This is my reason for blogging. It was my first post and was full of so many mistakes as I rushed to get it all off my chest. I’ve posted again after a tidy up.
Short version: I miss my mum.
Long version: May 2011: After going for a routine doctors appointment, mum mentioned to the doctor she had a small lump on the side of her neck. She was referred straight away, and within weeks she was told it was tonsil cancer. She also had a small shadow on her lung.
I can remember the day she phoned with the news that she also had lung cancer. I was stood in the garden with the phone as I didn’t want the children to see me crying. As soon as lung cancer was mentioned it all seemed impossible to beat, but my mum was really positive.
We live in Liverpool and my mum and sister were in London, so I went straight down there leaving James with the children who were then 9,7 and 5 year old twins.
While I was at my mums she had an appointment where it was made clear she was terminally ill, and that without treatment she had around 6 months to live. If she had chemo and radio maybe 2 years. The cancer in her tonsils could be removed, and so could the very small lesion on her lung. Unfortunately she had two nodules that were right next to her wind pipe, so surgery there was out of the question.
I had already thought this would be the outcome, but I think my mum was totally blown away this day. We went home and told my sister.
She had surgery to her throat and neck which went well.
By christmas 2011 she was in the middle of her chemo, which is a battle in itself. My tiny little 4ft 11ins mum suddenly ballooned, but she didn’t care, she was determined, like a lot of people that she was going to beat it.
For two years mum had pet scans every 3-6 months to see if the cancer had come back, or spread elsewhere. They kept coming back clear, and by Christmas 2013 we started to have some hope that maybe it really had gone.
James and I started talking about trying for another baby, as we had shelved those plans two years back. By January 2014 I was pregnant, my mum was so happy. We had an early scan at 6 weeks and saw a little heartbeat. We were all so happy.
Sunday 9th March 2014: This day is ingrained in my mind. I was polishing the living room like I did every Sunday. James and the children were upstairs getting baths ready for school.
I walked into the hallway, and down to the toilet, I noticed a small amount of blood on the tissue, I was just about to call James when the house phone rang in the hallway.
It was my sister,she was really crying, I could just about make out what she was saying.
“The cancer has spread to mums brain”
and in the space of 60 seconds my life had changed. I was losing the baby……and my mum,
As soon as she said brain cancer I knew it was game over.
Within the hour we got James mum and dad round to look after the children, and drove from Liverpool to London and straight to the hospital to see her.
She had originally gone to the hospital as she was having problems with her hand. She thought she was having a stroke, which they did test for. But once that was ruled out they more or less knew with the symptoms that it was to do with the brain. They were only there a couple of hours when she and my sister got the news.
We got there and I hugged my mum. The next day James went home and left me in London, we never spoke about the bleeding.
I went back to the hospital. Mum was being discharged, but was going to get a date for cyber-knife radiotherapy to see if it would shrink the tumors, which again were only small. As she was packing her things I told her about the bleeding. She marched me straight from the ward to the early pregnancy unit which was upstairs, and explained everything to the receptionist. They said they would scan me. Luckily I had my notes, and I explained I was 11 weeks.
During the scan the lady could see a 6 week embryo, but no heartbeat. I couldn’t get my head round it. Eleven weeks I was now, and I’d seen a heartbeat.
I dont think they believed me until I got the scan pictures out. It was the exact same gestation on the scan with the heartbeat as it was now.
It took this lovely lady over an hour to explain it was a missed miscarriage. I just couldn’t get my head round it. I had such bad morning sickness, how could the pregnancy have ended 5 weeks before. My poor mum was sitting there reeling from her own news.
As they now had proof the baby was there 5 weeks ago, they said they could fit me in the next day for an ERPC, or I could wait for nature to take its course. My mum urged me to have the ERPC and so I arranged to come back the next day.
I then had the task of phoning James and telling him. Downstairs at the hospital entrance I phoned him and remember thinking how on earth had all this happened in 24 hours, everything had been different yesterday morning.
June 2014: Mum had the cyber knife. She was so hopeful.
Slowly I had started to see little changes in her. Her speech had slowed, and she had trouble remembering some words. She was having trouble writing, and living day to day was getting that bit harder.
My mum lived on her own, but my sister had been offered the chance of redundancy from a job she had been in for many years. She took up the offer and become my mums carer. This was a huge weight off my mind. We were finding it really hard trying to get me down to London. James is self employed and logistically it was a nightmare.
August 2014: It had started to become apparent that the cyber knife hadn’t worked. Although she never said it was obvious she was devastated. We all were.
The Doctors said if she was well enough they would try and do brain surgery to remove the pressure from her brain, and just see how much they could remove. Bless those doctors they really did do everything they could for my mum, no complaints there, and my mum was really up for it, even though they made it clear the risks were huge.
At the end of August I found out I was pregnant again.
Although I was over the moon I knew the timing was not good, so we never told anyone until I was 4 months.
December 2014: Mum was now in a pretty bad way and so was her quality of life. They finally gave her a date for surgery in early January. She had been in and out of hospital for a few weeks as they couldn’t quite get her medication right.
A few days before Christmas and we took the children to see their beloved Nanny.They hadn’t seen her since before the brain cancer had been diagnosed 9 months before. Bless her she tried so hard to act normal. She could hardly talk, or use her hands. She talked about the pregnancy, and she joked it would have the best birthday month, April ,the same as hers. We only went for the day, and when we left, as usual the children all waved like mad at the window at her.
January 2015: mum had brain surgery the first week of January. I went down to see her in the Royal London Hospital a couple of days after it.
They kept her in hospital for 3 weeks, and explained to her that they hadn’t been able to remove very much. The surgery had left her in a worse way than before, she had very little speech and was easily agitated. All the medication was making her hallucinate, it was dreadful to see her like this.
I came down again the third week she was in there, at the end of January.
This was the last time I physically saw my mum.
I was helping her to the toilet as she had become incontinent.
I was 6 months pregnant.
When she came home she was still in and out of hospital. It had become increasingly hard to understand her on the phone. Over the next two months I had a couple of phone calls with her, but most communicating was between me and my sister.
The very last time I spoke to her was the beginning of April 2015, just after her 67th birthday. She had fallen out of the bed, for the second time in a week, and had to call an ambulance. I just said “oh mum” and for the first time in all my 40 years she didn’t say “oh I’m alright” she just said “I know I know” they were her last words to me, she just sounded so defeated.
Two weeks later and it was 2 days before my planned C-section.
My sister phoned, and said the doctors had warned her mum was nearly at the end.
My sister was worried about having to tell me, especially if it was on my C -section date. I said even if I’m on the operating table I wanted to know.
I was devastated and wracked with guilt that I couldn’t get down to London at that time, and have had to make peace with myself over it.
23rd April 2015: Our beautiful baby boy Carson Joseph James was born at 09:50. I lay there on that table and heard my baby take his first breath knowing my mum was near to taking her last.
The doctors and nurses at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital did there absolute utmost best to get me out quick, to see if I could get down to London to see her.
Just over 24 hours after having the C- section I was discharged. We walked into our house at 16.20. At 16.26 24th April 2015 my sister phoned to say my beautiful, beautiful, mum had gone. She had waited until Carson was safely here.
I was too late to see her.
I then had to tell my other four babies, that although I’d brought home their new brother, their lovely nanny had gone.
We all just sat and cried together.
October 2015: My sister phoned to say my dad had been found dead in his flat, from a fall, maybe from a stroke.
I hadn’t seen my dad since 2001, and he had never met any of the children. It was still a big shock. Maybe I was hoping one day he’d turn up on my doorstep and want to see his grandchildren.
My mum has left a big gaping hole in our lives, though we were miles apart we were really close.
l miss just talking to her.
The things I write and film about, are the things I would probably be telling her.
And this is the reason I am blogging and vlogging it fills that hole.
I have found this lovely community of people, all of whom are blogging for their own reasons and it all just feels right.