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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Hiatus

I know I have been absent for many months, partly because I had nothing to say. Partly because I didn’t have the time or energy. That doesn’t mean that I hadn’t thought about writing.

I have had a bad last 12 months or so including much ill health (for me) and accidents (my husband). After months of poor health (almost housebound for months), I suddenly started to get better at the end of June. Nobody is more surprised than I am that after finding it very difficult to just walk from one room to the next, I am now averaging a daily step count in excess of 12,000 steps.

In September we jointly took on a part time job delivering parcels. Ha ha I say jointly, but the reality is that I do this 97% on my own. My husband has been out with me a few times but has never managed to stick it out from the beginning to the end of the round. On the few occasions he has attempted to assist me, I have ended up leaving him in a pub whilst I complete the round.

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Step by step

I have been very lax in posting on here since Christmas. In the main part this is due to the new venture I have joined Owl in. He has not worked for coming up to 3 years now and all our reserves have slipped away for one reason or another. I was getting stressed about how we were going to manage without enough money. Whilst looking for work Owl came across an opportunity which he thought might be right up his street. To be honest it is right up many streets, and back again. Many times.

So, back in November Owl took the first steps to joining this new business venture where you can be in business for yourself but not alone. I was to be brutally truthful very very sceptical about the whole thing. The basics of this opportunity are that you deliver catalogues to households in your neighbourhood then a day later go back and collect them. The idea being that the householders will look at these catalogues, decide that they need some of the items shown even though they didn’t previously know that they needed these things. They place an order with you which you send off and when the goods arrive you take them to your new customers and collect their money. You get to keep a percentage of these payments as your profit.

Owl had just got to grips with the concept of this when he was encouraged to start selling online as well. Now this is not something that Owl was keen on himself but I could see the potential and this is when I had my ‘I get it’ moment. So I joined the business along side my husband. He would walk around the streets with his catalogues and I would sit at home (when I wasn’t at work) and sell online through facebook groups. This seemed to be quite easy and I got hooked. I would sit for hours making ads and posting them online, Sometimes I found it difficult to keep track of the number of people interested in what I was selling.

After Christmas we all had the good news that a new catalogue with branded items had been launched. Selling went through the roof for some. More local distributors began selling online and I found it harder to sell locally online. I needed to cast my net further afield. I was a little worried about this at first as it means getting people to pay up front for their purchases, but it is actually very easy. We have had a steady increase in customers through our catalogue drops, we can see the potential in this venture. We have made some really great new friends and see the things they have acheived. We want to be where they are, I have no doubts that it will happen for us.

I had been getting ever more frustrated that Owl, although he gets what he needs to do is just taking so long to do anything that rather than moaning that he wasn’t getting his catalogues out/or picking them up, I began going out there (it’s much better now the weather has improved). Sometimes I manage to get Owl to come with me delivering or picking up. Other times he is too busy doing whatever he is doing so I go alone.

Now I am by no means fit, my walking isn’t what you would call fast. However I am getting out in the fresh air, I am picking up orders, my stamina is gradually building up. Life is looking not exactly bright but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately all the time I am preparing catalogues or out delivering etc it has meant I have less time for selling online.

I am trying to view my online selling as an added bonus to the catalogue selling. One other thing that has come about in the last few days. For several years I had been using my mobile phone as a pedometer and used this daily, each day trying to beat my number of steps from the previous day. I had stopped doing this early last year, as I was finding that more and more often my steps were not recording and also my battery was constantly running down.

Anyway I digress, as often happens. Last week whilst out with the catalogues, I realised that I really ought to be keeping a log of how much walking I am doing. Last weekend on my birthday I reinstalled the App that I had previously installed on my phone. Having mentioned this to a colleague who is trying to lose weight I helped her to install a pedometer App onto her phone (not the same one, as she has a different make of phone) shortly after another colleague asked me to help her set he phone up too. Now both these ladies have dogs so they have regular dog walks to keep their steps going. I don’t have a dog but I do have catalogues. Now I am making every step count.

Yesterday my lovely Statto and the gorgeous Miss Effervecence were visiting, I took them for a walk in our local park before going out to pick up catalogues. This meant that I smashed my average steps of around 7 or 8 thousand and managed a whopping (for me 12000).

Now I am home from work and Owl has gone out delivering catalogues on his own as I wasn’t quite ready to go out. So instead of going out increasing my physical steps I am making steps to increase my online selling.