A little broken- aren’t we all ?

I’ve realised everyone is broken in some way. How can you survive life and not be ? You think you’re mended then wham it hits you a memory, right in the eye where it radiates into your brain. You remember how you felt as it reaches your heart, the pain still shocks you and your eyes fill with tears that slowly trickle down your cheeks. With each teardrop the memories once again recede, as they touch your lips, their salty taste reminding you of what you’ve been through and once agin you feel your body absorb them into your heart. Mostly I’m ok with life, I’m happy my son has reached a point whereby surgery is behind him and he can begin to try and live his life and not just exist it. I’m grateful he is alive but it doesn’t stop the odd memory that can be triggered by something so small.

Yesterday a memory was triggered but at the time actually didn’t realise until early this morning.

A client of mine who I’ve know for 15 years and I consider a friend confided in me her 19 year old daughter was 4/5 months pregnant, no big deal really in today society but she’s been through a tough 5 years with a divorce from her domineering husband that has left her exhausted. Recently she had met a man from a dating site, she admitted he wasn’t her ‘type’ but had found her soul mate, its a wonderful heart lifting story and I’m so pleased for her, proving people come into your life when you most need them. During the last few years her daughter has fought depression and both of them have been pushed to the limit but I noticed yesterday a bonding between them and at the time didn’t know of the baby. She’s practical about it but said ‘ it’s my grandchild there is no choice’ exactly I replied the baby will be loved what ever happens and that’s all that matters.

So this morning I awoke and of course this was my first thought and then I remembered Jake will never be able to have children, those hopes I once had of Jess becoming a mother and helping her on that journey once again resonated through my head, this was never going to happen and once again it broke my heart. For myself as a grandparent, Jess as a mother and Jake as a father. I thought I had dealt with it and I guess it still sits there nestled with in the hole in my heart.

I have to accept these memories will always be with me and I don’t know what the future may hold for Jake and a future partner but once again it doesn’t stop it from hurting.

Small steps lead to change 

Tonight I feel pretty proud of myself. It may have been just a tiny step for some but for me it was huge. 

I’m currently on holiday in Mexico and was enjoying an evening drink in the lobby bar when my attention was drawn to the table next to me. The issue of transgender was being discussed. The family I think were mother, father, son and daughter in law. Daughter in law was very pro transgender rights and was discussing the topic with the family. 

The usual jokes and laughs were made and the oh it must be a mental issue, DIL was very firm in her knowledge trying to explain how it was for a transgender person and their rights for treatment in the USA. Not once did she falter on her beliefs whilst her so called family mocked and argued with her. 

I listened intently and realised this was an opportunity I too needed to stand up for those rights as it’s the little things that actually get the momentum flowing on issues like this. 

So as we left the bar I walked over to the girl and thanked her for her knowledge and understanding on the issues and said not everyone could understand, thanked her again and walked away. I didn’t need to explain myself I just needed her to know she wasn’t the only person standing up for the rights of the transgender community. 

I’m hoping that small action will have larger ones in others. I knew I couldn’t remain silent, I’m not one for confrontation but sometimes it’s a necessity. 

Shall steps are all we need to take in life to change the future. 

Breathing under water 

Yes 2016 was the year I learnt to breath under water.It was a year many people hated, it almost was portrayed as a cursed year.
For me It started with my brother in ICU, I seriously didn’t think he would still be here to tell the tale but thankfully he is and I know he’s had a tough year but hopefully he too has learnt he can also breath under water.

It was the year Jake returned home for half of it due to his relationship break up and final stages of surgery. In may when he returned he looked broken but with the care, love and support a family environment can give he started to heal and I know he still has issues to resolve but I think with in time he will get there, I’m just mindful at the moment to contact him a little more often and plan visits, I guess it can be lonely starting life again in a new town and job, we have always been very close and I do miss having him nearby.

For me 2016 was a sabbatical year as far as my running was concerned, I had lost all enthusiasm and I think this had a lot to do with where we had moved to, it’s a lot more isolated and I don’t feel comfortable heading out alone across the fields, also I was tired, even though I had entered another marathon I didn’t have the strength of mind to train for it so I listened to my body and sort out other types of exercise and fell in love with spinning and boot camp style training. The addition of our new puppy has now given me another option as I have trained her to run attached to me, she’s up to 3.5 miles now and as she gets older I will be increasing her distance. It’s pure joy to be out running with her, a different kind of running as I’m not pushing my pace just running to enjoy.

With a new found enthusiasm I have now offered to help train with 2 friends who are both running their first London marathon and our first long run of 8 miles was just pure pleasure, I ran at ease and it felt great to know I still had s good level of fitness, also to support these friends during their training journey excites me, I remember how I felt during my first one and how much I’ve learnt, it’s extremely valuable knowledge and has made me realise I can do anything.

So jake has had stage 2 and 3 of his surgery and finally all is complete. It feels like a long 4 years but equally the time has passed at break neck speed and the Jess of the past now seems another life to me. I still miss her, as in the young Jess who was a happy go lucky child with a thirst for knowledge, the 2 1/2 year old Jess who was bouncing on the couch singing along to the spice girls, pointing out how baby spice had bunches just like her, the endless games of my little pony, along with the obsession with Snow White. I had a beautiful little daughter and I will treasure those memories within my heart forever.

I’m now making new memories with jake and I guess I feel I have a whole chunk of memories that I should have but are missing, the teenage years were tough and I so wish Jake had not experienced it and just had the privilege most of us never consider, to be comfortable in our own gender.

Who knows what this year will bring the only thing I know is I run marathons, I can drive to London, I can do anything, I can breathe under water.

Live life

It’s never dull in our house.
Just as you think life may settle to some sort of normality, crash it hits you gain.
Jake rang me yesterday to say he had a call from the hospital and they could do the final stage of surgery on Monday, so this is it, the end of what seems a long road but the end and the beginning of a new one.
After discussing all the logistics of travel Jake said he would be ok to go himself as he is in london for the weekend anyway, I know he is fiercely independent but I spent a restless night thinking of him going himself, so this morning text him to see if he wanted company to the hospital, of course his reply was only if you want to, which would have been my reply if I was in this position knowing that actually you wanted the company but didn’t want to put on someone. I told him I knew he was capable but sometimes things feel better when you have support, he agreed so I’ve arranged to meet him in London as I will travel there by train and then return once he has checked into the hospital. He’s my child still how ever could I not go?
I can still remember 4 years ago when Jess first told me….

 

As I listen to the words coming from Jess I feel fear, I don’t know what to do, how do you deal with this? Of all the situations I thought I may have to deal with being a parent, this was never in my thoughts. I look at the tears falling down Jess’s face, mine mimic hers, there is nothing else to do but hold her, just as if she is a little child again. It’s ok I say, I promise we will deal with it. How? I had no idea all I knew was my child was in turmoil, my love had no boundaries and I would do anything to make her happy.
I could feel her relax a little, it will be ok I reassure whilst in my head it’s turmoil, after what seems eternity I begin the process.

At that time I honestly didn’t know how we would ever get to this point today, I made a promise I didn’t know I could keep, all I knew was I would do anything to make her happy and here we are the final stage of this long journey that has changed our lives forever.
Never give up on your dreams, they can become your reality. X

Link

Ordinary world

We are now 3 months post op – time has moved on rapidly and our lives have once again changed.
Although it seemed we had numerous visits to the Drs after this surgery Jake had miraculously recovered with no complications and now only has one final surgery, which on the grand scale of surgeries is relatively minor!
At the end of September Jake left the family home, for a second time and moved into his new flat, it’s still 2 hours away from us but a much more manageable drive so I’m happy to visit without sending myself into a panic about driving to London.
Of course I have done little else but worry:-
– is he eating?
– Is he managing the chores?
– Is he lonely?
– What if he can’t cope?

But thankfully he seems to be managing it all, I guess I need to learn to mange my angst. Although a few weeks ago my angst was awakened and I honestly had no idea what to do but I should have realised I have a strong minded son who has always stood up for his beliefs and continued to.

It seems he has been looking into religion and has found comfort in it, which as I explained to him is his choice, I personally don’t need to go to church or be involved in a religious community to feel my beliefs are true, some people need and want this reassurance. He rang me to tell me he had been going to classes ( he has also done this whilst in London) and was planning on being baptised. I asked him which church it was and on hearing his response my angst began, not to incite any hatred I won’t name the church but let’s just say it made me feel uncomfortable , Jess attended a CofE school and never really showed and interest in religion but I did think if Jake was looking for god it would have been within this church.

What could I say but that’s his choice and if he found comfort in it then that had to be good but underneath I was irked, was someone playing on Jakes vulnerability of being in a new town trying to make friends etc etc. All week it was on my mind and how was I going to tackle the conversation at the weekend when I took the remainder of his belongings down. I didn’t want to sound like I was preaching or my opinion was right but I certainly was worried, I shouldn’t have been as Jake was still there, it seems he had to go for a baptism interview at the church leaders house and was questioned on his past relationships, he was told that same sex attraction is worse than murder, which at this point he stood up and told him that his god was clearly different and walked out. That’s the Jake I know, a strong minded individual who had been told not to question and to cut all ties with any LGBT friends, who refused as he knew this would be turning his back on all that he is and a lot of his friends. Once again I am so proud of him, he still feels he wants to pursue his beliefs but with a church that has broken from the main one.

I still worry for him but I regularly keep in contact with him, his new job seems to be going well and all I wish now is he meets a like minded soul to share his life with.

It’s just the beginning….


Two weeks post op and Jake is now on the road to recovery. Surgery went well and after 2 nights in hospital he was allowed home so we drove to London to bring him back. He’s been fitted with a super pubic catheter and also a stent that needed to be removed by a district nurse one week post surgery and this was the first battle we came up against.
I contacted the gp to arrange a district nurse visit and all was booked in and seemed ok until the day arrived. The district nurse called Jake to say she couldn’t remove the stent, it wasn’t something they did on district and therefore she wouldn’t be out to change his dressings, he would need to contact urgent care or the hospital, when Jake reminded her he needed his dressings changed her reply was ‘ we only come out to people that are bed bound’ Jake replied he was whereby she confirmed she wouldn’t be out to treat him and put the phone down. He was distraught and said it was obvious why she didn’t want to come out. I contacted my medical friend who was in disbelief, obviously she said she could do the procedure but as a formal complaint should be submitted he needed to go through the correct channels, she also stated that even if the district nurse thought it was something she couldn’t perform, which of course it wasn’t, she couldn’t refuse to come out and change the dressing.
We went to urgent care and were seen relatively quickly and were treated with a complete professional manner, which always restores my faith in our NHS.
The practice nurse was in disbelief about why Jake was there and why the district hadn’t come out but at least he was seen to and all was healing ok.
Later on that day he started to suffer with lower back pain, which escalated quite rapidly and by early evening even his painkillers were not numbing the pain. The following morning we went back to urgent care where the dr thought he possibly had a urine infection so took a sample and issued some more antibiotics, we thought this would be the end of it but by mid afternoon Jake stated that the pain was so intense he felt like he was dying, it was worse than any surgery he had experienced. So once again after a quick chat with my friend we headed off to A&E.
Whilst registering some confusion occurred as the guy dealing with us, after reading his post surgery letter looked at Jake and said he couldn’t understand what surgery he had had, I pointed out it was all listed, once again he looked confused but tapped all the info into the computer, I guess you have to laugh at moments like this as it proves others seeing Jake see a young man and not Jess, I don’t think at the time Jake saw the funny side to it. We were seen after an hour which in A&E terms was excellent. The dr was confident the pain was not associated with the surgery and most probably a urine infection, he issued some alternative painkillers and stated that 2 days of the antibiotics and Jake should feel a lot better. Jake went to empty his catheter bag before we returned home only to see some crystals in it and his back pain had eased considerably. It seems he has passed a kidney stone which of course would explain the intense pain he was in and the instant relief.
I can tell Jake is feeling a lot better as he’s now bored and came up with an ingenious idea to allow him to actually leave the house without worrying about the catheter bag strapped to his leg becoming loose. He asked me to pick him up a pair of cargo trousers and had cut a hole in the pocket to allow the catheter pipe to pass through and the bag to sit comfortably in the pocket supporting its weight, well you do have a degree in business management I said!
The catheter has to remain in place until the 19 th August whereby we have to make another journey to Harley street in London and hopefully that will be the end of surgery for a while.
Emotionally it’s been draining to watch Jake in so much discomfort but I know the journey is coming to an end and he will have a body that matches his brain and once again I’m eternally grateful for the NHS and the journey we have been on with them.

Audio

Saying goodbye 

 

I’ve meant to have been here a thousand times but I’ve found a thousand reasons not to be. I’ve had to put all my energy into staying the bright and optimistic person I generally am. Jake returned home and has been extremely stressed about everything. He wisely booked a GP appointment who then referred him to mental health, who unsurprisingly were astounded he had manage to achieve what he has over the previous few years without combusting. My job has been to make sure he is eating regularly, taking what stress I can out of his life and helping him to think ahead.
Whilst it has settled me in some ways to know I’m helping him through this it too takes it toll on me, I’m tired, I find some days it’s hard to be optimistic when I feel life has been so cruel to him. My inner angst has once again taken over, the swirl is constantly reminding me of how my life is but I’m hoping once again it will subside. I guess not being here has stopped me thinking too hard about what’s been occurring, if you don’t think too deeply it can’t hurt you too much.
Some good news now, Jake has gained his degree so is how the proud owner of a 2:1 BA (Hons) in business management. Something we as a family are extremely proud of, he has also secured a new job starting in September, which I hope will bring a happy new stage to his life, a beginning of new friendships.
We have been looking forward to his degree ceremony on the 18 th July, a proud moment when 3 years ago at the start of his course he almost didn’t make it, a day that took tremendous courage from him, until he received a call from the hospital to offer him the next stage of his surgery on the 16 th July, of course this is perfect to fit in with his schedule of leaving his present job, recovering and preparing for his new position, the only downside being he won’t be able to attend his ceremony, but jake said he didn’t work 3 years for a ceremony, how true.
As I mentioned earlier I’ve been struggling lately, just with lots of things but after a chat with a new client who is also a therapist, I guess I’ve been trying too much with everything, some of my worries would be ‘normal’ worries but I have the added twist of a transgender child. I’m worry too much and I must learn to let go of the past, Jess has gone and I have to remember I have a level headed son who has proved he can achieve but sometimes you wish you didn’t need to be strong all the time, that others realised things aren’t always rosy and even the ever optimist doesn’t know what to do. I know I’m tough, I put on a brave face but I’ve noticed recently how some friends just don’t ask, you know, don’t actually say ‘ how are you during through all this?, some I’ve not heard from, I know we are all busy but if I know someone is struggling I try to let them know I’m thinking of them or offer some words of comfort, that hurts and it’s been from some you wouldn’t expect whilst others have been great. Again I’m trying not to dwell too much.
Friday we are heading to London to do a few tourist things before Jake check is into the hospital and I will return home until he needs picking up, life goes on and this will be my final goodbye to Jess, all that was her will be gone and I need to move on.