Jiving on Regardless

{August 28, 2007}   Depression and Change

Well, the last few days have been a bit up and down, so much so I am not sure where to start but I guess the beginning is a good place.

Last week after getting my job interview result I suddenly felt really down.  A natural reaction to rejection but it wasn’t that as I was relieved not to have been offered a job that I would have taken and ended up miserable in.  I realised that I felt down as I had nothing to focus on and that I had been feeling depressed for months.  The interview and other stuff had stopped me dwelling on how flat inside I felt but now there was nothing tangible to worry about I couldn’t justify this flat, horrid, cloudy feeling inside.  I decided that it was time to go to the doctors and ask for anti-depressants again.  The doctor refused to give me them a few months ago on the grounds that I was doing everything I could to feel better (eating well, exercising, counselling etc) but all of these things clearly aren’t working.  I saw another doctor and I am now on 20mg of Cytalopram.  So far so good and no bad reactions although it takes a couple of weeks to have any effect.  Previously I have been on Seroxat and Fluoxetine (Prozac) and had horrible reactions to both, they made me feel like I was going mad as my brain wouldn’t calm down.  This happened very quickly on both of those drugs so hopefully the fact I am five days in with no reaction is good. I also hope that they do the trick and take this grey cloud away.

Despite being down I had a lovely weekend.  Friday night I went to a brilliant dance.  It was a dance friends’ birthday so there was a big crowd of us out to celebrate.  We had a lovely time and they are all lovely dancers so I had some great dances.   I am so little that the guys in the group like to practise aerial moves and drops with me.  It’s hilarious, they throw me around all over the place.  At one point I was being passed from one to the other to demonstrate stuff to each other.  I love doing those kinds of moves and the guys doing are excellent, experienced dancers so I knew I was safe – I wouldn’t let any old bloke throw me around like that, they have to know what they are doing and be safe. As they say ‘you must find a responsible adult’ and ‘don’t try this at home’.

Saturday and Sunday were spent with the family, Sunday being our annual street party.  We live on a lovely street of young families.  One of our neighbours is in the US Airforce and he is big on ‘get togethers’ so every year he instigates this street party.  We hire a bouncy castle for the 20 plus kids and we all put a dish to share on a table and then get our BBQ’s out. It is brilliant.  The day is spent drinking and eating and the kids love it just running around and playing on the bouncy castle.  It is one of the nicest family days of the year.

Bank Holiday Monday was spent visiting my sister and her newborn daughter who arrived last Thursday.  She is beautiful although my sister is knackered having a new born and three boys  under 5 to care for! I think she is mental.  Two is definitely my limit.

It is now 11 o’clock and I have had a difficult morning.  I spoke to my sons new nursery today after a number of cock ups had been made and clarified that he is to start next week and I am to take him in for settling in sessions this week, starting today.  I feel sick at the thought of him not settling in although my oldest son went there and absolutely loved it so I am sure W will too.  I have also just had to do one of the hardest things ever and give my nanny a months notice.  She has been amazing for the last year helping me with the kids through a terrible time with my UC, however, now I am much better and my oldest is starting school I can’t justify the cost of keeping her and nursery is so much cheaper and better for my son in terms of him developing social interaction skills. He doesn’t get much time with other kids his age so two school days a week at nursery should be great for him.

She took it ever so well, so much so I guess she was expecting it.  It was me that was pathetically sobbing whilst telling her! I am going dancing to night which will hopefully relieve the massive amounts of tension I now have. The last few weeks have been so stressful I shall be glad when my life settles into its new routine.

With all the changes in childcare I have also decided that I shall study until the right job comes along or until W starts school and I can work fulltime.  I don’t want to go to London and nothing local is likely to come up for a while and yet I need to do something with my brain otherwise I’ll go mental.  Therefore I am now looking into OU courses and think I have settled on doing a Diploma in Politics.  Politics fascinates me (US Politics more than British  – strange but true, but I guess I shall learn about this country first!), and I would love to move into charitable campaigning and the likes so I figured that as well as keeping me interested and motivated it may also help my career.  I haven’t registered yet so we shall see if I actually do it or not but right now I am up for it and can decide to go on and finish a degree if I want to – an ultimate ambition of mine as it is the one major thing I am lacking.

Anyway, I promise I shall right with more verve next time.


{August 22, 2007}   Interview result

I didn’t get the job!  It has been a frustrating day of waiting but now I know I am relieved and can move forward.  I got an email tonight at 5.10pm advising me I was unsuccessful.  I felt this was very gutless and rude but that’s their problem.  I had deduced that this would happen but kind of hoped they would prove me wrong.  The people who run the charity are ageing men with bad taste in suits, terrible coffee and fag breath who hide in their offices and run their little areas.  The person who was last in the position I applied for was female but was very much like one of the men.  I, a young, well turned out women with more drive and enthusiasm in my little finger than between the lot of them didn’t have a hope.  I was hoping that the presence of a Fundraising Consultant who clearly liked me and was of a similar background would swing them towards taking a leap of faith and really pushing forward and going for change but I was slightly disconcerted when they disagreed with everything she told me in the interview and should have realised that they weren’t at all ready to move onwards. It is their loss and I suspect my lucky escape as had I been offered I probably would have accepted, hoping that they were ready to change only to then have been continuously confronted by brick walls.  Something I have neither the time or energy for.

It has been a fantastic experience though, building my confidence back up, getting my brain kick started and going through an interview process.  It was well worth it for that.

I guess it is back to London, which is not brilliant but fundraising is definitely more forward thinking down there, like most things are in the City.

Would have been nice to know I had a pay day coming soon though – dancing is seriously draining my resources!

My sister has gone into labour today, well she has been in labour for the last 24 hours, poor thing, with her fourth.  Hopefully later I shall have good news and find out whether I have my fifth nephew or second niece 🙂

{August 21, 2007}   2nd Interview

Have gone a bit quiet these last few days as I have been preparing for my interview. However, I managed to have a fab weekend including a great Ceroc tea dance on Sunday afternoon.  There was a bit of a cock up with my dance workshop and I was gagging to go dancing so I went out at 6pm and came home at 9pm as I needed an early night. It was fantastic. All of my Tuesday night dancers were out and we had a great night, mind you,  I must have been a bit enthusiastic as I hardly slept that night as my body ached so badly.  So much for the early night!

Friday night wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped as my so called friend tried to tell me that I shouldn’t apply for a job at a charity as my illness means I have more time off than most and this makes me a liability and it is unfair.  I was seething.  I can’t believe that people are so ignorant and awful.  It’s a good job I think more of myself than he.  People like me (and those of you reading this) can contribute just as much if not more than those with full health.  We don’t take our lives for granted and put 100 percent into everything.  Rather than gossip at the coffee machine I work through as I know I might not be able to tomorrow.  Okay, I am not perfect but I know that when at work I work damn hard and I always make up for my sick times.  Plus, in actuality I work through feeling ill a lot and most people don’t even realise.  I am shocked that people can still be so ignorant, especially a supposed friend who has known about my illness for years.

Off out dancing in 3 hours time and am counting the minutes as today has been very stressful and I need to dance it off.  I had my interview today from 12 until 3pm.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had planned for or imagined, in fact it was fairly tame but still stressful as it is the first I have done in years.  The weird thing was that I had to have lunch with all of the head office fundraising staff (about 13 people) and with the other three candidates.  I think this worked to my advantage as the others had already been interviewed before lunch and so I had the opportunity to meet the panel and get to know them a bit before I made my presentation which definitely helped.  It also put my mind at rest as to my competition.  They were all 50+ greying men with beer bellies, bad taste in ties and suits and mostly smelling of cigarettes.  I figured that if that is the kind of image they want then I can’t possibly compete and I shall not waste my time dwelling if I don’t get offered the job.  I was most concerned about having to eat as normally I wouldn’t in order to minimise the risk of having to dash to the loo.  Fortunately my body was good and after one quarter of a sandwich I was fine and I got away without eating more.

I shall hear the result tomorrow I should think.  I hope I am what they want and they pick me as I do really want the job.  It is full of massive challenges but to make a success of it would be a great career move so it should be good.  We shall see – fingers crossed.

I can now relax for a while whatever, until I decide to apply for another anyway.  N got his job which is fantastic although they aren’t offering the salary package he hoped for so we are not sure if he will take it.  To be offered it is a good thing though.

I am now going to relax into a busy week with the kids, we are doing something every day this week.  However, the weekend will be easier as my Mum is having the boys and N and I are off to London dancing – can’t wait.

{August 17, 2007}   Shopping and stuff

Yesterday was lovely.  Once again I spent the day shopping with my Mum, our third time this month which is weird as prior to that we hadn’t been shopping for about 18 months!  Yesterday our challenge was to find me a suit for my interview. I had to find something that suited my personality but at the same time was conservative and not as glamorous as I would naturally be inclined to go – the true me can be revealed once I have the job 🙂

I opted for a gorgeous black suit of a high waisted mid calf length pencil skirt and a short no collared matching jacket.  It has beautiful detail in the buttons and on the material and makes me feel fantastic.  I bought a lovely white top to go underneath (I had to fight the urge to buy a bright yellow top which looked great but is not exactly conservative!).  I then went with some lovely patent black court shoes and a gorgeous big bag which is a beautiful hand bag big enough to fit A4 folders in – I need to take copies of CV etc. I also bought a new watch as mine packed up a few weeks ago and I figured a 3 hour interview will feel very long without a watch.  All in all I am dead chuffed with my purchases and feel so, so great dressing professionally again.  It is amazing how much confidence a suit and heels give you particularly after living in jeans and flats for four years.  I love it and am now even more keen to get this damned job – cross your fingers for me as I need all the support possible, I shall be quite gutted if it doesn’t work out although it shall also just make me more determined to find a job.  That suit will not be resigned to the back of my wardrobe, I am going back to work whatever!

Yesterday was also good as my husband and I finally finished Relate and are now strong again. It is wonderful to have our relationship back and all the security and love that goes with it.  I haven’t gone into much detail on here as it is private between me and N but it has been a tough few months which we hope never to repeat.  We are now hoping that come our tenth anniversary in January we have the money (as a result of new jobs) to celebrate in style, I reckon we deserve it!

N has his second and final interview as I speak so we should also here next week if he has his job too.  God, next week will either be enormously disappointing or incredibly exciting, I so hope it is the latter.

Health wise things aren’t too bad. I am yet to get the blood test results back for the hormone prolactin.  As soon as I do I shall arrange a breast scan.  I am also yet to hear from my nurse about the Infliximab but I assume I shall hear about that next week.  The only other thing concerning me at the moment is a lump on the left side of my abdomen which has been there for about three weeks now.  I guess I need to mention it to my consultant.  I noticed after my Flexi Sig so it could, I guess, be something to do with that but otherwise who knows.

I am looking forward to this weekend as tonight I am out meeting an old friend in my old home town for dinner, which will be fun and on Sunday I have my friends 30th birthday gathering in the village I was raised (which will be very odd as I haven’t been there in years) and then I have a dance workshop. Other than the workshop I shan’t be dancing this weekend as I need to feel completely on the ball and prepared for Tuesday morning!

It is now time to prise my four year old from his Nintendo DS (passed on to him from my youngest brother, his uncle) which he is well and truly addicted too.  Actually, I quite like it too, we spend far too long playing Super Mario Brothers together – a great game!

{August 15, 2007}   Dance shoes

I have so far done 7 hours prep for this damn interview, with more to go so I better get it! Mind you it is only because I have been out of it for so long and am now having to do a lot of work to put my brain back into gear. It is hard work but it is good to feel switched on again.

I had a great night dancing last night.  I didn’t go dancing on Sunday and think this made an enormous difference as I had plenty of energy for my favourite night.  All of my usual dancers were out and we had a good giggle and lots of great dances, the music was great too apart from the odd obligatory fast Ceroc track.  I might have to rethink my dancing and perhaps dance on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead, i’ll see.  I am loathe to give up my Sunday nights as I like the people but our regular teacher has just left and I am not sure there is enough pull for me there now. Time will tell.  I am doing a ladies styling workshop this Sunday which should be fun.

I am preparing for my next dance weekender in Southport and have ordered some really nice Nike dance trainers this week which arrived today.  I like them as they look like nice ordinary trainers rather than the freaky looking Blochs and the like which are no doubt comfortable to dance in but look dodgy.  Anyway, they look great but despite having a spin spot the sole doesn’t seem smooth enough for me to be able to dance well in them.  When N gets home tonight I shall get him to put me through my paces to test them out properly and I am hoping they prove me wrong and work well as I don’t want to send them back.  I went to a dance shop today to check out their trainers and predictably didn’t find any I like as they are all goofy looking. I did however find a pair of sandals I have been after for months.  I have seen someone else dancing in them but forgot to ask her where she got them and then haven’t seen her out since.  It turns out they are kids ballroom shoes which explains why I couldn’t find them! Fortunately they do them in a size five so I have ordered a pair.  N will kill me for spending more money but I had a naughty moment – lets hope I get his job so my naughty moments are forgivable!

I guess I ought to get on with more prep – God it’s dull but shall hopefully be worth it.

{August 13, 2007}   2nd interview

My job interview went a lot better than I thought it had as they have invited me back for a second interview!  Not only that, they also want me to have lunch with four of them (Chief Exec, Trustee, Director of HR and their Fundraising Consultant) as well as spend an hour with the Ex Director of Fundraising.  All in all they seem pretty keen which is great as long as I don’t mess it up.  The only downside is that they will only offer me the job full-time so I have had to think hard as to whether I want it or not.  I don’t have to make a firm decision until a week on Tuesday when the interview is, so I have some time to think about it.

So far my thoughts are pushing me towards going full-time.  This will be hard after such a long career break, with two small children and my UC to cope with but I am mentally ready to do it and my energy levels and general well being is the best it has been in six years.  If I get the job it is such an enormous opportunity I can’t pass it up, particularly as in 2 years when my youngest starts school I shall be gagging for such a position.  This type of job comes up so rarely locally that I would be mad not to take it. It will mean I won’t have to commute to London which is a major thing and would be my only option if I don’t go for it.  I have to say too that there is much ego at work here as I am incredibly flattered that I have got this far and that they are so keen.  I could still mess up and not be right for the job but I intend to prepare well and get the offer.

So, this week is going to be spent preparing. I have a five minute presentation to do, I need to work out what I want to ask the ex Director of Fundraising, what I want to ask the others in the interview and how I shall answer some bog standard questions.  I need to brush up on some fundraising law and procedures and generally make sure I am on top of it.  Four years out and I have a bit of catching up to do.

I also have to shop for the all important interview attire.  It is four years since I last bought a suit and I have no idea what constitutes suit fashion nowadays.  Jeans and t-shirt yes, suits no.  I shall also have to buy heels – I can’t wait! I’ve worn flats since having the boys, apart from when I dance.  I shall feel very glamorous in heels again 🙂  I have to be careful as they are concerned at how young I am and according to most people I meet I look about 6-8 years younger than my 31 years so I somehow need to make myself look more mature and at the same time be very conservative.  God, interviews are a minefield.  Fortunately I am a trained Recruitment Consultant (years ago mind!) so interviews don’t unnerve me like they might other people, I still feel sick though!

Anyway, the kids are moaning for my attention so time to go.

{August 10, 2007}   Knowing the System

I have still not heard about my interview but should do later today.  I have convinced myself that it is a no goer probably because I can only do part-time hours but also because I know the interview was not up to my normal standards.  However, it was good to get some practise in as I feel I shall be better prepared for the next one now. Some good news is that my husbands interview went well and he has a second soon – fingers crossed for that one.

On Wednesday I met with consultant to discuss my flexi sig results.  It showed that I have, unsurprisingly, bad hemorrhoids (piles – hate that word!) and there is the usual amount of inflammation in the bottom third of my bowel but nothing too severe.  However, my symptoms are supposedly bad enough to definitely go ahead with the Infliximab which will happen as soon as my nurse returns from hols, so in the next two weeks. He also wants to try and get me off Cyclosporin so hopes the Infliximab works.  I was concerned about this as although my symptoms are not 100 per cent gone they are at a level I have a much better quality of life with than I have ever had before. He says that using Cyclo for UC is a new thing and thus they have no evidence of long term effects.  He doesn’t believe long term effects to be a problem as there are arthritis patients who have been on Cyclo for years with no problems but at the same time he would still rather have me off them.  I am not a cynical person but I know my illness and I know I shall never manage it drug free. Ultimately I believe the drugs are expensive and they would rather I have my bowel removed.  I shall not be having that done.

For some reason I have ignored the very uncomfortable piles I have.  They have been a problem since having my second child and have never settled because of the strain of colitis.  I ought to have done something more proactive about getting rid of them, but once again I have realised that I have given in to just accepting an ailment.  Well, the new me takes charge of my medical conditions so I am now going to sort them out.  I have a steroid cream which I hate using but I shall do religiously for two weeks to see if it can sort them out, if not I shall go back to my consultant and see what else can be done.  I shall be pile free very shortly – what a horrible topic huh?!

Another annoying symptom I have had over the last few months is leaking breasts.  I have been trying to get to the bottom of it for a few months now with no joy.  They have been leaking for about four months and initially the GP thought it might be a result of a nipple infection so I did a swab test and used a local antibiotic cream for two weeks and then did a repeat swab test.  Both tests came back normal.  My GP then told me that it was a mysery and although she wasn’t concerned that it was something like cancer because of my age she did want to consult with colleagues further.  I then went on holiday and was told to contact her afterwards but to also speak to my consultant to see if it was a possible side effect of the drugs.  I spoke to Dr D and he has not seen it as a side effect before but is aware that other drugs have caused such a reaction.  He took a blood sample to test for prolactin.  I contacted my GP to advise what was happening and she too had decided to test for this hormone but is pretty certain it will come back normal. I asked her what I should do next and she said that she wasn’t sure but the only option was probably to see a breast specialist and maybe have a breast x-ray to check for anything nasty. She once again waffled on about how my age didn’t fit the criteria for breast clinic referral as the odds of it being something dangerous is slim. I then said that I didn’t feel that this was a strong enough argument to not check this out quickly as it clearly isn’t normal and isn’t explainable and although it isn’t likely to be anything cancerous I do have a strong family history of breast cancer(including leaky nipples which led to my Grandma having her nipples removed at Xmas – she is 75 but regardless).  Also, even I know that there are cases of people in their 30’s getting cancer! I then explained that I have private medical insurance and all of a sudden she was enthusiastic about me arranging a breast scan to be sure.  This really annoyed me as it suggested to me that if I was an ordinary, otherwise healthy 31 year old with this unexplainable problem with no health insurance I would be dismissed as unusual but fine.  This is so not good enough, regardless of cancer risks it is not a very pleasant thing to live with as any leaky breast feeding mother will understand!

So, the medical profession has annoyed me but fortunately I know how the system works now so am tougher at dealing with it and better at taking control.  When I first went to the doctors with my UC symptoms they dismissed it as stress, then IBS and then as nothing to worry about.  Once again as I had insurance I was able to insist on further testing and about nine months later was diagnosed.  It is no wonder so many people are mis diagnosed or not diagnosed in time on the NHS, they have too many dodgy perameters of diagnosis that the probably fairly frequent case outside of those parameters are too readily left untreated.

Anyway, I am not overly concerned about this problem as there are no sinister symptoms such as lumps or bleeding but I would just like to know what is causing it so that it can be stopped!

I digress slightly but I cut my baby’s beautiful blonde curls off yesterday.  He was looking too feminine so it had to be done but it bought a tear to my eye. He looks so different I can’t stop looking at him.

Time to stop him from drawing all over my desk!

{August 7, 2007}   Job Interview – how it went

Two posts in the less than two hours – now there’s a record.

I now have adrenaline coursing through my body and am greatly relieved that I am off dancing in few hours time so I can get rid of it all – mind you, I shall probably be exhausted by 8pm!

The interview was gruelling.  Well, to be honest, it was not nearly as gruelling as it could have been as fundraising, despite its professionalism is very nicey, nicey but it was gruelling for me as those paths in my brain which lead me to fundraising and general business speak are long untrod.

I think it went okay but who knows.  There are seven short listed candidates but I am the only one ‘offering’ part time  hours – he, he 🙂 This will probably ultimately go against me unless the others were shite, which I hope they were (well, you know, one can only be so altruistic!).  It turns out that my area of fundraising is what they are most interested in and I know for sure that there will be no other candidates with my skills as I know most of the people that have them and they aren’t applying for this job – the wonders of networking 🙂  Alongside the hours thing the other biggey against me is my age.  This is always one of those things that interviewers comment on with me but actually in a weird seem to like.  They are intrigued at how someone so young can be what they deem ‘so successful’ which is very flattering, particularly right now.  I don’t feel at all successful but supposedly I am way to young to even be short listed for interview for this position let alone if it goes any further.  Ironically I am one of those examples where not going to University has helped rather than hindered me. Not having a degree is a difficult one to overcome but as I have said people are intrigued – how can a non graduate manage graduates? It’s quite easy to be honest.  Not all non graduates are lacking in brains and many, many graduates are definitely lacking in brains having winged it through Uni.  I think I, and many like me, make people more open minded.  I dont’ have a degree as I needed to be at home for family reasons it isn’t because I am thick and couldn’t get one if I wanted.  I hate the assumptions people make which is partly why I moved into fundraising as it has to be said that these assumptions are not so ingrained as they are in the commercial workplace.

Blimey – did I climb on my high horse there?

During the interview I had that terrible feeling of being repetitive and dull.  I think I probably wasn’t as I remember this feeling from previous interviews which ultimately were successful but I am now filled with that post interview uncertainty and questioning. Horrible.

Anyway, time to change out of the smart dress and heals and resume Mummy status – until 7.30pm anyway 😉

I should hear whether or not I get a second and final interview by the end of this week and if I get it I shall then get very, very anxious!

{August 7, 2007}   Job Interview

I am sitting here right now waiting for a call from an HR representative of a charity I would very much like to work for as Fundraising Director.  The job was advertised as full time but I cheekily sent my CV in advising that I was applying for this role but only on a part-time, 3 day week basis as I know that having me in the position for three days a week is better than having a lesser qualified person in the job for five days a week.  Much to my amazement they obviously liked my nerve and my CV and have asked for an interview, on the telephone initially today at 2pm.  Should this go OK I shall have an interview with the Chief Exec on 21st August.  I haven’t had an interview for 7 years and haven’t had what I would call a ‘proper’ job for 4 years.  My hands are shaking and I feel ever so slightly sick with that fight or flight thing going on – it will all be over in about one hour!

Typically I have a barking cough at the moment and what the betting I get an attack half way through a crucial part of the conversation – I sense this is going to be a nightmare 🙂

I would so like to get the job as it would mean a hugely positive change for me not to mention a massive ego boost and a much needed injection of confidence.  It is time for me to leave the folds of full time motherhood and enter that big scary world of work again – I can’t wait.  I can’t wait to wear suits, wear make up every day, take a better pride in my appearance, be with other people, adults, who can hold an interesting conversation and possibly best of all earn money myself again.  I can’t wait to have money for the luxuries in life we have missed out on a bit since having kids; holidays abroad, new clothes and all that shallow stuff which no matter how much you try to convince yourself ‘isn’t everything’ it is ‘something’ and something pretty important for quality of life.  It will also make me feel independent and as though I am making an important contribution to our household and relieving some of my husbands pressure.  All of which will, I hope, help us have an even better relationship.  It will also spell the end of my allowing my UC to rule my life and to work my UC around my life rather than the other way around.  All in all, it will be a great step and one I can’t wait to take.

I am not naive to the new set of pressures I will be under and the stresses and strains of being a working Mum but I am ready for them and quite happy to face them head on.

Anyway, last week we had a wonderful holiday.  It was only in Staffordshire, in Alton, but the sun decided to finally rear its rays and shone down on us all week which made it all the better.  We had some great family days out with my Mum and my two little brothers (13 and 15) and N and I had some great nights out together, mainly dancing.  We danced in Nottingham which is quite far from Alton really but we were advised that closer venues are rubbish and it was definitely worth the trip out, we had some great dancing.

I was a bit ill on the Friday and Saturday having had the sigmoidoscopy on the Thursday.  I think it had bruised my bowel as I have a lump on the my left side now.  I am seeing my consultant tomorrow for feedback on my flexi sig and to discuss next steps, primarily the Infliximab infusion.

Right time to start really getting anxious as five minutes to go – fingers crossed.

et cetera