My 15 Year Thyroid Cancer Cancerversary

Undeterred even After 15 years

Fifteen Years, a touch shy of half of my entire life, I have been living with Papillary Carcinoma of the Thyroid. Or, in its most basic form, Thyroid Cancer. I would much prefer it was called Thyroiditis but hey ho, what’s in a name any ways. Actually, when it comes to the word Cancer, quite a lot. I was 20, green from too many nights in Student Union at Wonga or Pounded (classy bird me) but also because I didn’t know what was ahead. I was fairly confident in my google analysis * that shit was about to get real. 

I was referred to A&E by a Uni Doctor who said I was being a hypochondriac and there was in fact nothing causing the referred pain in my arm. My then boyfriend dutifully came with me (thank you) to have an X-ray done, in the presumption that I could have a fracture of some sort from over doing it in the gym. 

The SHO that saw me that day, saved my life. As new to his profession as I was to hospital departments, he thought outside the box. He examined me, and after a chat asked me if it could be anything to do with my thyroid problem. With biology never being my strong point, I laughed and muttered something to the tune of “I don’t think I have a thyroid”. In my feeble defence, I thought it was something you got when you started menopause, despite this reasoning having zero scientific substance behind it.

 X-rays began, my collar bone and chest, in the inference the arm pain was referred. Within 2 weeks, despite the arm pain still bothering me, I was to become a statistic, a number on a very, very big spreadsheet. A would be happy-go-lucky Aston University Student with an awesome family, friends, boyfriend (not Facebook official mind – it didn’t exist in those years the dinosaurs practically roamed the earth) and dream job potential on the horizon. And then, within half an hour, I wasn’t any more.  I was a cancer patient.

Thyroid Cancer Patient 101

My first operation was pretty immediate, but began and ended with no removal of the disease. It was too advanced for my first surgeon to be confident to tackle. He personally accompanied me to meet a Man-Who-Can (they even have those in the medical field!) on a Saturday morning in Birmingham, passing over the reigns to the dude that is the real hero in this story. Professor John Carmel Watkinson, or as he is now affectionately known JW.

His manner was tongue in cheek, to the point and informed me in the nicest possible way – “he would see what he could do”. Beyond that, there were no guarantees. My Family and I quite literally placed my life in his hands and with that I signed my life away for what would be the first of many operations to rid my body of this evil beast.

The one thing cancer never took from me, was my stubbornness. My determination to never let it win. Which is testament to the support network I have around me, who remind me of this resolve on the days it starts to falter. I did all things I shouldn’t do –  I ran a half marathon, I went snow boarding and turned into a Giant Bruised Peach, I travelled, I went on a boozie holiday with the lads and 2 girlfriends. I climbed a mountain (literally as well as figuratively) I got engaged, I got married and the sprinkles on my knickerbocker life – I had 3 beautiful babies who I am honoured to call my own.

 

If you would have approached me 14 years ago and told me any of the above was remotely possible, I wouldn’t have believed you. I went into self destruct mode a touch. Out a lot, even when I shouldn’t, drank a lot, even when I really shouldn’t. I lost some serious chapters in that time, because I would drink until it didn’t hurt any more. Not physical pain, more emotional pain. I was as the old saying goes, drowning my sorrows. Which doesn’t work. 

It took some harsh words from my parents for me to pull my socks up, well actually I needed to find them first, and get myself together to handle the annoying thing known as The Real World, even if that included Thyroid Cancer.

Pep talk worked, and I met a new boyfriend, who became a fiancé, then The Hubs and Team Twiglet swiftly followed. Not bad for a 20 year old given weeks to live. I wasn’t privy to the seriousness of my health for a long while, I think that level of protection has aided me so very much. Annoyingly it did mean that I have been to Australia for a day trip, but then that’s another story.

Thyroid Cancer has become who I am, but it doesn’t define me. It doesn’t, contrary to popular belief, make me live each day to the full. I appreciate it should, but the same shit goes down when the kids melt, the dryer packs up and then an error code comes on the dishwasher. Those kinda days aren’t good by anyones standards. And if they’ve never happened to you, I need your secret because believe me when I say

It always happens to me!

With another op date looming, Im quietly going about today – hubs doesn’t realise the significance this day holds for me. Firstly its one of my absolutely Besties birthdays (Happy Birthday Aunty Lyds, still sorry I ruined your 20th), Its my Gramps anniversary and whilst his pain and suffering needed to end, its oh so quiet without his happy little songs filling the room. And finally it is my cancerversary. Time really flies when you’re having fun/kids/life/cancer…..

 

*If you ever find yourself awaiting medical results of any kind – DO NOT GOOGLE – its is hands down the worst thing I did, and from that day to this, I have never done again. Find genuine and useful resources through Macmillan or Butterfly. Feel free to reach out to me too, if it is of any help helen@parentingfailsandpigtails.co.uk 

MumBoss

MumBoss

Wise Words

I fancy being a MumBoss too

So I have a total girl crush on Vicki Psarias. Her book “MumBoss” has revolutionised so much of my life in just under a mere 6 hours. As I’m a busy Mummy of Team Twiglet, I spend most of my days with my Mum Taxi hat firmly glued in place. I spend hours, literally hours on end, shuttling different kids to different “essential” after school activities. We had a bit of a cull this year on them, but we still have stuff on every day of the week (in rugby season anyways).  

 When women support each other, incredible things happen

As a result, I had to adapt my ever delayed 2015(!) New Year’s resolution of “reading books again” to fit in around my ever intensifying driving schedule. That’s when I discovered an app called Audible www.audible.co.uk . It is part of the Amazon family and my Uncle was a huge fan, but I had never really understood why. Until now. I think we have Audible on in the car for pretty much every journey. The kids and I are absorbing Stephen Fry’s delicious narration of The Harry Potter Series currently, and its literally halved the number of school run arguments. I actually look forward to hearing what’s happening next, therefore don’t despise/dread the previously overly fractious journeys. 

 

When I am on return journeys by myself, I delve into some amazing books. Everything from Rachel Hollis https://thechicsite.com  “Girl, Go Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologising”, to Michelle Obama https://becomingmichelleobama.com “Becoming”. Each becoming firm favourites of mine. I formerly loved to read, but with life being as busy as it is, it has been on the back burner for years. Whilst its more a case of better late than never, finding this app has been the next best thing. I have learnt so much from Jordan P Peterson https://www.jordanbpeterson.com in “12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos” my favourite being Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. What an ingenious way of looking at life. It’s so very true, and I am endeavouring to implement some of the techniques I’ve learnt from each of these amazing authors.

 Mumboss and Me

For me, MumBoss feels as though it has been written personally, just for little old floundering me. It is inspiring, offering guidance and reassurance and subconsciously aiding me navigate my future business. I am useless at social media, taking pictures and being in front of camera, yet my passion is writing, my platform is Instagram and vlogging is the way forward.

 

All of the above was almost enough to put me off, the stumbling blocks seemed too great for me to achieve alone, with nothing more than an iPad in hand. But I took Vicki’s sound advice, and I have started asking for help when I don’t know how to do something (this is very out of character for me, I am a control freak and like to do everything myself) and I am intentionally seeking out connections to eventually collaborate and share my work with.

 

The undertaking of refreshing and reworking this blog has been epically massive in comparison to what I was expecting. I thought I would simply follow a 3 hour tutorial and would have a brand spanking, all singing, all dancing website to present to the world in a day. The reality is, it’s taken weeks. So many weeks in fact, my readership on the original blog has vanished because I’ve dedicated all my working hours to designing the new one.

 

I wake early, and go to bed late (utilising my insomnia!) and hope to be able to produce something I’m really proud of. I always hope to try my best at everything I put my mind to. And this has been no exception.

I had completely lost my way before stumbling across MumBoss and I can’t tell you how refreshing and “light bulb” moment inducing it has been. You don’t need to be a mum to get the benefits from the words she’s written. It is full of useful content, links and tools to equip you for working life, in whatever form that works for you. Vicki has encouraged me to not limit myself to one genre, almost to feel my way forward, making decisions as I go, therefore based on fact not supposition.

I have followed a huge number of her referenced blogs and accounts, pulling inspiration from all of them. Funny, emotive and packed with heartfelt, sound advice, Vicki Psarias “MumBoss” should most definitely be top of your read/listen list. I really hope you get the same out of it as I have. You can also find her here https://honestmum.com where her magazine style blog features interesting articles, posts, videos and guidance to becoming your very own MumBoss.

Finally, whilst very aware my formatting stiiilllll needs work, today is launch day, despite missing pictures and twirly graphics (all shall be rectified in due course) but for now, I am a one (wo)man wonder aiming to carve out a career in a tiny corner of that thing known as the World Wide Web.

 

Hope to see you there, 

 

2 weeks flies by in website design!

First off, you’ll be pleased to know I am still alive (sorry to those that are less pleased with this golden nugget of information).

I have however spent that long on YouTube and any other tutorial I can find to bring you all 😬 my new website, but no one told me you needed to be a flipping genius to figure it all out.

I set out on this venture with one promise to myself – it wasn’t going to haemorrhage money. I don’t have that kind of spare cash and the money I also don’t have needs to do important things like life savings and investments (cough cough) – but primarily clothe and feed the tribe.

YouTube Logo for website design and Parenting Fails and Pigtails Logo

So despite “investing” 100% more than I had planned, I still dont have a fancy pants blog/website/income. BUT I am a firmly believer in fate, absolutely everything happens for a reason. I may not be able to openly accept just one religion, but there is most definitely a bigger player in all of this than just you, me and any other poor person who has these posts inflicted on them.

My new, fancy pants website of DREAMS is still a WIP. But, do you know what, that doesn’t really matter does it? “Success” and whatever that means to each of us, isn’t a tangible item, it isn’t money in the bank, or fancy cars on the driveway. It’s the sheer pride that comes from raising a family, remembering to buy the milk AND butter in one sodding trip or sitting in the sun wistfully dreaming about The May Have Beens, Should Have Beens and Going to Be’s. For me, success is simple:Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Don’t Die

Live Life

Laugh Often

Love Always

And maybe if you could get me on that slightly coveted thing called The New York Times Bestsellers list I would appreciate it.

I Just need to finish this chuffing fancy pants (its not fancy) website before I can reattempt the already many reattempted manuscript. Writing for me is a lot like Hubs, it comes and goes at will, and is only productive when powered on a belly full of food. Add wine for maximum output. On that note, his highness is stirring so I best be off. Fancy Pants Website, New York Times Best Seller and yet more delightful waffle to come. But first food, after all, they do say you marry those who mirror you.

Breakfast – GET IN MY BELLY,