I was an asshole as an addict…ย 

I had a friend turn to me this morning who has been really struggling withtrying to break free from substance abuse. I don’t often share my story with those who aren’t in my “inner circle” and even then I am still quite closed off about that part of my life. Why? Because I still feel ashamed for having been there, for the people I hurt, the relationships I destroyed and the lack of understanding I had for those around me, how my attitude was impacting on them. In a nutshell, I didn’t give a fuck about anyone, other than myself. Did I know this atthe time? No! I felt I was still a decent human being with enough cop on to hold my shit together. And publicly I did, with panache, it was those closest to me who suffered. I was the moodiest thing I had ever encountered, how I felt depended (in my eyes) on everyone else’s behaviour around me. If something went wrong? It was NEVER my fault, it was always someone else who had done the thing t outrigger a reaction to get under my skin? It didn’t take much, dirty dishes left around. Laundry piling up. Something as simple as the cap being left off the toothpaste. I was a persnickety headcase and I’m sure at times my loved ones just wanted to catch me and shake me or lock me into a room until the poison ran out of my body so I could be human again. So I could act with empathy and not be hurting those I love.

It’s only in getting clean that I realised the reasons why I did these things… I was hurting immensely which led to the addiction in the first place, as a crutch to help me cope with all the feelings I didn’t want to feel, which is usually the case for the majority that become addicted… they are trying to block out some emotional pain that is pretty much insufferable to deal with while they are sober. The drug or substance doesn’t do anything to fix the problem but it sure helps that switch go off that makes you care a hell of a lot less, and as you slide Dow that slippery slope, more problems arise and rather than addressing them we just continue to take and take to dull the emotions we are feeling and unable to process…

Wevaerevonly recently becoming a nation of “emotionally tolerant”, what I mean by this is that we are allowing people to be expressive in not being ok, not coping, for reaching out and asking for help and rather than ridicule them for weakness, we give them the ultimate pat on the back and encouragement for being so braved as to take the steps towards better mental wellbeing. As a nationality we are slowly realising that by pretending big boys don’t cry and women get hysterical for the simplest reasons. Is quite simply, utter bollox. There is so much pressure to perform on people in today’s society, to be well, to get that education that leads to a successful career, to raise the family, pay the bills, keep a roof over their heads, sort transport, be a good friend/spouse/partner. There is too much emphasis on our younger generation to be perfect. We see this in young girls trying to be asthetically pleasing, we have 12 year olds with a face full of make up so professionally done by themselves they could easily pass for 25 and if they don’t have their countour or eyeliner “on fleek” they are banished to the uncool table. Same with young boys now, striving for asthetic perfection. And I think back to my time as their generation and I realise that I dressed how I wanted, to please nobody but myself, I was that grunge/goth and make-up, well that didn’t enter my vocabulary until my twenties… but I carried a multitude of baggage that was crippling me emotionally and I imagine if I had to feel the need to dress or wear make up to fit in I probably would’ve cracked a lot sooner in my earlier years. What I’m realising is that we are creating a breeding ground for all of these amazing kids to grow up feeling like underachievers, because we are setting an impossible precedent already for them when they are so young…

If we don’t nurture them at this early stage they are going to fell the pain that we already as adults are trying to unburden ourselves from. We are creating a future of people who are going to find the need to take some substance be it an antidepressant or illegal street drug to “fix” how they are feeling, so they can feel worthy to exist. All the while not realising that they already ARE good enough, and that without all this pressure to conform maybe they wouldn’t feel the necessity to need that “band-aid substance” to get them through each day. We are teaching them that it’s not ok to feel… but in order for things to improve and for emotional stability we need to be allowing our youth and adults alike the freedom of expression of emotions without any stigma attached to that. That is where the healing begins…

In the substance abuse field, professionals generally agree that a person stops growing emotionally at the point that they become dependent upon drugs or alcohol. Basically, we revert back to the chronological age we were when we began using. So if your began using at (say) age 13 … emotionally, that’s just where you are emotionally when you clean because you learned any coping skills beyond this point. It makes sense. When we turn to drugs to cope with life, we stop learning healthy, mature ways of coping. Drugs are our “quick fix” – and anything else takes effort, time, patience and delayed gratification. So, when we get clean years later, we are ill-equipped to deal with difficult emotions or any challenge in our lives. Life often becomes a series of dramas or mini-crisises… because everything is so overwhelming.

On top of it, as addicts, we are often accustomed to a bit (or a lot!) of insanity. That becomes ‘normal’ to us. It makes us feel alive. So we, in essence, either seek that out when we get into recovery – or we create it. It’s mostly subconcious, we don’t even see what we’re doing to create the drama. 
In the past, when we were using, drama was also an excuse to use more. Sometimes, especially when very new in recovery, we (consciously or subconsciously) create the turmoil as a possible “excuse” to return to using. 
Another issue… basically, as addicts, we are self-centered folks. Our primary concern is ourselves and maintaining our drug use. The concerns and needs of others is secondary. We ignore how much we are hurting those who care about us, and we justify that we are only hurting ourselves. Lots of mind games, without even realizing it. 
And so, put us in a relationship, and we don’t know HOW to balance both our needs and those of another person. We tend to go to extremes… problems are ALL yours or ALL mine; black or white… no gray. And if we don’t get our way, we react immaturely. 
We don’t just automatically become mature, responsible adults when we stop the drugs. There’s nothing “automatic” about it. We have to learn HOW to do these things that we should have learned along the way. It takes a lot of time, dedication and support from loved ones who are willing to put up with the struggle beside you while you are learning to heal yourself.

To my friend and anyone else who is on this arduous journey, I do understand how you feel. But it was only in getting clean and looking back that I see just how I was as a person back then. It wasn’t an easy feat to accomplish and I pushed many people away, hurt so many through my venom and actions and now I have to learn to live with that regret, and I do every day try make up for the shitty person I was by making amends in other ways. But in truth, while you are still using that substance to mask those feelings you’re never going to experience who you truly could be. 

To my friend who took the incredibly brave decision this morning to go to rehab, I am so immensely proud of you, and yes you are right, you have fucked up, so have I. Every one of us have at some point. But in no way does that make you a failure. You cannot undo the hurt you have caused but you can find ways to show those you have hurt how truly sorry you are for what you’ve put them through when you come out the other side. Get ready to say goodbye to the person you hate, the one you’ve been feeding into for the past few years, because after all of this hard work that lies ahead of you, you’re going to absolutely love the new you once they emerge from the shadows. You’ve only got everything to fight for…

For anyone in addiction or living with someone in addiction, realise this is not who they are or who they are meant to be, and they anger more often than not is stemming from a place of complete unhappiness within themselves and an inability to cope I’m not talking about the individual who smokes a few joints or has a few drinks. Just be present, support and offer encouragement as much as you can, but look after yourself too. I’m talking about the ones who literally cannot function throughout a day without some substance to help them along the way. I believe there’s an addictive personality in every one of us, be it from chocolate, computer games, social media, coffee, we all ave something. But it’s when that something is hurting you and those you love, it’s time to address it and begin the healing. It’s never too late.

Titch

๐Ÿ’™

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Who Are We…?

In the essence of trying to understand oneself, do we actually ever get to understand ourselves or is it an impenetrable task that takes us on a rollercoaster of emotion, expectations and failures that make us often question the point of life when things don’t quite pan out like your optimism had planned for…?

I think so, that’s why I became a realist… not a pessimist. But open enough to understand that this life is never perfect, nothing about it ever is. So what makes it worth it? Evolving into a state of being where you realise that life is not about the big massive gestures that momentarily keep us satisfied until the feeling wears off leaving us craving another jewel of excitement. I have come to discover through a series of unfortunate events, that we often don’t appreciate the simple things and moments in our lives, yet these are the things that really matter. It’s only when we face a permanent fear of losing these simplicities that we didn’t really give a second though to before, that we realise that more than anything we want to be here to experience them again. The true meaning of our existence emerges and we end up being awoken to just how much we took things and people in our lives for granted. 

The old cliche rings very true. You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone! It’s the cruellest joke that we are not born with this engrained in us; but often only learning it as we near the end circle of our lives where we realise our days are numbered and that we want to make the most of those all important things. Filled with regret we often reminisce and over analyse for the amount of time that we wasted, taking for granted that tomorrow is a new day and that eventually those days are numbered… then begins the frantic scramble to regain our wasted youth, moments and opportunities. 

If I were to give you one thing in this life it would be to appreciate those little moments before you end up filled with a life full of regrets. Here I am talking like a ould sage… but it was only at a point when I was told it was all going to be gone, and I wouldn’t live to see, experience or participate in life anymore, only then did I want it more than anything in this life… so when yer Mammies are telling you not to take anything in this life for granted, take it on board! The best things can be lost forever in an instant that was completely unexpected leaving us with a gaping wound that we need to find a way to stitch up over time. All those horrible things you said can never be taken back, all of those painful memories you caused cannot be changed and lets face it we all do it. We all get pissed of and say things we don’t necessarily mean in the heat of the moment. But for a moment just imagine this was the last conversation you had with a loved one and then never seeing them again to be able to apologise or make it right. I live by a couple of mottos, be kind always and everything for a reason.

Nobody knows the internal battle that anyone is fighting. So, it’s simple. Don’t be an asshole. If we all spent a little more time supporting those that are finding things a little difficult oh what a place we would live in… instead there is still a judgemental disposition engrained in our society where some of us struggle to accept differences… instead of relishing the fact that it is these differences that offer us a variety of wonderful individuals with an abundance of talents to offer.

There is so much I would love to change in this life it I could turn back the clock but yet when I think this I often wonder if I changed any of it would it lead me to where I am now, as painful a journey as it has been, I have reached a place where I have discovered parts of me I never realised existed… and found a love I no longer believed to be real… I’m happy, although I still have my odd day of meh-ness but who doesn’t?!

Nothing in this life is promised. Nothing lasts forever. But to be aware of these things should make your relish and value the now all the more. Tell those who are in your world wha they mean to you. Be a fucking goof ball! Dance around the kitchen like a loon while getting the chores done. Sing like nobody is listening. Hug like it’s the last time. Smile like it’s contagious. Hope like it’s going out of fashion. Forgive like it’s the answer. Forget what anyone else thinks, they aren’t the ones waking up to your existence trying to muddle through it. We all have our own battles, we all fight them in our own way but we ALL need a helping hand every now and then. Some more than others and that’s ok too! 

To all of the people in my life who have made it easier, who have carried the load with me, who are no longer in my life to squeeze and share with… all of you who have never given up on me… I wouldn’t be here without your love and belief in me. You’re all something special deserve so much more than I can ever repay. 

Do we ever truly understand ourselves? No, I don’t think we do, I think we are on a constant journey of self discovery learning about all the new sparkly things we can do and even discovering some traits we may absolutely despise about ourselves… but I think on this journey it’s the people we encounter that help us learn more about ourselves than we could ever learn by ourselves… this is why it’s important to keep an open mind and respect one another’s differences, we are all teachers…

If you were gone tomorrow, what do you think people would say about the person you were?

Leave your mark. 

Titch

๐Ÿ’™

Mikey, 2 years you legend, thanks for all the favours…

Hey Mikey,
It’s been a while! You’re still missed as much as you were to begin with, I don’t think that will ever change. Although the sadness isn’t as bad as it once was, it’s still there when we remember the fun times we can no longer share with you in a the ways we want to… oh where do I start…
Things have been interesting to say the least… we had to move house again, but that’s not the end of the world, we’re grateful to have a roof over our heads and the kids have made good friends here as have I! So I decided to shake things up in January, and turned everything around for the better (I hope), I was sick of being sick and found a good guy willing to help me out. When I think of all the time wasted being ill it really makes me angry that we missed out on so much even though we still tried. Long story short I copped on and changed to vegan and decided cannabis oil would be my meds from now on. By April a few months on the results medically were coming back better than ever, for the first time in a long time I felt human and could properly start enjoying life again rather than going through the motions. Thankfully this has lasted! Although I know I’ve been asking you to pull many strings for myself and the kids and I feel you’re working your magic since you’ve left, as no matter how bad things have become, it’s always turbulent for a while but it always seems to balance out in the end!
My body got so well that now I’m expecting again… a wee brother or sister for the chaps, I expected they would be annoyed but they weren’t, but it’s a deal breaker if it’s a girl they tell me. Although Cor is having second thoughts on this and tells me now it would be somewhat acceptable to have another female in his midst! Saoirse is also really happy about it! Telling me she doesn’t care that she’s still going to call it her brother or sister. She’s a proper little warrior same as the boys… taking everything in stride just like you! I’ve got the honorary title of “step-Mam” amongst her friends. That gives me a little buzz because in a way she’s always felt like one of mine and this is how she will always be treated no matter how old she gets! She’s not to keen on school, nor is Fionn, Cor doesn’t mind it! She’s also tried out her makeup skill on Cor, he was faaaabulous daaaah-ling , he was delighted with himself! Think we could have a performer in our midst. She’s turning into a stunning young woman although when she dresses up I think noooo! I still remember you as that two year old that couldn’t say “sausage” properly! Time has gone so fast.
 I’ve been asking you to help me out a lot with this pregnancy too, and I know you have been… because for some reason my body is managing what should be impossible. But you always told me that it would. So thank you for staying with us.
The kids have been amazing, Fluff is hitting the tweens now we’ve been calling them! He can be testing at times when he gets the little burst of hormones or the little burst of “ugh Mam, you’re so uncool…” but I know that’s par for the course, my usual response is “I love you too babe!” I can tell this peeves him off, but we are picking our battles. Deep down he always will be a Daddy’s boy but he is also a Mammy’s boy and does and awful lot to help me out… he’s very intuitive and sensitive to what’s going on around him, so I know when he’s asking if everything is ok, he’s picking up on a worry or a change in atmosphere. But the one good that’s come from all of this is the brute force honesty in emotions, and he will now sit down and pour his little heart out no matter what it is and say how he’s feeling. I know he’s missing you terribly still. But he copes with this by reminiscing over the fun times! He has his little tribute to you in his room, a photo of you holding him on the beach when he was a baby. He says goodnight to you before bedtime every night. We’ve a photo of you on the landing hall table too… I’ve noticed he touches this every time he passes it, for comfort or to bring him luck or strength I don’t know, but he’s got his rituals that help him feel closer to you. I know as he gets older and we are missing you for the big events, he will always find a way to include your memory. This is important to him and to all of us, that you’re still part of this family no matter where you are…
Cormac is just absolute gas, the clown that you were, he’s become. His goal is to make everyone smile and be happy and if he accomplishes that then it’s been a good day. He hates to see anyone sad or hurt. He’s a real sticking plaster and worries a lot about me going like you did but this is something he needs less assurance of as time goes on. As he sees me become stronger I think his faith is being restored a little. He reminds me of you so much, the eyes, the smile, the humour, the sensitivity… he was devastated to discover the tooth fairy wasn’t real this year.. silly mammy forgot two nights in a row to put the money under the pillow! We had meltdowns of mammoth proportions. He very much believes in magic. He is convinced Santa is very ready because there is no way I could’ve been in hospital that same Christmas you had died and Santa still brought all those presents! I’m so grateful to the group of parents that got together to do this for me at a time I couldn’t, you kept the magic going for my chaps when the light was pretty much extinguished. 

People have been amazing. We have some really top notch people in our life who I call family and I would have been lost without them these past two years. My gran Nancy passed away recently… it made me think of all the times Joe used to carry you from the car up the hill into her house on his back for a cup of tea and the two of you giving it good ould banter, she loved you to bits. I never forget the year she bought you socks for Christmas same as she did for all the men, but this was a privilege because no partner got socks other than her son in laws! She was mortified when the lads told her you didn’t have any feet to put them on! But you broke your arse laughing when I told you and jeered her over it afterwards, I think it was cigarettes you ended up with! But she gave as good as she got, I always loved seeing you two together and I like to think you’re up there having the craic since… that helps me deal a little better with the fact you’re both gone…
Mikey I could go on for days, most importantly we love you to bits, always have and always will. You’ve left a massive hole that we try to fill with the epic memories you’ve left behind although we know this is impossible. Thank you for being in our lives and leaving the 3 wonderful gifts you have, as long as they live on you’ll never be gone. They all remind me of you in so many different ways but they all have your good heart.
I hope you got the messages they sent up to you this evening! We’ll chat soon babe, thank you for helping us heal through being such a big presence in all of our lives.

Love you to the moon and back always,

Titccccchhhyy and the Sproglets ๐Ÿ’™


Google is not your friend… 12 weeks and counting…

Morning sickness… check. Hormones running riot… check. Tired as feck… yup. But you know what it’s not all that bad! So we had a couple of scans this week myself and the Peanut, it all went really well, could see the little one dancing and waving on the screen. Yesterday I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and the emotional wreck I was I had a little cry with overwhelming happiness. As much as I am grateful I am pregnant, I get angry that I have all of these underlying issues that require so much monitoring throughout. I have mild pulmonary hypertension, one lung due to one being removed, and pulmonary artresia. So the ould heart and lung aren’t what they are cracked up to be. I’m one in one billion I’m told with this pregnancy… but I really would rather not be. Why? Because it’s scary as hell…

I’ve spoken to all the specialists who are monitoring me through 4 hospitals at the moment every few weeks. 3 in Dublin and our local hospital in Wexford. I have been told that this pregnancy is high risk, but on evaluation I was advised I was “safe enough” to proceed. I was really happy with that outcome, but wishing the 9 months were up to avoid all the drama in between. I have asked so many questions the most pressing one was “will this kill me?”, I am given various degrees of answers, some positive enough and others with mixed views and trepidation. The reality is my illnesses aren’t common, the are unusual and the management of them is basically guess work. So I’m getting a lot of, we will see how things go…

So I decided feck it I’m gonna google a bit to see what’s what (worst idea ever), increased morbidity due to pulmonary hypertension. Some women die during the pregnancy some shortly after the delivery, some survived, some go into right heart failure and I’m left there gobsmacked thinking what the actual fuck… am I mad? The one lung in itself I know will be tough and I will need more support as the weeks go by.  Thankfully for 12 weeks I am doing really well in terms of breathing etc. All positive signs to begin with, although I’m told as the blood volume increase with pregnancy it’ll get more difficult. 

I did a lot of reading around my illnesses these past few days, really I shou,don’t have survived long after being born, and most certainly not without intervention of some kind to address my cardiac issues although they never spotted these until I was 23 when they als spotted the lung disease… so I’m thinking if I have survived jammily until now, maybe, just maybe, I can do this too. 

I was given blood thinners to inject every day. Supposed to inject into my stomach but I get paranoid wit the needle so I jab my thigh instead! I feel good and I follow a plant based diet as much as I can these days, although meal prep has become a lot more difficult so I’m mostly snacking on sandwiches. The smells of most things turn my stomach! I’m peeing a lot more, having difficulty sleeping. I’m worse than Goldilocks with too hot and too cold but I feel well, thankfully, other than the obligatory nausea!

I wonder hoลต I managed two previous pregnancies without ever knowing I had anything wrong… the slight breathlessness on the eldest and the youngest although a few fainting spells on himself too! Two VD’s, normal deliveries that I shouldn’t have had given my health issues but none the less it all went fine and I got on with it, back to normal within a few days, besides the John Wayne walk having felt like I’d been torn in two! 

This time round I’m nervous, for myself and for the Peanut, I’m a big believer in positive karma and energy, I hope that by remaining positive, it will fuel good things happening. In my mind I haven’t accepted that so many things can go wrong because to do this, it will set off a domino effect where every ache, pain or twinge will have me a nervous wreck. So for now I’m just going to go with the flow, realise that google is not my friend for anything in relation to my health issues and pregnancy and put my trust in the people managing my care. I know they’ll do everything possible to ensure both of us are as safe as possible throughout. I hope my body copes and can provide the wee one with what it needs for the next few months.

I’m so grateful to my two handsome chappies for being so good through all of this and to all my family and friends offering me support. For now, we’ll take each day as it comes and stay hopeful that my body keeps pulling off these massive feats and confusing the docs because it’s not the norm. But I always wanted to be different, obviously not in such an extreme manner…

After losing one of the most important women in my life this week, my Gran, I have been finding it difficult to process everything… but I know you’re up there pulling some strings for me like you always did down here ๐Ÿ’™

Here’s to a healthy, Google free few months and hopefully an intact mother and peanut by the end of it all. Maybe I might stop scaring the bejesus out of myself by considering the worst scenarios and let the good vibes flow ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lotsa love,

Titch

10 weeks, morning sickness, one lung and laziness…

So! Where do I start, first of all yayness, 10 weeks in and still feeling pretty much alright. Wednesday was our first visit to the Maternity Hospital, Holles Street in Dublin, it was a really family affair! The boys tagged along too to check it out. They’re now convinced this baby will be a “Dub Head” but I’m sure we’ll bring the Wexican out in them! 

Scan showed a good strong heartbeat ticking away on the screen, and although all these positives are limiting our spirits we are still very much aware that any number of things could go wrong, but very hopeful that it won’t! We met with the fantastic Prof. Higgins on our visit where she went through my extensive medical history in detail, working out exact specifics for each medical event. The list went on so much she filled the page and was still looking for more space! Truth be told, my body is a bit of a mystery. One lung only ever really worked Only I wasn’t aware of this until I turned 23. I was treated for asthma my whole life, due to shortness of breath. The pulmonary artery to my right lung never developed while I was in the womb. A CT by Crumlin Childrens Hospital when I was 12 years showed up an abnormality in that my right lung was smaller than it should be. No further testing was done, I was told I had one and a half lungs and that it wouldn’t affect me in later life and that was that, back home and back on the inhaler. I went on to have two pregnancies and was breathless through both, was passing out on my second. But was told it was all in my head. Boy were they wrong! 

At 23 after a mini marathon for charity a couple of days later I began coughing up blood, suddenly I couldn’t breath properly, my mother rushed me to Wexford Hospital where they diagnosed respiratory distress, put in a chest shunt to relieve the fluid building uo in my lung that was literally making me drown in my own fluids. A day later I was told I would require permanent oxygen from now on and was put on some pain relief to ease the difficulty of breathing. As I was sitting on the bed leaning over on the hospital bedside table with a pillow underneath me and my two legs bouncing up and down to take my mind off the pain of each breath I became terrified that this was now my life. I didn’t want it. And they couldn’t give me any answers. Many bouts of pneumonia and infections and respiratory distress later and chronic pain that left me incapacitated on most days. A palliative care script was then introduced where the level of meds and relief is what is giving to someone who is dying. I kept asking if I was dying and the same answer was “your illness is extremely rare and we just don’t know what we are dealing with or how to best proceed. Nearly 4 years of this excruciating experience. Days literally felt like years and I have lost count of the amount of times I wished myself dead to have it done.

Jigs and reels, I eventually had my right lung removed in 2014 and this improved for a while until I caught another bout of pneumonia and ended up back on oxygen. Everything changed in January when I decided to switch from pharma to cannabis oil and from conventional food to a plant based diet.

Then I discovered a few weeks back I was pregnant for the third time. I was baffled and the doctor was baffled. So here I am at 29 with one lung trying to navigate pregnancy as best I can. What can I tel you about it? The nausea is the hardest part, the constant feeling of needing to puke. But it’s also a reassuring sign in a way. I notice that breathing is getting a little more difficult on uphill and long distance but I know that will be something of a struggle over the next few months as my one lung even though it’s operating at 100% it can still only do 50% of the work. This is where good old oxygen comes in, but not necessary just yet, thankfully! My heart pounds quite a bit, especially if I sit up to fast or bend over to pick something up, although I’m assured this is normal as the level of blood increases in your body during pregnancy. As a result of having my lung removed I have post pnemectomy syndrome where my windpipe and heart have completely shifted over to fill the empty space. My heart is now located near my right armpit and it has turned itself back to front. But that’s fine, it won’t kill me! Just a little extra pressure. 

I am so tired, I mean like a feel on the cusp of sleep the majority of the day, but for some reason I cannot sleep properly. My bump is starting to show a bit, I have been walking around with my jeans unbuttoned but with long enough tops to cover it… I can’t get away with that anymore so I’ve graduated to long dresses and I intend to invest in some maternity pants once I get the madness of back to school for my chappies out of the way! My boobs are sore all the time… the youngest gave me a hug the other evening and bumped his head off my right boob, my instinct was to kill, but instead I said my bloody boob! He was in stitches for ages. Since the lung removal my right breast is always sore due to nerve damage, coupled with the hormones causing pain there are days I want to rip it clean off my body. But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror looking a bit buxom and I feel a little pleased that I now have boobs again after a long battle of not with my underweight issue. It’s not all bad….

My hormones are challenging, there’s days I’m angry but to myself, little things irritate me, not every day. I cry over anything touchy-feely, especially feel good things, although I fell apart when Mufasa died in the Lion King the other day… but it’s not all bad it balances out most of the time! I find myself happy a lot more which is a relief. I haven’t become an anxious mess like I thought I would, worrying about everything that could go wrong.

My bladder has resized itself and has decided now it needs to double and some days triple the amount of toilet visits per day… car journeys are tough, between nausea and seatbelt woes on boobs I try and avoid venturing too far. I have resigned myself to the fact of being a lazy moo for the next few months. I spend most of my time at home lying down, I was informed this is better for the baby, apparently it helps blood flow to the placenta bringing oxygen a little easier.

I can’t tolerate the smell of many things at the moment without gagging. If I cook, I most certainly won’t eat for a long time after. So I’m living on healthy enough throw together meals that don’t require much cooking effort. The kids have been awesome, I don’t give them enough credit but they are being so good and patient with all of this, I would be lost without them.

It was decided on Wednesday I have to inject myself every day with heparin it the stomach. This is to thin the blood to prevent a clot. I wasn’t sure about using this as I was concerned about how it would affect the fetus but I was assured it doesn’t pass through the placenta. A frank chat with the Prof and she ran through all the possibilities. So far it’s great I’ve gotten to ten weeks she said, the goal now is to get me to twenty, the pregnancy although high risk won’t kill me because they will be monitoring everything closely. She said ideally they will let me go as far as my body can handle it so if I can get past thirty five weeks they will look at induction then to prevent further strain on my body. But they don’t want to deliver any earlier than necessary. She said she cannot promise that it will all go smoothly and that we will have a baby by the end of it because this is rare and they are working off a very small group of women who have been in this position. I am the first one in Ireland they have dealt with. They promised the best possible care no matter what happens and that they will do everything they can along with the Mater Hospital and St Vincents. I’ve chosen to stop taking my cannabis oil during pregnancy to ensure that the baby has the best chance possible without having to work out any toxins, hence my trepadation even about the blood thinner…

I have had to start eating meat again for extra protein and iron but I don’t mind that so much, I will get back on track fingers crossed once peanut is born.

So… fingers crossed that it all goes well, although unplanned it was a happy blooper that we want very much. We are aware of the risks but also aware that it’s worth proceeding with. Whatever the outcome. We hope for a happy healthy baby by the end of it all, but no matter what, this little one is loved before it ever makes its entrance and has brought us all a new feeling of hope and positivity.

To my family, I’m sorry for being such a lazy cow, it’s only temporary I promise! Here’s to the next few months of trials and tribulations. Sorry for boring you but I will be posting regularly. Back up to Holles St and St Vincent’s in two weeks, in the meantime I’m just gonna keep grazing my way through… I’m craving cinnamon rolls…

Well… that escalated quickly…

So there I was on a Tuesday not able to drag my arse out of the bed, when I did I felt absolutely desperate. Hungover without the hangover… I was so tired I moved down to the living room couch, told the boy’s to stick on a movie and we’d watch it together, we’d have a lazy day. I kept dosing off and waking up and kept thinking fuck it, this is the beginning of an infection and I’m gonna be so sick… next thing the chap opened up a pack of cheese and onion crisps and the fastest I had moved all week I had to leg it upstairs to puke… Same thing Wednesday another lazy day, unable to stomach anything, sleepy, grumpy and getting worried… i began to lump extra fruits and veg into myself to try and feed my body with good stuff to fight what I thought was oncoming bad stuff…. Thursday came and it was an absolute pukefest from the moment I got up. A niggling feeling crept at me… period was late… could it be? 

Then I thought to myself “would ya ever fuck off, you pregnant, after the crap your bodies been through?! There’s more chance of you growing back a second lung…” all the same I couldn’t keep my eyes opened. The smell of everything was making me nauseous and I thought damn it I need to just make sure so off to the chemist, test was bought. Did it. Two blue lines. It was positive. I turned and puked out of shock. What the actual fuck. How? Well I knew how but the bigger how was how is my body going to cope with this?!

I rang my best friend, a woman I know I could trust with my life, and as I went on a snot fuelled rampage where I literally could hardly speak for sobbing it was all systems go with her supporting me to get the information I needed, to find out if this was something that was viable or not. If it wasn’t, then how would I go about addressing it. Another bestie contacted that evening offering support no matter what I needed and I felt totally overwhelmed but was given a lot of comfort to know I had someone to hold my hand if it came to the worst.

As most of you will know I’ve suffered lung disease, thankfully now, miraculously my remaining left lung is functioning at 100%. But I was also diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension which is something that is incurable, this is an increased level of blood pressure in the heart and lungs, the only cure eventually will be transplant of heart and lungs. My major concern was did I need to terminate this pregnancy to save my own life… if not then would my body be able to cope with it?

It was too late in the evening to contact the GP or respiratory team although I did try. The next day contact was made, the GP confirmed the pregnancy and congratulated me. “No no no this isn’t good” I responded. “I need to know if I continue with this will it kill me?” “Well it could, but even the healthiest women can die during pregnancy so I really can’t answer that, I advise you speak to your specialist.” “I have, ive an appointment for Monday” I said. “We’ll try not to panic until you know everything”… he offered to support me whatever the outcome after asking me what I ultimately wanted.

Absolutely petrified, we somehow muddled through the weekend, Monday came and my bestie and partner in crime always, Brian came with me for the hospital trip to St Vincent’s. Where I was given a lot of food for thought. But ultimately was told they couldn’t give me a definitive answer, that I would have to come back on Wednesday to see a pulmonary hypertension specialist in the Mater Hospital. Either way the pregnancy they felt would need monitoring. I left feeling uncertain as to whether this was something I could go through with but my heart wanted it, my brain was telling me to be sensible… if the pregnancy was too high risk then a termination was something I was entitled to under irish law as my life would be in danger… but we wouldn’t know this either way until Wednesday…

Wednesday came, back up to Dublin with Brian to hold my hand in the Mater to be tested inside out. The appointment dragged on for hours. Completely exhausted and a bag of nerves by the time 6pm came we  were ushered into the echo room. The halls were empty, all the outpatients had gone, my stomach was heaving, I didn’t have a good feeling… twenty mins later in came the specialist, an English chap with a lovely chirpy demeanour got me to strip down to my waist so he could scan my heart for the next twenty minutes while himself his junior doctor , myself and Brian stared at the screen hoping to have some good news. Hoping the pressures hadn’t in nothing had worsened since the last time. Many positions later he eventually told me to dress up. Shook my hand and said “congratulations, I’m not concerned, pressures are managed and low, you’re in good enough shape, besides you’ve had two already. I think you’ll be fine.” And with that a massive beam broke out on my face….

So it’s been just over a week since I found out… and to be honest I’m over the moon, I have told my nearest and dearest and have the support of those I love and who love me. I am hopeful that this pregnancy goes smoothly as possible and that there’s a healthy wee bundle at the end of it. But until that time comes, I’ll be taking it so laid back I’m gonna be horizontal for most of it. Thank you to my girlos who were there 100% when I needed it, talking sense and keeping me calm, you know who you are and I love you to bits for it. 

As one of the besties said it takes a tribe to raise a baby, and I know with my tribe, fingers crossed all going well, this child will be loved immensely and know what it is to belong to an amazing bunch of people. I couldn’t ask for a better family. And as for you Brian, thank you for sticking with me always and never giving in. Your support means the world to me, always has done and always will.

I told my boys today, over lunch and they were really excited, asking if they can pick names. Which was a relief! I remember when my Mam told me she was pregnant on our youngest bro when I was 9 I stopped speaking to her for days! (Sorry Mam!) but I doted on him when he came along.

This is truly unbelievable, my body is capable of such a feat after being through so much. Im asking all of you to please send all the good vibes you can! It’s still early days, I haven’t got an exact how far I’m gone until next week. But this as unplanned as it was, is loved already…

Fingers and toes crossed… I’ll be keeping ye posted boring you to tears with the progress, it’s something different to do this under these circumstances. But if it gives hope to another woman out there going through the same, sharing my story is worth it.

To my folks who understood when I rang them bawling for support… promising to support whatever the outcome. It means the world.

Much love to ye all.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M FUCKING PREGNANT! 

Here’s to the future whatever it may be…

Titch ๐Ÿ’™

That elusive question…

What should love feel like…?

I pondered this question lately, on reflection I was probably questioning the question too! My mind being a whirlwind of thoughts and ideas at any given moment, this question was something that I needed to find some half arsed answer to. Why? Because, my version of love and someone else’s can be worlds apart. Often when this is the case, we begin to feel “less than”. The second this happened, my first thought is always, am I expecting to much. To be fair I’m a pretty easy going person, I’ll always do my fair share sometimes even more without being asked. Or appreciated in some instances.

The Greeks define love as “the madness of the gods” and I interpret this to be a perfect analogy, for when we feel something so intensely for someone, we often push our own needs and wants to one side to ensure there’s are met. We don’t question it. We become people pleasers. In doing so, we expect that this person will reciprocate at least some of this. What happens when you become the ever giving and they become complacent. What happens when you finally wake up to the fact that you are being taken for granted and feel like nothing more than a convenience to their lives? Should you keep hanging in there in the hopes that some day you’ll feel appreciated or is it time to move on to someone who knows your worth?

As I sat there with two of my girlfriends, naturally the conversation gravitated towards the elusive conversation of men, for the two girls they had always chosen “bad boys” for me with the exception of a couple times, I always choose the “nice guys”. For the purpose of this blog I’ll explain what I define as both. 

A bad boy is a guy who wants you but on his terms. He doesn’t want anything too serious but wants you on command or when it suits him. He also wants you to fuck off when it suits him, giving little regard to your feelings. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t do much to encourage your self esteem. He’s quite happy to sit back and let you do the work. He’s also quite happy to criticise when you don’t. He’s got an ego problem, this also equates into him pointing out how beautiful other girls are to you while having never complimented you in this way. It’s the guy that sees you as weak, the door mat and that you will always be there regardless. He sees you as being infatuated with him, this in turn creates a blanket of comfort for him as he assumes you are that desperate for his affection that you’ll do and put up anything to have it. He’s the guy that will think nothing of making you feel insignificant and he will often compare you to his previous women most like as a put down. He won’t make much of an effort to make you feel special. He’s the guy that has a problem with you speaking to other male friends. He’s jealous even though he says he isn’t. He’s possessive even though he isn’t that keen. There will always be times you are left second guessing yourself, unsure of where you stand, wanting more, wanting to walk and then fucking yourself up in knots because you can’t understand why you accept this behaviour when it’s not how you would treat them… yet you keep going back for more. This type of guy is no reflection on you as a woman. This guy is generally so insecure and lacking in self esteem that he behaves this way as it makes him feel in a position of power, where he is the one in control…

The nice guy, is the one who does those quirky little things to make sure you know he values you. He will compliment you even if you’ve just fallen out of bed with hair equivalent of a birds nest. He will always make you feel like you are the most important and beautiful woman in his world and every other woman comes secondary to this. He’ll pick up when you’re down and say or do something ridiculous to try and cheer you up. He’s the one that knows when you’ve had a tough day, and will make you sit down to relax while he takes care of everything. He’s the guy that after you’ve had a long day out and about when you come in the door will greet you with a hug, “sit down I’ll make you a cuppa” and tell you dinner is in the oven. He’s the guy that if you decide at a ridiculous hour you want to do something exciting, he’ll be all for that and join in your excitement with a unanimous “let’s have an adventure!”.

 I remember one night in particular with my boy’s dad, before we had the children, he picked me up when I finished my shift, it was late, “hey beautiful, whatcha fancy doing?” “Dunno, let’s drive to Galway” I joked. “You’re on he said, just need to fill up the car first” and at midnight we hit the road we drove through the worst fog practically creeping for literally hours, it took us 7 hours to make a journey that should’ve taken half that. But my point is he never said this isn’t fun, or this isn’t going to work, it was fun because we had each other’s company, chatting about everything and nothing, blasting out cheesy duets when a decent sort came on the radio. We arrived in Galway. Slept in the car for a few hours, had breakfast in a local cafe and then hit the road to Donegal to visit his father and partner. It was a great adventure. I have had this experience with one other person in my lifetime. Who loved spontaneous ideas and always wanted to create memories. 

I think we wouldn’t be asking ourselves this question if we felt that we were giving and receiving love in a way that we should. Nobody should ever not know where they stand for too long in a relationship. If he or she cuz lets be fair women are the same and I was one of those girls at a point that always gave less than she should, my reason for this was I didn’t want to give too much of myself in case I got hurt again. Maybe this is the case with the “bad boys”. To all of you stuck in these “half arsed relationships”, recognise your worth. If you’re current guy cannot or will not show you how much he cares, there’s a guy out there who will… don’t settle into something that is going to leave you feeling worse in the long run. If they can’t change this for themselves and you, they do not value the relationship enough to try make it work, it’s time you made that executive decision.

Writing this brings me back to another time a few years ago when one of my own boys asked me what love was…

Love… Huh?

So I got asked an intriguing question, probably one of the most difficult questions to answer that I’ve ever been asked by my then 8 year old son…

“Mam… What is love?”
As I took another bite out of my sandwich, I pondered for a few moments before realising that two pairs of young bright eyes staring intently at me waiting to be briefed with what “pearls of wisdom” they thought I had accumulated over the years. So I trepidatiously began the walk of hot coals…
For many years it was a question I had asked myself, but for a multitude of reasons. I often got confused as to why we weren’t the type of family to hug or tell each other we loved each other when myself and my siblings were growing up at home with our folks. And even though it was something that didn’t occur it was something I craved, as does every child. The first “proper hug” I had ever gotten was when I was 17, from my children’s father’s mother. She ran,over and grabbe me up in such an embrace that I genuinely froze, unsure of how to react. I stood there with my arms by my sides not embracing her back and not entirely comfortable with the invasion of my personal space. And in that moment, I felt warmth, the kind of warmth that just spread over me letting me know that this woman, albeit only after a few minutes of conversation, genuinely cared for me. I’ll always be grateful to both her and my ex-partner for showing me how to open my heart to allow love both in and out.
Love is irrefutable, it is intense, passionate and yet can hurt at times. It’s accepting a person in their entirety, flaws and all. But this is not knowledge that I have always had, this has only been impressed upon me particularly in the past ten years. And now that I know what it is to love and be loved truly, I can safely state that it will remain central in my life.
I explained to my two boys that there are different types of love. There’s the kind you feel when your baby enters the world, not always an immediate reaction for some but for me it was overwhelming and also for their father. It was an occasion where tears just erupted from us both out of pure joy. It was a joyful moment to hear their little lamb cries and look into their big beautiful eyes and instantly know, no matter how crazy drive me, I’m going to protect you with all of my being.
Then there’s the love that we feel for others, friends and family. The kind of love that you know you never want any harm to come to these special folks in our lives, so we strive to be there for them in whatever way we can. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, favours and good deeds and just doing something special to see a smile upon that persons face.
Then there’s the love that you often don’t intend to happen. That rush of pure exhilaration at knowing that in that moment you are IN LOVE. The ferocious tenacity of it feeding every fibre of your being. You’d practically walk to the ends of the earth for that special someone. It’s all consuming. It’s looking into the eyes of that person and knowing in that moment that you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Love feels like home. It’s what home should feel like. But no matter how I tried to answer the question for my sons, I felt that logic sometimes cannot effectively express something that is invisible and given and received in so many ways.
Love for me is happiness. Pure and simple. So, I back-tracked, unsure of how exactly to portray it. Then, I asked the question…
“What do you think love is?”
“Love is like having ice-cream on a sunny day and a cold day. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like cuz ice-cream is always a special treat and you can enjoy it even in the snow. It’s having a bedtime story every night. It’s getting a hug and kiss from you and dad. It’s being kept safe. It’s knowing that even if we do something really bad and even if you get really cross you’ll still forgive us. It’s having Lego (their puppy) lick your face. It’s having you bake a cake for our birthday. It’s dad sleeping over at our house on Christmas Eve so he can see what Santa brought us. It’s going out on day trips. Being allowed to have our friends over. Its buying you flowers. It’s drawing you and dad pictures and cards. It’s our family.”
And with that response, I felt blissful. To be the age I am now and understand that love should begin in the home. Our sons have grasped the concept of what it is almost 10 years before I did.
And I know when they’re awkward teenagers, who would rather do chores than be seen out in public with me, I’ll still be giving them that hug and kiss and telling them both that I love them to the moon and back.
Because after all… Love is home.
Titch ๐Ÿ’™