Words of Wisdom: Autiquotes

31 January 2016

Dear friend,

Every week I like to post a favourite quote that I have found. I posted my first 'Words of Wisdom' piece in May 2015 and from June 2015 began linking up to Cuddle Fairy's Candid Cuddles Linky on a Sunday. I am always on the look out for a bit of inspirational writing and especially like it when they are relevant to me or my current situation. 

At Christmas I wrote a poem called; Autism isn't just for Christmas.  I turned verses into images with text and put them on Instagram.

The reponse was fantastic. I had messages from parents saying thank you and that this was how Christmas was for their child. 

People like quotes, they are catchy, easy to share and therefore a good way to get your message across. 

My aim with the Diary of an imperfect mum was to spread awareness and acceptance of autism, here was a way for me to try and get the message out there in an accessible way. So Autiquotes was born.

Autiquotes are simply my quotes about autism. Reflections that I have made in my posts on Diary of an imperfect mum only in a more accessible form. 

The first Autiquote. 

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance. 

I hope you will follow the series and help spread autism awareness by sharing.

Liked this quote? Check out my Autiquotes series here.
Love quotes? Come and check out more in the Words of Wisdom series here.

H Days Part 8: My Hysterectomy Journey

30 January 2016

Dear Friend,

I must be starting to feel better as I am getting bored. I have noticed small victories too; Filling up the kettle is easier, putting on my trousers is no longer a form of torture and I have more energy. 

My scars are healing well and I can't believe how tiny they are. The 3 small incisions on my public line will not be visible and will tuck away under my bikini. The other cut is hidden inside my navel and that is healing well too, the stitches are more visible but no one will see. Amazing considering women used to be cut wide open.

I walked to school to pick up the boys with hubby. I wanted to surprise them and it is only 100m from our house. I never realised how long it would take, how much it would hurt and how tired I would be afterwards. But it did teach me a valuable lesson; even if your mind says you're ready your body calls the shots! The smiles on the boys faces were definitely worth the effort but I may wait until after the weekend before trying again.

The problem is that when all you have done is lie In bed, sit on the sofa and wander around the house a bit, for two whole weeks you get weak. It takes time to build up your energy again. If I do too much or something too quickly I get dizzy. 

I have enjoyed making the most of extra snuggles in bed from the boys, reading stories, making minions with craft beads, anything that involves sitting still. I can even manage an hour playing on the wii with the boys before I need a more comfy seat. 

The boys haven't moaned once! They have been so good and I am super proud of them, especially getting themselves ready for school on a morning and walking there together. I was over the moon to hear from the little man's teacher that he is coping fine. I am glad I went in to see her beforehand though, just in case he had a few wobbles. It always pays to warn the teacher!

In the last few days I've started to wrestle more with the psychological side of what has happened. I knew I would after my initial reaction to being offered this surgery. But quite frankly I am more relieved that my problems weren't more serious. 

During the surgery the Dr discovered that my womb was stuck to some of my internal organs on one side, she mentioned endometriosis. I had heard of endometriosis but wasn't entirely sure what it was. 

Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is found outside the womb.

This would explain my pain. But I also realise reading the information that I may have been lucky to have my boys as endometriosis can cause fertility problems. Instead of mourning the loss of my womb I am counting my blessings. I can not imagine life without my gorgeous boys!

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

26 January 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Eavesdropping on my kids

25 January 2016

Dear friend,

Do you ever eavesdrop on your kids? My eavesdropping began quite unintentionally, I promise! 

We turned our spare bedroom into a playroom. I have been laid up in bed recovering from my operation and smiling to myself as I listened to my boys babbling away to each other. I have over heard some crazy things! 

Here are some of my favourites:

  1. I want to smell your breathe.
  2. Papa looks like pacman.
  3. Who are you Kirby or Bowser?
  4. Does Nova (our dog) miss her mummy? 
  5. My teachers going to have a baby, it looked weird.
  6. Is my eye going to fall out? 
  7. I have hairy legs.
  8. I give you the pump express.
  9. My PP (willy) liked it. (That one needed investigation!)
  10. I'm not a little baby anymore.
  11. You can't always pick, it has to be fair!
  12. Is bugger off rude?
  13. Hey Macarana, yeh! (Jumping in and out of the room naked.)
  14. Mum, he just pumped in my face
  15. Why do you have nipples?
  16. Robot has a really incredible power shot.
  17. My willy does special effects!
  18. I love you with all of my bottom.
  19. I just pumped on my leg.
  20. I can talk dog language, "Hello I'm a dog!" (In an gruff voice.)
  21. The computer is a fatter guy.
  22. Your breathe smells like broccoli.
  23. Let's measure our willies. 
  24. Do we have to go to school? No it's weekend. Yeeessssssss!
  25. Ssshhh mums coming.

The common theme seems to be pumps and willies. The trouble is in our house I can't say; Well they didn't get it from me! If it comes out in English it's my fault and it seems like most of the craziness is in English, Oooppps! 

H Days Part 7: My Hysterectomy Journey

23 January 2016

Dear Friend,

I am now 10 days post op. I started this diary as a record of my experience and have been overwhelmed by the response and the lovely well wishes I've received. At the beginning I wrote;

So my friend, I have decided to keep a no holes barred diary of my hysterectomy journey for any other women out there who, like me, want to know the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If it helps one person then my job is done!

I was absolutely over the moon when someone contacted me via Twitter and told me just that; my Journal had helped to alleviate some of her worry in such a stressful time. It's a brilliant thing this blogging! My goal is complete, thank you.

My recovery is going really well in terms of pain. I am finding it easier to get in and out of bed and stand up etc. my body lets me know really quickly if I have done too much. The thing that is getting to me most is the fatigue and the dizziness. I have been back to the GP and they have taken bloods to check the levels, apparently my blood loss during the surgery was a bit more than normal so maybe I have an iron deficiency My blood pressure was high which perhaps explains the light headed feeling I've been experiencing.

Yesterday I managed a whole morning out of bed. I was energized by a lovely friend and colleague coming for a cuppa. It was good to have some company! I retired to bed for the afternoon feeling a lot better than the previous day. Fingers crossed that this is the beginning of my return to normality. 

The big lad has coped brilliantly but the signs of stress are starting to show and his teacher rang yesterday to discuss some things. We made a list of jobs he needs wants to do. Perhaps he feels better if he thinks he is doing something to help or he is looking for structure in the chaos. I understand that. All I can do is reassure him that I am getting better.

Yesterday afternoon the nurse from gynaecology rang to see how I was feeling. I am doing well but more time and rest is needed and apparently I expect too much! That made me laugh, me, never?! Isn't that true of all us mums, that mummy guilt doesn't allow us to be ill or under par as we have to keep going for our families.

If this experience has taught me anything it is that the world doesn't end when you need to rest. I can not be there physically for my kids but I am always here mentally to give them the love and support they need.

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

22 January 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

No Complaints Challenge

21 January 2016

Dear friend,

The lovely and incredibly positive Becky aka Cuddle Fairy invited me to take part in the 24 hours no complaints challenge. I consider myself a positive person too but know that I can be prone to self doubt and anxiety so I was willing to give this a try. I knew that this would be a difficult challenge for me at the moment, post surgery. Could my positive attitude have a favourable influence on my health?

Image courtesy of  cuddlefairy.com

Here are the positive moments I found during my day

Blessing 1: I don't have to work at the moment so that means extra cuddles in the morning from my two boys. 
Blessing 2: I am so thankful for my hubby setting all the school things out the night before to make life easier for me.
Blessing 3: My boys are so caring and are really trying hard to help me, fetching things and helping me up.
Blessing 4: We live so close to school that I can stand on my doorstep and watch the boys walk there. 
Blessing 5: Having a supportive family. My father-in-law comes to walk the dog.
Blessing 6: I am grateful for a morning of peace. I can return to bed and rest. 
Blessing 7: I am feeling a bit stronger every day. Today I was able to make the boys lunch.
Blessing 8: Hubby arrived home early.
Blessing 9: Feeling strong enough to spend more time with the boys today.
Blessing 10: Having a big bed so we can all snuggle up and watch TV
Blessing 11: Listening to the big lad reading a bedtime story to his brother.
Blessing 12: Kissing my sons goodnight.

There were challenges. It wasn't the best day for Twitter to crash, I felt dizzy at lunch time, hubby had a moan about me being on the iPad too much and the little man eating poorly. But I kept focus and pushed the negative feelings out of my mind.

Image courtesy of cuddlefairy.com
By channeling my energy into a positive mindset it made me feel stronger and more in control. Instead of punishing myself with negative
thinking I was in effect becoming my own cheerleader.

This challenge has made me realise that I am great at encouraging others but really unforgiving with myself.

Did it improve my health?

Well tonight I am feeling more rested, more peaceful and I have less pain. 

Thanks Becky from Cuddle fairy and company for your positive encouragement and good energy throughout the day.   – Debbie from My random musings, Trista from Domesticated Momster and Michelle from Rockin’ Random Mom

What is autism?

20 January 2016

Dear Friend,

It always amazes me how tongue tied I become each time someone asks me: What is autism? It happened again today, and I walked away from the conversation feeling immensely stupid. I have a son with autism, I write a blog about our life with autism, I read extensively, I've done the courses, I live and breath it for goodness sake but I still can't find the words to tell someone what it is.  I stumble over my words, um and aarrhh and generally make a right pigs ear of it.

I have decided that today I will find a better answer...

So my friends, What is autism?

Here are some definitions I found by looking on Google:
  • Autism is what's known as a lifelong developmental disability which affects 1 in 100 people in the UK. It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them. ‘Developmental disability’ is a term that covers a wide range of conditions, but what it basically means is that a person develops differently and may have problems with intellectual, physical, learning, language and/or behaviour skills.  Ambitious about autism.
  • Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. The National Autistic Society They even provide a video.

  • Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause problems with social interaction, language skills and physical behaviour. People with autism may also be more sensitive to everyday sensory information. To people with the condition the world can appear chaotic with no clear boundaries, order or meaning. The disorder varies from mild to so severe that a person may be almost unable to communicate and need round-the-clock care. BBC Science.
  • Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. Medical News Today
  • Now I'm not a huge fan of Autism Speaks because I don't think my son needs to be cured of anything (he isn't sick) but I do like the new advert they have produced and think it can go a long way towards raising awareness and understanding. I particularly like how it is based on the experiences of and partly narrated by a boy with autism.

  • I really like the National Autistic Society's easy read information this gives clear simple, no fuss guidance.
It is worth noting that Google gives me about 73,400,000 results when I type in; What is autism?

It appears that there are as many definitions of Autism as their are different people on the spectrum. As the saying goes, so you've met one person with autism then you've met one person with Autism.

Maybe that is the issue, there in a nutshell...

Everybody has a unique experience of what autism is! 

What autism means for us is also really difficult to define because actually as hubby rather brilliantly put it; It doesn't matter to me if our boys are autistic or whatever they're just mine and I love them. And I totally 100% agree. After all Autism is not something to be feared it is a part of a child who needs to be loved. 

But actually we need to live outside of our family 'safe' bubble.

What do people really need to know?

I believe the people that ask me; What is autism? Are actually asking a different question entirely.

Family, friends, teachers, health professionals, shop assistants want to know what they should do or what to expect; they want guidance. So often people have only seen the extremes (ranging from Einstein or Rain Man to non verbal) and some may actually be scared of what to expect but may be too polite to ask.

People really, want or need to know what 'autism' means for us and how they can help.

I asked my 6 year old (non autistic) and his response was spot on:

Autism means that sometimes my brother's head gets really full and he gets stressed or upset.



Disclaimer: This is our reality but as autism is a broad spectrum disorder not every autistic person will have the same experiences.

H Days Part 6: My Hysterectomy Journey

19 January 2016

Dear friend,

It is one week since my surgery, one whole week, I can't believe it! It is as if time has been playing tricks on me, the days have all run into one, a blur of sleep, television and social media.

Yesterday was difficult. The hardest day yet. I felt like I was fighting back the tears all day. In the back of my mind I just kept clinging to the thought; in a couple of weeks this will be all over. I don't really know what hit me so hard. The fatigue, the constant ache, the dizziness or just missing being with my boys. 

Hubby took our boys swimming, it was strange being left behind. I waited for them to come back and we ate lunch together but afterwards I retreated to bed, tired, hurting. They went to an indoor play centre. I continued my Game of Thrones Marathon and slept but I felt a great gaping hole inside. 

I love our weekends, we always do something together but just being together is enough. I felt lonely despite the dog remaining my constant companion! I didn't want to punish my family, give them a rubbish weekend too, I don't want that guilt weighing me down. I wanted hubby to take them somewhere to have fun and use up some energy. I just wanted to be there too. I wanted to be fun, to have fun, not to be sick mummy!

I did not really know what to expect but I thought that one week post op I would have far less pain and far more energy. In the first few days just taking a shower wiped me out. Now I can manage to sit downstairs for a while and eat dinner with the boys but then I need to rest. People keep telling me it's early days but I feel a bit pathetic, weak. This isn't me!

There is nothing I can do but listen to my body and rest... But my spirit will not be broken. 

Book corner: Down the back of the chair

18 January 2016

Dear Friend,

As a Primary School teacher I recognise the value and importance of reading with your children. We have a house full of children's books and each month we choose one of our favourites to review. This months I choose:

Down the back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar.

ISBN 978-1-84507-602-3

H Days Part 5: My Hysterectomy Journey

16 January 2016

Dear Friend,

The big man crept into my bed again last night. What if you don't get better? How long will you be sick for? What if it takes 10 weeks. It is so hard for him, his autistic brain needs the order the schedule to help him feel in control. I get that and spend a large amount of my time unconsciously preparing him; giving him dates, times a clear order and schedule, talking through what we are going to do or what will happen. Unfortunately for him (and me) getting better isn't dependent on a fixed schedule. I could only reassure him that I would get better and then I got the leaflet from the hospital and read through the information with him.

He wants me to sit and play computer games with him. I want that too...

Hubby and I snuggled up in bed with a movie but he feel asleep half way through. He's tired, it was a busy day and I feel guilty that he's having to cope with all of this. Then I begin to panic about what will I do on Tuesday when he goes back to work? Will I be able to cope, alone in only 4 days? I lock those thoughts away and sleep.

I had forgotten what day it was; I had to check my mobile. Friday I'm now 3 days post op. At last a decent night sleep. The pain is OK, I would describe it as uncomfortable. Sitting upright in a chair is still painful but it is manageable.

I have spent another day in bed. Hubby joked that the bedroom looked like an office as I laid here with the Mac Book open, ipad and iphone. Thank god for technology, it has stopped me from feeling bored or isolated from the world. In the hospital I facetimed with hubby and the boys and since being home, I have messaged friends, hung out on twitter, caught up on some great blog posts and downloaded and watched most of the first season of Game of Thrones.

I did make it downstairs at lunchtime to see the kids and eat together but after half an hour I was tired and uncomfortable so came back to bed. I didn't expect to feel so drained! But my body has definitely put on the brakes.

Hubby and I hatched a plan to get quality time as a family without me using too much energy. Picnic tea and DVD in our bed, all snuggled together, magic! 

H Days Part 4: My Hysterectomy Journey

15 January 2016

Dear friend,

My first night at home didn't go quite to plan as we ended up with a poorly child in our bed. It felt strange sitting back letting hubby take the lead and just giving verbal not physical support. I knew that I would struggle with this but didn't think I'd be tested so soon. I feel like I've lost the mummy force! 

Being home in your own bed feels amazing but there are things you don't consider. Like getting in and out of bed. Our bed is low! It took me some time to perfect a roll onto your side and up movement. The little man held his hand out to help pull me up and it brought tears to my eyes. 

I went downstairs for half an hour. The big lad sat and watched me, his eyes as wide as saucers. I could feel his concern and wished I could read his mind. Then he asked; Can I see? I must admit to some initial reluctance, embarrassment. I don't know what he expected but it opened up our dialogue and he asked lots of questions. Later on, he sneaked into my bed and cuddled up to me, opening up again, seeking reassurance that everything would be OK. 

I thought the pain would be the main issue but it isn't really. Yes it hurts; getting out of bed and walking down stairs and I can't pull anything open (the magnetic door on the shower hurt) but it's the exhaustion that's more debilitating, just taking a shower wiped me out, I wanted to sit down. It's like my body is saying for God sakes STOP I've had enough. So I'm stopping...

I am trying not to think about hubby busy downstairs making sure everything is ticking along. I'm trying to switch off the part of my brain that does the organizing and allow him to get on with things his way. I'm trying to ignore the impulse telling me to get up and get on with things, you know that little nag that's there when you pause for a coffee break, saying hurry up and finish the jobs before...

I'm trying not to feel guilty for lying in bed. 

My MIL arrives with home made chicken soup, there's a knock on the door and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers arrives from my parents. So many lovely messages from friends and family.

Hubby says aren't you lucky and we laugh. But yes I am. Lucky to be surrounded by so much love. It is just a pity it took major surgery to realise it!

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

H Days Part 3: My Hysterectomy Journey

14 January 2016

Dear friend,

How do you sleep? I always sleep on my side. Last night that was a problem. I'd spent all day laid flat on my back hardly daring to move in case it hurt. But I needed sleep so summoned up the courage to move myself over. I am so glad nobody was around to see me but wriggling around inch by inch I did it. Guess what, it wasn't so bad, moving. It was a bit like when you've done way too many ab crunches in gym class and the day after your muscles are killing you only more intense. 

Nobody goes into hospital and comes out rested, they have to do these tests every few hours so you just seem to be getting into a decent sleep and they come and wake you to check your blood pressure and temperature. My mummy radar alerted me as soon the door was opened and a glimmer of light crept in, it's almost like nature has presented mums with an inbuilt motion sensor. This lead the nurse to question whether I'd been to sleep. 
I woke at 5.30 having a coughing fit. I didn't realise how much you use your stomach muscles when coughing. OMG that was not a good idea... 

The nurse woke me at 8 o'clock for the usual checks. Breakfast consisted of more jam and bread and really bad tea. I can't wait for a large cup of good strong English tea with milk, the Dutch have not quite grasped this tea making business (tiny cups, too weak and no milk.)

After breakfast it's time to move. The fear of moving is worse than the moving itself. After a momentary dizziness I make my way to the shower. To my immense relief the catheter is removed. The feeling of the warm water is fantastic, almost healing. For the first time I get to examine my body, the pink disinfectant on my skin looks strange and my battle scars are small but clear to see. It brings back memories of the first shower after my babies were born but I push them to one side, too painful now...

The thought on repeat in my head is; Once I've been to the toilet I can go home. So I drink and wait.

Isn't it strangely wonderful that I know the sound of my boys footsteps? I hear them coming down the corridor. They've come to take me home! Big smiles, warm cuddles and happy hearts. The pain has gone. Nothing could feel more wonderful than being with my family now! 

H Days Part 2: My hysterectomy journey

13 January 2016

Dear friend,

Unbelievably I slept well last night but I woke aound 5 with stomach cramps. How ironic that my period would arrive on today of all days. I was in the shower by 6, Scrubbing myself clean, it is the paranoia of the smear test multiplied by 100. I must be clean.

I sat at my dressing table and removed the last of my jewellery, dried my hair and looked at myself in the mirror. Plain, as naked as the day you were born, what defines you now? I realise how important those rings on my finger are to me, how they are a physical reminder that I am loved. It felt strange going into battle without any of my usual tools, no eye liner, mascara or lip stick now.
I cried, momentarily in the car on the way to the hospital. It was saying bye to the boys. I allowed myself to be swallowed up by a moment of panic (a little voice saying; what if you never see them again?)

In front of the nurses, in control Catie returned. I found  it quite strange that we were placed next to the maternity unit! Hearing a baby crying, feels a little insensitive, it's like the bit at the end of Bulls eye, look at what you could have won. On the table in the ward were magazines. My pride is dented when I see the 50 plus titles on display. Not there yet!

Hubby followed me to the lift and we said our goodbyes. At this point I know it is far worse for those waiting. As the patient you sleep, wake and it feels like a second but as the loved one those few hours can feel like an eternity. 

The anesthetic team and the operating room team were fantastic. They really put me at ease. The Dr was brilliant. She knew I was nervous and promised that she would take good care of me. Her calm nature and caring manner really helped as normally I get the shakes but I didn't! She helped pick my dream too, talking about the hills and the beautiful views in England as I drifted off to sleep.

I made it through safely to the other side.

The afternoon passed in a blur of sleep and medication. 

It hurts, I haven't moved from the bed, yet it hurts. It feels like a very bad period pain. But as my periods were very bad I am used to this pain. I can endure this, surely?! But I am dreading having to move! Before the operation they blow up your tummy with air. My tummy has made strange grumbles and groans all afternoon like a disgruntled toddler.

I have been warned several times that I may be sick and was lovingly presented with a sick bowl. As I hate being sick I have eaten only small bits but I have managed some crackers, cookies and a slice of bread and jam, a taste of childhood. I feel child like, laid here unable to move being looked after and fed by others. It would be bliss minus the pain.

Being a mother is...

The fabulous Talya asked me to be a part of the; "Being a mother project" over at her fantastic blog Motherhood the real deal. I was absolutely honoured to be asked to take part as I am among such amazing company there with some of my favourite bloggers.  Pop over to Motherhood the real deal and read some of the other posts in this superb series. This is my response to the very funny and talented Talya's question Motherhood is... 

Dear Friend,

I am a mother, mum, mama, mummy, mam whatever you want to call it!

I can not say that I always wanted to be a mum.  

I just accepted that being a mum was what you did. I didn't question it. 

You grew up, met someone, got married and had a baby or babies. (And in my family the norm was one of each, boy girl.)

But in actual fact my Prince Charming didn't arrive. All my friends partnered off but I stayed hidden on the bargain shelf.

I wasn't swept off my feet until I was 31. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be the weird woman at the end of the road who lived alone with her animals (joke).

I was crazy auntie Catie, who loved her nephew and niece to bits. I was career woman, working in a high flying consultancy job. I had great friends and partied hard. I was content happy with my life!

Then I met hubby. Everything changed really quickly. We knew we wanted to be with each other and we knew we wanted kids straight away. We wanted to be a family!

I became mum...

Being a mum is everything and nothing like I expected! 

I expected that I would:

  • Be knackered.
  • Be sleep deprived 
  • Have mountains of washing.
  • Be a feeder of fussy eaters.
  • Have less time for me.
  • Worry less about my clothes, shoes etc 
  • Juggle work and family.
  • Get involved with their school.
  • Help with homework.
  • Lose some friends and gain others.
  • Replace the gym with watching or driving my kids to football, swimming etc.
  • Cry at the school play, Christmas concert, etc
  • Go out less.
  • Never get a lie in again.
  • Put their needs before mine.
  • Love my kids!

I didn't realise that I would:

  • Be so proud.
  • Struggle.
  • Laugh so much that I wet my pants.
  • Have a special needs child. 
  • Love swings so much.
  • Enjoy bike rides.
  • Swap football practice for Physio and speech therapy.
  • Love the smell of my boys hair.
  • Have to fight for my son to receive help. 
  • Really love cuddles.
  • Enjoy doing absolutely nothing together. 
  • Be good at Mario Kart. 
  • Swap business meetings, for Dr appointments and therapy sessions.
  • Know the names of every Skylander.
  • Be so patient/Get so frustrated.
  • Hate housework with a passion. 
  • Be scared about the future! 
  • Feel lonely.

But underlying everything that I write about, talk about, brag about, moan about, laugh and cry about is love...

I knew I would love my kids what I wasn't prepared for was the all consuming, overwhelming, unconditional love that I would feel! The love that drives you on no matter how exhausted, frustrated, ill, angry, sad, scared, bored, lonely or damn right confused you are, to do the best by your kids.

No matter what. I will always love my boys and I hope they will always love their imperfect mum too! 

My hysterectomy journey: H day part 1

12 January 2016

Dear friend,

Oh my god, here we are. The day has arrived. I can't believe that it was way back in June that I first shared my 'women's' problems with you. My ipad reminded me, 'in quite a perverse way', that today is 'H day' as I like to call it. Really, my embarrassment at the word Periods has nothing on my utter terror when faced with the word Hysterectomy. I had hoped it wouldn't get to this and as you know I have wrestled with my feelings but I have accepted that it needs to be done. And now here I am...

I wish I could say that I am feeling brave but no, quite frankly I am absolutely terrified. I must admit that I have been walking around like a bear with a sore head for days. I know people mean well but really, they say the most ridiculous of things. If one more person asks me if I'm feeling nervous! (I must admit to having a momentary daydream where I am Karate chopping them in the throat like a ninja.) My MIL actually shouted it across the dinner table in a restaurant this weekend.

Then we have the advice givers. Ranging from, It's a really big operation to it's easy now I was back at work in 2 weeks. (What are you serious?) Yes I am slightly scared about the amount of pain, I admit it. A colleague told me that just walking to the loo was like climbing a mountain in the first couple of days. Some people might not want to know that but I do! It is not the pain that scares me (well a bit) it's not the risk of the operation (well a bit) but the lack of control and the uncertainty... I have to relinquish control of everything and to be totally honest that it what is totally terrifying me.

For at least 3 weeks I will be reliant on other people's help and kindness.  I know that sitting back and doing nothing is going to absolutely kill me. More so watching people do things differently and keeping my mouth shut. I know I sound like a spoilt, selfish madam and don't get me wrong I am totally grateful and in awe of the wonderful hubby and family I have who will help. Even my gorgeous older brother offered to come over from the UK, now that is love because he knows what a cow I can be!

My last irritation has been the 'What about the kids?' brigade. Good question, why not rub salt in the wound whilst you're at it. I am most scared about how this will affect my boys, especially the big lad. He hates it when mummy is sick. His autistic brain says sick= death, he will ask, are you going to die. Also I wonder how he will cope with me not coming home one, maybe two nights. Hubby has taken a week off work to be here to keep things as normal for him as possible but it won't be normal for a while. I hope he can cope!

I know that the boys will want to try to take care of me. But I want/need with every fibre of my being to take care of them and I won't be able to. Maybe it will be good for them? Give them the space to let them grow in independence. Perhaps they won't need me anymore...

I know what you're thinking, I better keep my mouth shut. But really come on people think!!!

The best thing you can say in these situations is; Do you need any help? Or what can I do? Or offer a hug, wine, cake, chocolate, a shoulder.

So my friend, I have decided to keep a no holds barred diary of my hysterectomy journey for any other women out there who, like me, want to know the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If it helps one person then my job is done!

I'll see you on the other side.

Read more of my Hysterectomy diary...

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

9 January 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Home is...

6 January 2016

Dear friend,

What is home? 

What appears to be a relatively simple question to some, to others can mean so much more. That is why when the fabulous Morgan Prince over at Morgans Milieu tagged me in this writing challenge I couldn't really resist. I love getting to know my fellow bloggers a bit better through these tags so here goes... Home is:

Ask a child to draw a house and what do you get?

Ironic really as we lived in a bungalow.

Home was where I lived with my parents,  for 30 years. Middlesbrough in the North East of England. I don't remember very much of my childhood sadly but I like looking at happy family photos from when I was younger. 

Living in York whilst at University never felt like home, maybe that is why I never stayed there. It was just the place where I went to study. A beautiful place, steeped in History but I never fully appreciated it whilst I was there. I lived with a fabulous group of girls who also came from the North. We all worked hard, played hard and had some fantastic times together. But after University I got a job in the North East and I went back home.

At age 30 Home became my own apartment. My first home and I absolutely loved it! I wish I'd taken the step to buy my own place earlier but life or rather a failed relationship got in the way. Home was where:
  • I could really be me!
  • my friends and I put the world to rights, until the early hours of the morning.
  • I had Freedom.
  • I feel in love.
  • hubby and I spent our first weekends together.
  • I planned my future.
June 2005 my home changed radically as I moved not only house or area but country and started a new life with my soon to be hubby in Holland. The first year was like being on holiday, we visited lots of places and every weekend we did something special together. Everything was new, everything was exciting and special. But I still told people I was going 'home' when I visited the UK. It wasn't home yet!

I fell pregnant and home took on a new meaning, we were going to be a family. We were going to build a home for our kids together. I couldn't have been happier and we set about turning our house into a family 'home'.

About 6 months after the big lad was born things started to fall apart. I was in a new country, in a new job, with a new baby, without the support of family and friends, speaking the wrong language and dealing with differences in culture. I felt lost, scared and extremely anxious. Home was my haven, my place of safety that I didn't want to leave.

Ten years later. I still have moments of homesickness; when I long to be sitting in the Kitchen with one of the girls, drinking wine and chatting non stop without really having to think about what I am saying. There is something magical about the first sight of the transporter bridge as we fly above Teeside or spotting Roseberry Topping as we twist around the bend in the road. The sound of a Northern accent in Holland really makes my heart skip and I need to talk to that person. Sometimes I still watch the North East news.

The beauty of Roseberry topping. 

But home now is the place that I can't wait to get back from work to. It is that feeling you get when you walk through the door after a holiday or trip away and you have 'the smell'. You know that smell you don't even know home has until you go away and come back.

I came across this brilliant quote from Sarah Dessen that sums up 'home' for me:

Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

I particularly love the final sentence here and I have realised that this is what I wish for my children. I want to give them that solid foundation, that strength of love to carry them through whatever journey they choose to take and to know that no matter where they are or what they do they always have a loving home here, with me.

I asked my family what home meant:

Where you feel happy 

- hubby.

A place where you live and where you can do things you enjoy with your family. 

- the big lad.

The film. 

- the little man.

by Catie: An imperfect mum

Thanks Morgan for tagging me in this challenge and a huge thank you for being one of the first bloggers to show an interest in and to support my writing and my blog. You are always there to help me with my technical queries and questions too. Morgan you are an absolute star! 

I would like to nominate the following fabulous bloggers to join in the fun:

Aby at You baby me mummy.
Becky at Cuddle fairy.
Kirsty at Something Crunchy Mummy.
Michelle at Rockin Random Mum. 

If you would also like to join in with this tag then please by all means do and let me know so I can comment and retweet. 


A special cake for Grandad

4 January 2016

Dear friend,

I will never forget my dad telling us that he got rubbish presents for his birthday when he was younger because it was so close to Christmas (22nd December) and nobody really knew what to buy him or they just plain forgot. How sad!

I've always gone out of my way to try and find something different to help make his day special but as he's got older it has got more difficult. What do you get the man who has everything? Not the usual smellies, socks or a tie like when we were younger. Now the pressure is on to find something more creative.

A flash of inspiration struck when the lovely Emma from Baker's days contacted me to ask if I'd like cake. Well who is going to say no to that? I headed on over to the website to take a look and was really wowed by what I saw. 

The website is really clear and easy to navigate with a wide choice of cakes in different sizes and flavours. It is super simple to choose your own design, size and flavour. I was especially happy to see that they cater for my family members with food or allergy intolerances with a gluten free and a dairy free version. 

My fabulous nana certainly believed that food was love and always tried to feed us all up when we went to her house. What better way to show grandad our love than with an extra special cake?! I quickly found the perfect cake for grandad. We opted for a standard message although you can personalise the message too and vanilla sponge flavour.

The cake arrived in a special tin and with a small card, balloons and candles included, what a lovely touch!

We couldn't wait to open it up and see what was inside!

There is a great choice of design on the site, something for everyone but we picked this one.

The boys thought it was perfect for their grandad and I agreed.

I was really impressed with the quality of the icing and how it was finished, the thickness was just right.

Grandad was very happy with his cake! And it tasted fantastic. Really light and fluffy and just the right moistness not dry like some of the shop bought mass produced cakes we have had.

The big lad wanted seconds what better recommendation is there than that?!

Our cake was the letter box version for 4 people. It was great but next time I would definitely buy a larger one to share with the whole family.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone special then why not give Cake, a hug in a Tin!

I received this cake free of charge from Baker Days but all comments and opinions are of course my own.

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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