Heartbreak and a hiccup in the otherwise smooth road

Heartbreak and a hiccup in the otherwise smooth road

So, life has been pretty crazy — also maddening, depressing and heartbreaking at times — over the last few months. Let me fill you in on everything, but be warned, some of this may smack you in the feels…

Let’s get the heartbreak out of the way first; after a final; short and intense battle with cancer – we lost my Mum to cancer on the 15th of November 2023. I’ll be honest, I don’t really want to relive all of the details of the weeks prior, but I’ll give you the abridged version.

Mum had been having issues with food for a while, and after a bit of nagging went to the doctor. There was a lump on her oesophagus. Once confirmed as malignant, there was a plan put into place for her treatment. Unfortunately, as she’d become so weak from not eating much (if at all) she was admitted to Ashford for nutritional supports: She never came home…

After slowly strengthening over a few weeks of nasogastric nutritional support, Mum aspirated one night and was admitted to the Critical Care unit when she was discovered unresponsive by one of the nurses. It was there she spent a couple of days in an induced coma to stabilise her, before slowly bringing her out.

She was returned to the ward a couple of days later as she was stable enough to be without that close supervision. That didn’t last long though, the night of her return to the ward, she was sent back to CCU with very low oxygen.

The next day, a scan revealed that the cancer had spread aggressively through her abdomen and lungs. We were told she was terminal and the timeline wasn’t very long… After heading home and regrouping mentally, a call from Dad early the next morning was an unwelcome one; it was time to say goodbye.

A few short weeks later, we also lost Mum’s Uncle Viv, who, since Mum and Dad moved here shortly after marriage; was a Grandfather figure to me. Two amazing and very influential people in my life, gone in a very short time period is hard to process…

On to more positive things though!

After a — won’t go into it here — somewhat unceremonious force exit from the SES, I joined the CFS last year and am loving it. I’ve finished my probationary period and am now part of the brigade as a full member. It’s been a pretty wild ride so far; I’ve learned something every time I’ve been at the station or on the truck, and I know I’ve got so much left to learn. I’m so grateful to the members (ranked or not) who’ve been so welcoming and stepped in to coach and mentor me along the way. I just want to be the best I can be in the role and as useful to the brigade and local community that I can.

Work has been busy and continued to challenge me which, of course, is fantastic. Other than providing me with job security, it means I’m not bored with mundane and repetitive work. So approaching 6 years in, I’m still happy and have no intent to leave the team.

Finally, although we had a brief hiccup recently with chest pain and tachycardia (fast heartrate) for Alex, everything else continues to go well generally including Alex starting some Piano lessons with one of my fellow firies Carol. At the moment, it’s very “game” based to get him comfortable with the instrument, but they’re having a blast playing together and I’m honestly not sure who is enjoying it more. 🙂

To end on a highlight: Alex’s last scan was in December and, like the one before reported that there was reduction in the size of the tumours. This is the best news we could have asked for and — with a bit of luck and the wonders of modern medicine — will continue with his next scan in March.

I know I’ve said this before: We’ll try to be more active in keeping everyone up to date with Alex’s treatment etc so stay tuned. And if you think we’ve missed something, give Jo or myself a nudge!