You're just tired, not exhausted

The Oxford online dictionary definition of exhaustion is


[mass noun]
  • 1a state of extreme physical or mental tiredness:he was pale with exhaustion

  • 2the action of using something up or the state of being used up:the rapid exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves

  • 3 Logic the process of establishing a conclusion by eliminating all the alternatives.

Mine is

  • Not having the energy to manipulate a crochet hook, something I always love to do.
  • So tired you can't lift your arms to comb your hair (when you had some)
  • The simple action of concentrating enough to watch a trashy TV show is beyond you
  • Stringing a sensible sentence together or holding a basic conversation makes Kevin the teenager sound articulate
  • When you're so tired even falling asleep seems like too much of an effort let alone getting actually into bed.
  • Description would be your internal battery is totally drained, only the basic body functions are working, everything else shuts down.
I think exhaustion is so much worse than being plain tired. It's like saying you have the flu when really it's the common cold (or man flu!) Of course you feel crap, snotty and sore nose, bunged up and a headache. But it's not until you've actually had flu do you realise how much worse it is, a cold is just annoying in comparison.

I've been guilty of it, over exaggerating symptoms or how I feel. But I've been there now, I know the difference. I wont use the word exhaustion now unless it's warranted. But then again it's a long word to use when talking is an effort!

But what do you think? What exaggerations annoy you?

On my terms.... Why I'm unhappy with Beat Cancer campaign

To the lady in Tesco promoting Channel 4's Beat Cancer

Please think first.

I want to let you know why you got short shrift from me today. I know its your job to thrust a couple of Beat Cancer charity bags unexpectedly under my nose and ask me if I'd like to fill them. But did you not see that I've lost my hair? Was the scarf not a give away or the obvious lack of eyebrows (I really need to teach myself how to fake them soon) Did it never dawn on you that I might not appreciate your advances?

Were you surprised at my curt response or did you think I was going to be an easy target. 'She'll take a couple off my hands because she knows how it feels'

I'll be honest, I was surprised at my reaction. I felt sick, then angry with myself, which turned to tears. I was happily shopping and planning dinner, being normal, doing normal non cancer things and then you stepped in front of me and interrupted the day.

I don't want to be reminded and your action, your table at the end of an aisle caught me by surprise. I could have stepped round it, avoided reading the blurb, but you didn't let me.

At a very deep level I don't like to even think about it. I've noticed I avoid using the word and refuse to see myself as a sufferer. I talk about it but on my terms. I had a tumour, it was cancer. It may come back, shit happens

Ideally I want to go back to my old life and forget it ever happened. But that's not sensible or even possible. Taking part in the drugs trial doesn't allow me to forget for one thing. Managing side effects and keeping appointments and tests for example, having no hair helps remind me too! And after something like this you never get things back the way they were. But I'm working hard to get myself a new normal.

So although I want to forget, I can't. But I AM doing my bit to stick two fingers up to it, saying fuck off to it all, but ON MY TERMS not yours.

So I will choose when and what I'll do to play my part to beat cancer. If I want to support a charity or watch a TV programme I will.

And I'd thank you, Dear Promo Lady, to be more aware of who you approach in future. You have no idea what's going on in people's lives, so please think twice about your actions.

Email from my brother: Question - what's the most popular colour for shower gel?

Hi Fay,

How is it going? Bet you’re saving a few bob on shampoo. Then there’s conditioner too. Yep, it all adds up. Kerching!

Just when Sam was born nearly two years ago I was working in local supermarket stacking shelves of an evening. Not because we needed the money but because stacking shelves is such great fun of course. The best bit was near the end of a shift you had to go down an aisle, bring all the produce to the front of the shelf and turn it so that all the labels faced the right way. That way in the morning it looked like the supermarket was fully stocked, neat and tidy. We all loved doing that especially when the store was still open and customers could reach in and destroy your work because they wanted a single tin of diced tomatoes and had the light delicate touch of the Incredible Hulk.

The supermarket chain I worked in was called “Countdown” and in New Zealand is on par with Asda. (In case you’re wondering I stopped making the Channel Four Countdown clock music to anyone who would listen to me about twenty minutes into my first shift.) I always wondered if at night with the name “Countdown” lit up in glowing letters on the front they had a special back up generator just for the letter “o” so as to avoid corporate embarrassment. Countd wn? No, I meant the other “o”.

Anyway the point was that I’ve put out a fair few packs of shampoo, conditioner and soap and they’re not cheap. Also I noticed that half of all shower gel is blue. Have you noticed that? Some are clear, some are green, some are creamy but around about half are blue. Now I like to soap myself up in blue and pretend I’m Mystique from the X-Men like most people but I can’t because where does the blue go? Think about all the colours in your shower products, they’re there in the bottle but as soon as it’s smeared properly across your flesh the colour disappears. They need to put that colour technology in ice lollies pronto because it’s high time eating a raspberry or orange flavoured iceblock didn’t make your mouth look like you’ve borrowed it from a Star Trek alien.

Anyway I’m just padding this e-mail because nothing much has happened this week. The only exciting thing for me was receiving a parcel in the mail from Germany containing some more medieval armour. They were leg greaves and knee cops (plate knee covers with lower leg plates like cricket pads) which Sam helped me clean all the grease off before I strapped them onto my legs to try them out. Sam then insisted on dragging me round the paddocks looking for chicken eggs while I clanked and tottered around like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. I still retain enough self awareness that if anyone were to come to the house I'd look a proper weirdo.

Sam does that sort of stuff on purpose I reckon. Sometimes we’ll be watching TV with him on my knee and under my peripheral vision he’ll insert a bogey loaded chubby index finger into the corner of my mouth. Other times I’ll be peeing and he’ll dart around from behind me to push the toilet seat and lid down in one go. Slam! I’m pretty ripped in the pelvic muscle region by now. When it comes to ablutions and the such you don’t really get much privacy with little kids. The other day it was number twos, I was stood after the first wipe and was dropping the paper into the bowl and Sam appeared there like a miniature shopkeeper from Mr Ben. He was dipping the toilet brush into the bowl,both of his little arms were pumping away and he looked up at me with a crinkle nosed expression that said “I’ve got another sixteen bowls like this one before lunchtime, so can you hurry the f*ck up?”

Anyway, take care, hopefully something exciting will happen to me next week so I can write to you about it. Oh yes, it’s the first week of school holidays here next week and Eva and Sam get on like cats and dogs. I’m soooo looking forward to it.

Love Mark xxx


Nothing interesting has happened and you can still make me laugh. You are a genius. As always I....


Leap to Normal

I am another step (maybe a big fat leap) to getting back to normal (whatever that looks like)

I'm back to work.

And it feels like I've never been away .

Okay, so there are faces I've never seen before, other faces who've moved on to pastures new, some faces with new roles and responsibilities. But all of them have had smiles and who doesn't like to see that.

I've been hugged and kissed, caught up on gossip, peeped to see under the scarf and gently teased.

I've laughed.

And no tears.

That means a lot to me because for a while I couldn't see a time without them.

Things have changed, things have stayed the same. It feels normal and special rolled into one.

I work for a simple brilliant company filled with amazing people who make that company what it is.

I love who I work for, I love my job and I love all the people who've helped me over the last couple of days make that leap to normal

Thank you