Tag Archives: Autoimmune disease

Sunshine!!

It’s finally here, and will hopefully stick around for a bit. It’s amazing how warmer weather can instantly boost your mood, and persuade you to sit on the patio with friends and talk the day away – with a nice cold glass of something grown-up of course! Not only this, but getting into the great outdoors is also much more enjoyable. Even if it isn’t clear blue and sunny, we can still enjoy t-shirt trekking through a forest, while the dog stops at every tree, and the kids take the more difficult route so they can clamber over rocks and logs. There is only one real downside to this enjoyable pastime… BUGS! Luckily for me, poor circulation means I’m not worth the effort. My elder son, on the other hand, is the warmest person on the planet, therefore providing a fine old feast for starving critters. The poor thing has been dropped off at school with a tube of Afterbite. Of course, this does not deter him, or us, from enjoying these mini adventures, and it’s the only time the dog gets excited about walking.

Unfortunately, though, I pay the price. An 11 km hike, that had quite a lot of steep up and down, has both mental and physical benefits for somebody like me. However, various parts of my body are now seriously protesting about its increased level of activity. I had only just recovered from the Aquafit class I took the week before. Apparently that was supposed to be good for me, but when I didn’t sleep that night because I was so uncomfortable and in pain, it can’t be good. Not only that, I had never felt so out of place in all my life. Even though I lowered the average age by about 30 years, all the older people were able to move far better than me. I’m not one to get hung up on what I must have looked like, it’s my business why I’m choosing that form of exercise, but on this occasion I felt out of place and very unfit.

This is why I’d just like to stick to walking my girl. The pain and humiliation I felt, to please the all the people who think they know what’s best for my body, just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I was too ambitious? Maybe I shouldn’t have done the full hour? Maybe I should have started with something less energetic? Doesn’t matter now; it’s still put me off. Instead, I have signed up for some one-on-one pilates. so watch this space…

Until then I shall continue to power walk and worship the sunny weather! And plan some more hiking…

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The cab of shame…

Why is it that when we’re already emotionally challenged, something else happens and even as an independent, confident adult, we appear unable to think or deal with the crisis on our own?

I am one of those people who hate being late, and rarely break the rules, especially when it comes to appointments and parking. So you can just imagine how dangerously high my stress levels were when I was still trying to find a parking space 5 minutes after my appointment had started. This was a first meeting, so not the greatest way to start a new relationship with a person whom you’re hoping is going to help you deal with your daily stresses in life because of a chronic illness. Now, I’m sure someone put up the sign I didn’t see while I was actually in my appointment. Either that, or a bird or a cloud, or something was blocking it when I did actually park. Needless to say I emerged from my appointment almost 2 hours later to find Mercury – my beloved MINI convertible – GONE!!

As I stood there, starring at the empty space, presumably expecting my car to somehow miraculously reappear, my emotions, already slightly fragile (NB British Understatement) from the appointment, got the better of me and I was suddenly unable to think or do anything for myself. What did I do? Call the husband of course, who was smack-bang in the middle of the operating room, patient on the table, room full of people… and now a blubbering wife in absolute tatters on the other end of the phone. Instinct told me that I had been towed before I saw the sign – you know, the one that they put up while I was in my appointment. The calming and familiar voice of hubby talked me through the steps I needed to take, because remember I was unable to think for myself now, and I finally managed to call the tow company. I couldn’t even give them the correct license plate, but at least I could remember the numbers, just not in the right order. Thank the Lord!! Mercury was safely in the pound, but I now had to go to the pound…

Another phone call to hubby, among the beeping of machines and the voices of busy healthcare professionals. “Excuse me, I know you’re straightening someone’s spine, but I’ve been towed; this is far more important right now”. I was instructed to get in a cab. Luckily for me I was right next to the city’s general hospital, so cabs were ten a penny. I peered into the open passenger side window and quietly muttered the address. A loud Caribbean accent hit back at me. ‘Oh! You been towed?’ Honestly, the shame! He turned out to be really friendly and chatty, as I sat in the back, traumatised. He refused a tip, told me exactly where I had to go, and what I would need to do. I didn’t question how he’d become so knowledgeable in this matter. I sheepishly slid up to the empty window and begin the process of retrieving Mercury, practically offering my right kidney when asked for a method of payment, anything, take anything I just want my car back! At least it was warm and sunny when I finally fired up the engine. I rolled the top down and… oh no, I had to stop at two gates to get out, should have left the roof up! I put my head down instead, in the hope I wouldn’t be caught on camera for my picture to be plastered all over the city. I could almost see the caption: ‘Romance Novelist Busted for Abandoning Her Car Illegally!!’

Back on the blog!

I know it’s been a while, sorry but life and severe lack of sleep has left me barely functioning over the past couple of months. I don’t have a lot of reserve normally, but when I watch the clock all night it’s difficult to get through a normal day of life without adding any extra pressure to it. However, I have managed to keep my 2015 challenges going, with only a couple of days written retrospectively. I’m currently on day 83; that’s 83 quotes, both funny and serious, and 78 journal entries, about all sorts of annotations and personal paraphernalia that I need empty out of my head. I find that if I don’t write down these thoughts and musings, something else will come along and push them right out of my head forever. Often I haven’t known until the end of the day what I will write about. One day I couldn’t think of anything constructive so I wrote about salad! As for the quotes, well I have thousands of those things. I’m afraid I cheat a little when posting them by scheduling them via Hootsuite. Life is just too busy to be dropping everything to pick up ‘Thelma’ and get all philosophical, while juggling homework and vegetables.

So why am I not sleeping?

Well, chronic disease and pain is playing a large part in my insomnia. I have found myself caught in one of these vicious circles that’s difficult to break unless something changes within the cycle. Lack of exercise due to pain and discomfort… unable to get comfortable in bed… tired from everyday life, but not enough physical activity… unable to sleep… gradually coping mechanisms become more and more fragile… more pain and discomfort, less likely to exercise… and so it goes on until finally enough is enough. Yes I have meltdowns, yes I am a ratty old cow, yes I am a raging lunatic when the kids don’t listen to me… yes I am human and sometimes even the strongest people just need someone to give them a hug and tell them that it’s all going to be all right.

Thankfully I have a fantastic rheumatologist who totally understands my plight. I don’t like resorting to pills, I take enough of those as it is, but I guess it is something you just have to learn to accept when you’re in my position. I hate sleeping tablets, they make me feel fuzzy and slow, but a natural remedy such as melatonin has at least given me some more natural sleep. It’s not perfect, I still lay awake for 2 hours a couple of nights ago, but since then I found myself sleeping in – good job its spring break. Hopefully this ‘catch up’ phase will be short lived and by the time I have to drag my sorry backside out of bed even earlier than usual for the school run to do my share of ‘traffic duty’, I will feel and look a little more like me. As for the exercise part, I used to love pilates and swimming. I have agreed to give both another shot, even if it means only doing 1 length of the pool when I was used to doing 1 mile! I know initially I will suffer, but hopefully in time that benefits will outweigh the problems.

I will not be beaten… I will not let it win… it can do whatever it likes on the inside, but letting it show on the outside means it’s won.

You can follow my 365 Challenge on Twitter and Facebook, and check out my 5 star reviews for Bruises on Amazon and Goodreads.

Thelma & Louise – not what you think…

We are sat here, together, trying to figure out what to do. She won’t let me in; it’s driving me crazy. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, it’s wrong. If it weren’t for the fact she is so small and fragile I would get violent, but what would that achieve? I drink my coffee, and gaze out into the sunshine; it really can’t be that difficult, I’m sure I’m right. I text hubby for some help/advice ‘Thelma has lost it again and won’t cooperate… I’m so frustrated I want to scream!’ She’s becoming my new best friend; I don’t want to hurt her…

I know what you’re thinking. I’m sat in my smart MINI convertible, roof down of course, contemplating something dramatic over the edge of a cliff. Yes, my week has not been the greatest, but there is no way I could do that to such a cool ride, ‘Mercury’ as my dream car is known. Who is Thelma then, I hear you ask, and what’s her problem? If I told you that Thelma is only 2 months old, approximately 7ins x 5ins in size, is gold in colour, with a chocolate brown exterior, and goes everywhere with me now, would you get it? Well, she’s my new iPad mini that my hubby has affectionately named Thelma – that shows our age! I have considered having a young Brad Pitt as my lock screen for the full effect, but honestly, he’s never really done it for me I’m afraid, good actor, good looking and all that, but doesn’t blow my skirt up.

So what’s her problem? Well, my very technically minded and security conscious hubby has made sure that Thelma keeps all her secrets safe under lock and key, by installing 1Password for me. All very well and good because I used to be a hacker’s dream; same password for everything, and not a very imaginative one at that. Now I can have all kinds of elaborate combinations of letters, symbols and numbers that I don’t need to remember – I only need to remember one. Now, I swear I was putting in the right combination, but could I access 1Password? No! Ok, so it wasn’t technically Thelma’s fault, and hubby came to the rescue in the end, but I will still maintain I was right!

What else have I been up to this week…

At the end of last week hubby and I had not one but two date nights. Dinner with friends while all our kids bounced around at gymnastics for 3 hours. Then, an evening at the ballet, all male drag kinda thing– hilarious! Check out Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo if you ever get the chance.

Nearly set my neck at the climbing wall when I slipped off while on auto belay, and scared the hell out of myself. Also really strained my arm that was already strained from something so long ago I can’t remember but I keep pretending it’s fine. Needles in the bicep as a result of my stupidity produced some rather choice words.

We finally tackled the playroom and had the grandmother of all hoy outs!

I gave my lovely cleaner a long overdue pay rise because I’m nice like that… sometimes.

Made two pairs of curtains for a friend, and two Valentine cards – one for me to give hubby and the other for him to give me. I know that sounds sad but the shop ones are expensive and nauseous, he likes my cards so why not?

Popped over the border to pick up a parcel and embarrassed the customs officer when he asked me my occupation, and then what I was picking up… ‘Erotic romance writer… and women’s lingerie’ hehe!

Of course all of this is between dog walking, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, school runs, after school activities, drinking wine and keeping up with Thelma!!

Sleep!

When you survive on very little of the stuff normally it can be tough, but I have had one full night (Sunday) in I don’t know how long, and that was only thanks to half a sleeping pill. It didn’t help that, after the grandparents left early last week, we shot up to Whistler to take advantage of the fact our kids were not back to school until this week. Honestly, how is it you can pay for a good education but they spend less time there? Friends kindly let us use their lovely townhouse, so we had a comfortable base but – sadly for me – not a comfortable bed. I had already made the decision not to even consider skiing until the weekend, but my go-getter boys blasted around the mountain with ski school for three days while my husband disappeared off into the backcountry – always a worry, even though I used to do it myself BC (before children).

What did I do with my time? Well, every morning my girl and I had a very Baltic dog walk, but thanks to good gear and little hotties (disposable handwarmers in case you think I hooked up with a member of Thunder from Down Under; sadly not!), I was snuggly. The rest of my days were filled with crafting. I don’t often get the opportunity to spend all day sticking bits of paper together and tarting them up with expensive ink to turn them into cards. This project was Thank You cards for all the kids who attended the boys’ birthday party. I know they will be looked at and admired for all of 4 seconds and binned, but this is just something I love doing and, being a bit OCD, I have to do it right. I also kept up my 2015 challenges, and played with my new iPad mini – thanks hubby! The evenings might have involved drinking wine, but you guessed that already, right? And reading. Again, I don’t often just sit in the evening and read. I should, but I don’t, so I did!

Icy snow conditions and major fatigue made the decision for me not to ski at all, and the backcountry had broken hubby anyway. However, the conditions did not stop my 8 year old; he broke his teacher on the second day. Leaving him for dead at the top of the glacier. Poor guy didn’t look fit for a haircut when I signed out my very proud son, who looked like he’d spent the day just cruising down green runs. It didn’t stop there – tubing and some very extreme sledding at the weekend left me with my heart in my mouth several times, and I was just watching them. We then returned to the real world and a busy day before back to school. I was very proud to take my generous children to our local children’s hospital, where they presented the Foundation with $200 of their birthday money. I then spent the evening in the MRI scanner having full neck to pelvis images, and had to be helped off the VERY hard bed like an old crumbly – awkward! Thanks to that, I enjoyed another night of not very restful sleep…

A new year… a new challenge.

Once again time has run away with me and suddenly it’s 2015! Since my last post the grandparents arrived from the UK; we have hosted a drinks party (attended by almost more children than adults, who proceeded to turn my living room into a movie theatre, where the popcorn machine had a nervous breakdown!); enjoyed a family treat to the ballet to see a seasonal tradition, The Nutcracker, which had both boys attempting to walk on their toes and pirouette for the following couple of days. Santa then brought MORE Lego, which neither child would let me help build, so I sulked in my craft room building my new ink caddy, which took all of five minutes then two hours to arrange the inks in colour families and make sure all the labels pointed the right way. I cooked the most enormous bird to perfection and enjoyed eating my own body weight in Christmas pud because I could, having made it flourless. Drank lots of wine and wore stretchy leggings to accommodate pudding.

There has been lots of sleeping in, due to very little nocturnal snoozing, sadly not for the reasons you might think, but my arthritis picked a very inconvenient time to flare up. After finally resorting to prescription sleeping pills just to stop the clock- watching, my physio then treated me with five thousand needles, which caused copious amounts of screaming. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t had the bright idea to host a joint Harry Potter birthday party for the boys between Christmas and New Year. It was the ultimate crafting challenge for Steph and I. We have spent the last two months making… paper wands, felt ties, Quidditch Pong, floating candles, a ‘Have You Seen This Wizard’ photo frame, Pin the Beak on Hedwig, HP Bingo, Pass the Howler, party bags containing Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans and Golden Snitches, and a very cool brick wall made by painting a $5 sheet to create platform 9¾! We sorted 27 kids into the four houses and dressed as wizards and witches – I copped for Hufflepuff so, yes, I was Professor Sprout. We played games, earned house points and – according to the emails I received the following day – threw the birthday party of the year. We were knackered but we all had a lot of fun and my boys have kindly donated $200 of birthday money to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital – their choice entirely.

So, here I am beginning a new year, not sad to see the back of 2014, despite it ending on a high. It began in a dark place, a place I never thought I would visit, and hope never to visit again. From somewhere deep inside I found an inner strength that I never knew I had. It helped me pick myself, and move forward. I sometimes looked back, but as that dark hole got smaller and smaller I found I could face things that many would shy away from. And among all of that I achieved something I thought was unachievable… Bruises. What now? On January 1st I began 365 days of writing. Everyday I will write in my journal: thoughts, feelings, life events, and just whatever I need to empty out of my head. I also love quotes, and Santa was kind enough to pop a quote journal in my stocking, so I also plan to record a new quote everyday.

A new year with new challenges.

Yikes!

photo

I am officially doing this and it’s only a week away. Am I really freaking out? No. As with every other part of this whole adventure, I’m just going with the flow and having fun with it. I did briefly think about what I should say, a kind of speech, but to be honest I think I’m better off winging it. I have no idea how popular it’ll be – some fat man, with a white beard, wearing a red suit, is also parading around downtown at the same time… but he’s not giving away free wine and erotic books! I have already achieved my goal, so I’m just going to enjoy whatever comes my way and carry on being me (which requires a new frock and shoes, of course – long live Black Friday!).

As a stay-at-home mum with two kids now in full time school, you could be forgiven for thinking that I should have oodles of time to organise a book publicity event. I thought so too…but here’s a few other things that have filled up my week.

Sunday – hubby at work all day L. I split myself in two to get both boys to birthday parties at opposite end of the city at the same time. (Actually, this is not exactly true – I sweet-talked another mum into taking one of them, because she was taking her twins anyway – I’m good but not that good!) After daytime single-parent madness, I enjoyed a little something on ice that evening while catching up on my social media. Hubby returned home; I promptly announced that, after further coaching on Hootsuite, I had now learnt to schedule tweets – except I accidentally called them ‘treats’! He was just as excited about this as I was – his mind, not mine on that occasion 😉

Monday – suffering from the mother of all viruses, which meant I sounded like I should have worked on a dirty chatline! Drank wine. Slept.

Tuedsay – Viruses exacerbate my arthritis so I felt as if I’d been put through a mangle. My physio was scared to even look at me in case it made me more uncomfortable! An evening of crafting with my bestie. Drank wine. Slept.

Wednesday – reached a new low by carrying a sample of my dog’s poop around in my handbag for most of the day until I dropped it off at the vet. I parked on a meter right outside to dive in and drop it off, intending not to pay but found an hour and 14 minutes on the clock – why does this not happen when I need to pay for that much time? Drank wine. Slept.

Thursday – cooked a meal for hubby’s potluck journal club. My bestie and I finished making all 52 wands for my boys’ Harry Potter birthday party, and we started making Quidditch pong. Made two Minion birthday cards for both boys (which look really cool, actually). Legged it to the hair salon to put up the poster between picking up monkeys from various after-school clubs. Drank wine. Slept.

Friday – BLACK! Shoes x2, leather pants x1, Christmas gifts x1. Date night at home with a curry and 24. And hubby, obviously. Drank wine. Slept.

Saturday – SNOW! Crafting class to learn how to use distress inks. Bloody freezing – minus 2 FFS. Arrived home to the glorious cooking smell of bacon and eggs, courtesy of hubby. Rearranged crafting room to accommodate new ink pads. Made mulled wine to warm up (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) Family fondue night followed by Despicable Me 2. Good times… Drank more wine. Slept.

Sunday – Lazy morning after waking up too early from coughing myself inside out. The usual 2-hour iChat with the lovely in-laws in the UK (the marvels of modern technology). Arctic walk with the dog. Monopoly. Roast beef, Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Roaring fire. Drank wine.

Phew! Can’t believe another week has passed and it’s December already!