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Wiltshire family share an amazing love story…

This article first appeared in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald in early February 2014.

 A love story

A love story

Today mum Liz Badcock is a loving mother, doting wife and fledgling entrepreneur.

As she turns 40 this year and enjoys watching her 20-month-old son Harry grow up – she knows she’s lucky to have him, her husband Phil or her new business as a weight consultant.

Liz, who lives near Chippenham, is a recovering addict. She’s spent 20 years battling alcohol and drug dependency, a problem which began in her early teens.

“I had a lovely childhood,” Liz told me. “I’ve got loving parents who have always done everything they can to support me. I cannot, in any way, say that I wasn’t loved at home.

“However, I was always a needy child who craved attention. I grew up well before my time and at 14 I was out clubbing and drinking and getting a lot of male attention.

“Most of my early teens were relationship after relationship, getting used for sex, getting drunk and taking ecstasy and cocaine. I got engaged at an early age, cheated, drank heavily and was never happy.

“By the age of 21 I went from one abusive relationship to another, taking drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and resentment towards myself for putting up with it.”

Liz began a cycle of heavy drink and drug use alongside self-harm and many related issues. Even when she met her husband Phil, who comes from Swindon, she was unable to deal with her various addictions.

“We married on August 29 2003. I drank all day and stayed up until 4am , then I began to drink whisky. On our honeymoon I drank vodka and orange every day trying but failing to disguise it. When we got back my husband insisted that I see a doctor and they diagnosed me with depression and anxiety.”

A partial recovery began with Liz becoming dry for a few years and she began dealing with her weight problem, losing seven stones in six months.

“However I was taking huge does of valium each day to help me diet and smoked very heavily.

“I was sober until December 2007 but things were no better really.

“My doctor stopped prescribing me valium so I took out loans and credit cards and sat at home while my husband was at work, ordering pills from the internet. The amounts were huge when I finally went into rehab in 2008 I’d spent £57,000 on drugs and alcohol.”

During this period of time, Liz and Phil had tried for a baby through IVF with no success. This failure led to a suicide attempt, more attempts at rehab treatment and various relapses into addiction.

Husband Phil stuck by Liz throughout always believing she could change her behaviour.

“Lots of our relationship I was either drunk or high on valium. He always supported me and he’s always been strong. I don’t know, if the boot had been on the other foot, whether I would have been strong enough to support him if he’d been an addict.”

Then in September 2011, something fundamental changed in Liz and Phil’s lives.

Liz said: “I went to the doctor’s after another binge and told her I was late for my monthly, believing this was due to the alcohol abuse. She said I should do a pregnancy test which I thought was a joke. I did the test and found I was pregnant.

“I knew I had to give up the valium, the alcohol and smoking and I also wanted to lose weight once the baby was born. I tried to make amends with all of the people I had hurt and I promised myself I would do right by my unborn child and felt that this was a miracle and a blessing. I quit everything. Harry saved my life.”

Being a recovering addict and being pregnant isn’t an ideal combination. Liz knew that her history could affect Harry in the womb.

“I knew due to my lifestyle that Harry could be at risk. In the early months I had a scan every month as there was a chance that Harry could be very small. At my 20 week scan, it was clear that everything was fine and that he was looking healthy. In fact I then had to have scans to ensure he didn’t grow too big so that I could deliver him safely.”

Harry was born in June 2012 weighing in at 9lbs 11oz. However, Harry wasn’t the only one who was heavy. By the time of his birth, Liz weighed 22 stone and, even after having her son, she still tipped the scales at over 17 stones.

“I knew I had to do something about it so I went back to the Cambridge Diet plan which had worked for me before. However this time, I was going to approach it differently. No drugs this time.

“Now I’m down to 12 stones and will soon fit into size 12 clothing. I’ve still got some way to go but I’m on healthier journey.”

In fact, Liz has now become a weight consultant herself and she’ll be opening her own Cambridge Diet business at Body & Soul in Corsham, Wiltshire at the end of March.

“As I face my 40th birthday, believe me my life looks a lot different. I’ve learned to love myself and I’ve come to believe I am a good person. I know life is to be enjoyed and people deserve love and respect.

“I’m now in a position where I can go into a pub with my friends  – something I’ve never achieved before – and it doesn’t matter that I don’t have an alcoholic drink, I don’t even want one. I used to envy people and now I just think why would I have a drink? Why would I ruin everything? I’ve got a great husband and a happy, healthy child.”

 

 

 

 

 

Toothache from hell – was my pain worse than yours?

Yesterday  I didn’t function as a business person, in fact I barely functioned at all.

I had toothache, to a level I’ve never experienced before and I’ve given birth three times. It built up over about 24 hours and I did that female thing of thinking it would get better, it would get better, it would get better. Have a paracetamol or two and all will be fine.

However, when I tried to floss the area where the pain seemed to be coming from, I almost fainted. Some one had stabbed me with a fine red hot poker in my mouth.

Toothache - my pain was greater than yours!

Now anyone who knows me, will know that I’m not backward in coming forward about my personal experiences of the health service. When I’m making a dentist appointment I have to wait months, not weeks, to fit my family in for routine checks. My dentist is an NHS dentist so I accept this and book well in advance. My dentist is also a mum of two beautiful girls and she often has time off during school holidays. So you can see the problem? I’m a mum and want to book appointments in the school holidays and my dentist isn’t working. Routine appointments are not instant.

So coping with terrible pain, facing a day of work including an important interview with a contributor for a magazine article, I really didn’t know how I’d get through. I called my dentist, tried to explain and was able to book an appointment for today. Not too bad, indeed quite impressive.

Within two hours, two things changed. My interview was cancelled, not by me. And the pain got even worse. Suddenly 10am today seemed like a month away. It was a mountain too high to climb. I called the dentist again and to my surprise, they fitted me in within the hour.

How I drove there I will never know. The only thing which helped the pain was very cold water, so I had to slurp water every 20 seconds just to stay upright. Luckily my dentist isn’t far away but I was very aware that I was not functioning properly. When I got there I must have looked awful as I was told to go straight up.

My dentist tested the area where the problem lay and I almost hit the ceiling. A failed filling was removed which required three injections so I could cope with the pain. A temporary filling was fitted. With a numb face, I left that a warning that the pain would probably return for a while until things had settled. No abscess, no infection – a crack in the tooth. Would try to save it, but I might end up losing it. So be it.

Reflecting on this experience has made me think two things – how responsive my dental practice was in helping me out and how they understood instantly how much pain I was suffering. Thank you Clyde House Dental Practice of Bath Road, Old Town.

It also made me think more generally about those who are disabled by chronic pain. At about 3am this morning, the pain almost disappeared. It was quite instant and has transformed me, I could go to sleep for a start. I cannot imagine how anyone can deal with strong pain day in and day out and function normally in any way at all.

Just 24 or so hours of this made me look at the experience of at least three people I know who deal with unbelievable pain every hour of every day. You have my respect.

 

 

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