Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Fred

Dangly balls. Wangs. Testosterone. Smelly shoes. Hairy arses. Hairy chests. Hairy feet. Love of boobies. Love of football. Love of rugby. Enjoyment of beer or wine. Eats curry. Punches walls. Smells own farts. Has an inability to wipe own arse properly. Talks about feelings.......hang on......my fingers felt those lies as they crept out. 
That's not right is it? Men talk about their feelings? Do they really? I'm not convinced.

Now I'm well aware of the sweeping generalisations I made in that last paragraph, it's kind of the point to this slightly different post.

When Neanderthal man walked out the cave scratching his nuts do you think his first activity of the day was a group therapy session around an animal carcass, discussing his feelings? 
No.
While Wilma was out the back dragging her rags down a bumpy stone to achieve perfect whites whilst chatting to Betty about BamBams use of the 'F' word, Fred was pissing on flintstones showing his prehistoric nob to his mates.



Men don't talk!!!! (In the stereotypical sense anyway) 

When I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer last September while pregnant, the ass end fell out of our world. 
Along with 10,000 trees worth of leaflets, I left the breast clinic with a list of online support groups that would carry me through everything from chemo induced ass wing-nuts (or haemorrhoids) to the fear of imminent death. 
I logged on that night and had every questioned answered that I needed, immediately! I was given tips, advice and weird suggestions but by and large a feeling of support. I wasn't the only one in the world facing this. I was able to blurt out anything and have an answer immediately....
Does your growler hair fall out?
Will I lose my teeth?
What do you think happens when you die?

I have been through diagnosis of a very rare and extremely aggressive cancer, chemo in pregnancy, premature birth, the heart exploding loss of our daughter, a secondary diagnosis to my lungs, radiotherapy, mastectomy and a further secondary spread to my skin. I can honestly say all these things have support groups but where oh where is Neanderthal man in all this? Is he out the back waxing his arse with fermented berries not giving a shit? 
No he's not. He's sitting on his feelings, quietly dealing with his shituation alone. He's in the cave. And the cave is a very lonely place.

You see he has spent all his time supporting Wilma. Wilmas mental health is quite astounding considering the horrors she has faced. She has Betty to talk to. She also has all the other women surrounding her. It's ok for Wilma to talk over a bone, with anyone. 

But Fred? Well he's screwed. You see some stupid twat thought it was a great idea to start a rumour that men don't share their fears and feelings. Instead they created a role for themselves as protector but gave themselves no room to be a human being. 
Fred doesn't talk.
Fred didn't get any leaflets. 



Jamie, whose wife Kellyanne has incurable Cancer recounts the following: 

 "They passed me a bag of her possessions, including her wedding ring, and told me she would need major bowel surgery and they would call me when it was over.
That was the first of 3 occasions I’ve had to watch Kel disappear through a door for major surgery not knowing if she would come back out again.
Kel and I are just 31 years old. Reading this I imagine everyone is thinking the same thing – this is absolutely shit. 
Over the last few years I’ve met and read about so many women who have gone through what Kel is going through and witnessed incredible courage and endurance in even the most terrible of situations . However very little is written from the perspective of the partner.
Specifically what i wanted to touch on is the stereotype that men are too macho to talk about their feelings. Most people who know me will probably say the same thing which is along the lines of ‘he deals with it all really well but he doesn’t really talk about it’.
Is that because i’m ‘too manly’ to talk or show emotion. Nope! Of course I get upset about it – i cry regularly about it but just because i don’t show it in front of people doesn’t mean i bottle it up." Jamie from MummysStarMen    (Click here for the full article)

Jamie clearly identifies the importance of avoiding being Fred. As does Pete Wallroth who created the charity Mummy's Star in honour of the memory of his beautiful wife Mair.



"Now bear in mind, as a person I have sought support when required in the past. I have never hidden my emotions. I have never been afraid to cry, I have never seen counselling or any other form or support as a sign of weakness. In fact I think each and every one of us could benefit from a few hours counselling even if we don’t think we need it.
So, the idea of seeking support when I most needed it should have been a given for me…..but yet I didn’t. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want to worry family, I didn’t want to seem weak to friends and I most certainly didn’t want to show it to Mair. Surely it was the last thing she needed?
Wrong!
It was a relief to her. One night while I had Merlin propped up on my knees with Mair sat beside me on the couch, I stared as his little face sleeping and tears started running down my face. How could I begrudge this little guy, Our baby sunshine my love and attention. Tears turned to sobbing and before long I was crying my eyes out in Mair’s arms. I broke down.
“How are you supposed to look after them and me, if you don’t look after yourself?” she asked.
I remember uttering something along the lines of “I can’t, I’ve not got time” to which I think she responded with something along the lines of “Bloody hell I’m not that sick that I can’t have them for 2 hours!” with a smile on her face then gave me another massive hug.
And that was it. The next day I rang a local day hospice that Mair had also been going to and I made an appointment with Jacqui and at that appointment I balled by eyes out again.
And you know what. It didn’t take the situation away. It didn’t remove the cancer from our lives, It didn’t magically create some home help…..but it got it out of me that yes I struggled and it felt good. It was like opening a valve and letting some air out. The difference between a slow puncture or a complete blow out on the motorway doing 80!" (Click here for the full article)  

 My Keith has propped me up, our kids up, my mum and himself since this all started and I will honestly admit that I've neglected him. I was far too wrapped up in what was happening to me to really consider my Fred. 
I like to think that nowadays I'm a little bit more aware of Keith's feelings. He is in this with me but  he is also carrying me (not an easy task when I weigh 40 stone and have a meatball subway hanging out my mouth). 
BUT I am worried about all the men out there that are stuck in the cave with only their smelly shoes, hairy arses and skid marked pants for company. There will be men across the UK punching holes in their caves, quietly sitting on the pain of supporting a loved one who is critically ill.
Pete, Jamie, myself and a whole lot of others want to give men a place to chat and get themselves out of the cave.
Please, if you know any man that has a loved one who is ill, share this post with them. They just need to email Pete directly at pete@mummsstar.org and he will invite them to the 'man forum'. 
When you tell The Fred's about the group they may tell you to piss off and that they don't need support  but they may secretly sneak on there and just not tell you, Fred stylie. They can retain the image of Fred without being Fred. 
No one should feel they can't talk to anyone.
Get Fred out of the Cave xx

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Confessions of Buffalo Bill

So, I like to think that when you read my wafflings and rude stories your experience is heightened by knowing who is typing them. You know what I'm going through. I have incurable Inflammatory Breast Cancer and my little girl is in heaven. 
I think you think  'wow she's tough. She's so in control. She's so brave.' I'll let you in on a little secret....I'm manipulating you. 
You may have read my posts over the last 12 months and believed that my face doesn't change. That it is was fixed firm when the wind changed. You believe that every day I'm 100% positive. I'm sorry to break it to you. It's not true!!! I'm a fake. I'm wearing someone else's skin...I, my friends, am Buffalo Bill. 

I take ages to update you, some of the things you read happened bloody ages ago. Then I tell you stuff that isn't in chronological order. Then I skirt over things like they aren't important. Then I mask everything with humour. 
But why am I doing this? 
Because it works. 
Plain and simple. Writing helps me. Humour helps me. Positivity really helps me. It works. I feel bloody fantastic!!! Not only that, I'm convinced that I will outlive my statistics by a country mile. That's not my skin suit talking...that's the truth. 

But when things go bent I do cry and get hysterical and feel sorry for myself. I then blame myself and then I'm angry with myself for blaming myself. I've got enough to deal with without being mad at me! It's not fair to me! 
So, who can I be angry at? Whose fault is it that I'm here?  
It's no ones fault is it. There is no blame. Therefore, there can't be any anger. 

Hysteria does appear from time to time...its about how you bounce back. I tend to follow this pattern: positivity - bad news - hysteria - humour - positivity. 

I had my boob off in July. A few days later, a rash appeared below my scar. I thought it was just a reaction to surgery, someone may have left their tool on my chest whilst operating (wahey). So I watched the rash for a few weeks and then I went to Camp Bestival with Noah (I didn't take Tait as I thought he'd end up licking a portaloo). I had some quality time with the threenager, we went on the official biggest bouncy castle in the world. I got whacked in the face by some hero dad doing a flying karate kid reenactment for his uninterested 4 year old. 

I came back room the festival and announced to Scouse that I had a new rash. He was instantly on it, pushing me onto the phone to get an appointment. I think he sharted a bit too, he hid it well though. 
We got in the car to the Breast Clinic and I blurted out the following without coming up for air....

"I don't  wanna die. I'm too young. If it's back then I'm definitely and officially dying the boys will grow up without me and they won't remember me and Tait is only two he won't have a fucking clue who I am and what if you meet someone else and they move into my house and the boys start calling her mum and they introduce her as their mum at parents evening and the only memories they have of me are false ones enforced on them by you and my mates and what if she's mean to them and what if they love her and what if they think I've abandoned them one day when I don't come home and what if this woman lives in my house and you get married and then divorced and she takes all our money. What if she wants to move away and then my mum can't drive and won't see the boys everyday and what if my friends all like her and what if they think she's a cunt and what if I can't come back and haunt her and what if I can and what would I say and what would my code word be so that people knew it was me coming through from the other side it would have to be something rude like 'pull my finger' or I had threatened gemma with putting sanitary towels on her bathroom mirror instead of REDRUM. Which is funny isn't it and what if I have a long drawn out death in a hospice and have to keep saying goodbye and what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow and I've spent all day wondering how I'll haunt someone"

And breathe........

For fucks sake people, I can tell you it wasn't pleasant!!!!

I then looked up into the sun visor mirror and squashed my forehead fat together 'whoa what the fuck was that?' I thought.
I looked over at Scouse and he'd gone grey. He reached out a hand to me and instead of 'don't worry you're not gong to die' he said  'I know you're scared and I understand'. That's exactly what I needed to hear. No one really wants to be told they're acting irrational when in fact I believe it was one of my most rational moments I'd had.
I'm not referring to Scouse getting a new woman, I'm referring to the fear of death. 
I'm not overly concerned about a new girlfriend because you can't improve on perfection (yeah alright, other than my cancerous body) So I'm aware I'm a hard act to follow. 
We all die!!!! I hate to break it to you, but we all die. 
I am not scared of death. I am scared of my heart breaking when I say goodbye. I've done it before with Ally. It's a pain that rips through every part of you. A pain so crippling that you believe you will die from it.
I'm scared that the boys will think I've just left them one day. That I didn't bother to come home. I'm scared they won't have real memories of me. 

Are these fears irrational? No. No they are not. They are irregular not irrational
Not many people have to face their death. It's irregular to be constantly facing the thought that you may die soon. But let me tell you, it's a completely rational fear.  And one that has taught me a lot. That classic lesson of trying to live in the now just in case you get hit by the X3 to Cribbs Causeway. You need to bridle that fear and ride it like a fucking master!!!

I go for the appointment about the rash. There are a few back and fourths around what they think this rash is as they are all convinced it's not Cancer. Just a normal everyday rash. So simple. 
But they were wrong. 
Not unlike fake butter...its spread. 
This bastard cancer has now spread into my skin. 
Did you know you could have breast cancer in your skin? I have breast cancer in my lungs AND my skin.....no I don't have little tits growing on my skin or bazookas in my lungs...its the live cancer cells from my Inflammtory breast cancer in those places. They have spread. 
What does this mean? Well it's not good news. It means my drugs are no longer working so for a second time we move to new ones. 
I'm gradually working my way down the menu and what started off as Ribeye steak is gradually becoming yesterday's leftovers. 
You start with the best thing in the market and work your way down. 
I'm now on a drug called Kadcyla. My oncologist has assured me though that this can be thought of as just as good as the last drugs, just different. Maybe a better fit.
Kadcya....A weird name. When I went for the first treatment of this drug 3 weeks ago my mum said "ere, you avin that Cadfael today?" Yes. Yes I am. I will spend all day riding a Benedictine monk who solves crimes over my shoulder. Phowaor. 
Now those of you that pray, please, I'd appreciate a little nod in my direction and those that don't can you cross your fingers with the intensity of taking a dump after three weeks of carbs.
I need these drugs to work miracles. 
I asked about 'numbers' again....people who start this drug live an average on 2.5 years if they work, if they don't, we are talking months. 

Well this is not acceptable!!! Noah starts school in September next year, Tait has just turned two, I have a new nephew arriving in January who has the best name ever  and Scouse is still refusing to eat fruit!!!!! I need to hit these mile stones. It's non negotiable. 

Now I appreciate this is awful news and you are now maybe a little sad. For different reasons...some will be sad as they are parents and are scared for me, some are sad because it might mean I can't write this blog when I'm dead (quija board?) and some are sad because they won't have me in their lives anymore. 
Can I just say that despite this latest news I'm not telling myself I have a short time left. Absolutely not!!! I'm not having it and quite frankly this cancer can go blow itself
I see myself in my 40s you fucking cunt!!! Kiss my crinkly brown star!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!!!!! FUCKKKKK YYYOOUUUUU!!!!!! 

And as much as I will enjoy haunting everyone, in a humorous manner, I'm not getting there just yet!!! I'm alive!!! I've never been more alive in my life! 
And I'm not going anywhere. Bears Grylls is right! Drink your own piss to survive and POSITIVITY POSITIVITY POSITIVITY
It's so much better then giving up.

Keep your skin suit for when you need it (mine has been made from the skin of my friends and family) and FYI if I do haunt you, my code word is Dib Dab in honour of Scouse, whose called Keith by the way xxx 

Last weekend in Cyprus with some of the Skin Suit. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Falling off the stage.


So I'm going to talk about two things. One that has happened and one that is about to happen. 
Sorry, hello by the way. Oh and this is a long one, you may want to get a brew.

So, around March time this year, some butt head , or maybe a few butt heads , put me foreword for a Parenting Blog Award. The Mum and Dad (MAD) blog awards to be exact. I didn't even know there was such a thing and was raising the flesh above my eye (note I couldn't raise a eyebrow, I had non) and wondering what this would all be about. I'll be honest, other than The Unmumsy Mum and The Sun Will Come Up I've never really read any blogs. I was completely unaware that there are bloody millions of them flying around in cyber space covering everything from life with an ingrown toenail to different ways to style your dog.
The only other blogs I had experienced were a quick glance at Cancer ones, and let me tell you, us Cancer Folk can be a depressing little bunch at times.  So I was chuffed. And I thought I'd give a couple of the people who 'follow' me a chance to vote. I'll be honest, I've actually got no idea how many people read my blog.
How do you know? 
I know how many 'hits'  I've had (cannot get the vision of me sucking on a bong when i say this) but regular followers? No idea. 
So yeah I asked you to vote if you felt like I deserved it. Not because I've got cancer and you feel sorry for me, but if you actually thought my writing was 'best.' 
Anyway, that was March / April time and they kept us hanging on until the 16th September to find out the results.  
We were asked to turn up at a hotel in Laaannnddaannn Taannn  (or London) and eat some food and chuck a load of wine down our necks so of course I said yes.
My friend Lizzie and I went halves on a hotel room (it was still like 10 million pounds) and off we went. 

So, it all started really well. I dumped the boys on my mum, had radiotherapy at 945am, tucked my crispy non-tit into a shitty old granny bra with my fake foam dome boob, and hauled ass to Bristol Temple Meads train station. I queued up for my ticket and the man behind the desk said "I Love your haircut by the way" My automatic response was "what?" He replied  "Your hair cut. It's nice" and I looked at him and he wasn't laughing!!!!!  He was actually being serious!!! Then I remembered.....I'm not bloody bald anymore am I! My hair has actually gone from Cancer hair to hair hair. Awesome. I realise its the first compliment I've had about my appearance that has come from someone who isn't just being nice to the woman with Cancer. It's a real compliment!!!!! So Thank you Temple Meads Man, and may I say I liked the skin you were wearing on your head too. It was lush! 

So, I get to London and I meet some of my favourite people...my old work mates (I better not name them as I think they may have been scivving) and I tell them about how posh my hotel is - The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington don't you know. When I checked in the lady asked "can I give your bags to this gentlemen" and gesticulated towards some kind of Beefeater and I blurted "why where's he taking them?" and of course she replied "um, to your room." Well Posh!!

I go to the room to get ready and I think 'wow. A shower without children opening the door and asking me what I'm doing or bowling in and taking a toddler-wee next to the cubicle which inevitably goes down the wall and across their feet.' Peace at last.
I dump all my clothes on the floor and step into the shower slamming the door firmly behind me....or so I thought. 
I'm blissfully shaving my legs, a chore that has only recently re-entered my life, checking out my radiation burns and noting how I seem to have got off lightly so far. I'm carefully washing off my eyebrows, oblivious to the Tsunami that was washing across the posh bathroom floor. 
Shower is turned off and I go to step out of the cubicle, I notice how shiny the floor tiles are as I can literally see my reflection. I stamp my giant hobbit foot onto the tiles and my reflection starts to 'ripple,' not unusual given the state of my body at the moment, but then my face wobbles away!!!! Oh shit!!!! Has radiation caused my face to fall off? NOOOO then it dawns on me I've flooded the pissing bathroom haven't I!  Not only that but that granny bra and fake foam dome tit are they only ones I have with me and one is fully submerged under 3inches of posh water and 'Soap and Glory' suds and the other is floating towards the heated towel rail. Bollocks!!!! I scoop up the sodden mess and dump it on the shelf behind the bog while I rush around naked in the bathroom, mopping up water with the bath mat, one tit swinging freely in the air.
I finally get all the floor water down the sink and go to retrieved the bra, foam dome and other clothes off the shelf and I shit you not, I dropped them in the bastard toilet!!! 
Well, I don't have a spare!! It's 45 mins until launch and I have no spare tit and nothing to put it in. I can see visions of myself sitting in my dress talking to a real blogger and suddenly a wet bra shape emerges through my dress. 
My buggery bollocks!!! I try stuffing all my clothes on the heated towel rail. Slipping the boob down the back. Too slow.....Where's the free hairdryer????
So that's what I did. I dried my shower/toilet water sodden tit and bra with the complimentary hair dryer. Then off I went. Oh actually I put clothes on first you understand. 

So it was a drinks reception first and I met some other bloggers who were lovely. I quickly learnt that 'hi I'm Heidi' is as pointless as wrapping presents for a 3 month old. People would raise their lovely hairy eyebrows at me and I quickly learned to introduced myself as 'STORM IN A TIT CUP'....it was....different. Kinda cool. I couldn't wait to meet someone who might say 'hi I'm HAIRY BALLS - PRIVATE SCHOOLS' or 'nice to meet you I'm OH SO HAPPY CRAPPY NAPPY' or even 'alright my dear I'm MY TODDLER THE SHITHEAD' but alas people are equally as sensible as me. 

We had dinner and just before they began to announce the winners I rushed off to the traps for my millionth wee of the night and the smallest most delicate of lady-poo's ...nerves, alcohol and the lasting effects of 10 months of chemotherapy. And bless, there was another blogger throwing out much more than words....my god the poor lady. After Friday her Twitter name is probably @chundercatsarego, @vomitcomet or @leastihadabucket. Awful. I provided a jug of water and back I went. 

So the awards began and there were many category's and I really enjoyed hearing about all the blogs and made notes to follow these amazing people. But by far the best part for me was when the entertainment started...and by that I mean when another blogger fell off the stage. This gorgeous blonde in a black dress went ass over tit down the back of the stage and I had a front row seat!!!! 
There was a rumble and I looked over to see two sculpted legs go flying into the air, they were akimbo  and I saw a flash of black material or very dark beaver hair followed by feet and then gasps from the audience. I did what any good person would do and cheered!!!! Well someone needed to break the silence!!! I then sat down and I'm ashamed to say I howled for at least 12 minutes, to the point of tears. I'm so sorry lady with lovely legs, but your fall made my night! I salute you!! You styled it out too by waving your arms in the air, awesome. 

It then got to the Best Writer category and I listened as they described this blog that showed humour despite the subject matter, bravery in the face of adversity and sheer courage. And I must say I was proud when I heard them say that was my blog. But I was also sad because I cannot believe this is my life. I often think my life is like the elaborate plot on a soap and GoogleBox lounges would scream 'oh that's crap, as if that would ever happen to one person' , but it's real and it's all true. And it's fucking awful. 
But I will say again, I cannot let my little boys lives be swallowed up by darkness. I cannot let my little girls memory be clouded by what is happening to me. 
So when I won the award, I cried. And not because I was greatful, although I was extremely greatful, I cried because this means I've done something positive. It will make my three children proud, and Scouse (who is already extremely proud) prouder and really all my friends, family and the virtual friends I've made who have supported me the whole way along and into the future. 
I dedicated my award to my boys, my little girl in heaven and to the lady being sick in the toilet. I wish I had added stage fall lady too because she got up, dusted off her fabulous self and kept on going. I feel I can relate to that stage fall. In all manner of ways.
Trying to look posh
The other thing I need to tell you is that GoogleBox may well get a chance to question my plot. When I was pregnant with Ally I allowed a documentary crew into my life in the hope of raising awareness of Inflammatory Breast Cancer and Cancer in pregnancy. I wanted to do my bit. They filmed everything and most beautifully, the moment my daughter Ally was born. 
Ally's 8 days with us, short but electrified by love. 
I decided to carry on with the documentary as Ally had a lot more to say and I could facilitate that. See, she is her mothers daughter and we never give up.

Ally is with me, always. 
She was with me as I accepted my award. She was with me when I watched the documentary and I cried very hard. And she is with me all the nights I lie awake thinking of her. She gives me courage in the darkest of times and bravery in the face of adversity. 
I would love it if you could watch it. It goes out in the UK and Ireland on 26th September on TLC. It's under the title 'Extraordinary Pregnancies.'

There are further dates below. These can change and I'll let you know if they do. It will also go out in USA at some point, again I'll let you know. I will also post updates on Facebook: Storm In a Tit Cup by Heidi and Twitter:  @storminatitcup


So, I sign off tonight whilst watching Poldark, looking at my award glinting from the table. 'Storm In A Tit Cup' has now been active for 10 months and I know that despite what prognosis-paperwork-crap says about me, I'll still be writing it in 10 years. Who knows if anyone will still read it and what the hell I'll be waffling about but to all you butt heads who voted and to those of you that didn't, thank you. Thank you for your continued support which never fails to choke me up. Please know I read every single comment that you write even though I don't always reply, they are all so gratefully received. 

I never did see toilet spew lady again that night but she will have gone home and woken up with no memory, a mouth like a Tramps pants and the abs of a god from all the heaving but I won't forget her. A stark reminder that even in the poshest of hotels life isn't always picture perfect. 

And to stage fall lady, high fucking five. Keep your pants black, or your growler hairy.... You never know when you might fall off the stage but it's getting back up that matters X

Extraordinary Pregnancy Dates 

Poland - TLC - 19th Septmber 
Africa - TLC Entertainment - 21st September 
Europe Pan Region - TLC - 24th September 
Hungary - TLC - 24th September 
UK - TLC - 26th September 
Ireland - TLC - 26th September 
Arabia - TLC - 4th October 
Italy - Real Time - 6th October 
Denmark - TLC - 6th October 
Norway - TLC - 6th October 


Sweden - TLC - 6th Ocotber 

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Toothless Trails. Trail 2: Ceebeebies world.

Seizing the day.

Let me tell you this....you cannot seize every day. It's too bloody tiring. Some days, you should flop out of bed, face down onto the sofa, wear the same pants you had on yesterday, pick the crust off your Primark joggers and catch up with celebrity big brother. 
You don't have to wake up each morning and announce that 'today you shall learn Spanish', 'walk up Scaffell Pike' (personally I prefer Fan-Y-Big for obvious reasons - Google it.. It's real) or 'flit to Paris for a spot of snail munching'. No! It's too hard. 

But what I would recommend is filling any 'empty space' with something. 
If you have a weekend looming but no other plans then to deworm Fido or take Great Aunt Gravy-Chin out to buy some new marquee pants; why not go glamping? Or go on a forest combing walk? You could take Great Aunt Gravy-Chin with you. 
Have you heard of 'geo caching'? That's something we are starting. It's a treasure hunt and I was surprised to learn they are all over my town. 

Anyway, since I opened the one way door to Cancer-land, people rarely say 'no' to me so I've been doing a lot lately!

My Uni friends and I went to the Peak District with our kids. We can't call it a 'holiday' as the kids were there. It was an adventure. 
We quickly referred to the day trips we took as 'Funishment'. 

Adults: "Come on everyone. Let's head to Monkey-Land for some Funishment."

Kids: "Tait just bit me / I want the car seat with the sick on / Milo's Poohed his pants / I hate Monkeys / I wanted to open my own crisp packet / why are there trees here, I hate trees / why is that monkey touching his Winky? / I'm bored." And on and on and on

Adults: "everybody just shut up and enjoy yourselves OK. Mummy and Daddy have paid £5.30 to get in here, plus parking. You will enjoy yourself!"

FUNISHMENT. FUNISHMENT. La la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaa.

It was a huge 'team' effort. All working together to enjoy a group adventure. And then laughing when things most certainly didn't resemble 'The Walton's.' Like when Tait crapped in the communal bath. 
It was all going so well. The two youngest boys in the bath together. No one had bitten anyone, the bath resembled an Ibiza foam party, the tunes were banging (the babies in the bath go splish splash splosh etc) and the boats were being 'shared nicely.' 
Then suddenly, just as the older kids were about to get in the recycled water, a shriek of 'oh my god what's that in the water?' Booms across the bathroom. My blood runs cold as I immediately think 'SHARK!!!!!', then I remember we are in a farmhouse in Bradnop and Jaws was filmed in America.....'fucking hell it must be a floater' and sure enough a fleet of brown submarines had been deployed towards various coordinates across the bath. Cue my friend Cathy and I, frantically scooping our children out of the bath and wiping theirs butts with white towels to established who was responsible. (Good Night John Boy) 

We spent a day at Alton Towers. One of the items on the bucket and spade list . Toothless stayed at the house for this one. I bet she was pleased!!
It was very different to the AT trips of yesteryear. Gone were the days of coach trips that left Bristol at 6am to deliver a large group of pubescent teens reeking of BO to spend the whole day drinking coke, not eating anything that isn't 90% sugar and re-riding Nemisis or Corkscrew until we barfed everywhere. No no no! 
We now walked passed Rita Queen of Speed with our heads hanging low, to enter the world of CBeebies. 
It's like someone chucked the bedtime hour, some neon paints and a can of red bull into a cocktail shaker, gave it a vigorous shake and then opened it in your face. 
It was insane!!!!

The 'in the night garden' boating adventure was Taits favourite. True to form, all the animation was powered by the sound of farts. Upsy Daisy's mechanical skirt had got slightly stuck up and she was basically showing her Foof to all and sundry whilst shouting 'whoopsie daisy do'....It was just like Geordie Shore.
The Pontipines were hardly there at all and the Wattingers had completely fucked off. We were waved off the ride by Iggle Piggle and that stiff red blanket which you just know has been used as a jiz rag. 

The 'pirate ship' was Noah's favourite. Scouse almost lost his shit when I told him it was my turn to go on something with Noah as Tait was too small and had to stay behind. Luckily my dear friend Lou stepped in to look after Tait before Scouse had a melt down.
I came into my own here as if you've ever been to Bristol before, you'll know that we sound an awful lot like pirates. I was oooooing and aaarrrrring up a storm. 
Basically you get in these boats that have water guns on and you can shoot the public and they you. We launched the boat and were 'jolly rogering' our asses off until we rounded the corner....Josh, who is also 3, was promptly shot in the face by some over zealous dad and began to scream his head off, an extremely violent 8 year old used my bald head as a target and completely destroyed my drawn on eyebrows. Scouse was shooting everyone he could see (including the little two year old girl in the pink coat) while Noah was shouting "help me daddy" to which Scouse replied "Sorry I can't son, I've got pirate jobs".
Needless to say it was carnage. 
We then spent 30 minutes queuing to go in one of those stand up hair dryer things. We were reunited with Tait who wanted to join in the hairdryer fun and promptly shat his nappy on a colossal scale. We only realised he'd 'Conjured a Patronus' when the hairdryer began to honk of onions as his nappy was being cooked by the dryer and the fumes blown around us and subsequently the unsuspecting queue of soggy pirates. 
Ahhh good memories. Tait really sized his day there. 

The holiday was fantastic. Scouse and I worked well as a team. I think I can only recall one passive aggressive parent moment when Tait had chucked his curry everywhere and Scouse asked me to clean him up as I had not sat down yet to eat my tea. I replied that really as he was already half way through his meal, he could maybe do it. He promptly replied "there's no 'I' in team Heidi" and gave me his best shit-eating grin. As I turned back to the kitchen to get wipes I'm sure he didn't hear me mutter under my breath 'no but there's a 'U' in Cunt" 

I love spending time with my Uni friends and their families. I don't get to see them that much as they live far away but they've been there for me so much throughout all this crap, and will continue to be there for me even when they are going through their own crap. 
I sometimes forget that my friend Lou nearly died from Menigistis while we were at Uni. She has also had skin Cancer. She is my age. I don't forget because I'm so wrapped up in myself. I forget because she is one of the toughest people I know and she chalks these situations up to experience. She doesn't let them dominate. She doesn't wear the experience on her face. Yes, she wears a lot of sun cream, but she's really ginger and practically see through, so you'd never suspect Cancer was the reason.

And my friend Cathy. Well, she was the one who shaved her head when my hair fell out. She is extremely tough and strong in other ways, ways she wouldn't thank me for typing but I know you trust me when I tell you, she is nails.

I take my strength from my friends and family and the support of people I've never met. People like you.

When faced with this terrible illness that has taken so much from me and may take more in the future, all the bullshit around the edges falls away. I don't care much about my car, about a promotion or about nice handbags; I care about experiences. I care about making the best of everything with the people that mean the most to me.

Seizing the day is about making it count. Not because I think I'm dying...no no no! It's because I'm living. 




Thursday, 4 August 2016

Numbers

So I'm sat having Non-chemo chemo (keeps you alive but doesn't make your hair fall out) and I really need a wee. But I don't want to go because then I've got to drag 'Old Man Wheely Legs' with me. It's not that I don't like him or I'm ashamed of him...its just that we look like we are kind of dancing down the corridor together. Also the urge to hunch over whilst dragging his skinny ass, is just too tempting. I did it last time at Oncology and not one person laughed, except the nurse. What's with this crowd? 
Whenever I have succumbed to the 30 litres of 'post toddler night-riot rocket fuel (coffee)' I've chucked down my throat, I have had to unplug 'Old Man Wheely Legs' and we do some kind of crazy drug-machine-human tango to the bog. Dragging my bag of fluids, to empty my fluids to be replaced with more fluids, to the fluid despenser, fluidly.
It's one of the only times I feel I actually look like an ill person. 
So as I sit here crossing and uncrossing my legs, I've concluded I shall just piss myself. Because that's less uncomfortable.


 Me and 'Old Man Wheely Legs'
Here we are demonstrating the Tango


So, what's happening with me? 
The boob got cut up and then thrown into the 'body-part bonfire' underneath the hospital. Or plonked into a jar of vinegar. Whatever it is they do with chopped off bits.
When it was dissected, some Cancer was found. 
This may not sound like a surprise to the muggles (I had cancer of the bap after all) but the hope is that chemo gets rid of everything in the boob which puts you in the 'complete pathological response' bracket. I didn't  quite make that but it's almost clear. This is medium news. 

The NHS deem me as Non-Curable due to a belief that the Cancer has spread to my lungs. 
This is called Secondary Breast Cancer - it has left its primary residence and travelled to a second home. 
Once this has happened the 'door for cure' slams firmly shut. 
There is no going back. 
I am now on palliative care. Palliative is a term that I would associate with people very close to the drop off zone. Obviously this is not always the case because have you seen me lately??? 
5 of my chins have gone, leaving me with just 3. I've jumped out of a plane, my ass can again be contained within a 4-man tent as opposed to a marquee, my hair is growing back at about 2 millimetres a month and my scalp is the texture of a Kiwi fruit. I've been camping 3 weeks post mastectomy, body slammed my 2 sons regularly AND I haven't shat myself for at least 4 weeks. I FEEL GREAT! 
Numbers and labels eh? Puh!!!!

Let me tell you, I have asked the million dollar question...how long have I got? What is my number
And let me be clear on this....no one really knows. Of course I did push for this to be answered but maybe not for the obvious reasons. 
If you chuck my current info post mastectomy into a date generator then it spits out 4-5 years. I've already had Inflammatory Breast Cancer for 1.5 years so my 'C' in GCSE maths leads me to calculate (with a calculator) that computer says NOOOO hope for you living more than 3.5 years. 
Now I'm not being naive nor am I in denial when I tell you that that info is Grade A, 24 carat bullshit. And honestly, a few of my medical team would agree. 

Although that is a number. It is just a number. There is so little research on IBC that really nobody knows. There are people that will be given 10 years and then be gone in 10 days, there are people that will be given 1 year and out live us all. And there is of course no immunity to other deaths when you have Cancer....I could still be eaten by a shark or choke on a chicken foot at Nandos. No one really knows. 

A prognosis does make you get your admin together....we (Scouse and I) now have wills. We also have medical and financial power of attorney over each other....every time Scouse and I argue over the remote he says 'don't wind me up...I have legal powers to switch you off remember' and then I remind him that in fact I have the same power over him. That shuts him up.

One thing 'the number' generated was an impromptu midnight convo two days ago...

Me: Scouse?

Him: Yeah?

Me: Oh good. You're awake. Listen. We need to talk about something that's really bothering me since they gave me my number. I've been lying here stressing about it. I've played out in my mind.... the horrors of the end. And beyond all the really obvious emotional stuff that we talk about, there's another thing that's really stressing me out. I need to ask you do to something for me. It's so important that you must promise me you'll do it. 
When I die...

Him: Yeah?

Me: I'm worried I'll not really be dead and they'll bury me alive and I'll wake up in a coffin. Can you please promise me you'll double check that I'm dead?

Him: Of course Hun. I'll come back and stake you like a vampire. Night Night.

What a guy. ❤️

The prognosis gives me a number.
I imagine it like this....
That number is lying by the side of the road. I see myself in an open top car with my 3 boys around me travelling down that road, Ally is smiling down from the sky, and we go zooming passed that number. 
I stretch my fist firmly towards that number and confidently erect my middle finger.
The car keeps on driving, right off into the distance and disappears. 

I'm not kidding myself, but really, fearing something and fixating on it will not change the outcome. 
Exist in fear and sadness or live in strength and happiness. 
Either way, you end up the same. 
But you control your car. 


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Drain gain. What's Pain?

Well fuck me it's hot! The amount of sweaty crotches circumnavigating the UK right now aren't the only thing on the rise. As the temperature hits 33 (my age) and our eyes are awarded a Buffett of naked flesh ranging from rare to extremely over cooked, I have become aware that I can now say 'flipping heck my tit is sweaty'. Along with 'you are getting right on my tit'. 
Scouse and I were shopping a while back and we saw some 'Hooters' t.shirts and he remarked I should buy one and cross off the 's'. I think this is brilliant so if any of you make t.shirts....send me a 'Hooter' top.

Anyway, I now have one boob. I'm not guna lie, it's a bit weird. Especially when its a 36H. Can you imagine what that looks like in a top? I feel like I'm walking around leading with the boob, trying to even myself out a bit. 
The foam dome (fake stuffed booby thing) I've got isn't the same size as my real boob. This is because you'd need the entire contents of a sofa to stuff that bad boy. 
It kind of does the job for now, It's just my chest looks on the piss, squwhiff like. 

So how did this all happen then?

Well I've hoped the big slice and dice was coming for a long time... It's a positive to reach surgery my friends.
At Christmas it was looking like it wasn't going to happen. Voldertit was fiercely unbridled at that point. 
When you have a mastectomy for IBC (Inflammtory breast cancer) you need to be sure you won't leave anything behind on the chest. So there needs to be a gap (margin) between the good and the Badlands. 
At Christmas, there was no gap. 
The chemo and other drugs I have had this year, created that gap, allowing for the boob to be removed. 

So, I was given a date for surgery and then got myself prepared.
How did I do this? 
Well I wrote and rehearsed a speech for my cousins wedding (click here for the Bristolian version of Warren G Regulate) and delivered it 3 days before the chop. 
I also jumped out of a plane, took the kids on a tractor ride and attended a Fair-well party for the hunk of flesh that had been trying to kill me for a year.

How did I prepare mentally? Well I didn't need to. I'm all good with it. Do you know why? Because physical pain is just physical pain. It can be managed with a pill. There is no pill to deal with the pain I feel every day at the loss of Ally. If there was, I'd be gobbling them by the handful. 
I feel pretty equipped to deal with pain, losing a boob, looking different, because I don't care. Mentally, it's nothing comparatively for me.
I was emotional about my friends and family though. I cried about how brilliant they've been. I know they are going through hell with me, not just alongside me. 
That kind of shit really overwhelms me. 
Every time someone writes a message on my blog, i get a feeling of kindness and love. Those feelings are being sent from people I'm close with to people I will never know. Remarkable and hugely appreciated. 

Anyway, I'm waffling on....'get to the juicy bits' I hear you cry.

So I rocked up at 7am and was shipped into my little pre-op room. A lovely nurse went through the forms with me. I basically signed to say I'm all good with complete removal of my right breast, the tissue, the nipple, the skin and the lymph-nodes. The operation would take 2 hours and then I'd be 'out of it' for a while afterwards. The nurse then gave me a bag with these minging socks in that I needed to wear to prevent DVT. (Deep vein thrombosis) They were pre-sealed. I opened the pack to try them on and then became confused 'excuse me but I've got a problem....(as I waved Nora Battys footwear in the air).... Two legs, one sock'.... 
There was only one sock. 
Oh shit!!!! 
Have I just signed a form that said 'removal of right leg' not breast??? Oh no!!!
'Oh that's unusual. I'll go get another pack' says the nurse. I think 'welcome to Heidi land. Nothing usual happens around me.' Thankfully one becomes two and I'm able to live out my dream of becoming fashion forward.... 
It takes effort to look this good.

It's time to go. 
Scouse announces he's off for a bacon sandwich at Costa (looser, I'd have gone with Tiffin, yes even in the morning, don't you judge me) and I walk down to the theatre. 
I've always thought theatre was an odd name for a room of surgical shenanigans. I start picturing the nurses dressed as jesters and Elizabethan town folk, and the surgeon dressed up as a King shouting 'off with her breast' whilst weilding a sword above his head. Someone is playing a flute in the corner while others are drinking mead and eating chicken legs. 
But this was no Shakespearian tragedy.  
This was little old me. 
This was my drama. 

I lie on the bed and look up at the big silver circle thing that looks like a spaceship (I think it's a light). The anaesthetist is trying to get a Cannula into my ever-decreasing veins. Chemo has knackered them so they are flat. I stare up at the spaceship and think about the last time I was in a very similar position ....Ally's birth.
 I was very scared then. I didn't know what would happen when she was born, I hoped she would cry, she did, I hoped she would know me, she did, I hoped for her to have an amazing long life, she didn't. Things don't always go how they should. 
Was I scared now? No. Of course I hoped to wake up. I thought of my boys and I hoped to wake up. But I wasn't scared for the boob. It's just a boob. I said goodbye in my mind and i drifted off to sleep. 

Not unlike apparating in at Hogwarts, I went from one room with one set of people, to another room with another set of people. It's kind of cool. 
As I came around I used my left hand to feel across my chest, my eyes were firmly closed, and sure enough, where Mt Snowdon used to be, was now that famous square on the ordinance survey map of north Lincolsnshire....a whole lot of nothing. 

My right hand then reached out and found Scouse's. I knew it was his because all the fingernails had been bitten off. Not unlike a 13 year old dumped by her first boyfriend; Scouse eats his feelings. We've had a lot happen in the last 10 months ergo what were once fingers are now a palm surrounded by five stumps. 

I wake up fully and am instantly introduced to my two boob-juice collectors who I quickly name Drain and Drainetta Slob. Their jobs are to collect all the fluid around the surgery site. They are stitched into my side. I have a bag to carry them in when I'm mobile. What if shop security asks to look in the bag? They'd get a right shock! Actually that would be brilliant!!! (Must look dodgy at next trip to Primark.)
Lincolnshire 
Drain and Drainetta Slob.
Rocking my drains. 
I'm out of hospital the next day after a night of playing cards and eating pizza. When I get home the first thing Noah asks is to see my poorly boob. I show him and he says 'wow' and then goes back to picking his nose. (And wiping it in my mums couch) 
Tait comes up for a cuddle and then actually head butts me right in the shark bite. You couldn't make it up right. 

I spend the next few days chilling out and emptying Drainetta. (Drain was taken out before I left hospital) I notice that the contents goes from Strawberry Daiquiri to medium white wine. I'm sure it doesn't taste as good but I did enjoy looking at it though...I'm gross like that.
Drains poking out, me breathing in. Showing off my lovely drain bag.
It's the first time I've really stopped since all this started and I can confirm that time in my own head isn't the best. I'm defiantly a person that needs to be kept busy. I've felt petty sad over the last two weeks. I miss her. I'm angry she's not here. She would be 7 months old now. I can see how she would be, what she'd be wearing, what she'd be doing. Now that hurts. 

With the weather being the way it is, I have the window open at night and I can see the stars. I wonder, can they see me? 

The weather is cold. Then it is hot. Then it rains. Then there's a storm. Then there's a rainbow. How primitive. How raw. How symbolic.

Covet your heart...a tit is just a tit. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Dear Boob

Dear Boob,

In a time of uncertainty with this  EU referendum Schizzle where we are now considering the possibility of CIF returning to JIF,  bananas going bendy again and wondering if we will now have to call 'Magic Stars'  'Supernatural Pentagrams', our future is somewhat unclear....what a shocker! An 'unclear future' is something we all face, everyday and will always face because no one has a crystal Ball. (Or Cubic zirconia sphere)

I tell you one thing that is certain Boob, tomorrow you are leaving me. 

I've known you since I was about 12. I remember being an 11 year old. I had a lot of puppy fat (my brother called it Great Dane fat as there was so much). I had a ginger Bob and shoulders about a hundred metres wide....I was pretty tall and yeah I basically looked like a prop on the English rugby team. 
So I remember asking for you. I wanted you to be large, you and your twin. I had great hopes for how you would turn things around for me in the looks department. 
Then you arrived and you were everything I hoped for. I went from butch school girl to Heidi with the big boobs. 
As the years progressed you got me into nightclubs, underage. You got me free drinks, 5th place in a wet t.shirt competition (I think there were 6 of us in the event) and basically gave me some well needed confidence. 



Later on down the line, you nourished my children, grew longer and sustained 5 months of being bitten repeatedly by Tait until I could only feed him from the other side. I somethings wonder if Taits biting was telling me something.... Was he warning me that all was not well with you? That you were ill? That something was attacking you from the inside. That Cancer was ravishing you. 
You began to change. 
You weren't that happy go lucky boob you'd been up until this point. You became red and angry. You grew and grew. You weren't lumpy which is why I never suspected anything sinister was happening. The Drs said you were fine when I took you to see them. So we carried on. Towards the end your nip started to retreat and your surface looked like an orange. I took your back to the Drs for the 3rd time and we discovered that in fact your were very poorly. I was told from the beginning that you would have to leave at some point. 
And that point is tomorrow.

So I'm left wondering what I should do on my last day with you. Let's be honest you haven't aged well so I'll not be showing you off to people. If a builder shouted to me "show me your tits" I'd literally just have to lift up the hem of my trousers. 
You are covered in stretch marks to the point that if I found myself lost in London I could consult you for a central line train to Walthamstow.
When I lie down, you gracefully slide under my armpit. 
So really today is just another day. I will take my children out to play and spend time with them. As always. 

I'm just wondering if I'll miss you? I think I'll miss the memories we made together but actually you serve no purpose anymore. I know that Scouse loves me with or without you. I know that my children won't even notice that you've gone and I know that you simply can't stay because you're killing me. 
I know it's not your fault. You didn't want this, but it's happened. 
There are many things in life that happen that we don't want, that we fear. Then they happen. 
What do you do? 
You have to deal with it because quite frankly what other option do you have? 
So I'm sorry but you have to go. 

My friends from school who have known you your whole life, threw you a going away party last night. We met at the curry house ( if you watch sons of anarchy this is akin to that table where they make all their important team decisions and discuss important issues) and they bought me this amazing blanket with loads of our pictures on it. 





I cried.


Then at the end of the meal, out comes one of the chaps singing happy birthday!!! 



Anna is shouting "no no it's not her birthday....it's for something else....um it's a cake for ummm she's ill and ummm it's not her birthday". 
I'm cracking up at this point as I'm thinking how do you sing 'goodbye right tit la la la you're being chopped off la la la' . 
The chap starts mumbling something about 'keeping it in the box as not to upset the other customers.' I'm wondering why on earth it would offend anyone, when two huge tits with candles in are plonked in front of me. 
The nipples are massive!!!! Gemma says 'oh look they're just like my nipples', to me they look like witches hats. It was brilliant! The girls are all laughing and so am I. We discuss what people might think about what we are celebrating and whether people would consider them terrible friends. On the contrary, they are incredible. 
This is exactly what I would want, and exactly how we all are. 
This is why they are my friends.
I then proceeded to cut up the right boob and dish it out to everyone. We all eat it, together, as a team. 

I've never felt alone at a point of this shit-uation and that is largely down to the friends and family I have. 
What a perfect way to say goodbye to you boob. 
And I actually think you appreciated it too. 



Tomorrow I will lie down and look to my right armpit and see you for the last time. Then I will go to sleep and when I wake up you'll be gone. Every part of you. And what will be left is a scar that is curved. The scar will look just like a smile, they said. 
Oh the irony. 
But when I look in the mirror and see that place you used to be, I will think of all the great things you did for me and I'll smile right back.