Since my latest flare up began I’ve been taking extra care to make sure I acknowledge my accomplishments no matter how small each day and attempting to redefine my pacing parameters. This is a key tool for me to keep in mind at all time. Mainly as it enures I acknowledge my further limitations during a flare up and act accordingly, but also as it keeps me focused on the positives and prevents me getting tuck in a emotional rut which often occurs in flare ups.
I had a wonderful opportunity as part of my publishing internship yesterday to direct and film an interview with an author signed to the publishing house. It was a fantastic experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. However like all things it required spoons, and far more than I had anticipated. Despite my lack of spoon saving preparation I got through the day relatively intact and the repercussions didn’t kick in until today.
This is where I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds in handling life with chronic illnesses. I didn’t attempt to struggle through the pain today, or go to the other extreme and do nothing (although sometimes this is needed); instead I decided we would go about our day as planned but I would use my wheelchair the whole time, with baby snug in his sling against me, and Dame pushing me rather than me risking dislocating a joint or three by self propelling.
We only nipped out for a short while as avoiding over stimulation is key on days when I feel my health is on a downward kilter. So a relaxing jaunt to the local coffee house and then onto Waitrose was our plan. I was quite overjoyed to find a wheelchair friendly trolley. A rare treat, that has quiet made my day.
I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by, it feels like just the other month I was curled up writing my usual Happy Christmas blog post. Looking back at my blog posts from the last year it has been a rather hectic emotional roller-coaster. My blog was set up to raise awareness in 2012, but rather accidentally for me it developed into a rather useful therapeutic outlet. For you guys that means whilst I do post the happy stuff, the negative is slightly more frequent. This is simply because life is unpredictable and the good, bad and the ugly don’t come in equal measures.
So to help end the year on a positive spin here are just a handful of things that have kept me smiling this year that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t chronically ill.
January 2016 – After BBC 3 Counties found my Cosmo Articles and my blog I took part in a quick phone interview to discuss disabled dating and ‘The Undateables’. Having been approached by ‘The Undateables’ before I took advantage of this opportunity to express how labels such as the shows title really are not helpful when tackling social stigmas.
February 2016 – I was invited down to the BBC 3 Counties studio to participate in a valentine’s day segment on dating and disability. I was extremely nervous but the humour I manage to find in my conditions meant that I had several great stories to tell. It was a surreal experience that received great feedback and really boosted my confidence.
March 2016 – Finally I realised the importance of not apologising for being the way I am. My genetic makeup makes me who I am. So what if I am a bit of an oddball with misbehaving limbs? If you feel uncomfortable around me then take a look at yourself and your views first, because my genetic make-up isn’t something that can be fixed and I no longer feel like I have to apologise for it.
April 2016 – After waiting just over a year I finally was admitted to The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore for a 3 week inpatient pain management program. I’d been extremely nervous about this, and if I’m being honest didn’t see how they could help me short of waving a magic wand. 8 months later and I’m still putting my pacing lessons into practice (I slip up now and then but on the hole I manage much better), and I have a flare up plan that works!
May 2016 – this had been a hard month, between being assaulted and the Drs telling me they were pretty certain I had MS (turns out I don’t but that was a scary few weeks). I was pretty much at my lowest point here. Then at the end of May I was offered a preliminary contract with Britain’s Next Bestseller. Now sure I may not have reached publication due to not hitting the pre-order requirements but hell that was a confidence boost and a half. I had a publisher believing in my work and that’s good enough for me.
June 2016 – I was still being investigated for MS, but with a wonderful man by my side I was managing to take it all in my stride. I was starting to see the funny moments in being ill again rather than allowing myself to be swamped in fear.
July 2016 – This marked 4 years since I had had to leave my midwifery training. Usually I would mope about and be quite tearful. This year whilst the sadness is still there I can smile when reflecting on it. For if I had never become ill all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had over the last 4 years would never have happened.
August 2016 – my partner gave me a key. I think I just grinned for the rest of this month.
September 2016 – I started my 2nd year at university. I’d survived my first year and am fortunate to be studying at a university that goes above and beyond to help meet my needs!
October 2016 – I was pretty ill and hibernated for most of this month. The fact that I recognised this and took care of myself was a huge leap forwards for me.
November 2016- I ended up back in the hospital for awhile. Nothing out of the ordinary in that respect other than the fact I have a huge fear of this particular hospitals neurology team. After being misdiagnosed by them before it was no surprise when I found them to be as pigheaded and ignorant as previous. The difference this time around was that I had the confidence in myself, and enough knowledge of my conditions to advocate for myself rather than allowing them to treat me incorrectly.
Everything that’s happened throughout the year whether big or small has been impacted by my health. Previously I would have told you that was awful, I wish I could be ‘normal’; whilst yes I’d love to be healthy, I cannot deny I have an exciting fun filled life that if I wasn’t a spoonie would have been drastically different.
I have had some really positive moments this week! On Tuesday I had a meeting with a woman who works for a service called Cross Roads. Their service provides a range of support. On a Thursday morning, starting in a few weeks time, a guy is going to come over to care for me for a few hours. This means that my mum and stepdad will get a break from caring for me, instead this guy will socialise with me and help me with my meds etc. Not only will this give my parents a much needed break but it will be great for me to socialise with someone who’s around my own age. I am really looking forward to this starting.
My Jaw and neck spasms are rather bad at the moment. I am doing my best to try to ignore them but it is a bit had to ignore the spasms when your head is completely lopsided and your jaw is pushed right across. We contacted my consultant a couple of weeks ago asking to be booked in for Botox treatment, but as has been the case for over 2 months now, he has still not replied to any of our emails. We are going to phone his secretary tomorrow to ask her to chase him, however she never sees the consultants she works for and can only email them, so I am not sure how much she can do for me.
Yesterday and today have been amazing. Yesterday I had another fantastic session with my personal trainer that left me exhausted but extremely happy! I just love my Wednesday sessions. Today I went up to the stables and had a wonderful RDA riding lesson. I rode Nelly again, she is such a beautiful horse and fantastic to ride. She is slightly more challenging to ride than Connie but I love this as it allows me to work on and develop my skills more! Being around horses and riding puts me on such a high, if I did not have to dismount at the end of the lesson I would stay on the horse for hours! Riding is pure bliss!
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