A walk down memory lane.

When I was a child I used to talk about memories growing up. In actual fact they were not memories but stories I had been told or a few seconds here and there. Just enough to recall snippets of my life.
It wasn’t until my late teens that I realised something was wrong. Friends would talk about things that had happened and I would have no memory of them. It was at that point that I looked back on my life and realised there was big holes. Whole patches of time that I just couldn’t recall.
When I married my husband in 2008 it was an amazing day. Lots of photos and even more on our honeymoon. At the time my husband said he wanted to help create as many memories as possible and in case those memories faded, he was making sure there were plenty of photos to help me remember.
A few days ago I realised that the memories are gone. Again just images and snapshots. Impressions more than anything. Most of it has now faded. Quite devastating to me. Most people look back on their wedding day with fond memories. Our honeymoon was very romantic and exciting. And most of it is gone. Possibly never to return.
My husband is very understanding. We spent the evening discussing things that happened. Sometimes talking triggers memories that are hiding just under the surface. If I talk about something often enough the story remains. Not the same as the memory but better than nothing.
Why does my memory fade with time? I am not really sure. I have a few theories. The first is that I suffered a lot of verbal abuse as a kid from a teacher. I might have learnt to bloke the memories to cope. The second theory is my family suffers a lot from alzheimers. Usually not till later in life so not very likely. I also suffer from something called Ankylosing Spondylitis. A auto immune disease similar to arthritis. A bad memory seems to be quite common with this condition.
I have heard that people who suffer from strokes and loose their memory can recover it later. So maybe there is hope for me. I am not sure. Mean while tomorrow I am going to pull out my wedding photos and honeymoon photos and get hubby to share some more stories.
If that doesn’t work I told him he will just have to marry me all over again.

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Many years ago I found myself in a scary situation. I was living with a man who was an alcoholic. He was very good at hiding it. Turns out he had alcohol stashed under the house and in the section across the road.
When I tried to leave I finally met the real person that had been hidden under the alcohol. I ended up taking my kids and going into hiding. I slept on friends couches until I could get a court order to get him out of my house that he refused to leave. The mess I came home to took three days for my parents and I to clean up. I was left with virtually an empty house. I slept on an air bed for six months. He had blown up my car so I had to start again from scratch. Everything I had managed to earn in my life he took from me. But the biggest thing he stole was my innocence. My ability to always see the best in people. It was along time before I could trust again. Not so much other people but myself. I found it hard to trust my ability to judge if someone was being honest with me. I had always thought I was a good judge of character. Turns out I was wrong.

Today I have a wonderful husband. I have kids I love dearly. I am happy. I don’t often think about my life back then. I have moved on. I never think of Steve and worse, I never think about his 3 kids whose lives i was a part of for such a short time. But today I discovered that Steve was killed a few months ago in an accident. I don’t know the details. I am not sure I want to know. I feel for his kids though who have lost their dad. He was only 47. Too young to die. My only regret was not staying in touch with Josh, Gabby and Celine. One day maybe I will get the chance to explain to them that their dad scared the crap out of me and I simply couldn’t face them.

Rest in peace Steve.

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Explosive decompression

My husband and I work very long hours and twice a year we give ourselves a well deserved break. We are very fortunate that through our business we get subsidised air travel due to reward points. Our favourite type of holiday is one where there is very little cell phone coverage and no access to the internet so we are forced to relax.

The first family holiday we went to Fiji. I had been to Australia as a child and again on our honeymoon but that was it. So you can imagine our excited I was to finally be going to an exotic tropical island. It was a dream come true.

There were seven of us the first trip and to make it work we had a large two bedroom bure that we could all share. Two kids in one room, three in the lounge and my husband and I in the second bedroom.

The room had air conditioning and ceiling fans to help with the heat and so the heat circulated the walls didn’t go all the way to the ceiling. This included the bathroom walls. Perfect right? Well it would have been if it wasn’t for something we have nicknamed explosive decompression.

Fiji is a hot tropical country with an abundance of fruit. We had three buffet meals a day and apart from freshly caught fish and locally grown vegetables, there was a selection of coconut, paw paw, melons, watermelon, mangos and many other yummy fruits. As well as fresh fruit juice. Plus the beautiful fruit cocktails. Very refreshing after a long hot day.

Now back home we eat a lot of fruit but no where near the amount on offer that trip. The first few days we went totally nuts pigging out with no thought for the consequences. Well you can imagine what happened then. Explosive Decompression. It would start with a feeling of urgency. Needing to go to the toilet. NOW! There was no time. It was a mad dash to get to the room or the nearest facility before it was too late. The result was quite literally explosive. Of course the short walls led to a lot of teasing and laughing.

These days we are all more cautious. We still partake of the beautiful fruit and juice but with moderation. There is still the occasional repeat but the rooms have been renovated and the walls go all the way to the ceiling now. The memories remain. The teasing and laughing. Our first family holiday. Reminding each other to watch out for Explosive Decompression.

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Life Is Too Short

A good friend of mine is sick. The serious kind of sick. He had a melanoma removed and it sounds like they didn’t get it all. He was going into hospital a week ago to have his lymph nodes removed but the surgery was canceled because it had gotten too big. Now I am sitting here worried sick trying not to imagine the worst.
I had a very short message from his wife today. He isn’t up for visitors at the moment. I simply can’t imagine how she is dealing with things. The two of them are so close. True soul mates. I can’t think of him without picturing them together.
Growing up he was my inspiration. He made me feel I could do anything. He had over come so much in his life. So if he could do anything, so could I. We lost touch about sixteen years ago and have only just found each other and renewed our friendship. I am not ready to loose him yet. I know that sounds selfish. I don’t mean it to be.
If anyone deserves a miracle he does.

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A vicious cycle.

I have spent two days in so much pain I could barely stand up. On hip is sending pain down to my ankle. No matter what I do it just gets worse. So I gave in and took Tramadol. Now I am in bed feeling very sick. I am trying to decide what is worse. The pain or the side effects for the medication?
Tramadol makes me feel very sick and occasionally vomit. It makes me constipated. I struggle to think straight and put sentences together. But I can walk. I can get through the day at work. I can look after my kids, cook a meal and do the house work. Basically I can live my life. But I hate the way I feel. It is like being in a fog.
I know people who take up to 8 a day for pain. I can’t imagine it. I feel like a zombie on one. Maybe if I take it more regularly I would adjust but I am too scared to find out.
So I am stuck on a vicious cycle. I can’t bare the pain so I take the medication. After a few days I have forgotten how bad the pain is and the feeling of not being in control makes me stop taking the drugs. Then the pain returns and I start to think, my side effects weren’t that bad I will try it again.
My only other option is morphine and I really don’t want to go down that road. So I will take things one day at a time doing the best that I can and try to find an alternative to this vicious cycle.

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Turning a Negative Into a Positive

I sell cars for a living. Not something I ever choose to do but my husband wanted to start his own business and he needed my help to do it. It is stressful and long hours but there are a lot of positives too.
With my health getting worse it has been getting harder to do what I need to some days. I try not to complain too much and I hate asking for help but some days greeting customers with a smile is almost impossible.
Today was the first day back at work after almost two weeks in Vanuatu. I am recharged and feeling positive about life. So much so that I sold two cars today. One of them when I could barely stand up. Why did she buy a car from me? Because she has a similar medical condition and I was able to relate, sympathise and help suggest things that have helped for me.
You see as bad as things get, I have a wonderful husband who treats me like a princess. I have great kids who help out so I can rest when things are bad. I get to travel at least twice a year to foreign countries and I have done so many things in the last ten years that I would have never have had the courage to do if I hadn’t had to over come so much.
The lovely lady I dealt with today is my own age with similar health issues. Her mum asked me how I stay so positive and manage to do so much. The truth is I really don’t have a choice. I can either let things get me down, give up on life and miss out on so much. Or I can soldier on and make the most of what I have. Because I understood what she faces each day, I was able to find the perfect car for her. I was also able to compare medications that have worked for me and recommend a brilliant specialist who might be able to help her.
I truly believe things happen for a reason. Dealing with this disease has taught my kids empathy, understanding and how to do the house work. It has given me the courage to learn to ride a motorcycle and scuba dive. Both things that in time I will possible have to give up so I pushed myself to learn before it was too late. It has helped me to better understand what my brother faces with the same condition and what my son has to deal with due to his arthritis.
Do I wish I didn’t have this horrible disease? Of course! Will I let it defeat me? Never!

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The new local hangout

A few weeks ago we went to the new Henderson Night Markets not far from where we live. It had been going for a little while and we had meant to check it out but had never had a chance to.

I have to say it was nothing like I thought it would be. It reminded me of a road or lane somewhere in A large Asian City. Lots of noise and smoke. So many people eating, talking and laughing. Our daughters push chair came in handy. It worked like a battering ram. Have you ever noticed that? In a large crowd everyone gives way to pushchairs. I suspect it is not because they feel sorry for the poor person pushing it. More likely they don’t want to have their feet run over. My apologies for the squished toes tonight.

So we wanted to grab a quick dinner and the food stalls at the markets were ideal. The crowd was bigger than last time. Not surprising as it was better weather and the start of the school holidays.
We started off with spinach and feta craps drizzled with lemon juice. Followed by fresh cooked Chinese pork buns. Then we headed over to my favourite stall. Potatoes cut into a spiral and deep fried on a skewer. They are then sprinkled with different flavours. I had cheese and my husband had chicken. You haven’t lived until you have had a potato skewer.

There were not many stalls a few weeks ago. The weather had been bad and I think the stall holders had not bothered. It was great to see so many tonight. There was live music and even a puppeteer with a skeleton singing and dancing. He was incredibly clever.

Some of the stalls are clothes, furniture, music, second hand goods, carnival games. I could go on and on. I left with a full belly and a list of stalls I intend to go back to to buy things next time.

But one of the nicest things was seeing so many different cultures coming together and sharing different ethnic food. There was Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Malaysian, Italian, Mexican. The list is endless. I knew our city was made up of a lot of people from different places. But it made it real in a way it had never been before. When people learn to sit down and share a meal together, racism can’t exists. With understanding of each other comes patience and respect for each other.

I can’t wait till next time. YUM!

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