Blue Badge Battles

This is something I never imagined I’d have to write about. It’s also something that doesn’t just affect me. It seems that there are lots of people having the same trouble. Blue badge battles.  

I parked in a disabled bay today at my local tesco. I displayed my badge, as you do, for everyone to see. As I walked away from the car, a lady behind me started to explain very loudly, to her children, the rules of the mighty blue badge and how it can be revoked if you misuse it. Now I’m guessing that this conversation was in fact aimed at me. Because I don’t ‘look’ disabled. I have all my limbs, I can walk unaided and I ‘look’ just as healthy as the next person. This woman looked at me and came to the assumption that I was misusing my badge. 

It’s not the first time it’s happened either. I’ve had elderly ladies shouting through their car window at me telling me I can’t park there – it’s for disabled people and others waving their blue badges at me excitedly only for me to wave mine back, all the while smiling and saying ‘up yours’ through gritted teeth. 

People are far to quick to judge, to jump to conclusions. 

I feel awkward and embarrassed when I do park in a disabled bay. It’s no wonder really!! I feel like I need to put on a bit of a limp just to please the crowd. But the truth of the matter is, not all disabilities are visible. You can’t see the pain I’m in or how exhausted I am. Some days I can walk from the furthest corner of the car park and other days I can’t. 

Today was one of those days. 

So this is to everyone who has questioned me. I don’t need to explain my reasons for having a blue badge to you but I would like to quote an age old idiom – never judge a book by its cover”.

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Lucky I had my flip flops! 

Thursday night = swimming lesson I really hate Thursdays. With a passion. I do wonder why I put myself through it but it’s obvious really. Daisy absolutely loves swimming. Once she’s in the pool that is. 

It’s the 40 mins prior that’s the problem. Every week at around 4pm we ‘tackle’ the swimming costume. It’s not fun. It can take a good 4/5 times of pulling it up and down before it’s comfy/not up her bottom/straps are not twisted. She’s worked herself into a right rage and I’m quietly counting to 10 so I don’t lose my few remaining marbles!! Next it’s hair. Arrghhh. Finally we make it out of the door and drive, in stony silence to the pool. 

We pick a ‘quiet’ corner in the 30 degree changing room and I grit my teeth and silently pray that the swim hat/goggles go on first time – you all know how it goes by now!! We emerge full of smiles and looking like the perfect family -albeit a sweaty one!!  

Fast forward half an hour and the lesson is over. Now you may remember that I have lost 4lbs. I realise now that it is due to the amount I sweat whilst waiting for Daisy to get dry. God give me strength (and a gentle breeze). 

Today was especially fun. Someones little darling had kindly drip dried on the bench where my converse were neatly tucked away. At least I hope that’s what it was!! 

Bone Juice

I’m at yet another hospital appointment this afternoon. Today it’s my monthly top up of ‘bone juice’, zometa or zoledronic acid as its most formally known. I like to think I’m like the Duracell bunny – top me up and off I go again for another 4 weeks!! 


I arrive at the hospital an hour before my appt time for a blood test that will check that all my blood levels are behaving. The results get fast tracked (in an hour) to the chemo unit and I kill time either in the cafe (eating cinnamon buns!) or in the chemo suite waiting room where the lovely volunteers make me endless cups of tea and ply me with biscuits!! 

I’m a people watcher but I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness looking around knowing that everyone is here for the same reason. Either going through gruelling treatment or a loved one sitting, watching helplessly. I also attract the odd ‘raised eyebrow’ -probably because I’m the youngest one here by about 40 years. 

When I get called through, I get comfy in a big chair, with pillows if I want. I’m given swabs for my nose and groin, checking for MRSA. I have my temperature and blood pressure checked. There’s a new check, weight – just what I want to be told every 4 weeks!! But, woohoo – I’ve lost 4lbs!!! 

I have a portacath which makes everything so much easier – no trying to find a vein to cannulate!! One of the nurses plugs me in, hooks me up and away we go. The actual drip takes 15 minutes but my port has to be flushed through before and after so, all in all, it takes about 25 minutes. Add that to the hours wait (and more because I never go in on time!) plus travelling time and I’m usually gone for 4 hours or so. 

plugged in
zometa and saline drips
close up !!

I rely on friends or Gracie to collect Daisy from school. I plan an easy dinner because I’m usually pretty tired by the time I get home. It’s pj’s and chill before an early night. So I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings. 

Clocking up the miles

I just walked 7 miles. 7 bloody miles!!!! I’m so chuffed with myself. That’s no mean feat when you’re living with what I am. 

The reason for this mammoth walk is because I’m taking part in the St. Albans half marathon to raise money for the Hospice of St Francis. I’m also doing it to challenge myself. The ‘old’ me wouldn’t have even considered entering something like this but when you’re diagnosed with a long term chronic illness, of any sort, it makes you view the world from a different angle. 

It’s a bit like you want to cram the most weird but wonderful things into your life. The very reason I learnt to ride a motorbike. Yes it could be viewed as dangerous but what the hell, you only live once!! It was something I doubt I ever would have had the balls to do BC (before cancer). 

Life has dealt me a shit card but rather than let it defeat me, I’m standing stronger than I ever have. I’m doing more than I ever would and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I know only too well that one day it’s going to sneak up and bite me on the bottom, but until then, I shall continue loving life. 

Hhmmppff

Today is not a people day. I do not want to make small talk, send numerous texts or see anybody. Sometimes I just like to be alone. Being alone with my thoughts is not always a good combination but I do think that such moments are a necessity. It’s a time when I can wallow in self pity, feel angry at the world and yell silent obscenities to people who have, at some point, annoyed me.  All done without upsetting or offending anyone.                                                     Normal service will resume shortly. 


Not just a physical thing..

So, tomorrow I celebrate my 2 year cancerversary (anniversary). It’s a joyous occasion marking the fact that I’m still alive and kicking after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer on the 2nd may 2014.

Only it’s not all that joyous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for everyday when I wake up. I live my life in chapters, between scans. Dreading results day because that could be the day my world comes crashing down. Being told I’ve got progression. But, until then I’m living, creating memories for the children and trying not to worry about the future.

But that’s the trouble. You can’t get away from the shadow that’s constantly looming. It’s always there. Some days it gets too much. Like today.

Today I’m having flashbacks to this time 2 years ago when I was seriously ill and rushed to hospital in an ambulance. I was admitted and later that evening I was told I had breast cancer. I was alone. It wasn’t visiting time and my fiancé was serving in afghan. It was just me and the doctor in a little side room. Then she left and it was just me.

I’ll never forget the week leading up to being admitted, I had been signed off from work and spent my days watching films on the sofa, too weak to even get dressed.

I’ll never forget the days that followed, all the tests I had to have – MRI, CT, a bone biopsy, another MRI, a hysteroscopy, blood test after blood test. During my three week stay I had 12 blood transfusions and 3 platelet ones. I was in a bad way.

Five days after being told I had breast cancer, I was told that the cancer had spread. It was in my bones as well. I had secondary breast cancer. It was incurable.

Fast forward a few months and I’d had 18 weekly sessions of chemotherapy and 15 daily sessions of radiotherapy. I was scanned every 3 months and, after being stable for over a year, I moved to 6 monthly scans.

And that’s where I’m at. Two years on and still stable. Living a life oblivious to the fact I have cancer. I’ve found a new normal. It’s not all that bad. Physically, I get more tired than I used to and have to rest a lot more. Mentally, it’s a battle of wills. You have to ride the waves of emotion but, whatever happens, you can’t let them drown you.

Emma xx