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.

Hold on

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, I guess initially I felt I had nothing to add, life was ok, Jake seemed fine so I was content in my little bubble.
The past couple of months we have been thrown into chaos as we decided to move house, a few years earlier than anticipated, at the beginning of the year I couldn’t even comprehend a house move, I felt I was only just emptying my stress boxes from Jake leaving home and starting work but here I am gradually packing up our home. We have sold ours and are hopefully moving into a new build not far from where we are now actually, but a house that will suit us better in 4 weeks time.
I’ve also decided to run another marathon in September, a final stab at getting a time I’ve trained for 3 other times and the weather along with hayfever has hindered it. I can’t say I’m loving running again, it’s a hard slog to commit to a training plan, but I can see it’s coming together, last Friday saw me completing 14 miles and it didn’t feel too bad although I can’t wait for the day whereby my legs aren’t omitting a low sound of ‘ouch ouch ‘ it will come I know from previous experience.
So how’s Jake you may be thinking?
He’s ok but has had periods of self doubt, thinking he won’t gain a good enough degree and looking at alternative employments, I’m hoping it’s just a little stumble, he came home for the weekend and I gave him a pep talk so I’m hoping his confidence is up again, it did make me sad when he told me the constant comments he has to endure at work by a select few, being told he should stop being so sensitive, this angers me, just because it’s not racial they seem to think it’s acceptable, I made him laugh when I told him I would love to punch any one who’s upsetting my boy!
He’s had the go ahead for further surgery which will take place over the next 2 years, when he informed ******** bank he would need 6 weeks off his manager asked him if he couldn’t take it as a career break- seriously it’s reconstructive surgery, not cosmetic, would this manager ask a woman to take a career break to have a baby, a hysterectomy or any other illness? I think not! I told him to stick with it and if needs be he will approach HR, I’m sure this particular bank doesn’t want to be seen as non PC!
Circumstances like this really remind you as an individual how you just accept your gender and the privileges that come with it, I’ve never felt this non acceptance and find it difficult how some people think they are more privileged than others because of their gender, skin color or nationality.
I’ve felt a little anxious over the last week as today Jake was flying out to Madrid as part of his study leave, after the tragedy of the tourists in Tunisia, it makes you,want to gather your loved ones close to you and the thought of him being in another country without me to help causes the angst to reappear.
But I received a text a short time ago that made me smile and realize although he is a child of few words he does still care. image


Rest and relaxation

I’m currently in Mexico, Nuevo Vallarta to be precise at the dreams villa manga, took me 11 hours to get here but I actually think I’ve found a little piece of paradise. We fly home on Saturday, it’s a holiday that has gone far too quickly, one that was totally needed and one whereby I’ve relaxed, read, slept, ran and eaten some fantastic food, watched the sun set over the pacific along with a lightening storm. It’s a peaceful, tranquil resort, the staff are friendly, the sun is shinningimageimageimageimage,

I have no complaints.
I’ve had a few texts from Jake, he is currently on a 2 week study block back at uni, what a difference a year has made to him, this time last year he was attending interviews to gain a placement for work, tensions were high and now look where he is, see with love and support things really do change.

Reach for the stars

It’s been 3 weeks since that virus got me and although I feel fine it has left me with aching swollen knees, not acceptable when you to want to run! I rang the Dr and the earliest appointment with my Dr was 23rd dec!!!! So I told her I would possible be cured by then, it seems not to be the case as I’m back on ibuprofen to mask the pain and have an appointment on Friday with the nurse practitioner, we will see!
Jake is back for a brief overnight visit on Thursday, which will be nice to catch up. When he was home 2 weeks ago we did have a chat about how he was doing etc etc and of course the subject came around to his father. He hasn’t heard from him since the end of August when he asked him to stand guarantor for his flat and basically he refused in a roundabout way, Jake told him what he thought about him and communication between them has ceased. I had to say I had no excuses for him, I couldn’t understand his behaviour and it was up to Jake on how he was going to deal with it, either confront him and tell him what he has done and how, it’s made him feel or box it and get on with his life, but the one thing he had to understand that none of it was his fault, if his father has issues dealing with his transition that is his problem, Jake shouldn’t feel guilty. If his father actually took the time to get to know Jake again he would see a person he should be very proud of.
On Friday I had a haircut planned with a lovely friend, sally, I hadn’t told her about Jake as the times I had planned to she was surrounded by her girls and I needed time with just her, once again another friend who accepted, tried to understand and had absolutely no idea this had been going on, she asked how I had managed it without cracking up, it’s what you do I said but I guess I could become a dam could poker player! So the circle of friends that I have spoken to is increasing, all responses have been positive.
My mum regularly sends Jake a text to see how everything is going and she told me how last week Jake phoned and they had a lovely conversation for 30 mins, now this is a major turning point in my mind, Jake doesn’t do phone calls and text messages are always short and to the point but I finally think he is feeling more secure with in himself, also realising the family that have been supporting him really do mean it, the Jess we once knew is returning as Jake, with the dry sense of humour and opinions galore. I guess when you don’t really know yourself it’s hard to respond to those around you that are going through the same kind of angst.
All you can do is reach for the stars and climb every mountain 😄

It’s complicated

Jake has settled in well but I do bloody miss having him around, I think that’s part of my next struggle, I guess I just need to accept he is ok, I just wish he would always answer a text, but hey why would he change the habit of a lifetime? He hasn’t answered the one on Sunday, I’m letting it go a while longer but I will have to point out to him I still care and just because his relationship with his dad has fallen apart there is no way I’m allowing it!

My relationship with running, well what can I say, last year it was my crutch, as difficult as it was it was needed to remain sane, to carry on through the tough times, to cope. It’s been a relationship of almost 30 years, in varying degrees. At the moment I guess if it was a FB status, it would be, it’s complicated, or we are on a break!

That’s how I feel, I don’t need the time away from home to recycle my mind boxes, I have lots of time at home to do this now, I no longer feel the need to get out there to push myself, I do miss having that feeling but I’m tired, I’m sad and I feel I need to protect what ever is left that keeps me fundamentally me strong and running is draining that. I’m sure it will return, maybe not in the whole marathon way but there are other goals I wish to achieve.

This blog has helped me, I’ve met others in similar situations so I have become stronger it’s just I also feel lost, what now? I need to do something that makes a difference, I need to challenge myself maybe, I need to think about where I’m going. I just need to be me again, happy, content and ultimately have a joy of life, I’m not sure where I will find it, but I guess it’s best to just go with the flow, something will change, time heals all.

edit- as I posted this Jake text me, seems my powers of thought finally got through, he will ring me tonight, at least I know he hasn’t disappeared completely 😄

One week on

A week on and we’ve all survived 😄
Jake is healing well and proudly walking around with confidence, I really can’t believe what a difference it’s made. I asked if if he felt better within himself,
Yes he replied, look, everything looks normal, pointing to his body
Of course it was the right decision and I’m so grateful we have the NHS and they have funded his treatment. I guess some may think it’s a waste of money, when money is tight, I guess I may have thought it too wasn’t a priority many years ago, but having witnessed the anguish Jake has endured during the past years I can wholeheartedly support it. Who are we to judge that one illness takes priority over another!
Today we popped into town so Jake could purchase some new clothes, he picked up one of those vest tops and said see I can wear this now, I seriously thought he was joking, but no he popped it with his stash and has proudly worn it today.
He has also been packing up his belongings, that are currently piled in his room, on Friday it’s the big move to London Town, I jokingly said that once he had left there was no coming back, I caught the look on his face, one that gave it away a little, he will miss home!😄 of course I told him he can return at any point, we would always be here for him.
I’ve had a lovely week off work, household chores caught up on and 22 miles ran in total, not a huge amount to what I’ve done before but a start to getting back to normal, and today’s 6 miles started to feel easier, it’s all coming back.

Just a short blog today as to be honest I’ve used all my energy this week staying strong, I’m in a good place but emotionally I’m drained.

And then I understood

Surgery day arrived, Jake was a little apprehensive, I could tell, so I gave him a hug and said it would all be ok. We arrived at the hospital and he was checked in to his own room, our local hospital has had a new addition to it and the breast clinic is situated within it, the ward he was on was for all kind of operations but comprised of individual rooms with en-suite too, whoop whoop to the nhs! Once settled I left him in the capable hands of the nurses who were lovely and headed home.
To be honest I didn’t think about it too much, it was a day I needed to be strong. Firstly I went out and ran, 5 miles of freedom, lovely!
Around 2 pm jake text me to say he was all done and feeling ok, relief washed over me, at least he was ok, so I replied to let him know I would be up at 6 pm to visit. I did shed a tear but soon pushed them away and made myself busy.
Arrived, with Matthew to visit and we walked into an empty room, my heart sank, where was he? I asked the nurse who informed me he had returned to theatre as swelling and pain had occurred, I immediately flashed back to 18 months ago when we was in hospital having a cyst removed and had started bleeding internally, collapsing in front of me and having to watch the medical staff spring into action and take him back to theatre, I just about managed to hold back the tears, it’s ok the nurse said he’s back in recovery and will be here in a while. So we waited, a whole hour past before Jake made his return, but he was lucid and we manage to joke about his theatre encore again!
I had mixed emotions at this point, I didn’t want my child in pain, I felt guilty about what he was having to go through just to feel at ease with himself.
Then the nurse appeared to do his obs and check the drains and this is where it all began to make sense, a moment in time when you think
Yeah I really really understand now
Over the last 2 years I have been trying to understand, I have accepted and supported but understanding is maybe one thing I could never do, how could I? I had always been comfortable with my body and who I was. Maybe I thought one day Jess would make a reappearance, it’s strange what the brain suggests to you, even though I knew realistically the steps to take testosterone were the first and the effects that had had I could see daily, but my heart still wanted Jess back, even though Jess was never truly happy, I guess it was easier to deal with than what I had dealt with recently.
But as the nurse revealed his chest, with dressing I add, I was a little shocked, THEY were gone, Jake lay there with a proud look on his face, not bothering I was there, there was no covering up, feeling the need to hide his body, he displayed it for all to see, like all men do! You see it was as easy as that I finally understood. All the angst I have witnessed, his binding, years of depression and take away the boobs and finally Jake emerged, it filled my heart with pure love for him. I understood why he always was so secretive about his body, why he didn’t like a hug, he didn’t like what was there that shouldn’t be- simple
He has been recovering well, walking around topless, from his room to the bathroom. I feel at last a sense of peace, it’s really hard to explain but after the journey I have been on with Jake so far in his life, this point now seems like the beginning, a new start for him, to begin work and not feel his boobs will give him away.
So anyone thinking they too don’t understand maybe one day you,will trust me it all becomes clear.