Archive | June 2015

Running in circles.

For me, the last few months have meant running around like a crazed chicken with it’s had cut off! I still clearly remember when I was a little girl, wishing that I could grow up faster. That growing up would be easier because then I could make my own decisions and do exactly what I wanted to. Little did I know in all my naivety however that the older you get, the more complicated and difficult life becomes. Now that I am a married mother with three demanding teenagers, I wish that I could’ve remained 5 years old…for another 10 years!

My eldest daughter Rochelle, who is now 17 undertook ‘The World Challenge’ at school which has meant raising funds on her with the group that she is travelling to Mongolia and China with own for expenditure purposes. Once there, they will travel around the country on foot and horseback, and even assist in building a school. In the meantime, a ludicrous amount of money has been spent on air tickets, equipment and clothing. To add to the mayhem, there has been a last minute stressful scramble to get Chinese and Mongolian visa’s sorted which has involved a mind numbing amount of red tape to slash out way through. Then there has been the vaccinations. The list of them that she’s had to get is as long as my forearm and I haven’t been able to get them all in the town we live in. This forced me to call in a favor with my husband in the middle of a stressful working day, sending him bad tempered and muttering under his breath into Dubai of all places. It is absolutely no use having a GPS in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE for that matter. Not much forethought goes into building the roads here, with future development in mind. The result is never ending, with very chaotic and confusing roadwork’s constantly on the go as they scramble to correct what was in the first place, obviously a very bad idea! The result is that GPS’s simply don’t work. Instead of hearing ‘keep right and take the next exit in 400m’, you hear ‘recalculating, recalculating, recalculating’ until all you want to do is rip the GPS off the windscreen in front of you and toss it out onto the highway, where hopefully it’ll be crushed by a 20 ton truck. If you don’t know where you’re going, you begin to feel like a mouse stuck in an endless maze after a while. My husband absolutely hates the place and only goes into the city if he really has to. After making countless phone calls, I was now sending him in to find some obscure pharmacy that held the only diphtheria and rabies vaccines to be had for miles around.

Luckily for me however, Rochelle is made of tough stuff and didn’t even flinch while receiving any of her previous injections which is very unlike her younger sister Clarice. Where my youngest got her paralyzing fear of needles from I’m still grappling to comprehend. She has had to have blood drawn once every two months, for very strong anti-acne medication that she’s on. It starts in the early morning already, where she will sink down in the middle of the stairs and give me a very forlorn look and say, ‘Mommy I don’t want to do this…I know it’s going to hurt.’

Telling her it’s not going to hurt and that it’s all in her head doesn’t help. Every single time that needle goes in, she passes out. After having to pick her up off the floor several times with my bad back, I insisted that she lie down while it’s done. Doesn’t help. Her eyes still roll back and her head flops to the side while her traumatized brain struggles to process what is happening. I do sympathize with her, I mean nobody likes the feeling of fainting. It really doesn’t feel good, but no wonder she loves to act…she’s such a drama queen. She’s the first person I’ve ever known that faints at the notion of a needle. Yes, I kid you not…on one occasion she fainted before the needle was even inserted.


My needle phobic child.

The joys of motherhood!!!

This entry was posted on June 17, 2015.

Welcome distractions

Having battled this disease for 11 going on 12 years now, I have become an expert in busying myself or finding distractions in order to quiet my mind and keep my sanity. Anybody who has been diagnosed with cancer knows that it’s only too easy for your mind to start running away with you. You have days when you feel like there is a black cloud that is hanging over your head, and then others when you are so manically busy that you hardly have the energy to think about it. When you’re having your bad days, you tend to think about the maddening details like how your family members would react if you had to die tomorrow. What they would do with your personal belongings. You picture your children going through everything…rifling through your wardrobe until the inevitable happens and one of them buries their nose into a jersey you wore just a few days ago and having a total melt down on the spot at the remaining yet fleeting smell of you. It’s all they have left of you and they cling to it for all they’re worth. What would your funeral be like and who would make the effort to be there? What would your friends and your nearest and dearest say about what you were like as a person and how you lived your life as well as all your achievements. I know this all sounds morbidly depressing, which of course, it is but as a cancer survivor, particularly if you’re a two or three-time survivor, this is what goes through your head on a regular basis. You find yourself crying at what is just your fears manifesting themselves in an overactive imagination. Your mind is spinning so out of control that you literally start to feel dizzy and experience heart palpitations. Some people would call these panic attacks, which I’ve had many of. I’ve had occasions when I’ve had to put both my hands over my mouth to prevent myself from hyperventilating and passing out.

Once those pass however, I’ve found that it’s good to get out of the house, phone a friend and meet them for coffee or engage in some good old retail therapy at your favorite mall. I have a bathroom with no windows, and so it never gets to see natural daylight, but that’s perfect if you want to have a long candlelit bubble bath, while your favorite relaxing music plays away. Even better, you can throw a good book into the mix…as long as you’re not like me and exercise your biblical clumsiness by dropping it into the bath water. Luckily it wasn’t a library book. Surrounding yourself with the people you love and who make you laugh till your sides ache also helps.

When I was going through a particularly bad patch, a welcome distraction arrived in my household in the form of my parents in law. Luckily for me, lovely people who have always been very supportive to me through all of my trials and tribulations. While they were visiting, we decided to go away for a weekend to a lovely beach resort not far from us and spent a glorious time in the sun and surf. I vegetated on the beach and read my book, went for relaxing walks and enjoyed cocktails on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the ocean. Just what the doctor ordered.

I have always been scared of heights and even going on a rollercoaster is enough for me to need a change of underwear and make me scream myself absolutely hoarse. I make a total spectacle of myself in situations like that, but while we were enjoying the sunshine and fresh air my husband came up with the suggestion of going parasailing. I was initially horrified at the idea and was quick to voice my fears and doubts, but then after thinking about it for a while I realized that I had been given two second chances at life…the perfect opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have dared do before. If I could survive cancer three times and go on an expedition to Antarctica in between all that insanity, then I could do this. I knew in that moment that I had to start saying ‘yes’ to life, even if it meant stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that scared me rigid. Standing on the back of the boat, my daughter and I strapped ourselves to the ropes that would tether us to the boat as we went up into the air. My hands shook as I momentarily battled to fasten the clasps. Sitting down with our backs to the rear of the boat, it sped up and then the rope started to loosen as we started to rise up into the air. To my amazement I wasn’t half as scared as I thought I’d be. I embraced the moment and decided to throw all fear aside; it had stood in my way for far too long and now was the time to let go. What a liberating experience and a good lesson in just learning to force yourself toward the edge, close your eyes and just let yourself go with the surefire knowledge that all will fall into place and that you will be a stronger person for it at the end of the day.


Strapping ourselves in for the ride.


Flying high!


This entry was posted on June 9, 2015.