National Women’s Health & Fitness Day – Endorphins

National Women’s Health & Fitness Day – Endorphins

National Women’s Health & Fitness Day 

 

As a busy Mama and owner of Team Twiglet, exercise can sometimes feel impossible to fit in. Despite my best efforts, there are occasions when I simply run out of time. Or, given my life motto, I am out of action due to some self inflicted injury or ailment. In the spirit of National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, I thought I would fess up!

How many times have you put your gym kit on and not made it in the actual gym?

This week: Gym 1 vs Gym kit 3 – and its only Wednesday!

My leisure garment wearing has increased to a level where it is wholly unacceptable. This is my go to outfit choice based on the fact it is stretchy. I pair it beautifully with an unkempt mum bun, zero makeup and the potential to utilise an emergency bra free day when I can’t find the grey mangey fave I am looking for. (truth be told I am a huge advocate for the #FreedomFunBags campaign anyway, I digress!)  

But not too many moons ago, I was a self proclaimed gym goer.

Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth: Gym 5 vs Gym Kit 5 (& ¾ – no one is perfect)

More over, I loved 9 out of 10 work outs. It really does give me that ever so needed endorphin rush. A whole hashtag has been devoted to National Women’s Health & Fitness, what an accolade to have earned! Thats how awesome exercise is!

Endorphins

By definition endorphins are: any of a group of peptides occurring in the brain and other tissues of vertebrates, and resembling opiates, that react with the brain’s opiate receptors to raise the pain threshold.

In more sole remaining marble owner terms- these incredible bad boys are known to help with pretty much everything from boosting your mood to improving your productivity. Where do I sign?

Kristen Domonell writes: there is a physical change in our neurochemicals when your body comes under stress or experiences pain. Endorphins are produced in the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland, explains J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D, a sport and exercise psychologist.

Endorphins, are a natural painkiller as they are able to activate the opioid  receptors in the brain allowing our awesome human bodies to minimise their own discomforts.

And, as if it couldn’t get any better, they also encourage feelings of happiness, even euphoria and an over all improvement in our well being.

Euphoria can’t get much better than areal yoga for me, the exhilaration and sheer dread I may fall out at any time, certainly get the endorphins flowing!

“Endorphins are also involved in natural reward circuits related to activities such as feeding, drinking, sexual activity and maternal behavior,”. J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D

Exercise is the gift that keeps on giving!

Not only are there real life chemical reactions going on in our bodies when we work out, there are a whole heap of benefits that adorn us (mum bun and all) with, when we work out!:

  •  It helps to give us control over our weight. When we exercise we burn calories and there is scientific correlation between the intensity of our output and the number of calories we use up. Physical activity is great for you and the more consistent activity you do throughout your day, the better! Fitness trackers are a great way of counting steps, and encouraging you to beat your previous goals. I wear a Fitbit (not an ad or affiliate link) and you can set your goals to suit you. As I am struggling to exercise much, I take comfort in knowing I have done enough steps to feel slightly less guilty over the kids leftovers I inhaled.
  • Regular exercise works wonders on combating and even controlling health ailments. Blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety and even cancer. It should be prescribed, it sounds like a wonder drug.
  • By releasing those fabulous peptides into our brain we also improve our moods, and it can even help with depression. Personally, I find running is one of the best things I can ever do for my mental health. Even if its currently dino-arm style. Furthermore, as a bonafide insomniac, I was pleasantly surprised it can even help you sleep! 

National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Overall, I feel like National Women’s Health & Fitness Day should offer us a lifetime use of the #. I for one can’t wait to be back in my lycra for an actual reason, and not just because I am having a fat day. The benefits I enjoy from regular exercise are too long to list in their entirety, but I know from a mental health as well as physical perspective, it is a top priority. It is one of the best ways I can spend time on myself. 

If you fancy getting moving more or smashing a deadlift, I hope you guys enjoy those awesome endorphins as much as I do,

Signature Parenting Fails & Pigtails
#SocialSeptember with Mummy Social

#SocialSeptember with Mummy Social

Parenting Fails and Pigtails Logo

Mummy Social and Me – #SocialSeptmeber

#SocialSeptember & Me:

Let’s go back on a little journey together, way back when on a winters day, I remember needing a pint of milk from the supermarket. With 3 month old twins in tow. My stumbling blocks were vast and many, here are just a few examples:

Do not reverse park when you have a buggy in the boot.

Having two babies in car seats does NOT make it easier to shop.

Yes, I know I have my hands full.

Yes, they are cute.

Yes, they are mine.

No they aren’t identical. Yes I am absolutely sure, one has a willy and one doesn’t.

Yes, I am married (not that it has any bearing on mine or any one elses parenting ability)

Yes, I am clearly old enough to have children. I have two.

The Supermarket & Me

During a particularly lengthy supermarket interrogation, whilst simply trying to buy said pint of milk, I came to realise this:

How bloody lonely I was.

It was pre the days of utilising social media by way of communicating, and I gave birth before the NCT classes had even begun. 

Mother Teresa  Quote - Parenting Fails & Pigtais
CS Lewis Quote - Parenting Fails & Pigtais

Mummy Friends

I initially didn’t make many new “Mummy Friends”, my lack of confidence was rife. 

Its like being surrounded by people but not feeling a soul around you. Despite having two small things to be responsible for, I felt marooned on an island of sterilisers, puke sodden muslin cloths and a tower of stinking nappies. 

Had it not been for some well timed encouragement from Mama Bear, I think my relationship with the twins would be a fraction what it is today. I am riddled with a life long inability to have confidence in myself. I had resigned to the fact that the twins were better in someone else’s care. Someone who knew what they were doing like our most wonderful Bobby, Denisa & Rhiannon, or someone who seemed to just “get” being a mummy.

The stigma surrounding mental health worries me greatly.  Would you leave a hospital without your stitches tied, or your cannula removed? No, we wouldn’t. Yet loneliness and mental health seems to be hushed over, whispered about, or in the worse case scenarios, downright ignored.

As a child, there was a huge stigma around mental health, a pull your socks up and get on with it kind of attitude. So up those socks were pulled. But post-partum blues were horrendous for me, its a shame that only hindsight showed me this.

When #BossBaby was born,  I got it. It fell into place. Whatever “it” is, for the first time in almost 3 years. From the minute she was born I had the rush. That feeling of love beyond anything else. It also made me realise, I love the twins just like I love her. I wasn’t a failure after all. I was a Mummy, a bonafide parent, not an imposter. And so The Twiglets were unified, one cuss, I mean cuddle, at a time!

#SocialSeptember

When I approached Mummy Social to share my interest in their campaign, #SocialSeptember it was in order to give hope to those who might not be ready quite yet to share EXACTLY how they feel. A safe place, without judgement or shame would have been the most incredible thing for me just shy of a decade ago.

Mummy Social screen shot by Parenting Fails  & Piigtails
Mummy Social screen shot by Parenting Fails  & Piigtails
Mummy Social screen shot by Parenting Fails  & Piigtails

Somewhere to express how I could go from coping to surviving and on to struggling in the space of a day. Heck, it could disintegrate to disaster level in less than an hour. Now I know, that it is ok. It always has been ok, I just didn’t really know it. I can whittle hours away trying to reminisce the twins early years, and as this post involves opening up and telling the truth, shame and embarrassment aside – I feel like I can barely remember a thing.

Other than Thing 1’s first word was shit.

Let that sink in.

S. H. I. T.

All because she had dropped duplo on the floor.

Mother of the Year right there.

I was mortified. Not helped by this happening in front of our brand new neighbours at the time. The very same pair had given us marriage lessons through the church not too many years before! In my defence Mother, I had inadvertently exposed her to this language at such a young age due to dropping a tape measure on my foot and the expletive slipped out of my mouth. I know it is no excuse, but I hadn’t know she was even there let alone in ear shit, I mean shot!

Mummy Social and their #SocialSeptember campaign offers you the ability to find fellow mamas in and around your area. It is easy to navigate and takes seconds to sign up. I would thoroughly recommend giving it a whirl, its free and if I can use it, anyone can!

Mummy Social Quote from Parenting Fails & Pigtails

What the app can offer is amazing. I really hope by signing up, interacting with people and making new friends, we can end loneliness. Together.

PS. please accept my apologies – this post was written and published earlier this month, but I had a technological fail (standard) and have had to repost it. My laptop has been at severe risk of injury for the last 5 hours. I can’t promise its out of the woods yet…..

The Art of Parenting

The Art of Parenting

The Art of Parenting

The Art of Parenting. How is there an art to parenting? Like, I make sure Team Twiglet are fed, watered and clothed, does that make me an artiste? Is it my flair for entertaining voices in the bath? Or perfecting the ever so important Mum Glare when the kids are turning into possessed Tasmanian devils in the cereal isle? Either way, I’m not convinced there is an art to it.

Same Shit, Different Day.

We are on week 5 of the epically long Summer Holidays, and I think all of us are beginning to lose a marble or two. Artistic it most definitely is not!

There are so many hints and parenting tips for you to absorb in the magical world wide web, it is pretty much an Idiots Guide to Parenting.   

Team Twiglet, wet play. Parenting Fails and Pigtails. The Art of Parenting.

Except, the main thing that seems to be sparse in the advice for parents of babies to teens alike, is this:

The fact that each individual soul that walks this planet, is unique.

What I may find funny for example, could be offensive to the person on my left, but mildly amusing to the person on my right. Yet despite their indifference, I am rolling around on the floor in a fit of giggles, because it tickled me pink.

Quote No One is you and that is your super power. The Art of Parenting. Parenting Fails and Pigtails

So, whilst there is a fountain of knowledge out here in the massive technological universe, I suggest to try to take each Parenting Styles or Preschool Parenting Advice or any other of the millions of parenting related titles, with a proverbial pinch of salt.

No two humans are the same, there is no one else who is you. And as the quote states, it really is a super power.

I spent some time figuring out who I am this year, with the help of Martha Beck and it has been an amazing exercise that I thoroughly recommend. Personalities are so complex, sometimes it is hard to figure out who you are, let alone any one else. 

Its a Twin Thing

I say the above based on limited, but genuine experience. Having been launched into parenting on a nappy filled rocket, we welcomed twins almost a decade ago. My pregnancy was complexed due to multiple reasons. Primarily cancer + pregnancy isn’t a great combo, but we’ve made it thus far regardless.  

Thing 1 for example, would only sleep on her front*, which is against all advice. But she would cry and cry on her back yet slept soundly on her front. Where as Thing 2, would only sleep on his back.

A minute apart in age, a world apart in personality and preferences. 

Comparing when you have twins is pretty much a mortal sin, but somewhat inevitable. Having two children grown in the same womb, sharing the same conditions and entering the world at almost exactly the same time, leads to some natural comparisons. If Thing 1 was winding better, I would try and figure out the perfect technique to use on Thing 2. I had completely lost the understanding that they were indeed entirely separate entities. I now know, each and every child is as different as the advice available to trawl through.

Whilst I wouldn’t swap our parenting baptism of fire, I am grateful they are somewhat self sufficient these days. The twins have even started to make their own breakfasts! Team Twiglet continue to amaze me each and every day. Thats not to say they don’t push my buttons, argue and invariably cry multiple times a day. For my sins, I am a shouter. Despite my best efforts a few years ago to give up shouting for lent, the Summer Holidays aren’t all that easy to navigate. It has however decreased in volume and frequency now they are now old enough (ish) to reason with, and I no longer have to wrestle a crocodile to remove yet another piccalilli shit storm!  

The Art of Parenting?

I feel, should there be an Art of Parenting, that someone, somewhere needs to take ownership and filter out the tosh that is floating around these binary 0’s and 1’s. 

There are too many people who seem to know the best and apparent only way of parenting correctly. I however do not. I believe we each parent the best possible way we can, and the way I do it, is no better or more correct than the way you do it.

And my attempt is most definitely is not Art,

*The current guidelines recommend an infant to sleep on their backs, I was aware that this was against midwife regulations, but as a sleep deprived mummy of twins, I got to the stage of if it works, it works. I spent many nights in restless slumber checking on her, the mum guilt was rife. She still sleeps on her tummy, bum high and wrapped up like The Hungry Caterpillar.

I do not however recommend or endorse other people ignoring these well researched guidelines. 

Back to Basics – SEO

Back to Basics – SEO

Every Day I’m Waffling

Back To Basics

To be fair, back to basics is pretty much how this week has panned out. Post op, Ive not been feeling myself, and it has seemed to be the best tact to take in multiple situations. My facial expression opposite says it all! I have however, been cheered up by the slogan on this fabulous, flamingo pink jumper and it couldn’t be more accurate. (Thank you to one of my all time besties for such a fabulous treat, you know me so well, I shall be seen wearing it forever more!). You can find this fabulous jumper here http://www.cocaranti.com 

or here https://www.wildfox.com ).

Albeit, the “thinking about” isn’t about to change into “going to” the gym any time soon I fear. It is more truthful to say I am “Pining about the gym” it is after all, one of the things I love most in the world.

I say one of the things and not the main thing because, aside from the obvious kids, The Hubs, The Fam & Friends etc etc. My most favourite thing in the whole entire world is ….this is going to come to you as a complete shock, as it has never, ever been mentioned by me before………wait for it……….

is the suspense killing you yet…..

WIIIIINNNNEEEEE.

I bet none of you saw that one coming. 

This week has not been a good week. Between shoulder spasms, tears, staples and sleep deprivation, I appear to have also lost my usually fantastical (ha) sense of humour. I have sat down to write witty, engaging, SEO friendly content about 100 times – with absolutely zero success. So instead, I am going to ignore whether or not this #blog is, or is not, ticking all the right boxes and go back to basics. I’m thinking more toast, less Yoast. (which, should you be needing to find out vital stats for your blog is awesome by the way, it just doesn’t taste too good with butter https://yoast.com ). 

Lets go back, waaaaay back, back to basics and what I do best. Waffle complete and utter tosh to all you lovely folk in the hope it raises at least a smile or two. Ironically, currently as I type, only one half of my face can smile. If I concentrate, (big ask I hear you say), I can get the other half to work a bit too. 

However, I dribble when I drink and that’s pre-wine, and I can’t guarantee the food on my fork makes it into my mouth in the way expected of fully fledged adults. My eating habits resemble those of Thing 1 and Thing 2, and that is most definitely NOT a good thing. I also can’t be certain whether I’m chewing the food I have put in my gob or my tongue – either way its classed as protein I guess?

So, going back to basics to means I need to get one thing off my chest. The whole algorithms, SEO, DA, PA is BORING. There, I’ve said it.

BORING. BORING. BORING.   

 My goal is to grow with this blog, to align with fabulous readers, likeminded brands and creatives, and ultimately  showcase my wonderful waffle to the world. I endeavour to catapult my social presence, and one day be cool enough to become that coveted thing known as A Success. Currently, my only hope is to align with brands who need help marketing contraception I reckon. Having 3 kids under 3 sends even the most normal of people bonkers. I was disadvantaged from the off, as not normal to start with.  

Or, maybe I could be an anti-influencer? Work with rival companies and spoof their competitors. Hey, I reckon that’s a business idea right there, what do you think? Are you in? Reminiscent of Punk’d way back when MTV only had one channel and Ronaldo debuted for United.   

I have to confess, I used to try to be cool. Those who know me personally, please feel free to belly laugh at these attempts, mostly found in the late 90’s blessedly before social media was a thing. A big hello to those who know me through this blog and my internet documented fails, check out https://parentingfailsandpigtails.co.uk/uncategorized/friyay/ and the rest of my site, where I can guarantee you will get a feel for my general, and life long ability to find myself in situations that can only happen to me.

Today, I look ghastly. I don’t reckon all the make up in the world will make my face or my staples look any better. It’s a shame it’s not nearer Halloween, because I wouldn’t need a costume. Thank you to all those that have just fleetingly thought I’ve never needed a costume because I naturally look scary enough. Or that I have Casper the Friendly Ghost nailed  365 days of the year. 

Im also devastated to say that I don’t think I can fly (yoga or aviation) anytime soon. My head feels like it weighs about 50 stone, oh no wait, that’s me due to the disastrous number of crumpets I’ve consumed and inflicted on my ever expanding arse. My head is more like 5 stone perhaps. Fun Fact of today: The average human head actually only weighs between 10 – 11 pounds…

https://www.brainstuffshow.com/blogs/how-much-does-the-human-head-actually-weigh.htm  

Can you tell its the Summer Holidays and I am trying to entertain Team Twiglet with random fact finding expeditions due to the disastrous weather? You can actually ask Alexa anything. And yes Thing 2, she does indeed burp. I am not convinced using Alexa fits in with my back to basics philosophy of today, but nobodies perfect. 

Unfortunately, I  feel like my head has the potential to physically hang off, reminiscent of Nearly Headless Nick for all those Muggles out there. In fact, if I sneeze, I reckon my head might actually fall off. I also have “cough fear” in so much as my insides might end up outsides should I have to clear my throat. I have to admit, I have reached the stage now where I am sick of the muscle spasm, my head feels like I’ve lost a round with Tyson Fury, and my neck resembles a zipper.

Shit day all round I say. 

As the saying goes “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry”. My darling Sister-In-Law produced the photograph opposite using this app https://www.faceapp.com in the hope of raising a smile. Despite her best efforts, it has genuinely filled me with dread about how bad I am going to look when gravity takes hold and my nose trebles in size! I mean, I know your nose never stops growing (this could well be less fact, more fiction akin to when your ‘Rents tell you if the wind changes, your face will stay like that), but seriously, with that nose, I’m giving Shrek another run for his money. 

https://parentingfailsandpigtails.co.uk/uncategorized/my-blog-and-i-readership-or-really-sht/

I am however about to download it and use it as this afternoons Wet Play entertainment given the dire weather July has offered us thus far, given the fact we are already week 2 of the Summer Holidays. Why is it only ever sunny when they are in school? 

So whilst this waffle isn’t SEO friendly, it is making me feel better, and hopefully resurrecting my love of writing funny’s. I I feel as though I have got myself so lost in trying to figure out how to make Parenting Fails & Pigtais “work”, Ive forgotten why I began inflicting my waffle on you lovely folk in the first place. 

I am taking up this minute piece of binary 0’s and 1’s to make you, me and anyone who cares to read this, laugh. I can assure you, my life, my attempt at motherhood and all that goes with it, is most definitely, unequivocally NOT Instagram friendly. For example, when I decided to use washing up liquid in the dishwasher one time, because I had run out of tablets. DO NOT DO THIS, unless you want a Foam Party circa 1999. It did smell far better than whatever that foul stuff was that we not only voluntarily got sprayed with, we actually paid for the privilege!!! This would have been an ideal time to go back to basics and actually just do the washing up, karma totally got me back.

Whilst attempting to use my business but drug fuddled (legal ones only) mind these last few days, Ive been researching social media content, and how to schedule posts in order to stay current and relevant.

Do you know there is a national “Talk in an Elevator Day” coming up. An actual day, dedicated to talking to someone in a lift. I am super tempted to get myself a little chair, a coffee, and park myself in a fancy one in Selfridges or somewhere, and see how long it takes for security to arrive.

“Gosh, sorry Mr Security Guard, Today is National Talk in an Elevator Day. I am fulfilling my duty on behalf of our nation. Oh, the chair? I went with comfort, you know, my dedication to our nation has meant I have been here a few hours already. I used my initiative. In fact, I bet there is a National Initiative Day too, I shall research and get back to you. Please come in, mind the gap, I shall now talk to you whilst ensuring you reach your desired destination. Oh shit, we missed your floor, not to worry, we can go back up again.” Cue some big burly dude taking me, my chair and luke warm coffee out of the building via the fire escape to avoid bringing any further shame to the fabulous store that is Selfridges.

Guys, may be it’s not actually a terrible idea? It would certainly make for a good Vlog. Think flash mob? But for now I shall leave you with my none SEO, DA, PA box ticked waffle, because sometimes its nice to just write, 

The Mummy Concierge

The Mummy Concierge

The Mummy Concierge offers you personalised planning from bump to baby. How amazing does that sound? When I fell pregnant it was a huge, HUGE surprise. Given the amount of treatment I had received, there was little hope that my ovaries were in good enough nick to conceive naturally. I have an ongoing battle with that annoying thing called cancer – more on that here -> https://parentingfailsandpigtails.co.uk/the-big-c/. In order to start on the IVF programme, we were advised to “stop being careful” for 18 months, with the view that we would then begin to try to introduce children into this world, however that was possible.

Little did we know, 4 months into our 18 month plan, we would be fortunate enough to conceive naturally! An as if that news couldn’t get any better, we were expecting TWINS.

Now, I wouldn’t swap them for the world, but boy was it tough. From “peeing on a stick” right through to my emergency c-section, it wasn’t plain sailing. On top of that, my level of disorganisation was shameful. Thing 1 and Thing 2 arrived so early we hadn’t even had the car seats delivered. Fail numero uno considering you need to have one in order to take bubs/bubbas home from hospital with you.

Although not required immediately, the nursery still had the lingering odour of fresh paint, the blinds were yet to be hung, and even the heating was a bit sketchy. But alas, they were ready to make their entrance into the world, regardless of how unprepared I was! We landed, twins and all, with a (still ginormous postpartum) bump.

What The Mummy Concierge offers

Tiffany offers a service that will cover all the lists of lists that daunts us all about impending parenthood. Who here loves a list? “Me” I hear you say, but I’m guessing, like me, only the ones you manage to tick off! Which was definitely not the case in the aforementioned scenario. It is so very important to get the help and guidance you personally need, and no amount of blogging me, you or the other millions of wonderful people out there do, can achieve this. I certainly don’t have all the answers or the ability to offer all the guidance you seek for the newest member(s) of your family. 

Aiding in everything from personal confidence to pram purchasing, Tiffany endeavours to ensure the transition from bump to baby is a seamless as possible. Although, I have to say, sleepless nights are pretty much a guarantee, if you were unaware of this, I am sorry to be the one to break it to you. On the upside, Tiffany can even aid in the night time routine, she is practically a real life super hero, who is contactable by email tiffany@themummyconcierge.com day, or night. 

Stylish Mama’s To Be

Bump support and style are two key areas The Mummy Concierge covers, which would have been of such benefit to me and my humongous sized bump. I struggle to tick the “stylish” box naturally, and I definitely didn’t achieve the coveted pregnancy glow. Primarily because I was either being sick, felt sick, or was sick of being sick for pretty much the entirety of both pregnancies. I am gutted this service wasn’t available when I was green (morning sickness/nerves/shit the bed I’m having twins/all of the above) with worry about becoming a first time Mummy. 

If there is an area in parenting you need help, advice or assistance on, I would thoroughly recommend visiting www.themummyconcierge.com

Tiffany’s testimonials go to show what an amazing job she has done for each of her clients, I only wish I had my name on there! Her website is clean, easy to use and informative. Given the multiple ways to contact Tiffany, it leads me to believe she is incredibly dedicated to her clients and the role she plays in the amazing journey of bringing a little bundle of joy in to this world.

I am a full-time hands-on Mama and I know I still need all the help I can get – even if my #BossBaby is 7 (years) old already. Whilst Im a huge advocate of finding your own way in life, sometimes knowing a (wo)man who can is the most emotional and time efficient option available. 

Have a peep, Im sure you will love what she offers just as much as I do,

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