To post, or not to post? That is the question. It's hard some days to decide what to write about. How much of yourself do you share? Are there topics that simply shouldn't be put out there? I need a Blogging for Dummies, that sets out neatly, the okay and not okay topics. Not that I'd probably read it. It would just end up sitting on the table collecting dust and coffee cup stains. Or end up as another brick in my fall back plan for fame, ie to get onto Hoarders.
I'm pretty much of the school that says sharing stories makes them more bearable. Blogging as therapy. I think it works, and it's way cheaper than the regular types. So often we hide what we think is shameful, or too personal. I know for myself at times, pushing the 'publish post' button, feels like I'm standing naked in the middle of the crowded room. Exposing yourself can be a strange melange of pee your pants terrifying and exhilarating. It can be freeing, as you find others who have shared your experiences and support that comes form unexpected quarters. And finally those mountains can be seen for the molehills they truly are. So I'm going to take that plunge once more and hope that if nothing else, it helps me sort through and organise my personal maelstrom of thoughts and emotions.
We all have fears. Over the last few years I've had new ones crop up. Ones I never thought I'd have to confront. I don't usually voice them as, illogically, it feels that to give them voice you give them power and that increases the chance they will become manifest. Stupid I know. My practical science background laughs derisively at my foolish illogical side. But the reality is that voiced or unvoiced they sometimes come true. Sometimes life is simply completely out of your control and you have to find a way to deal with what comes your way.
As my own health issues have progressed over the past few years a new fear has crept into my mind. Although Bob is not currently thought of as a genetic disorder, except in very specific forms, it can run in families, as can some of my other health issues, and there is an increased risk of yet other cluster illnesses. I have spent many a sleepless night worried that some part of my defective genes will be passed onto my children.
As a mother you have an instinctive drive to protect your children from harm. Every tear, every disappointment, every hurt, rips out your heart. Knowing that you may be the cause of that hurt, is more painful than words can describe, and there is no salve. And that is the path I am now treading. Over the past year my youngest has been on the doctor roundabout as his young body has started to have problems. Over the past year I have come to the realization that my broken genes have been passed down to those I hold dearest.
I've had a little pit of fear stewing in my belly. Every time he has felt nauseous. Every time he has run to the loo. Every time he looked pale. Every time I have seen him limping along. I have seen a little still from my own teenage movie. And it has scared me.
Even without a doctors diagnosis I've known for some time that he has developed the same gastric issues I had as a teenager. The same food intolerances, which are now confirmed by recent tests. Similarly, I've know that his poor little joints are like my own. I know the pain he is feeling only to well. Yet despite all the evidence I have held onto a little glimmer of hope that I was wrong. That it was indeed "all in my head". But it was not to be. And I know that what he (and to a lesser extent my eldest) is experiencing is due to my own faulty DNA. And the guilt is overwhelming.
I've been good at stuffing those pesky emotions down. But sitting in the phsyio's office listening to words like "sublaxation" and "bad collagen" has hit me harder than I ever thought possible. I was totally unprepared. Those words said out loud about my child, were like a clarion bell. It was real. More real than I have allowed myself to believe and it's like I'm now standing under a never ending waterfall of guilt.
I know it's not truly my fault. As my best friend pointed out (and I am so glad I have her voice of sanity in this matter) it's not like I decided to pass this onto my children. But it doesn't stop the feelings of guilt, rational or not. In my good moments I know the truth, but in those other times........
A mother's job is to protect her children, and this feels like I have failed on the highest level. I know only too well what it's like to be a teenager with health issues. What it means physically, socially, and emotionally. And I think in many ways it makes it better, and conversely, far far worse. It's a challenge to keep perspective and stop my own baggage from interfering with what I need to do now. To not transfer my own emotional memories onto his little shoulders.
Last night I strapped his ankles in a vain attempt to keep them in place for his cricket training, knowing full well that it was more placebo than panacea. I spent the drive back home bawling my eyes out as grief and guilt took turns at beating the crap out of me.
I am in that horrible acute phase, where the the roar of my emotions is deafening. I have argued irrationally with Mr Grumpy, as my own insecurities and baggage have taken control. I have yelled at the dogs and screamed abuse at the washing machine for not washing quickly enough. Even the discovery of the empty coffee container feels like a deliberate personal attack. It's my irrational side in all it's glory.
I want to punch something. To yell and scream. Or grab a bottle of tequila and hide under the covers until I can view the world through the same beer goggles that transform the world to hilarity and beauty. But I'm a mum, and mums don't have that luxury. We have to hold our shit together. Stuff down our fears, put on our calm faces and tell them it's going to be alright, even when it's not, even when that little voice inside is screaming in our ear.
There is a creeping fear that this may be indicating the arrival of Bob in his life, but I can't face that just yet. I'm going to put that one in a box, tie it up in chains, and bury it deep down. I'm not ready to tread that path. Though I know that if the time comes, I will. But until that time I shall say a prayer to every deity known to man that he will not have to take that journey, that I can spare him from at least that burden.
I know that logically, at the least, I can now find him the help he needs. I can give him the gift of believing him when he says he is in pain. I can support him in the multitude of ways that I didn't have as a child, when these disorders were not recognized and the title of hypochondriac was readily bestowed by the medical profession and family alike. I know the power of a diagnosis. I am glad that it gives us a starting point from which to tackle these issues. But none of that changes the fact that I cannot give him the gift of good health.
My own health issues mean nothing in the face of those of my child. I want to have the magic wand I had when he was little. Where I could make the monsters disappear with my miraculous mummy super powers. Where I could kiss his bumps and scratches better. Where he knew without doubt that I would keep him safe and protect him from the harms of the world. I want to wrap him up in joy and peace, and let him live in a pain-free world.
So I will take a breath. I will dry my tears and patch my heart. I will put on my practical hat. I will book the appointments. I will take the steps. I will don my armor and fight for him. I will help him find the path to acceptance of his physical limitations. I will help him discover that his true gifts are not the ability to kick a ball, but lie within his spirit and generous heart. I will do all in my power to heal and soothe.
And I will try to find that place where I can be okay with all of this. But at this stage I am still processing.