Flare up

After 3 years I am still suffering from the pain condition I developed after a car accident (central pain syndrom). It is a punishing condition that I have little control of. I learned early on that stress ramps the pain levels up. As it did which led to my recent hospital admission.

The left side of my face dropped and I lost sensation down the left side of my body and I suffered chest pains. It is why they suspected a stroke. When in fact it was just a flare up caused by the stres of dealing with home life. Which has been full on lately for both Stacey and myself.

I have been questioning my ability to be a good dad. I have also been overwhelmed by parenting triplets and balancing work life. I have had a warning to slow down. Not easy with three 4 year olds bouncing off the walls but it’s the path I have been given.
Soon they will be starting school full time and we will get some time to rest.

Having triplets and a chronic pain condition isn’t the easiest combination. But I am slowly learning deal with both. But there are times it gets the better of me. As it has done lately.

Life as dad

I thought that the first year of parenting was the toughest gig I have ever experienced in my life. I struggled badly with exhaustion, verging on depression from simply adjusting to life as a new dad with three newborn’s.

I spent a lot of time waiting for it to get easier. And it didn’t. All that happened was I got used to my new role. After the initial battering of sleep deprivation I placed my focus on being a present dad. Supporting my wife so she was less stressed whilst I worked. Taking care of the girls when I was at home and making sure I was pulling my weight.

In some ways they were easier to deal with when they were babies. For one they stayed where you put them and didn’t answer back. Now they are toddlers we are dealing with the tantrums and sass. The only man in the house I’m mostly referred to now as ‘silly daddy’. I’m outnumbered by females 5 to 1. I got my work cut out for me if I am going to remain sane.

It’s not all bad though. The triplets are great fun at this age. Everything is new to them and it’s wonderful to watch them learn and grow. There’s nothing like a triplet cuddle, they are a tight little unit that stick together and play together.

The one thing I am learning is that the more I practice patience and tolerance with them, the more confident they are growing. I rarely need to raise my voice and am mindful of my reactions around them, especially when they are playing up. It’s a test of endurance at times and a relentless way of life but it’s now our normal. I feel blessed beyond words to have the family I am now raising. My wife is an absolute legend of a mother to our daughters. She too approaches life at home with love and a sense of humour.

If you are a new father struggling to find your role. Become a man of love, patience and authority. Be a support for your partner and gradually you will find your feet. Just love your family and make them your priority. It’s a tough ride without a doubt but with the right attitude you can be the difference your family needs.

Central Pain Syndrome Foundation

I am now writing and volunteering for the Central Pain Syndrome Foundation. I am honored to be a part of the team leading this non profit charity who’s main objective is to raise awareness of CPS and to work towards a cure.

I will still post about my experience with CPS here now and then. But my aim is to now keep my blog more focused on Fatherhood and of course – Meditation.

Thank-you for putting up my ramblings about living with chronic pain over the last few years. And I thank each of you for following my blog 😉

Here is my first blog post for the CPSF. I will be writing a post weekly to be published each Friday.


Staying sober

I have no doubt that If I had become a father whilst I was an active alcoholic I would have been a deadbeat dad. I would have been incapable of dealing with a family life because I was unable to put anything in the way of the next drink.

I get asked a lot how I remain sober. Being seven and a half years away from my last drink I know a thing or two about what it takes to stay on the wagon and improve as a man and a father in the process.

I am by no means a perfect husband or parent. I have made, and still make mistakes. But I do have a willingness to own my mistakes and learn from them.

In recovering from alcoholism I got down to the cause of my drinking, which was nothing more than a symptom of my spiritual malady. Alcohol to me was a solution. It allowed me to stuff down my pain of guilt for the destructive life I was living.

My solution to my anger problem

The real cause of my alcoholism was suppressed resentment and fear. From an abusive childhood I became infected with anger. That anger drove my existence. I became a selfish, self centred man, caring only for myself and my wants and needs. Until I got free from that spirit of resentment nothing would ever change. Even without the crutch of alcohol I was the same self centred individual.

I soon discovered that If I was to find emotional stability in sobriety I would have to treat the cause. I had to find a way to stay free from anger and outgrow my fears. This would take a spiritual solution. Because being infected with anger is a spiritual problem. Believe it or not.

I needed a solid way to face the pressures of each day with a certain grace, without being rattled by stress, no matter what the cause.

If resentment (irritation, frustration, jealousy, bitterness) was my problem, then unless I had a way to face it it would eventually take me back to a drink. I have no reservations about that. I would eventually need to get relief from the constant negative chatter in my head and judgement I felt towards those in my life.

So how do I do it?

It is more simple than you would think. Painful at times as I face the fears in myself but it takes faith to overcome those nagging fears. The recovery program that initially got me sober suggests prayer and meditation as a way to remain sober and grow emotionally. I needed to find the right meditation for this vital practice.

I practice non contemplative meditation. In the morning on awakening I think about the day ahead. I ask God to give me all I need to deal with whatever may come in that day then I mediate for 15 – 20 minutes using a guided exercise. One that is in line with the spiritual path I have chosen to walk in sobriety. Then during the day I am concious to deal with any stressful events that my occurr.

I am protected against resentment from moment to moment the more I am in the present moment. Meditation makes that state of awareness possible.

I put my wellbeing and ability to parent consciously down to daily meditation, to faith. I am a man who is hard to rattle. I stay emotionally neutral to the dramas In my life, free from anger and fear. Growing as a husband and father in the stream of life. Each day moving forward and further away from the next drink.

I will leave the link here to the free meditation exercise I use. And if you are struggling with destructive obsessive symptoms. If you are constantly being battered by your own mind I hope you find here what I did all those years ago.


Frankie’s experience

I’ve just started high school and it’s a big step up from my small village primary school. Now I’m at high school I’ve started to have a lot of responsibility. I walk to and the bus stop every day and from my school I have to make sure I get on the right bus (as they all look exactly the same).

If your just starting high school my advise would be to get a good first impression. Also make sure you have the right equipment, and get ‘home learning’ (home work) in before, or on the day it’s due. Make sure to follow the rules and participate, but also school is there to communicate with friends at break and lunch and have fun!

Having triplets as younger sisters is a lot of work! But also it can be a lot of fun at the same time. One thing is, they seem to have never ending energy which at times can be a problem, especially when were tying to get them to sleep. But on the other hand it can be a huge amount of fun!

At the moment they seem to NOT do what there told, so we’ve put a system in place were if they dont do what there told when they’re told, they go in the forbidden naughty corner which for them is like a worst nightmare.

They dont like to do what I tell them to do and they do not behave when I look after them which is a problem, if I say anything they automatically shout “No Didi!” At me they have a thing for hitting me but asoon as they dont say sorry and I say “shall I get daddy?” They then say sorry which is good, because at least they respect the man of the house!

To help with the little chickens I do arts and crafts, we will do play dough or painting and they love it when the peppa pig stickers are shown, they start running round like headless chickens shouting “peppa pig peppa pig!” I have a dozen drawing on my wall that they have done for me. they’re gonna be the next bob Ross I’m certain!

Now they’re nearly 3 they are a lot different, I dont find them easier or harder, they’ve never been hard work, they had to have a lot of guidance but now there independent little people they like to do it all on there own.

I have an idea of what they will be when there older. Ava wood is going to have her own little coffee shop (she always makes the choc choc milk at night!) Little blakely is going to be an artist Lacey lou is going to be the next big singer!

Now my dad is in a lot of pain recently as I’m writing this he has already had his morning medication. The other day when we went to ‘the big house (Montecute House. A national trust house),’ he was in so much pain I had to go find him a wheel chair. it’s fair though as he had to push mum around for 7 months when she was pregnant!

I’m not sure what he has it’s all very confusing I remember the last thing the hospital thought he might have was MS, but I just hope he is alright!

I hope you like my little post from the big sister.

The importance of date night.

My wife and I have become a well oiled machine when it comes to home life and dealing with the triplets routine. We both know exactly what our jobs are and we both work hard together without complaint.

Teamwork is the core of parenting three babies plus the bigger one. We have got to this stage through trial and error and without pulling together I’m not sure sort of chaos we’d be living in now.

In a sense we have fallen into the roles of co-workers more than we feel like husband and wife at times. Tiredness hits us both by early evening, added to the constant demands of the babies there is a mental exhaustion that fills a relationship.

The first six months was a challenge of massive proportions that required our full focus and emotional strength. There was little time for each other. Since then it has been more settled and there have been a few more opportunities to regroup.

Making time for each other just to talk and be a couple has been tough. Finding the time is not easy but is crucial to our marriage that we make the effort. Our relationship as Mum and Dad is the most important one in the home. How I treat my wife, the effort I put into our marriage, and how my girls see me in the that role is so important. As a multiple parent I have found everything takes work. Especially in these early days.

We had another opportunity this week to go out for dinner just the two of us. It’s only the third time since the arrival of the triplets that it’s been possible. Mainly because it’s not easy to find someone who knows and can cope with the triplets. Stacey’s Mum is visiting and is amazing with the girls so we took advantage while she’s here to get a date night in.

It’s the perfect opportunity to relax and catch up in a way, and also to take stock of where we are and how we’re doing. It’s like stepping out of the tornado temporarily and taking a good breather. It’s a chance to remember why we’re together in the first place, and how much we’ve achieved as a couple and a family.

It may be a while til the next one but they are appreciated when they come. Nothing has brought us more together than the triplets, but it can also pull us apart at times just through the daily routine and grind.

Like everything else, It is another factor of our lives that requires work, communication, balance and kindness.