t get any bigger!) I have the best Sister in Law ever, who we know is always there for any strange request we have or to talk Glenn out of another DIY disaster. The best great Aunt I could ever wish for, even though she lives far away (further than other family who don’t bother may I add) she has made me and the kids feel accepted from day 1.

So even without the so called ‘family’ members, who quite frankly don’t deserve their titles or special days, we are doing alright.

More than alright.

We are a FAMILY

 

 

 

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Thyroid

Mother’s Day.

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So today is Mother’s Day. The one day a year us Mum’s get a day off, but in the same breath know this will never happen.

Being a mum is hard. I mean really hard. You give up your identity, your body and your life to make sure little versions of you are happy and healthy. From the minute you open your eyes in the morning, until the minute you close them again at night. I work 3 days a week, because quite frankly, the thought of full time along with all the other mum jobs scare the shit out of me.

“You only work part time, why are you stressed?”

“You get to go home now, you’re lucky, you can do whatever you want”

“You’ve only just got to work and you look angry already”

So let me tell you what my woking day consists of. I will use last week as an example.

  •  Wake up to the two younger ones arguing in their room, over god knows what.
  • Make breakfast and sit and listen to the middle two arguing over who looked at who. Yes that really is a common argument in this house.
  • Tidy up, hoover, open curtains, pick up random cups all over the living room from the night before, because the fairies never came to tidy them up.]
  • Tuck all the chairs back in under the table, as children seem to lose the use of their arms in that room.
  • Go upstairs and find clothes for the little one, making sure they don’t ‘feel funny’ on her skin. Whatever that means.
  • Tell the 9 year old to stop rolling around on the floor and get dressed.
  • Tell the 11 year old to get of his phone and get ready.
  • Tell the 9 year old to stop rolling around. Again.
  • Let the dogs back in as I forgot and notice they have now dug a huge hole in the grass. Great.
  • Make sure the little one has had a wash and brushed her teeth.
  • Tell the 9 year old to stop rolling around. I wish I was joking.
  • Play referee over a ‘who is in the bathroom’ debate. God forbid one of them has 1 minute more than the other.
  • Ask the 9 year old if she had brushed her teeth after spending 10 minutes in the bathroom.
  • Establishing exactly what said 9 year old was doing for 10 minutes in the bathroom, as she wasn’t brushing her teeth. Then send her to go and do them.
  • Torture both girls, one at a time. (Brush their hair to you and me)
  • Tell 9 year old for the 3rd time to brush her teeth. Bribe with money. (No shame)
  • Ask all 3 to get shoes on and lunchboxes out of the fridge.
  • Spend 10 minutes finding lost shoes.
  • Finally make it out of the door.
  • Drop the 11 year old off.
  • Drop the little one off to nursery.
  • Drop the 9 year old off to school.
  • Make the 45 minute journey to work, navigating my way through school mums who can’t drive, the same tractor I get stuck behind every week and 2 buses.
  • Arrive at work ready for a strong coffee.
  • Do my work. Peacefully.
  • Leave work.
  • Drive to pick the little one up from nursery, where she is always in Forest School.
  • Walk the 5 minute route to Forest School from the nursery, realising I forgot her lunchbox, so have to go all the way back to get it.
  • Park 400 miles away from the 9 year olds school, because there are too many cars on this planet, or so it seems.
  • Walk across a muddy, windy narnia type field just to get to the school.
  • Stand and wait for 10 minutes, because somehow I am early?
  • Tell the little one 6 times to stop scooting into my foot.
  • Listen to the 9 year old bout her day at school, while carrying a 4 year old, her scooter and a ukulele across the road.
  • Get home.
  • Empty, clean and refuel lunchboxes. Reusing the same apple for the 11 year old that I’ve been using since Monday. Maybe Tomorrow will be the day that he eats it?
  • Make dinner. Not sure why, because 3 out of 4 will hate whatever I make and moan throughout the whole meal.
  • Hoover while dinner is cooking because, well, huskies.
  • Battle through dinner time, with our favourite game of ‘stop looking at me’ ketchup rationing now seems to be a thing between them all. God forbid one has a bigger blob than the other.
  • Wash up, while trying to talk to the husband on the phone. The first real conversation we get, which is mostly always cut short or interrupted with random shouting and lots of swearing under my breath.
  • Hoover again. No, really.
  • Argue over who’s turn it is to tidy the living room. (We have a chore chart where we pay them to do things around the house in exchange for $ for holiday. Yes I am aware this is bribery. Its genius.)
  • Give the little one a 5 minute warning for bed, otherwise its like exorcising a demon. Damage limitation.
  • Manage to somehow get out of putting her to bed for the 4th year in a row, because my husband is literally the best.
  • Tell the others to pack their bags for school the next day and to get ready for bed. To assume they can do this without being told is laughable.
  • Play referee again because she doesn’t want to watch what he is watching, even though she liked it yesterday.
  • Painfully make my way through the next hour of bedtime slots with he help of candy crush and the ability to block out annoying things.
  • Finally get to 9pm and I get to actually see my husband!
  • 9.30 one of us falls asleep through attempt 3 at a single episode.
  • Give up and go to bed. Ready to do it all again the next day.

As a Mum you are also a PA. A very underpaid one nevertheless. Just next week alone I have a church service to attend (where the 9 year old is playing the ukulele – shoot me now), a parents evening (4th one this month), a shield to make (this is all the information I have been given so far and ironically my second one this month),  a squash tournament ( Do we go and watch? Does she need anything?), a meeting with the 11 year olds school, a job interview for my dream job (even though I have just accepted a new one) and an early finish to negotiate my way around. Im pretty sure there is a non school uniform day in their somewhere, where its like social suicide if you child wears the same clothes as last time.

And all that with not one hot cup of tea.

So heres to the Mums on Mother’s Day. I salute you. You fucking rock.

 

 

 

 

 

Thyroid

This is me now and I’m finally ok with that.

I haven’t wrote a blog for so long, but I thought now was a good time to update everyone. For the past 5 months I have been learning to live with having an official fibromyalgia diagnosis. I have gone through a whole range of emotions in that time. Anger; why me, why my body AGAIN. Relief; finally a name to put to all of my symptoms, I’m not going crazy after all. Sadness; is this me forever? Frustration; I was naively thinking diagnosis would mean the end, but it really was just the beginning. Denial; research suggesting that fibromyalgia is not really a thing, so there must be something else they have missed?

I am now in a really good place and I have accepted that this is just me now and I can’t change it, I’ve just got to live with it. Don’t get me wrong, I have the odd off day, when I have planned to do something for the day with the kids but have to cancel because my head hurts so much or the brain fog is so bad that I can’t think straight. I do worry about what their childhood is like, growing up seeing their mum in pain most days. It makes me feel so guilty. But if anything, it teaches them compassion and I like to think they know I try my absolute hardest everyday.

I am still waiting for my pain clinic referral, which I have been told is worth waiting for. I have had physio, with the most uncaring, patronising man I have ever met. Needless to say, I didn’t go back for my follow up appointment. I have stopped weighing myself because I know I am piling on the pounds, but there is nothing I can do about it. I am learning to love myself again. I will never be the person I used to be 5 years ago, size 10, outgoing, not a care in the world, staying up past 9pm 😂 This is me now and I am weirdly ok about that.

I am learning my triggers slowly. Stress is a HUGE one for me. A stressful day can lead to a a migraine attack lasting a few days. Sleep is also another trigger. A late night or broken sleep will also lead to the mother of all migraines. The one I hate the most and the one I’ve been denying to myself for a long time is coffee 😫😫 I LOVE my coffee, so much that I have lost count on the amount of coffee making devices I have in my kitchen! But after coffee I feel sluggish and brain fog is at it’s worse. It’s been a real learning curve for me since diagnosis, learning what my body like and dislikes, coming to terms with the fact I can’t do the things I used to or can’t eat/drink the things I used to love.

I have also completed my first course since I left uni 5 years ago! My long term goal is to become a counsellor and the first step was to complete Level 2 counselling skills, which I completed last month. I start the Level 3 in September, which I am literally counting down the days for!

The kids have finished school for the summer holidays so I have no school runs to do, no lunchboxes to pack and no uniforms to make! Just 6 weeks of being lazy and spending quality time with my little family.

We are saving like mad to take the kids back to California next year, so we have booked a little break away camping next week. It was a really good idea at the time, when the sun was shining… but now I’m dreading it! 4 children in a tent for a week. A toddler who is so particular with certain things- the slightest thing different can send off into a meltdown! A teenager who, as long as there is WiFi she should be ok, a pre-teen who will have no xbox for a week and will have to spend time actually taking to real life people and an 8 year old who as long as she has got some maths to do, should be ok.

Wish me luck 😂

Thyroid

Fuck you, Fibromyalgia

Urgh I’m really trying at the moment. Trying to be just me without the horrendous fatigue that’s haunting me at the moment. Trying to hold a conversation when I feel like I’m drunk. Willing the kids to stop bloody arguing for 1 minute so I don’t have to get up and lose my shit. Can’t remember a life before my shitty health problems.

I don’t even know what fibromyalgia is properly, I normally love a google, anyone who knows me with clarify this! But this week I can’t even be bothered to do that.

I feel like my body has run out of energy.

I was told yesterday that my symptoms have got worse since my diagnosis. Yeah thanks for that. I already feel lazy enough as it is without being made to feel like I’m making this up. God if I could make anything up it definitely wouldn’t be a chronic illness.

Being diagnosed officially has been almost a relief. Instead of having to hide how I feel for fear that I sound crazy or lazy I can explain that actually I’m neither.

I feel so down it’s unreal. Maybe its due to the stressful shitty week I had last week, my body’s way of reminding me that i have this shitty condition.

I feel that it’s taken over my life, consuming every part of me.

I have spoke to so many people who suffer from chronic illness’ which has been so nice, I’ve gained so many more friends on Instagram and Facebook who are all super supportive but I have ironically never felt so alone.

Do people not know what to say?

Do they think I’m just being lazy?

If I had a broken leg would people still be the same?

I would just very much like to hide in my bed and not come out. Maybe for cake and coffee, but that’s it.

I don’t even think those close to me really get it. I’ve not told my children because I don’t want them to worry. They knew I had cancer because they had to know as I had my operations and I was in isolation for days. It was fairer to them to explain the truth rather than come up with a lie. But trying to explain this to them seems impossible. I wouldn’t even know where to start, especially as I still don’t fully understand it myself.

It’s the emotional support I crave most at the moment. Someone to just listen and be there. Nothing anyone can say would change anything but just a text to say you know what, I’m here.

Physically I’m owning this shit. I have no choice as life has to go on but emotionally I’m a mess.

Urgh such a pointless moan blog, I apologise.

Thyroid

Dear Body, you suck 🖕🏻

So I’m sitting here in hospital waiting room number 2 of the day. I had my long awaited Rheumatology appointment this morning and he agreed with my GP and gave me a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I’m not surprised as I was expecting it but I thought I would be relived that it’s finally been given a name. No more thinking I’m making it up, no more worrying it could be something far worse. This could finally be the end of this chapter.

But I wasn’t prepared mentally for the impact yet another diagnosis would have on me.

In the room the first rheumatologist felt for any swelling, checks for aches and pains. He asked me in detail about my medical history then after umming and ahhing he said he doesn’t think it’s fibromyalgia because I’m not in enough pain. Right ok then. Dick.

He went out to get his colleague for a second opinion. He did the exact same tests but instead of being gentle he was bloody rough!! It felt like I was being beaten up! He obviously knew what he was doing because he said straight away that he was sending me away with the diagnosis. We watch ‘The Good Doctor’ on Netflix and if anyone else does too then you will get when I say he did a Sean Murphy on me! He came in, took control and bosh… diagnosis.I’ve got to have another full blood count, which is something I’m used to so that doesn’t bother me. An X-ray and a CT scan. A whole conversations worth of new information and medical jargon. I feel like I’ve gone back to the beginning again.

This year will be 5 years since my Cancer diagnosis and 4 years in remission. I only have 18 months left on my clinical trial too. I was near the end, my career is starting again and home life is amazing. I finally feel like me again and not a patient. That was until today.

I was given two slips of paper, one for bloods and one for X-Ray. I know you can get bloods done in the walk in without an appointment but X-Ray? I asked him about 4 times because I couldn’t get my head around what he was saying, or retain the information I was just told. I got to the end of the appointment and he asked if I had any questions. I said no. But I did! I had so many but for some reason chose not to ask. I hate feeling vulnerable and like to pretend I’ve got my shit together.

That brings me to where I am now. Haematology ready to be used as a pin cushion again. Not sure I’ve got much left but hey I’ll give it a go.

Next stop is the X-Ray department. Oh joy.

So this is the beginning of a new journey in my life. One that right now I don’t feel strong enough to ride but I don’t have any other choice.

Body. You suck 🖕🏻

Thyroid

So this is me now…. forever??

Today’s been really hard.

There’s not a part of me that doesn’t hurt. The bones in my legs feel like they are on fire, like I’ve run a marathon… but all I’ve done is the school run.

My body is fed up. It hates me.

I’ve been so exhausted all day, but now can’t sleep.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my rheumatology appointment coming up and the fact that even an official diagnosis won’t change anything so is it even worth going? I don’t even know what to expect. My experience with the health care profession is that it’s so hit and miss. One day I’ll meet a lovely GP or consultant who genuinely cares, then the next it’ll be some stuck up graduate on a power trip, reading out of his newly purchased text book, telling me how I should be feeling. Will I be prodded and poked? Will I be made to feel like I’m making it all up? Will they take one look at my notes and see my history and decide I need putting down?!

Do I really want another diagnosis? Something else to put in my already over sized hospital notes?

I’m so sick of being a patient. So sick of hospitals, blood tests, forms and medical jargon. I want to be normal. I find my self envying my friends, the way they can’t remember the last time they went to the GP, the way that their fortunate health is somewhat taken for granted, the way that they are able to be themselves. I’ve almost forgotten who the real me is. I suppose this is me now?

I’m sick of hurting. My legs, my head, my stomach all daily without fail. Some days are much worse than others, like today. It’s like being slowly pecked at, going on and on and on and on until I feel like I’m going to explode.

I know other people are a lot worse than me and I should be fortunate for what I have… and I am. I really am. It just really fucking sucks sometimes.

Most people collect letters at the end of their names, that was my goal once. Now I collect medical terms.

Gemma Griffin.

Thyroid Cancer

Hypothyroidism

Fibromyalgia

Helpmemybodyisbroken…. I think they should invent that one just for me

Next blog I will be positive!

I’m just quite enjoying wallowing in my pitty party for one tonight.

Goodnight 😘

Thyroid

Falling down is an accident. Staying down is a choice 👊🏻

Lots has happened since I last wrote.

At the beginning of last week I had my appointment with my lovely GP. I told her that I had run out of amitriptyline, the tablets I was prescribed for my headaches. I had previously requested more, but was turned down as they weren’t on repeat. So I had to wait nearly a whole week to get some more! As I predicted, horrible headaches came back after a while without them. Insomnia was back too as well as leg pain. Just when I was starting to feel human again, I ran out! Anyway, my GP gladly prescribed me more and put them on repeat so I can continue with them. Never been so excited to take a tablet in my life haha. She asked if I had read the information she gave me last time on Fibromyalgia, which I had. I said it sounded like someone had wrote it about me, every symptom fitted my life. She said she agreed and has referred me to a rheumatologist and I will get an appointment in the post. I’m used to waiting by now so this will be a breeze.

I had my routine blood tests last week too, took the little lady and she behaved beautifully. She even had 3 nurses all talking to her and commented how polite she was, while another took my bloods. She knows her way around the hospital like the palm of her hand by now, zooming from one corridor to another, apologising to the ladies who she bumped into 😂 crazy but polite at least.

Today was my 6 monthly hospital appointment with my consultant and my trial nurse. It was lovely as always to see Karen again with our usual catch up. We realised I only have another 18 months or so left in the trial! 4 years have gone super fast. Mr Balfour showed me my levels on his screen again, telling me that they are continuing to be perfect which is good. He felt my neck for any new lumps or bumps and found nothing. Such a great feeling. I told him about the referral for Fibromyalgia and he agreed that it would explain a lot. It was nice to be able to separate the two and believe for once, that my thyroid levels really are ok and that I’m not just being moany!

I’ve had lots of other bits to organise lately too. In April I am starting a course to become a certified Counsellor. It will take 3 years and lots of money 😖 and even more hard work but finally my career is taking off… again! After 4 years out and a part-time job I hate, I’m so excited for what the future holds. I have found out that my time spent at uni and all my hard work with placements and assignments haven’t gone to waste either, as they count towards another degree. So my goal is to complete this course I’m signed up for, qualify in that then continue onto the Bsc(hons) in Psychology and Counselling. I will bloody get my degree!!

Life is pretty great right now. Positivity pays off. Life is hard, at times you really can’t see yourself getting back up. But you do. Even stronger and better than before. Whatever life throws at me now, can’t be as hard as the last 4 years so bring it on 👊🏻