This morning I read the headline that Brady was dead and my mind went back to many years ago.
In 1994 I was serving as a full time missionary for the Lord, assigned to the England Manchester Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One of my first areas was at the edge of the Pennines, a town named Oldham.
As we met people on the streets, a question was often raised concerning the nature of God and:
Why did He let that happen to those children?
I didn’t understand at first and then someone mentioned the names – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. I understood; I explained to my American companion. This is where it happened, this was the town, our view to the hills was a view to the moors, Saddleworth Moor. Five children, tortured and killed in the 1960s, buried on the moors. I was not born but the murders were notorious and 30 years later, even with the guilty ones in jail the community still felt the pain and anger; no remorse was ever shown.
I have not come close to feeling what those parents and the community felt. But there will be some people who sadly have.
Summer is approaching and growing up it seemed this was the time when children tragically featured in the news – Sara Payne, Milly Dowler, the Soham girls, Jamie Bulger. This has made me cautious as a parent; I think it’s made many parents cautious and changed the way children play outside the home.
Today the world has predators, games, social media and wrong influences in the form of images, music, films that can reach right into our homes, through modern technologies. We can not let down our guard or let anyone else raise our children. Our children are still vulnerable; they are our treasure – they need teaching, they need our protection. Its difficult but not impossible. As parents, I believe, that we must trust God, stay close to Him and His counsel, and everything will be alright.
The world is incessantly pulled by a flood of enticing and seductive voices. Overcoming the world is trusting in the one voice that warns, comforts, enlightens, and brings peace “not as the world giveth.”
This past weekend (first weekend in April) was General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I am a member. This happens twice a year, six months apart, and is when the general (world wide) leaders of the church address the general membership and the world. With satellite and internet technology, wherever we are in the world, we can receive the messages, virtually instananeously, through live streaming, audio and/or video as the conference takes place at church HQ conference centre in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
As a Latter Day Saint I believe in living prophets and I trust that, for our spiritual safety, when they speak, we should listen and follow. For me it’s no different to the trust the ancient Israelites had to have in Moses, that if they followed him, they would gain their freedom from the Egyptians where they were in a state of slavery. Which ultimately is what happened.
So the conference actually all began last weekend with the women’s session where female church leaders spoke on trusting the Lord and not leaning (Proverbs 3:5-6), the beauty of holiness and being faithful, certain women, in the New Testament sense. And then an Apostle (Henry B Eyring) spoke on the peace that we can only receive from the Lord Jesus Christ; it was sublime.
When you prepare yourself for conference, it’s as if the speakers are speaking to you, personally. The words resonate within my spirit as I hear words of truth. There were admonitions to be kind, charitable, true, faithful, how to recognise and follow the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, how to not live by fear, how to overcome the world.
And the prophet, Thomas S Monson, in his Sunday morning address, asked: We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? And the answer: I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. And to develop and keep a strong testimony: read the Book of Mormon, each day 🙂 And the promise if we do this?
As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.
I am very grateful for the simplicity which is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ – it is a the greatest blessing in my life and that of my family. I love our Saviour, Jesus Christ; I’m grateful that He speaks still through living prophets, same as anciently – all things have been restored.
It’s been a while – we’re all fine. There’s bits of news – like I started piano lessons!! again, after… 30+ years = 🙂 my dear husband is paying rather than my dear mother – but I’m going to quickly ask:
How often can I message my children?
I mean, I’m embracing the technology! Making sure they are safe! And on time for lessons at college! I, me myself, I don’t see a problem with that!! After all, I carried my children in my tummy for 9 months each and nurtured them, I think they can at least text back when I check up on them. Right? I don’t bother anymore with Son1, I only receive monosyllabic responses so I only message when picking him up from work (he works part time in a fast food restaurant) or when he’s picking up Son2 from school (an occasional reminder!). Daur1 always politely replies, letting me know where she is on her journey.
But this evening as I chauffeured Son1 & Daur1 (18 and 17 years old respectively), I suddenly heard Daur1 say:
At least you don’t get the Mummy spam!
And proceeded to list off how often I text her (we have unlimited so…) – did you get bus OK? Did you catch the 8h train? Have you been to your chemistry 1-1/ workshop? Are you nearly home?
It did sound ridiculous and Son1 said – I’ll block you if you do that with me!!
So I clearly need to restrain myself!! Even Daur1 can distinguish if Son2 has used my phone to message her because:
Mum uses punctuation!
So there you have it. Despite having phones which do everything, so quickly and easily, and let’s face it, they’re like the communication devices in Star Trek! (I’ve recently discovered you can video call through WhatsApp!!) – despite this there seems to be some unwritten protocol about how often is too often! … And I was thinking about getting an App to track where they are… in case of emergency!!
I’m here at Son2 piano lesson. His teacher feels he has great finger technique, and he’s definitely more natural than I ever was as a child. But…
Son2 is 9 years old. And trying to get a nine year old son to practice is tough, unless he’s in the mood, which most of the time he isn’t.
Son2 struggles with reading the notes or at least remembering them and currently has the attitude that as long as he can play the piece, reading the music is secondary. Last night I gave him some notes quizzes to encourage him, but it began and ended with tears, Son2’s. Son1, who was doing Chemistry revision, said did I really need to put Son2 through this? I took Son1 out of violin lessons when he reached the age of no practice (around 9 years), and my dear husband feels that was a mistake, so I’ve made it quite clear that Son2 will continue unless Son2 declares to his teacher, grandma and father that he wants to give up. Is that too tough?
As I recall, at nine years old, one, generally, has little experience but you feel like you can do everything and anything given the chance – be a pilot, be a train driver, be a famous dancer/ singer/ actor. But you don’t know what it takes to get there, i.e. the self discipline to practice, the humility to learn.
So I’m listening to the scales, listening to the notes, listening to the teacher, listening to Son2 struggling and achieving! It may be difficult right now but one day you will appreciate the self discipline that you will develop 🙂
I’ve returned to my blog – it’s been a while, I know. After the surgery I was signed off work until Christmas Eve and then I already had annual leave booked for the last week in 2016. Then a wait for the biopsy results – all OK for which I am grateful to Father 🙂 So, unexpectedly, I was not at work for the whole of December 2016.
I returned to work on 3 January 2017, as many people. And due to the transfer of the property business, I returned to my former and first ever employer, the city council.
I returned to my desk, with various trade literature and unopened post – after two days it’s still in my in box, unopened.
I returned to my projects – a little model completed for the feasibility study and several outstanding technical queries on the construction project (with a contractor stating the delay is due to ‘us’).
I returned to discover that such was the concern for me that they had approached a local company for costs to deliver the feasibility study! I’ve had several colleagues welcome me back. Since they are all predominantly male colleagues my stock answer is I’m fine – no point getting into a conversation about recovery after laparascopic surgery of a gynaecological nature! – and I swiftly move the conversation on to QS resources, retaining walls or the return to local government.
Back in the home, we’ve also been looking into returnees to Africa. There’s lots on YouTube. As the house in Africa is becomes bigger and our mortgage here becomes smaller (can something grow smaller?…) the prospect of going to Africa long term becomes more real. It will be an adventure for me; it will be returning home for my dear husband. Some would say for me too, clearly, as my ancestry will include slaves taken from Africa to the plantations of the Caribbean islands. I have many deeper thoughts on this. I am grateful to Father to know that somewhere in my family, ancestors survived the ridiculous barbaric cruelty of slavery to have offspring and become free. Free to grow and return.
So yesterday was the long awaited diagnostic day surgery – hysteroscopy and laparoscopy and polypectomy and…
It was an early start – I, unintentionally, woke at 0329h! I lay in bed listening to Mormon Channel Talk trying to go back to sleep – sounds bad but owing to Daur1 breaking my headphones and I can’t receive FM radio without them the BBC World Service was not an option and the talk helps me stay sleepy!! I, intentionally, got up at 0605h, forgot to fill urine sample, eeekk – drank loads of water before 0630h, showered again with the anti-microbacterial soap – paying special attention to nose, underarms and groin – prepared five packed lunches, scraped the car (frosty) and my dear husband and I set off. Admission time 0745h – toilet trip, urine sample! – strip off to underwear, don designer gown (nurse C tells me as I say it feels a bit breezy on the back!), and wait.
First the consultant who will be doing the procedure. Young Dr D (does everyone look young to me!?) accompanied by a fourth year student F (are you even my son’s age!!). Dr D explains they feel it can be resolved by a hormone system being inserted – which will last for 5 years and by then you’ll be 52 so should be into the menopause – and that’s what they plan to do, taking biopsy samples of the womb lining, remove the polyp, take cervix sample, remove any endometriosis found, take sample. Some discussion about possibly removing the right ovary if it’s stuck to the pelvis. I explain our travel plans for next week, Dr D doesn’t think it would be a problem, it’s not a long haul flight. Student F returns to ask if he can feel me while I’m unconscious. Mmmmm… no!! I know students have to gain experience but I’m in no mood for additional feeling!
Bloods taken again (I’d already been to my surgery earlier in the week but apparently they labeled the sample wrong so it wasn’t acceptable). So that ruled out left arm which still has bruising. Nurse C tried right arm – no luck and doesn’t want to make me a human pin cushion so calls a doctor, he tries twice in wrists! Seriously, make sure this is their last option – so painful! Right wrist unsuccessful. Left wrist he use a syringe to draw blood out!! Not pleasant. I’m convinced it’s because I’ve not eaten since the night before and it’s my body’s natural way of protecting itself – I’m not able to give blood either, after a few minutes my veins seem to shrink up. I tried several times when I was younger and the last time they told me not to bother volunteering again!!
Anyway,a young Dr A female anaesthetist entered during this painful process. (Female important because Daur1 wants to be one). Dr A goes through everything and I explained that my only other experience of general anaesthetic left me vomiting until night. That noted I mentioned my dear daughter and Dr A was very encouraging, she can make it, hardest part is getting into medical school.
I’m measured for and fitted with flight socks -to help prevent clotting – I need to wear them for two days. I’m third in line and I hear patient 1 and 2 go in – both laparoscopic hysterectomy – I can’t help hearing, the curtains aren’t acoustic buffers! I should’ve taken a book but I read some scriptures and a LDS conference talk on my phone. Daur1 messages me and suggests an eBook – even if I knew how to download one, I’m sure I don’t have enough phone memory! I asked the nurse for the literature about the Miruna IUS (intra uterine system) of which I will be a recipient.
Around 1155h, wrapped in my dressing gown, in my new boot slippers, now naked under the blue designer gown, I’m walked down to the pre-op theatre room. By 12h two cannulas are in the back of my left hand and another nurse, while sticking on little paddles to my chest and back to set up the heart monitor, begins asking me about work. Ooooh, long study, my son studied architecture and went to Japan on an exchange as a student, he practices in London as part of his training, when you’re young London is great, my daughter recently moved out of London. Are you distracting me? Dr A does another check of the consent paperwork and that I am me. I can hear the beep machine – is that what my heart is doing?… my left arm starts feeling cold, or is it warm?… the beeps are going faster…
It’s 1505h. That must be a big clock, I think, I can see it with no glasses on. And is that my heart beat beeping away… And…. no pain in my pelvis but… tummy pains…. and, oh, I am so cold, I need blankets, I need to sleep…. I’m wheeled back to the ward.
It’s about 1630h when I wake properly. Dr D comes over and explains it all went well. Ovaries were very mobile; small area of endometriosis on left ovary, nothing on right; biopsies taken; IUS fitted; abnormal cells to cervix weren’t very much but biopsy taken; some bleeding when polyp removed; no polyp to womb but adenomyosis confirmed so protestogen hormone should help with that. Biopsy results will take a few weeks. Dr D was happy with procedure and will sign fit note for 7 days, that is, I should be fit for work in 7 days.
Then came the awkward process of moving. Once I was awake they gave me a jug of water. My throat was, and still is, hoarse and they offered toast or biscuits. I opted for biscuits – on the advice of a friend who suggested you could soften them in a warm drink – but I could only face water. I was very dizzy, but they wheeled me to toilet and back. Then I dressed, my dear husband arrived and they let him bring the car round to the front, wheel chair to the door and my hospital day was done.
Back home I had omelette, with cheese and mushrooms, and toast, half a slice. I was not tempted by the chicken and rice that everyone else was eating – I think my dear husband was disappointed by my choice. I was not feeling very mobile and was still very dizzy. I’m grateful for balustrading and walls!!
So today is the day after. I feel a lot better – there are four incisions and I recall the nurse saying two of them have stitches which will need removing in a few days. This morning, Daur1 popped her head round the door and said in a serious tone:
I don’t think we were prepared for this!
😦 I don’t think they were prepared for their mother being out of action for a bit. I heard my dear husband preparing five packed lunches this morning with a warning – nobody should waste this food!!
So, I was very anxious about it all; I won’t feel completely comfortable until the biopsy results are back and hopefully clear. I still don’t understand the right ovary situation, maybe it was lodged somewhere but no lesions holding it in place. But it is a relief to no longer have that pain and to feel I’ll be able to get back exercising. I’m not sure what affect the hormone will have – but it seems to be very low dose, in the right place, so we’ll see. Dr D suggested I’ll need to give it 3 to 6 months.
I’m sure I’m going to feel better everyday – I’m feeling better already 🙂 I needed to write this quickly before I forget the sentiment. Thanks for reading and hopefully my experience can help someone else – sharing is caring! 🙂
That’s the strap line of a billboard advertising an adult rated game showing several people holding guns. I was going to post a picture but that advertises the game! So here’s a family stock photo!
It seems to me that the advertisers have replaced the kill for die and therefore make the whole game seem more… honourable. Literally glorifying violence! 😦
It’s an(other) example of how we, and our children, are being bombarded with slightly false messaging. After all, most people love their families enough that if it were asked of them, they would risk their own lives. But this false messaging seems symptomatic of the last days, these perilous times that Paul described (2 Timothy 3 vv1-5), particularly having a form of godliness.
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come….
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,…
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
I did listen to this wonderful talk from one of the female LDS church leaders, which speaks of these perilous times and how we, as women, need to rise up in strength. I encourage you to listen and be uplifted 🙂
My last post – small things -set the scene of last week’s events – it was a difficult week! But I should say that during this, I did notice the Lord’s hand and his tender mercies, protecting our family – I especially felt this when the clutch on the car failed. It could’ve been a lot worse!
It could’ve failed the day before, on our way to church (children and me in the car, we would have all missed partaking the sacrament), or on our way back home from church (all five of us again and none of us took coats – it wasn’t raining but it’s not mid summer!), and we live about an hour walk from church.
It could’ve failed on Saturday when I use it the most – Son2’s piano lessons, Daur1 work (drop off & pick up), Son1 pick up from late shift at fast food restaurant.
It could’ve failed on Friday, the chauffeur evening, when the three older children were in the car and we were traveling on the motorway at 60 miles per hour on our way to or back from the stake centre in the next city.
It could’ve failed on Wednesday when I had the pelvic scan and in the afternoon I took my dear husband, down the motorway at 60 miles per hour, to an eye appointment at an out of town clinic, before coming home to take oldest siblings to evening Seminary.
The leak could’ve been nearer the middle of our room, rather than the corner.
And the mouse, well, that could’ve gotten to the front room and scurried all over my dear husband and I during the night… nibbling toes…. eeewwwww….
From Apostle Elder David A Bednar (April 2005):
the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15).
Sometimes the smallest of things can make the biggest difference in our lives. This last week has been full of that for me and our family.
Before that, after one of the big winter storms in the last few years, we noticed a leak on our bedroom ceiling, right in the corner above the bay window. It really didn’t disrupt our daily lives and it was several months before we got a roofer out. However the following winter, another big storm, same leaking, another small damp patch appears closer in, remote from the first leak. After several attempts with the insurance company, they finally agreed to mend and repair, but not replace the valley flashing gutter (above bay window).
Then several weeks back a roofer came out – did something from a ladder and despite rain we’ve had no further leaks. Yeah! – you may think. So then the company turn to our bedroom interior. The artex ceiling is tested for asbestos. It’s a positive result so they arrange for a specialist contractor to remove the ceiling. This was scheduled for Monday morning.
Before that, a couple of weeks back, a friend spotted a piano being offered for free. Dear husband and Daur2 looked it over – needs tuning and a couple of hammers fixing but would be good for practice – and we paid a man with a van to help bring it to our house. It’s been left in the dining room, having come in through the garden, until we clear the front room (another one of those ongoing tasks!)
So, last Monday morning I wake early to start my usual routine of preparing packed lunches for the family – six of us. As I start with mini baguettes in the oven I see a mouse come out and head back behind the fridge/freezer. I shriek fairly quietly and gingerly continue, my feet shuffling on the kitchen floor – my theory was to make enough noise so it didn’t come out again. That didn’t work and so when I saw it again I let out a mighty shriek. Son1 was the first to reach me and as I stammer there’s a mouse behind the fridge, he says I thought you were being attacked by someone! And promptly turns and heads back to bed. Daur1 reaches me and stays with me while we finish the lunches but then time has gone and she’s in danger of missing her train. She begs me to drop her at the station.
However, before that, over the weekend, my car had been very rumbly. I knew my dear husband had put oil in (I had moaned to him the Sunday evening since the oil was in his car, rather than in the porch so I couldn’t add some earlier), so despite the strange burning rubber smell, I thought maybe I could make it to the station and back.
As we sat in the car – me in my pyjamas and fleece – I mentioned maybe I should give you bus fare to get the fast bus to the station and not risk it. But Daur1 gave her pleading eyes, I gave in and we headed out. We reached station safely and Daur1 skipped to platforms! I headed out the station and immediately the clutch pedal stuck – I was crossing the carriageway so was waiting. I managed to kick it up, back in gear when I saw the traffic clear then as it stuck again at my gear change, I pulled the car over onto the pavement, so as not to block traffic, and stopped. With the hazard lights on, I call the RAC (car recovery) – we’ll try and get someone out to you in the hour. An hour! It’s 0730h, I’m in my pyjamas and fleece. I call my dear husband but no answer… he’s clearly having to pick things up where I left things off…
Two hours later, somewhat chilled on my part, my dear husband and I arrive back home, children all at school & college and I think, great, I’ll quickly shower, dress and get bus to work. Don’t forget the asbestos guys are here, they arrived at 8h, when you were out; they’ve started taping things up. Eeeeekk…. I head to our room to find our wardrobes fully taped up and plastic sheeting across the bedroom door. All that was missing were the guys in white suits – I knew that was coming, they were in their van on break. So, all I could do was work from home; take calls, write emails, give a truncated version of the morning’s events explaining my absence – clutch, pyjamas and asbestos. I did feel quite ridiculous and humbled – if I had listened to the small voice and not taken our daughter to the station, the day would have been largely uneventful, except the mouse and the asbestos removal team.
Ohhhh, and the mouse. In the 12 years we’ve lived here, we’ve never seen any mice – ants, mosquitoes and slugs but no mice (apart from a small family discovered in the lawn mower box in the garage one spring a long time ago). So we were a little concerned – are there more? Son1 admitted to seeing a ball of fluff scurry behind the piano late one night after it’s arrival but failed to mention it to anyone. Dear husband bought fast action mouse killer traps – one went by the fridge and one in the kitchen. We put a more traditional trap behind the piano, with peanut butter on cheese for bait! We had no idea where mouse was. We were on lockdown – all doors to be closed behind us on entering or exiting a room. A few days later there was still no sign of mouse. By now the family began teasing that maybe I imagined the whole thing! But today, I entered the kitchen and there it was, lying, dead, between the washing machine and a cupboard. All observed it – except Son1 who was out – before dear husband and Daur1 disposed of it. Daur2 (& Daur1) seemed rather sad about the whole affair commenting it’s so small… It’s in heaven now… And similar as if I was being completely irrational about wanting to get rid of it!
Ohhhh and the leak. Once the ceiling came down, we spied up into the loft and the underside of the rafters and the water damage was apparent. And above the valley rafter, in the flashing we could spy a pinpoint of daylight in the lead valley flashing gutter. The insurance company weren’t interested – it looked to me as if a slate had punctured the lead. So we’ll have to get some flexible roof sealant and apply from within the loft to make sure we don’t get a random drip onto the new ceiling, which is now in place.
And the moral of this tale… deal immediately with a problem and listen to the small voice… or squeak…. or leak!
Back in the spring, you may recall if I shared it, that I started experiencing pain/ aching in my pelvis, right side, after my morning jog. I’ve been experiencing aches on that side for a few years but it started becoming quite intense. I’ve been to the doctor a few times, the last time the GP (after telling me to lose weight) referred me to physiotherapy (about a year ago) which helped marginally. So about 6 months ago when the pain started increasing, I knew I should go back but was reluctant since I thought I’d be dismissed. Then, around the same time as the upping of pain, I noticed more frequent, irregular periods. Something was clearly happening down there! After the mammograms, I gained a bit of courage and called the doctor’s surgery.
The surgery has started a triage system, so I had to tell the receptionist why I wanted to see a doctor. I’ve had this pain for a few years and it’s getting worse. Doctor will call you back. An hour or so later a doctor calls me back and within minutes offers me an appointment for the same afternoon. This was amazing to me, previously one would be offered an appointment the following week, or at least a couple of days later. Clearly the triage system is clearing appointments.
Dr L was very nice, listened to my story and asked what I thought it was. Self diagnosis!? I said I’d, of course, been checking the internet and figured either hernia or something with the ovaries, cyst, but, you’re the doctor! Can you feel anything pushing out? No. Unlikely to be a hernia. Have you heard of endometriosis? Based on what you’ve said that’s what I think it is, it can usually be treated through hormone pills/ injection so I’m referring you for a pelvic scan. At last!! So the scan was last week.
My appointment letter noted that I was due both an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound – basically both external and internal. I’ve had both before – external ultrasound with the children and internal some time ago following an early miscarriage. My dear husband was also in attendance.
Same! Hard work isn’t it?
Said Dr G as I said we had four children and continued to chat explaining what was going to happen and putting me more at ease. I’ve decided that gynaecological sonographers (they’re still doctors) must be the customer service equivalent of the doctor world – so kind!! Her previous appointment had cancelled so she had as much as an hour for us!
External scan – while feeling like I was going to wet myself – was relatively quick. Right ovary looked the right size, nothing on or around it from that view – i.e. no cyst or tumou . Quick toilet break and then the internal. I mostly focused on a single spot on the ceiling and my breathing until pain – oh, is that tender? Followed by a bit more prodding to firmly establish that, yes, that is tender, sore, painful. It felt like a good 20 minutes and she said little more until I was released to get fully dressed. So the verdict? Right ovary is low down, squashed under the rectum, and could have some endometriosis behind. And have you heard of adenomyosis? Well, this is your womb (showing blurry black and white images on the monitor) and normally we’d expect to see a white line showing the edge of the womb about here – she indicated a grey mass – but for this stage of your cycle this is really thick. Adenomyosis is basically endometriosis in the womb muscle lining but the cells can’t shed, so the womb muscle lining gets bulky. We’re looking for markers for adenomyosis and this is one of them. I’m going to put you in my book of interesting cases so I can follow up. Your doctor will refer you to the gynaecologist, and if were me, they’ll probably want a biopsy of the womb lining.
To be honest, I’m hugely relieved that she found something abnormal – that the pain I’ve been experiencing has a reason behind it, even though it’s not quite diagnosed and I’m not sure what will be done to resolve it, I mean, can surgery raise an ovary, or is it more likely to be removed? And yesterday I received a call from my doctor, notifying that the referral has been made. So I’m waiting for the appointment letter and researching on how a womb lining biopsy sample is taken!
People say things about the NHS but I’m grateful that we have it – I’ve paid national insurance and taxes so I’m glad it’s there. It may not be perfect, mistakes can happen and things can take time, but at least it’s there for all.