Books, Reviews and Finding a New Purpose through Chronic Illness

When a person loses their “raison d’etre”, what do they become? Blood and bone and tissues.

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I have just watched a young athlete win her heat in the European championships with an enormous Personal Best and the delight on her face, in her body language, in her voice were infectious and special.  The training and the hard work that she has put her body and mind through over weeks, months and years is paying off today.

The thing that drives each and every one of us to get out of bed in the morning will be individual and change at different times of our lives.  Dreams and aspirations aged 20 will alter, expectations change with life experience and maturity.  But what happens when that reason for being feels like it is “stolen’ away by chronic health issues?

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Personally I found that something that affected me greatly was medication.  The combination of strong anti convulsant drugs combined with opiates used for nerve pain combined with a night time drug usually used in severe depressive disorders, at times created side effects that were as difficult to cope with as the chronic pain for which they had been prescribed.  The combination of pain, sleep deprivation, brain fog and inability to concentrate just felt like a recurring cycle –  a domino effect as one thing caused another caused another in ever decreasing circles.  I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and the antidepressant drug, mirtazepine, left me unable to function in the mornings – my kids, the younger two at primary school then, would have to physically get me out of bed and then I would drift off into semiconsciousness sitting on the loo.  I could hear them talking to me but I just couldn’t open my eyes.

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Photo by Harman Abiwardani on Pexels.com

Slowly but surely it felt as if the ordinary things in life were being stripped away, including my lifelong passion for reading.  I have always had a book or two on the go, and no matter how late is is, I always have to read at least a couple of pages before turning the light out to sleep.  Over a period of a couple of years I found my ability to read a book diminished – despite being awake until the early hours night in, night out, I was unable to complete a book as I read the same page over and over.  What the heck was happening to my brain?  A friend bought me a magazine subscription for my birthday and I couldn’t even manage to read a whole article.  But my pain was so severe and uncontrolled that my inability to read was the least of my problems, as some days I couldn’t imagine living another week like this let alone another 40 year years.

When joining the pain programme at St Thomas’s hospital (London), before I had my spinal cord stimulator trial, I had to agree to reduce my oxycontin (oxycodone – double strength synthetic morphine) with a view to coming off it entirely.  I have written about the current opinions re use of opiates and chronic nerve pain before and about my “withdrawal” – that is not what I want to concentrate on here.  My opiate dose reduced over a period of time and gradually my sleep improved along with my concentration.  How is it possible that my sleep got better with no pain relief (I cannot have my scs turned on at night)? I had not realised just how huge an effect the drugs were having on my sleep and general well being – and not a good one!

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Gradually my brain has allowed me to start reading again and to finish a book or an article.  I found a local book club that meets monthly in the pub and we read any genre as long as it is a recent publication, so that no one has already read it – no issues to be had with discussing someone’s all time favourite!  I love the fact that we don’t take our discussions too seriously and I have met some lovely new friends.  My love of books led me to some social media book groups and it was here that I discovered the world of reviewing.

The fact that authors and publishers are generous enough to share their new pieces of work with an amateur reviewer like me feels amazing.  I have discovered the joy of receiving an advanced copy (ARC) of a new piece of writing and being one of the first people to read it.  Books have always been a part of my home and as a bit of a puritan, I would only ever read an actual book – I like the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of new paper and the beauty of a new cover and uncracked spine.  But……becoming a book reviewer has converted me to a Kindle user.  Don’t get me wrong – nothing competes with a brand new book or a well thumbed favourite classic – but I do appreciate having so many books available in one place and as my ability to hold a book has worsened, the ease and weight of a Kindle is perfect, particularly when lying down!

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I know that authors are grateful to the band of book reviewers that are out here in the blogosphere, on goodreads and Amazon.  We help to get their titles out in the public domain.  For me though, I have so many reasons to feel grateful to these wonderful authors, publishers and social groups as becoming a reviewer has given me back a role and with it a sense of worth.  The first time that I saw my name on a banner for a blog tour, I knew that I could still make a difference.  I might not be able to hold down a job due to my chronic conditions and the unpredictability of my symptoms – but this is something I can do!

There still are days when I am unable to read, and others when I might have read the book but brain fog stops me from getting a review from my head onto paper.  I have had times when I will know that a deadline is looming and the stress of being unable to write will increase my symptoms, thus starting a vicious circle.  But I appreciate that I have been gifted someone’s work, something precious to them that they have poured their heart and soul into.  I am entrusted to care for it and I will always do this.  There may be times when I struggle to get a review written, literally when I have dislocations, but I will always read a book sent to me and give a fair, honest review.  In school many years ago, I was taught how to write a book review and I have never quite been able to shake off my old teacher’s instructions – some of you will know that this means my book reviews can be a bit long.  But if I have been given an author’s “baby” the very least that I can do is spend the time to give it due care in my review.

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Reading and writing has given me a new purpose.  It can never take the place of my lost life, but it can sit alongside it and over time reviewing has become an important motivator for me.  I am reading a huge variety of genres, some that I would never have chosen myself and thoroughly enjoying expanding my horizons.  I have discovered audio books and use these to help motivate me when doing physio and exercise plans – I can be often be found pacing my neighbours’ treadmill whilst listening to a thriller!  It isn’t easy to do the necessary exercise to keep conditioned when everything hurts, but a good drama or mystery certainly helps to distract from pain and dodgy joints.

 

At times living with a chronic illness can roll one day into another into another,  but amidst the fatigue, pain and failing body, I believe that it is important to have a reason to get out of bed and keep the brain “moving”.  For me reading and reviewing has given me a new “raison d’etre” – something to keep my brain working, to feel some pride in and to appreciate my self worth.

TBC

 

Thankyou to The Book Club on FacebookTracy Fenton, Netgalley, Love Books GroupKelly, Justine Sha at St Martin’s Press and the many authors and publishers who have entrusted me with their work.

Book bloggers

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WEGO Health Awards – I have been nominated in two categories! #WEGOHealthAwards

2018-Awards-46This week I have been surprised and a little overwhelmed to find that I have been nominated in 2 categories for the WEGO Health Awards!

These awards are particularly special as nominees are described as a “Patient Leader” and “Advocate” – and I find myself mentioned alongside some Health blogging royalty.  A huge honour and very exciting.

“WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of patient leaders. They are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Click here to learn more about their Patient Leader Network. The WEGO Health Awards were created to celebrate those who tirelessly support the mission of WEGO Health: to empower the patient voice. With 16 award categories, the WEGO Health Awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms, that recognize the over 100 thousand inspiring Patient Leaders who raise awareness, share information, and support their communities – but often without recognition.”

WEGO nomination

When I was first medically retired, I found the amazing world of bloggers and completely unexpected online support from those who had been through similar health experiences.  Strangers who understood – I was bowled over that so many were happy to share experiences & lend an ear, but also to how many are living everyday with a variety of health conditions.  This is what inspired me to start PainPals – if I can offer some support as well as take it, give friendship as well as make it and offer some words (I stop short of saying wisdom) and humour about living with a family and chronic illness – then I am happy!

From the blog has come working with the disability organisation Scope, and I have been so pleased to be able to be the online Chronic Pain Advisor – even though my own flares have kept me away at times.

So here I am, nearly 3 years on from my spinal cord stimulator implant and so nearly 3 years on from starting this blog.  I find writing therapeutic on so many levels and find myself nominated for “Best Kept Secret” and “Best in Show:Blog” – thank you so much!

If….you would be happy to have a look at my Nominee Profile and endorse me, that would be fantastic. Take a look at some of the other great nominees too!

Endorse me here: 

 

 

 

Be the Best Version of Yourself

I’m in the midst of a flare.

More specifically the pain from nerve root damage in my back is uncontrolled.  Driving me insane! Those of you who have been Pals for some time will know that this pain is usually tamed by my spinal cord stimulator – an implant that scrambles the pain signals to my brain – but this week there is a battle going on between my body, the stimulator and my head…..physical, psychological and emotional.  The heat and humidity is ensuring that the other pains in my joints and soft tissues are also flaring and my autonomic nervous system has frankly gone haywire.

The changes in air pressure and temperature have always affected the metal skeleton that bolts the bottom of my bony spine together.  This spinal fusion currently hurts – it hurts at the immediate vertebra level above the fusion (my EDS means the spine overextends even more due to the bones below being fixed); it hurts in the bones that have been cemented and screwed together with titanium nuts and bolts; it hurts in the surrounding muscles and soft tissues trying to hold the whole lot together.  In fact as it starts to feel more stormy, I am certain that the titanium is about to break loose and rip through my skin, which feels like it is stretched tighter than a drum.

 

 

 

I feel that I should at least be able to use this time and be useful. Write, read, catch up – but the symptoms have a way of robbing that time and creating a thick pea souper of brain fog and fatigue.  Concentration is poor and I seem to spend periods of time lying on the floor, unable to do anything – this post is taking hours to write.

I am irritable, stroppy, snapping at the family.  My patience level is zero.

I feel that I let myself and others down as I crawl between the sofa and the floor and bed.  I know that staying still is the worst thing to do, but is is tricky to keep up that physical exercise that we are told we must do when in the thick of a flare.  There is so much advice out there for coping with flares and chronic pain, the majority well intended, but there is no one size fits all or one quick fix.  We are all different.

I have made this flare worse!  Wise? Probably not.  Worth it? Definitely!  Tuesday evening we attended Prize giving at the lovely girl’s school  – she protested that I didn’t need to go,  but I was determined I would see her mount the stage!  It was hot, there were performances, there were presentations to the year groups, there were presentations and words about every girl leaving the sixth form, there was the guest speaker’s speech.  Then there was yours truly sat in my wheelchair – slap bang in the middle of the front row!  A perk of needing more space to accommodate your wheels, but a definite disadvantage for quietly creeping out.  When the dodgy shoulder slipped out of socket and the neck and whole arm started to shake with spasm, I couldn’t even have a sneaky puff on my Medipen CBD vape – best birthday present ever!! (more of that in another post). Might have raised a few eyebrows!

It was tough sitting still for so long and I had the feeling that my head was too big and heavy for my neck to support – lollipop head, but the guest speaker, an old girl of the school, left a lasting impression.  Currently a senior figure in one of the “Big Four” accounting organisations, she spoke to the students about achieving their potential in whatever they chose to do – she said that whilst she knew she would never be saving lives, making significant discoveries or winning a peace prize, she had tried to be the best version of herself.

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“Be the best version of yourself” – isn’t this something worth striving for no matter our individual circumstances? I have been thinking this week that even with a chronic illness there still a best version of you and of me.  It may not be the same version from 20 years ago, and it sure as hell isn’t the best version that I had envisaged, but isn’t that true for everyone?  Circumstances change and so do we.  The 18 year olds who released balloons from the drinks reception after the ceremony have their lives ahead of them – exciting futures that will mould them and change them.

I won’t lie – the best version of me has not been a pretty sight nor one I particularly like this week! But it is something that I will strive for, and if my semi-adult kids can learn from this and try to be the best version of themselves, then I can be happy.

I’m in the midst of a flare – but it will end!

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Best version of yourself

 

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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.

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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!

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Here we are in the UK celebrating another bank holiday Monday, and in the south east the weather is glorious..AGAIN!  I can’t recall a time when both May bank holidays have been sunny – 2018 will be one to remember.

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

This week in the PainPals house exams have taken centre stage with the student engineer taking his final “Finals” exam – hooray – and the lovely girl sitting the bulk of her GCSEs.  There is just a group presentation to be given on Wednesday and then he has finished…4 years really have flown by!  Fingers crossed now that he gets the results he wants (and deserves).  The lovely girl is still revising, but feeling a lot less stressed and is creating a pile of books and notes ready for her bonfire at the end of exams!  Prime place is given to Mansfield Park which she hates with a vengeance.  Have I ever mentioned that Jane Austen is one of my favourites?  She keeps speaking to us in German though…this will continue as she plans to take German A level, but we haven’t got a clue what she is saying.  I am enjoying our latest German TV show though that we found on Amazon “You are Wanted” – she listens to the German whilst I read the subtitles.

Mum and the student engineer’s boyfriend (must find him a name, that is too long!!) celebrated their birthdays this week, on the same day, so we all enjoyed a night out at the local tapas restaurant.  I would love to share a picture with you, but the couple that I managed to take are truly awful and as my mother reads this, I really cannot publish them as she would never speak to me again!  The student engineer has planned a night out tonight (most unlike him) – and I can’t say any more in case his other half reads this before they get there. Stop typing, Claire..it is a surprise!!!!

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So what have I found for you in the blogging world this week?  It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that four letters have been huge this week – GDPR – and I have included one post that is really useful.  But there is also a little something to tickle your tastebuds for wine day, a lovely piece from Happiness and Food titled “Asphalt and a Leaf” and flamenco..yes, flamenco dancing complete with a video!  I love the last post that talks about the giving and receiving of traditional letters and cards, delivered by the postman.  I take part in a designer’s card swap within the We All Send Cards site (where my girl has designs for sale) – it is so lovely to open a card with a message just for me!

So sit down, maybe with a glass of something cold and refreshing on this lovely day, and enjoy some great blogger’s posts.

https://www.unfoldandbegin.com/how-a-beautiful-traveler-found-herself-at-school/

https://thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/hallo-burbach/

https://johnrieber.com/2018/05/25/its-national-wine-day-2018-toast-to-natures-magical-elixir/

https://www.london-unattached.com/uk-blogging-gdpr/

https://www.fromnicole.co.uk/blog/2018/5/26/stop-blaming-me-for-walking-away

https://croneconfidence.com/2018/05/24/the-best-contribution-you-could-ever-make/

https://www.happinessandfood.com/asphalt-and-a-leaf/

https://www.mostlyblogging.com/sites-like-stumbleupon-mix/

https://www.mecfsselfhelpguru.com/2018/05/me-cfs-flamenco-dancing-and-adaptation.html

https://www.graphic-organic.com/single-post/2017/12/18/Why-Traditional-Mail-Is-So-Important-In-The-Chronic-Illness-Community

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A card through the post made my day!

Please comment, like and share – make someone’s day!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Happy Monday, Pain Pals, and a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all in the USA.  I have just had a really busy weekend – that I plan to write about this week -and am struggling to sit upright today, so I’m not writing my normal preamble about life in the PainPals household. I’m not sure how much sense you would get out of me….

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! 14 may

 

So I will launch straight into the blogs that I have found for you….there is a wonderful life lessons post from 100 year olds, a letter to the person feeling suicidal, a letter from a mother to the child she carried but never met for Mother’s day and a practical post about moving your blog to wordpress.com.  I really need to sort this out myself!!  Finally I could not let the opportunity go by to slip another a zebra post for May – this book review is fantastic and I could not do better myself for the book that has become our family bible (no offence intended to anyone).

So sit back (I have a cuppa and slice of my Dad’s gluten free coffee birthday cake – made by mum!), relax and enjoy some fantastic bloggers’ writing.

https://www.mymeenalife.com/signs-need-new-rheumatologist/

https://writedownthemidddle.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/pointing-to-myself.html

https://illness-to-wellness.com/2018/05/10/whylive/

https://thepurplealmond.com/2017/03/02/life-lessons-from-100-plus-year-olds/

https://weeklydoseofsue.com/2018/05/13/gob-stopping-comebacks-for-nitwits/

https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/monday-memoir-unforgettable/

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/transfer-your-existing-domain-to-wordpress-com/

https://thisgirlsgotcurves.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/pathology/

https://wordsthroughthedarkness.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/mothers-day-2018/

https://scienceoveracuppa.com/2018/02/11/book-review-understanding-hypermobile-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorder/

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Please share these posts and leave some comments or likes – make a blogger very happy!

I look forward to writing you some more when the brain and body start to function…in sync!

Have a great week, Claire

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

I can’t believe that  another week has gone by and it is time for Monday magic again!  Have you finished your Easter chocolates yet?  There hasn’t been much eating for me this past week with 3 days of clear fluids and yet more bowel prep for a hospital investigation….third time lucky, hurray and thank god!!!  I had already decided that if my body hadn’t played ball this time, my mind was going to tell the doctors where the scope could be shoved…..Anyway this is a story for another spoonie post!!

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! (1)

I wrote a poem about my brain fog last week and it has played a long visit alongside its brother fatigue this weekend.  My balance has been seriously off kilter and as I went over backwards in the bathroom this morning, the lovely girl couldn’t stop laughing “You look like you’re doing the limbo Mum!”. She did catch me though, ha, ha, ha.  I have been reading a couple of your blogs about journals and bullet points – and decided I must start actually doing this.  Whilst I am up to date with my reading, writing my book reviews has been a bit more of a challenge and my dodgy mind has got the dates completely muddled.  Apologies authors – there will be reviews for everything I have promised.

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I’m not the only one in need of a journal plan….the lovely girl has devised a lovely revision plan but now she has to get down to actually doing the work, so far so good!  I don’t think the same can be said for her big brothers!!  Have I mentioned before that she is allowed to use a laptop to help with the hand and wrist pain from her Ehlers Danlos Syndrome? Hubby and I took a massive step last week when we allowed her to go a concert to see Declan Mckenna in North London with friends – and they made their own way home.  Conditions were put in place….”text when you leave” “call when you get to the overhead train” “let us know when you’re back”….if anything goes wrong, if the concert over runs, etc etc both your brothers are in London…..We sat here with hubby watching Twitter for the times of the support act finishing, when would young Declan go on stage…and we knew that the venue has an 11pm curfew.

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Image by Emma Swann on DIY Mag

Of course the girls were fine – she couldn’t text when they got out as they had to rush to get across London for the last train.  But as parents our hearts were in our mouths whilst we had to let go of our baby…..guess what the most surprising thing was?  Both her big brothers called home to check if we had heard from her….the student engineer at half past midnight!  They do care really….

But back to some blogs for you to check out this week….I couldn’t resist sharing one about Hotter shoes teaming up with Marie Curie cancer care & daffodils (as a MC nurse in a previous life!), and I have sent out for supplies for the no bake energy balls recipes.  For some really inspiring stories please read Debs World (her beautiful writing made me cry) and also the book review by Jazmin – Chessy Prout is a remarkable young lady who spoke out about her rape by a fellow pupil at school, the response of others about her and her strength of character.  I have also added a couple of extra posts today as I sit watching the Commonwealth Games.  These young ladies are both swimmers and have both won gold medals at these games, overcoming  huge personal obstacles on the way.  I have written about Siobhan Marie O’Connor here in the past and Sophie Pascoe is a great ambassador for parasports.

In case you mixed it – voting is now open for the Bloggers Bash Awards  so don’t forget to vote for your favourites.

Grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy!

https://www.vanityandmestyle.com/2018/04/hotter-shoes-supporting-marie-curie.html

http://allthatjazmin.com/reviews/chessy-prout-book-review/

https://debs-world.com/2018/04/08/what-ive-learnt-from-surviving-a-school-trip-that-went-terribly-wrong/

https://easymommylife.com/no-bake-energy-balls-recipes/

https://mummyhereandthere.co.uk/2018/03/30/why-you-should-try-counselling/

https://www.graphic-organic.com/single-post/2017/10/10/World-Mental-Health-Day

https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/time-rest-breath/

https://livingwithme.blog/2018/04/02/studying-in-the-spring/

https://mymedmusings.com/2018/04/08/im-good-my-body-not-so-much/

https://shannondianax.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/mental-health-and-hospitals-and-lifesaving-heart-surgery-and-british-heart-foundation-all-in-one-week-3/

http://www.thesportfeed.com/siobhan-marie-oconnor-swimming-with-ulcerative-colitis-nicola-kenton/

https://offthetracks.co.nz/sophie-pascoe-stroke-of-fate/

Please share these posts and show these great bloggers some love!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

Daily Prompt #Explore – My Brain Fog

How can I explain to you my brain fog, dear friend?

Come with me and explore the opiate shaped holes in my mind

Move inside my skull, around my head and explore

The maze of cotton wool corridors.

Think of what you have just left behind you,

Explore around the next corner,

And then turn back.

But the fog has enveloped that last thought

And we are lost,

To explore no more.

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Drawing by Lucy, Zebra Girl (wasc.uk/zebragirl)

 

Daily Prompt : #Explore 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So Which Ology is it Today? The Chronic Life!

 

The winter Paralympics starts this weekend and once again my jaw will be undoubtedly hitting the floor as these athletes put themselves through feats that no human body should be exposed to.  Do they not know that this poor old body has not yet recovered from the near misses of the “Big Air”, the flips and trips of the ski slopes and the drama of the UK ladies’ final Curling match at the Olympics?  There is only so much stress one old girl can cope with!!

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Which Ology

This has been another of those medical fortnights, doing the rounds of the hospitals and doctors.  I called on my very own “Dad cab” the other day and as we arrived at the hospital even he said “So which Ology are we seeing today?” to which the receptionist grinned and replied “If you’re seeing an Ology you’ll be OK”……it will only be the Brits amongst you of a certain age who will get this.  So just to make sure no one misses out here is the wonderful Beattie aka Maureen Lipman:

 

So where were we?  Visiting rheumatology on this occasion and the very nice consultant(wrote about him here!) who is still of the opinion that I’m managing my condition very well, but he will defer comments about care of the ever dislocating shoulder to the orthopaedic consultant – who I visit next week.  But he doesn’t have an Ology, so it might not go well!!

Then there was the visit to Gastroenter”ology” and a young man who introduced himself as Chris and told me his dad trained at the same hospital as me at about the same time. How to make a middle aged bird feel even better about herself – and I haven’t even hit the half century milestone yet!  Well Chris, actually a registrar, explained the results of the last camera which looked down my gut, and would now like to do another one from the opposite direction – oh joy!!  I have to admit to being pretty impressed though when he actually rang me yesterday to confirm that the latest armful of blood I gave shows that my anaemia is worsening….and then I had a call asking me to go in for said delightful procedure on Tuesday.  So yours truly is currently sitting waiting expectantly for a fed ex delivery – no not of flowers and chocs from my children….but for bowel prep from the hospital!!  I know that in the 24 hours before I will only be allowed clear fluids and I have it on good authority that white wine is allowed – when the said authority called his hospital to ask if he could imbibe, he was told it was the first time they had been asked that!

It comes to something when you find yourself discussing which hospital coffee shop serves the best coffee, as Dad and I were on our way home – or when the highlight of the week is a trip out to hospital.  I believe it is called the chronic life!  So now back to the Paralympics to be amazed by superhumans doing extraordinary things and I will continue to daydream of flying through the air on a snow board…..

snowboarder