Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Health

The Whole Story

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I haven’t written about what has been going on, but I’ve decided that all parts of the story need to be told.  This month has been hard.  I need to let my friends who call me a super-mum know that I’m really not feeling super.  I need to explain that although we love living here, it comes at a price.  But most of all, I just need to tell the truth about hard times, because I know many people are going through even longer, tougher, more challenging times.  It isn’t fair to them, or myself to pretend everything is fine.

So, this month has been hard.  Mostly it has been difficult because I’ve been unwell.  So as not to scare away my (three) male readers, I’ll refer to my health issues as some ongoing lady problems that have been getting progressively worse.  Ultimately, I’m now very anaemic, which is good in that it is treatable, but bad in that it makes me feel lousy.  I’m weak and tired.  My brain feels like mush, and can’t seem to retain any information, I’m forgetting appointments.  I have heart palpitations, and wake up with numb hands, arms and feet.  My immune system is struggling, so I’m catching every germ I come across, and each one is hitting me hard.

Some of my medications have nasty side-effects too, and one weekend my fingers swelled up and I had to have my wedding and engagement rings cut off.  But I am receiving treatments, including iron injections every two weeks so that I’ll be back to speed in weeks rather than months.  Though I can’t exercise at the moment, I’m doing my best to rest, eat an iron-rich diet, and take all the supplements to support the healing process.  It just takes time.

I’m spending much more time indoors than I have previously while living in South Africa.  Unfortunately, living in a house with bars on the windows inevitably feels a lot like living in a prison, this is made all the worse by the fact that recent events mean I don’t feel as safe in my home as I used to.  Earlier this month, there was an armed robbery on our compound.  By a huge stroke of luck, all the families who live here were out at the time.  Generally on a Saturday afternoon, either our children or our neighbours are playing where the incident happened.  Anyone who has a young child on the spectrum knows that in the face of danger, they are likely to behave unpredictably.  I’ve lost many hours of sleep thinking about what might have happened if we hadn’t gone out that day.  The security officers here are great, and have already made some changes to minimize the risk of this happening again, but I’m shaken that an electric fence, gate, and security guard were ultimately so easy to overcome.

It has been hard because I’m always far more homesick after my parents visit than I am before.  Homesickness and culture shock are wrapped tightly together.  The more you miss home, the more alien a place can seem.  I’m struggling to remind myself to enjoy all the wonderful people and places here, rather than wishing for September to get here for an R & R trip back to England.

Last week brought things to a head.  I forgot to take Pudding swimming one day, then Cubby to OT another.  Then Cubby was ill, followed by Pudding too.  Instead of wanting to rest in bed, my kids become more hyperactive when they’re sick.  Not only was I struggling to keep up with them, but I’d missed the very things that help them to regulate.  By Friday, I was just exhausted.  Not only was I feeling too weary to face the effort of getting Pudding into school, or schedule an appointment for a 24-hour EEG for a child who couldn’t handle a 30 minute one; but I was too drained to get through another ordinary day.

Far from the “super-mum” a friend called me in an email, I was feeling physically and emotionally at rock bottom, and taking my frustrations out on the very people who most need my love and support.  When Spectrummy Daddy got home from work, I took a bath, and let my tears fall into the water, until most of the tension left me.  After we’d got the kids to sleep, we talked about what measures we could take to make things easier.  But, once I’d finally let go of trying to keep everything together, I no longer felt like I was coming apart.

It isn’t the end of this hard month yet, but I’m starting to feel stronger.  Yesterday when the car broke down, I didn’t join it.  I was just grateful it happened with Spectrummy Daddy there, and in a safe place.  I’m using visual strategies to keep me on track of the things I need to do this week, and hopefully that will keep me from getting too overwhelmed.  After all, if it is good enough for Pudding, it is good enough for me too.

So now I’ve honoured the truth.  I’m not a super-mum.  Though I love living here, it does come at a cost.  I can go through hard times, and while they have absolutely nothing to do with autism, they can challenge my ability to parent.  I’m going to keep telling the whole story, even if I’m hoping that this particular chapter will come to an end soon.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 26, 2012 at 11:50 am

Turning Pink

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pink ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

Today is October 31st, which is Halloween, which is a big deal in the spectrummy community, for better or for worse.  (In our house, Halloween is adored by Pudding, but we’ll see how her more defensive brother deals with it this year).  But today is also the last day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I started out the month not paying so much attention.  My mind, as always, is in a million places with bidding, and managing Pudding’s needs, and trying to figure out what is going on with Cubby.  I bought some products that had the pink ribbon on them, checked my boobs in the shower (they’re fine, thank you for asking) and didn’t consider it much more than that.

Someone who reads and comments on this blog, unfortunately, was not so lucky.  At the beginning of this month, I emailed Jen to see if she wanted to go for a coffee.  We’d been reading and commenting on the others’ blogs, and we live so close to each other, it seemed silly not to meet up.  We tentatively arranged to meet the week Spectrummy Daddy was away, but before we finalized our plans, I logged on and read this post she’d written.  And though I hadn’t yet met this new friend, I was in tears by the end of it.

We still haven’t met up for that coffee.  When you’re diagnosed with two kinds of cancer while your husband is serving a tour in Iraq, life gets in the way.  I’ve been left to follow Jen’s story at a distance, as she bravely shares her experience with the rest of us.  She is writing some amazing things, like what we shouldn’t say to someone newly diagnosed with cancer, and exploring all the raw emotion brought about by having her life turned upside down within the space of a few weeks.

At some point soon I’m hoping to tell Jen how amazing she is to write through her pain, how normal it is to have these feelings, and how fortunate I feel to have her as a friend, even if I haven’t met her yet.

One in eight of all women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, please check yourself, and remind the women in your lives to do the same.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 31, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Topped Up

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On Wednesday night Pudding and Cubby got to spend time with our friend Courtney.  Although she’d met Pudding as an infant when we visited London, Courtney remarked that she felt a little


Courtney getting a hug from The Pudding!


star-struck at meeting our little blog celebrities!  The kids enjoyed meeting her t0o, despite the chaos of a play-date, the whole thing went pretty well.


My Energizer Bunny can charge up the flattest of souls


I’m just back from a visit to the coffee shop with Pudding.  With Grandma in town, I could put Cubby to sleep, then steal out, just the two of us.  Well, just the three of us, as Upsy-Daisy was in tow, of course.  Pudding was sent home sick from school (just a cold) yesterday, so I kept her home today too.  I actually don’t remember the last time we spent time together just the two of us, and I had forgotten just how much pleasure I get from her company when it is just the two of us.  Just half an hour in her effervescent company has topped us back up- it is like a relationship recharge.

Tonight I get to do the same thing with Spectrummy Daddy.  It is only our fourth date this year, and our third alone together.  I’m a little run down with a cold and bad allergies, but I don’t intend to miss out on tonight.  We also need to keep the charge topped up before we drain out.

I made time for someone else this week too.  Someone who often gets overlooked in the chaos of daily life- me.  This morning I had my first physical exam in over 5 years.  I hadn’t seen a GP since before I was married, and still living in England.  Way too long.  I’ve had some tests for some niggling physical problems that I’ve been ignoring, because I was too busy, or couldn’t make an appointment with the children around.  I know I’m not the only mother or caregiver to neglect myself in this way.  There is no way I’d ignore such symptoms in the rest of the family, and I need to remember that I’m a vital part of this machine.  If I get too run down, this whole thing won’t work.  Proper maintenance is most definitely in order, both physically and emotionally.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about girls, and the example we set to them.  My bloggy friend Fi is facing the challenges of raising a spectrummy girl a few years down the line.  I think it is never too early to build up self-esteem.  As soon as Pudding is developmentally ready for it, we’d like her to receive instruction in a martial art.  I think it will be a great way for her to learn about her body being strong, powerful, and healthy.  We really need to get away from this fat/thin body image negativity.  Why are girls (and women) still doing this to one another?  Why are they starting even younger?  We’re doing something to give our daughters the wrong idea.  I need to remember that Pudding is always watching, and learning from me whether I realize it or not.  I need to take care of myself, and let her know that I do that because I’m worth taking care of.  I’m important, just as she is.  When you really appreciate who you are, you don’t need to drain the value of others to feel better.  Taking care of yourself is for the good of everyone- something worth remembering next time you feel drained and in need of getting topped up.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm