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Closing doors and looking for open windows

Posted Jun 29 2009 5:15pm

Wow, I hadn't realised how long it has been since I last blogged here. Is anyone still there? I really am going to get back to blogging here more regularly.
We have gone through a strange stage in our adaptation to life after William's transplant recently. For the last few weeks, we have been approaching something that resembles a 'normal family' routine. William is back at school and, at the moment at least, is really very, very well. At the beginning of June, we went to Birmingham for his scopes and biopsies due at 6 months post transplant. All seems to be going well. His stoma is a bit of a mess as it is prolapsed and coverd in sores where it takes a bashing as he runs around enjoying his new found energy. It does need to be 're-fashioned' but it is not urgent and Wills was in such a state over his 'special sleep' for the scopes that the team want him to work with a psychologist to get a bit of control over his phobia before hand. This will be a fairly major op and will necessitate a few weeks in hospital and some more painful and unpleasant experiences for him. There is also no guarentee it won't prolapse again. As William's colon was removed at transplant, his stoma is for life so this is just something we will have to learn to live with if that is the case.
The girls, William and I are really enjoying getting out and about and enjoying the summer. This is the first time we have been home for any decent time in the summer and so we have never seen Croydon in the hot sun or had the chance to enjoy trips to London and further afield. We are certainly making up for lost time. We also have plans for a trip to Mum and Dad's - the first time William has been able to stay there so that will be really special, the British Transplant Games and some 'mini breaks' to combine Gifts of Life photo shoots and seeing a bit more of the country.
Most of all this adapting to life free from the constant threat of a lengthy time living in hospital is very exciting. There are some aspects that have been hard though. The children and I have spent so long out of our social circles that, in some cases, it sometimes feels very difficult to see where we fit back in. William and I returned to our church for the first time in nearly a year yesterday and everything has moved on so far without us, and so much has happened to us and within me that I hardly felt like anyone really knew me anymore. It will take time to see where the 'new me' that has been changed so much through this journey can slot back in. On the flip side, I have so many wonderful new friends who I have met along the way who are just terrific and I love them very much. There is the journey itself too. Now we are eight months after transplant, I am now able to look back on it all and using it as inspiration for new projects. So, there are some great things and some more tricky things that we are dealing with at this phase in the journey. I guess we have reached that stage of reflection where we are processing it all and how it has changed us, mostly for the better and I certainly have that feeling that I have so much to share and to give to others as a result that it is a real need to find how I can go about doing so. A transplant in the family is a real life changing event but it isn't just the transplant itself, it is the three years previously where we spent 80% of the time in hospital. This has had a huge impact and I can't just go back to where I was before, in some cases it is impossible to, even where I would want to.
Very sadly, the main casualty of the life we have led over the last few years is my relationship with Paul. I am not going to blog about the details but for a variety of reasons, Paul has found it very difficult to fit into the family. There are, of course, other things that have happened to our relationship during these last very stressful years. This kind of journey either makes you or breaks you and, unfortunately, it broke us. Paul left over the weekend. It is sad as we did have something really special once upon a time in a world before our vocabulary was dominated by medical terminology and the expressions we shared became limited to anguish and stress. His decision was a long time coming and something he had mused even before we came home from Birmingham after William's transplant. So, it isn't a shock but is still sad and brings new challenges. The next chapter of my journey with Willam, Hope and Ellie started today. The start of this journey is, inevitably, a tough one but I know I can turn to friends and my wonderful parents for support and I know things will be a lot easier further down the path. I have three wonderful children and we have lots of fun things planned for the summer. On the whole, life is very good.
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