So, I've been a bit rubbish about blogging since I returned to the workplace in April 2008, sorry about that, though I'm sure you are pleased I'm "being normal"?
A lot has happened since my last post.
Against my better judgement (the judgemental part of me that says "Lisa, really what's the point, lets look at your track record") I agreed to meet a man. Yeah, I know I've met a few and I went with a resigned attitude. I even refused to mention his name to a work colleague because I really didn't expect to be seeing him again. I am pleased to tell you I was wrong! That was about two months ago and things couldn't be better.....well, they could of course, but our relationship couldn't be better. So there was a single, kind, caring, intelligent, good man out there after all - and one I'm attracted to. Gadzooks!
I spent a week with my oldest, bestest friend in France helping to look after her three kids, dog and puppy whilst she worked on turning a barn into a den (complete with Wii, TV, English TV, fridge full of beer, sofa, chairs, table for cards, chessboard, projector and screen) and workshop for her husband. Said husband had been shipped to UK for a hospital checkup and a week's holiday to celebrate his 40th birthday with his friends and family. I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home - picked up at the airport by new man (told you he was good). I also managed to catch some dodgy French germs from the little girl staying in their gite meaning I was basically passing water out of every orifice below the waste. That's not something you need to experience with weak pelvic floor muscles, no rectum and stairgates top and bottom when you're looking after a 9 month, 18 month, 7 year old, a daft boxer and border collie pup. I wouldn't have missed it though. I got to have girly chats with someone who knows me, my history, all of it, and whose opinion I respect over wine, drambui, cider and coffee every day.
Ryan air flights £20, hire car £200, ability to spill your innermost thoughts without fear of repercussions - priceless!
I started a new job a month after meeting him, all in the pipeline for a very long time, before I returned to my old job in fact. I now commute 20 minutes a day instead of 140 minutes. I'm only ever going to be working 4 days a week, not 5. The days go by so fast now I'm not exhausted at the end of each day. Weekends I actually have some energy to do things, or nothing as I choose.
Of course all this good news...is this really Lisa's life? I had you going there didn't I?
Remember, remember 5th November. The first anniversary this year of another family member causing untold hurt - and I also had a row with my daughter during which she told me to F**K off and I suggested she ask her father if he would like to put up with her disgusting attitude, since I don't want to have that kind of atmosphere in my home.
A week later, Remembrance day, the 11th November, I came home at lunchtime to find my daughter's boyfriend, her and her father in MY HOUSE removing all her stuff. She said she was going to leave me a note. How thoughtful. So now I have no children living at home and not even the cat to keep me company, just Alfie rabbit. Not only that, but given I was surviving on Tax and Child Tax credits and Child Benefit for food and fuel - that's all gone. Assuming I have to start paying CSA again I'll be £107 per week worse off, leaving me £30 a week to buy fuel, food, clothes, hairdye (no hairdressers now), presents, entertainment, house repairs etc. I did explain this to her, but she doesn't care. She wants an easier life where she is not expected to empty the kitchen bin or put her dirty plates in the dishwasher. Where she isn't chauffered at 7am every college day to the bus stop 13 miles away (1 hour round trip for ME) but has a 30 minute walk instead.
All this time I've been finding it harder and harder to empty my bladder. It's been harder than usual since radiation to shrink the tumours but this last few months it's really grinding to a halt. My "flow" has been reduced to little more than a dribble - I've seen faster dripping taps. My new GP (I finally left the surgery where they seemed to think I was imagining all my symptoms of advanced rectal cancer) agrees that it is most likely radiation damage resulting in a urethral stricture. I have all the glamourous health issues don't I? I couldn't have breast cancer like Kylie could I? Where everyone would feel sympathy at me for losing some of my feminity, no I got cancer in an organ that actually bloody did something useful, necessary to the functional part of my day to day living. And now it seems it's claiming other necessary functional organs. The scar tissue causing the stricture, if stretched and relieved is pretty much guaranteed to return, repeatedly. He thinks they'll stretch it then I'll have to self catheterise myself (that's a tube up my weehole to you) once a week to make sure it stays open.
So, I researched all this, and am half expecting I'll end up with a bloody permanent stoma using part of my small intestine (essentially the same as the ileostomy I had for 9 months) but to wee out of into a bag permanaently strapped to my leg (sex life.....um yeah I can forget that then?). How unfair would that be? Or, there are supra pubic versions where you have a sort of tap above the pubic bone that you shove a tube in - but those are last resorts apparently. Not that I am a pessimist or anything......... I have an appointment in January to see a Urologist. That's more than 10 specialist areas I'll have been seen by now. My current fear is that my urethra will close up in that time and I'll end up in hospital unable to pass water with a kidney infection - I already have scarred kidneys from decades of UTIs. In fact I often wondered if the repeated X-rays with contrast (I had two sessions of 1 x-ray every 5 mins for 1hr as a child) to investigate these didn't help with my cancer in the first place?
I am only putting these details in for those who are affected in a similar way so apologies to those of you who are squeamish, but tough luck. I also haven't been eating properly for the last few weeks due to the dramas with daughter and possibly this hasn't helped my insides because for the first time in YEARS I was, what I can only assume, constipated. Me. She of the loose movement forever and ever. Two days. It's unheard of unless I've had Picolax and nil by mouth for over 24 hours! I actually dug out some Senokot and necked a couple yesterday lunchtime. I was in so much discomfort and later actual pain I was almost convinced I had another bloody tumour. I didn't get off the toilet for a couple of hours (laptop and wifi my best friends) literally. I did however have the best nights sleep afterwards.
So that's an update with what's been happening to me pretty much.
Despite everything I don't think I've been as happy in myself for many, many years. I have someone in my life who causes me no pain, only happiness even if we only see each other once a week - he's always there. He's not judgmental or critical, but neither is his life simple and straightforward which only adds to the understanding. I still feel like I might be improving his life, as much as he is improving my life, so there is an equality. I am trying very hard to view my daughter moving out as her moving away for education and not take it personally. I manage it about 10% of the time. I miss my kids.