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Monday, 10 August 2015

A Year on...

One year ago today I was laid in a hospital bed trying to digest the news that following my miscarriage they had discovered I had a blood clot on my brain.
I remember so clearly the consultant holding my hand really tightly and being shocked by her emotion in telling me 'I'm so sorry', as I sat there shocked and stunned that I wouldn't be going home as expected, but would instead commence treatment whilst the doctors from the hospital I was in consulted with the specialists from Charing Cross Hospital as to when to perform brain surgery.

My husband and I are not unfamiliar with hospital stays and difficult consultations with doctors after our last 9 years since my car accident, but this one floored us both, not least because we were already mourning the loss of our little baby I had just miscarried, but our cheeky monkey of a baby girl had just turned one a mere week before.
The morning of 9th August last year I wrote a desperate prayer as I laid there in my private room the nurses had so kindly put me in the night before to help my husband and I digest the news.
I remember that morning so vividly, not least because I have been rereading that prayer over this last week.
I remember the mixture of intense fear, shock and a strange gratitude I was feeling that God had put me in this position to make me reassess and value my life.
My accident had had a similar impact on me (once I had worked through the shock and despair and bereavement of losing the life I had once known),  but this was more immediate and intense.

The inevitable 'what ifs' played through my head as the medical staff described the severity of the situation.
After many difficult years following my accident and diagnosis, I had just had the most wonderful year of my life after The Lord had blessed me with my miracle daughter they had thought I'd never be able to have and the thought of not being around to see that gorgeous cheeky monkey of mine grow and develop into a little lady scared the monkeys out of me; but the scary news was also intensified my appreciation of her and all of the other wonderful gifts in my life like my wonderful parents, family, friends and my rock of a husband.
How incredibly lucky I was to have such sparkling gems in my life. After periods of depression and anxiety following my car accident and disability, I suddenly realised that I did indeed have it all.
I had the loving husband and incredibly strong marriage to my best friend, the gorgeous and cheeky little girl I had always dreamt of, who with her incredible thirst for life was already fast turning into a cheeky toddler aged just 12 months and the most incredible group of friends and family surrounding me, many of whom had already brought gifts and light hearted company to help us through our horrid weekend of limbo whilst the doctors assessed the situation.
Those sharing my strong faith joined together in prayer for me and I was literally enveloped in love and support from every direction.
It hit me that my life was complete and truly wonderful in every way and it had taken this news to realise this.
Like so many of us I had been caught up in worrying over the trivial and had not realised the true extent of the beauty surrounding me as I lived in my new mummy haze of sleep deprivation and bewilderment.
This news had woken me up and opened my eyes!
I recall noticing the beauty of the 6am sunshine gleaming against the wall of my hospital room that morning of 9th August and the warmth of the smile of the nurse who I'd become close with over the previous few days, who had been left as floored as I was by the news of my blood clot.
That day as I sat waiting for more news from the doctors, I wrote a message to all of my friends asking for their prayers or positive thoughts. My faith in God is incredibly strong, (even more so since this experience), but I believe whether you share my faith or not that positive thought is a wonderful thing.
Whatever you believe, my prayers were answered and after four days living in a frightening limbo I received the incredible news that the specialists at the brain hospital had reassessed my scans and decided that the 'blob' on my brain was not a blood clot, but a mass they would go on to argue over for the following year.
The main point however was that it was not life threatening as they had first thought.
I returned home to my family with a greater appreciation of my life and all that was in it.

As a result this last year has been one of the most intense and incredible of all of my 32 so far.

For weeks following this scare I was bedridden and was back and forth to the hospital seeing a number of specialists as the illness following my miscarriage had brought to the doctors attention a few others issues going on beneath the surface.
I continued to live with a small question mark above my head as they continued to do a number of scans and tests to determine quite what the 'blob' on my brain was, but finally almost a year following my discharge from hospital the final neurologist determined the blob to not be of any harm.
I would subsequently describe this year as 'very intense indeed'!
For months we lived in that strange limbo until come November the stress of the strain of the situation and it's affect on our priorities left my husband and I turning to the credit card to book our little family on a much needed holiday to see Mickey Mouse!
We savoured every second of that precious family time together as we have continued to do ever since, as we've continued to have tests into the cardiac issue they discovered that has prevented us putting this whole situation completely behind us.
Then in May came the news which added a few complications for the doctors investigating, but brought joy and relief to us as we discovered I was expecting another baby.
As the anniversary of losing our last baby and experiencing one of the biggest scares of our lives so far passes by, we are also fast approaching the half way point of this pregnancy.
There are many other huge changes going on in the lives of The Readers as my husband prepares to leave his service in the RAF and we prepare to leave military life and relocate to a more rural lifestyle and slower pace of life.

I have to admit that these have been an emotional couple of weeks, as we've also marked my miracle monkey Florrie's second birthday, but I now appreciate all of these challenges to have been positives in focusing us as individuals and as a family to savour and love our incredibly lucky and fulfilled lives.
We are all too familiar with the notion that It is so often the most dreadful things in our lives that send us on the path to the most wonderful things.
For me personally I thank God for this, you can obviously thank whoever you like- but I think the important point is to be thankful.
In my prayer book I scribbled so frantically in this day last year I found these words I wrote to my daughter-
"The world may seem so cruel and unfair sometimes, but I believe that if we didn't have any challenges or sad times, we really would be such selfish and ungrateful people".

Now the dust has settled I stand by this sentiment.
Without the drama and fear of a year ago I believe I would not be living my life with the intensity and appreciation that I am today.
For this I am thankful.
I am thankful to still be here living my life with my little family I thought I'd never have, surrounded by the family and friends I adore.
We all know that life's trivial niff naff and worries can easily consume us as we become overwhelmed by the pressures modern life puts upon us, but please learn from my experience that you really don't know what is around the corner, so try your best to savour those seconds.

I am far from perfect and miles away from how I would like to be living my life, in that I still spend too much time on Facebook, I still let little niggles get the better of me and I still like every parent I know find that period of time between dinner time and bedtime utterly exhausting and long for the time that we read 'Sleepy Farm' and 'Mr Sun' goes to bed and 'Mr Moon' comes out, (you readers who are also parents of young children will get my love and appreciation of the Gro clock and it's magical abilities of getting little ones to bed!)- but today I am remembering where I was a year ago and the support that surrounded me when I desperately asked my friends and family for their prayers.
Thank you so much.
They were answered.
I thank God for that and pledge to try my best to live by the lessons this experience has taught me.