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October 06, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 8

I come to sometime later that day – I think it’s about 3pm as I vaguely register that my dad is at my bedside. Bless him. He tells me later that I ask him for water and then am passed out by the time he comes back. My op was about 3 hours long but I sleep for a further 3 hours after that. The entire day is a blur in my memory. I have a vague recollection of the anaesthetist telling me that he’s going to put me to sleep now and then absolutely nothing further.

At about 4pm the nurses comes to bring me more drugs and I get some hospital food for supper (blech) after which I sleep some more.I awake the next day in hospital and prepare for my 7 to 10 day stay here. My ward is as nice as this hospital gets. I am in a private ward so have 24/7 nurses and sisters at my beck and call. I don’t register any pain when I wake up probably due to the amount of drugs coursing through my veins.

The next few chapters are excerpts of my diary that I kept while in hospital.

To be continued

October 01, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 7

I spend the rest of that day lazing about in my hospital bed, reading a bit. I get my dad to get me some takeaway lunch as I’m starving. Several hospital staff come to check on me to take blood pressure, temperature etc. My anaesthetist drops in at about 4pm to tell me what will happen tomorrow morning. Apparently my op is scheduled 1st thing at 8am and I will be given something to calm me down beforehand. Goodie, I think, drugs – just what I need! I ask for a sleeping tablet that night as I am unable to calm down sufficiently to sleep.

The next morning I am awoken at 5am by the nurses offering tea or coffee. Hospital coffee is like dishwater in any event but I am not allowed to eat or drink anything anyway due to my impending operation. I go and have a shower and wash my hair figuring I won’t be able to do this for a little while after the op. At 6.30 the sister comes in bearing drugs including the promised calming tab, Ativan. I swallow this and almost instantly become quite sleepy and have a little nap.

At 7am they wheel me into the pre-operation area. I am not at all nervous thanks to the good drugs!

To be continued

September 30, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 6

Eventually as is inevitable the 7th of September rolls around. I am due to go into the hospital on this day and my op is scheduled for the 8th. My dear friend (she knows who she is) takes me to the hospital early in the morning. I am armed with a bank guaranteed cheque to pay upfront for both the operation and my private ward. This is the only way one can guarantee a private ward at this particular hospital. So in we go to the admissions desk. There’s a long queue. Big surprise. So we sit and wait… and wait… and wait. Eventually my name gets called. I mosey on over to the reception desk and inform the rather surly clerk that I would like to pay for the private ward in D4. She looks at me unimpressed and asks to see the cheque. Glancing briefly at it, she informs me that she cannot accept it as it’s incorrectly made out. Apparently the name of the hospital is not the logical title to put on the cheque. She asks if I can have the cheque changed. I have a brief panic attack and eventually agree to go to the bank across the road to attempt to do just that.

We walk out and it’s pouring with rain. I have a week’s luggage in my hand which is getting rather heavy now. We go into the bank and make our way to enquiries. I have to fill in many forms and answer several thousand questions for them to change the cheque for me. Eventually we hit a glitch in that I don’t have my id book with me, only passport. At this point 30 minutes have passed and I begin to lose it. I have been sitting at the hospital for about 2 hours and now this happens. It’s all too much. I tell the cashier to forget about the cheque and storm out. My friend suggests that her fiancĂ© does an electronic payment and that I can pay them back later to save time. I agree to this very generous suggestion and back we go to the annoying clerk. We tell her that I have to see the doctors at 11am and seeing as it’s now 10.45 can I please just go up to the private ward. She eventually agrees so up we go.

I arrive at Ward D4 (private ward) and it’s another fight that I have with the secretary. She can’t let me in unless we have proof of payment. At this point I am all out of fight and I burst into tears. She takes pity on me and tells me to go to the ward and get into bed. She will sort out the payment between my friend and the doctors. I breathe a sigh of relief and do just that. It’s now about 12 noon and I’ve been at this godforsaken place for four and a half hours. I phone my friend who says the payment has been made and the proof faxed through. So all is well on that side.

To be continued...

September 26, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 5

During this two and a half week period of waiting I investigate some alternative cures. The first person I speak to deals in a therapy called oxygen therapy. It’s basically a tablet that you take over a period of months which will apparently reduce or totally kill off the cancer cells. The guy I speak to is very exuberant and chats to me for almost two hours about his product. He is unable however to give me any guarantee. He mentions a Dr Warburg who won the Nobel Peace Price for his work with cancer treatments and says that this treatment is based on that work. It all sounds very impressive and I am quite interested to hear what he has to say. The treatment is however quite expensive. He also has a lot to say about the medical profession not knowing all there is to know about cancer and states that the operation they have prescribed for me is ‘barbaric’. I tend to agree with this at that moment.

The other alternative treatment I seek out is referred to me by a very good and trustworthy friend. This person has an EMF (electro magnetic frequency) machine which scans your entire body and is able to diagnose any problems with health and emotional disorders. I go to see her and she is wonderful. She has a machine that she recommends called the Rife machine. This works the same way in which an opera singer would crack the glass by singing a really high note. That same frequency logic is used in this machine to break down the cancer cells. Her treatment would be a lot cheaper than the oxygen therapy or the operation and would take 4 months to complete. I am interested and excited but not entirely convinced. I tell her I want to think about it and go home to weigh up my options.

On the one hand I am so petrified of the operation that any alternative seems extremely attractive and on the other the alternative therapies would take a bit longer. It feels like I am gambling with mine and my daughter’s lives. I go home and speak to friends and family and pray about the situation. I ask for a sign.

Eventually from the strangest source, my sign comes. I watch an episode of Private Practice in which a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She too dabbles in alternative treatments which go wrong and she eventually opts for the surgery. I weep as I watch this and it is then that I know what I have to do.

September 24, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 4

The next two weeks are dedicated to my birthday celebrations. At age 40 plus, I tend to have a marathon birthday meaning it goes on for at least 10 days. With this particular shadow hanging over my head however every now and then I catch myself thinking should I be doing this? I am planning a birthday dinner and some other minor run-up parties. The weekend at end of August is my birthday party. It’s very surreal. Everyone gets a bit wasted except me and it’s kind of strange to watch my friends get rat assed as I watch the shenanigans. Usually I would be right there with them.

My party continues through to the Sunday when more people come and celebrate with me. I have a really good weekend. I go back to work on Monday but then start to fall apart a bit so take some time off work to recuperate. The stress of work combined with the looming operation becomes a bit much so I take some time out to retreat from the world. I have never been to hospital before this other than to give birth to my daughter which was totally uncomplicated natural birth with no drugs.

I have NEVER had to undergo any surgery before this so I am understandably petrified of the unknown and all that might go wrong. During these two weeks I am a mess – emotional, up and down and all over the place. I take my hat off to all my friends and family who stick by me in this time.

September 23, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 3

Eventually the 19th of August rolls around, 5 days before my birthday and I have the meeting with my doctors. I have to just interject here that I have the most divine doctors. I have a team of 5 people working on my case and they are all without exception, amazing. There’s Dr Heinz, the surgeon, Dr Sparkly Eyes, the gynae oncologist, Dr Young & Pretty, intern gynae understudy and 2 random others (names have been changed to protect the innocent) whom I did not meet with on a regular basis. My doctors are all very intelligent and extremely well qualified and keep me informed of everything every step of the way. They also have a great sense of humour which helps me cope through this. I am literally trusting them with my life after all.

After waiting for what seems like an eternity, it is eventually my turn to meet with the doctors. In I go and it’s Dr Heinz who breaks the news to me. The good news is the cancer is stage 1 and that it’s operable. The cancer is nowhere else BUT in my cervix and has not spread according to the test results. The bad news is the recommended operation is a radical hysterectomy. He explains the ins and outs to me while I sit in a blur of terror not really taking a word in that he is saying. I am half happy that it is operable and half totally panicked about the thought of a knife cutting into my insides. I ask him whether I should be panicking at this point. He looks bemused and assures me that this is a normal reaction but that he is very experienced and that I am in the best hands possible. I walk out on shaky legs to tell my friend the news. The operation is scheduled for the 8th of September. He did have an opening earlier but that would’ve clashed with my birthday plans and I told the doc that me and my uterus wanted to have a party, thank you.

September 22, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 2

My previous post I realise was a very matter of fact telling of what happened. It does not detail how I felt or what was going on underneath the surface. I awoke at 5am today and tried to make sense of that and wondered about ways of trying to convey this. I think the best way to describe it is to compare it to the five stages of grief or loss. My first reaction to the doctor’s initial phone call was ABSOLUTE denial. This can’t be happening to me. I am sure this is nothing serious. This must be a mistake – all is fine and well. Things like this don’t happen to me.

Denial continued way into the first visit with the doctor who TOLD me this was not cancer. I only felt real anger when I realised that his diagnosis was wrong and that he should not have opened his mouth to say those words.

Bargaining happened in my two week waiting period before I had to go and see the doctors again for my final meeting. When the call came through from the doctor’s office confirming that it was cancer, my reaction was to cry and then to run (to the nearest bar). I met up with a friend and drank copious amounts of wine and smoked up a storm. I phoned my nearest and dearest to break the news to them but it was as though I was talking through a fog. This was not actually happening to me, it was surreal. I spoke to God that night and many nights thereafter praying for a miracle.

I think depression hit me on and off throughout the process. The rest of life seemed absolutely trivial. I would go online and read about people’s unremarkable lives and get extremely angry and jealous that they got to carry on as usual while I had this burden to bear. I was very sorry for myself and cried at the drop of a hat.

Acceptance – this is where I am now. I know that whatever happens, good or bad, this experience has changed me for the better. It’s made me more spiritual, more aware, more me. It was meant to be and is part of the path that I have chosen. This writing about my experience is also part of the journey. Walk with me, listen to me, be there for me.

September 21, 2009

Cervical Cancer: A Diary - Part 1

I have decided to journal my experience with cervical cancer. This is part 1 - much more to follow.

Sometime in June

My desk phone rings. It’s my gynae’s secretary informing me that Dr Olivier would like to speak to me. He tells me that the 2nd pap smear in 2 months has come back with ‘abnormal cells’ as a result and he would like to request a biopsy to be done in hospital. I agree not thinking this is anything to be afraid of just yet.

A while later I contact him to find out if this has anything to do with cancer and he assures me that this is to ‘rule out’ that possibility.

The appointment is set for six week’s time when I will have a biopsy and a colposcopy procedure done. This will remove any weird growth that has invaded me causing me to bleed intermittently. The day dawns and I go to the hospital. I am not prepared for all the waiting. My appointment was for 8am but I eventually only see the doctor at 10am. He first takes a look at my Pap smear pathology results and tells me in no uncertain terms that this is NOT cancer we are dealing with. I feel great relief. He examines me and informs me that due to the size of the growth, the removal thereof will have to be done in theatre. I get dressed and he makes another appointment for me to come back for the procedure. Great. I am happy that this is going to be taken care of quickly and efficiently. He also tells me that the final results of the biopsy will be ready in 6 weeks time.

Around the end of July, I get another phone call from my gynae’s office. He tells me that they have found cancerous cells in my biopsy test results and that I have to go and see the hospital as soon as possible to go through a number of tests. So from the 31st of July to about 4th of August I spend much of my time at the hospital undergoing various tests from blood through to cystoscopy (where they put a camera up your bladder – extremely uncomfortable!) They take about a litre of blood from me, they poke, prod and photograph my insides. I begin to feel a little like an alien having just landed on planet Earth. All the tests are to discover whether or not the cancer has spread and how far along it is. Throughout all of this I am very calm, numb even. I think I am in shock and not quite sure of how to deal with this. Once all the tests are over I am due to meet with the doctors for them to inform me of the way forward. That day dawns and I am extremely nervous. The doctors see me and once again perform an internal exam. They then say I need a further test called an MRI to determine how big the tumour is. The final test is scheduled for the following week and then I am due to meet with them in 2 weeks time. It feels like a lifetime away. I go for the final MRI test and it’s very trippy – a total out of body experience. You are placed in a tunnel apparatus with headphones on to try to drown out the noise of the machine. This doesn’t work and the constant bang-bang of the machine goes right through you. It’s extremely unpleasant.

I then go home and wait out the two weeks. During this time, I act normally. I go about the business of work, life, caring for my daughter. I see my friends – we have dinner parties, I go shopping. On the surface all is fairly normal. Underneath I am a seething mess of panic. I am praying that the cancer is not at an advanced stage and that the best result I can hope for is that this is operable and that no radiation or chemo is necessary.

August 18, 2009

It happens to other people

What do you do when you hear the words cervical and cancer in the same sentence and it's not someone else out there that they're talking about?
It's you.

You think of your seven year old daughter and just want to cry. You hold your head up and carry on with the day to day business of living. You just keep swimming. You breathe. Mostly you are ok but sometimes you are really not.

And then they make you wait. Wait for tests, wait for results, wait for 'final staging' meetings. You don't want to know all the ins and outs of this. You just want it over and out. Some days are good. Others you fall apart.

Tomorrow I see the doctors. They will tell me the way forward.
If you pray, pray. If you don't, think of me and hope for the best possible outcome.

July 14, 2009

The Moon and the Stars

Amidst all the noise, the haste, the manic, panicked stress of everyday life, I feel a change. It’s a slow unyielding shift almost imperceptible but very much there. Small things start to change. I see natural beauty way more clearly. The stars and moon in Roberston on Saturday night were so bright they almost moved me to tears with their awesome beauty. The moon played games with us through the clouds and my friend and I spoke and spoke. A rainbow followed us almost all the way home from Robertson to Cape Town. A promise. A gift.

This change has a sense of promise to it. Something is coming. Something is waiting in the wings and it’s waiting for me to be ready. I sometimes smile to myself as things are revealed to me that start to make sense, pieces start to fit together. Someone says something to me and it’s like a gift. I accept it and put it away to examine later.

Still around me the madness continues. For a few moments I block it out and write about what’s inside me.

July 08, 2009

Hey oh - Red Hot Chili Peppers - just 'cos

Come to decide that the things that I tried
Were in my life just to get high on.
When I sit alone, come get a little more known
But I need more than myself this time.
Step from the road to the sea to the sky,
And I do believe that we rely on
When I lay it on, come get to play it on
All my life to sacrifice.

Hey oh...listen what I say oh
I got your hey oh, now listen what I say oh

When will I know that I really can't go
To the well one more time to decide on.
Well it's kiliing me, when will I really see,
All that I need to look inside.
Come to believe that I better not leave
Before I get my chance to ride,
Well it's killing me, what do I really need
All that I need to look inside.

Hey oh...listen what I say oh
Come back and hey oh, look at what I say oh

The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go - hey oh, whoa
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow,
Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there's nowhere to go
In between the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow,
Running through a field where all my tracks will
Be concealed and there's nowhere to go.

When to descend to amend for a friend
All the channels that have broken down.
Now you bring it up, I'm gonna ring it up
Just to hear you sing it out.
Step from the road to the sea to the sky,
And I do believe what we rely on,
When I lay it on, come get to play it on
All my life to sacrifice

Hey oh...listen what I say oh
I got your hey oh...listen what I say oh

The more I see, the less I know
The more I like to let it go hey oh whoa.
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow.
Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there's nowhere to go
In between the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow
Running through the field where all my tracks will
Be concealed and there's nowhere to go.
I said hey hey yeah oh yeah, tell my love now.
Hey hey yeah oh yeah, tell my love now.
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow,
Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there's nowhere to go.
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow...
Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed
And there's nowhere to go.

I said hey oh yeah oh yeah..tell my love now
Hey yeah yeah...oh yeah.

July 03, 2009

That which consumes me

There comes a point in the evening when I become aware of a hunger. Hunger for wine, food, cigarettes, conversation. For you. Most of all for you. This hunger haunts and tears at me. Makes me ache for more. So I push it down. I sleep. I wake. I go on with my life. Still it’s always there at the perimeter of everything I do. Waiting. Wanting. It will not be silenced completely. I can stifle but not quench it. It consumes me.

June 25, 2009

Rain drops on roses

BEEEP BEEEP. The digital clock next to my head awakens me rudely and as usual it’s dark and cold. Winter in Cape Town. Freezing cold mornings. Frosted up car windows. Kids bundled up looking like Eskimo’s. The ducks who live on top of ‘my’ windmill squawk wildly. My daughter wanders past my bedroom wearing a pink blanket wrapped around her. When I ask her why, she replies that she is practising to be a queen. She already has the regal, slow walk down pat. My cat cranes his neck as I open the bedroom curtain and makes a pitiful mewing noise.

The mad rush of the morning ensues. I do a fairly good impression of a movie on fast forward but the multi tasking version. As I paint my eyelashes, I am reaching for my handbag while screaming at the ‘Queen’ to brush her teeth or hair or both but preferably not with the same brush. I glance out at the grey day and sigh quietly to myself wondering why on earth we do this. Then I remember that pesky need to eat and provide shelter for one’s offspring.

Checking said offspring’s room, I notice that she’s half dressed and singing a little ditty while staring at herself in her dresser mirror. I count to ten before gently reminding her for the 10th time to get dressed. Idly I wonder what you are doing at this moment. Are you alone? Nearly tripping over the cat who is not so subtly asking to be fed, I am interrupted in my reverie. A very un-PG curse escapes my lips as I nearly fall facedown onto the passage carpet.

Finally we are all done. Dressed, fed, teeth gleaming, bags packed, it’s time to race to the car dodging rain drops (on roses) and cats (whiskers on kittens) as we go. I am anything BUT a Mary Poppins song at this moment but I can’t stop the constant stream of consciousness in my head incessantly playing a show tune or two.
Once in the car it’s always a small power struggle. Why do I have to remind offspring to put on her safety belt – why? Do I have to remind her to breathe also? We back out the driveway, tyres screeching and drive the three minutes to her school. I walk her to the gate, quick kiss and hug and it’s off to start my work day not that I’m in any way motivated mind you. I turn back and watch her hurrying with her bag on her back that looks way too big for her and my heart melts. I watch her until I can’t see her anymore and then I turn back to my car.

It is morning and I miss you.

June 08, 2009

The Big C

Ok, so I’ve been silent for a long time now. Sorry my faithful reader (Scott – are you out there?) I’ve been going about my business and doing the normal life thing: Work, eat, sleep etc. I am trying my very best to carry on with everything as normal.

See what happened is this. I went to the gynae for a check up as I’ve had some complications which I won’t go into here and now. He prescribed some meds for me. He then phoned me 2 days later to say they’d found atypical cells in my pap smear. He’s recommended that I go in for a ‘small procedure’ at a local hospital. The procedure (as far as I can surmise) will determine the nature of the atypical cells and if they can see them they will remove them then and there. The doc assures me this is ‘to rule out the possibility of cervical cancer.’ This doesn’t make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

So, going about my business all the while thinking ‘I may have cancer… I may actually die… I can’t leave my daughter all alone in this world’. Nice hey? I thought so too. I am up and down about this. Some days I feel it’s all going to be fine. Some days not so much. Most of all I feel very, very alone, no matter now much re-assurance I get.

My hospital date is set for 7am on 17th June. I need all the prayer and friendship I can get.

April 15, 2009

Channelling my Aunt

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."
-- Phyllis Diller

It’s been a very loooong Easter weekend. We had family around for 2 days and 2 nights and it was fun don’t get me wrong. I’ve just discovered that I am somewhat obsessive compulsive when it comes to house cleaning. I like things in their place. I like order and will do anything to preserve it. I have an aunt who used to get up at 4am to clean her house. I am not THAT far down the road…yet. Her house generally looks like one out of the pages of House & Home. I just strive for order more than the germ-free sanctity of a freshly sanitized bathroom.

Add four kids, 2 adults, 38 Easter eggs and some generic chaos to the mix and the result: a very rattled, still vainly striving for perfection, me. I think at some point I actually WAS following them around with a dustpan and broom. Mostly I tried to ignore the bomb site that was my daughter’s room and just let it go, whilst shouting vague orders in the kid’s direction to tidy up. They totally ignored me of course – shoving things under the bed and declaring their cleaning done.

At about hour T minus 1, I eventually gave up and let chaos reign. They are kids after all and it was the Easter weekend. Some rules are meant to be broken or at least loosened up a little some of the time. So they had a happy hour of being able to run around screaming, throwing things and generally being kids. Yay,me.
We then went to lunch at my cousin’s house on Easter Monday. Her house is nothing less than perfect – even her 3 year old daughter’s room looks scarily like no-one actually lives there. I realised I had gone a little overboard with my obsessiveness when my BIL commented to my aunt (while watching her sweeping, picking up, polishing, serving, washing dishes), that my middle name was actually Lucille (my aunt’s name). Oh dear, it seems middle age has finally caught up with me and I am becoming my aunt. My resolve: Live more, clean less. At least until tomorrow when the dust bunnies catch up with me again.

April 07, 2009

The Lighter Side of Death

Scene: Sunny Sunday afternoon in Cape Town, driving past a very large graveyard in the Southern Suburbs.

Offspring: Mommy what’s that? (pointing at graveyard)

Me: That’s a graveyard dear, you see all those pieces of stone, those are gravestones.

Offspring: What’s a graveyard?

Me: It’s where the dead people are. When you die, that’s where you go.

Offspring: But where are they?

Me: Under the ground.

Offspring: (short pause to think) But mom, when you’re dead, doesn’t the sand go into your eyes?

Me: No dear, your eyes are closed and you’re having a very long sleep.

Offspring: (another longer pause to think) So, when you’re dead, is it forever?

Me: Yes. Death is forever (briefly considered going into long explanations about the soul and eternal life but decided not worth it whilst driving, so shelved for another day).

Offspring: So if I die, I will be under the sand, sleeping forever?

Me: Yes.

I sincerely hope I haven’t scarred my child for life! I subsequently tried to bring up the soul / eternal life discussion a day later but she was having none of it. She stuck to her guns about sand in eyes and death being forever.

April 06, 2009

5 Things I love about being a mother

Tertia was asked to participate in a ‘round the world in 80 clicks’ tour, where moms all over the world blog about the five things they love about being a mom and she tagged me, so here we have it also from Cape Town, South Africa

1) Laughing with my daughter: She has an AMAZING sense of humour – much like her mother. She has an advanced sense of the ridiculous, loves acting the clown and is generally just really funny! Some examples include being woken up the other morning with one word whispered in my ear: ‘Lasaaaagne!’ I eventually worked out she’d clearly been watching Garfield one too many times. The other day we were watching Idols and some poor fool was being voted off. She turned to me and said (about the presenter): “Mommy that woman doesn’t care!” Then proceeded to mimic the overly cheerful presenter with huge, big, fake grin on her face saying: “And now Terence (or whatever his name was) is going home, bye Terence.” I collapsed in mild hysterics.
2) Being able to use the fact that I have a kid as an excuse not to go out nor do something I don’t really want to do. At heart I am a hermit and homebody. I love being home. I hate going out. It’s really cool that I have an excuse now. Sorry, no babysitter. And no dear friends reading this I would never do that to you! Duh, only to folks I really don’t like. Sheesh!
3) Decorating my daughter’s bedroom has become sort of an obsession with me. I think this grows out of a thwarted desire to have a lovely princess bedroom when I was little. I shared a not so nice bedroom with my lovely sister, Janine. So now daughter gets all I wanted when I was small. (including mosquito net, princess stuff, cushions etc., etc.) Must admit (even to self) the pinkness of the room is becoming somewhat overwhelming. Yay, time for a change!
4) Seeing the circle of life perspective being a parent. I now have some idea of what I put my parents through and what I am still to go through with my daughter. More than that though, being a mother makes you grow in ways you never thought possible. I was the most un-maternal person you could ever hope to meet. Now I would not swop motherhood for the world.
5) Hearing her say ‘I love you’ when she is half asleep on her pillow at night. No matter how tired she is, she still never fails to say it. Even after the hardest most revolting day at work or with her, that makes it all worthwhile.

I tag:


April 02, 2009

April 01, 2009

Single White Spinster with Cats

It struck me last night as I was trying desperately to unpack groceries, get kid in the bath, serve supper (note not MAKE supper as it was ready-made food from supermarket), tidy the house and feed ALL those damn cats, that this is not how I envisioned my life turning out.

I started out with just the one cat (male, neutered, extremely polite and well behaved, knew his p’s and q’s) – like just the one kid (female and well not really all that well behaved). I refused point blank to get a dog, as they're simply too much high maintenance. We then happened to acquire another (very small) female cat who (because I am so incredibly busy doing everything) I forgot to get spayed (ever) in time. She fell pregnant (the little slut) and has now produced ANOTHER 3 offspring (this being her 3rd litter – yes I know I am a terrible kitty mom!) – very cute little kittens, now almost 6 weeks old.

So, last night the background soundtrack to my frenzy of activity was the following:

· 1 female cat meowing (growling) at me,

· 1 large male cat making 'moffie'* mewing noises and

· 3 kittens copying their mum in a much higher pitch (read: screaming) making meee-meeee noises.

Everytime I made a move towards the door or the cat food, the pitter-patter of twenty little paws would follow me. It's funny in hindsight but revolting while it was happening. Me, the harridan yelling: ‘SHUT UP. I have to feed the humans

first… SHUT UP!!!’ Lovely, what must the neighbours think!?

*Moffie – Afrikaans for Hetero-sexually challenged

** Edited to Add: I have NO intention of keeping all 3 kittens.

***Edited AGAIN to Add: This is an old post. We are now the proud owner of a Jack Russell – I need to be committed. Show me the way to the next asylum – ooh don’t ask whyyy....

March 30, 2009

Zen and Cat Poo

I’ve been reading a book called Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert which inspired me to try to attain inner peace through meditation. She describes her search for peace and balance so hilariously and so well that when she finally attains it, you kinda go: AAAWW I want some of THAT!

The premise is that we (humanity) are far too distracted by external things and circumstances and our emotional states vacillate like a pendulum depending if our situations are good or bad. This rang VERY true for me. My two extreme states of being are either ‘YAAAY life is so divine’ or ‘BOOHOO I HATE my life’, and hardly ever any middle ground in between. So, the book states that if we can attain inner peace, a relationship with God (or higher power or whomever you would like to call him / her / it) we can always rely on that centredness to help us through ANY circumstance that comes our way and remain calm and happy no matter what.

GUHRATE, I thought, am going to start meditating immediately. I am usually up with the birds at 5am anyway so what have I got to lose? I did some research on a website about meditation recently and discovered the simplest way to start the process, is just to sit quietly, still your mind, breathe and concentrate on your breathing. Let thoughts go in and out but don’t hold on to them – let them go. Wonderful. So, there I was at 6.10 this morning trying to do just that. I was sitting in my pj’s, legs crossed, breathing for about uhm 3 minutes, when I heard a screech from the bathroom.


I tried to ignore it and centre myself to no avail. Eventually my door burst open and I gave up. Dragged sorry (un-centred) self into the bathroom to go and survey the damage. It WAS disgusting. I won’t go into detail, suffice to say I spent the next 10 minutes cleaning up cat poo and cursing the feline members of my family. There goes my Zen attitude. Clearly God is having a big laugh at me today. Sigh. I shall persevere and try again tomorrow morning, however.

PS: Scott - you HAVE been warned!

March 26, 2009

My other brother, Darryl

Now I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression here. Our family is not the type in which cousins marry and their off-spring are born with donkey ears or live in trailers. No. We are perfectly normal (well ok, relatively speaking, pardon bad pun) and there is little evidence of in-breeding. BUT! I have recently discovered that my brother in law and I get on like a house on fire. No, Neen, if you’re reading this, not at ALL in that way. Let me explain. Neen (his wife and my gorgeous and divine sister) is in America on some research thingie for business. She will be away for approximately 10 weeks and in this time, Scott has to cope with 3 (yes THREE) kids pretty much on his own. I (being a model citizen and very, very kind, selfless and saintly – also he gives me free wine) have been doing the good sister in law thing by dropping in over the weekends to make sure the kids are eating their greens and that BIL hasn’t gone totally over the edge. So, this has been going on for about 4 weeks now and to my great delight I discover that he’s like the brother I always wished I had. While I was growing up I yearned for a brother. Now in hindsight I am SO GLAD I didn’t have one. Sorry Scott no offence meant but you can be rather bitter and twisted at times.

So, my BIL and I are bonding. Who knew? We chat about the life, universe, everything and nothing and laugh a lot mostly at ourselves. He is self deprecating, funny, interesting and a very talented writer (go read his BLOG <- yet another shameless plug!) Also, he plugs my blog a lot so this is really a ‘he made me do it’ sort of post. Only joking Scott, I am proud to call you my BIL and friend!

March 24, 2009

Just another brick in the wall

When you first realise you're going to be a parent, you have all these ideals and standards. Things you decide you will never make your kid do. Things you see other parents doing that you vow never to do. Mistakes you clearly see others make and promise yourself you won't do the same.
One thing I was certain of while I was pregnant with my daughter was that her childhood would not be totally conventional and that I would not be your average Joe (Josephine?) parent. She would be allowed to be a 'free spirit'. I would give her a choice when it came to religious or spiritual affiliations for example.

Can I say HAAAH now? All you parents out there are laughing, right?

Sigh, then cold, harsh reality hits and you get into year 3 or 4 of being an actual parent. You hear yourself saying things like: 'Eat your peas!' OR 'Because I SAY SO!!!' OR 'On the count of three, go to your ROOM!'

I have always been a rebel (usually without a cause). I've always had strange ideas regarding life, religion, spirituality etc. I don't want to live an ordinary life. I want to explore different schools of thought and ideas. I want to live my own life not someone else's idea of how a life should be. And yet and yet - then you have a kid and you HAVE to put them through this 'sausage machine' for want of a better phrase. They have to go to school, they have to get up on time to be in time for the school bell, they have to wear uniforms and say yes sir, no sir, listen to their teachers and respect authority. They HAVE to. It's what you do. My parents made me do it and I have to make her do it. To try and live in some Utopia and pretend that society as it is does not exist is not realistic or achievable. I have to let her live her life and ultimately make her own choices eventually when she's old enough to do so. I just have such a tough time seeing her go through this and seeing the struggle in her little head. She asks me why must I sometimes and honestly I have no better response than 'Because you must...' or 'Because I said so...'. That SUCKS! Don't get me wrong. I have absolutely NO inclination of raising a child who has no respect or no idea of right and wrong. I absolutely believe that children should have boundaries and rules. I just don't know if I believe in society's rules as an absolute.

So, I don't have all the answers, who knew!? My parents probably faced the same dilemma raising me and my sister but they probably didn't examine it all that closely - they simply did it. In the meantime I will simply have to bite my tongue, try to give her as good a childhood as possible and continue to remind her to eat her peas.

March 23, 2009

Self Talk

While I am in this state of limbo I don’t quite know how to feel. No longer with you and having moved on to acceptance I thought… what is this unnamed feeling? Missing you? Missing us? Mostly I am ok with the idea of being on my own. I have announced to all and sundry that this state of aloneness is necessary to my well-being. I need to do this. I need NOT to rebound to the next as easy or tempting as that might be. I have to concentrate on getting to know myself, identify my wants and needs as opposed to defining myself through someone else. All this is well and good. Still this feeling persists. It’s not that I have an overwhelming need to be with someone. It’s not that I am lonely. I have friends, family, my daughter. I have a life filled with people and love. But this niggling feeling won’t go away. My rational self knows that we weren’t right together, that I rebounded way too quickly after having my heart trampled but my emotional self is sitting in a corner, sulking and refusing to believe all of that Dr Phil type crap. Hopefully this too shall pass.

March 22, 2009

Interview with my daughter

This is a cute idea. Copy this note, ask your kid the questions and write them down exactly how they respond. Tag me back if you haven't done this, I'd love to hear the answers.

Rhiannon - age 7

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Please get dressed!

2. What makes mom happy?
Being good

3. What makes mom sad?
Me being naughty

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
By saying that word (laugh) - (she is laughing now) - doing the dance of joy!

5. What did your mom like to do as a child?
Play in the pool

6. How old is your mom?
18 (LOVE that child!)

7. How tall is your mom?
I have no idea

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Modelling (again LOVE HER!)

11. What is your mom really good at?

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Doing a handstand

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Work, work, work

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Chocolate? No, uh uh (laughs)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
I love you

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Hairy Scary (WTF!?)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Play together,watch movies, pick flowers and garden

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Me and you are both good, we do things the same way

19. How are you and your mom different?
I dunno

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because whenever I am sad she is there

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
When he gives her money

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Well, movies? No, ok (adopts a meditation pose complete with crossed legs and OOHHM) - Meditation!?

Hello darkness my old friend

Hi All (or one reader, whatever, Hi Scott!)
I have decided to move to blogger as it's such a divine blogging tool. My old URL was http://beeslife.blogdrive.com. I am now officially a blogger - whooohoo. Promise a real post will follow shortly.

Love u all