One year on

A year ago today, I was admitted to hospital.  I had been trying, and failing to ignore the fact that there was something seriously wrong with me, but finally my body decided to force my hand so to speak, and I lost the use of the lower half of my left leg quite suddenly.

I cried when I was admitted, partly because I’d been awake for about 36 hours, and partly because I was terrified.  I knew I didn’t have a trapped nerve in my back, but that was what I’d been hoping the Drs examining me would say: “Oh, this is just a trapped nerve, we can just ping that back there and, off you go…good as new!”  I’m not stupid, but you’d be surprised at how powerful denial can be.  I’d been experiencing neurological symptoms, like phantom sensations, and twitching and tremors for over 4 months by this point, so on some level I knew I was going to be admitted and my symptoms investigated, I just really really didn’t want it to be true.

The answers didn’t come quickly.  I blogged about that first hospital experience here and here and here.  I did eventually leave a week later with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but within weeks I was back in hospital.  I wrote about my experiences during that stay in a series of blog posts: The Fall, The Plan, The ShocksThe Stairs, and The Blow, as well as Funny Hospital Moments.

Of course later my diagnosis was changed to one of CIDP.  Almost exactly the same thing, but instead of being an acute (one-off) episode, it meant I was stuck with it forever.

12 whole months have passed since that first night on the acute medical ward at Manchester Royal Infirmary so I thought it might be a good time to talk about how CIDP has changed my life (or not, as the case may be).

 Life with CIDP

I have symptoms every day.  I usually wake up with nerve pain in some part of my body, most often my arms or legs along with a kind of aching and stiffness in my legs, as though I’ve done a really long walk the day before (usually I haven’t, but if I have, then the feeling is about a million x worse, obviously!)  During the day I manage to do pretty much all the same stuff I’ve always done, it’s just that some stuff is harder, or takes more effort than it used to.  Fastening buttons and shoe laces is a bit of a nightmare as fine motor stuff (especially if it’s repetitive) causes tremors in my hands, along with a pins and needles type sensation in my hands and fingers.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to be a knitter 😉

I also get random short-sharp pains, which can occur in any part of my body at any time.  They only ever last a couple of seconds absolute maximum, but sometimes come in clusters.  This is where the damage to my nerves is preventing electrical signals from passing through, and the sensation genuinely is a lot like being given a small electric shock out of the blue.  They’re often in my arms and legs but I also get them in my body.  I also get muscle spasms and twitching, (the technical term being myoclonic jerks, or seizures).  These are one of my more visible symptoms, you can see the muscles in the tops of my arms or in my calves visibly twitching, and I have particularly bad nerve damage in my feet, so that my 2nd to big toe can often be seen twitching away to itself.  Psychologically this is one of the harder things to live with, which may sound ridiculous but I challenge you to fall asleep, no matter how bloody exhausted you are (and I often am) when one of your toes thinks it’s performing in River Dance.  Go on, try it, and I dare you to tell me it isn’t the most infuriating thing you’ve ever experienced in your life!

Another daily feature is fatigue.  If you haven’t heard of Spoon Theory, then please go read about it right now, not only will it save me explaining the energy involved in normal day-to-day activities with CIDP but it gives an insight into what it is like for everyone with almost every chronic health condition I can think of.

For the most part those are the only difficulties I have in terms of daily life.  Providing I have had my IV Immunoglobulins within the last 21 days or so.  I have them every 28 days, so you can see that there is a gap, where the effects of the IVIG are wearing off, but I don’t get topped up right away.  It used to be the case that the final week before my next treatment was pretty much a write-off, but it’s improved quite a bit in the last few months and I only really notice myself deteriorating in the final 4 or 5 days before my next appointment.  That’s when the biggest component of CIDP, muscle weakness presents itself, and when in the past I would have to resort to using a crutch to walk.  Thankfully I’ve improved, and haven’t needed to use my crutch since February, which is amazing, but I do still struggle.  The stairs are one of the biggest challenges.  I can still manage them, they’re just tricky, and I become unable to carry anything up or down them as I need my hands free to use the banister/wall to help myself up or guide myself down.  I can’t lift the kids, or anything else heavy or bulky.  I can’t open bottles, packets or cans.  I struggle to get up from sitting in a low chair, or from kneeling or squatting.  I become ridiculously clumsy (yes, even more so than usual) and my tiredness levels reach ZOMBIE status.

Then 28 days after my last dose I go back to the hospital for another 80g of Privigen.  The day after IVIG I’m usually pretty groggy and at my worst in terms of symptoms but then within 24 hours of my infusion finishing it kicks in and I’m back to my baseline.

 

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I saw my consultant last month and he’s pleased with how things are going and offered me the chance to be considered for a clinical trial where I’d be able to self-administer my own IVIG subcutaneously at home on a weekly basis.  There wouldn’t be much difference except for the freedom of being able to have my infusions at home, at a time that suited me, and it would remove the day I need to spend in hospital every month.  Plus my veins are tricksy, so it would mean I could avoid having health professionals digging away at them trying to find a good one.  (Subcutaneous administration is where a very fine needle is inserted under the skin, rather than into a vein).  There is a loooong waiting list for the trial though, and strict criteria, so it’s not a guarantee, but then nothing is when you’re living with a long term medical condition, especially one so rare and not well understood.

In terms of things I can do to help myself, it’s really the things we should ALL be doing to give our bodies a fighting chance at dealing with anything that it’s battling.  That is- to put more or less the right stuff in, and treat it with a bit of respect.  So I’m talking good food, regular exercise, plenty of sleep and zero stress.  You know, nothing too difficult to get right 😉  Other than that, I just need to be careful to avoid people with infections and viruses because of having a lowered immune system 75% of the time.  So, again- not too tricky!

There is a chance I could go into remission spontaneously, it’s not unheard of but it’s not too common either.  Most of the success for long term remission has come from the use of pulsed steroids over a long period of time, and my trial of pulsed dexamethasone over the christmas/new year period last year has convinced me that if several months of steroids are what it takes to go into remission, I’d rather live with CIDP.  And I’m sorry if that sounds overly melodramatic, but it’s true.

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Never have I felt so ill, so depressed, and so disabled as those weeks I spent scoffing steroids and feeling like I was turning into a stranger, both in body and mind.  And it didn’t even work anyway.  Although, arguably I didn’t give it a decent chance.  But see above re: Worst Time Ever.

So, that’s really it, for me.  That’s how life with CIDP looks for me at the minute.  Lots of twitching and trembling, with a bit of nerve pain and muscle weakness thrown in for good measure.

Except of course, that isn’t it at all is it?  The effects of CIDP aren’t just the physical symptoms I live with but the overall impact it’s had on my life.   One year ago was the last shift I worked as a nurse.  The night before my admission to hospital I was actually at work, terrified to call in sick because of my less-than-desirable sickness record, I’d gone in despite the fact that I couldn’t open medicine bottles, or tear open packs of IV fluids, or write my notes without my hands beginning to shake uncontrollably, or connect a syringe to an IV line without assistance.  Basically I shouldn’t have been there, and when I drove home and realised I could barely push my foot down on the clutch, and needed 2 hands to change gears because the effort was too much for one, then and only then did I realise just how badly wrong things were and how lucky I was not to have had an accident or made a mistake as a result of it.

So, after being off long-term sick, I handed in my notice in June and I’m not planning to go back to nursing, for the foreseeable (or even distant, if we’re honest) future.

Would I have left nursing if I hadn’t acquired and been diagnosed with CIDP?  Maybe…probably, at some point.  But it definitely accelerated the decision considerably.  I have almost finished writing my first book.  Would I have done that without having CIDP?  Yes, without a doubt.  But again, the CIDP experience has definitely been like a jolt of electricity (pun very much intended) forcing me to put into action NOW things that I’ve been planning to do for ages.  The same goes for my doula training, and looking into fostering too.  And even silly stuff like getting my nose pierced, after wanting it done for about three trillion millenia (ok, since I was 12).  I am so over “Maybe…tomorrow…” and totally into “NOW, NOW NOWWWWWW!”  which isn’t always a good thing actually, just ask Chris who has to live with me and my impulsivity every day.

There are negative aspects to that too though, being aware of your own fragility and mortality isn’t always helpful.   Because I ignored my body’s signals for so long last year, I am now over-alert, so a pimple is a life threatening rash, and a headache is surely a fatal tumour.  It’s ironic really, that I managed months of “la la la” metaphorical sticking my fingers in my ears when there really was something very wrong, but now I over-react to every tiny thing.

I can’t decide if the experience of suddenly losing control of my own body and being diagnosed with CIDP has fundamentally changed me as a person OR if actually this is who I always was, and it has just been a catalyst for allowing my real self to come to the surface.  Either way there’s no denying that the reach of CIDP has gone beyond “Oh, I sometimes have mobility issues and shaky hands” to something much much bigger, that is harder to explain.

Tonight I’m just glad to be where I am, at home with my boys, with a diagnosis and a management plan. My heart goes out to all those battling chronic illness without a clear idea of what it is they’re actually fighting, because for me, as much as people expected me to be upset when I was told I had CIDP, the relief of knowing what was happening to me stripped away so much of the fear and worry, it was almost a relief in some ways to just have a name for it and an idea of what might help.

I should be honest here and say that when I first became ill and googled my symptoms (don’t EVER do that, by the way!  Trust me!)  the first few hits were MS, MND/ALS, Parkinsons, and further down the page Guillain-Barre.  One of the junior doctors who examined me during my second hospital admission suggested a brain tumour as a possibility (in a very positive way, I might add “Maybe you just have a brain tumour and we can get in there and cut it right out!  Better that than GBS, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody!”.  No, I am not making this shit up)

So I don’t want to celebrate not having those conditions, because how vulgar is that?  Nor do I particularly want to celebrate what has happened over the last year BUT I do want to acknowledge it and this (incredibly long) blog post is my way of doing that…along with a teensy glass of rum and coke of course 😉

 

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The Beginning of the End

Technically that should be “The beginning of the end of the first draft of my first book” but that wasn’t quite as catchy.

I am maybe 80% through the first draft of the novel I’ve been working on since 2004, April It’s complicated.  I had the idea and started the thing back in 2004, then I took a short break of ummm…10 years and went back to it in April this year, but completely re-imagined the whole thing.

Now I’m at the stage where I’m wrapping up.  I’m attempting to bring the main story arc and the subplots together and tie them up (not too tightly) and snip off any loose ends.  I’m finding it hard because I…uh…don’t have a definite ending yet, but shhhhh!  Let’s not talk about that right now.

I feel like everywhere I look there are people writing books that are better than mine.  That almost every person I see on Twitter has “author/writer” in their bio.  That there are literally millions of books in the world floating around and I am beginning to question what exactly mine is going to add.

There are also terrible books selling in droves, and brilliant books that no one has heard of.

So you could say I am having a slight crisis of confidence.  In fact if you were to say that, I would freely admit that you’d probably just made the understatement of the year.  I’m having huge doubts about everything that I’m doing at the minute, as evidenced by my last post.  Maybe I could turn this into a series: “What I’m Feeling Insecure About Today”.  What fun that would be- both to write and to read.

Seriously though, it’s just that it’s so hard to write in a way that does the idea in your head justice.  It is hard to write something original that grabs people’s interest and even harder to then hold that interest enough for them to buy your book, read it and maybe write a review or tell a handful of friends.  It is hard to get published, and even if you choose to self publish then there are difficulties there too.  How do your promote yourself and your book without ramming it down people’s throats and getting on everyone’s nerves?  No doubt there are a million other things about writing that are difficult that I don’t even know about yet because I am that naive I won’t even have considered them.

But here’s the thing:  I love to write.  I want to write.  I need to finish this book.  Even if it isn’t the best idea anyone ever had or the greatest thing anyone ever wrote.

If I got zapped out of existence tomorrow by a stray alien laser beam I would mightily pissed off about missing out on a vast array of life’s wonders, particularly being robbed of the opportunity to grow old with Chris and see my children grow up, but I can’t lie, this unfinished book would bug the crap out of my ethereal self.

It’s not like anyone else can do it for me.  Were it that I could communicate the ideas via telepathic brain wave from my head into someone else’s, I’ve got to say- I’d be tempted.  But I can’t.

So I just need to get on and do it…which is why I am procrastinating here obviously.

Grief

This post is about something that has been nagging away in my mind for a very long time.  Like, I’m talking years, but particularly these last few months.  Eventually, this morning driving along the motorway I decided I’d better just write a blog post and get it off my chest.  And so here I am (no longer driving on the motorway, I hasten to add, but sat at the computer with a cup of coffee beside me).

You see the thing I want to talk about is grief.

 

 

 

Oh, you’re still here?  Ok, well, I thought I’d better just put that out there as a trigger warning.

It’s come to my attention, that there is a commonly held belief in our society that grief is an understandable process.  We have the Kübler- Ross stages, which almost everyone seems to be able to reel off, even if they don’t quite grasp the theory or know the name of the person behind it.  Most people seem to see grief as an acceptable reaction to the death of someone close, so long as it predominantly looks like this:

 

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(Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in Spiderman, I chose this because according to the internet he’s an ‘ugly crier’, and I sympathise because me too man, me too.  Also I may, or may not have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Tobey Maguire, but shhh!  And no that is definitely NOT why I named my son Tobias in case you were wondering and no Tobey Maguire does not bear any resemblance to my boyfriend of 10 years and stop interrogating me!  Oh, you weren’t? Ok…ahem…where was I?!)

Now sometimes that is exactly what grief looks like.  But more often it is a lot more complicated than that.  And I mean, a lot more complicated.

Some people react to the bad news (and by bad news, yes in this context I mean someone dying, but it can really be any kind of loss- more about that later) by crying.  That might be their first emotional and physical reaction to the information, but then again it might not.

I know this because one morning in December almost five years ago I received a phone call.  I was in the middle of changing my newborn son’s nappy and I let it go to answer machine.  It was my Grandma, telling me she needed to talk to me, but didn’t want to leave a message and listening to her message I got that feeling.  The feeling you get when you’re in a relationship with someone and they say “we need to talk”, the feeling you get when you open a letter from HMRC, that sense of “this isn’t going to be good, is it?”

I handed the baby to my boyfriend and went upstairs to return to the call, because on some level, I knew.

At that point my Dad had been in the hospital for over a week, and I hadn’t visited him.  I wanted to, but I had a 6 week old baby and his ward was closed due to a D&V virus.  I had racked my brains for ways to introduce my Dad to his first grandchild but there didn’t seem to be one.

That phone call, on the 20th of December 2009 was to tell me I’d missed my chance.  My Dad had passed away “peacefully” at 4am that morning, with hospital staff and this photo by his bedside:

 

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(Our first family photograph)

 

I sat on the edge of my bed listening to my Grandmother’s words and stared out of the window at the back gardens and alleyways of Levenshulme and thought I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.

But I didn’t cry.

My Grandma told me to look at my newborn son, and think of how I felt for him, and then I would be able to imagine how she must be feeling.  I looked at the empty co-sleeper crib attached to the side of the bed, and summoned every ounce of love I felt for our baby and I knew, in my mind that to lose a child must be the most terrible thing imaginable, even if that child is a fully grown man.  But my heart wouldn’t feel it.  It wouldn’t feel anything.  And it was a while before it did.

Later that same morning Chris’s Dad and Stepmum visited with christmas cards and presents.  I told them what had happened with factual and clinical accuracy.  As I spoke I tried to tap into how I actually felt about the words as they left my mouth, but nope, nada…nothing.

This is of course, the widely acclaimed “denial”, except that for me, there was no denying it.  My Dad was dead.  I wasn’t having a difficult time believing that.  I knew it to be true.  I was just in shock.  For me, denial came later, when I visited my Dad in the chapel of rest.  As soon as I saw him lying there I thought “well, there’s been some kind of terrible mistake, because that is not my Dad”.  Driving away from the funeral home as the relatives in my car debated whether or not hair continues to grow once a person has died (it doesn’t, but tip: you can’t argue with people in grief, even if you are one of them yourself), I recall thinking that maybe my real Dad was in a beer garden somewhere, enjoying a pint of lager and sea view, and that brought a smile to my face.

Later, Chris had to work the night shift and I was home alone with our baby.  For the first time, in a long time, I felt scared.  Every time I closed my eyes I saw my Dad in his coffin, and because I wasn’t 100% sure it was him, the image unnerved me.  I felt a wracking guilt of being afraid of my own father, because denial is tricksy, and even though I told myself it wasn’t him, of course I knew underneath that it really was.  I was jumpy, and kept half expecting him to appear behind me, or at the top of the stairs as I climbed them to go to bed.

By the time of the funeral, 10 days after his death I had managed to access my tears, which was a relief, because who goes to a funeral and doesn’t cry?  I clung to my baby and cried, and hated everyone else for crying because, really who the fuck were they to be crying?

Yep…I was moving into anger.  This was apparently going to be Grief 101: A Whirlwind Tour.

After the funeral though I found that life moved on very quickly.  People stopped asking, I stopped telling.  Things went on without my Dad and because he’d lived some fifty miles away and I’d visited him sporadically, on a day-to-day basis, not much was different.  But boy was I MAD.  Let’s not forget I’d also just had a baby.  Like, a minute ago.  So I was learning how to be a parent, having just lost one of mine.  And sometimes that really sucked.

“SMILE, it might never happen!” a stranger heckled me on the street as I pounded the pavements with my son crying in his pram.

“My Dad just fucking died and my child won’t sleep and my Dad just fucking died, and oh my god did I mention that he fucking died ?!?!” I wanted to scream back, but of course didn’t.

Actually I didn’t so much want to tell people, as have a t-shirt screen printed with it on, so that people would just know.  I don’t know how I thought that would help, I don’t think even I knew what I actually wanted from people at the time:  More sensitivity?  More hugs?  To constantly bring it up and mention it all the time?  How would any of that’ve been helpful?  I don’t know.  I didn’t know.  I just hated that it had happened and that I was having to deal with it.

The one day, out of the blue, I started crying.

I was walking to the post office, pushing the pram, with parcels in the basket underneath to post.  Across the road I saw a man, in his forties, shuffling along with the help of a walker on wheels, the kind that have a little built in shopping basket.  From his stance and his gait, I guessed that he’d had a stroke at some point fairly recently.  As he came nearer it was like someone started a projector reel in my head, but on fast-forward.  My life with my Dad flashed before my eyes, sitting in his greenhouse with him as a little girl, being carried on his shoulders, him teaching me how to write with a fountain pen, him making me solemnly swear not to tell my Mum about the hidden cans of lager in the boiler cupboard, saying goodbye to him the day my parents broke up, and later on- when he had his stroke, being the first one at the hospital to visit him when he couldn’t speak, and travelling there at least twice a week every week for the 3 months he spent in rehab, and believing, really believing him for the first time ever in my life, when he told me that he was giving up “the drink”.

The man with his wheely-shopper passed us, and the dam inside me broke and I just cried, and cried.  Because really, when you think about it, life is fucking harsh, right?  I mean, let’s not beat about the bush here, it just IS.

So I cried all the way to the post office, sniffled my way through the encounter, and cried all the way home.  And so began my period of crying.  I was about to go back to work as my maternity leave was almost over.  I tried and failed to negotiate returning on reduced hours on nights.  I cried the entire way home from the meeting with my (ex) manager.  My thought process went something like: I can’t go back on 2 nights a week/I will have to hand in my notice and find another job/I both love and hate my job/My Dad is dead/My Dad is dead/My Dad is dead…at which point I’d get stuck on a loop.

It was the same every time something bad or sad or unfair happened.  First up I’d be upset or annoyed about the original event and then straight away afterwards my brain would be like “Hello!  Know what else is really fucking sad and awful?  Yep…you guessed it”

So for me, I felt like I didn’t properly start to grieve for my Dad until I saw someone who reminded me of him, walking up Stockport Road and realised that it wasn’t him, couldn’t be him, and never would be him and that my Dad, the only Dad I’ll ever have, was actually gone.  Forever.

I am telling you all this for a reason by the way, not just to make myself cry.  It’s because I think that my grief process for my Dad was hard for people to understand.  They expected tears from me in the initial period, and I couldn’t perform.  They expected some bargaining or denial later and all I could muster was pure hatred for the world and everyone in it.  Then months down the line when society suggested  I ought to be “moving on” I was instead paralysed with sadness.

Since then, I’ve had the misfortune to lose two other family members and a friend, as well as experiencing those ‘other’ kinds of less-recognised grief when something is lost, but it isn’t a person’s life.  Maybe just a potential life, as with the two miscarriages I’ve had since, or the loss of mobility and health that I experienced last year when I was diagnosed with CIDP, or the loss of a person that is still alive, because they’re not a part of your life anymore, either through choice or because dementia has taken them away.

Each and every time I have reacted differently, because grief is a strange and unique experience.  Everyone brings their own shit to it.

For me, I am a coper (and it’s a fucking good job really given some of the shit that’s gone down over the years) so initially I just don’t.  I mean I. Just. Do. Not. Feel. Or. Do. Anything. At. All.  I watch other people have their reactions and I feel bad that I’m not having my own.  Then later, when others rally, all be it briefly, in order to organise x or deal with y, I wobble.  Then much much later it hits me, and usually it’s completely out of the blue and unprecedented. I’ll just be in the middle of doing something entirely mundane and ordinary and the switch will just flick, and off I go.

One thing which does reliably affect me is technology.  I wonder how much the age of smart phones and online life has affected grief.  For me, every time I see Joy’s name in my google hangouts history it’s like a punch to my stomach.  There’s the last IM conversation we had, verbatim, for me to read.  A permanent reminder that I can open that chat window as much as I want, I’m never going to get a reply.

Or my friend Nic’s Facebook page, which pops up on my newsfeed daily when people write on there.  “Dear Nic…” they begin, and I wish I could write to her, or anybody I’ve lost, without feeling like I was writing to myself.

It took me three different mobile phones and four years to delete my Dad’s mobile number from my contacts.  I used to have his messages saved too, but I backed them up and got rid.  It was too much to have to scroll past his technologically-challenged telegram-style text messages: “REBECCA LOVE, CONGRATULATIONS, I LOVE YOU. LOVE DAD” The message he sent me after the birth of the grandson he never met.

I’d definitely be interested to see how living in a time when almost everyone has a mobile phone and/or internet access has altered the way we grieve for and remember our loved ones.  There’s the support of sharing the experience, but there’s also the constant reminders that you’ll never get a phone call or see a status update from them again.

Last week we scattered the last of Joy’s ashes in Llangollen and I prepared myself for an inevitable tidal wave of emotion that never came.  Yesterday though I emptied a storage box of hers and found the pictures the boys drew for her when she was in the hospice and burst into tears, so I squirrelled them away somewhere where Chris wouldn’t accidentally find them, lest he have the same reaction.

It would be easier for everyone if grief followed a set course with an estimated time scale but it just doesn’t.  There are times when it would be really appropriate for me to feel sad and display my grief but I don’t and can’t.  There are times when it’s really inconvenient and there’s nothing I can bloody well do about it.

If someone you know has experienced a loss, regardless of if it was yesterday or last month or last year or ever in their entire existence, (because heads up: grief doesn’t have an expiry date) then be prepared for them to feel any emotion about it, at any given point in time, and for that to be okay.

It might not sit right with you :”They’re happy when they should be sad!” or “That was a hundred years ago, why are they so worked up about it today of all days?!” but you’re just going to have to deal with it.  Because they’ve got to.  And if they can, so can you too.

And please, believe whatever you want, but don’t assume someone else shares your vision of harps and clouds, because as much as I would like to leave religion out of it (and I’m not just referring to this blog post) one of the things I have found least helpful in times of loss is people telling me it is “for the best” under the assumption that through my tears I will nod in agreement, when in reality it only ever serves to make me want to punch them in the face.

I think that pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter, so I’ll leave you with a few photos now, of grief in it’s various forms.

 

 

 

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(Joy, holding Toby, her first grandson, at the funeral of her only sister)

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(My Dad with my sister and me, on our first visit to stay with him following my parent’s separation)

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(In hospital, waiting to miscarry, on Rudy’s 2nd birthday)

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(20th December 2009- the day my Dad died was also the day Toby first smiled)

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(A cloudy day in Llan, scattering Joy’s ashes on what would have been her birthday)

I’m a winner!

I feel like I need to preface this post by saying that I don’t in any way resemble or feel like one right now.  Suffering from the effects of sleep-deprivation and battling my way through the every day grind of parenting two small people, I feel almost certain that winners do not traditionally wear yesterday’s led zeppelin tee along with a pair of leggings covered in hay whilst emanating a definite aura of “approach me at risk of being punched in the face” but hey, that’s me this afternoon.

Still I thought I should check in here to say that despite appearances I really am a winner, as on Thursday night, with just over an hour to spare before the deadline I finally reached my CampNaNoWriMo word goal!

 

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Ok so 20,000 words isn’t even that many to write in a month, but considering I also participated in life outside of writing last month, and struggled with writer’s block for the first time, I still think it’s an achievement I can and should be proud of.

It also means my  book/novel/first-draft/work-in-progress/whatever you want to call it, now stands at around 62,000 words, with still a few things left to happen before I can wrap the story up.  This is exciting because that is the most words I have ever written on one project, because I am still as enthusiastic about it as I was at the start, and because at this rate I am going to end up with something vaguely resembling a full length novel on my hands at some point later this year.  All of which makes me a very happy Rebecca, even if you wouldn’t think so were you to bump into me in real life right now.

The last couple of days, since finishing camp have just really kicked my ass physically and mentally.  As has my 2 year old, almost literally, as his new ‘thing’ seems to be:

a. Repeat visits to the  toilet every single place we go under the guise of being “desperate for a wee”, when I think 99% of the time he really just wants my undivided attention/to play with the taps in the bathroom

and b. Punching me when I make unreasonable demands of him, such as requesting he hold my hand when crossing roads, or asking him to “stop” when he’s trying to run across a car-park.

So you know, that’s fun.

Eh.

I wish I could make this post more cheerful but I’m afraid it will just have to be what it is.  I ‘won’ my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo and I am managing to keep my children alive despite their best efforts.  I think we should all drink to that.

Cheers!