A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Monday, December 12, 2011

There's no place like home...

I'm sat in the waiting room at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor whilst Jeremy is in theatre having another procedure to take samples from his bladder to see if the cancer is anywhere else in his bladder. If it hasn't he can just be monitored every 3 months.

Even though I know it is only a relatively small procedure I can't help but worry when we are here. Each time I say goodbye to him on the trolley I shed a tear... It's so hard to think about someone you care so much about going under a general and being in pain afterwards.

The surgeon has just been to see me. Your heart rate goes up and you get a knot in your stomach when they take you into the consult room to talk. What happened? What did he find? And then relief floods your brain when he says everything seems ok. You forget to ask the right questions whilst your mind is blurred with so many thoughts of relief but reservation until the pathology results come back.

So we now wait until Dec 23rd and the follow up appointment here at UofM. We no longer plan long term, just getting through the next few weeks, the next big hurdle. I can't think or plan too far ahead until I know what is happening now.

We have just returned from a 3 week trip to the UK to see friends and family and for Jeremy to work. So much happened over those 3 weeks that I can't write it all down here.

Like everything in our life at the moment, it was an experience ad it had it's moments. We had a wonderful weekend in Gloucester with my brother, his wife and 4 kids. There never seems to be enough time with them. Getting to know my youngest nieces, marvelling at how much the older boys have grown, catching up on what has happened over the last few months and making time to just enjoy each others' company. But we had a fabulous time and my Sister-in-law sent us a fantastic photo album to capture Somme of the memories from the weekend. We will treasure it and I am hoping it will help the kids to remember the names of their cousins.

That part was quite sad. I could tell that Charlotte felt comfortable with people but she couldn't recall anyone's name. Her whole life has been turned upside down since we were last in England so it is not surprising to me but I know friends and family were disheartened when she didn't remember them and didn't run to them with open arms. The kids that we know all remembered Charlotte and Toby but it will take time for Charlotte to lodge those memories. At the moment she has so many new things to take in that she can only remember the names of people she has seen most recently. She didn't even remember our old house which she lived in her whole life.

After my brother we spent a lovely week in Bristol with Jeremy's parents at their cottage in Tytherington. We spent lots of time with his brother and his family. Their youngest, twin girls, did not feel comfortable with us and cried when I tried to pick them up. More heart ache. But again it is just a matter of time. They are all so young. We had a morning at a garden centre and were pleasantly surprised to see so many people. Family and friends joined us for the morning and we were able to catch up with everyone over coffee whilst the kids played in the soft play. Perfect!

Another weekend and another cottage. This time in the Malverns with my University friends. I have not laughed that much in ages!! I couldn't even tell you what was so funny and there wasn't even that much alcohol involved. Just friends I have known for over 15 years all together with their partners and children, enjoying each others' company ... And a few bottles of wine... And a box of wine... And a crate of beer... And maybe a few cans of cider.... Erm maybe there was a little alcohol involved!! One of our friends came over for dinner and to introduce his new girlfriend... Who we inadvertently got a little drunk! Poor girl! My girl friends and I were all topping up our own glasses with lemonade but what we didn't realise until Dave and his girlfriend left and was that we had all been topping her wine up whilst not really drinking that much ourselves! Whoops! Sorry Christi! I think she had a good night and seemed to like us so all is well that ends well (I hope!)

10 days and on to our next cottage up in Manchester. This is the one and only point that Charlotte got fed up and just wanted her own room and bed. But she was soon excited when she saw our new cottage, her 'special' big bed and we met up with old friends who she seemed so happy to see, she must remember them even if not their names. Amy and her family made us so welcome. It was ace to go to school with her to pick up her son who welcomed us with a huge smile! We spent just over a week in Manchester trying to catch up with as many people as possible. We hadn't been very organised because just a few weeks before the trip we thought we were going to have to cancel it. So I found it quite stressful and was disappointed not to have seen everyone. But you can't plan for illness or for those who were too busy that week.

It was also quite stressful trying to fit 9 months of friendship into just a few hours. I think we did a pretty good job. For the most part, it felt like we had never been away. It's a lot to ask for people to drop everything to come and see us so we really appreciate the effort that people made.

I got to meet a few new people too. A nasty cold and throat almost kept me away from me little baby but thankfully her Mummy was willing to take a risk so we could see each other. What a wonderful few hours I had meeting her daughter and watching our kids play together.

But as was true throughout the whole trip, time went by far too fast and we were ready to board the flight at Heathrow.

It had been great to see so many of our friends and family, to walk through Waitrose and revel in the food choices, to go to the Christmas markets in Manchester and to have so much time with my family.

I am really going to miss Jeremy when he goes back to work and our kids are getting on so well after spending some time together. They are really good friends at the moment which is amazing to see :)

We had a warm reception back in Michigan with a welcome home banners our front door and smiling faces happy to have us home!

As for 'no place like home' I now truly feel like I have two homes. It was great to see everyone in England but we were happy to be back at our house in Michigan - especially Toby who ran all around, with a big smile on his face, so excited and had pulled out almost every toy in the play room within an hour of being back!!

I can't wait to see all of my new friends, to catch up with them and to continue our amazing experience.

But for now I have to keep a eye on my pager so I will sign off and go check the screen for updates.

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