Dark cloud on a sunny day

I’m looking out onto a sunny day and not feeling the joy this would usually bring. Anyone who knows me would say that I am a naturally happy and positive person. Throughout my life I have suffered from depression although not so much in recent years. I have mostly managed to keep it at bay.

I think my whole life has been one long struggle. Poverty, living with not one but two alcoholic husbands. (yes I know one is unfortunate, two is foolish).

18 years ago I was starting the journey into treatment for stage 3 cancer. I was given the all clear in September 2001 a few days before 19/11. it was still another couple of months before I returned to my part time work. It took time to build back the strength to do more than just the basic requirements of family life. I remember very clearly the words of my Macmillan nurse telling me that a very few people have long term bowel/bladder problems following the treatment I had undergone.

I think that after all these years it is safe to say that I am one of these few people. I wasn’t aware until two years ago when I was so ill that I was literally housebound in agony with no appetite. My cancer treatment had made me prone to kidney infections. I had suffered repeated bouts of flu like symptoms, pain in every part of my body and a shivering fever. What scared me the most was the drastic weight loss and the frequent passing of blood in my urine. After many blood tests, ultra sound scans, CT scan it was decided that the cause of all these symptoms was a severe kidney infection.  A course of strong antibiotics and forcing myself to eat again I began to get better. The next year and a half I have managed to stay reasonably healthy.

The last few weeks I have felt unwell, I was getting those flu like symptoms again. I have been struggling to force myself to eat for a few weeks and the blood in my urine has increased from being once or twice a week to multiple times a day.  I never know when the blood will come but I always know when it does because passing water becomes very painful. (it makes me want to cry). I don’t have thrush or cystitis both very unpleasant but luckily not problems that I have had to deal with for years. However as I sit here now I have a pain in my urethera. I don’t know how to describe it other than a feeling that I have a holly leaf wedged inside me. I have been to see the Dr, I don’t have an infection at the moment. The flu symptoms have subsided. On Friday I had to take a day off work as I had a severe stomach upset which left me on the loo for hours. When not on the loo I was sleeping.

I was trying to force myself to eat to get back my energy but scared to eat because my bowels were playing up. Ever since my cancer treatment I have suffered with bowel problems. I can never be confident that my bowels won’t erupt with little or no notice. It makes being out of the house very dangerous for me. Yes I really chose the right job for me. Being in my car for hours on end delivering parcels. There have been days when I have had to make a mad dash home for the loo. I don’t always make it.  It has been bad enough for all these years but now that I my bladder problems have increased over recent years it is getting me down. Following a recent urodynamics test (which wasn’t very successful) the registrar tells me that my bladder has damage from my radiotherapy back in 2001. Cheers I had worked that out.

This has been my life for so many years now that I don’t remember what it was like to have normal toilet functions. I find it both physically and mentally distressing every time I need the toilet. It must be wonderful not to have any worries or distress when sitting on the toilet. I just don’t remember.

All this added to my recent bout of being unwell has led me into a dark place. I don’t usually allow myself to wallow for long but this time I feel myself being dragged under. I know I have things to do and people to talk to but it all seems as though my life is too much effort. I have my estranged husband calling me with messages saying that he needs my help. I can’t help him I have my own demons to deal with. If it wasn’t for my four sons and their growing families/partnerships I just wouldn’t bother getting up each day. I just want to give in to oblivion. I know I won’t, I have my grandson and another grandchild on the way to think about.  If I am honest though I am fed up with my life.

To make life even better within minutes of posting this I fell. I missed the bottom step of our stairs, flinging myself and my laundry into a heap on the floor. Surprisingly my ankles were fine. However I did have incredible pain in my feet. I later discovered the my left big toe is bruised and I had some painful swelling on the side of my right foot. Having wrapped my foot in a towel and some frozen sweetcorn, the swelling subsided. Now three days later my right foot is only painful when knocked but my left big toe is still painful but I am able to walk on it fairly well now.

I have just been reading about PRD Pelvic Radiation Disease Pelvic Radiation Disease

This is new information for me. I had no idea that what I have been dealing with for the last 17 years is a common condition for those of us who have had radiation treatment for Cervical Cancer. Had I known about this sooner I would have made more noise about it with my GP. Instead I have lived with it believing that nothing could be done.  Over the last couple of years I have had various tests and screenings for my bladder problems but never for my bowel problems.

Yes, I am grateful for the treatment that I had which has enabled me to  continue with my life and watch my sons grow up. However I would certainly say that these apparently not so rare side effects of radiation treatment have affected my quality of life.

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Less is more

Things have been better this week. I have been busy at work and there have been a couple of days when I didn’t need to sleep all afternoon. I have had some very early nights though. 9pm one evening and even 8.30 a few days ago.

I am beginning to feel more like getting things organised and added a further 5 bags of clothes to the clothes bank yesterday. Does anyone need any clothes hangers, I am sure mine have been breeding! How did I ever have so many clothes that I didn’t have enough hangers? No longer working in an office and losing 3 stone in weight has meant that most of the clothes I had are no longer suitable. These days I live in a few pairs of leggings and a couple of pairs of jeans some t-shirts and jumpers. Living the simple life as far as clothes are concerned.

Communications with my husband have turned a corner too. I have not had a nasty message for a week! Instead he is starting to tell me that he misses/loves me and wants me back. He has begun talking about the future being a journey and would I join him? I have had to tell him that a few conversations are not enough, it is going to take time. I need to know that he has stopped drinking (not just for a week or too but for much longer). I need to know that he has given himself the chance to accept support not just from me but from others who can give him more help than I can. I also need him to take on more financial responsibility and not leave 90% on my shoulders.

He is putting the house up for sale, he has had various valuations and decided who he wants to use. He tells me that he won’t be staying in this country. Currently he is talking about Spain, which was our plan 6 months ago. I am not sure I can join him on that journey any more. Maybe if he does go out there and things are harmonious between us I might visit. I don’t think I would move out there now.stock-vector-hanger-black-icon-vector-illustration-155568137

Moving

This moving business is quite exhausting. When I left my husband four weeks ago today, I only took with me what I needed for a few weeks. I didn’t know what the future would hold. How would he react? Would he cope without me?

In the first couple of weeks communication was mostly unpleasant messages sent from him to my phone. I didn’t respond. I returned to the house a few times to collect more of my clothes and other belongings. Still I was not 100% sure whether there could be a way back for us or not. However the house needs to be sold. I need to remove my belongings from the house.

At the beginning of this week I finally had a message from him to say that he loves me and wants me back. 3 weeks it had taken for him to say he misses/loves me. We spoke on the phone the following day. It was a good conversation. He told me that he is working at getting himself sorted out. He hasn’t had a drink for a month (I know this is not accurate). He said he has begun going to AA (which he hates). I told him that I am not ready to go back. One conversation is not enough to convince me that anything would be different. We need more time, more of everything that is positive.

Two days later I spoke to him again but he had reverted to type. He was rude and after a few words hung up on me. Yesterday I had not been home long from my morning working when he called me. In my car I keep a portable tyre pump, he needed it as he had a very flat tyre. I agreed to take it over to him. The tyre was completely flat. We talked briefly. It is funny how he can be civil to my face. I packed more of  my things into my car and gave him a lift. He had arranged to meet someone and was running late. Surprisingly he needed to be dropped off at the pub!

Later when I was back home again he rang requesting a loan as he needed to go out in the evening but would pay me back next day. We had quite a good chat about things I need to collect. I am going over there today and will go up in to the loft to see what is up there. He can’t because of his broken collar and shoulder bones. Apparently the house will go on the market this week. During the conversation we also talked about the future. He now wants a divorce. OK, so now I know where I stand. I have no intention of divorcing him but if that is what he wants that is up to him. He is moving on without me, he is looking for other women to date/have sex with.

All the times he has told me that he loves me and doesn’t want to lose me obviously count for nothing. I did think he might fight a bit harder not to lose me.

I shall remove more of my belongings today, it might take a few more trips as I find it very difficult being in the house that I thought of as home for 5.5yrs. I don’t want or need much, mostly it is clothes and books. Most of which I don’t need to have with me anymore. Most of the clothes I have already brought back here have been sorted and bagged up for charity.

Moving out of the house and moving on with my life seem to be my priorities right now. Apart from working I am sleeping a lot. I think that although on the outside I am coping with all these changes, my body is exhausted by it all.

moving boxes

 

 

 

Homeless

Having returned to my home of the last 5.5 years yesterday. (it has only been 2 weeks since I left), I found that I felt like an intruder. It no longer feels like home. Equally the house where I am living with my mother doesn’t feel like home either. At the moment it is the place where I am living. Perhaps in time that will change. The thought that neither place feel like home had me feeling kind of homeless which makes me a little sad.

They say that home is where the heart is, I am finding this difficult to accept at the moment. I love my mum so why doesn’t this feel like home. I guess it is because I still feel like a visitor. Different routines, different food, different tv/radio choices. We are both trying to keep our normal routines without interfering with each other. We are enjoying each other’s company and being able to do little things for each other. But it isn’t home.

Today I went for a walk around the Town Center, it is only a few minutes walk from the house. I have not lived in this town for 5.5 years but in that time although it is still familiar there have been many changes. Not big changes but changes all the same. I doubt that many people who were still living here during this time would have noticed so many small changes.

One thing I did notice was that in the doorway where the BIG Issue lady always stood there was a homeless man wrapped in blankets sitting in the doorway.  A few doors further along the road was a woman in a sleeping bad with a case of all her belongings next to her. Again a few more doors along was another woman in a sleeping bag huddled against the window frame, her bags of belongings close by. This is not something that was a common sight in the middle of the day in this town.

This took my thoughts in two directions. When my step son was visiting from California over Christmas he commented that he didn’t see many homeless people, perhaps the cold wet weather here prevents people from being homeless. I pointed out to him that the weather would have no impact on whether someone was homeless or not. He just hadn’t been too close to places where they were. I do remember from our visit to California 4 years ago that there the homeless were on street corners shouting about their plight. You couldn’t avoid/miss them. Here maybe our homeless people are less obvious.

My other thought was that even though I don’t feel like I have a home right now I am so lucky to have somewhere to live. I have often said and I do believe, no matter how bad things get there are always others who are worse off.

Marriage

It has been a little over a week since I told my husband that I would be staying with my mother for an undetermined period. I spoke to him today, he told me that he has been looking into his rights regards divorce. He also told me that he has stopped wearing his wedding ring. He was surprised that I am still wearing mine.

He later said that he does want me back but he knows it will have to be on my terms.

I have no idea what the future holds for us right now.

It’s a wrap

Feeling rather weak after my delivery round whilst suffering from a rotten cold, I am beginning to get my appetite back. I fancied making a cheese and beetroot sandwich providing that the bread I bought last week hasn’t gone off.

Surprisingly when I got home my husband was sat in the kitchen watching tv and drinking beer. He made me a cup of tea for which I  am grateful, and said he had bought me some lunch. I was then presented with a plate containing a wrap. I so appreciate the effort but when he told me it was my favourite I was excited to eat a mexican chicken wrap. What I found in front of me was southern fried chicken. We have been together for over 6 years, surely by now he must know that I never ever eat southern fried chicken of any description from any source.

I have lost count of the number of times we have discussed which wraps I like and which I don’t. I would rather he didn’t bother, than get it wrong every time.

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Bitter sweet week

This week has been bitter sweet. We had my step children staying (they are not kids anymore 23 and almost 21). They have been visiting from California. This has been the first time they have actually stayed in our home. I couldn’t be more pleased with the polite mature young people they have become.

Unfortunately my step daughter has been suffering from flu all week. She flew home today leaving us both with colds (I have a bad cold her father has Man flu). Step son seems OK so far though.

Apart from the week being spoilt by her illness it has also been marred by their father not being able to control his alcohol consumption. We have had some long difficult conversations. I am pleased that they have seen for themselves what daily life is like here. I would have preferred that they hadn’t seen this. It would have been good if they could have made some nice memories to take back home with them.

I have made the decision to seek support through Al-anon, my stepdaughter is going to do the same when she gets home.