Happy 70th! Treasuring our National Health Service #NHS70Birthday

If you are British, you can’t fail to have noticed that our National Health Service celebrates 70 years since its inception today.  Aneurin Bevan, Health secretary in the Attlee government, was the champion for a healthcare service that brought together all providers under one umbrella in order to provide care for all from “the cradle to grave” and  “free at the point of delivery”.

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This is not a political piece – there will be plenty out there to read – neither do I want to focus on the woes of our health service today or the shortages of money and staff.  I have spent many years working in the service and am now find myself very much at the receiving end of it and I could write a book about the ups and downs.  But today is for celebration of all that is good about our NHS and as a nurse in my former life, I could not let it pass unnoticed.  These are just a few of my observations from personal experiences….

I spent my formative years growing up in London teaching hospitals with a group of like minded girls (and the odd chap!) who became family.  We worked hard, we played hard, we were teens and able to cope with a night out followed by an early shift.  The structures within the NHS then taught us self discipline, punctuality, reliability, pride, teamwork and respect (amongst other things!).  We had experiences and encounters with patients and colleagues that would shape our young minds and remain with us for life.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I remember my first death, my first birth, my first still birth – all before I turned 20.  I had never seen a dead body before (how many 18 year olds have?), but when an elderly patient whom I had cared for on my first ward died, she still needed to be cared for.  In more recent times whilst working as a hospice nurse, I have often looked back and thanked a third year student nurse Kevin for teaching me not only how to lay a person out, but the importance to retain empathy and kindness whilst doing so.  When I recall my first birth, I really don’t mean the birth of my first….although I do remember that, Young Engineer!! I was stood at the shoulder and then holding a leg during this labour and birth, and I can still recall the wonder when that little pink, slightly slimy being slid into the world.  Actually he wasn’t so tiny at nearly 9lbs and was named Matthew, and I was privileged to be one of the first to have a cuddle.  It has never left me.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The still birth came only weeks after the birth of baby Matthew.  A couple had been admitted with a labour that had commenced at 29 weeks – third baby for mum, but first for dad.  The midwife knew quickly that something was wrong and broke the heart breaking news that there was no heart beat.  I was assigned as an inexperienced 19 year old to stay with this couple whilst labour progressed during my late shift.  It is impossible to put into words all that I learnt that day.  The bond that a carer can establish with a patient and relative under such intense physical, emotional and stressful circumstances was never clearer than that night.  My shift ended at 10pm but I had to stay until that baby was born.  Another baby boy entered the world at 2am the following morning, perfect, tiny and asleep.  He was beautiful and that is the first time I have felt my heart break.  His parents bathed him and dressed him for the first and last time.  They held him, whispered to him, loved him – and whilst I felt that I was intruding on such a deeply personal experience, they were adamant I should stay.  I carried that little boy away and cried my eyes out.

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

I have written about our experience as young nurses in a hospital in the 80s with an HIV and Aids unit here – a really challenging time for the NHS but rewarding, life affirming and so challenging for this bunch of young nurses.  As a slightly more mature group some 30 years on we revisited our old stomping ground recently (read about it here) and it brought back so many memories – both from time as a student, and then as a young staff nurse in other London hospitals.  During my time in palliative care I met some amazing patients, had the good fortune to have wonderful colleagues and learnt to appreciate life.   I still miss being a nurse, I still feel like a nurse and I am still proud to have been a nurse in our NHS.

In recent years I have been in need of the NHS for friends, family and myself.  From a dear friend dying from cancer, to the deaths of all my grandparents, to the middle child slamming a door on his sister’s hand that then required reconstructive surgery – the NHS has been there.  A&E visits for broken bones, kidney stones and dislocations.  The time when the lovely girl was taken seriously ill – “Mum, should she look like a zombie?” – and rushed in with a highly contagious gastroenteritis aged 6(Rota virus), and when dad showed all the symptoms of a brain tumour days before a holiday in Canada.

My experiences haven’t all been positive – particularly some of my own surgeries over the years – and I am now classed as chronically ill and at the mercy of our health service.  I been on the receiving end of some dire care and have also had some fantastic care too (Medical professional to Professional Patient). But I do appreciate how far the NHS has come over the years, the technological & pharmaceutical advances that have been made, and the public interest in health.  I have been inspired by some wonderful people over the years – Dr Joe Ford,  a pioneer of breast cancer treatment in the 70s and wonderful teacher & colleague in palliative care: the staff nurse who cared for my great grandmother – she suggested to me, aged 17, that I had the makings of a good nurse; Julia Fabricius our nurse tutor; Paul Reeves, Charge Nurse at the Middlesex hospital who believed in me after my first back surgery and his friend Karen Aubrey who became my first ward Sister at Charing Cross Hospital and a great mentor;  Geoff, my physiotherapist who worked with me as we both learnt about my condition; my pal Caroline who became a staff nurse on the first teen cancer ward in London – we laughed when she left our flat in her stripy leggings and purple Dr Martens boots as they didn’t wear uniform; and wonderful Cathryn, also in my set, who having fought for her registration now helps other nurses who face unfair dismissal or have been made scape goats.  This list could honestly go on and on…..but must include everyone in my set, March ’88!

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The National Health Service is a sum of all its parts – at times it is brilliant, other times it fails; there are the cutting edge treatments and the failing, understaffed departments.  But today it turned 70 and there are some fantastic people who still strive to deliver health care for all, from cradle to grave, free to all; people who over the years have made it the institution, for better or for worse, that it is today – Happy Birthday!

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This Zebra becomes a Film Star!! #EDSAwarenessMonth #EDS

OK not quite a film star!  I might have mislead you slightly in the title, but I hope it got your attention.  Hollywood is not calling any day soon, and I don’t think the beautiful girl is destined for a career directing or behind the camera, but we did laugh whilst doing our bit for “We Are Zebra Strong”!  I tried very hard to involve the younger zebras from the PainPals house, but when I suggested appearing in front of the camera the response was along the lines of “in your dreams”!

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We are nearing the end of Ehlers Danlos Awareness month – and awareness month for many other chronic illnesses – but for those of us living with these bedfellows the awareness is a daily reality, not just a month rolling around annually.

Chronically Jenni has once again put together some videos sharing lives of fellow zebras – in fact she had so much material this year that she made 5 Youtube features.  If you watch closely you might find yours truly in the mix!

 

 

 

 

 

Please take a look – bookmark for later – share with friends and family.  Just getting the name out there raises awareness for us!  Details of fellow zebras can be found on Jenni’s channel.

Find Jenni here:

Youtube

Instagram

Twitter

Blog: https://chronicallyjenni.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/chronic-illness-weekly/

Facebook

Thank you for watching!

 

It is #RareDiseaseDay – this is a great post written by Sarah on My Stripy Life

Today is Rare Disease and I have a wonderful piece for you to read about my own rare disease….I wish I had written it but another UK Zebra friend & mum, Sarah, is the author! Enjoy!

1 in 12 million

 

I’m not going to dwell on the detailed science involved with EDS and CMT, the genetics behind the conditions so to speak.  I may get into that all in a bit more detail at a later date.  I will try to explain what it means to live with them each day.  Why I might look fine one day and not the next.

CMT is genetic, it has been passed to me from my mum.  We were unaware it was in our family until I was diagnosed after complications having my first baby.  It is thought that around 23,000 people in the UK are affected.  I have a 50% chance of passing it on to my children.  I have three children now, our youngest had a positive diagnosis just before her second birthday, one of the boys has a negative result and one hasn’t been tested.

CMT affects the nerves in your peripheries, your arms and legs.  Our body’s system of nerves is similar to a network of electrical wires………continued

My EDS diagnosis came later, 10 years later.

At first we thought that CMT explained everything in our families weird and vast medical history but as time went on gaps showed.  Rubie blessed our lives with her beautiful smile and the skills of a contortionist and we started to want answers to all of our unanswered questions.  It was recommended that I see the amazing professor Rodney Grahame before my foot surgeon would consider surgery, at this point I had been reading his books to gain answers to Rubie’s gross hypermobility.  After an hour and a half’s consultation I now had a shiny new badge to wear.  The missing pieces of our puzzle now slotted into place.

EDS is the term given to a whole collection of inherited conditions that fit into a larger group known as hereditary disorders of connective tissue. Connective tissues provide support in skin, tendons, ligaments and bones, it is the glue that holds the body together.  There are several different, distinct types of EDS, but they have some features in common, loose joints, stretchy skin and tissue fragility. I have Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The exact cause of HEDS is unknown. The features suggest that there is a problem with connective tissues and possibly collagen. The condition appears to be inherited which suggests that there is a genetic cause. It is likely that there is an alteration in a gene, or several genes, containing the instructions for making connective tissue. This results in the connective tissue being less effective.

It leaves me with joint hypermobility, my joints having a wider range of movement than usual, they are loose and unstable, can dislocate and subluxate.  I sublux my joints daily, this week cutting a slice of cheese I popped out my wrist and couldn’t lay on my back in bed or one of my shoulder blades would sublux.  In my 20’s I would dislocate my knees on a daily basis with minimal trauma, walking into Regal’s on a Saturday night or turning over in bed.  I had major knee surgery to realign things and tighten ligaments so it happens less now than before but is gradually becoming more of an issue again.  As my joints are less stable they are prone to sprains and strains……” continued

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This is just a small part of Sarah’s post and I would really like you to visit her as this is my story too…well at least the EDS parts including the daily dislocations, dysautonomia, pain, gut problems and in our family neck issues with recurrent migraines.  All 3 of my kids have symptoms too, with the boys both experiencing dislocations of the knees in early teens, one has bizarre stretch marks on his back whilst the other has mild pectus excavatum (deformity of sternum), and one has severe migraines & I suspect a Chiari malformation.  The lovely girl has chronic pain (which she deems not too bad although it is daily), dislocations and difficulty holding a pen.  All three have poor proprioception (are clumsy), have snow vision on standing (dysautonomia) and anxiety…..

Find Sarah’ complete post here : One in 12 Million 

Be sure to watch her wonderful kids’ film here: https://youtu.be/rTtcT5qaiZw

Why Me? Well Why Not me? A Trip in the Tardis won’t be Changing my Lot!

Today I finished reading a science fiction book that has got me thinking – not my usual cup of tea but I have been asked to review it, so that will be coming!  Anyway the premise of the story was of life taking different turns and thus different timelines – the what if? or sliding doors scenario.  The main character finds himself with 3 different versions of himself due to time travel – the timelines all run from 1965 to 2016 and the world is a very different place in each one.  Which timeline is the correct one for the world? Is there such a thing as the “correct” one? How can one minute action change the whole future of the world? If we were all given different life timelines would it be possible to always make the right choices?

Life is full of uncertainties and every day is full of actions that will have consequences. How many times have you wondered after an event “what would have happened if I’d gone left rather than right?” It made me think about a recent conversation where a mother was saying that her poor teen child was always the one that things went wrong for, had the worst health problems, and suggested everyone around them should be sympathetic.  She said “When my teen gets upset and asks why does it always happen to me, I agree that it isn’t fair.”

Why Me

But is this the right way to answer?  Is Mum allowing the teen to always put the blame for every situation on to someone else? It may be better to stand up straight, shoulders back and tell the world “well I don’t like what has been handed to me, but I’m going to damned well get on with it”.  Over the years a powerful message that I learnt from so many patients was the “Well why NOT me mentality?”.  As you all know I can apply this to my health – I don’t have a fatal condition (neither does the teen!), but it is tricky to live with and I find it hard to think I may be like this for another 40 years.  I wonder if I hadn’t taken up rowing aged 12, or if I hadn’t become a nurse, or if I hadn’t fallen down the stairs in my second pregnancy and hurt my back again (hmmm….might answer some of the questions about son number 2!!), or hadn’t had a third pregnancy, or had genetic testing, or, or, or…..there could be so many different timelines if only something had been done differently.

But what a waste of energy.  The past can’t be changed and sadly I don’t yet have a time machine…..and even if Dr Who did offer me a spin in the Tardis, how much would it change?  Not my genetic condition…..I could think “Why me?”, but actually the bigger question is “Why not me?”.  When a close friend died aged 37 from breast cancer, I did ask “Why her?”…….but then look out the window and it could be anyone’s mother, father, brother, sister, friend couldn’t it?  If I could change our family timeline I would want to ensure that my kids hadn’t inherited EDS and that nothing bad would ever happen – but I can’t do that, so my job is to ensure that they accept it, live life to the full and for the moment.  If problems arise – the politics student’s migraines, the lovely girl’s dislocations and pain – then we will deal with them…..but by shouting “why me? it’s not fair….” is not going to help.

So, back to my novel – the main character found that every time the scientist invented a new machine, he also invented the “accident” of that machine; every time he was sent back to try to alter the timeline/revert to the original timeline, his actions would have a knock on effect….with unforeseen consequences.  I think I am actually starting to sound like my old physics teacher – for every action there is an equal and opposite action – or something like that!  So I guess for me and the teen, it means we have to get up, not dwell on the bad bits (sometimes easier said than done) and get on with the good bits.  But this is only one old crone’s ramblings!

Although if I’d had that time machine and could have made it so that I could join in at the SHS Burn’s night dancing last night…..equally I think hubby, Duncan, would be turning his back so that he wasn’t swept up to do the Gay Gordons!!

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Burns Night Celebration – picture from SHS Association

Have a great weekend!

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

A week into the new year, the decorations are down, the Christmas tree is looking forlorn on the back lawn and the kids back to school.  Well in our case nearly…..the lovely girl returns tomorrow, the middle child returns to university next weekend and the student engineer returned today, just as the UK train strikes started up.

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Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You!

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Our house has been a mad frenzy of coursework this last week – 2 projects for the final year of Engineering involving analysing the use of Boris bikes in London and Deep Learning (whatever that may be!); the lovely girl has been finishing her sketch books and final piece for her art, although any visitors would have thought she was decorating the lounge!!  The title of her works – “I, Me, Mine” and “Blood, Flesh, Bones” – so she has focused on our genetic Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  I have spent some time modelling for her photographs and I wish I could report that they are super glam….but they are not!!!  Instead she wanted close ups of my body parts which looked the most veiny – charming.

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My Elbow!

Hubby managed the delayed visit to his parents, and whilst he was away I enjoyed reading and sharing a huge variety of blog posts.  This is just a small assortment varying from favourite books, to beauty products to a yummy recipe for dairy free ice cream.  Two that really stand out, and are poles apart, are Tania’s about her need for a Smartdrive for her wheelchair (I am slightly biased as we share the same condition) and The Bryntin Project’s plea to us all to realise the harm our birthday balloons are doing.

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So grab a cuppa and take a break whilst you dive into some fab blog reads.  Please comment, like and share!

http://www.whentaniatalks.com/fundraising-for-a-smartdrive/

https://croneconfidence.com/2018/01/06/first-world-blessings-2/

https://www.themerrymomma.com/2018/01/top-10-favorite-books-2017/

http://countingmyspoons.com/2018/01/ten-tips-combating-chronic-pain-winter/

http://chronicallyhopeful.com/first-outing-5-months/

http://littlemissmelanie.com/2018/01/07/favourite-beauty-products-of-2017/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=favourite-beauty-products-of-2017

http://www.makeitbakeitfakeit.com/2018/01/the-most-amazing-dairy-free-mango-ice.html

http://www.corter.co/2018/01/the-way-ill-slay-in-2018.html

https://brainsandbodiesblog.com/2017/11/10/5-ways-to-have-a-productive-day-with-a-chronic-illness/

https://thebryntinproject.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/birthday-littering/

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

I Am Here

I am here,

Do you still see me?

My heart is beating

Within my broken shell.

A mind is playing

The words of a lifetime

The will is surviving

To write a legacy well.SONY DSC

 

Am I succeeding?

Am I still growing?

In spite of a body

That creaks with pain.

My mind is creating

My will is still flowing

To harness experience

For a generation to gain.

 

I may be unseen

Not always present,

 

But can you still see me?

Here I remain.

 

Claire Saul

School Runs and Shopping Trolleys

My Monday Motivation to remind myself and others that no matter what, I can still make a difference!

Nobody said it would be easy – cake, life and curveballs

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Tonight is the 3rd birthday for The Book Club on Facebook – a fantastic group that I belong to full of authors, reviewers and readers.  Basically book people.  Yours truly has been making the birthday cake over the last few days and with a shoulder slipping in and out of socket it has been no easy task!

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Of course I have been too ambitious and I always start with an image of the finished cake, and then am disappointed in my results.  This has taken me longer not just due to my lack of a right arm – yes, I am right handed – but also down to the design and needing to let it harden in phases.  More of that later.  It has made me draw parallels with expectations of everyday life – don’t worry I’m not going to get too deep here.

But how often do we set out with expectations of how an area of life will turn out only to be disappointed.  So many people talk about their life plans from university to careers to marriage to children etc, etc.  But life has this habit of throwing in a few surprises and curve balls along the way doesn’t it? Isn’t this true for everyone?

Life with illness – be it chronic, acute, mental or physical – is something few of us can anticipate and much less embrace.  When I set off to nursing college as an eager 18 year old, I never dreamed that life would turn out like it has.  But then I guess it is a good thing because with each setback it is so important to be able to get back up, brush yourself off and continue.  If I had known when I had major back surgery at 21 that by 38 I would be heading for medical retirement, I might not have tried so hard to get myself back on my feet and back to work.  I loved those years nursing and I think that I was a pretty good nurse.  If I had known my genetic diagnosis – Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – and all that it covers aged in my teens, I might not taken up rowing and then gone on to nursing – probably the worst things I could have done but great experiences.

But then some of the curve balls can be pleasant surprises.  For me probably the biggest surprise was falling pregnant when I had been told I would never conceive naturally.  The tiredness, anaemia and nausea/sickness turned into a pregnancy when my GP carried out a PAP smear and informed my cervix was blue – a classic sign of a 13 week pregnancy apparently!  I was taking HRT and had gone for a check up ahead of a new job – but came out as a mummy.  A huge curve ball, not in the game plan but fantastic (although I wasn’t saying that half an hour ago when said babe, 21 years on, created havoc in the kitchen with a pot of pasta on the stove!).

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The surprise. aged 4 weeks….now a cover board on Pinterest!

I suppose what I am getting at is the importance to strive hard but also to accept that not everything will go exactly to plan…..and this is ok.  For me I’ve been thinking about the periods of needing to let my cake set before I can continue with it – living with chronic illness has these periods when fatigue hits and symptoms flare equalling a need to rest and pace.  Wait for the cake to set!  Don’t rush it, don’t take short cuts because there will be some sort of pay back.  In my experience this is life – illness or not.

So back to the cake….it is for a book club, so clever clogs here decided to make a stack of books.  The individual books were made – one chocolate, one Victoria sponge and one lemon – and then the icing covers started.  This is where the patience and waiting was required and I’m not good at this part!  Then last night came the final assembly of the three tier cake to form a stack of books……it wasn’t completely straight forward, there have been a couple of corners broken, some scaffolding was required and this morning some patch were required to plaster a few stress fractures.  The result is a stack of books that are not altogether straight and definitely look like they have been well loved if a little dog eared.  Not so different to life, I’d say – starting with high expectations (nothing wrong with that and I am not saying they should be lowered), hitting a few bumps along the way, the odd curve ball and maybe the finished product not quite as expected, but nevertheless created and to be made the best of.  Not always easy to do or accept, but as the infamous anonymous quote says “Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it..”

Will let you know if this holds for the cake when it is tasted, as for comparisons with life….what do you think?

Nobody said....

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#Blog Tour – How I Motivated Myself to Succeed by Shelley Wilson

Dream It, Live It, Become It

Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given an ARC by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Tour Banner for Shelley Wilson HIMMTS

I first met Shelley Wilson through the blogger community online and was soon following her on Twitter and her blog.  We also belong to a great Facebook group of bloggers who support and promote each other.  Now I must be honest and tell you that I haven’t read Shelley’s first book – yet – “How I Changed My Life in a Year”, but I do know that it was the precursor to this book and that she does refer to it throughout as one book describes the other.  So to put it simply we have “How I motivated myself to Succeed” in my challenge of “How I Changed My Life in a Year”.

Normally I would give a self-help book a wide berth, but I was intrigued by the concept of “How I Motivated Myself to Succeed” and wondered how it could apply to me.  My regular readers will know that my life has changed drastically due to health issues, and as a result I have started to write and connect with the chronic illness community.  I wondered if Shelley’s approach to motivation and success could be translated to something positive for those who are facing huge and often negative health issues.Motivation

This book is easy to read.  There are no difficult words, trendy psychobabble phrases or deep psychological discussions to dissect.  It really does do what it says on the tin – that is to describe Shelley’s personal journey to motivate herself to succeed.  I love the fact that she describes, in brutally honest detail, every little factor affecting her setting and then achieving her goals.  She describes how she learns – as a visual learner – and how preparing vision boards helps her to figure out what it is she wants to achieve.  But Shelley is not prescriptive in her approach and suggests that the reader may find other tools more helpful – she recognises that one size does not fit all.

Many of you will already be familiar with the use of acronyms in the workplace to motivate individuals, or within team building exercises or at a strategic planning level.  Shelley incorporates several acronyms – such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) DAD(Decision Action Determination) – along the way but does so in a very familiar and easy format that explains exactly how they can be used by ordinary people in day to day life.  I think that this is what I like most about Shelley’s book and her style of writing – she explains exactly how she personally set goals, undertook tasks and arranged her life to achieve her goals.  Now these goals may have included a mammoth one of writing a book, but equally she includes writing a meal plan for her family and encouraging her teens to tick of items on the household task list!

Shelley is a single mum who has run a holistic health business, but has also experienced her own major health problems which forced her to close her business.  I felt immediately drawn to this normal woman, living an ordinary life and I can identify with her.  Her descriptions of home and the teens made me laugh out loud – this lady knows how I live. If I can recognise myself and my friends in this writer, then I can definitely identify with her writing and her suggestions.

As someone who has been disabled with health problems, I accept that I am not going to set a goal to storm the workplace and become a tycoon as my body physically will not allow this.  But Shelley’s frank discussion about organisation, self-care and changing habits can be easily utilised by someone like me to both make the best of my situation, and to realise that I can still achieve something and flourish.  I love her section on decluttering – this covers both mind, surroundings (in my case home) and social media.  She writes about decluttering your Facebook & Twitter….it would never have occurred to me.

Whilst Shelley has written parts of this book with the twelve months from her first book in mind, and thus sets challenges across the year, she stresses, and I believe, that it is possible to use some of the tools over a shorter timescale or indeed for the longer term.  We talk about “pacing” in the chronic illness community and being “short on spoons”, and the second half of this book has so many good suggestions to plan and incorporate these needs with the goal to a success beyond our illness/limitations.  This might be writing a blog, visiting a friend or running an on line shop.

So before my review for this Blog Tour turns into a book, my conclusions!  If you are interested in reading a down to earth, personal experience of motivation and goal setting in order to succeed and achieve – then this is the book for you.  Nothing fancy, no psychobabble, pure sensible advice that we ordinary folk can use to flourish.

A fantastic four stars – please read Shelley’s guest post below!

Book review & blog tour

 

Guest Post From the Author, Shelley Wilson (@ShelleyWilson72) #BlogTour

 When my wonderful host, Claire, offered a spot on her blog for my book tour I was delighted. I’m ashamed to say that after writing a series of guest posts (seventeen in total!) my typing fingers are beginning to look like gnarled claws! Before they give out on my completely I wanted to take this opportunity to find just the right excerpt from my new release for Claire’s audience. I hope you like it.

 

Taken from How I Motivated Myself to Succeed:

When I began running my Motivate Me workshops, I used to leave a handout on all the chairs for the attendees to take away with them. It was my interpretation of motivation. I’d like to share this with you in the hope it resonates with what you are planning for yourself.

M = Mindfulness

O = Optimism

T = Trusting in the Process

I = Inner Wisdom

V = Validation

A = Activating Your Dreams

T = Thinking Outside the Box

E = Empowering Yourself

 

M is for being mindful and learning to be in the now. Slowing down and becoming aware of what your mind/body is telling you enables you to discover new opportunities and experiences. Try a five-minute meditation every morning or night.

O is for optimism. Start to look at your life through the eyes of a child, with innocence. See the simple things that can make a profound difference to your day/week/month, such as a smile, holding a door open, or paying someone a compliment. All these acts add to our well of optimism.

T is for trust. I’m not a life coach or a neuroscientist; I’m a single mum who turned her life around when she hit rock bottom. I had to trust that the lessons I’d learned were there for a reason. I believed that the universe could deliver, and more importantly, I began to trust myself that I could survive, make changes, and be the person I wanted to be.

I is for inner wisdom. You have the ability to change bad habits, to find happiness, and to love who you are. Sometimes you may forget that your inner wisdom exists. It’s always there, just beneath the surface, and it’s ready to provide you with the answers you long for. Using oracle cards can be the perfect way to tap into your inner wisdom.

V is for validation. For every issue you face, or problem you think you can’t handle, there are a hundred other women/men who have been through this and have come out at the other end. You can use their wisdom and experiences as a case study. Let those who have walked this path before you be a mentor, or join a support network, or social networking group. These are all ways to validate that you can get through anything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You are not alone.

A is for activating your dreams. These are the action points you take to make things happen. By taking that first step, you begin a chain reaction that pulls your dream towards you and activates those wishes into becoming a reality. Without this stage you become stuck.

T is for thinking outside the box. Learning to change the way you think can have a profound impact on your life. When you are worried about an issue, stop for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of someone you admire, a strong person who never seems to be fazed by anything – what would they do? Come at your problems and fears from an alternative direction.

E is for empowerment. In today’s society, you have the opportunity to sign up to be a part of powerful social communities both online and in real life. A group of friends with similar interests and beliefs can be invaluable. At home, you may be part of a networking group or a slimming club; perhaps you’re a member of the Women’s Institute, a book club, or a regular coffee morning event. All of these groups empower you. Being around like-minded people, meeting new friends, and sharing that positive energy will feed your motivation to succeed, and will grow your desire to be the best you can be.

If we think about our resolutions, goals, or projects as one big jigsaw, then by collecting all the pieces and slotting them together we achieve success.

This was the final spot on my blog tour for How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, available now in paperback and eBook. Huge thanks to Claire, for allowing me to invade her beautiful blog and share the book love. I hope you enjoyed a brief glimpse into my book world.

 

If you would like to read more then take a look at her new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, out now in paperback and eBook, and packed full of information on self-care, freeing yourself from fear, organising your life, and much more.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Find out more about Shelley on her author blog www.shelleywilsonauthor.com or via her personal development blog http://www.motivatemenow.co.uk.

 

She is also on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram

 

Author Bio:

SONY DSCShelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s-not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog (www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash in 2016, and to scoop second place in the same category in 2017. She is a single mum to three teenagers and a black cat, loves pizza, vampires, and The Walking Dead, and has a slight obsession with list writing.

 

What are Dysautonomia and POTS?

Hannah on Sunshine and Spoons blog has written this post about Dysautonomia and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).

She recently did a straw poll on a facebook group that we belong to and very few people had any idea what this medical term means.  I knew because I have it…..but had never come across the term in my own medical career.  Some of you will have read how my symptoms have been particularly bad recently, but I am now able to stand upright again!!

Please read the whole piece and share in order to help us spread awareness!

What are Dysautonomia and POTS?

What are Dysautonomia and POTS-

Did you know that October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month?

Let me back that up a little….do you know what dysautonomia is?

If you said no, you’re not alone.  Most people have never even heard of it.  I didn’t know what it was either until I was diagnosed with it.  I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS which is one of the autonomic disorders that falls under the umbrella term of dysautonomia.  Other types include Neurocardiogenic Syncope or NCS and Multiple System Atrophy or MSA.

Despite the fact that many people have never heard of dysautonomia, it’s not rare.  It’s estimated that over 70 million people around the world have it in one form or another.  Often, it’s a secondary condition to another disease or disorder such as diabetes, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Celiac Disease, arthritis, and more   The most severe cases can result in death.

What is POTS?
Your autonomic nervous system regulates different functions throughout your body such as your heart, digestion, temperature, blood pressure, etc.  People with an autonomic disorder such as POTS have issues regulating those things.

 

To read the whole post visit Sunshine and Spoons 

You will also find great links to Hannah’s Sunshine and Spoons Shop

POTSWarrior5

 

Fainting for my Motability Chariot

Fainting in the car showroom wasn’t something that I had thought would be a part of my week!  We had a phone call to say that my Motability car would be arriving and it has felt like the whole process has happened so fast.  Not so long ago I was still convinced that I would be deemed too “fit” to qualify.Fainting for my Motability Chariot (2)

 

It is a shame really that the “passing out” wasn’t due to excitement, but rather a POTSIE dysautonomic response!  My symptoms are always worse in the morning from the time I get up to mid morning – my cardiologist said having laid down all night (sometimes) the body is then put under immense stress from gravity and “baggy” blood vessels to keep circulating oxygenated blood to the whole body on standing. So the system concentrates on the major organs in the abdomen, blood rushes down away from the head, pools in the hands & feet – and I feel extremely dizzy or faint. Yes, out cold! So a 9.30 appointment was never going to be great – but add in stormy weather, bright fluorescent lighting and a hot showroom and Bingo! you have the makings of a “dysautonomic nervous system” episode. Sounds grander than it feels!!

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Image from a range of products available at http://stickmancommunications.co.uk/

Anyway, the salesman came back to his desk to find me with my head back, shoes off, feet up, grey and clammy. Not my best look…..but precisely the reason that I have been awarded the enhanced rate benefit. Of course add in the dislocations, pain etc…..all adds up to me getting a brand new car and not being able to drive it! So disappointing. My mum and hubby are the named drivers on the inclusive insurance – no, the student engineer isn’t old enough, much to his disgust – and I I grudgingly accept that passing out behind the wheel or pulling an arm out of socket whilst turning the steering wheel, probably isn’t the safest way to get from A to B.

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Grey really is not my best look! Post faint…

Busman’s holiday for hubby taking a car handover and the student engineer had the bluetooth wireless phone/stereo system programmed before we had even started the engine….great except he has no understanding of why I can’t pick it up in the same “on the spectrum” way that he does.  The ride feels smoother and hopefully this will be a huge benefit for my back pain, but I haven’t been well enough to go back in it this week.  Female hormones always exacerbate my symptoms and I have had several days when I have been unable to sit upright – another post for another time!  But I’m upright today and so writing a very speedy post having missed out all week.

Car

My Chariot!

Thank you Motability for a fantastic scheme that has allowed me to have a car to house me – comfortably I hope – my wheelchair, shopping and a dog!