Tag Archives: Chronic pain

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.

Busy!

This post is long overdue – sorry about that but real life has taken over and my boys are already hyper about grandparents arriving and the pending festivities.

Saturday (over a week ago now!) – when it came to the book event, the only thing I was worried about was nobody turning up. Waking up the day before with a raging eye infection that required an emergency trip to the walk in centre was not part of the plan. That evening I was also accompanying my husband to a conference dinner he’d been speaking at. Two events that require makeup and NOT the sticky antibiotic ointment I waited over an hour to get, in between delivering offspring to birthday parties, dropping off supplies for the book event and reprimanding my 5 year old for eating only candy at said party! G&T required while trying to disguise puffy red eye.

Sunday – another birthday party, but thankfully hubby dealt with this one alone while I arranged bits of cheese, cold cuts and crackers on trays, looking glamorous in baggy checked PJs, Velcro rollers, slouchy slipper socks, and a bleary eye full of ointment! Threw some school uniforms at the washing machine in the vague hope they would be laundered, and dug out something from the freezer that my babysitter could easily assemble for dinner.

When we arrived at Future Hair Training Centre that afternoon, I was blown away to find the extent to which Cynthia, the owner, had gone to make the event special for me. She had provided a sign in sheet at the door, a clever red carpet poster for pictures, and Hollywood-style Walk Of Fame stars on the floor. It was all very novel (pun intended) and fun! Several friends/neighbours/mums from school, who wanted to show their support, had said they would pop in, but we all know how it is during this busy time of year. All credit to most of those good people – they stayed true to their word and took time out of their weekend to join me. My husband and my closest friend (to whom the book is dedicated), were right there with me throughout. I felt confident and comfortable being thrown into the ‘spotlight’ for the first time. I think when you believe in yourself and your product there is no reason to doubt your ability to put yourself out there. For a first event, I was pretty happy.

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I have no idea where the rest of the week has gone. We’ve been having some minor renovations done on the house; I can tell you that one day (don’t ask me which one, can’t remember) I had a very heated discussion with our handyman over communication issues. Mid-week we finally got around to getting all the decorations out and purchasing trees (yes two, slightly excessive I know but the money goes to charity). My husband has a ‘thing’ for large Christmas trees; in fact, it was almost twenty years ago to the day that I was lured into his apartment by the glorious smell of pine and subsequently fell in love. It has taken us nearly four days to get the wretched things into the house and decorate them, for the end of the week has been, if possible, busier than the start. My elder son turned 8 at the weekend, on the same day as our 16th wedding anniversary. He also received an early birthday surprise at the school assembly on Friday, where he received a Principal’s Award after only starting at that school in September – very Proud Mum moment where your bladder is too near your eyes while sat in the front row in full view of all the teachers. My husband’s Christmas party was that same evening, where there was a lot of wine flowing and not enough food! (We’ll not discuss that any further!) I did sell a few books, which was unexpected. A weekend of celebrating, and then what do I get? ANOTHER virally thing that makes my body feel like it’s been trampled on. I would give anything for a day off from chronic disease, just a few hours of pain free time would be great if anyone wants to trade?

Despite the bugs, life goes on. The decorations are all finally up, even though the tree looks like it attended the Xmas party with us and still hasn’t sobered up! I’ve finally baked my Christmas cake (even though I can’t eat a single bite of it), the birthday boy had a great day and is now the proud owner of a new desk and shelves (thanks to hubby and his tools), the renovations are complete in time for the in-laws to descend, and I have found that the only way to deal with the evil virus is to pickle myself in mulled wine!

Stay tuned for another week of motherhood and holiday madness…

Music & Lyrics

We all hum the tune, we all sing along to the words, but how many of us really listen to the lyrics? It depends on my mood; when I’m in a good mood I just hear the music, but when I’m not feeling so great, for whatever reason, the lyrics become more significant somehow. It doesn’t seem to matter what the genre or artist, whether it’s something I listen to often or infrequently, I can always place some meaning on the words that seem to capture my innermost feelings at that given time. I think I have a wide taste in music, but I can hear my husband laughing and rolling his eyes at this statement! I think he’s the one that needs to branch out and get something decent to listen to. There is however, one band that we both enjoy, and have seen live several times, and that’s Train.

I got my dog a couple of years ago, a decision that wasn’t taken lightly because of the commitment animals require, and our boys were still very young. I wasn’t in a good place at that time, temporarily off medication and turning into a bit of a cripple. Despite what many people think when they see me, I don’t/can’t exercise any more like I used to. Yes, that’s right, I’m the bitch you all hate because I do nothing to maintain my size 0-2 figure! Walking is the only way I can continue some sort of low impact activity. This influenced our decision greatly, and my 40th birthday gift was an adorable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier named Tess.

Every morning, rain hail or shine, we walk. Armed with the obligatory wad of poop bags, treats and sticks, I plug myself into whatever takes my fancy and off we go. We walk locally, exploring parks, along the beach, and around the seawall while the music puts a bounce in my step and the lyrics capture my imagination. There is, however, one minor problem with this arrangement… I appear to own the only terrier in the world that doesn’t like walking! Honestly, I know this is hard to believe, but until recently she used to hide under the table when I reached for her leash. The mere mention of the word ‘walk’ would send most dogs into an excited frenzy – not Tess! She refuses to come out of her crate, peering at me through the side window hoping I will take pity on her incredible cuteness – NOT going to wash with me, dog, we’re walking!!

It was while out walking my girl that Frankie and Jack’s story evolved out of nowhere. I was having a major Train blitz of all of their albums that I would just shuffle; I like the surprise of not knowing what is coming next. Over time their excellent song writing began to fit with my story, it was like some of the lyrics had been written for my book, but more likely that my book evolved because of their lyrics. I decided to somehow incorporate the band and their music into the story, and the ‘Train game’ was born. I made both my characters Train fans and used random lyrics that fitted in with parts of the story, in their dialogue. The other character would then have to guess the title track, album, track number and year with consequences if they got it wrong – something fun and usually naughty of course. Ever wondered where I got the title of the book? Bruises is one of my favourite Train songs from their California 37 album in 2012 (track 3 & a duet sung with Ashley Monroe, just to prove myself!). It has started a bit of a trend with me and book titles: I have given all three of my novels song titles. Music and lyrics will always be very influential in my writing, and maybe one day I’ll have All I wanted

Bruises is available from FriesenPress, Amazon, and other major online bookstores.

Now it’s real!!

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I was so excited I couldn’t resist the bad hair and no make up silly selfie… and I know the orange clashes really badly – But I don’t care, I’M OFFICIALLY AN AUTHOR!!!

Get your copy of Bruises from FriesenPress or Amazon

Me before ‘it’

It’s been sometime since I read (rather than wrote!) a book I haven’t been able to put down. I’m a ‘read a chapter every night in bed’ kind of reader. I have just finished reading the type of book I wish I could write, and maybe one day I will. Amusing, romantic, and emotional… ‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyles. It was the kind of book that helps me put my own pain and suffering into perspective, especially when I’m having a bad few days, which I am right now. Even though I am reduced to tears when my husband is digging his elbows into all those nasty tight knots, really, it’s not that bad. Even when my physio is sticking needles in my backside and the pain is so intense I want to scream the clinic down, really, it’s not that bad. Even when I can’t do something I used to do with regularity and complete ease, before I was diagnosed with ‘it’, really, it’s not that bad.

It controls. It plays games with my mind. It chips away at everything, claiming little pieces of my life. It makes me rebel. It makes me angry. It has changed parts of me, both mentally and physically, so much that I’ll never be able to go back to being ‘me before ‘it’’. One of the biggest physical changes has been losing muscle tone through lack of exercise, and significant weight loss due to dietary restrictions and medication induced nausea. I used to be curvy, but fit, toned and healthy looking. Now, I find I’m unable to purchase a particular item of clothing I like because they don’t make it small enough, and I have women telling me how amazing I look, which is a great confidence boost, but they have no idea how and why I got here… ‘it’ led me. I used to love all kinds of food – there was very little I wouldn’t try or eat – but now, food and I are not very good friends. When I hear the compliments, it gives me a greater understanding how those with eating disorders can carry on doing what they do. The compliments drive them on to continue. Thankfully I actually do want to eat, but ‘it’ is in control of that, not me.

Once again I give you the reason why I wrote a book. I’m not looking for a new career, or to be recognized as great writer. I’m not looking for fame and fortune. Granted, if it all comes good and those things happen, well hey, bonus! It’s out there now, and it’s even being read somewhere in the world, because people have bought it. It is something that ‘it’ can NEVER take away from me, it can’t even get close. ‘It’ has no claim on any part of my publication, this is all about me… and not ‘it’.

You can buy a copy of my debut novel, Bruises directly from my publisher. It is also available on Amazon and other online bookstores around the world.

Stick a fork in me…

…I’m done!!

It’s been a long time coming, and I still can’t believe that I’ve even got this far, but it’s now in the hands of the editor. Of course I’m not really done, I’m quite sure that there will be plenty of comments that I will have to take on board and consider whether or not I should make further changes once I receive the report. As you all know, I’ve been here once before so to some extent I know what to expect. But, it’s now shorter, sharper and deeper, without losing it’s true, sexy and amusing edge – I think, but of course I’m biased!

In the meantime, my manager wants to get started on the cover. Seriously! Where do you begin to design the cover of a book? I know what catches my eye, and yes I’m afraid I do judge a book by its cover, but we all look for something different. I’m going to go with my gut instinct, something I should have listened to on more occasions than I want to be reminded of, but this time it’s screaming out at me again and it’s going to win. I have asked some of my readers what they think, but nothing has really grabbed me the way my own imagination has. However, my closest friend, the one who’s been right there with me all way, had a great suggestion that added to my own idea. She has read the book several times and almost knows it as well as I do, so she is able to pick out subtle, but key aspects of the story.

What am I hoping to achieve with what I envisage? Well, the book is a contemporary romance called Bruises; my main character is a doctor so it has medical content, and it’s set in the north east of England, where I’m originally from. I don’t want the cover to reflect any of this, I have picked out other significant aspects that make up the story, and appear to have nothing to do with the title. I’ve tried to put myself in the reader’s shoes, browsing the shelves of a bookstore. The combination of the image I have in mind; that title and the synopsis of the story would have me thinking that they all don’t seem to quite go together. If the design team can pull it off I think it will be eye catching, intriguing and will grab the attention of potential readers.

At least cover design doesn’t require me to sit in front of my computer for hours. That has taken its toll again recently, my neck and shoulders are super tight and very sore – they need a break! Despite this, my physio has never once given me grief about the effects all this has had on my body at times. If anything he’s been incredibly supportive and has promised to buy a copy and even read it – I have told him to pretend that it wasn’t me that wrote it, but then again if I can allow my mother-in-law to read it then really anyone else isn’t a big deal is it!!