It's a long time since I've been here - a really long time! The last photo is of my son's 14th birthday and I am now mulling over what to do for his 15th. It's tricky, because I'd like to take him to the theatre but I will only just be out of hospital and, possibly, recovering from open chest surgery. And that, I guess, it's what has really defined this last year.
I have hypercalcaemia, caused by an over-active parathyroid gland.* I'm tired - all the time. I don't sleep well, which makes me tireder. I can't quite think straight and I have to lie down if I walk more than a few miles. And I'm tired. Did I mention the tiredness? Gradually my life has got smaller and harder and just a little darker. One of the symptoms is anxiety and depression. And I'm anxious and depressed about how little I can do, how hard I find everything and how little energy I have. I'm losing my sense of what's real.
I'm also working too hard. I moved up to Yorkshire at Christmas 2012, keeping on my work as a private tutor in the London area and committed to commuting twice per month. It's worked, it's worked just fine, but gradually the work in the North has picked up and I can leave London behind in September and my partner and I - Bespoke Tutors - can base ourselves entirely at home. So we have taken on every student enquiring in our local area while still holding down a full timetable in the South.
It's all good. I love our life. I walk the dogs (that's another thing, another dog, and another two on their way in June - one to keep and one to train and sell) along the bridle-path at the back of our house every morning - stopping to feed our free-range chickens and check for eggs - and am astounded by the fact that I live here, this is my home. I get to live here every day. I love my life, I love my children, my partner, my dogs, my home and the countryside surrounding me.
But it's hard; It's really hard right now. I don't Home Ed the way I would like to. I don't run any more; I don't read; I don't paint; we don't do days out. And I don't blog. Well, I am now. A dear friend of mine said she'd be mentioning my blog on hers and it's motivated me to show up - I don't want people clicking over and finding that the last time I wrote was last June! What will the neigbours say? And it's a way of getting a little something back. A place to reflect on the good things that are happening, my three children who are thriving and to build up my goals again for that time on the horizon which glows with hope and opportunity - Post Surgery.
*Last June my GP told me that my calcium levels were high. Not a problem, I thought, just cut back on the cheese and yoghurt. No, one of my parathyroid glands has gone into overdrive and needs removing: minor surgery. The appointment to see the consultant was not until September and he sent me off for more tests. These took a few months and I finally saw the surgeon in early December. At this point I was still, naively, wondering if I might get squeezed into the Christmas period. It wasn't to be. My gland gone rogue: in the consultant's words, it is a "cheeky monkey". I have had two ultrasounds, a radioactive tracer test and a CT scan, which have all been very interesting to an A Level Physics teacher, with no positive result. Instead of key-hole surgery, the operation is more like a search and rescue. If opening my neck up with a four-inch incision doesn't find it, a heart surgeon with a video camera will come and help. If he can't find it with the camera then he'll be getting the saw to my sternum! Because the heart guy has to be available, scheduling the op became difficult task and, only by cancelling our family holiday to Spain, has it become possible to find a date in the first half of this year.