Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday.... Jack's Open Heart Surgery (2nd Year Anniversary)..

Joining My little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

The Night Before...

This time two years ago, I was laying on my eldest son's fire engine bed. Hyperventilating. Scream-crying.  I don't know how I got to laying there. I just have this vivid memory of lying there.

"Just check my left breast!" I wailed to my husband.

I felt tingling, almost pain sensations in my left breast. I was convinced I had breast cancer.

The panic sent electrical pulses through my body.
My heart started to gallop harder, faster.
A metallic taste built in my mouth.. the taste of fear.

"I don't want to die", I pleaded with my husband.

"You are not going to die Yeran".
The look in his eyes was of confusion. Confused by what he was seeing in his wife...
And I was confused too. Why was I feeling like this? Why wasn't I thinking about the real issue at hand?

I should've been scream-crying about what was to happen the next day.

I should've been panicking about whether it would all go smoothly.

I should've been freaking out at the idea that my little baby boy was about to have his chest bone broken open, have his heart stopped, let big hands pry into his chest and cut away at heart muscle and patch up a large hole, all the while on a bypass machine.

I should've shed tears for all those things.

But instead my mind and my body had other ideas... a strange form of self preservation I gather. Instead of focussing on the actual matter at hand I was creating drama and fear somewhere completely different. Somewhere so unexpected. And I felt worse because the focus was on myself and my well-being. How selfish of a mother was I? I had never imagined that this is how I would feel or react.

I was inconsolable.
I had some good friends offer me valium.
They offered me an artificial zen. A zoned out calm.
I didn't take it.
I rode this horrendous wave.

And I woke up in the morning with no more tears. I was oddly refreshed. I was calm. I was a little nervous, but it was like the previous night's episode had cleansed me. It had literally scrubbed at my mind, at my insides and at my soul.
I was prepared for anything and I was wearing my WonderWoman t-shirt to prove it.

I don't know whether anyone else has ever reacted like I did in a similar situation.
But then again, anxiety, grief, trauma, all affect people in different ways. I guess there is no right and wrong in reactions... although having said that, there is society's unspoken laws on how to behave or react to situations. I try my hardest not to judge people on how they deal with situations. It is an entirely individual thing. As long as it doesn't harm anyone, I don't see why it should be deemed as wrong.

I would be interested to know how people have reacted/dealt/behaved in traumatic situations. And whether anybody has done the same as me....

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Cherishing Your Cherubs Project Monday Link Up: Remember...

This is the 2nd part of Naomi from Seven Cherubs Cherishing Your Cherubs Project Link Up.
In this post we are to write about something we REMEMBER about our children. It could be their birth story/ies, or a moment you shared with each one, or a major achievement they accomplished.

I have decided to do three different forms of rememberance and chose one for each of my muskateers.
For Liam I will recount when he came home from the hospital and I was a first time mum.
For Jack it will be when he was recovering in hospital from his Open Heart Surgery.
For Evangeline it will be a moment that I found defining in regards to all three of my cherubs yesterday.

It had been ten days. Ten days of pain, fear, worry. We nearly lost you. I still don't think I fully understood that. I was in a daze.
And here we were on day 10 arriving home. I was nervous, but most of all beyond excited. I was a mum and I had my precious little bundle with me. You were so snug in my arms. Such a bubble of cuteness, all rounded and soft and smooth.
The most vivid memory I have of those first few days at home were the fact I couldn't nap, even though everyone advised me to: "Make sure you sleep when baby does". But I just couldn't. I was bursting with sheer delight. I just wanted to watch you as your chest rose and fell. As you snored, your little baby snore. My eyes were fixed on your little body, your cherubic face. I didn't want to miss a beat. I seriously had to pinch myself. My whole life I dreamed of being a mummy and here I was holding my very own babe.
You were and still are the perfect blend of your daddy and myself. Of course you have my cheeks, the ones that need their own postcode. Bulbous beyond compare. Although I think your sister can now give them a run for their money.
Your hair was as white and pure as the cliched snow. I had never seen a newborn with white as can be hair. And here you were my little Norse god.
At that point we had no idea what lay ahead of you or us. We were just intoxicated by the love we felt for you and so the past and the future didn't even factor into our mind.
Those first few days at home were magic. I am glad we did not know anything at this point. We got to enjoy you for just you Liam. There was no Cerebral Palsy, no Special Needs. Not that those are bad things, but they are extra 'things' that will always be apart of you now, just as my diabetes and my depression will always be apart of me. Baby Liam. The most beautiful baby to have ever existed.

It was day three post op. You had made such great progress after your Open Heart Surgery. Most of the tubes and wires had been removed as your recovery was steaming long. Daddy had to stay at home with your big brother Liam, whilst you and I were sleeping next to eachother in the Heart Ward.
For a 5 month old you were so placid, so very calm.
I sat next to your cot and would lean my head next to yours on the mattress.
I was exhausted, both emotionally and physically, but your relaxed demeanour soothed me, and encouraged me to let go of the stress. It was as if you were comforting me! I was the baby and you were the adult.
I dressed you in some super bright onesies. They had to have the feet cut out so a monitor could be attached to your toe, testing for heart rate, blood pressure etc. I wish I had kept at least one of them. But I did take lots of photos of you in them Jack. I took lots of photos of you and your chest. You even managed to smile for a few of these shots. What a champ.
I even made sure to take photos of your chest before your surgery, because that was going to be the last time you would be scar free.
While other children sobbed, whinged, screamed through out the ward, you just laid there as cool as a cucumber. The coolest customer. I cannot thank you enough for making the experience for me much less painful than it could've been.
Now you can say not only do you have a wicked scar, but you have the coolest attitude any human could have in that situation. You. Are. One. Cool. Dude.

Every morning at breakfast time I line all three of you up. Evangeline, you are in your high chair. Jack is in his booster chair. Liam is in his wheelchair.
There is a mountain of toast. A vegemite explosion. Or at least that's what appears to have happened if one was to look at the aftermath.
As we all stuff our faces I take the opportunity to perform for my captive audience. You are always the most attentive. Hanging off my every word. Your big brown eyes with eye lashes for days, study me, work their way over my face and follow my waving wildly arms and hands. You are not yet a year old. But you are already doing so much at this age. Doing more than your big brothers did at the same age.
On this particular day I started to sing "Old McDonald Had a Farm", as we do at least once a day. It seems to be everyone's favourite song in this house and I love to keep you kiddies happy, thus I will sing Old Mac until the proverbial cows come home. When it came to the line: ".. and on that farm he had a..", I looked at Liam and Jack, waiting for some sort of sound or movement. I mean I had been working on both their speech therapy using this song, so I was hopeful for a miracle response.
"DUCK!" you chimed.
My jaw dropped. I quickly picked it back up.
"Yes, good work Evy, he had a duck", I beamed.  I was blown away and so proud of you. But this was the moment I knew would stick in my mind like honey, so sweet yet so messy. You see this was the moment you 'over took' your brothers. This was the moment that their 'diffability' became glaringly obvious in our sheltered little bubble of home. Yet it showed me what a clever little baby girl you are and that is what I know we will always focus on from here on in, rather than comparing where each of you were at that same age.

Each one of you are clever and amazing in your own way. And I want you to all know how proud I am of you.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thankful Thursday blended with Things I Know... The Knight in Shining Armour Edition..

I am joining Kate from Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday and Shae from Yay For Home for Things I Know... I just hope this isn't against blogging laws *shifty eyes*
And this Thursday I am ever so thankful for my husband... I Know This.
Well I am grateful EVERYDAY for him being in my life. But today I thought I'd shout it from the rooftops! Ok this isn't a rooftop, but damn it has more reach *insert winky and nodding face*.

My Knight in Shining Armour, he...
  • is always helping out with the children at the 'witching hour'. We tag team the bathing of the muskateers, the feeding, the putting to bed
  • gives me the most passionate embraces... they're not just hugs, they go to a whole new level
  • gets up in the night to Liam, and the other two are my allocated night 'buddies'
  • cracks the most corniest, crappiest jokes when I'm not in the mood for them.. then I realise my mouth is breaking into a grin.. sly bugger 
  • listens to me and I mean really listens to me (or at least he's good at the facial expressions for it..)
  • encourages me in whatever dreams or pursuits I desire
  • has been through so much with me and has kept my head above water so many times
  • never puts me down.. well not unless he's literally picked me up *snort*
  • understands what my day entails and doesn't expect a spotless house, with all the chores done and dinner on the table.. lucky because otherwise I'd disappoint him *even louder snort*
  • is 6 years younger than me, but he can be mature beyond his years.. sometimes...

So I thought I would add some photographs of this amazing man that I am Thankful for and that I Know...

Yep so loving, so caring and so mature...

But no, really, he is an adoring daddy..

And a very loving husband..

The one thing I definately know is...
I am so damn lucky to have him *cue corny sigh*
But no, really I am.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Name Game...

My name is Yeran.
Pronounced like Erin with a 'y' (as in y-oghurt).
I hated, hated, hated that name for a long time.
Obviously my parents loved it to bits.
They were huge fans of unusual names and my sister and I were never going to be Sarah or Amanda or Lisa... you catch my drift.
I don't mind it so much now...
But at school. It was hell to have my name.
Across the playground they would yell: "Urine!" and I would cringe, hang my head as I felt my cheeks start to burn and my eyes well up with tears. Yeah I know, what a sensitive little princess I was to let that get to me. But it did. I mean if they had teased me about my hair, I could change that. I couldn't change my name.
It does fit me though.
It always did.
It's unusual. I am unusual.
I guess it just exacerbated my uniqueness. Which was not cool back in the Eighties. Hey maybe it's still not cool. Being different still seems to rub people up the wrong way, make them feel uncomfortable and 'induce' judgement.
With age and experience I have embraced my original, individual, madcap, crazy-ass self. And I've noticed so have a lot of people in the blogging world; they don't mind letting their 'freak flag fly', they're not afraid to 'go there' and I love it!!!
Anyways I'm off track as usual. Seriously this is what a conversation with me is like. It is certainly not linear, just like my blog.. I like to think I'm an iPod on random.
Back to names...

So even though I hated my name and I hated being different, I always wanted to name my children something unusual. I just didn't counter in the fact that the father of my children might not...
When I was first pregnant with Liam, I had been discussing names with Knight in Shining Armour. First I suggested 'River', he gave me a look of "WTF?", and I responded: "You know, as in the actor River Phoenix". He paused. "Hmm I don't mind Phoenix-". "Done!" I quickly pounced on the opportunity for hubby to agree with an unusual name.
A few weeks prior to the 20 week ultrasound, the Knight says: "I don't think I can name my son that. Phoenix. Nah too weird. Couldn't do it to him. How about William?"
"Hell no!". I was not having a boring name (*disclaimer: I really don't think William is a boring name.. I kind of like it, but I had my head filled with the ideas of my children being as weird as me and well William ain't on the weird side).
"How about we compromise?" I offered him: "How about we have the end of William? As in Liam?"
"Done!" I think hubby pounced on it so fast because it was normal enough for him to live with and I wasn't going to be given the chance to come up with some other fandangled f***ed up names (*disclaimer: I am not saying any names are f***ed up, my husband is, so get upset with him if you named your child Phoenix).
Funnily enough I am glad my husband is conservative. Otherwise we would have some names that we might very much regret naming our children.
I think my mum and dad only regreted naming me Yeran whenever I said "I hate my name!".
"But we love it Yeran"
"You don't get called urine. I do!"
Then my mum proceeded to tell me all the names she got called at school due to her surname.
Kids will pick on anything.
But I am hoping by choosing the names I did for my children, that their chances of being picked on might be slightly reduced. Maybe.

Knight in Shining Armour and I have tested the names out. Although I feel Jack has already copped it all from us. We titter when we say "When I dropped Jack off...haha Jack off haha", yep because we are mature like that. I guess we are getting him prepared for school in that respect. He would have heard it all before and it would be water off a duck's back.. or not. Either way, it's giving us a giggle.
I don't know whether Evangeline's name can be bastardised. I am sure some smart arse kid will come up with something. Evy will learn karate...
Who knew names could be so important to mull over! But they are important. A name is for life. It will be on your headstone. It will be screamed at a disobedient child. It will be screamed out in a hot and sweaty bed. We all want a name worthy of that now don't we?!?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cherishing Your Cherubs Project Monday Link Up: Record...

The last few days I've been in a funk word wise.
 I just can't seem to gather up my 'blojo' (that's blogging mojo to those not familiar with the term). But I always have photographs and they speak volumes.

So in today's blog post which is part of a link up (The Cherishing Your Cherubs Project) with the gorgeous Naomi from Seven Cherubs, I decided I will place a display of my cherubs in all their glories... laughing, crying, sleeping. I think if you don't have time to make a record of your children via the written word or scrapbooking, there is always the 'quick pic': using your mobile phone to snap random acts of your child/ren being themselves... not posed, not a 'professional' photo shoot... just pure, honest, raw images that show nothing but truth and thus their beauty. 

Liam, my five year old, just finished the last morsel of his favourite delight: cheesecake. And was told "there is no more".. He is quite passionate about it. If only there was an endless supply hey mate?!?
I added a photo of Liam crying and angry because everyone who knows Liam will not know this face. His 'public face' is always so bright, with a look of blissful happiness. Although I do know the face in this picture well, as it is one of his forms of communication... I mean how else is he going to say: "But mum I want more, I bloody love this stuff".

Evangeline adores her food. She is such a good eater and it shows in her deliciously fleshy belly, thighs and cheeks, which I love to no end (and I like to nom nom nom on). She is quite independant too and gets somewhat upset if I don't let her hold the spoon or explore the bowl. Meal times are always messy with my soon to be one year old. And as she gets cheekier, the room gets messier. Luckily she's uber cute, other wise I would not let her get away with 'painting the walls' with bolognese.

Jack enjoys 'fitting' into tight spaces. All part of his sensory needs. I think it's one of his cutest traits. It is always fun seeing what cramped little area he can fit his 2 year old body into. He also loves to rub textures against his bare skin, especially on his round little belly. My favourite thing that Jack does at the moment is grab a hold of my hand and drag me into my bedroom to jump up and down on my bed. He insists I have to be there. I insist I join in. Cheeky monkeys jumping on the bed...

So there you have my first part of the Seven Cherubs Project. Please join in on this special little assignment, you won't regret it *insert winky face*

Friday, 19 August 2011

Not just words....

There are very few things I regret in my life.

But these words I spoke to my mum are the most regretful thing I have ever said:

 "Mum, I've been reading this book. It's about life after death. They are so sure there is something after, you are going to be ok"

The look on my mum's face when those words left my lips... that moment... I just so wish I could take those words back. You see my mum was terminally ill with Pancreatic Cancer . And I was an 18 year old with idealistic thoughts of how the world works and I had very little life experience to have the right form of empathy.
I was selfish in terms of needing to know that my mum was going to a better place, for my own peace of mind, instead of just being there for her, giving her the most immense love and distraction that she needed. The 'me' of today would've dealt with this so very differently. But I was the 'me' of 1998. I was still a teenager. I was experimenting with who I thought I was. And I was wading through all the murkiness of a situation that was far from 'normal'.
I fought my mum's death sentence with a search of eternal life. To find out whether there was in fact an afterlife. I wasn't entirely thinking about her thoughts, her feelings.  
The moment she was diagnosed, nobody dare utter the words 'death', 'heaven', 'terminal' and so on.
If a movie came on the t.v  that alluded to death or the afterlife, the channel was changed.
We never spoke of the inevitable. Until..
Yes that f***ing moment I opened my big, fat, idealistic, teenage mouth.
I haven't changed my opinion of life after death. I actually still agree with my 18 year old self. But knowing my mum's fear of death, I dearly wish I could change that one moment in my life.
I scared her. I shook her to the bone with my words. They may be 'just words' to some. But they abused and bruised my mum. She was in fits of tears.
I heard her crying uncontrollably to my dad when I had left the room:
'She is trying to scare me.. Talking about death.. Why, why?' 

Hearing her sobs. Hearing her talk about me like I was trying to hurt her, instill fear in her... It cuts me to the core, to my very being. I thought I was going to help her and instead I brought every darkened jagged terror to the forefront of her fragile mind. Every thought that she'd fought against, I just torpedoed straight into her consciousness.
I repent to this very day.
My mum wanted to hold on to every last shred of hope. And I just f***ing plucked that last remaining thread and flung it at her face.
I don't regret my search for 'life after death' and Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a comforting read.
But if I just played along with the charade of invincibility.... That moment would never have happened... My mum would've felt like she could live forever. She wouldn't have been suffocated by fear and horrror.

So there you have it.

This is the one thing that haunts me to this day.

These are the only words I wish I had never uttered.

I just wanted her to feel safe.

And on her last day, I said...

'You are safe mum. You are surrounded by love. I love you. Everything is going to be ok'

Those words I never regret.

'..everything is going to be ok'

Those are the best words ever.
I have heard those words many times.
They are true.
Everything is going to be ok. Not 'fabulous', not 'crap'. Just 'ok' and that is ok by me.

I am sharing this post with awesome company on Where's My Glow's:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Thankful Thursday... Holding my children tight edition...

Joining Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday, because I am so damn grateful!!!

Through everything I have experienced, encountered and endured, I have come out with more gratitude than ever before.

And when I read the news headlines and I see what others have been struck with, I try to look at how lucky I am and celebrate it.

This week there has been a huge focus on the loss of a young teenage boy. Although he would be a man today, a man who his parents would have seen go through puberty, graduate from high school and either be attending university/college or being an apprenctice in a trade. But no, these things that people take for granted will never be in Daniel Morcombe's life. An evil, sadistic man ripped it away. A monster that walked the streets sniffing out his pray.

This week I looked at the loss of Daniel and all the children who have become angels, and I couldn't help but hold tight my own children. Regard every little thing about them. From the most loveable and adorable attributes to even the things that make me want to tear my hair out. I held nothing but gratitude....
  • running my fingers through Jack's cornsilk hair
  • breathing in Evangeline's scent, of baby shampoo, arrowroot biscuit and milk
  • squeezing Liam's body in a tight embrace and kissing his bulbous cheeks
  • hearing the sounds of their tiny vocal chords, even the cries and whinges were music this week
I am so blessed to have my children. And I always think about those who cannot have their own. I truly feel for those women whose wombs ache to be filled.
I am so blessed that my children have their health. Yes Liam has Cerebral Palsy, but he is a robust little guy, tough as nails with a cast iron immune system. Yes Jack has Autism, and he does suffer from croup now and again, but he also has a strong constitution. And well Evangeline is the plump picture of health with her rosy features.
I am blessed to be able to embrace my children everyday, tell them I love them (over and over and over again).
Most of all I am blessed to be able to see how lucky I am. Through the loss of Dylan, through all the different diagnoses.. through all the tough times, I have been able to see what amazing things life does offer and that I have them in abundance.
There is so much to be thankful for!!!
 So come and join me and all the other awesome bloggers who participate in 'Thankful Thursday' via Kate Says Stuff 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday.... Liam boy in Miracle World edition

Joining  My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.


This is a blog post solely about my precious daughter. Because I have realised she has featured very little in this blog so far, which doesn't reflect how much I love her, as I love all my precious children equally. She just happens to not have a 'diffability', which could create a somewhat 'wallflower effect', as her brothers and their needs tend to overshadow everything else.

So here's to my Evangeline...

In 3 weeks she will be turning a year old. Where did that year go?!?

Well I tell you where it went...
  • a whirl of therapies, assessments, meltdowns (from both myself and my son Jack)
  • dealing with nappies and nappies and more nappies
  • trying to get sleep and failing
Where does Evangeline factor into this?
  • She was the one who would keep herself busy while I fed Liam and was dragged around by Jack
  • She came along to every appointment and for the most part was well behaved
  • She has let us experience all the 'normal' development and made us feel like first time parents all over again
  • Her cute little scrunched up nose grin has melted my heart over and over again
  • Her sleep started out great and then has gone down hill since teething... which means we get to sleep with her in our bed (which in someways I secretly love)
  • She has grown so quickly and is the reminder I need that life flies by at break neck speed and that I need to slow down and enjoy every little thing, rather than rush to the next stage
Evangeline is the breath of fresh air in our house. She is also the banshee scream that pierces our ears. I love every inch of her plump and dimpled being. Although I could do without her pulling my hair strand by strand at 2 in the morning.

Before Evangeline... I can't even imagine a time before Evangeline. It is like she has always been here. Although I do have a vivid memory of the 'big ultrasound' when I was 20 weeks pregnant with her.. The sonographer pointed to the screen and I just knew when I saw the 'burger' that she was a 'she'. "It's a girl" announced the tech and I squealed with delight, grasping my good friend Nic's hand. Nic and I both chimed together "Evangeline!". The tech looked up, surprised "You already have a name?". Indeed! Jack would've been an Evangeline. I had the name picked out for a few years. It means "Good news". And hell yeah, it was good news and she has been nothing but good news since.

Here is a shameless array of photos of my gorgeous baby girl. I am so blessed....

The 'Burger'!!!
*sorry Evangeline you will kill me for this in about 12 years time

My first hold of Evangeline

Cute as a button!!!

A photograph my sister took when Evy was 3 months old

Everyone say "aaaaaah"

In the ball pit

My ray of sunshine

I am in love

Oh I am so lucky, so blessed. I get to nuzzle into her scrumptious cheeks. Breathe in her 'baby shampoo' scent. Giggle through games of peek-a-boo. Be the recipient of the biggest open hand kisses blown. 

I love my girl. And I'm loving how this blog post has put me in the best mood, the happiest refrain. So I better re-read this at 2am after Evy has pulled half my hair out *insert that tired winky face*  

Monday, 15 August 2011

Middle Child Syndrome doesn't exist in our house...

My husband is a 'middle child' and so is his mother. I always worried my Mr Middle aka Jack would suffer the "Middle Child Syndrome", because I can see it does happen to some extent. The eldest gets the attention for being the first, 'paving the way' and so on. The youngest gets the attention because they are the 'baby' and are allowed to get away with murder. Then there's the middle child, who can often get somewhat forgotten about....
Of course with our eldest, Liam, having such a severe physical disability there was always that worry of focussing much more attention on Liam than his siblings. So it was something I was aware of.
My husband still suffers from it a bit. And I remember my mother in law saying "poor Jack will suffer the middle child syndrome too". My inner monologue response was: "Not if I have anything to do with it!", and on the outside I did my usual nod and smile, because I am  a wuss polite.
Funny thing is, Jack had his own thoughts of: "Not if I have anything to do with it!" He went and got himself a Congenital Heart Defect, thus major attention seeking ensued with Open Heart Surgery. Then when we had a sigh of relief after it was all over, he must've thought "Damn I ain't getting this middle child syndrome thing" and it was revealed he has Autism.  Now that's a great way to not be ignored!!
Looking at my blog, so far Jack and his Autism have reigned supreme. But ask most families who have a child on the spectrum and they will say that a lot of the focus, planning and decisions are around the child with ASD. It isn't spoiling them, it is making life much easier and less of an uphill battle for the entire family. This is not to say Jack is more difficult than his brother or sister. He is just very different.. in a good way (and sometimes in a not so good way).
The ironic thing is, is that Jack wouldn't even notice if there was a bit of "middle child syndrome" going on. Well not at this stage. Although he does have an extremely close relationship with me and does show signs of jealousy if I am focussing on Liam or Evangeline. But overall he is happy doing his own thing and doesn't want attention from anyone else.
I am extremely aware of sharing myself around the three. I do spend a lot more time and energy on Jack and I do feel guilty about that, but at the same time I know the effort I put in with Jack over the next few years will be the greatest investment ever for not only him, but the whole family. And besides Liam thinks the sun shines out of Jack's butt! So Liam doesn't get too jealous when I spend time playing with Jack. Instead he just laughs at all the antics, which in turn makes me smile. Then there is Evangeline... all she will ever know is two brothers with special needs Superhero powers! I often worry what kind of life she will experience in her position. How it will affect her. I am hoping it will make her one of the world's most understanding and empathetic humans. I do take out time for her, so we can have our 'girly' days, but she will definately have a lot more on her plate than most girls.
So there you have it. There is no "Middle Child Syndrome" in my house. But I may have to come up with the syndrome name for youngest sibling with exceptional brothers... we shall call it Evangeline Syndrome for the time being *insert winky face*. I will try to feature my dear daughter a bit more in my blog*, because I don't want her reading this when she's older and having a bitch fit about how little she featured adore her to pieces and she needs to be celebrated too, as all our children do, whether they have additional needs or not.

*next post will be an Evangeline special edition

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Things I know: the blogosphere edition...

Ok so I'm trying this "Things I Know" link up thingy phenomenon, created by Yay For Home. I hope I do this right....

  • I knew there was this amazing thing I call the "Bloggers World", but I didn't realise until now, what an awesome community it is! Everyone is so welcoming, non-judgemental and supportive. Basically the ideal utopic society we should have IRL (that's 'In Real Life', in case you're not a full web-head).
  • Reading through a lot of blogs fills your head with so much information that you would never have gotten a hold of in a normal hour out in the 'real world'. Information that leads to more understanding of the human condition and how every person is beyond special and important.
  • I am officially addicted to blogging!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Blogging is extremely cathartic.
  • My husband thinks I've chosen Mr Toshiba Laptop as my snuggling companion, since I spend more time with it in the evenings than I do with him at the moment .. whoops!
Ok so it's a bit short and sweet. But I am a virgin at this *insert naughty winky face*

ps: thank you Blogosphere, you rock!!!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Happiness is "Yellow Hat"... and your neighbour wanting to record you!?..

I am a firm believer in enjoying the 'small things'.. well actually they are small to others, but fricking huge to me!! I like to soak up all the awesomeness that occurs around me and then think about how I would write it as a 'status update' later  and just feel the wonderment of life and appreciate each day that I am blessed with.
Today I was playing with Mr Middle aka Jack, in our little ball pit in our back yard. We were surrounded by all sorts of coloured balls *er duh* and Jack says: "Yeyyow" (now this is a brand new thing and I get so excited everytime he says a word, any word!). I respond with: "Yes there are yellow balls everywhere". I am hoping he says "yeyyow bawws", but no, he says: "yeyyow.. hat". I was blown away with the fact he was stringing TWO words together, another ginormous leap in development for Jack, then I started to say "There's no yellow hat out here", when I figured this opportunity was gold for him to realise that words he says can hold so much meaning. I jump up like a woman possessed: "Yes you want a yellow hat! I will run inside and get a yellow hat! Stay there, I'm getting this yellow hat you want, that you asked for". I know how desperate this may have sounded, but for Jack with his Autism, at this point he doesn't know that with words he can actually ASK for something, and so I was keen to let him know that when he says something he is going to bloody well get it!  I think I pretty much danced my way inside the house (danced really fast though, I didn't want him to lose the meaning of the situation!) and out I came singing "Here's your yellow hat Jack!!!" and plonked it on his head. Now Jack hates, hates, things on his head. But he just slowly took it off and try to put it on my head. Ah bless, he was protecting his mummy from the sun. You couldn't wipe my smile off with a brick.
I was on cloud nine for most of the day, then...
In the afternoon out in the setting sun on our front lawn, I hung out with my three muskateers. I am Queen of Obliviousness and I don't realise how loud I am and how much the neighbours can hear me and actually listen to me! So when our bachelor neighbour sauntered on over to me whilst I was in the very lady like position of sitting with a massive leg spread on the driveway playing 'crashing cars' with Jack, and then proceeded to start a conversation that began with: "I almost recorded you the other day"... I was a little freaked out.
"Sorry? You nearly reported me?" I was worried he was talking children's services, and I was going to explain that Liam always was quadraplegic, then he repeated "I almost recorded you". I paused. Hmmm ok. I gave him that WTF look. He started to grin: "I heard you singing to your children the other day. You have a beautiful voice". I laughed "Oh dear, sorry about that. I have a shocking singing voice". I could feel my face burn into a bright beetroot. "No really, you are good. And I think you're a wonderful mum. I always hear you singing and playing with your children"... Well that is one of the biggest compliments anyone can give a mum.. not the singing *uh duh*, but the fact that someone has observed you and appreciated motherhood in it's simplest form.
I went from one 'cloud 9' to another.. ok is that even possible? Did that even make sense? Two cloud 9's? Whatever. It was a top day, as most of my days are.. even if they're not, I'll bloody well make them top! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday....

I am joining My Little Drummer Boys and Kate Says Stuff  for 'Wordless Wednesday'. Bear with me, I've never done this before and I hope I do it right *insert winky face*

These three photos sum up my three muskateers perfectly ! (sorry I put some words in woops!)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Everyone has a story to tell.. EVERYONE: Guest posting time.... #1

I have decided to share my blog space with some wonderful people, to show that EVERYONE has a story to tell, by having a guest post on a random occasion. And today is the first of my random guest blog posts. Each guest blog post that is shared on 'Stranger Than Fiction' will cover a story from the guest writer's life, something that has shaped them, made them stronger, but will also be a great way for us all to learn from. 
Today's guest is a  fellow blogger Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life, who I also went to high school with. Until I read this post I had no idea what she had gone through recently and how much it had affected her life. I am in awe of her positivity and her 'fight though it' spirit.
Here is her story......

I think before I start to write this, a snap shot of me prior to the accident which is my life changing event. I was a primary school teacher, working very hard, I was always on the go, working as hard as I could, to impress the right people (or who I thought were the right people). I would work, walk the dog, cook dinner, do so more work and eventually spend some time with my soon to be husband. I was on the fast track to the top. I would push myself to the limit so many times, and I honestly don't think I stopped enough to appreciate the people in my life, who I love and care about so much. I had been bridesmaid 4 times and things were finally working out for me and then we got hit with a bit of a jolt to say the least.

I originally said that I was going to write about the accident once, but this is a guest post for an old friend and I'm not focusing on the actually accident itself. If you want to read about that go to my archive at Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life, and look for the post entitled accident.

My life changing experiencing, as you have already gathered by now, is a car accident. It happened last Septemeber, the date is tattooed into my memory. All I will say is I now suffer PTSD from the accident, so going over the details again and again are certainly not healthy is, it was a bad accident and I was hit by an inexperienced driver.

Unfortunately even though I was travelling at 80km/per hr, I was not taken to a trauma hospital.. me and my big mouth kept on saying something about endo pain, and I was taken to a non trauma hospital. So consequently, now 10 months after the accident we have just found out I have injuries to my shoulder, as well as a cyst to my spinal cord, bulging discs to my neck and back and I've had fairly major hip surgery (which were diagnosed at various stages after the accident).

In the midst of all of this I managed to marry the man of my dreams. I'm sure some people would have been thinking and said to me, (did say to me), to postpone the wedding but there was no way, if I had to hobble down the aisle I would! And I hobbled. I was in pain, but I was the least stressed bride in history, and the happiest. I had overcome so many odds just to get to walking down the aisle and we only knew what half of the injuries were! I just let everyone else stress in the lead up to the wedding and on the day. The video is priceless, I constantly smiled and he cried when he saw me and that was the most beautiful thing in the world.  So just instead of my mum chasing me around with lipstick to touch up my lips, she was chasing me with my walking stick!

And we went on our honeymoon. I contacted the airline and listed as a disability, and my gorgeous new husband, instead of being at all embarrassed, he was so impressed by the first class treatment that we got by Jet star. And I just smiled and looked at my rings, while all the people stared (I wonder why she is in a wheelchair!?). Both there and back we were the first on the plane with a seat in between us so I could put my leg up and we honestly got the best service. There were things that I couldn't do but there were things I could and the fact that I was able to be on my honeymoon with the man of my dreams was the best thing in the world, walking stick and pain killers. And we will go on a second honeymoon when I have healed a bit so the extra special fun part of a honeymoon isn't restricted (if you get my drift). Now I could have taken the diva approach and cancelled the wedding until I got better, which now I know, I will never completely be the same. This would have been crazy, instead I focused my energy on my wedding and my husband and my great support network.

From the first day back of my honeymoon, there were various challenges, and hurdles to overcome. For numerous reasons surgery wasn't directly approved. But I wasn't going to let that beat me down, we joined forces and we got surgery approved and a month after my honeymoon, my lovely husband brought me home in a walking frame! I needed help to get in and out of bed, to shower, to dress, to sit, like an old granny, certainly not like a young bride. My hip was so swollen that mum had to go and buy me these massive size 18 granny undies (I'm only a size 10) and then my hip swelled some more, so I cut them lol (certainly not the sexy post honeymoon underwear I thought I might be able to wear). But we took everything in our stride together, united, we have a great support network, who would come and help out, washing, cleaning, cooking etc. Or even just giving my lovely husband a few minutes time out. Just the look he gives me and when he tells me he loves me, makes it okay, I wipe the tears away and carry on. Sometimes I look at him and say "What if this test result is bad?", and he tells me "We will deal with it like we have dealt with everything else", and we do.

Now anyone who has had extensive surgery knows, that it generally means lots of physio, and I was unable to drive. So once again I called upon my amazing support network of family and friends, some who would drive 40+ minutes, some with very small reflux crying sleepless babies, just to take me and my walking frame, crutches, walking stick to physio on a regular basis because I couldn't drive. Instead of thinking how sad it was that I had surgery, I felt empowered that I had taken control of my life and I was on the mend, slowly but surely and each day I began to see little improvements. Everyday I thanked god (and I'm not an overly religious person) that I wasn't killed in the accident or my injuries weren't worse.

There were tears of pain, and frustration and one of the main emotions I felt, was unfairness... my entire life was now altered, because of the action of one person. To be honest I felt, and still feel robbed. And guilt... guilt at the affect an action that happened to me had upon everyone else's life. That emotion is a hard one to understand for those close to me, but I'm assured its a normal emotion.

As my hip healed we discovered my neck and back injuries and were told that the baby that we wanted to have so badly couldn't even begin to attempt to happen because of the potential risk of surgery. This perhaps was one of the hardest things, and I think still is that I find to deal with. It just seems so unfair, each time someone announces their pregnant, or you look at a baby, my stomach turns over. Unfortunately because of my injuries my weight limit is 5kg, so I can't even hold me nephew, my god daughter, my cousins children, my friends children. And I was always the one, if there was a baby around I had it in hand, giving it lots of cuddles. As my psychologist says, its like we are on the starting blocks and can't even get off. But on the positive I have a great gyno, there is IVF, and positive thoughts will get us there, when we eventually get the go ahead by the doctors. I guess I should briefly explain because of my endo, 30 was the big cut off and I was told to have a baby before that by the gyno, thus why it breaks my heart.

One of the things that perhaps my husband and family started noticing before me, was my anxiety in the car. I would hang onto doors, hand rails etc and my heart would skip a beat every time someone merged. And sleeping, was something that suddenly would become difficult, particularly after something regarding the accident had been brought up. I also started to talk alot (now I used to to do that anyway, its hereditary, so kind of like someone on ADHD). I had PTSD and didn't realise. Thankfully I sought the help of an amazing psychologist, who has helped me and she is constantly amazed at my positive attitude and how well I'm doing, which of course is positive things I need to hear, whilst we overcome, and we will overcome eventually this PTSD.

In the meantime the journey still rolls on. There will be surgeries in the future, we are just doing what we can to prolong them as long as we can. Its now the 9th week that I have had severe neck spasms each day, and we get through those, slowly but surely, once again calling on that support network. And sometimes in the midst of the most severe pain, I think that there is someone out their doing it worse than me and that gets me through the pain. I have learned that to try and get some control, even if the spasms knocks me out for a few hours, when the pain eventually stops and I can have a little sleep, I set my alarm and get up and go for a walk, have my bit of computer time, taking back some control for chronic pain sufferers is essential.

We are waiting on more tests from my shoulder and I can't work for the rest of the year. Remember the accident was already nearly a year ago. And I'm someone who would put my hand up for thousands of things at work, I would come home walk the dog, cook dinner, wash up, do school work, spend time with hubby, I was constantly on the go. Thinking about it, I don't think I had time to step back and appreciate the wonderful and amazing people who are in my life.

Also because I was on my way to work and the doctors have stated I am unfit to work, my pay drops to some crazy statutory rate! Yet another stress that we don't need. I think we have had more stress in our first year of marriage then most people do in a lifetime of marriage. But together and with our awesome support network, we will get through this!

On a final conclusion I would like to offer some advice for family and friends of loved ones who have been involved in a big trauma like a car accident; they won't be the same person again, the direct family and close friends also need some assistance because this massive change has affected them too. Talking about it is very important, just make sure you are in a safe and supportive environment, the last thing a caring family member or friend needs is someone else to hear something that was said and it be interpreted in a bad way and have a negative impact on the injured friend/family member, particularly someone with PTSD,  they can be very effected by these type of comments. Essentially if there is something that you are really concerned about with the person, go and see them, take around a coffee, call, make sure they are ok (its much nicer than hearing of peoples concerns 2nd or 3rd hand, than directly from the person). Just be there for them, they will need you more than they ever have, and asking for help is one of the hardest things to do, particularly if you are usually the one giving it. And one last point, I know that there may be major things going on in your life, but if your friend has just been involved in a big car accident, be mindful of when you talk about your problems, because that person would love to have problems that were so easily fixable again. Be there to offer a hug, a shoulder to cry on, don't tell someone to stop crying, its really important to let it out. And I know its draining being there, but the best thing is you get to go home and forget about it but this is their life. The nicest things that my family and friends have done for me is cried with me at the pain and unjustness I feel. Positive thoughts are so important but acknowledgement of how major and permanent what has happened is, is massive and more important than positive thoughts. Just to come over and see me and bring me a coffee, my husband put our wedding photo up and I cried, just to have something to look at. It's not massive things, its just being there and taking the time, even if its only 30 minutes out of your life to be there for your friend or family, because it will mean so much to them,

For car accident victims out there, I know its hard, and at times it just seems unfair, but it is so very important to focus on the positive things you have in your life, and you will have them. Your family, friends, your support network. Because the sad reality is so many people are killed pointlessly on roads every day, and be so grateful you aren't one of those people. The road along the way will be a bumpy one, there may be decisions made by people or things happen that you aren't happy with, stand up for yourself, have a voice and don't put up with it. Try and stay positive and keep that support network going as much as you can. Don't become the victim, who blames everyone else, workers comp, the other driver etc. It's hard, believe me I know, and even if it means a change of career do it on your own terms. I find having some control over a situation which I am very powerless helps alot.

Tell the people around you that you love them everyday, stop and spend time doing the important things because know matter how much you have a perfect plan, unfortunately life just doesn't work that way.

And a side note if your are a younger or inexperienced driver, please, I beg you to be careful when your driving, one split decision can totally change or destroy someone's life forever.

I would also like to add that I am an asthmatic (I'm talking hospitalisations on numerous occassions), I suffer of endometrosis and a coeliac, oh and I also had an anaphylactic reaction to a spray of imitation gucci perfume (we are talking rushed to hospital aderaline, you wouldn't have made it if you didn't get the ambulance). But I don't define myself by these things, they are what make me who I am and the coeliac I have embraced and only recently started blogging about it, its actually been my saviour. I write about funny stories, about where to buy gluten free food, where to eat, and I put recipes that I have made up, because the gluten free market is really poor. Don't let your injuries or illness define who you are.

I hope this has helped some people. Keep on riding that lovely rollercoaster we call life, cause you never know when a turn or an up or down may happen.

p.s if you want to contact me at all my email is