I have wondered this so many times over the past 6 years! And anytime I try to Imagine if I got just 5 minutes what Id ask her!!! Despite the more obvious questions there’s also so many other things I just wish I could have her opinion on!
Mostly trivial things, for instance I came across someone very recently we both mutually know and they aren’t really the person I thought they were! And I’d just feckin love to know what my mam really thought of them !
Even things like Snapchat…..Stephen reckons she’d love the fact I’m on it. She would be ringing me to ask had I seen a certain bargain and made sure to let the Snapchatters know!! Or If she was here while I was snapping she would be popping into the background to give her two cents!
I’ve made some huge decisions over the past 6 years and I hated not having her opinion on them even if sometimes it may not have been what I would have wanted to hear.
But she always seems to have some way of guiding me!
I cried my eyes out last year when I realised we were making the wrong choice for Rebecca’s School! I was standing in the Shower and It’s like I could almost hear her Saying
“Grace what are you doing? Don’t send her there”
So the next morning a panicked phone call and a quick groveling meeting with the Principal and it was sorted!
But his 1st words to me when I met him were “Sure your mam would be going mad if she wasn’t coming here” I knew right then and there I had made the right choice.
There’s always this sense of longing when you make a decision or follow through with one,
When we decided recently that I wasn’t going back to work after having Luke I spoke to numerous people for some advice and they helped greatly, but I would have given anything for her to say “of course your doing the right thing darling”.
When I did hand in my notice I came back to the car and there it was that longing and empty feeling, it never fades! I sent a text or rang the people I needed to but that incomplete feeling is just sitting there as you can’t tell all the people you feel the need to! That’s why the feeling is so strong it’s not a want it’s a need!!! A need to know they know, hear their reaction and feel secure in their approval!
I feel for the majority of girls the age I lost my mam is the time you begin a new sort of Relationship with them. Instead of not always welcoming their opinion you desperately need their guidance and you become more and more like friends!!
I have certainly gained an awful lot of new respect for my mam since I became a Mother! It ain’t easy!!!
And when you have a mini me who thinks she always knows better I sometimes want to apologise for also being that mini madam who thought they knew everything!!!
I turned 30 recently and to be frankly honest I hated it and not only as it’s a scary new age bracket but because there I was, 30 , so happily married with two adorable little humans and she wasn’t here to see it! I felt like I was once again stepping into a new stage and she wasn’t here to celebrate any of it! No birthday is easy as you spend most of the day longing for the birthday call or visit you know isn’t coming but this one was particularly lousy!! I just know she would have been parading me around telling people I was 30 just so someone would be shocked that she had a daughter my age ! She would be heading for 54 now and I just can’t fathom that! I think she will always be 48 to me. I’ll never be able to picture her any older and I like it that way!
Despite never really being able to know what she’d think I’ve no doubt at all that she’d be so very proud of every decision I’ve made without her and the way in which I’m growing to be just like her.
My Death row meal (should I ever get there) is a Fresh White bread Sambo with real butter and Layers of Honey Glazed Ham, Sausage Meat Stuffing & Cranberry Sauce !!!!
I’ve Hosted Christmas Dinner twice, once for 11 People from my teeny Kitchen and it was a huge success….well so they tell me !! And another year I had 15 girls here for Kris Kindle Drinks that required some festive Party Food! So I’m no Stranger to feeding at this time of year! I’m going to share some Recipes, Tips & Ideas for a handy tasty and excessively Indulgent Christmas !!
All My Recipes are on my Facebook Page Frilly Flossy in the photo albums & I’ve two Instagram pagesthegoodthebadthetasty & @frillyflossy
Not essential in my opinion as the main is such a huge deal but if your planning on doing a starter I think it should be something that you can either pre make or pre prepare!!
My Fave is a Little Anti Pasti Tapas Style Starter it tastes great and needs no cooking and looks great on a slate server!
The way I do ours is with Slices of Serrano or Parma along with Chunks of cheese. Smoked Applewood & Wensleydale with Cranberries or Apricots are my Fave!!!
Then I fill little individual ramekins with Garlic Butter, Red Onion Relish, Pesto, Pate & Quince Paste! Lidl always Have Quince this time of year and it’s gorgeous with Cheese!!! Another addition thats nice is some Walnuts! This selection of course needs some Bread!!! Sliced Brioche Rolls Toasted is Perfect or You can now buy Milano Dough balls in Tesco and they are fab with any of this!!!
A Classic Starter of Soup is a great option!
This Celeriac Soup is sooo Tasty and works perfect at Christmas Time!!
This is the Important bit!!!Save a little glaze from before so when its cooked spread a bit more all over the ham and pop in oven for 10/15 mins just to crisp up the edges!!!
Gravy!!!! I made a Carmelised Onion Gravy to have with Sausages Recently and Quite Frankly it was unreal so I’m making it for Christmas Day!
Melt 1 Tablespoon of unsalted Butter in a pot over a medium heat then and 1 Tablespoon of Plain Flour whisk together for approx one minute till it turns a blonde colour. Then slowly add in the Stock while continuously whisking (Stock is 1 Beef Stock Pot combined with 240ml boiling water) Whisk until there is no lumps then leave on low heat to thicken when at a consistency you are happy with add Pinch of Black Pepper 1 Tsp of Mustard Powder 1 Tsp of Dried Sage 1.5 Tablespoons of Caramelised Onion Chutney/Relish (I used dunnes today but we usually have the red onion one from Lidl) Mix it all in and done.
Last Year I made our Cranberry Sauce in the Slow cooker and it was Amazing !!! I’m making a big batch again this year! I followed the Recipe by Cleverly Simple Blog.
These Chocolate & Walnut Brownies with a Melted Biscoff Topping are just amazing!!!!
Add to a large Mixing Bowl 1 Cup of Brown Sugar 1/2 Cup Melted Butter 1/2 Cup Coco Powder ( I used Cadbury Drinking choc) 200gram Choc Chips 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract 3/4 Cup of Plain Flour 2 Beaten Eggs 1 Cup of Chopped Walnuts Combine everything then pour into an oven dish lined with Baking Paper. Put into a pre heated oven at 200 for 30 mins then leave to cool for 30 Mins before Cutting.
I melted 2 Heaped Tablespoons of Biscoff Spread in the Microwave for 30 seconds then poured it over the Cooled brownies before cutting!
Kinder Bueno Chocolate Biscuit Cake !!!!!
Pour 1.5 Packs of Milk Choc Digestive Biscuits Into a freezer bag and beat to mix of rubble & crumb with a rolling pin. (The Biscuit packs are 300gram each) Break 3 Kinder Bueno bars into 24 Individual pieces. Cut Kinder Mini Eggs into Quarters Pour 4 bags of 100gram Milk Choc Chips into a big bowl with a tsp of butter! Melt in the Microwave for 30 seconds take out and stir put back in for another 30 seconds and stir it should be perfect and all melted. Combine the Digestive Biscuit Rubble with the Melted Choc and add the kinder bueno pieces and the kinder mini egg pieces Then Pour in one tin of condensed milk combine it all completely then pour into a oven dish or cake tin pre lined with grease proof paper. Top it with pieces of individual kinder bueno pieces. Into fridge over night next day cut as you please.
Baileys & Biscoff Chesse Cake ￼
300gLotus Biscoff Biscuits
I stuck them in the food processor and blitz to a fine crumb could also be put in a freezer bag and beaten to a crumb.
Mix the biscuit crumb with
125g of Melted Unsalted Butter
Spread into an 8inch spring form cake tin.
Then into the freezer for 10-15 mins to set.
CheeseCake Mix: 500g Soft Cheese (Not low Fat) You could use original philadelphia I used the lidl version of full fat soft cheese. 100g of Icing Sugar 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 250ml Double Cream 100ml Baileys About 6 Biscoff Biscuits beaten to Rubble 1/2 Cup of Choc Sprinkles (optional) You will need to use a good electric whisk here or be very good with a manual whisk to whisk it all into a fairly stiff mix. Spread the cheecake mix evenly over the biscuit base.
Leave in the Fridge overnight to set. I covered the top in a layer of melted chocolate and put back in fridge for another few hours but tbh it wasn’t really needed!!
Sticky Toffee Pudding with a Baileys Salted Caramel Sauce!!!
Get two mixing bowls
In bowl 1 mix together:
190gram of Self Raising Flour
1&1/2 Tsp of Bicarbonate Soda
120gram of Soft Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
In bowl 2 mix together:
130ml of Milk
1 Teaspoon of Coffee granuals dissolved in boiling water just enough boiling water to dissolve the coffee.
6 Table Spoons of Melted Butter
1 Tsp of Treacle
2 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
Combine the Wet & Dry bowls of stuff and mix together.
Pour into a cake tin greased with butter and cook in a pre heated oven for 20 mins at 170c.
You will need a nice big pot and a blind eye to the ingredients!!
Pop all of the following into the pot on a low heat till the sugar is dissolved then up the heat to medium for 5 mins till it’s dark & thicker!!!
200g Unsalted Butter Chopped up.
350g Soft Brown Sugar
250ml Double Cream
1 Tsp of Salt
4 Tablespoons of Baileys
I stuck a few holes in the cake when it was cooked then poured some sauce over so it went into the cake .
Then more sauce over when serving.
Both cake & sauce can be pre made and heated in microwave no bother.
Nothing Like a crispy wing smothered in hot sauce !!!
I love wings and I’ve managed to make a version at home that almost lives up to my faves!
We buy packs of raw wings from Dunnes or Supervalu and take the tip off (we had to youtube this the 1st time) or Tesco have big pack already Tipped!
This Recipe is based on One pack of Wings.
Coat Raw wings In 1.5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
A sprinkle of Onion Salt & A sprinkle of paprika or cayenne pepper.
They can me prepared like this and kept in the fridge till later or straight into the Actifry, Oven or Deep Fat Fryer till crispy! We use the Actifry.
In a pot put
Half Bottle of Franks Hot Sauce
1 Table Spoon of Brown Sugar
1 Table Spoon of Butter
Squeeze of Honey
Few Splashes of Soy Sauce
Leave on low heat to simmer stirring occasionally while the wings are cooking. When the wings are cooked combine with the sauce in a big bowl and toss to coat fully!!!
How to Use Parcel Wizard & Why I love Chemist Direct!!!
So I use Parcel Wizard fairly regularly as I shop online a bit…… cough cough a lot!!!
Basically it’s giving you a UK Address like Parcel Motel or Address Pal however I find it much better!!!
So when you come across a site like Chemist Direct, TKmax or Amazon who only offer UK delivery on Selected Items you can use this service. Or sometimes on Ebay An Item is free UK Delivery but about €11 to Ireland so in this instance I use my Parcel Wizard UK address and it only costs me €3.85 instead of €11.
So here’s how it works !!
• You go to The Parcel Wizard website and make an Account (it takes approx 5 minutes)
• They then provide you with a UK address and your own Unique Parcel Wizard Locator Number which is always to be used as the 1st line of the Address.
• When checking out of whatever website you are on you use this address for shipping.
• When Parcel Wizard Receive the item in their depot they text you to notify you.
• You then Log into your Parcel Wizard account top up by €3.85 (paypal or card)
• And then they will deliver it to your door!
• On the morning of Delivery you will receive a text to say what time to expect them and if it doesn’t suit you, you can log in and reschedule or another option if you think you might not be home is to have it delivered to one of their Pick up points they have 100’s around the Country.
•Some companies Like amazon Split Deliveries so If you order two things beware you could be charged the Parcel Wizard cost twice but I believe you can ask for them not to Split with Amazon.
•There is weight & dimension restrictions for the charge of €3.85 and additional costs if it’s over these measurements. But to be fair they are generous sizes and It’s never happened to me yet. This is the link to their Faq with the Measurements.
As a parent this is probably the best website I was ever told about! I use my parcel Wizard Account for my order as a lot of stuff they won’t ship to the Republic. You need to scroll to the bottom of the page and change the Flag to the UK.
You can order children’s Generic Calpol & Nurofen for Literally a few Euro, I’m talking under €4 a bottle!
As it’s buying medicine online and not in person you could be sent an email after ordering asking who the products are Intended for (as in age). It only takes a min to fill in or for some stuff you’ll be asked while ordering. I have saved a fortune using them and recommended them to everyone!
*I’m sure you know already but I have zero affiliation with either of these companies I’m just passing on the info as I use them and mention them a lot.
This was my Second Elective Section (Due to a previous pelvic fracture) I don’t think I could ever fully describe just how different both experiences were!!
This occasion was a million times better and I’d almost go as far as to say at times it was an enjoyable experience ,which is what you want the birth of your baby to be!!! I’ve had two previous surgeries on my pelvis so I’m not exactly new to going under the knife but being knocked out in a room before you even see the theatre, is very different to actually walking into a theatre gowned to the hilt and then being fully awake while they get to work!
Since last week I’ve had a fair few questions on Snapchat from Ladies facing a section or just general questions about it. So while it’s still fresh in my head I said I’d pop a few bullet points together that might just help someone else.
Obviously each hospital and Doctor is different so I’m going to try and be as general as possible but both my Csections were in the Coombe which I attended as a fully Public Patient.
*Use your Voice!!!!! Now I would firstly like to say the hospital know what they are doing! These people perform procedures like this daily and they are amazing at what they do! But each person is different and have their own fears and reactions to things! On Rebecca I suffered with low BP so once the spinal went in on my previous section my blood pressure hit the deck! And what followed was puke and lots of it! So Imagine lying still as you are being sectioned but then having to get sick aswell…. fun times!!! I continued to get sick for 3 days and it was hell I got about 2 seconds skin to skin when she arrived and I could barley hold her let alone feed her in the coming days. So this time 5 years on older and wiser it was going to be different.I had even worse low bp this pregnancy so the fear of a repeat was really scaring me! At the pre section appointment with the anaesthetic department I told them everything and how afraid I was and he assured me they would do all they could to stop a repeat! In the room 5 mins before I was brought to theatre I told the nurse again,this was after I had just told Stephen that I had changed my mind and I was going home 😂 When I got into theatre I told anyone who would listen and at this stage I was bawling like a baby. But the staff were amazing! they spoke to me every step of the way explaining at each moment what they were doing and when I asked the nurse could I hold her hand during the spinal she said ” No I’ll hold yours” ❤ From that second they constantly monitored my bp and were giving me fluids to avoid any dramatic drop and it worked!! By the time Stephen was in beside me I was Grace again even cracking the odd joke and having the chats with my consultant as she was working. It was all over in a flash and Luke was born. I got skin to skin and we were only separated during recovery for maximum 15 mins, last time it was 2 hours because I was so unwell! I could not thank each member of staff enough from the porters, nurses, midwifes and consultants even the two young medical students who stopped to thank me after for agreeing to let them in to watch! Although I was slightly mortified that they had just seen all my bits even my inside ones and then there I was yapping away to them 🙈🙈
*TAKE ALL THE DRUGS!!! If they offer it take it and take them on time!!!! You just had fairly major abdominal surgery there is no prize for acting the Martyr! Take the meds you’ll never enjoy a Difene suppository so much!! And when you get home continue to take what has been prescribed for at home. I was sent home with a prescription for 2 Difene per day for 5 days and some paracetamol and that’s been fine but in the hospital I was taking Morphene based pain killers and yes the odd time I may have given a few Geordie Shore cast members a run for their money with my Gurning 😬 Because Im breastfeeding this time I wasn’t offered Tylex which is what I was givin a lot on Rebecca. And Feckin Enjoy the Post Birth Tea & Toast!! *Get mobile when you can ….but at your own pace!! During your section they will pop a catheter into the wee wee region, I have these dozens of times they are grand! You don’t feel it going in as by that stage your legs are numb and while it’s in you never really notice! Luke was born on wednesday afternoon they took my catheter out Thursday morning and the nurse brought me on a little walk to the door. I tried to get out of the bed and do tiny walks myself building them up gradually and It was perfect! By Friday I walked to the bathroom and had a full Shower on my own I really could have done this Thursday but I was a bit scared! After Rebecca I couldn’t stand without wanting to collapse and Stephen had to lift me into the shower and wash me in the hospital 😢
*Don’t be afraid of the wound! Mine is a fair bit bigger this time but it has been perfectly fine and was the same last time. I have dissolvable stitches and since theFriday after I was dressing and bandage free as air will help it heal faster! It looks a bit scary and I’m a little bit bruised and at times sore but once you take it handy it’s fine!!
*Keep on top of your Iron!!Have it checked during your pregnancy if it’s low take supplements! I had very low Iron on both of mine. I didn’t do enough to get it up on Rebecca and had it drop very low after, which also explains why I was so weak! There is so many Iron options available and you will find something that doesn’t make you ill. I was taking 2 Galfer a day for 8 weeks and at the end I started to take 2 x 10ml of Floradix daily and I think the Floradix really helped as ‘6 Iron was at a great level post section and I was shocked!! I’m still taking Floradix now as it’s a great tonic !
*Time to get sexy!! Sorry no it’s really not 😂 Find the big black knickers in Penneys or Dunnes that come right up high near your belly button and buy heaps of them!! They won’t sit on the wound and they hold the even more sexy green mattress pads in place 👌
*There is going to be blood! Now this bit is different for everyone!!!! Last time I had a delayed haemorrhage on Christmas day (Are you starting to question why I ever considered doing this again?) But I knew it wasn’t right a few days after I came home. This time it’s fine it’s day 8 and I’m still bleeding but nothing major. I believe the general rule of thumb is if you are soaking a pad an hour or passing clots bigger than a 2 euro coin you need to be checked for infection.
*Poo post section without fear! Honestly it’s never as bad as you Imagine. The fear is worse than the reality! I headed in for mine I think 3 days after, terrified and messaging my friend while there for distraction(sorry niamh) and honestly it was grand and I felt great after!!
*Look after yourself! On a Serious note you really have to take it easy, take all offers of help and let yourself recover you’ve just been through major surgery!!Soon you will be back to normal, flying around and wishing you could take advantage of some rest!
*Flash the wound!! If anyone dares pass a smart comment about you taking the “easy” way out or being “too posh to push” deck them or more appropriately flash them your wound ! There is nothing easy about childbirth END OF STORY!! All women no matter how their baby arrives into the world is epic!!!! I would fear the human race could be extinct long ago If our male counter parts had the baby cooking and producing job!
And that’s all. I’m on the other side now and just madly in love with my Prize 😍😍
It’s been a fabulous, glamorous, text-book pregnancy……. NOT!
“The Ride is worth the Fall” as they say and soon we’ll have another little person.
The excitement in the house is at an all time high now, especially from the big sister!
She’s also starting “big” school so lots of change and new beginnings here.
But just before our normality gets turned upside down we had a very special treat.
I had very few proper pictures when pregnant on Rebecca so when given the opportunity to have a bump shoot this time I was all over it.
I didn’t want anything overly cheesy or staged and the fact I know Lou and she felt the same it was a pure pleasure.
Of course little miss “loves to pose” had to be included and I am blown away by the pictures and how Lou has captured such a special time for our little family.
Having this all done in our own house made everything so much more relaxed and easy.
At 9 months pregnant it’s a tad difficult to look or feel in anyway glam so Michelle from Kandigloss https://www.facebook.com/KandiglossMU/ came to the rescue and very kindly done my makeup and for the 1st time in a long time I felt like me again.
So a huge thank you to both ladies for their time and effort.
While I’m here I’d like to thank everyone so much for the continued support both on Facebook and Snapchat.
As I said the last few months have not been easy but it’s felt like I had an extended family of support the entire time!
The wind down is officially on now for us but once all is “settled” I hope to be back writing again and sharing the next chapter! September to December is my favourite time of the year and I’ll be throwing myself full force into all the Halloween and Christmas build up (I may have already slightly started).
So I’m no Pippa, Her hospital bag haul was far more glamorous and full of Clarin’s mini’s! Mine is not so glam!!!
Few Points to note First:
We don’t know the sex of the baby, so lots of white but we (me) have a general White and Grey Star theme going, which if you follow me on Snapchat (@frillyflossy) you will well and truly know by now with the ongoing Nursery Decorating!
I’m a public patient in the Coombe again, but I got lucky last time and got a semi-private ward so I had a fair bit of room! I probably won’t be so lucky this time and will be on a much bigger ward! But I love the chats so I’ll be happy with lots of company….. I hope.
I’m having this baby in Sept. It will most probably be still fairly warm! I’m having an Elective C Section again so I’m packing for the Long Haul & I’m not Listing any Labour essentials like Tens Machines or stuff to throw at your partner!
So Let’s start with the most Important person…….. Me!!!
*2 x Maternity/Nursing Night Dresses. (Grey from Penney’s & Navy from Dunnes)
*3 x Pairs of Navy Pj Bottoms. I got these from George @ Asda Online, they aren’t maternity but I bought 12-14 so they would be big on me and will come right up over my Scar, they’re so soft and Comfortable.
*8 x Pairs of Fabulous whopper black granny pants that come right up!! You will need these bad boys no matter where the baby comes out of. (Penneys) They could be kept as a means of contraceptive in the future, If you haven’t burned them that is!
*1 x Grey Light 3/4 Length Dressing gown. (Dunnes)
*2 x Nursing Bra’s. (Penneys)
1 pair of Flip Flop Style Slippers. (Penneys)
1 pair of Cheapo Flip Flops for the Shower.
*Big Green Maternity Pads!! (Inhealth.ie)
I have one pack in the bag and one at home to be brought in If I need more. They Are like wearing a mattress but they are necessary….. so very necessary!!!
*Multi Mam Compresses and Balm for the boobies. (If Intending on Breast feeding apparently these are essential I got mine from Inhealth.ie)
Now for Toiletries and Cosmetics:
*Mini Shampoo & Conditioner
*Shower Gel & Feminine Wipes. (Not recommended for Vaginal birth)
*Mini Tooth Paste & Toothbrush.
*Facial Mist Spray. (The hosp is hot)
*Mini Anti bac hand sanitizer.
*Mini Mint Breath Freshener spray.
*Mini Dry Shampoo.
*Make-up Remover Pads.
*Eye Serum. (Thinking I’m Pippa again)
*Small Travel Hairdryer.
*Bobbins & Hair Band.
*Dark Towel Hair Turban.
I’m bringing a few small pieces of makeup:
*Foundation (Armani Luminous Silk)
*Eyebrow Brush, One Eyeshadow Brush and a Foundation Brush.(Nima and Real Techniques)
If make up is the last thing on your mind absolutely fine!
If like me popping on some mascara and giving the brows a quick going over would make you feel better again absolutely fine!
If your having someone come in and do a full face including Lashes, again absolutely FINE!!!
EACH TO THEIR BLOODY OWN!!!
Now for the new Arrival!!!
1st Outfit in a little Zip Lock Freezer Bag Ready to go!
I’m Packing a lot of the Stuff into little freezer bags because it’s very handy and I’m sad and pathetically Organised. So Many people do it and Recommend it.
Im bringing all newborn to the hospital. Rebecca was 7 lb 1 at 39 weeks and by all accounts it’s looking like this baby will be similar If not only slightly bigger so I’m doing the same again. I will have lots of 0-3 mths at home ready to be brought in should I need them!
I’m not bringing any baby cardigans for our stay due to the timing. I only had them for Rebecca as it was December!
*Newborn Vest, Babygro Hat & Nappy.
*6 Vests. (mix of short and no sleeve)
*6 Baby grows. (Built in Mittens)
(Mix of M&S, Dunnes and Next)
*6 Muslin Squares. (These are the best invention ever Lidl,Dunnes,Penneys,Ikea)
*2 Hats. (Next)
*2 Cellular Blankets. (Ladybird Littlewoods)
*1 Pack of Water Wipes and 1 Pack of 1st Size Aldi Nappies.
*Baby Towel If Intending on giving baby a bath in hospital.
*2 Nuk Soothers
***TIP a little bit of Olive Oil in a bottle works a treat on the new baby Tar like poo’s….. trust me***
Rebecca has bought a comforter for the baby and the Baby will be bringing her a little present.
Now a few Miscellaneous Items:
My Own Pillow and a Feeding Pillow.
I got the Chicco Boppy One on Littlewoods. It was recommend to me and I read a lot of reviews on various sites.It can be used for Bf and Bottle feeding and for Tummy Time…. apparently!
Snacks, Charger, Little Note Book, A Few Bob & A Small Roll of Bags for sending home any washing!
I got a hold-all/weekend bag for me and a backpack for the baby in Cath Kidson in Kildare Village to hold everything. They were €33 and €18 very Reasonable, roomy and pretty !!
As of Today I have a drawer dedicated to spares that Stephen can grab extra stuff to bring in should we need it!
I will have my outfit for coming home hanging up ready for him to bring in! It’s a pair of White Skinnies, Cami top and wedges …… I’m Joking! Its in fact Black Maternity Leggings, Black Vest Top with a Denim shirt worn open to pop over and my converse!!!
And I think that’s the Lot!!
I still have several weeks to go but since I was signed off work with all my ailments I’ve been fairly bored and spent my days buying everything online and ticking them off my lists!!!
So no harm having everything bought and ready to go …..
Yep that’s me, I now know almost every symptom of nearly all Cancers. I may offer you my sympathy and smile politely at you when you tell me you’re sick, but secretly I’m wondering have you considered you might have the rarest cancer possible? Or if you casually mention that you haven’t been able to reach your loved one for a few hours I’ll reassure you that “they’re ok”. While in my head I’m screaming “Christ have you tried every means of contacting them? Have you checked the news for workplace accidents? or AA road watch for car accidents?” That’s what it’s like living in my head and do you know what I’ve learned? Its’ the same for so many other people.
I have hummed and hawed over writing this piece for a while now. I feared that people would think I’m totally crazy (I am a bit to be fair). I also worried that people would say I was “jumping on the bandwagon”. “Oh, look another one talking about Anxiety”. Well guess what? I have been terrified of my mind since I was a small child. One of my biggest fears was someone I loved being involved in a car crash. Then I got knocked down by a car. I was terrified of losing one of my parents. Then my mam died at the age of 48. Those experiences added fuel to the fire of anxiety in my mind.
As much as I believe this statement to be true, unfortunately some of my worst fears have become a reality. I now spend so many of my waking hours terrified of how many of my other fears are looming.
I’m going to go back to when It became apparent I was a “worrier”. I’ll run through a few examples of things I’ve done over the years that would warrant me being locked up or being divorced. Firstly, mobile phones came on the scene in a big way when I was around 11 or 12. This was wonderful because I could now phone my dad every morning at 6 am. The phone call was the same every day, he only had to say hello and I would then hang up and go back to sleep safe in the knowledge he had made it to work without being killed. Did I think this was odd? Not really, sure I was just a “worrier”. This mobile phone obsession grew, and you know those automated ladies telling you “the person you have called cannot be reached at this time”. Well I hate that bitch, she may as well be saying “I’m sorry your parent/husband has died so you better get your panic attack on”. Logically I know the phone is out of service, but that logic doesn’t always kick in and all hell breaks loose.
Falling in love with Stephen was one of the best things to ever happen to me but also, he was now another person to worry about. Over time he has had to learn the hard way in how my mind works. He now knows how to help me cope, he has been on the receiving end of countless gasping, angry phone calls after an episode where I couldn’t contact him. All of these times he was un reachable for totally explainable reasons, but to the person panicking until you hear that person’s voice on the other end of the phone you lose all common sense. I could call and call up to 50 times while frantically bawling or being sick with pure panic and fear. In a split second, I can go from a relaxed happy human to an uncontrollable sobbing mess. Thankfully over time these episodes have become less and less as we have learned ways of keeping me calm. I don’t need to keep tabs on him for any reason of trust, or because I’m controlling. Neither of those things have ever been an Issue in our relationship. Once I get an “I’m here xx” text or a phone call, all is well. I’ve also learned to deal with him working in an environment that means he very rarely has phone service throughout the day, but I know that and therefore I don’t worry anymore if I can’t get through to him. This to some will sound excessive and unnecessary but, these little measures and others like them have led to me being medication free for the past three years. I can now leave the house without checking I if have Valium.
Even though I always worried, illness wasn’t really a huge worry factor, not near as much as car accidents were. The I watched my mam grow weaker and weaker in front of my eyes over 8 short months. She then left me because of Cancer, well that certainly opened a whole new field of worry for me. When my mam got sick everything else just faded away. I lived and breathed those 8 months by her side. I immersed myself in every little detail and never wanted to not be prepared for what was next. I practically lived in St. Luke’s hospital, and day in day out I seen people affected by many different Cancers. I became obsessed. In the weeks and months after my mam passed, I had diagnosed myself and others with so many forms of Cancer. I’ll give you two examples. Stephen developed a cough. This cough came out of nowhere and it was to me unusual and prolonged, which in fairness is a cause for concern. This cough however was simply a side effect from the blood pressure medication he was taking. But until I knew that, I spent hours and hours online, always coming to the same conclusion. I had enough, so I took the extreme option and I turned up at his routine doctor appointment totally unknown to him and asked the doctor if he thought Stephen had lung cancer. Stephen was 27 years old, a non-smoker of course he didn’t have lung cancer. To me he could have been part of that very small 2 % who I read about.
Another time I looked in the mirror and seen a small dent on my breast. Que the panic, I went straight into the doctor the next morning. He wasn’t a doctor I was overly fond of, but he was the only one available and I needed my reassurance. I didn’t get reassurance though because he couldn’t see the dent. He gave me a quick check and fobbed me off. For the next week, I was engulfed with fear, I spent more time on google than I did sleeping or eating. By the Friday I became a shell of a person and was going to see my own trusted G.P. I don’t even remember the drive down, or how I managed to get there safely, but I made it and sat crying in the waiting room for a half hour. By the time I got into his office I was uncontrollably shaking and sobbing. It took a while for him to calm me down so that I could explain why I was there. He didn’t fob me off, he fully examined me and he could 100% see the famous dent. He went so far as to put his career on the fact that I didn’t have breast cancer. Yes I had a dent, actually I had several of them, from weight loss. I got back in the car and phoned Stephen, again I was hysterical but this time from pure relief. Not that I hadn’t got cancer but that the worrying about this was over.
I came away from that G.P appointment with a new prescription for anti-depressants since I had been off them for a few months. Since the age of 17, after I was knocked down I have been on and off anti-depressants. I have seen so many psychologists and councillors, some helpful some not. Nothing has ever “fixed me”, I always just felt it was being masked by medication. Trust me I think anti-depressants are a wonderful thing, and not for one second will I ever discredit their use. However, three years ago I decided I was packing in my contraceptive pill which I had also been on since I was 17. I just didn’t feel it was agreeing with me anymore. So, I decided the anti-depressants where going with it. Would I last this time? who knew.
My biggest fear now is that the adorable, impressionable little mind of my daughter will be affected by my behaviour and that she will turn out just like me. I am so adamant not to let this happen that I am learning every day how to control this and my mind. I’m teaching myself to react differently and to try not always jump to google and/or the worst-case scenario. Rebecca is heading for 5 years of age, and the first time she seen a doctor she was 2 and a half, now that’s saying something. She’s only been a handful of times since then, and only ever for the normal illnesses she picked up in school. People have been shocked at how relaxed I am with her, I mean look I’m still a mammy I still worry, but normally not to any huge excess. That’s for now, unfortunately that could change as she gets older and I’m prepared for that.
For now, in general am I still worrying? Of course, I worry more than the norm every day and I don’t think that will ever change. However, I’m coping and Living. Yes I still need the “I’m here” text and I get excessive levels of reassurance when the arrows turn blue and “typing” appears on my WhatsApp. I still suffer from extreme anxiety and I believe I always will, but I’m getting there and I’m still medicine free. One piece of advice I would offer is “never be afraid to accept help, and never be ashamed to admit that you aren’t well.” I have an appointment next week with the mental health department in the Coombe Hospital. I wasn’t one bit offended when it was suggested by the midwife and I’m not one bit ashamed to say I’m going. To me it’s like any other appointment during my pregnancy, the aim of which to monitor and help the health of me and my baby.