2021 in Review

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I wanted to write a review of 2021 and tell you all the exciting things I had done, this was as far as I got……

…it. was. shite.

I mean if I left it there, this could be one of the shortest posts I have ever written, and believe me, in 2021, that is a thing there was a lack of, posts. I wrote a grand total of 5 posts, granted, that was one more than the year before and I could argue that I went for quality over quantity, but I think that is more of a case of me trying to convince myself than you.

So what did I do in 2021 then, because clearly I was not busy updating my blog. I got sick, that was a thing. At the start of the year my gall bladder problems got worse. Middle of the year I ended up in hospital because the gallstones hated me so much they gave me pancreatitis. I spent 5 months recovering, going to scans and appointments and worrying, I did a lot of worrying, sometimes I shared it with others, but most of the main ones I carried myself. Being sick is very lonely, it’s not something that anyone can really help you with and you just have to go with the flow and let time sort things out, which is something that someone with anxiety finds very difficult, because the weight of it never goes away until the problem does.

At the end of October I was able to go back to work, I was nervous because I had been away for so long and also as I did not know how going back would affect my illness. I lasted a week and a half until following another gallbladder attack I was again hospitalised with pancreatitis, this time my gallbladder was removed.

Thankfully in the middle of all this my large mass that I had mentioned in a previous produced a clear biopsy, however it is effecting my bladder and bowel so I am now on an urgent list for a second surgery to have to it removed. It never rains but it pours it would seem, but at least things are moving forward.

I didn’t write about any of this between July and now because there were too many unknowns, too many results still to come. I didn’t want to write about it and say all is well and then a result comes in and knocks the wind from my sails. Yesterday I saw my surgeon regarding the gallbladder side of things. Stomach biopsies have returned as normal and the pancreatitis, while it will not go away, should settle now the gallbladder is out as long as I am careful. The gallbladder removal itself will not cure the pancreatitis attacks, but it should hopefully lessen the amount of them. He has signed me off.

So 2022 starts a new chapter in my life where I learn to adjust my diet to having no gallbladder, where I run to the loo when I eat something I shouldn’t and where I also try not to eat too many sweets and put back on all the weight I lost when I was sick. I dread the next op, but I know it is something that has to happen, so as above, I am trying to go with the flow.

2021 was the year when COVID still didn’t go away. We lost some family friends and by and large kept to ourselves. The Fathership was diagnosed with Emphysema but with his new inhaler he’s doing ok.

In each of my hospital visits I met the most lovely ladies who touched my heart. In May it was someone who reminded me of my Mum and in November, it was perhaps one of the bravest ladies I have ever met as she gracefully battled cancer. Sadly neither of them are with us any more, but I hope the Mothership was there to greet them when they were called home. I can guarantee she probably said to them, isn’t that daughter of mine a right pain in the arse!

So here’s the thing, 2021 was honestly, a bag of shite, but there were still good bits in it. There always are good bits among the bad. I might have lost friends throughout the year, but I also made new ones. Some I thought had gone, returned, I guess that’s the circle of life.

I am proud of myself. I have mental health issues, and despite what I faced last year I walked out the other side of 2021.

I have no plans for 2022, what would be the point. Last year showed me that we have no idea what is around the corner, so perhaps it’s just better to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time.

Ok, maybe one plan for 2022….to perhaps write 6 posts???

Happy New Year to you all.

It’s Mothering Sunday

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Sometimes I’m not sure my sense of humour is appreciated. I was at the Pharmacy a couple of weeks back and while paying for my goods, they tried the old, have you seen these that we have on offer trick. I’m a nice person, I hope, so I looked and said, oh yes they are lovely, but not for me thanks. She said, oh well what about one for your Mum for Mother’s Day and I laughed and said I’m not sure she needs one of those, she’s six feet under. OK so maybe I shouldn’t have but I thought it better to make light of the situation than to just turn around and say my mothers dead. She said I’m really sorry, and I said, don’t be, in the end it was a blessing, she had dementia.

The Fathership and I went to visit her grave yesterday, to leave flowers from my Sister and I. We sat in the car until the rain stopped, typical Norn Irish weather, rain one minute, then sunshine, then hail. On the second sunshine we made a dash for it.

It’s a really beautiful graveyard, but it’s cold, there is always a wind blowing. The snowdrops Dad planted last year have been and gone, but the wreaths that were laid at Christmas still provide a pop of colour as did the addition of the posy we left today.

When we came home I started thinking about what she would have made of this whole pandemic and how we would have coped, not being able to go out and all stuck in the house together. I have to be honest and say I think it would have been a recipe for disaster. The Fathership has not been well either, so I thought about him trying to get her dressed in the morning when he himself was getting breathless from just walking up the stairs. I thought about me and my effin gallstones and who would cook for them, put her to bed or get up in the middle of the night to change her if I was sick too, and I thought, maybe things do happen for a reason.

To all the carers, I can only imagine what you are going through. I know first hand how difficult if can be, and that’s without the addition of a pandemic. You have my admiration and hugs.

When the Dr’s finally saw the Fathership after two weeks and confirmation of a negative COVID test, we were given a letter and sent straight to the emergency department. Being all things COVID, I wasn’t allowed to stay with him, so I went to the car and cried for 45 minutes until I had no tears left, because the last time I had come up the road, to that hospital, at that time of night, it had been for the Motherships final flight and I wasn’t ready to let another one go.

Thankfully 4.5 hours later out he came and we were able to go home. Further tests have been able to tell us he has COPD / Emphysema, so I guess we just have to wait and see where that one takes us.

I’m an introvert, I don’t have a lot to complain about where the new normal is concerned to be honest, I’m more anxious about things returning to a version of the old normal. But in amongst it all, for me, there are things to be grateful for, like the fact my Mother missed this. I’m grateful that she didn’t have to wonder why people stepped away from her hugs. That she didn’t think she wasn’t allowed to go to church anymore, due to it being closed. That she didn’t hate us for keeping her in the house, when there was nothing else we could have done.

That version of my mother is the one who is six feet under.

So, to the Mum who made smiley faces from angel delight and whipped cream, whose perfume I used to smell as I walked up the stairs, to the women who loved my father and my Sister and I and worked hard to give us a good life. To the woman who was a nurse and a carer herself and who laughed and danced and sang (even if it was out of tune), Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, and I miss you.

It’s the Sunday before the Monday

Hello there, well I wish I had something really exciting to say or tell you, but I don’t so….eh…hello :)

I’m not sure what it is that brought me here tonight, I had a little time to kill and a cup of coffee in my hand and I thought why not.

The last time I wrote we were in the midst of the COVID pandemic, and now almost four months later we still are, with what looks like no end in sight.

This time around I actually know people who have been unfortunate enough to have tested positive and I think it was a rough week to ten days, that said, thankfully they have come out the other side, many others were not so fortunate.

Life for me has pretty much carried on, work still has to be done, along with the general day to day of looking after the house. You get so used to being inside that it’s almost easy sometimes to forget there is a whole world outside of these four walls. The introvert in me has coped not too bad with the situation, but even I have found that I need to get out once in a while, walk in the sunshine and smell the sea air, it really does blow away the cobwebs.

The hardest part of this for me has been for friends who in the middle of all of this have lost parents or loved ones. Not being able to attend funerals and give someone a hug is heart breaking. Not being able to be there to help them celebrate a life lived, or offer condolences, well it’s just not the same via text message is it.

The other end of the spectrum and stories I have heard are of expectant parents, who cannot enjoy the experiences of scans as a couple. Women having to attend appointments on their own while their partners miss out. All those little firsts, that can never be replayed.

I never in my lifetime thought I would see anything like this. I hope once it is all over, that we never do again.

But there is a lot to be thankful for, I am here and well and typing and you are here and hopefully well and reading.

I have missed you :)