The other night, cutting it a bit fine before the cut off deadline, I started to listening to a BBC Radio 4 Extra programme by Jessica Fostekew called Motherhood: Bump, Birth and Beyond.
Here’s the description from the BBC website:
“Made for 4 Extra. Jessica Fostekew charts the horrors and highs of the nine months of life with a bump, the moment of reckoning with birth, and the chaos, or not, that lies ahead.
We have clips from over 50 years of Woman’s Hour, programmes on pregnancy and childbirth from the 1960s and 1970s, and archive interviews about coping with parenthood – and we’ll be speaking to the comedians Jenny Eclair, Cariad Lloyd, Sara Barron, Richard Herring and Catie Wilkins, Caroline Mabey, Jen Brister, Hatty Ashdown, Kirsty Newton, Katie Mulgrew, Taylor Glenn, Robin Ince, Laura Lexx, Sindhu Vee, Diane Morgan, and Holly Walsh about their experiences with fertility, pregnancy and motherhood.”
I was listening, sitting in bed, in the dark, on my own, late at night and it made me quite emotional.
Three years ago, on my 28th birthday, I went for a smear test.
When I think of activities I’d like to do for my birthday, I’d normally go with bowling, seeing a play, taking some art class like pottery or printing, cinema trip etc. rather than have a smear. But, since I’d moved between surgeries when moving houses, the NHS thought this was my first smear and an over due one at that. (It was my second, first had been all fine. Wooo)
A couple of years before my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct. Obviously this is not connected to cervical cancer, but they always do that things of ‘Do you have a history of cancer in the family?’ and until that point I didn’t think we had. I still had both parents, my Grandmother was then 99, my Granddad was 88, all uncles and aunts were, as far as I knew, in relatively good heath, as were my siblings. My Grandfather had died of a heart attack at 75, my Nan died 9 years before of various things, not including cancer.
There are days,
There are days when your life clouds over
and the world gets so dark
that all at once you can’t tell night from day.
There are times
when your heart cries ‘this isn’t happening’
but the truth is cold and real
and I know this storm won’t go away
‘It’s her or me’ from Miss Saigon, by Boublil and Schonberg
I’ve been quiet on here for the last few months. I know some people have dropped by to see if anything has been written and I have tried to, but it’s been a difficult end to the year.
Not many people know, but I’ve been off sick from work for 2 and a bit months. Mental health issues are still quite taboo in our society and I don’t really understand why. It’s something that can affect anybody and yet still it’s not something we feel confident talking about. I have depression, which I think is something that I’ve been battling with for a decade and it’s dreadful. This bout has definitely been the worse of the lot. A stressful job, moving to a new area, not having much if a social life, various things that have happened in the past, lack of money all building together until I essentially cracked. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go outside without having a panic attack and I couldn’t go to work. It’s such a difficult thing to describe. I get frustrated with myself because I can’t physically do things that I want or need to do. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t speak to people. I don’t have any outward physical manifestation of this, there is just this mental block, a cloud, a haze that won’t let me through. Then I spend time arguing with myself in my head – you know what you need to do, just get up, just get up, just move yourself, just stop wallowing in self pity and get up and do something. But it’s no good. There is some chemical imbalance at the moment. There is something just stopping me whether I want to or not. Ruby Wax says it better than me, so here she is:
I have Swimmer’s Ear. It’s a pain, but luckily not painful. I’ve got ear drops, a slightly seasick feeling and 11 hours until my train back to Bangkok.
It started off with a muggy feeling in my ear, then this morning I could barely hear out of it at all. But last night’s hostel, Salsa Hostel in Chumphon was clean, comfortable, immaculately fitted out in Ikea furniture and, best of all, has super fast internet. Call me shallow, but when I’m feeling a bit crappy all I want to do is be able to top up my itunes, stream a bit of telly and go to sleep in comfort. Check out wasn’t until noon, so 45 mins ago I re-packed my bag (gonna get tired of that really soon, but what can you do?) trundled downstairs and bought an icecream.
I’m going to sit here until i’m hungry enough for lunch, read ‘The Long War’ by Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter and kill time until they politely move me on.
I’ve done quite well reading books recently – just finished ‘Little Exiles’ and ‘Bloody Women’ the former by Robert Dinsdale and the latter by Helen FitzGerald. Both good.
If you’re interested Little Exiles is about the children taken to Australia after WW2 and touches on the Stolen Generation, Bloody Women is about a woman arrested for having possibly murdered and dismembered some of her ex-boyfriends. Not normally things I’d go for but they were in the kindle daily deal.
I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s important and so I’m going to bring it up again before I get carried away with the excitement and frivolity of going away again.
In February 2012 I had an abnormal cervical smear result. For those of you who don’t know what the scale is 0=normal, 6=cancer, I was a 5. I was shocked and scared.
I read about it, the procedure, how they might treat it and what could have caused it.
My smear had traces of HPV – human papillomavirus.