I grew up in the South West of England as the 6th of 8 children. I spent the majority of my youth being told by my parents and teachers that I was stupid and useless and that I would never be clever enough to go to University. I left school at 18 with 1 A'level and 5 O'levels. I managed to gain a place at Oxford to do my nursing training. At that time I was a shy, introverted and insecure 18 year old.
I found a boyfriend in the RAF and spent most of my days off visiting him at whichever air base he was stationed at. At the end of my training we married and I spent the next 16 years moving house every 6-12 months. As a consequence I never really got to know anyone very well so life could be quite lonely.
As I was stuck in the middle of nowhere on RAF bases and as I was unable to drive it meant that I was unable to work during our first year of marriage. After 1 year of marriage I had my first child, a boy. He was extremely hyperactive and slept very little. As my husband spent most of his time away from home I felt like a single parent living in a place where I knew very few people.
When my son was 3 months old we moved to Scotland. It was winter and the house we lived in had very little heating so we were always cold. A year later we bought our first house. I had learnt to drive and I now had more freedom to get out and about. I managed to find a job and a great childminder who was my saviour. She was so flexible about looking after my son and even looked after him overnight occasionally to give us a break. It did not diminish the fatigue I had as my son continued to only sleep for 10 minutes in every 6 hours. Feeling totally exhausted I went to visit my GP. He prescribed anti-depressants and told me that my son would probably start to sleep through the night when he was 4 years old. He was 18 months and I was wondering how I would survive the next 2 years!
After 4 years of sleepless nights with a hyperactive child I had my second child, a daughter. She slept very well and my son started to settle down at night. Our son spent fewer nights in our bed keeping us awake and life became a little easier until my husband came home from a medical at work one day and was told he needed to have a brain scan as his hearing was deteriorating. He went to have a MRI scan and came home with the news that he had a benign tumour around the hearing nerve in his ear. He had to undergo a 16 hour operation to remove the tumour which left him deaf in his affected ear. He was grounded from flying and was sent to North Wales to be a Ground Instructor. He was very fortunate to be able to get his flying category back after 1 year and was able to start flying again.
As we needed a second income during that time I managed to work doing agency nursing wherever we were living working at weekends when my husband was at home. When my daughter was 4 years old I had my third child, another boy. He was a happy baby but had constant colds and ear infections. He was unable to hear properly and required us to stand in front of him to speak clearly and slowly for him to hear and understand what we were saying. This impacted on his speech development and at 3 years old he had to undergo surgery to have his adenoids and tonsils removed and to have gromits in his ears. He woke from surgery and started to bleed heavily from his throat requiring him to have drugs to clot his blood. This was really scary for both him and me. He came home with such a fear of doctors that it became very difficult for him to have any treatment for any health issues afterwards for many years.
During that time I decided that I would start to study with the Open University to keep my professional development up as a nurse. I studied a course each year and after 3 years decided that I would continue to study until I had a degree. However, I then began to notice that my daughter was not reaching the milestones that she should have been reaching. She was a chatterbox and a very loving, happy child. However, she struggled to read and write so I knew something was wrong but just didn't know the extent of her problems. She started to have absences every day and became less communicative. At eight years old she had a major seizure and was referred to a Neurologist. This was when we found out that she had an undeveloped part of the brain which was triggering seizures. She was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she was seen by a Neurologist. We were told that the part of the brain affected was not accessible by surgery as it was too near the brain stem to operate so she was given prescribed medication to help control her seizures.
During that time I continued to study while also working and bringing up the children almost single handed. After 8 years of studying I gained an Honours degree in Health Studies. I had at last proved my parents and teachers wrong and felt great.
Unfortunately, our daughter's seizures soon became worse and she ended up having seizures daily. She was assessed regularly by her Neurologist who eventually re-referred her back to the Neurosurgeons for a further assessment. They decided that they would try surgery but were unable to predict how successful surgery would be.
The day came for admission to hospital and initially surgery was carried out to put small computer pads into the brain to ascertain where the different nerves were so they could be avoided when the main surgery was to be carried out but the following day her condition deteriorated and she started to fall into a coma. She was taken to intensive care where she was anaesthetised. It was a scary time for all of us not knowing what was going on. Our daughter was taken back to theatre to investigate what had happened. It was found that a blood vessel in her brain had been nicked causing internal bleeding. We didn't know whether she would survive at that time. Following a repair of the blood vessel the coma was reversed and she was woken up. The first day was very scary as she was unable to communicate with us and seemed unable to talk. However, she slowly improved and the surgeons were able to operate a week later to remove the undeveloped part of the brain successfully.
She became very depressed in hospital and quite uncommunicative. It was decided that she might improve faster at home and so she was discharged from hospital.
Over the years the seizures have diminished to the extent that she rarely has a seizure now. However, due to the frequency of the seizures when she was younger she did not develop socially so ended up with learning difficulties. Everything is black and white and she does not have a paid job. At every interview she has been discriminated against although no employer will admit to that. She continues to live at home in her bedroom doing arts and crafts which she loves and helping out in a charity shop as well as helping out at Brownies.
Life has not been easy but I have managed to get through the low times and have come out with a positive, motivational attitude to life. I understand what it is like to go to hell and back. I understand the negative impacts and strains that are put on families. This is why I became a Life Coach.
If you have experienced anything similar in your life and are struggling to cope then life coaching may be something that can help you to develop more confidence, clarity and freedom in your life.
Lifeinsights is a life coaching service to help women to remove the worries they have and instil new thinking patterns that are much more motivational and inspirational. My aim is to help as many women as possible to make positive changes to their life to give them a new lease of life and to give them a new purpose to living.
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Telephone Lifeinsights Coaching: 07905 873188