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My Mum – AKA The Bionic Woman

Jill Ritchie

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This article is dedicated to My Mum.  This Friday, the 24th August 2018 marks an important day for all my family.

My amazing Mum – AKA – The Bionic Woman, as she’s known, had been battling the disease that is Cancer on and off for 14 years.  As a super close family, it’s fair to say that we probably faced our toughest 2 years with the disease, and the Christmas we looked forward to so much last year didn’t quite go to plan.  It ended with my Mum being in the hospital on Christmas Eve.

As my sister and I sat beside her, we watched as she lay unconscious, and in a bad way. The consultant had told my sister and I that she may not make it through the night.  I remember thinking ‘No’, this was not happening to us?!

By this time it was around 1 am in the morning, and it was Christmas Day.  My 2 little boys were at home, tucked up in bed, so excited for Santa coming, and my Sister and I were still in the hospital.

She can’t die like this.  Not on Christmas Day.  Losing your Mum had to be bad enough, but on Christmas Day?  It can’t be this way.  The Christmas before last wasn’t so good either, as she had been through some extensive radiotherapy on her entire brain, and she was very poorly.  Never one to complain, she still made it to dinner, albeit couldn’t eat a thing, and had to excuse herself a few times as was sick.  She never told anyone, but I just knew.  She arrived at my house at 6:30 am on Christmas morning to watch her Grandkids open their presents, she was very weak, but she was determined to be there, as the kids were her motivation.

That’s just my Mum though, she ‘just gets on with it, and doesn’t want a fuss’

Christmas 2017 was going to be different.  The whole family were coming to us and we were going to make up for the year before.  I was preparing everything, I felt so excited that this Christmas was going to be amazing for us all.

My stepdad called me early that morning to say that my Mum had taken unwell.  I rushed over to their house.  She was in a bad way, and we called for an ambulance. Unfortunately, my Mum managed to contract pneumonia.  Now, this can be bad for most people to be fair, but as my Mum’s cancer is also in her lungs, this did not go down well.  She rapidly went downhill and was treated for Pneumonia & Sepsis.  When the Consultant took my sister and me away into a ‘Private room’ (you know, those ones you see on the TV or in films when you’re about to get ‘bad news’).  She told us that things were not looking good for her, and she was in a bad way.  ‘Given her current disease, if her heart fails tonight, should we resuscitate her?’ she asked us.

We knew that she was referring to My Mum’s Cancer. You see, on paper, my Mum probably shouldn’t be here.  She has Cancer in her Breast, Lungs, Bones and Brain.  We were told by her Oncology Dr in August 2016 that she ‘may have up to 12 months to live’

You can kind of understand why the Consultant that night was not the most hopeful for her.

Nevertheless, My Sister and I made sure that the Dr’s knew that they must not give up on her, as just a few days before she got sick, she was literally walking up hills and sledging back down them in the snow with the kids in Aviemore (Scottish Highlands).  I remember the Dr looking shocked. I think the Dr expected us to paint her a picture of this frail lady, who sat indoors most of the time. It couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you didn’t know she had this disease, you would never know from looking or speaking to her.  She is incredible.

I mentioned earlier that she’s battled cancer on and off for 14 years, still, she defies those Dr’s and her positive attitude and fighting spirit inspires us all.

True to form, just a few hours after her Dr preparing us for the worst, she woke up on Christmas Morning around 3 am, and although she was very weak, she was conscious.  The Dr’s and nurses literally could not believe their eyes.

She stayed in the hospital for a while, but as soon as she could, she was out, and fighting to get back to her old self.

My Mum still battles against Cancer every day, as unfortunately, the type of Cancer she has is incurable. From someone who was told she would never get on an airplane again, she’s been overseas 5 x since.

She has been through Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy so many times over the past 14 years, lost all her hair, and literally as it grew back, she would have to lose it again.  I know that many people think ‘it’s only hair’, but for my Mum, this was a huge thing.  Her hair was part of her character, and who she was.  When she felt poorly, and low, she would always ensure that she maintained a high standard around her appearance, as didn’t want it to look like she had cancer.  She never liked that people felt uncomfortable around her, and at times, having no hair only emphasised that.

She walks everywhere, as much as she can, as she lost her licence due to her seizure, but it doesn’t stop her living her own ‘best life’.  We all joke with her, that it maybe wasn’t such a bad thing losing her licence, as to be honest, her driving skills left a lot to be desired at the best of times. The roads are a bit safer now, and she even laughs herself.  She’s the only person I know that would probably get lost driving the same route every day.

She takes care of herself, by always ensuring the hair and nails are done on a regular basis.  She socialises with her friends a lot and spends much of her precious time with her 3 amazing grandkids. If it weren’t for us knowing, you would NEVER know that she battles this disease every single day.

Every day this lady inspires me.  She will never lie down to this disease, and I truly believe that her mental attitude and inner strength is what serves her and pulls her through the toughest of times.  She wants to be here, she is grateful and LOVES her life.  Everything my Mum does is centred around her family.

My Mum raised my Sister and me on her own, and as a single Mum, back in the early 80’s, there was a real stigma attached to Single Parents at that time.

I can honestly say that I never felt that I missed out not having a Dad.  My Mum just did the role of both and did it incredibly well.

The 24th August 2018, marks 2 years since my Mum took her first brain seizure and was told her Cancer had spread to her Brain.  The 24th August 2018 marks the day, that she defied the odds, and made it a whole year longer than the Consultants gave her.  The 24th August 2018 is the day, that I want to share how truly amazing my Mum is with you all.

I hope this story inspires some of you to never take anything for granted.  Make time for the people in your life that matter and that serve you.  Let go of the ones that don’t, because having the time to be your best self is not guaranteed.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, make THIS time you have now count, as the only guarantee you have in this precise moment. is THIS moment.

Love & Gratitude,

Jill x

 

 

 

 

Hey, I'm Jill Ritchie. I'm a Scottish online Life Success Coach, and live in the U.K. I was a Corporate Leader for many years, and accepted the stories I had either been told, or told myself for so long, that I didn't even recognise who I was anymore. Until 1 day, following another month of extreme stress at work, I pulled my pipe dream off the shelf, put the big girls parts on and made the brave decision to leave it all behind me, and do something that added true value to people's lives. I now get to Coach people to break through their limiting beliefs, silence their inner critic, and achieve their level 10 life. I am a Mum to my 2 little boys, Jude & Eden, and get to be fully present with them every day. Something I never dreamed I could do, until I woke up, and knew there had to be more. I now have my freedom. Freedom to be with them every day, do a job that I absolutely love, and make above all else, freedom to speak my truth. I would love to connect with anyone who can relate. Love & Gratitude, Jill x www.jill-ritchie.com

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