Sunday, 25 March 2007

Fears Realised

On Friday the 23rd March, 2007, my mother telephoned me to say that my Nan has been diagnosed with lung cancer, with multiple secondary tumors.

Obviously, I felt numb, shocked, saddened and all the other things one expects. However, I have enough support around me, and enough clinical experience to tell me that this isn't necessarily a death sentence. We have been given an opportunity, a chance. The chance to say our goodbyes properly. The opportunity to plan and make arrangements and moreover, the blessing of being allowed to say the things we want to but have always held back. Things like how spending weekends and summers with my grandparents were among the very best days of my life. Times such as car journeys to the coast and digging up the garden. Memories of strawberry picking and baking in the kitchen with Nan. Just telling about how much love was shared between us, and how better my life has been enriched because of them... The much loved second-parents, commonly known as grandparents. She's not gone yet, so we'll have some fun, some whiskey and some cake... and probably a happy tear along the way. I love you Nan, and Gramp - I've never forgotten you. I love you; you were the father I always needed...

Goodbye for now, more soon no doubt... x

August 2008 Update to this entry: An Ending.... Read in this order:

Homeward Bound
Yesterday, The Day of the Funeral
Some old photos dug out, and fresh hells.

I'll write a reflection on this very soon, but not today...

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

This Precious Burden

It's been quite sometime since I last made an entry here. Life has been good lately, and busy. But life has also been difficult.

It's been over a month since I last wrote , and in that time so much has happened - too much for me to write in one sitting, so I'll write what I can now and maybe come back later.

The main thing resting heavy in my shoulders is that of my grandmother, and her health. She has always been a stout, strong woman in mind and body, and with a kind heart. Last week I found out from my mother that she has been coughing up blood for a number of weeks, maybe months, and didn't tell a soul. During a routine chest x-ray, the radiographer found a shadow over one of her lung lobes. So, after a meeting with her consultants, she is being investigated for lung cancer. My mother sat in through the consultation, where another secret came to light.

Sometime ago, my grandmother broke her hip after falling from her bed at night. She lay on the floor for around 18 hours, soaked in urine and seconds from dying. The window cleaner was up his ladder doing what window cleaners do best - and whistled. My grandmother screamed and banged for help, but all she got in return was the happy whistling as he went about his work. Unheard, several hours passed. My mother and brother came over to my grandmother to bring some tea over. When they couldn't get an answer, they let themselves in with the 'in case of emergency' key. My brother raced upstairs and just as quickly ran back down again crying "she's dead..." My mother went upstairs to find my grandmother kneeling on the floor, slumped over the bed... barely breathing, but alive. In short, she survived her surgery and despite a slow recovery came back to a good level of health. During her recovery, all she wanted to do was smoke, but one day, for no apparent reason, she stopped and never smoked again, saying that 'something' shocked her into giving up.

Now, fast forward again to my grandmothers recent investigation into lung cancer. It turned out that the thing that shocked her into giving up smoking was that during her hospital stay for the hip fracture, was that she was diagnosed with serious heart condition. She kept this hidden until last week, so all in all, my grandmother isn't nearly as well as I thought. So, it's a waiting game now. She is booked in for a bronchoscopy biopsy, a CT and more bloods. Only time will tell... but think of me, my family, and my grandmother.

Moving on to lighter things, we've booked a week in Sweden over august holiday, flying with British Airways for a change. This time it will be a bit more special - we're going with all but one of Michael's brothers and sisters. Kirstyn, Fern and Paul will be spending the holiday with us, but Bevan is staying at home with his partner, looking after his new-born baby Leo (left). It'll be a special time for me, as it's our third visit to Stockholm, and was also the first place Michael and I went on holiday together, so you could say I fell in love with the place. There really is something quite magical about living around water. Very special. We'll be also staying at the same place we did on our first visit, in a beautiful little place called Skeppsholmen, opposite the old battle ship, the af chapman.

In other news, I have managed to pass my interview with the local PCT, and the board have recommended me for a permanent position with them. Great news, which also means I can say goodbye and farewell to being an agency nurse with the BNA. Which also means that we can at last get a mortgage and buy our sanctuary.

Speaking of homes, I forgot to mention that the move went incredibly well, with few exceptions. We're perfectly settled in our lovely 1888 house on a closed, cobbled street. We've got stuck into gardening, home-making and entertaining. We've even started taking bookings for the spare room!

The other news I have is that despite LOVING this new job, I'm off sick with viral labyrinthitis, nausea, vomiting and the 'd' word. Yuk. Not to mention passing out in work last night, but thats another embarrassing story!

Life is good, I'm almost happy again but every now and again, the moods get the better of me and I feel like a neurotic case all over again. I'm working on living, enjoying life and just being happy, but sometimes things just don't come that easy... but then that's life, and probably why this blog is called what it's called.

So for now, it's goodbye from me. Maybe next time...
Ryan x