Diagnosis Day

Diagnosis day – Wednesday 28th October 2020. A day I will never forget. This day will remain a in my memory for the rest of my life. It has been 1 year today since I received a call telling me that Archer had Cystic Fibrosis. He was 12 days old. I will never forget that moment or the feelings that came with this news.

I had spent the day at home with my parents, they had been staying with us to help us out. As our washing machine had just died, my parents had offered to take a few loads of clothes home with them and would bring them back in the evening. The house was quiet. This was actually the first time I’d been home alone with Archer. He fell asleep on the lounge and I was getting some tasks done around the house.

My phone rang and I answered it. On the other end the women greeted me and introduced herself as the Paediatrician who examined Archer in the Hospital. I was surprised to receive her call and started making my way to the kitchen for a pen and paper. The conversation was short and went something like this:

Dr: “I’m really sorry to have to be the one to call you. Archer’s heel prick results have come back and he has tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis.”

Me: “Oh, um ok. So what does that mean?”

Dr: “Well the team at the hospital should be in touch shortly to discuss it further with you. They were just waiting for me to call you first.”

Me: *shakily* “So they’ll be able to tell me more… sorry I’m just not even sure what this means or what to do with this information.” (Starting to sob)

Dr: “I’m so sorry, I really don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you.”

Me: “No it’s ok, I appreciate you calling. It’s not your fault.”

Dr: “Yeah, I’m really sorry again. You should hear from the Hospital team either this afternoon or tomorrow.”

That was it. Transcribing the whole conversation a year later, it still makes no sense to me.

I stared at Archer for a whole minute saying over and over again “what does this mean?”, the panic was bubbling over. The next thing I did was Google ‘Cystic Fibrosis’ which I have since learned was a mistake. The first text that popped up was “An inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.” The next most common piece of information was “The average life span for people with CF who live to adulthood is about 44 years. Death is most often caused by lung complications.”

With no more than those two pieces of information I called my husband Nick. I wanted to tell him in person but when he answered I couldn’t hide my tears. He was still a while away from home and picking up Finn so I just blurted it out. He kept it together and told me he would be home as soon as he could.

For the next 20 minutes or so I cried and cried and cried. I really felt like my heart was physically broken. If you’ve ever experienced a break up or the loss of a loved one before you will remember the pain in your chest that takes your breath away, that’s how i felt in that moment. Staring at my baby I kept thinking that they must be wrong, he looked absolutely perfect.

When Nick arrived home we set Finn up to entertain himself and just cried and cuddled on the lounge. Nick gave his family the news over the phone while my parents returned to stay the night a few hours later. It was painful delivering the news. We had so little information to share with them ourselves yet we all knew the importance of this diagnosis. After crying myself to sleep I made it through the night.

The following morning at 8am we received a phone call from the CF nurses who explained a lot and let us know we would be coming in that afternoon for our first visit. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of hospital visits, tests and information but I’m so grateful for the support we have received since that first day.

Over this past year I have made every effort to understand as much as I can about this disease. I have learned about the history of the disease, symptoms, treatments and the ongoing research. I have trialed, tested and streamlined our daily routine. Like anything in life it is continually changing an evolving. This news has completely changed my life and who I am as a person.

I wish I could take this away from him… but I can’t. I do my very best everyday to be grateful for the treatments that are available, the knowledge I have gained, the passion this has invoked in me and the friendships I have made with the incredible CF community.

After a roller coaster year I am grateful that I have this fire in me to keep fighting. We need a cure for this disease. We fight everyday for quality of life for our children, we continue to fight for a cure.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far. I’m not entirely sure what the point to this post is, I felt I needed this out there for myself as this painful anniversary arrived.

Shortly after I received the call that has changed our lives

Today was not an easy day

“Midnight snacks for all”

We were up at 3am with an accident in our bed after a middle of the night snuggle visitor. We then missed swimming due to a poor organisation and a secondary surprise poo situation. I decided to take the boys to the library then lunch (breakfast for me) at 11:30 followed by some shopping.

5 hours at the library/shopping centre and we made it home for an afternoon nap attempt for the baby. This failed so I played with the boys for an hour (I was trying so hard to have a no tv day). After some play and some more tired cures, I tried to put the baby down again while Finn was set up in front of the tv but failed 🤷🏻‍♀️. So I decided on a new plan, early nights for everyone.

I started defrosting Archer’s dinner, prepared Finn’s and also prepared dinner for Nick and I (our dinner was too spicy for Finn). After a lot of cries from a super tired baby and rushing about sorting out the bedding from this morning, I fed both boys, performed Archer’s Physio, got spewed on while Nick put the clean sheets on and we finally got Archer down to sleep (5 hrs and 15 mins awake for a 9 month old 😳). Eventually Finn went down and I did my evening run around preparing for the next day. Nick and I enjoyed a second glass on wine together on the couch before Archer woke up crying.

Now the final phase of the day (I hope). I quickly prepared a bottle for Archer while his cries grew louder. Due to a stuffy nose that has been the preferred option, while I’m working on the bottle Finn gets up crying. He’s had a small accident and is having trouble getting to the toilet. I recall dad back into duty as I need the extra hands while I get the bottle and medication for Archer. I finish a nappy change for baby Archer and can hear Finn crying to dad about needing a “midnight snack”. Thankfully I am prepared with a container of berries in the fridge that I was going to offer in the morning. Pictured is what I hope is the final hurdle of the day. The second picture is what I was going to post before this last debacle, looks like the washing will have to continue waiting until tomorrow.

Now that both boys are asleep next to me I am taking the time to think about it what went well today. Hopefully this will make me feel better in myself:

1. Both boys are fed, warm and very loved.

2. I got to spend some quality time with them both at the library and having a memorable meal out.

3. The house is in a relatively clean and organised state.

4. I completed Archer’s Physio and got all his medications done.

5. I have clean bedsheets.

6. I am more prepared for tomorrow than I was for today.

7. I got some down time with my husband.

8. I completed some assignment work.

9. I tried my absolute best at everything I did.

I struggle to accept that days like today happen. I’m used to being extremely productive and I enjoy complex and challenging tasks. I’m learning how to cope with these ‘survival’ days and trying to be kind to myself. Eventually I won’t feel like I’m about to have a breakdown after the chaos of a morning just to get us out the front door. I’m ultimately grateful for all the noise, chaos and the opportunity to raise these boys. In hindsight I am sure I will love every minute and memory but it doesn’t change that today was hard.

If you had a hard day too please know that you are not alone. Even if it seems like someone has it tougher than you it does not makes your feelings less challenging. I would love to offer a listening ear to anyone that needs it. I hope we all have better days tomorrow ❤️

So much washing to fold and put away… at least it’s clean.
Making memories at the library
We love our local libraries
Mesmerised by his big brother at the library
Mental Health

I washed my hair today

Today I managed to wash my hair, go to clinic and get a load of washing on. It may not be a day worthy of awards but with a very unsettled four month old these were wins for me.

Following on from my post yesterday, the first thing I want to say is a massive thank you to all the friends and family who have reached out to offer me help. I had so many offers of help with household chores, washing and baby sitting from family and friends.

What surprised me the most was the number of people that messaged me to thank me for sharing my struggle. It’s nice to know that we are not alone especially in our low patches. I hope sharing my experience continues to help.

I’m not going to pretend that I am completely better today but that’s ok. I’ll start my day fresh again tomorrow and hope for more good moments to be grateful for.

I really cannot thank you all enough for the offers of support. I may never take you up on them but that does not devalue the importance of the offer. As I may have mentioned to some of you, I likely do not need the practical help at the moment but I do need to adjust the expectations I’ve set for myself.

I definitely get satisfaction from having a clean and organised home, it makes me feel like I have some control over my life. It’s understandable with everything I have going on that I would want to be on top of everything however, even without the CF to work through it’s an unrealistic goal for me.

I am grateful today for clean hair, a load of washing on, Archer putting on weight, cuddles from Finn and getting through half a movie with Nick. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow may bring.

I’d love to hear some of the things that you are grateful for.

Clean hair feels amazing
Archer testing out the high chair
Mental Health

Today I am struggling

It’s been a long while since I posted on my blog. A lot has happened since my last post. We’ve moved house, welcomed a new baby, have been managing Archer’s diagnosis, and navigating what it is to be a family of four.

For all of us 2020 was a difficult year. My family is right there with everyone still processing the highs and the lows. I’ve been trying to decide if my blog should continue, I’m using this post to test the benefits writing things out brings me.

Archer is now four months old. That’s four months of being a family of four and spending my time with this wonderful little man. It’s also four months of less time for Finn and Nick as well as myself. It’s nearly 4 months of processing Archer’s diagnosis and navigating the CF journey.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a little while now and I felt some strong emotions bubbling. This week has been quite a low point for me. Although I have support in abundance I have been fairly hard on myself.

I know all new mums experience difficulties adjusting to this new role. I just want you to know that I am here with you. I wouldn’t say that today is my lowest point but I’m not at my best and that’s okay. We are allowed to have bad days, even weeks. We are after all only human.

I feel the way I have written this post is a good reflection of my mood. I’m feeling low and down about the challenges I’m faced with and my ability to cope with them but I’m working hard to be kinder to myself and also be optimistic for the future.

What’s important to me today is spending time with Archer, performing his treatments and resting myself. The toys, dishes and washing will all still be there tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get to them then. In the meantime, I’m going to try to be grateful for one small thing today.

Reach out if you need help.

Photos of myself and home right now to prove I don’t have it together all the time.

No makeup or filter
Toys everywhere
Dishes for days
Always washing to do

Follow-up: Today was better

Thank you to everyone who read my last post and liked, commented or messaged me about my day. It’s truely wonderful to feel the support from you all when my posts come from the heart.

I thought I would follow-up with an update on how my next day was. I haven’t historically posted back to back but I cannot personally benefited from sharing my experience when it wasn’t a great one so I’m sure this too will help.

I woke up at a reasonable time without the help of a cat, got ready for work then woke my family. Today was a “Daddy Day” for Finn so the pressure for all of us to be ready was not as great. I was dropped into work and soon after met a good friend for coffee. I continued my morning in a good mood and got through my work right up until lunch time.

On lunch, I jogged to the gym, trained some weights then jogged back to my office. A refreshing shower and some delicious lunch (leftovers from the hubby) left me feeling refreshed. My afternoon was productive, then in the early evening my boys picked me up from the office.

When we arrived home we had a quick dinner together and afterwards I bathed Finn. While he was in the bath we played together using his bath crayons. I would draw for him and he would wipe my drawings off then tell me what to draw next. Once he was ready for bed we read a book together, then I cuddled him for 45 mins before I tagged Dad in to get him to sleep.

The main difference about my two days is the way I looked at them. When reflecting on today I can only recall the positives. My whole mindset today was different. I feel grateful I have a job, my health and my wonderful family. That doesn’t mean all days are good, some days are tough but it can help knowing that tomorrow can always be a better day. I hope you all had a better day too xo

P.S. Extra special thanks to my fantastic husband for his never ending support xx


Today was not my day

As I went to bed last night I was looking forward to the new day ahead. I had the best intentions to make my day a good one.

At 4:30am the sound of my cat clawing at my bed woke me. She had dropped two toys beside my bed as a peace offering. What she wanted was more food in her bowl. I climbed out of bed, fed her, then locked her in the garage hoping I would get some more sleep. I lay in bed until just before 6am trying to sleep, I could feel my mood growing flatter every minute I lay there awake. Giving up on my failed sleeping attempt, I got up and got myself ready for work.

Once I was ready I woke my family and got Finn ready for daycare. Once he was fed, dressed, had sunscreen and shoes on, I decided to turn on Paw Patrol to allow me to prepare my breakfast uninterrupted. As my toast was cooking, I looked over at Finn and asked if he needed to go to the toilet (judging by the look on his face). Too late. The accident had happened. Nick and I switched to clean up mode, then got him ready all over again.

Soon enough I made it into work, I tackled challenges, problems and provided training to those who needed it. As lunch time approached, I started looking forward to my planned session at the gym. Yet every time I would reach for my things to leave, someone would call on me. 2 hours past my planned lunch time, I finally made it to the gym.

I completed my session, showered and returned to my desk. I worked away until Nick called me to tell me he was here to pick me up. We picked up Finn on the way home and once there, Nick cooked dinner while I hung out with Finn. We ate together as a family, then I bathed Finn, read him a book, and battled with him for over an hour and a half to go to sleep. By 9:45pm I’m feeling exhausted and defeated.

I decided to write down how my day went for two reasons. The first is because it helps me realise all the good that came out of today, like making it to the gym, having a delicious dinner cooked by my husband, playing with paints in the bath with Finn then reading Green Eggs and Ham together before bed.

The second reason is because I know that tomorrow is another chance to have an amazing day.


Mental Health: There is nothing to be embarrassed about and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about asking for help

This blog post is a little different. Rather than writing about my thoughts or experiences, I wanted to share something my husband posted. This post is about mental health, something we’re both very passionate about.

To provide a little background, my husband is currently completing his final year of a psychology degree. He also personally suffers from depression and anxiety. This is what he had to say today:

So today I did tough mudder classic, something I’ve never done before or sure whether I would definitely do or not. For those that don’t know, it’s a 16km cross country run with 25 obstacles. It took about 4.5 hours to complete and was undoubtedly one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve ever done in my life…

Today on the run, I had a lot of time to think and am grateful for the support and encouragement of my team mates – Aaron, Kim, Zac and Sam. Thanks so much guys… This post however, while involving tough mudder, isn’t entirely about tough mudder but something much larger and more important. Mental health.

Perhaps it was ignorant luck, coincidence or serendipity, but tough mudder was sponsored by Beyond Blue; a not for profit organisation advocating for mental health awareness and education. Recently I’ve been coming across a lot of content from various esports personalities (Redeye in particular for those who know him) and friends on Facebook promoting open discussion about mental health. Today before the run began, the race start announcer said something that resonated with me more than any Facebook post, reddit discussion or TV ad advocating for the open discussion of mental health…

He said ‘there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about needing to ask for help or talk to someone when you’re having a bad time’ (with your mind).

A little under 4 years ago I had my first anxiety attack. At the time I had no idea what was happening to me though… I was at work and all of a sudden felt an absolutely all encompassing need to leave the building. I packed my stuff, told my boss I had to leave (without explanation) and headed for the lifts. By the time I was in the lift I had what felt like zero control over my breathing and by the time I made it to the (nearly) ground level and escalators, I was shaking and crying in public. I called an Uber and went home for the day…

I wasn’t happy with my life at that point and so I got in contact with the Beyondblue online support service and booked an appointment with my doctor for a referral to a psychologist…

Over the next 3 months or so, I saw her regularly to squelch my anxieties and eventually got back to normality and a feeling of capability to handle life once more. Just before I’d begun seeing her regularly, I was in the middle of university applications and intending to study education and become a high school teacher. During that time I’d made the decision to adjust my application and study psychology…

Over the last 3.5 years I’ve enjoyed my degree and learned a whole bunch. I really do love the mind and just how powerful it is. But, as one of my lecturers has frequently said, ‘knowledge isn’t sufficient’…

Over the past two months or so things have gotten bad again I’ve been dealing with fairly debilitating depression and anxiety again. So much so that some days (especially on days where I should be doing uni work or at uni itself) I would go catatonic and just lie in bed for 5+ hours and either sleep or lay and ruminate my thoughts churning over and over and OVER again. I frequently thought to myself, you’re depressed again. I knew this, because I’ve acquired the knowledge. But again ‘knowledge isn’t sufficient’ to fix the issue and make positive change…

Back to Tough Mudder and what the race announcer said today about ‘embarrassment and shame’. Over the last 3 weeks (maybe 4), on top of constantly feeling depressed and generally lacking any joy, I’ve been feeling constantly embarrassed and ashamed that I’d let myself get back to this point again. And even more so embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn’t able to ‘fix’ myself. I would say ‘I have a lot of the knowledge now right? I should be able to fix myself and pull myself out of the rut’.

Psychology and mental health is such a fascinating area of study because despite having the tools, knowledge and awareness of it all – it still got me. The chemicals still did their thing in my brain. My personality still managed to tick along and fuel the bad thoughts. Life still kept happening as usual and any little thing happening that felt remotely ‘bad’, something a mentally healthy person could move past, would absolutely floor me…

At the start of this week I got some bad news about a friend and it negatively affected me a lot more than I would have normally expected… It was the final trigger.

Two days ago, once again I saw my doctor and told him I hadn’t been feeling great lately and that I’d had 3-4 breakdowns in as many weeks. My wife, Kim, had been encouraging me to see someone again for at least the last two months and I’m really glad that things are in the works again to get myself back to being mentally well and healthy…

My doctor reminded me that sometimes people just have personality traits that makes them more prone and vulnerable to mental health issues throughout their lives. Sometimes these traits, high neuroticism and conscientiousness, can push me to do great things such as high achieving grades at uni, engaged parenting and supportive husbanding (not sure if that’s a word but you get the idea)… Those same traits however, can also be the catalyst to trigger bad mental health when left unchecked…

Those traits can draw you to set your self- expectations too high and poorly influence your own judgement on performance for whatever it is your role is, or whatever else it may be that you’re working on. For me it leads to exceedingly high self-expectations and to poor judgements on performance against these expectations as a student, father and husband…

My over arching point of this (long) post is this –

Sometimes in life it may feel like you should be able to handle everything yourself, especially your own health. That’s silly. Your mind, body and personality have much greater influence than most of us give any credit. Even with knowledge It is still possible to be susceptible and fall back into old issues. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about regarding your own mental health.

The main reason I made this post is this though… Today some random guy announcing the start of a gruelling cross country race said something that resonated with me. I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. It’s likely we’ll never meet or that he’ll even see this post. I don’t want more internet points or anything like that, but to anyone that recognises the importance of mental health, please share. I might have said something, maybe, that will resonate with someone else and make them feel less embarrassed and ashamed about their own mental health issues the same way the race announcers words resonated with me. I hope this resonates so much so that they get their own help. I’m glad I am…

If you know someone this post may help, please share it. Thank you once again to Beyondblue and Tough Mudder for providing help and spreading awareness about mental health.



Parenting: Embracing going “Full Mum Mode” this Mother’s Day

I recently took a break from social media and posting on my blog to focus on some assignments and big events. The down time gave me some space to think about where I want to take my blog. The honest truth is I still don’t know exactly, but I did decided that I enjoy blogging and sharing my experiences and I’m going to keep doing it.

During this period of reflection, I thought about the name of my blog and why I chose “full mum mode”. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, everything I did seemed to be in “mum mode”. All my behaviours and every one of my decisions was being made with my babies best interests in mind. This actually wasn’t a huge shift from my usual way of thinking. All my life I’ve aimed to be mindful of others, so what was it about my actions that made me feel like a mum?

I’ve always been geeky and nerdy so I’m fully prepared to embarrass my kids. I know I’ll be able to do this just by being myself, by going the extra mile to help with a project, make a costume or throw a party. I’ll embarrass them by being overly affectionate and demonstrating how much I love and care for them, even in public. I’m certain I’ll send them crazy trying to ensure they eat healthy, keep active and stay clean. I’ll drive them mental encouraging them when they do well, and help them when they need it, with education or anything they are passionate about.

Initially, I shied away from using the term “mum” at all. I didn’t want that label to define me or become just another mummy blogger. Almost two years into parenting and I fully understand how silly that is. Why wouldn’t I want to embrace this title? The mums I have met over these past two years are people I will cherish for the rest of my life. Each woman has taught me something, given me a piece of herself and been there for me in anyway they can. Mums are amazing! Now that I am one, I’m fortunate enough to experience a different side to this incredible role. This is not to take anything away from dad’s. They have been incredible too, but Mother’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday 12th May 2019).

With that subtle reminder inserted there, I’d like to add that this year I’ll be fully embracing and celebrating my Mother’s Day. It won’t just be a celebration of me or my amazing Mother and MIL, but a celebration of all mums. To all mums, I hope you feel like the Wonder Woman you are and be sure embrace the moments you are in “full mum mode”.


Date Nights: A Wonderful Tool for Parents to Communicate

For our anniversary this year we booked two nights away at a unit in Broadbeach. It was important we celebrated our anniversary but it was also a new milestone being my first night away from Finn. I can hardly believe where the last 21 months went and don’t know how I managed without a full night away from him.

Since my return to work last year I’ve adjusted to spending time away from Finn. Knowing he’s always well cared for and enjoys his time whether it be at daycare, with dad or other family and friends helps enormously. I increased to full time work after Finn’s first birthday which took some additional adjustments (for myself) to being away five consecutive weekdays. We’ve been on date nights or out having fun with friends while someone babysits him at home. No matter the situation, I’ve always come home and been there when he woke up. Reflecting on this, we decided it was well past time to have a night away and stopped putting it off.

Before we fell pregnant, Nick and I had a relationship that was incredibly strong. We felt that nothing could ever shake us. From the moment we met we were honest with each other and were effective communicators. Being with each other was easy. When faced with challenges, we always had each other to pull through and came out stronger than ever.

Once Finn arrived, something critical changed between Nick and I. Becoming parents shifted our focus and our priorities. The majority of our discussions were related to parenting. Most of the time this was essential, we were learning so much and needed to bounce ideas and thoughts off one another constantly. While navigating this new role and managing sleep deprivation, there was little time left for Nick and I to talk about anything else.

We are now both a lot more confident with being Finn’s parents and want to reinvest some time back into our relationship as a couple. As with most other aspects of our parenting journey, we’re finding this becomes easier over time. Finn is a lot more independent, communicates well and his sleep has improved a lot. This has given us much needed time to spend with each other.

We do our best to ensure we have regular date nights now. It helps us support each other better, reconnect and as a result we are better parents. Our date nights don’t have to be fancy or expensive. We’re all about that frugal life. We may go out for dinner, a movie or even just find somewhere to have a drink together. One of our favourite date nights was playing a board game at home once Finn was fast asleep. Anything outside the normal routine.

For a relationship, the benefits of spending quality time together are well know and wide spread. However, it can be challenging to achieve this with a little person in the mix. Considering this, I’m always looking for ideas for date nights. If you’ve had a wonderful date night experience, please share it. We all need a little bit of grown up time, so book in your next date night and communicate with your loved one.

Thank you to the Meriton @ Broadbeach for having us. We will be back!