47. Limbo Land

I’d drafted the previous few entries whilst sitting on a terrace in Puerto Sotogrande, about 30 minutes drive east of Gibraltar.  Why Limbo Land?

Nick and I hadn’t planned on going away this summer.  He has done a heap of work on the Old Rectory, including putting his climbing gear on and attaching himself to a variety of points on the roof in order to paint the three chimney stacks a fetch shade of Plymouth Grey.   He’s done some work in the kitchen, we’ve had a huge clear out of stuff which resulted in many large bags of stuff being delivered to various charity shops – very cathartic.

The “family room” has had a make over and is now a study and I’ve got a massive desk (thank you British Heart Foundation shop) which has been painted grey so there is a bit of Scandi theme.

Our eldest son visited from Seattle, WA, USA.  That was bittersweet – sweet because it was fabulous to see him in person after almost 2 years of Skype.  Bitter as he couldn’t stay that long before heading back to his life and wife in the state of Washington.  Sweet as we held a brunch and invited many friends who know what these past months have been like and whose support for our entire family has been invaluable.  They got to see no. 1 son too.  No. 2 son made it down to Plymouth too but.. only daughter was working away and couldn’t get home.   Bitter – as it becomes more challenging to get the whole family together so we have to value what time we have as a gang and sad as my folks are getting more frail and dad, in particular may not see no.1 son again.

Image may contain: 19 people, including Gary Jack Blake, Fi Notsamso, Nick Osmaston, Marcus Osmaston and Salvo Natale, people smiling, people sitting, people standing, shoes and outdoor

Bitter-sweet – these past 12 months have been some of the most challenging I’ve ever faced.  Bitter as it is soon to be the “cancerversary” – the date 12 months on since diagnoses.  I came across this term at the Building Resilience in Cancer – an online group which I was directed towards by a Bosom Pal  Here a Professor of Psychology, who has had breast cancer, has enable women to discuss fears and hopes in a completely safe environment.  Women can share their ups and downs.

Writing this story through a series of blog posts has seemed a bit self indulgent.  Breast cancer happens to 1 in 8 women.  If you are reading this you probably know of someone who has had it.    A good friend who helped me with some CBT techniques told me that writing like this wasn’t self indulgent and that she is proud of me!  Others have said they’ve enjoyed reading it and parts have made them laugh out loud.  For me, it has been a way of reassessing life since 29th August 2017.  Drafting it in Sotogrande, overlooking the Marina has been a way of distancing myself from it.

The final few days before returning to school are also a bit of limbo… A level results came in (not too shabby for our first set of A2s ). GCSE results are out and from what I’ve heard from home the hard work, rapid improvement plans have paid off as the results show an upward trajectory.  There is still plenty of work to be done, lessons to be learned, a bit of tweaking here and there, to transform our potential to reality (sounds a bit like my body not school).  Limbo… as the next meeting with Mr X will determine how I might be tweaked and transformed.  I have a photo of Elle McPherson as a template to work towards… Nick, said that despite Mr X being a talented surgeon he is not a magician – marginal gains and growth mindset, whatever it takes… Limbo as it is only a matter of weeks until the Dare to Bare Ball and will we….. D2B?

Tip:  Do what ever helps you to cope – for me writing this all down has helped draw a line under the diagnosis, treatment and life with a cannonball. 

Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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