It’s Not The Leukaemia. My Fear of Relapse.

I was so pleased to hear those words at our recent oncology review.

I try not to say or think about relapse.  Instead, I bury it in my subconscious with a lot of fear, uncertainty and anger.  Freud would have a field day in my subconscious at the moment – so much repression taking place.  But that’s a blog for another time – not ready for publicly unearthing my subconscious yet!

Since Christmas, Felix’s health and corresponding blood counts have been all over the place.  His fatigue and illness caused by parvovirus could certainly mimic a relapse and with last week’s wipeout and neutrophil drop, sometimes it’s hard not to think relapse.

To hear, “it’s not the leukaemia” not only made me breathe a sigh of relief and bring a tear to my eye, it also validated my fears and worries.  Whilst I do my very best to maintain a positive outlook, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t consider the chance of relapse.  I know the stats, I’ve met the children, it happens.

The reason I write this today is as a shout out to everyone who has a subconscious full of fears, worries and anxiety.  To stay strong for your children and your family you may conceal these emotions to protect yourself and those around you.  A simple recognition of these subconscious feelings can offer validation and reassurance which can empower.  A simple nod to those fears and worries can make you feel stronger, maybe even to the extent you can talk about it.  The nod I had, which recognised my fear of relapse, has enabled me to face my worries and anxiety.  Almost like a valve in a pressure cooker has been slightly opened.  Not too much.  Just enough to rationalise my fear and then give it permission to be submerged again.  By opening the valve slightly, a small amount of power has been released from the fear.  It will certainly poke it’s ugly head back up when the next blood count comes back with anomalies, yet this will be with less authority.  It’s had the nod – it’s on it way out.  It may take months, most probably years, but because my fear of relapse has been acknowledged it will never have the same power again.  Until then, I will continue to repress with a smile!

I am not concerned about this repression by any means.  It’s how I deal with this thing.  One day I will tempt these feelings out of my subconscious, probably through blogging, maybe through therapy, I hope through chance rather than contrived.  At the moment, they are safe where they are.  I do wonder what/when/where/how is the best way to free these huge things which hang around our subconscious.

A Daily Walk and Talk session with a non-judgemental listening ear, I think, can unleash and resolve many inner conflicts, feelings and emotions.  Fifteen minutes a day walking with a confidant; sharing and listening, rather problem-solving or focussing on solutions can provide a safe and valuable space to start to unravel those repressed emotions or experiences.

If you ever see me standing on a street corner on a school day morning, no matter what the weather, ‘chatting’, this is what I am doing.  It is my Daily Walk and Talk session.  I am so fortunate to have a daily confidant.  It wasn’t planned this way – it just happened.  We clearly trust and value each other and dearly miss the sessions if we are not able to do the school run.  We talk everything, no censorship, no judgement, no rules. It certainly helps.  It was in this space that I first mentioned my fear of relapse. A lot has been shared in this space.

I would argue for Daily Walk and Talk Sessions for all to promote positive mental health.  The benefits and outcomes could enable us all to manage our mental health in a more regular and healthy way.  If we exercise our mental health on a daily basis by articulating what is making us sad/happy/angry/frustrated I know that those fears, worries and anxiety would lessen.  By giving them the nod we, in turn, disempower them.  We gain control over these fears and worries, we can open and shut their valves when we want to, reducing their power and eventually eliminating them from the depths of where they have existed for so long.We all feel better when we offload – often, there doesn’t need to be a solution or answer, just space.

We don’t need answers, they are often impossible to find.  We don’t need solutions, we’ve probably tried them all.  We just need time and space.

We don’t need solutions, we’ve probably tried them all.  We just need time and space.

We just need time and space.

Would you like time and space to exercise your mental health?  Would you be interested in a Daily Walk and Talk Session?  Get in touch today – let’s see what we can do!


The Path to Walk and Talk











What I Hate About Fortnite

My usual calm and compliant nine-year-old turns into a different boy when armed with his controller and headset.  He automatically adopts the persona of a testosterone-fuelled, alpha-male as he struts the Fortnite Terrain with his team by his side.

This is what I despise the most.

It isn’t gaming as such.  In moderation, as with anything, I don’t mind it at all.  In fact, I think it can be a welcome form of relaxation for children who are growing up in a busy and chaotic world.  Of course, I would much rather they engaged in something more ‘wholesome’ like reading, playing outside or board games but this just isn’t the world my kids are living in.  Gaming is a key player in our leisure time.  My husband enjoys it and we have lived quite happily side by side with Minecraft, Fifa and Forza.

However, Fortnite is a different story.

Not only does my nine-year-old play but my other two children also play.  My thirteen-year-old daughter who usually spends time in the world of health and beauty and my football mad 12-year-old have succumbed to the lure.  The older ones play, probably once a day, and fortunately are able to moderate the length and frequency.  They’ll nip in for half an hour and then potter off to do something else.  They laugh and joke as they play.

That is fine.

What worries me is the hold it has on my nine-year-old and the way it turns him into a different person.  One without reason, kindness or compassion.  As soon as he gets permission to play you can immediately see the excitement and adrenalin starting to build.  If the game is delayed because of an update you can literally see the steam coming out of his ears.  And then he’s on.  We then have a good five minutes of him calling his friends to play.  Once they have established their team the mission begins and his Fortnite alter-ego emerges.  During gameplay he dictates and demands, declares and despairs.  The result of his complete absorption in the game leaves him in a trance like state.  He’s never experienced this intense range of emotions before.

He can’t manage it.  He can’t cope with it.

As soon as I feel as though the emotions of gameplay are starting to take a grip without him being able to control it, I intervene and dictate that the game over.  Following the obvious protest he surrenders and after about five minutes and our happy, funny and calm boy returns.

This is what I hate about Fortnite.  It changes my boy.

There has been an abundance of research about the effect of gaming on behaviours and attitudes which I have always taken with a pinch of salt.  However, having now experienced the immediate impact of gameplay on my son my viewpoint has changed.

Personally, I can’t wait for this current fad to fade into the history books.  For parents out there who are experiencing the same, you are not alone.  Every day I will continue to restrict despite his protest.

If we all work towards limiting their gameplay maybe we can bring about the demise of Fortnite?

Who’s up for it?