The London Marathon!

One of our Managers is running the London Marathon….

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Living with Cancer…. Continued

Following on from my last blog I thought i would start with how i felt with my changed appearance. I was fully prepared for the obvious hair loss. It didn’t occur to me how much of an impact losing your eye lashes and eye brows could have. I haven’t lost them all so far but most of my eye lashes are gone. Thank god for makeup and fake eye lashes! I find I depend on makeup so much now I have no hair,its easily become an unnatural obsession and I can spend ages doing my makeup trying to get it to look perfect. £20+ on a single makeup item doesn’t seem expensive to me now days, I feel that I NEED good quality makeup being as I have nothing else to make me feel presentable to the world. Its not healthy and I know it. On the plus side my hair has just started to grow back, Hubby described it the other day as a fuzzy door matt. What a compliment!

My husband started his battalion posting into REME from RLC. First steps to his retrade and he seems very happy so far. Although a retrade and new posting is not the best timing with everything that’s going on i’m happy for him and 100% support him. He cant have half the time off his had so far. Which means less help on days I most need it and i’m going to nearly all of my appointments on my own. Feel like what little support and help I did have is now gone! The day after my 4th chemotherapy he went back to work. I was so upset. I really need the most help the few days after chemo and he went off to work like he normally would leaving me to cope with a frustrated and board toddler. Its all putting a big strain on our marriage but were both trying to stay as strong as we can in our own ways.

Would you believe were not entitled to child care help. It was a shock to me when I was trying to find something with no luck. Civilian organizations don’t seem to understand what army life is like. They don’t understand family help is not easily available. Also what kind of parent would feel comfortable with sending their child round to other military families they hardly know or volunteers coming in to look after their child when they most likely have no childcare qualifications. These are the only things a civilian could suggest to me after being told were not entitled to any help with child care. If i’m unable cook myself 3 meals I day I can get a carer but there’s nothing in place for young family’s with children under the age of 3. Welfare at the last posting wasn’t much help at all. Ok so they did offer to help pay for a nursery place, but it was at a nursery I couldn’t get to. I would of needed the car to take him but with only one car and my husband needing it to get to work it wasn’t an option.

The move to our next house finally happened and went smoothly in the 1 day, 2 days later we was fully unpacked. I was exhausted and so run down afterwards, I felt very low and unable to cope. Weeks later i’m still tired. If i’m honest I am struggling and barely coping when my husbands at work. I have no idea how I manage to look after a active 1year old on my bad days, guess I just grit my teeth and push on when all I want to do is collapse. Its by far the hardest thing i’m having to deal with so far. I’ve been feeling miserable and run down. The only way I could tell my husband how I felt was by text because I couldn’t deal with the tension that conversation could have produced. Isnt it sad people feel like they cant talk face to face anymore. No wonder why so many people get divorced when we have lost the will to talk things threw. With the way i’m feeling i’ve now decided i need help, so i’m getting in contact with various military charities to see if there’s anything they can do for me. I’m not getting my hopes up but its worth asking.

After chemotherapy being put back again i’m getting a little depressed, the more its put back the longer it drags out and ill now be having treatments while my husband is retrading and on course. Its going to be even more difficult with zero support from him. I’ve even worried for the first time what if I don’t beat this, what if I beat it this time and it comes back later…but worse. Quickly gave myself a talking to after thinking that. Besides i’ve very recently received positive Pet/Ct scan results so at least i know things are going in the right direction which is something to be positive about.

Ok so this blog is far from being as positive as my first. But i wanted to share how hard this experience can be emotionally. Especially when your Husband is in the type of job where you will always be second to his career even if that’s not how he wants it to be. I’m having my fair share of bad days at the moment but i keep telling myself its not forever and only for a few more months. I have to be strong for my little one no matter what.

Redundancy results…

So the redundancy results were out this week. My husband was eligible for it, but didn’t volunteer and wasn’t picked. In fact, no one where we are based was made redundant, even those who did volunteer.

Originally, we decided to just leave it to fate, see what the Army decided. Mainly because he hadn’t even considered leaving the Army as he loves his job. But also because if you volunteer, you only get 6 months notice, otherwise it’s 12 months. 12 months would give us enough time to buy a house and get sorted without too much stress (well, that would be the plan anyway).

For those who don’t know, all those eligible for redundancy were told on 17th January. The final results coming out on 12th June. It has been a VERY long wait. As it got closer and closer to June, we started to regret him not volunteering. The money he would have got would set us up for life, our children could live near family and have a settled upbringing without moving around (we are about to move to my husbands 4th posting in 4 years). The grass was looking pretty green over on civvie street after about 4 months of waiting for the redundancy results.

The last month has been awful. We have both felt unsettled, not knowing what the outcome was going to be. Would we be living in our own house this time next year, would he be working in one of those jobs that ‘normal’ people have where they don’t get sent on exercise at a moments notice (funnily enough, as soon as he was told the results, he was also told he’s going away on Monday).

Trying to second guess what the decision was going to be didn’t make things particularly easy either. Because as most people know, you can’t really guess what the Army are planning when they have a history of doing things that don’t make total sense to us mere mortals.

The last week has been horrible. I wanted so much for him to be made redundant, because I really do not want to ever have to go through that long wait ever again! I would have preferred him to be made redundant than to have to face all this again in Tranche 3.

The weekend wasn’t much fun. I couldn’t sleep properly for wondering, I felt sick with nerves that he wasn’t going to be made redundant. I was sure I would be absolutely gutted if he didn’t get it. I totally lost my appetite and, being a slim build anyway, it shows instantly. Monday was no fun at all, stressed is not the word for it. I thought I wouldn’t sleep properly on Monday night, but I was so exhausted from a week of sleepless nights, that I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Tuesday morning came, and I waved my husband off to work with strict instructions to text me with the outcome. I didn’t want him to ring me and tell me he hadn’t got it, but me hear him wrong and start celebrating that he HAD got it.

Everyone else was under strict instructions not to text me while I was waiting. He went in to the office at 9am. I thought they’d tell them one at a time and that I’d be waiting ages. In actual fact I got a text at 9.02am telling me he hadn’t got it. After all the stress, and hoping he’d be made redundant, I thought I would be in tears if he didn’t get it. I looked at my phone, and laughed to myself because we had both known really that he wasn’t going to get it, he’d had a posting order, he hadn’t volunteered, and they’d increased how many they were taking in his bracket because apparently they had so many volunteers. It was pretty ridiculous of me to get my hopes up.

I text my friend telling her, and I told the girls on the site. I text my sister and my Dad, and then I rang my husband at about 9.10am. And he didn’t answer. So I tried again, and he hung up on me. I started worrying that he was too distraught to speak to me or something else just as awful and totally dramatic. But then he called – he was back in work. I had forgotten that there was an Army outside of the redundancy results and that he still had work to do. He’s happy to stay in, more than happy really. And so am I now I’ve had a proper think about it. The uncertainty was awful, spending 5 months looking at what house we could buy, in what area, mortgages, jobs, schools etc etc. And it all came to nothing in the end.

I thought I’d hope he would come up for redundancy in the next tranche. But now I hope he doesn’t, and possibly the most ridiculous thing from all of this is that we’ve already decided he wouldn’t volunteer. He won’t walk out of those gates until the Army want him to leave. After all my whinging over the last few months about wanting him to get redundancy, I’m feeling fine about it all.

I know there are an awful lot of people who took voluntary redundancy and are ecstatic right now. I also know there are people who really didn’t want it, and have been made redundant anyway. I can’t comment on how they feel, I can try and imagine it but it probably doesn’t come close so I won’t even try and write about that.

But for us, we are starting to get ready to move again. A new adventure. Perhaps not the one I had hoped for, but an adventure all the same.

Living with Cancer

I’ve decided to write my first ever blog to share with others my personal experience as an army wife living with cancer. My husband and I are in our mid 20s, have been married less than 2 years and we have a gorgeous but active 1 year old son who is a handful at the best of times. We are due for our next posting, so as you can imagine the news of having cancer couldn’t come at the most inconvenient time. Not that there’s ever a good time obviously.

Three months ago I was at the Doctors thinking I had a chest infection barely able to breath. Now I’m waiting for my forth chemotherapy treatment and my husband has not long returned to work and due to start his next posting/retrade. To say the last few months have been a roller coaster ride is an understatement! Although cancer takes over life and there’s constant reminders of it every day I’ve never felt as if its been life changing. I may be naive or totally unaware of how ill I really am but I can honestly say this feels more like a bump in the road and ill have a normal life after this. Yes the next 6months to a year are going to be hard but surely a year of fighting is worth a life time. These last few months have definitely affected my husband and family more than me.

A lot happened in the first few weeks. From x-ray to CT scan, admitted 3 times in a week, being told I had a tumour 12cm by 6cms that was most likely lymphoma and compressing the airway to my left lung as well as a blood clot in my neck. Passing out at a outpatients appointment, having a canular in my groin (not nice), Emergency biopsy under local anaesthetic (also not nice), emergency chemotherapy before they even knew exactly what type of lymphoma I had. A 5 day stay in ICU where i was hooked up to breathing and other various machines, swelled up like a balloon. Not that I remember much of my stay there. Then being moved to an isolation ward, having a chest drain to get rid of the fluid that collapsed my left lung (hated this more than the biopsy). Developing a virus that had a particularly nasty temperature come with it. Being a human pin cushion multiple times every day for 3 weeks. I even started to loose my hair just 2 weeks after the chemotherapy. Going through all that didn’t bother me and I was still feeling positive about it all.

The only thing I had ever been upset about was dealing with everything and not being able to see my husband or son. They were at home with coughs and chest infections so wasn’t able to come visit me most of the time I was in hospital. The one time my husband should be with me holding my hand through the ups and downs and he couldn’t. Not being able to see my son meant I missed so much of his development. Dealing with that emotionally was the most difficult thing. The only times I cried was when I missed them or heard my husband upset.

Even though we was going through all this it was good to know we had the support and understanding from the Army. Hubby was given compassionate leave with no date to return from the very start to look after our son. His superiors called him most days to see how I was and hubby called them every time there was a development. As much as they knew the better and there was not a need to get welfare involved. He applied for retrade at the beginning of the year and it was approved just before I was admitted. As soon as he said he definitely wanted to do it his superiors was on the phone to Glasgow to let them know of our situation and find out what could be done for us. To our shock Glasgow really made the effort so we could stay in the area so I didn’t have to move hospital. A posting was created at a local unit with the colonels permission. We was given 4 weeks notice and didn’t receive a posting order until 3 weeks before the start date. Even the hosing officer helped out how she could and we had an address quicker than expected. Although were not due to move Married Quarter until a few weeks after hubby starts at the next place it was nice of them to speed the process up.

I was finally discharged but i still couldn’t go home to be with my family. I’m at high risk of falling ill so couldn’t be around my husband while he had a chest infection so I went to stay with my Dad and his family for a week with my son. I was over joyed to be back with the little one and he had me giggling and laughing at his new little ways i hadn’t seen before. After a few days though I was getting a little down. Still missing my husband and getting frustrated about him not being there. Also my hair was falling out quicker than I had expected and in 2 weeks it was starting to go patchy. After a shower and it falling out in chunks I came to a conclusion of what was the point of getting more unhappy about it falling out and dragging out the inevitable. So I took it into my own hands and decided to shave it off there and then, I borrowed my dads neighbours clippers and in 15mins I was bald. I thought I would be devastated and a crying mess but actually I felt fine. Relieved and happy almost. I had my scarves with me ready to use and i had a new confidence in myself that I hadn’t expected. Id made the decision early on that I didn’t want a wig and I’m still happy with that decision. The only thing i do regret was not getting the chance to donate my hair like I had wanted to after seeing another wife was donating hers and fund raising for the little princess foundation.

When I was in a stable condition hubby had to return to work on a part time basis on days when its most busy. On his first day back I received a large bunch of flowers at home from the lads and higher up ranks he works with wishing me to get well soon. So sweet! A lot can be said for the army and the way they usually deal with things as we all know. But its good to know that when it really counts and you really need the support their willing to do what they can to make a difference.

I’ve missed out so much of what I wanted to say but if I had wrote it all you would be reading a book instead of a blog. There’s no way to easily sum up all the emotions felt in one small space of time or what effect its having on my marriage or relationships with family and friends. I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support from everyone including all the ladies of Squaddie wives who have put up with my ramblings and rants every step of the way. I’m making the most of my new look and embarrassing it the best way I can, its who I am now and I’m proud of that. I don’t feel the need to hide away and feel embarrassed, instead I feel more positive than ever and cant wait to take the next 6 months head on.

RBLWS Military Wives and Girlfriends Group

Introducting the newly formed Military Wives and Girlfriends Group, part of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section. The RBLWS is a registered charity with a membership of 40,000 women worldwide, and they provide fantastic support (both financially and otherwise) for the families of serving and ex-serving personnel. Until now, there has been no easy way for Military Wives and Girlfriends to join the RBLWS, as with each move you would have to join a new branch. By joining the Military Wives and Girlfriends Group, you do not have to transfer your membership each time you move.

Being a member entitles you to a nice shiny RBLWS badge, an info pack, you can apply for tickets to the Festival of Remembrance, and can attend social and fundraising events, courses and will be able to easily access help from the RBLWS should you need it.

The RBLWS is a charity in it’s own right, but each November takes part in the Poppy Appeal, with all funds going to the RBL. Our members will have the opportunity to help out with this fantastic cause if they wish. We also hope to organise our own social and fundraising events throughout each year, which will of course be totally optional.

Within the group, if there are ten or more members in the same area, then you are free to form your own small branch, which will be run by whoever chooses to run it (fantastic experience to put on your CV!). Alternatively, you can just stay as part of the main Group – you can be as active as you choose. If you just want to join the Military Wives and Girlfriends Group and receive newsletters, support and opportunities to attend events etc, then that’s fine. It’s as much or as little as you choose to do.

Membership years with RBLWS run from October-October and the cost of membership is £6 per year. Payable in full at the time of joining and then again each October.

You can apply online here (putting the branch as Military Wives and Girlfriends Group) and they will send you a form.

All money goes directly to the RBLWS so you are supporting a fantastic charity as well as getting all the information and support should you need it.

Thank you for all your support!


Day One

Husband came home today with a print out of an email from Glasgow, telling him he is earmarked for a job. It’s not a place that he put on his Posting Preference form, but it’s in the same area as we wanted to be, and we are very pleased that we could end up there. The only reason it wasn’t on his Posting Preferences was because we forgot it existed.

We’ve been told he won’t get a posting order until after the Redundancy results are out on 12th June as he’s in the bracket but hasn’t applied. It’s going to be a long wait!

Day Sixty Five

Husband received a text message from his Boss (Husband was at the top of Pen Y Fan at the time) telling him his Posting Order was on his desk. He forwarded me the text. It was totally unexpected as we were really thinking we wouldn’t hear anything until after 12th June. Very pleased to know now. Almost 3 months to the day until he starts his new job. I rang my sister and spoke to her for an hour, both very excited that we will be living near each other again. Spent the whole evening researching schools (our eldest starts in September) and the area in general. Really looking forward to moving.

Day Sixty Seven

We went to view a gorgeous new build house today, making plans for if my husband gets made redundant. We are both totally in love with it and wish we could have bought it there and then. Spent the rest of the day getting excited about the prospect of owning our own home. Then came home to our quarter. Tried to get myself excited again about his posting, but spent the rest of the evening making plans for owning our own home. Woops!

Day Sixty Eight

The entire system for applying for a house has changed since we last moved in October 2010. Back then you sent a paper form to the HIC and they were to offer you an address within 15 working days (if they had availability). Of course, it didn’t actually work like that. We applied in the May, hoping to move the last week in August, ready for him to start his new job the first week of September. We got our address in the August, he started work as expected in the first week of September. I had a baby in the October and we moved when she was 4 days old – not ideal!! They hadn’t been able to give us a house before then due to a shortage of housing. They did give us a choice of delaying the move but I just wanted to get it over and done with while he was on paternity leave and able to help. Due to that rule on them taking their relocation leave from the losing unit, he had had a random week off at the end of August to help us move – of course we weren’t moving house and I was heavily pregnant and fed up so we spent the week doing nothing.

As I said, the system has changed now. The HIC is now the HASC, and we have to apply online. I’m leaving this bit to him, but with strict instructions on what dates etc to put on the form. He’s away all week so will have to apply next week instead. I’ve already asked the girls on Squaddie Wives about the forms, and a few other inane questions that considering this will be our fourth move since 2008, I really shouldn’t need to ask anymore. It’s funny how quickly you forget things. The main one being when can we apply for Disturbance Allowance (the money you get for moving house) and does it go in with wages or separately. None of us ever seem to be able to remember this one for some reason. Got it all figured out now just need to get all the paperwork for everything done.

I’ve looked for places for my daughter to go to swimming lessons. Everywhere is twice the price and twice the class size as it is up here. I’d forgotten how expensive stuff is down there.

Now off to read Ofsted reports for the schools in the area we are moving to, and try and work out how I go about applying for a place for our 3 (nearly 4) year old down there…

Day Seventy Two

My husband sent the housing forms off today. Now we start the wait for an address, hopefully it won’t take too long.

Win a Gift set worth £44.90!

Competition for you girls!! Here we go :)

A lovely Avon lady is currently recruiting for representatives in most areas, especially Cambridgeshire and Essex.

eBrochures for current Campaigns are below:

Campaign 6 –
Campaign 6 Sale
Campaign 7:

Contact at

Question is: Who have Squaddie Wags just announced they will be working with in the future?

Email your answer to before the 18th March 2012 for your chance to win!!

The prize is as follows: Wrap your own gift set, comprising: Gold wire basket, bath snowflake confetti, footworks foot souffle, hawian shore eau de toilette spray, jet femme body spray, planet spa hydrating face mask skin so soft dry oil body spray, lemon and basil room and linen spray, anti dandruff shampoo and conditioner. Items may be exchanged for similar/higher value products if stock is low. Worth £44.90, based on individual selling prices.

Fit and Healthy?

Over the past 6 weeks I’ve had several friends ask me for advice to get fit and healthy. I thought I would write down my ideas, tips and suggestions for those who want to try and live a healthier lifestyle.

If you chose to try any of these suggestions then you do so at your own risk. I will however try and answer any questions as best I can – if I don’t know, I’ll find out!

Negative effects of being unhealthy

The effects of being unhealthy are well publicised but, to ensure there are no excuses, being overweight / fat can increase your risk of:
Heart disease
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Breathing problems
Gallbladder disease
Some kinds of cancer
Most of the unhealthy / fat people who read this think, “Well, I’m okay now. It won’t effect me” or they believe “Okay, I’ll start next week, after this take-away.”

Positive effects of being healthy

The simple answer would be the opposite of the above but the benefits go deeper. Your body releases endorphins (“happy chemicals”) during exercise and you will feel happier, more attractive, more energetic and many more.

Why don’t people stay healthy?

You would have thought the attraction of living longer and not becoming ill would be enough for most people to change and become healthier… Somehow, this isn’t’ the case and many people make the choice to stay on their downward spiral of health.

Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard in my time in the fitness industry; do you fit into these categories?

I will start tomorrow / next week / next month.
I have no time.
I have no money.
I’m skinny – I must be healthy.
I’m happy being big (aka fat).
I’m stressed / upset.

How to get there? (diet, ex, mindset)

The first step: wanting to get fit. I don’t mean just saying the words… I mean you have to really want it. You have to set yourself a goal and change your habits accordingly: it won’t be easy bit it will be worth it in the long-term.

It’s a fact that people are addicted to sugar. We have sugar and feel better for a few minutes while on the “sugar high” but we then have a “sugar low” and crave more sugar. (This is why complex carbohydrates are better than simple sugars.)

Some eating habit changes

Not all fat is bad! Good fats include fish oil, olive oil, avocado, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts. It is the saturated fat you should try to stay away from.

Carbohydrates are essential: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, sprouts, brown rice, cous cous, potato. Bread is not a complex carbohydrate and should not be a staple diet.

Protein is the building block of the body and helps you feel full. Eggs, fish, chicken, turkey are best but lean red meat and be eaten occasionally. Sausages and pork pies are not on the menu!

As a general rule, the more processed the food is – the worse it is for you. A take-away or pizza is very easy for the fat, lazy person – it doesn’t mean it’s good for you – it just gives you more time to sit on the couch and get fatter.

Have an “off day”

Start by giving yourself two “off days” or “cheat days” a week (for example Tuesday and Saturday) and on each of these days you can have a meal you know is not good for you – or a desert etc. Don’t use the whole day to stuff your face though or you’ll undue all the hard work you have done on the previous days.

After a month – reduce your cheat day to once a week and then once a fortnight. You will gradually become accustomed to the changes and find it easy.

Some exercises
Start simple and small. Walk for 30 mins once a day at a brisk pace. Increase it to 1 hour or, if you have limited time, increase the pace you walk / jog at. If you want advice on exercise then speak to your local PTI or ask a friend who is fit – there are thousands of exercises out there and each will have benefits.
You do not need to do hours of exercise to have a marked benefit in health – short, intense exercise can help too. This doesn’t mean going on the step-machine with your equally fat friend and talking while you go at the pace my 85 year old gran could maintain!

Squaddie Wags Announcement 2012

“In January, we were approached by the Royal British Legion Women’s Section. After a lot of emails flying back and forth, and a meeting (with two young children running around!), we came up with some very exciting plans for the future.

From now on, Squaddie Wags will be collaborating with the Royal British Legion Women’s Section ( in order to ensure that all female dependants have easy access to an unwavering support system. The Royal British Legion Women’s Section is 90 years old and they provide care and support through various welfare schemes, and their members are a fantastic community in their own right.

Due to the generosity and kindness of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section, we have been able to carry out a much needed upgrade of our forum software. At Squaddie Wags, we have always been extremely certain that one thing remain the same – we will never charge our members for use of the forums. Thanks to the fabulous Royal British Legion Women’s Section, this can continue. Our members can now use an upgraded website, and as always, at no cost to themselves. Previously, the website has been paid for solely by the owner, and so we are extremely grateful for the generosity and kindness of the outstandingly supportive people at the Royal British Legion Women’s Section.

The Royal British Legion Women’s Section are a fantastic support service for all female dependants of those serving and ex serving. We will, over the coming months, be setting up our very own Squaddie Wags Association branch of the RBLWS. This will be a fantastic step forward for our website in achieving what we have always set out to achieve – to ensure that all female dependants have easy access to support (in whatever form that may be), whenever they need it.

We shall release more details on our RBLWS branch once it is fully functioning and we hope that you will all become members so that you can benefit from their fabulous services, and join a friendly, sociable community who carry out activities and events throughout the year and really are there to support each other and all female dependants (past or present) of HM Forces.

We hope soon, to publish a piece by the RBLWS with ‘their side of the story’ so to speak!

In the mean time, we wish to say again, a very big thank you to the RBLWS. What was once the dream of an 18 year old girl, has now become reality, and we look forward to what the future holds.

But the focus in all of this, is all of you – the female dependents of HM Forces personnel, past or present. This life can be tough, really tough, but there are 2,245 members of who know exactly how you feel, and 43,000 members of the RBLWS, most of whom have ‘been there, done that’. There is no need to struggle on your own.”