Sunday, 20 October 2013

It's finally over.

It has been almost eight months since I last updated this blog. Donal and I have broken up. 981 days or 2 years, 8 months and 7 days. Things have not been great for the last 3-6 months. But I was desperate to try and find the happy ending that we both deserved ( or so I thought).

But in the end, it was all too much. I couldn't deal with not having the option of children, and he "didn't want to deal with a baby when he was dying". And add to the mix, a teenager who was determined to go off the rails with a spectacular train crash.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't manage to handle the break-up gracefully. There was too much anger and disappointment at not having the relationship I wanted with the man I love(d). The worst part this whole situation is having to break up because the circumstances aren't right, as opposed to not loving him.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Of rats and sinking ships.

I realise that I haven't posted for almost 6 weeks. A lot has happened. None of it good.

1. OD has had it spelled out by the oncologist- he has metastatic bowel cancer. No more neoadjuvant chemotherapy. No more chance of cure. No more chemo until they find a met or he starts to get sick. He's been told that he will " probably continue to be well for 6 months...but not for 18 months".

2. I'm moving into a one-bedroom next weekend. It all got a bit much, and I need some headspace.

3. OD and I haven't really talked in weeks, maybe months. He's shutting down, internalising..."when I'm reading, I'm not thinking about dying..". He probably feels like I'm the ultimate "fair-weather" girlfriend, although he's been too classy to say it to my face.

4. I feel like a dirty, stinking rat abandoning a sinking ship.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Stepping back to move forward?

The New Year is the traditional time to make resolutions and try and change things for the better. It's a time for evaluating priorities and goals. My only resolution this year is "To Travel More" and "Try Harder to be Happy".

One of the joys and heart-breaks of life is the relationship you have with those around you. In 2012, I had to try and forge a relationship with OD's children. Moving into an established family home was always going to be difficult, but recent events have made things harder. Add to the mix teenage hormones, impending GCSEs, annoying boyfriends..and it was inevitable that the something was going to give.

We had a family holiday in the chalet over the festive period. It was all very pretty, but actually, being cooped up in a chalet with 4 teenagers and their very loud, seemingly ever present friends was not easy. OD's open house policy meant that we had anything between 3-7 extra teens playing computer games every evening, with the usual debris that teenagers bring. It really interrupted  the attempts to have an afternoon nap. No lie-ins either, because it's impossible for four teenagers to get up and head to the ski slopes quietly.

It was a tense time, but we managed not to have any raging arguments. I had three blissfully quiet days to myself, and they arrived back on the 7th at 6pm. Annoying boyfriend was already loitering around outside the house waiting for them ( that boy is creepy). I'd gone all Martha Stewart, and had dinner ready for them. OD was choked up with a French virus, and was off to bed at 8pm. It was SD1's turn to wash up, and as I went off to bed at ten, I gently reminded her.

The next morning, I arrived down to the breakfast bowls and dishes piled around the kitchen including some of last night's dishes. Also, annoying boyfriend was loitering around AGAIN. I was really quite pissed off. I made a sarky comment to SD1, and initially there was silence. A few minutes later, OD asked her a question, and there was an angry torrent about how "you people don't appreciate or notice anything I do......". Later that day, I felt bad, and sent her a message apologising for the argument that morning. She still hasn't responsed.

It's not great living in an environment where everyone is getting on one another's nerves. The teens are challenging and often rude to OD, and it's really not something I am used to. It still annoys me. EVERYTIME. Maybe the whole parenting thing means you have a special tolerance gene. I was very upset after SD1's outburst, and OD told me to "let it wash over you, she's just a teenager..".

But I don't know if I can.

Perhaps it's time to take a step back, move out of the family home, and allow him to have his family week with the kids alone. I certainly enjoyed my time with them better when we saw each other less frequently. And then maybe OD and I can stop arguing about the kids and start concentrating on our relationship.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The damaged child...

I was listening to Radio 4 the other day, and caught bits of a programme about abusers and abused children. I don't remember every detail, but one thing that sticks was that a child who is abused, either verbally or physically has different brain development from one who is cherished and cared for. And that constant shouting can affect brain development.

OD has always held that SD2 is a challenging child because of constant negative feedback from her mother ( i.e. THAT woman). I've always remained fairly neutral on that stance, as I don't have her side of the story. She does like shouting though, as the only contact I have had with her, is hearing her shout at him or the children down the telephone.

SD2, who is 13 has been incredibly difficult over the last month. She has periods of obviously trying to be nice, and then has a complete meltdown. On our transposed Christmas Day, the 23rd, OD has a tradition of one of the children lighting the candle, to "let baby Jesus know that he is welcome in this house". He'd already said that SD3 could light it, when SD2 arrived and started kicking up a fuss, saying that it was her turn. It culminated in her shouting "F*ck this...", and running up to her room. I made the mistake of trying to reason with her, and was subject to a kicking, spitting, screaming child...much like a toddler having a tantrum. Only this "toddler" is taller than I am. After the tantrum ran its course, OD spoke to her, and she did apologise ...but the day was rather spoiled.

She was in a touchy mood when we left for France, because she'd misplaced her coat. Unfortunately, her habit of being messy and throwing things about does lead to things going missing. She does however, have a nasty habit of accusing everyone around her of having stolen/moved her things and lashing out. She'd calmed down by the time we got to France, but again had a hissy fit after she was asked to put her things away. This time, there were threats of.."If you don't let me have what I'll be behaviour will be even worse..&*&**&&^%^&......". OD had to win that power battle, but it was extremely difficult to stand back and not do anything while she was kicking and punching him, and finally ripped the pocket of his favourite jacket. (As an aside, it's my least favourite green...really?!...!).

She's since apologised and has been nicer....but it doesn't strike me as normal behaviour. There has been mention of a behavioural psychologist..but it's rather like living with an active volcano, waiting for it to erupt.

Fun and games!

Friday, 28 December 2012

...miserable, diseased, dirty, ex-mistress....

OD joined a cancer forum, called the Colon Club. It's American, and its seems great.
He showed me his first post...which was honest, and heart-wrenching. I haven't posted a link, because this is a semi-anonymous blog, and one that I haven't shared with him yet. Too much ranting and all that...but extract from his post below....

" In September I was counting my blessings .......... My personal life was looking good with a promising relationship that seemed set for the long term and we were contemplating starting a new family. ..... On October 3rd I contacted a friend who agreed to do a colonoscopy a couple of days later. On the 5th of October, my life came to a crashing halt: Stage 3C cancer at the recto sigmoid junction. I had a laparoscopic anterior resection 10 days later that removed a moderately well differentiated adenocarcinoma T3N2M0 with 5 of 35 (or possibly 25) positive nodes.

I was sort of processing this information intellectually but it took another couple of weeks for the subconscious mind to take proper notice. When it did, its reaction was to curl up and want to die. Literally everything went off the rails for a couple of months........ my young partner's misery was almost more than I could cope with .......

As a former surgeon who had spent years managing patients with metastatic cancer, I probably know more than is good for me about the disease, but for weeks I could only think about those patients who had a bad outcome and not those who had lived life to the full.........feeling much more positive...."

I am very aware that I have not been handling the diagnosis and his reactions particularly well. I'm also very aware and anxious about being a "cancer bore" know the "sad girl, who's partner has cancer...". It's not a great label. The blog is good for ranting...catharsis.

But sometimes, I do feel like one of those people who are so freaking miserable that they can't be around normal people. Like I'll infect the happy people. Like I'm some miserable, diseased, dirty ex-mistress.

I'm not an ex-mistress.....but Meredith Grey's words from Grey's Anatomy sum it up pretty much.

This is also an apology to those of you, who I have been inflicting my rants and moans and whines on...I could consider a New Year's resolution of not being so ranty...but I'm not sure how long that would last!

(Two posts in one day...can you tell I'm work avoiding..?!)

Life's too short..?

The last two weeks have been super busy. OD drove out to France, and spent a couple of days there with his slightly batty, but remarkably kind Kiwi pal. I had lovely friends up to visit from Edinburgh- the weather in Manchester, for once, was not dreadful, and we did some National Trusting, overeating and lots of catching up.

The following weekend was also busy with the dreaded literature review. It's a requirement of anal Uni of Manc to submit a Lit Review, to "enhance understanding of the PhD thesis". Mine, was read, in fine detail, by not one..but three supervisors. Who made LOTS of comments...some of them were...." Didn't you read my marvelous paper on x, y and z...I know everyone else says, a but..I think it's b....". Thus, the build up to Christmas was filled with corrections. If they are so anal about a 30 page piece of work...I can't imagine what they are going to be like with the final thesis!

I also decided to opt out of an additional exam I'd planned to take in March. The stress of trying to revise, while doing the science thing and coping ( or the case may be) with the issues around OD and his disease were taking my toll. After I cried in front of one of my bosses...I decided enough was enough. I needed to remove a stressor..and the exam was the most logical one. I'll probably regret it when I'm trying to finish writing a thesis and revising for the exam in three years time..but heck...I might have had a career change then anyway!

OD and I have had several other arguments and heart to hearts. I got cross, because I thought he needed to pull his act together, and start to function. I made him cry..again. As he says, unless you're in the cancer club ( the one , no one wants to join..), you don't really get it.

Christmas itself was not a complete blow out, but was fairly miserable for both of us. He had his infusion on Christmas Eve, the first cannula blew, and he had to have multiple stab wounds to his forearm, to stop the oxaliplatin from accumulating. Then, he had to have the infusion in the other arm. Which meant, that he didn't have time to buy presents for his PA and his sister. Yours truly then, had to do the rush to John Lewis at 4pm and pick out suitable gifts things. I HATE LAST MINUTE shopping. We then had to endure ( enjoy for him) a catch up with some of his college friends.

I could blame tiredness, or just general pissed offness at the world, but OD's disorganisation had also extended into forgetting to buy me a Christmas card. It was a stupid mistake on his part, and I over-reacted slightly, and so did like most of these fights, it descended into 48 hours of coolness and sniping. He'd also recently told me that he'd restart smoking soon after the operation. He hadn't told me...but I'd suspected it.

No excuses, I should have picked the battle better...but I guess we've made up now.

Sometimes it's hard to believe that only last year, we had a fabulous Christmas together, and we were both looking forward to 2012. Now, I can't really see a way of us having a long-term future. It's like the elephant in the room..and the elephant has left a great big pile of poo...

Much like my first attempt at the Mary Berry Yule Log...

Luckily..this was the trial run before the actual Christmas dinner.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and best wishes for 2013.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Last One of the Millenium

It's a special day today. 12.12.12.
Unfortunately, the only thing I did to mark it, was to call OD. He likes palindromes and such like.

OD is doing the killer drive to France to deposit the car there. We're flying out on the 27th of December, but a week's car hire would have cost the same as the tickets. I was a little worried about him doing the monster drive alone, but one of his nice millionaire friends has very kindly offered to go with him. 15 hours of boring driving....the dude is a true friend.

Which means I'm in the office late, trying to finish a horrid report before the weekend. I'm having my first visitors from Edinburgh, which is very exciting. The house is looking reasonably festive, as we have the tree up. There was some moaning from OD, as I'd asked him not to get a monster like last year's tree. This one is "dainty"..but it's still bigger than me!

I think it looks gorgeous and smells gloriously "piney". And what's even better, is that I managed to convince the girls not to cover the tree in tinsel. Yes..we have a "grown up" Christmas tree.

 Last year, to mark my first Christmas with OD, I'd painted him a bauble. I was going to take the girls this year, but the local pottery shop burnt down! Oh laid plans!.

( Christmas 2011's bauble...Eldest daughter obviously remembered that it was hand-painted and found somewhere prominent and safe for it...awww!)