Monday, 22 January 2018

Missing at Christmas

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine 
Children singing Christian rhyme 
with logs on the fire and gifts on the tree 
it’s time to rejoice in the good that we see.

Hold up....that’s a little misleading. 

How’s about this?

Christmas time, can of ‘Natch’ like slime 
Children whinge and moan all the time.
shite on the telly; fucking hate my Christmas tree 
the needles are stuck in my toes constantly.

That’s a bit more like it. 

January’s landed.
And so has my ass. 

Ahh the sweet Christmas hangover. You’re 6lbs heavier than you were prior to advent, everyone’s angry because they’ve had to trek up or down the M6 to spend time with people they don’t like and you’ve no idea when to stop saying ‘happy new year’ to people. You’re experiencing your annual seethe as you put so much thought into that hand engraved replica of an old Ming Vase for your sister in law Flangela and once again you’ve been thrown a purse from Poundland and yet another set of Lavender hand cream. 
Your cupboards are packed full of food but there’s nothing to eat, your kids bedroom floor is still covered in boxed toys that he’ll never put away, you’ve had to hide the chocolate coin maker because, let’s be honest, it’s a load of shit and no matter how hard you scrub, your fridge still smells of cheese! 
Yes my friends!! Happy new year!!!!!!

I grew up obsessed with Christmas. My mum always made such an effort to make it special for my brother and I. 
I’ve been enjoying a Christmas stocking up to the age of 35 and it’s still as exciting as when I was little. 
I used to wake up about 4 am, count all the stocking fillers and calculate how often I could open one to stretch the time out until 6am when we were allowed to get up. 
I loved the smell of Christmas turkey whafting up the stairs at 5am (that’s not a typo) and running downstairs to plow headfirst into a pile of multicoloured paper. I really enjoyed sectioning off all the sweets and chocolates into their own box and working out which order I’d eat them in. I always felt cheated by a Twix....its not a chocolate’s a covert biscuit! That would go first.

I remember in April 2012 when I discovered I was pregnant with my first boy Noah that I’d quickly calculated a December due date and all I could think about was Christmas Carole’s. That lasted the whole way through the 2nd and 3rd trimester and I would well up every time I thought of ‘Christmas time mistletoe and wine’, imagining how amazing  it would be having a baby in my arms while eating Christmas dinner. In truth I spent Christmas 2012 in tears because Noah was 5 days old, I hadn’t slept, my nips were the colour of Rudolph’s nose from all the feeding and felt like they were like ‘logs on the fire’ from the searing pain of latching. Dinner arrived and I cautiously lowered myself down onto my seat to pretend to enjoy the pigs in blankets and even though I’d reversed at a snails pace, just as my bum connected with the wood my lady-stitches all burst open and I was left with the worlds biggest Fanhole (imagine your Fan and bum collide - that’s right). It was a magical day.

After the anticlimax that was Christmas 2012, 2013 was fab. 
I discovered on Xmas eve that I was pregnant with Tait. It was Noah’s first proper Christmas too as he could eat by then and was no longer destroying my boobs. The Fanhole had returned to something resembling normal so I could sit down like a normal person and enjoy my Xmas dinner. Lush! 

Christmas 2014 was exhausting. Noah wouldn’t sleep in his bed and I had Tait to feed through the night so that one was a bit of a blur.

But nothing would ever prepare me for Christmas 2015. 
Nor will another ever be this emotional, traumatic, challenging or inexplicably sad.

You see our daughter was born 15 days before Christmas.
Our daughter died 6 days before Christmas.
Noah turned two, 5 days before Christmas.
I began gruelling chemotherapy treatment 3 days before Christmas.
I discovered my Cancer had spread 2 days before Christmas.
And we spent the so-say happiest day of the year without one of our children at Christmas. 
We then buried our daughter 5 days after Christmas.

Yeah, Christmas 2015 was a bit Shit.

When Ally died I asked my mum to go to our house and remove all the cards, balloons and Christmas presents for her and take them to her house. I couldn’t bare the thought of coming home to a house full of all the well wishes knowing now that they’d turned into a symbol of living hell. 

I remember the drive back from hospital after we’d said goodbye and we drove into Portishead and the Christmas lights were twinkling away like nothing had happened. I was dumbfounded at how everything was the same as the day I’d left to give birth to her. I couldn’t compute that the world was still turning. 

I remember how sick I felt on Christmas morning trying to be so happy and excited for the boys that Santa had come and made their wishes come true and yet inside all I could think was how could I make my wish come true and bring Ally back. 

Well that year was the worst year of my life. Believe me when I tell you that Cancer is a piece of piss comparatively to losing your child.

I wondered how I’d manage to keep going but those two little boys were a stark reminder that I wasn’t going anywhere soon and that I had a job I damn well needed to get on with and that was being a mum! 
Truth be told, the boys saved my life. 

People often ask ‘how do you get over it?’
Well, you don’t. You just learn to live with it running alongside your life. My grief is very much like my cancer. It’s there in some ways and can pop up anywhere at any time. It never goes away but your body and mind learn to manage it. It has to. It’s how we humans survive. 

So now I’ve suitably depressed you. I’ll tell you about Christmas 2017.

Well I’ll tell you, the kids were feral!!!!! Feral!! My house was like fight club meets the Thunderdome from the minute the Christmas tree went up. That tall green asshole was like the 
starting gun for toddler warfare in our house. Noah shoots Tait in the face with a Spider-Man gun, Tait whacks Noah over the head with The Incredible Hulk so Noah picks the stuffing out of the skull of Tait’s dog, Tait chucks Pirate Pete off the top bunk, Noah tells Tait that Santa will pull his pants down and fart on his head instead of filling is stocking so Tait rips a page out of Noah’s favourite book and chews it. Then they both wee on each other in the bath.

Santa turns up to the house for a visit before Christmas ( this was arranged for the boys by a charity called Towards Tomorrow Together) and they both act like angels for an hour. Then they crash on the sofa to watch ‘Stickman’ as all that acting has worn them out.
In truth December was sheer and utter carnage so over the last few weeks people are asking “nice Christmas?” and I say “yeah it was good. The kids were feral. I blame the Christmas tree. Bye”. 

This year though I remembered to have some ‘me time’ and decided to rein-act my youth at the local pub ‘the Plough’ where no ones heard of Malbec and they serve the local battery acid in £2 cans. There’s a DJ ( Nice one Clarkey) and us mums and dads out-danced all the local cool kids by a mile. I stagger home at 3am in the December rain with no shoes or socks on because quite frankly that’s how I roll.

Christmas morning comes and the boys open far too many presents that have been wedged in under and around the Christmas tree. It’s quite frankly ridiculous but no matter how many gifts under that tree it’s so apparent to me that one pile is missing.

Ally would have been two this Christmas and I know that my little girl would have unwrapped a bright pink Barbie...and then whacked it straight across her brothers heads. 

That’s my girl.

Happy new year all.

In 2018.....don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Dead Wrong

My mum is awesome! 

She's called Ange. Well Andrea actually. She's also been known as Flange, The Crow and The Old Bag/Bat etc. 
She's a pretty remarkable women.
She brought my brother Jody (yes it’s a boys name too) and I up alone. We both turned out exceptionally well by the way....all credit to her.
My brother - Jody (with a ‘y’) Loughlin 
And me - Who said alcohol and chemo don’t mix?
Mum worked 3 jobs so she could get us stuff and feed us, we went from living in sheltered housing to our own home with a mortgage! She took us to really awesome places across the globe and ran her own business. She even jumped out of a plane last year from 15000ft at age 66!
She did all that. 
She's brilliant. 
But WOW she can't do technology for shit!

Watching her type a text message out on her flip phone circa 2002 resembles a one eyed robber typing a code into a safe.

Now she has retired she has made the brave decision to catch up with us younguns and get an iPad!!!!! I thought she must have soiled her TenaLady when she made that brave decision. 
I took her to the Mall a few weeks ago and told the Apple hipsters to give her the most basic IPad with really good memory and none of that fancy shite. She left with her fashionable drawcord double lined white bag muttering about ‘what was a wrong with a normal carrier’ and then promptly tells me that I’ll need to teach her how to use it!
Ok I think, I can do that. I have zero patience, no free time whatsoever and am unable to filter sarcasm even in the most extreme of circumstances....this’ll be fantastic!!!!

So the next day she bowls into my house with a 50/50 mix of excitement and fear hanging around her jowls, sits down with the iPad and says “ok, what do I do next?” And I say “well you obviously need to switch it on first you pillock” but she doesn’t move and continues to stare at me then says  “ok” and stares again.
What is she looking at? I quickly glance over my shoulder...clear. I run my tongue over my teeth....clear. I waggle my finger in both nostrils...pretty clear.
And it slowly dawns on me she doesn't know how to turn it on. 
Remain can do’ve bossed life with incurable Cancer....don’t let the old bird give you a heart attack....breathe I tell myself. 
So I remain calm and show her.
Me - “Press here and enter a password.” 
Flange - “What’s the point in that?” 
Me - “don’t ask questions unless it’s extremely necessary and we may both survive this” (End scene)

Then flash forward and hour and she's still slamming the screen with her sausage fingers every time I shout "the home button! The button!!! The fucking home button! THE BUTTON! It's the only fucking button on there for fucks sake!!" And I realise that although the odds are that I'll die from Cancer....there's now a bloody good chance I may be claimed earlier via an aneurism from old lady technology induced stress!  

“Mum, I'm signing you up for a class at the Library for iPad wankers. It starts on Wednesday”
And off she goes. Bless her.

Anyway, what's this got to do with anything I hear you shout?

Well I tell thee...
Mum can now use google and she wanted to read my blog. Isn't that nice? (She'll have forgotten how to find it by the time this ones posted so don't worry) 
So she says one day whilst whipping out here iPad (that’s now incased in a picture of a Giraffe wearing pink accessories)....'look watch me. I do it like this. I press the compass thing (she means safari) and then the colours come up (she means the actual word ‘Google’) and I click the white line below it and I type what I want to search for.’
I'm actually rather impressed. Good ole Brian at the library... that geezer deserves a medal....and probably a month in The Priory. 

So she says ‘I'm searching for you’ and she types in 'Heidi Loughlin' and do you know what comes up my friends? The first in the one people do most? Is this:

‘Heidi Loughlin Death’

Well bless my mum, she says "you're not dead" and I say "I know! The flipping cheek!" 

And I start wondering why people have searched this? 
I mean there could be a million answers. 
It could be that people are looking for pictures of my sarcastic corpse?
It could be that people have seen me on a live feed somewhere and think I speak so loudly because I’m overcompensating for hearing difficulties (and they, like me, can’t spell and/ or have bad grammar) 
Or maybe it could be that people have noticed I’ve not written much this year and have decided I’ve snuffed it? Now I mention it ..I did have a few inbox messages asking if I was dead, to which I replied "Yes. Yes I am. I'm so sorry to be the barer of bad news, I died 4 weeks ago. PS I'm in your wardrobe".

I wonder if people think that because I've got an incurable and aggressive strain of Cancer (inflammatory breast Cancer) that I must have died by now. 
I guess it’s a fair assumption.

But, I'm not dead!!!  I’m very much alive....look here’s the evidence....
Celebrating Tait’s 3rd birthday in style

Coming second to last with our quiz team at the school but drinking through it....

....and innocently climbing the kids wall on the way home.

Spending time with my favourite man on 4 legs.

Winning Inspirational Mother of the Year at the Butterfly awards.

Halloween dinner party....all very civilised....lots of red wine
Later that night after I’d spewed off my face paint
1 firework every 5 minutes....that’s old school.
Oh and if you want dated proof of life.... here it is....
FYI that train line is never happening 
Let me tell you what I did a few weeks ago....I canoed 22 miles for Stand up to Cancer. Yeah I did that AND I have treatment everything 3 weeks. I had the drugs two days after the canoe trip actually. 
Here are the pictures as proof that I canoed alive. AND I was still alive at the end.

A few days before I headed up north for the challenge I said to my mates that I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to do it because I hadn't trained and actually it was a really long way and all the others had trained or were really fit generally as they are celebrities and keep their shit together. 
My mate Emma (who seems to come up a lot in my blog posts and is a hard core spinning instructor) said 'that's bullshit. You'll be absolutely fine because that type of endurance is mental strength and you are the strongest person I know' and you know what, she was bloody right. 
I actually became stronger as the day progressed and finished with a tonne of adrenaline coursing through me. 
I know my little girl gave me an extra push and was egging me on from the start. And I know my boys, although back in Bristol, were also fuelling my determination. 
You see I gather strength from all things around me. The short life of my daughter Ally still gave me some very happy memories, the knowledge that my boys are safe and well and need me as there mum, my husband that would continue to send Noah to school in the wrong coat if I wasn't around, my friends that always say the right things, my brother whose sarcasm and stoicism rival my own and I’m a tough act to follow and my Mum, who keeps going regardless of the obstacles and will one day be able to type like a normal person. 

Heidi Loughlin Alive


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Leg of Lamb

(To vote for me as 'inspirational mother' in the baby loss star awards please Click Here and click on the heart. See bottom of blog for more info. If your phone won't let you click the link then you can also vote on the Facebook page 'storm in a tit cup by Heidi'. Xx) 

I cried on Sunday!

That makes it sound like I never cry...I do.
I cry at every Oxfam or RSPCA advert. 
I cry every time I hear the 'Moana' soundtrack because it reminds me of the moment in the film when the old granny comes back from the dead as a giant ghostly stingray. 
I cry when I laugh so hard my face hurts.
And I cry when I've had a good nights sleep because the following night I'm not exhausted enough to drop unconscious while watching 'Suits' on the iPad and my mind starts wondering.

But this Sunday I cried whilst massaging a leg of lamb. 

Let me paint the picture...last week my eldest, Noah, started Primary school. 
I've been mega excited about this day all summer...particularly when Noah pushed Tait off of the bunk bed and when Tait kicked Noah in the balls. (We then had to have a discussion about 'balls' and whilst I managed to explain like an educated adult that the 'balls' are where boys keep their potions to make babies, I couldn't find a more palatable word than 'balls' for the 'balls.' So they are now officially called 'balls' in our house......" Tait's got small balls!", "daddies got big balls!", "do some people have three balls?", "Where are your balls mummy?" Etc etc) 

So on Wednesday I stood shoulder to shoulder with a playground full of mums and dads waving off their 4 year olds. All these tiny children in oversized clothes dragging book bags in equivalent heights artistically interpreting 'the stone of shame' scene from 'The Simpson'.

It's fair to say that there were a shit load of tears in this playground not coming from the eyes of children! 
Actually my friend Emma had been crying for three days straight prior to Wednesday (accounting for the 'yellow' weather warning for Bristol) and had forced her husband to take secret photos of her meltdown as evidence...

(Disclaimer: Emma wanted me to make it quite clear that this was more period related then child starting school...personally I call bullshit.)

So there were many playground tears and I recalled a conversation I'd had with one of the mums at the 'settling in' day who was also crying and she said to me 'is it weird I'm crying'? And I said "of course not" as I also had a few tears start to prickle at my eyes. She said 'I'm going to miss her and it's the end of an era' and I thought 'I'm crying because I'm so relieved I'm not dead'. 

So Wednesday came and all I could do was grin from ear to ear like I'd slept with my face pinned back with drawing pins! To others in the playground that saw me that morning they must have thought I was just so bloody glad to have one of them off of my hands or that I was simply beaming with pride! Well to be fair both are true.....I love him dearly but I'm glad he's starting this amazing adventure and that someone else may be able to answer his one million questions without having to google. 

But mostly I was beaming with relief. 

I remember the night 2 years ago when I was told I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer whilst pregnant with my 3rd baby. I came home and I checked on Tait who had just celebrated his first birthday. He looked so peaceful and I felt immense guilt that things would never quite be conventional for him and that because of his young age that he would never look back on a time in his life when his mum didn't have cancer. I felt bad that this would be his 'normal'. I shut his door and went into the next room where Noah was sleeping. He was 2 at the time. I climbed into bed with him and cried desperately into the pillow. I felt I was going to miss out on his life. I was going to miss all his milestones and I would never get to share one of those pictures of my little lad starting school in his oversized uniform baring the logo of his new life, of his independence and really the beginning of his pathway to who knows what. 
I wouldn't see that. I wouldn't know what that felt like.

And now I do know what that feels like. 
Both feelings of course.
I know what it is like to take my son to school.
I also know what it's like to not have the chance to ever take my little girl to school.

But Wednesday was about Noah. 
I didn't actually think I'd make this. 
This is one bucket list item that I'm ecstatic to tick off. 
I got to walk my little boy to school and chuffing hell was i proud! 
Add caption

And so, the lamb. 

Noah had started school that week and Sunday was Taits 3rd birthday. Keith had taken them to 'comic con' in Bristol while I prepared the boys favourite meal of lamb with a shit tonne of mint sauce. I was 'thinking' because I'd had an actual full nights sleep and the house was empty so I guess my head was too. 
This is dangerous territory for me. This is when the thoughts start to creep in. I knew that with Taits birthday followed a milestone of diagnosis. It would be two 2 years the following day that I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer and was staring at a life span of 2-5 years. 
As I delicately massaged lemon juice into the decaying carcass of a sheep, that fucking tractor song came onto 'Spotify'. You know the one....'I'm rumbling in my JCBeeeee. I'm five years old and my dads a giant sitting beside of me' ( even as I'm typing this I'm welling up ) well it's something to do with struggling to fit in at school and the boys dad works his bollocks off on the farm all day but no matter how tired he is he's always got time for his son. They're rolling up the bypass, him and his dad having a top laugh. And I started thinking about my funeral!!!!! POP! Straight into my head, just like that. I thought what a lovely song this would be for the boys to listen to to capture how fantastic their relationship is with their dad, Keith. And because it would have been chosen by me it would become even more poignant. And this would be the song they would remember me by and although they'd be sad they'd also have these little smiles on their faces too! 
AND.......well of course then the tears and snot came flooding down onto the fucking lamb. The lamb that had been enjoying a deep tissue massage for the last 10 minutes.
Then I cried because that lamb also had a family once and maybe it to had longed to drop its kid off at sheep school or something. 
Oh it was awful.

And then I had to kick myself right in the ass! 
Because actually this was an amazing milestone (not the leg of lamb, I'd cooked it before like). Noah had started school! I'd been there! Tait had turned 3! I'd been there. I wasn't dead! I was alive! And I'll be there for Tait to start school too because just you try and stop me! 

And the lamb, even when marinated in snot, still tasted good.

I'm up for an award ladies and gents, others. I've been shortlisted as 'Inspirational Mother of the Year' by the Butterfly Awards. I'd love it if you would take a few seconds to follow this link and vote for me by simply clicking the red heart I would be so greatful. But equally you don't have to either. I'll still like you all the same. But you'll be top of the haunting list if you don't!!!!
It's a very special event that recognises mums, dads and support networks around parents who have lost their babies. We will all be attending an award ceremony on October 14th and it goes without saying it will be a very emotional event. All these mums and dads are inspirational and talking about our babies to others is so important so I'd urge you to vote for someone whether it's me or not. Thank you xxx

Thursday, 29 June 2017

People really fuck me off sometimes.


People really fuck me off sometimes. 
For many different reasons. For instance, people that don't say thank you when you hold the door open for them... I find myself muttering 'you're welcome' or 'my pleasure' or 'fuck you you ignorant fucking ass wipe' (I wouldn't actually say that).
The same applies when you let someone in during traffic and they just breeze through without even lifting a hand in acknowledgement! Then I'm driving going 'bloody regret letting him in now....look at his arrogant hair-cut and he's in a Range Rover and blatantly doesn't live on a farm.'

Then there's the people that think they can say what they like about anyone because it's from their phone. Like the screen acts as some kind of shit-shield. Then when you question the 'Warrior Screen' they go all quiet as they realise they are a complete haemorrhoid. Let's take Klaus for instance. 

Case study 1: Klaus

Klaus is a cunt.

Last week the NHS and NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) announced that Kadcyla (TDM1) would continue to be readily available to women with secondary breast cancer. This may not mean much to you as a) you can't pronounce Kadcyla b) you don't know what secondary breast cancer is and c) you want to get to the story about Klaus quicker. Well Kadcyla is the drug that is keeping me alive. It is currently stopping my cancer from spreading any further within my body. It gives me a relatively conventional life. It buys the average patient an extra 9 months of life. 
Secondary breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the breast through the lymphatic or blood system to other parts of the body. This makes you incurable. Never free from cancer. Always in Cancer land. Touching cloth every time you get an ache or pain somewhere. Always having appointments, forever. Infinity. Continuously. A Life time. Full stop. 

Anyway, there was basically some beef over whether Kadcyla would be dropped from the drugs menu because it has a hefty price tag. After all, it only buys 9 months on average. That's not much is it?

In 9 months my eldest son has learned how to dress himself, to recognise numbers, to recognise his name in written form, to brush his teeth without protest, he's gained a place at primary school, knows how to apply sarcasm in the correct fashion, has learned to ride a bike, he's travelled America, been to Finland, to Disneyland Paris, he's punched his brother in the face, managed to not poo himself, to tell me he loves me, to swim unaided etc etc etc. 
Yeah 9 months is bugger all eh?

So Kadcyla. Well, as I was already on it, it was never to be taken away from me but it would no longer be available to ladies newly diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
This was not a case of 'I'm alright jack' this was a case of 'we are not alright Jackie'. 

These fellow breast cancer ladies deserve to know that they too will have the opportunity to access Kadcyla should they need it. 
When I read that it could be axed from the list I was gutted for these ladies. I was gutted for my past self who in September was given the conclusive proof that I will always have cancer. That I am now incurable.  What if Kadcyla wasn't available to me then?  I'd already gone though several drugs that had failed to tackle my cancer. I'm not sure I'd be sat here typing this if Kadcyla wasn't given to me.

So the charity Breast Cancer Now and a lovely lady named Bonnie Fox (she lives up to her name by the way) fronted a campaign to raise awareness of Kadcyla and to fight to keep it. They set up a petition and I know that a lot of you that read my crap signed it. Thank you my lovers. 

We received the awesome news last week that Kadcyla will remain available on the NHS and the petition had a large part to play in that!!!! You helped!!! This may not mean much in your world, but it means the world in mine. Thank you.

So, this leads me to Klaus. 
My local paper 'The Bristol Post' have been a huge supporter of Storm In A Tit Cup since it began and so they posted an article about the wonderful news regarding Kadcyla. They did make it sound a bit like I'd singlehandely saved the world...all I did was share the petition and explained why it was important to me. It was Breast Cancer Now and 'The Bonniest Fox' that did themselves proud. 
But they (Brizzle Post)  were celebrating with us in what is a great achievement and helping us to raise awareness. 

So this is how it went down.....

And then this.....

So I replied this......

It really fucked me off because it's so nobby and basically thick. 50 percent of the population will get cancer at some point in their life. 50 percent!!!! He might not have any friends but I'm sure he's got family right? We all fell out of someone's fanny. He must have someone he loves.
Then his comments were deleted as he'd obviously realised what a complete asshat he was. 

And then this was shared (thanks go out to Saranne and Trudi)....

Which cracked me up...

And then people commented about Klaus with words such as: 

Bellend (a storm in a tit cup favourite) 
Klaus Dick Weed 
Cock monkey - about 7 times
Cockwomble (in word form this time)
Tosse - all the way from Denmark
(You lot love a phallus) 
And Mingeknuckle!!

MINGEKNUCKLE...I love it!!!!

What an outpouring of support for me and my fellow Cancer-Landers!!!! 

And it reminded me that for every Klunt (see what I did there) there are 99 legends. 

Then I thought that Klaus is just some silly Mingeknuckle with a packet of Wootsits next to his PC, cock in one hand (gradually turning yellow from cheese dust) with his pile of un-researched opinions piling up next to him like a stack of crusty porn mags. 
He didn't think about the consequences of what he wrote. He didn't realise that we are real people with real lives and that actually we might read what he's written and we may actually reply. And that we didn't ask for cancer. We just want to live. 

Can you imagine that being the dominating thing that flies around in your head?
 'I just want to be alive for as long as I can.'

And then I felt sorry for him, only a little like. 
It must suck to be that much of a shortsighted bellend. 

For Klaus xxx