Living with Heart

Archive for the Travel Category

Parenting in Pain – When the Kids Leave – Express Launch Time

Chaos reins supreme! Both kids moving to parts other than where I live – parts a long way from little Queensland!

…and then December came! Suddenly the bookends fall into place. What started 18 years ago with the first steps into preschool have ended with 2 graduation ceremonies – full of pomp and ceremony and magic and a bucketload of nostalgia. Gem and Dizzle have finished University and move onto life and move away. Gem into a remote part of Australia as a pharmacist and Dizzle accross the country into an Engineering role.

Friends, acquaintances and family have mentioned this Empty Nest Syndrome like it is something that you inevitably catch. Perhaps a bug, or a virus. I haven’t caught it yet. I’m preferring to call it the Express Launch Event. In one month they are both launched in a sudden Event. A positive Event that is the culmination of 23 years of hard slog and fun times from Hoty (Husband of the Year) and I.

And I am tired. These last months have been busy and we all know that too much busy does not mix well with Psoriatic Arthritis. There hasn’t been time to catch my breath as things pile up. Good things. Fun things. Important Things. Wonderful life events. But…exhausting. I find myself limping into the new year feeling slightly wrung out. A little like a dish cloth thats been used a few too many times and needs to be thrown out.

So maybe I feel slightly relieved that come late January I will have some quieter time. Time where things won’t be so chaotic. Time where I can get back into my routine of exercise and better eating. Time to do some more writing (yes – I have been so absent).

This is the inevitable tension of parenting. Your needs versus your kid’s needs. And with a chronic condition there is always more tension in one direction.

Don’t get me wrong – I am, as always, the most interested observer of my kidlets lives! I am so excited to see what life throws at them, about where their jobs take them, about how they develop as people and members of society. But……I’ve done most of my bit. I sit here and pat myself on the back. I look back fondly at the time when they were younger but I don’t dwell there.

There is this rarefied feeling in the air right now that this time won’t last. This dinner together might be the last we 4 share together for…many months. This holiday together may be the last we 4 share before things change.

But change is good & always inevitable. And always an opportunity for more, better or at least different.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for taking time to listen and to hear. Thank you for seeing my life through my joint perspective.


Trekking, 21st’s & a Grand Admission

Trekking, 21st’s & a Grand Admission


Thank you for joining me as I view life through the lens of living with inflammtory arthritis – recently updated to Psoriatic Arthritis.

Today two monumental things happen. My daughter, my precious Gem dives into 21. We had the party a few weeks ago because of the other monumental thing – my Husband of the Year (HotY) is going on his first overseas holiday without me.

I’m feeling happy, heartbroken, hopeful, worried and a type of sadness that I can’t really verbalise.

Celebrating a 21st is a fabulous thing – its that magical period in your life when anything still seems possible and there are bright green rolling hills before you. Gem has brought a depth to my life that has been profound. She was 11 when I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis and has had to learn early how to navigate public transport, cook a meal and basically  – be organised. There were times early on when I couldn’t drive and my pain was almost overwhelming.

It breaks my heart that she has witnessed this, absorbed this and that it has shaped her. She is studying Pharmacy now and she approaches her degree with a slightly different view than her peers. She has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of medication. 

I look back and feel a strange amount of guilt – I mean, surely I could have done something to stop my illness touching the lives of my family, or maybe I could have stopped the illness. Is my arthritis my fault? Have I done something so wrong that this is my punishment? Illogical thoughts. Irrational thoughts. However, they are there and they deserve their place within me.

But I sit here right now – in this moment – feeling such joy at the young imperfectly perfect woman that Gem has become. Pride, accomplishment, fear, hope.

Also, today my husband travels to Nepal to trek to a remote mountain village in the Lhi area to help in rebuilding some of the devastation caused by the earthquake of 2015. Lhi is not on any tourist map and it will be a tough 6 day walk to get in there and a rise in altitude to about 3,500m.

This is the first overseas trip that HotY will go on without me and I am bereft. I’m not bereft because he’s going. I’m freakin’ bereft because I’m missing out!! This is my absolute FOMO moment.

My heart and mind are with him. My body is not up to the task. My sadness is a physical thing and has its place nestled deep inside me. Under different stars I would be leading the Trek. I would be proudly squatting to wee on the trail. I would be braving the broken down bridges I’ve seen in photos. I would be in awe of a place different.

I love travelling but it takes a lot out of me and requires months of planning. Lucky I am a planner, a thinker, a doer. So the planning is part of the journey for me. I am planning my husband’s trip – even to the extent of going to the travel doctors with him to ensure he got the right injections. 

This is where I make a grand admission – I am freakishly controlling. Like a serious control freak. My family are constantly driven crazy by how much I want to micromanage. The worse my health is on any given day will increase my need to control my environment. I’m not alone in feeling this. Many people who have a chronic pain condition feel they have lost control of their body, (you bloody dirty, rotten traitor), so start to exert control in other areas. Yeah, Yeah – I know the psychology behind it, but it’s a hard thing to control. It is a beast that niggles, finds fault with others and sets rules that are too tight.

But I am learning to loosen myself, slowly, like a tangled roll of barbed wire that needs some straightening out.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for taking time to listen and to hear. Thank you for seeing my life through my joint perspective.