I want to work. I NEED to work. Here I am, writing blog posts, working on Facebook pages. All of it, it all boils down to the fact that inside me I have a need to work.
Financially, we are ok. Things aren’t super amazing; but we’re ok. That’s not why I need to work. I need to do it because there’s something inside me, pulling at me, clawing at me. Begging me to do something, anything! I spend so much of my days in bed. Blood pressure too low, or pain too high, to get up and function. My husband looks after the kids. I’m here feeling like nothing. Less than nothing. I’m here feeling like a burden.
My disability is what tethers us. What captures us in this financial bind. Mountains of paperwork arrive through the letter box. Questionnaires, forms, payment plans and deductions. A few weeks ago a woman came to our house. She sat in our living room and fired question after question at me and my husband. Prying, peering, into every nook and cranny of our lives. After all, our money comes from benefits, who are we to think we have a right to privacy?! It was agonising. It was degrading. Bad for me, who’s become numb to it over the years. Worse for my husband, who left a high paying job to look after decrepit old me. I don’t want that for him.
Of course, I can’t work a normal job. Just getting ready for work would be me done for the day. But surely there must be something I could do?!
Once upon a time I worked in travel. My earnings rocketed as my commission far outweighed that of my colleagues. Customers would queue out of the door just to be seated with the girl who went the extra mile. The girl who cared about their holiday. The girl who believed booking is where the holiday magic starts. I was that girl. There was barely a week went by when I wasn’t in the top ten for sales in the region, or even the country. But none of that mattered.
I had a boss who belevied seventeen shifts in a row was no problem, especially if you had plenty of days off in the weeks that followed. My body disagreed. My body gave up on me. My body caused time off, sick pay. Disciplinaries. My body caused me to leave that job. Another in a long list of broken dreams.
But surely if I could do that then, I can do something now?! But why this sudden need? Why now? What’s changed?
Honestly? Nothing has changed. Nothing, and everything. I’ve always had this need inside me. When I first became ill I tried time after time to find something that would work. Time after time I failed, so I buried this feeling deeper and deeper inside. But it was still there. Still tugging at me. Now though, now it seems almost possible. That’s the change. Through my blog and the relative success it’s brought, I’ve realised that I still have plenty to give. I still have my voice. I still have my passion.
It all boils down to one thing.During the hours my body won’t move; as my husband is bringing up our children and shaping their little lives, I lie in bed. He is doing something amazing and worthwhile. I’m laid in bed. I know there’s only so much I can push my body to do. Only so much energy I have. But I feel as though I’m wasting my life away. Here in my king size bed with the sounds of family downstairs, I almost feel as though I’m watching the clock tick by on my life. Doing nothing more than filling time until it stops. That’s so depressing.
So there it is.. I need to work. To feel like somewhat of a provider. To fill those drawn out hours with something tangible. Maybe even stumble upon an old talent, or a new one?
The only thing left to decide now is if it’s possible? Image provided by Lila Yocum
This time three years ago was my last New Years out on the town. A teeny size eight I slipped on my favourite dress and sky scraper heels. My eyes were smoky and my hair was done with a swoosh of product through the funky style I was rocking at the time. Looking at photos I can honestly say I don’t recognise myself. I looked a million dollars, and a million miles from the way I look today.
I remember that night so clearly. I remember people complimenting me. Women liked my dress, my hair, my heels. Men buoyed with drink liked the way my dress sat just below the crease of my ass, showing off the only pair of tights I had on hand at short notice of a night out. You know the type? They look like stockings… I remember the smiles, the selfies and the shots. Kissing a stranger at midnight. Singing along to the music.
Fast forward to tonight and my New Year was spent very differently. Tonight I had a take out for my tea. I showered and then I watched a film in bed. Sounds boring right?? Wrong. For me, it was absolutely perfect.
To understand why, you might need to look a little deeper into my New Year three years ago. My night out was last minute because a friend convinced me to leave my doldrums and head to town. She was worried about me being alone. When I say alone, I don’t just mean for New Year. I mean totally and utterly. I was estranged from my entire biological family. The person who had been stringing me along for the entire year had also chosen this time to cut me loose. My daughter was staying at her dads and I had little in the way of close friendships. Well, except for one. One who convinced me to get out and feel better. My body was a size eight because the intense stress I was under had caused a flare up of a condition which makes my body completely unable to process food. Weight was dropping off me at an alarming rate. My funky hair? I had that done after a close family member passed away. I don’t know why. I just needed to do something, and chopping all my hair off was it.
So I went. I slapped on the makeup, painted on my smile and toddled off up to town.
I remember that night so clearly because I was in a place I’d been frequenting for over ten years. Surrounded by faces I recognised and many I knew well. I was smiling and singing and playing along. But I had never ever felt more alone and miserable in my life. Never.
Just after midnight I had a lift pick me up and fetch me home. I took one last ‘happy’ picture before bed, then I cried myself to sleep. My makeup staining the pillow with a blurry reminder of my pathetic (to me) existence.
The next day, as I languished in bed watching the hours tick by, I decided I had to make some changes. 2013, and the years leading up to it, had seriously brought me to my knees. Now was time to get back up.
I decided to start putting myself first, and saying no to people. If they only wanted me around because of what I could do for them then why did I want them in my life? The same went for men. No more men who thought they were doing me a favour by spending time with me. No more men who treat me badly. No more being used. I would rather be single and happy than in love with the wrong person.
For the first time ever, I stuck to my New Years resolutions. I fought hard for myself. I put myself first. I ‘found’ myself, and my smile, again. Not long after I found my husband. The man who had been right under my nose all along. I always knew he’d treat me well, and that we had a connection; but I pushed him away. I see now that it was because I was afraid. Afraid of falling too hard and getting hurt. Afraid that he’d realise he deserved better. Afraid of losing him before we even tried.
But try we did, in late February of 2014 we started dating. At Easter we were engaged. Our wedding was September first. Some thought it was too fast, but we knew it was right. I knew it was right. Why wait?
So here I am. In my bed. Writing this blog. On one of the biggest party nights of the year. Gone is the size eight body and funky hairdo. Gone are the sky high heels and skimpy dresses. The makeup very rarely adorns my face. But what I have instead is so much better.
I have peace, in my life and in myself. I have a daughter with a step daddy who adores her. A step son whom I feel lucky to have in my life every single day. My sweet baby boy, who lights up the room with his smile. I have my husband, my partner, my best friend and my soulmate all rolled into one. We get on each other’s nerves, we argue and we grump. But we tell each other we love each other more times than I can count in a day. We are there for each other through thick and thin. We love each other. I have a love in my life. The love of my life. I have made and kept a select few real friends who treat me well and I endeavour to do the same for them. Finally, possibly most surprising of all to the me of 2013, I have worked hard on rebuilding a relationship with someone very important to me. They have worked hard too and we seem to be doing great. That too makes me happy.
So you can keep your parties, your nights out, your drink and dance. That’s not what matters. It might entertain a person, but ultimately happiness isn’t what you find in a bar. Happiness is being content in your own skin. Happiness is love. Be it for yourself, or for others. Happiness always starts with love.
So, if you have one New Years resolution that you plan on keeping, let it be to love yourself. Because if you love yourself, others really will follow. The right ones will remain even during the times that love for yourself is a little bit lost, and they’ll love you that little bit extra.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!
Our story begins on September 1st 2012. The day started much like any other, with Sonia heading off to work at a well known frozen food store. Sonia was a busy lady, holding down a hectic job and being mum to her beautiful children. Days whizzed by in a blur of work, cooking, cleaning, love and laughter. But on that day, as Sonia took off her shoes after work, something halted her in her tracks.
On the side of her foot was a lump. Something she hadn’t noticed before, and was concerned enough to visit her doctor about. An ultrasound scan revealed the lump to be some form of tumour, that originated at Sonia’s ankle. When within a week the tumour more than tripled in size the doctor decided it best to have it removed. Surgery was scheduled. It was to be a simple routine procedure. The tumour was a none cancerous ganglion and there was nothing to worry about.
Little did Sonia know that this procedure would change her life so completely.
September 17th, surgery day. As soon as the anaesthetic wore off Sonia knew something was amiss.
My foot was on fire, and yet it was as cold as ice! – Sonia
She needed to get the bandages off, she couldn’t stand the pain a second longer! Almost immediately her foot swelled to such and extent that the brand new stitches burst, leaving her with a gruesome open wound! Of course she headed back to the doctors for the first of many visits. The wound was washed and cared for, helped to heal. But still the pain persisted. Nobody knew what was wrong. Doctors were left scratching their heads. Within a month Sonia was unable to move her toes at all from the unexplained pain.
Fast forward eight months and Sonia was finally given some answers after seeking help from a specialist. It was CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Not only that, but she had CRPS Type 2. The type that, unlike type 1, does not go into remission.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2 (CRPS Type 2) is a severely painful response to a peripheral nerve injury. CRPS Type 2 is characterized by severe, burning pain affecting a specific area as a result of the nerve injury. RSDguide.com
Not one to take things lying down Sonia immediately hit the Internet. Desperately trying to find information about this new hurdle that had blocked her path in life. Surely there was something she could do? But everything she could find described Type 1. What little there was about the type she was suffering was sparse and often ill informed. So, as the doctors prescribed her with drug after drug to try and help her symptoms, Sonia began to write. She wrote page after page of diaries. Her symptoms, her moods, her feelings. Anything and everything in the hope it could one day help someone.
The CRPS caused Sonia to feel she had completely lost who she once was. Known as the ‘Suicide disease’; the pain often left her wishing she hadn’t woken up that morning. Life just became too much and it wasn’t long before Sonia was unable to work. Socialising also went out the window, as did just about every aspect of the life she once new. The only constant now being the love of her beautiful children and never ending crippling pain.
Sonia’s foot swelled to almost unbelievable sizes on a daily, if not hourly basis. Taking an age to reduce back in size, never really resembling normal. It burns constantly whilst at the same time feeling freezing cold. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Imagine putting your foot inside that bucket of ice until it was so cold you had freezer burn. Imagine never being able to take it out again. You might just be getting close to the horror Sonia goes through on a daily basis with CRPS.
It’s been four years since she has been able to bathe or maintain her foot herself. Even bedclothes touching it is excruciating. A simple toenail trim involves a trip to hospital and anaesthetic, otherwise it’s just too painful. Information online indicates that CRPS type 2 doesn’t spread, but that’s not the case. Sonia now has pain in her left foot, knee and hip. It’s also spread to her threat, right ear and right eye. She has been bedbound for over three years due to the severity of her symptoms.
Many doctors say that scripture tells them it doesn’t spread. Sorry, but myself and hundreds of other CRPS Survivors can prove different. Yes we call ourselves survivors because CRPS is also known as “The Suicide Disease”. And I can understand why! – Sonia
By July 2013 the constant battle with her body had become too much for Sonia. Though she loved her children desperately she felt she wasn’t strong enough to go on any longer. Hiding away her Morphine and CoCodamol tablets, she planned to take her life on July 13th.
But once again, life has other plans for Sonia.
On July 11th she received a call from her eldest daughter. She was at an antenatal class that day, pregnant with her first child. Sonia thought she was calling to talk about the morning sickness that had dogged her throughout the pregnancy, but today’s call was about something altogether more urgent. Her daughter was about to be rushed in for an emergency C section. The pregnancy had taken a dramatic turn and it was operate now or risk life of both mum and baby!
Luckily, everything went well and nine weeks early Sonia’s beautiful granddaughter entered into the world. Named Scarlett, she was absolutely perfect! Not only that, but she was a wonderful reason to keep fighting, a reason to live! Sonia believes that Scarlett arrived early to save her; and seeing their close bond, it’s not hard to believe that’s the case.
Sonia threw herself into making clothes for her tiny premature granddaughter, soon realising she had a clear talent. Soon Scarlett had plenty to kit her out, so Sonia went on to make things for other tiny babies. Always thinking of others, she had noted a clear lack of clothes for premature babies on the market, and what there was was very expensive. Not ideal for families who are likely already spending a lot of money to be able to spend time with a baby in hospital.
She set up a Facebook page, and things just grew from there! Eventually Sonia branched out, learning to make jewellery when she came into some jewellery making kit unexpectedly. She loved it, and better still so did her youngest daughter! For a mum who had lost so much time with her children, it was great to find a passion they could enjoy together. Another page was born S & J Crafting Creations, where Sonia and her daughter could sell their wares.
Whilst their page was relatively new Sonia saw an advert for Conscious Crafties a sales platform for disabled people and their carers. Immediately she got in touch and just like that she became the first EVER crafty! Within a week of joining she became friends with the Founder, Karen Thomas, and has been of invaluable help to her ever since.
That was a year ago, and Sonia cannot believe how far she has come. Not only does she have her own business, but she has another purpose! One more reason to live! Sonia’s business is flourishing. Her motto is ‘Giving the gift of a smile!’ That’s exactly what she aims to do.
Right now only Sonia’s arms and hands that work. So she crafts all day every day whilst she still can, she will not be beaten nor will she give up! Sonia is a fighter in the truest sense of the word, and if I could have one wish this Christmas it would be to allow her to continue with her passion for as long as she could wish for. She deserves it!
Many months ago I wrote a blog about my decision to use a cannabinol vape pen to help with my pain. Cannabinol is an extract of cannabis, which doesn’t get you high. It does however claim to have many health benefits and I was interested to see if these were true, or just yet another money spinning hoax aimed at taking advantage of desperate people.
Initially I intended to write up my findings within a month or two of trialling the product. But life had other ideas. So here I am, several months and a major surgery later, ready to share my findings…
First off about the pen itself. I found the product very easy to use and nice and light to hold. The width is similar to that of a good ballpoint pen, as is the length, so a great size to carry around. I bought a second USB charger to have in my handbag, this allowed me to have one at home and one for if I ran low when out and about. The second charger was pretty redundant though, these little gadgets hold their charge surprisingly well! Usually I would just pop it on charge in my laptop as I did a little ‘work’ (writing, checking Facebook, photo editing, checking Facebook, networking, checking Facebook) and it filled up in no time. Overall for simplicity and style I was very impressed.
As a none smoker I was incredibly nervous about using something which reminded me so heavily of a cigarette. Particularly in the way I had to inhale it. I wondered if I would get used to it, or even be able to tolerate it at all?
Medipen contains no nicotine at all and is in no way addictive.
I need not have worried. Medipen cartridges are available in many different flavours, more than I would have imagined! I tried the mint, cherry cola, coconut and white grape. They were all pretty good, though the coconut tasted a bit too much like a Piña Colada for me! I was surprised at how much flavour you could pick up just from inhaling vapour, the taste was really enjoyable! My favourite was by far Cherry Cola with White Grape coming a close second. What was also nice was that inhaling the sweet vapour helped me eat less actual sweeties, something I do far too much of when I’m in pain. Plus, the vapour has some of the scent in it from the flavour. I became my own air freshener whilst vaping!
Not that there is much vapour cloud. Another thing I was worried about was filling my home up with a damp cloud of acrid smelling fog. I’ve been in ecigarette shops before where you can barely see your hand in front of your face. I didn’t want that for my home, and I’m glad to say I didn’t get it. The Medipen uses a wick to draw the vapour up to your mouth, meaning you get a steady amount. You really have to draw hard on the device to form a large cloud, and honestly there’s no need. A gentle inhale for a few seconds gets you plenty of vapour, flavour and cannabinol; without billowing out smokey mist clouds for all to see. The Medipen is discreet. Refined. Classy.
As far as usage goes it’s really up to you. I found that a few minutes of use on a morning, at lunchtime and before bed suited me. Though occasionally I would use it in between if I was having a bad day. I liked to keep my pen with me as knowing I had the extra help was a comfort in itself. My level of usage meant each cartridge lasted around three weeks, even with my husband stealing some for the occasional headache or general ache or pain. By the end of the experiment he was using the Medipen each evening with me as he found it also benefitted him in some unexpected ways…
So that’s the basics covered. Now down to the important part. DID IT HELP??
Honestly, I have to say that yes it did. I was completely ready to be disappointed and instead was very pleasantly surprised. Do not get me wrong, the Medipen is not a miracle cure, but it did help me with my multisystemic problems. My pain was decreased to the point that I could function better. I could move without wincing and walk without feeling as stiff. On some days I even managed to reduce my pain relief, something I have not been able to do since I went back on my medication after giving birth to my son.
The evening ‘dose’ relaxed me and calmed the random cocophany of pains and sensations I usually have cascading through me. I have Dysautonomia which causes my body to always be on high alert. Settling down for rest when your body is tick tick ticking away is never easy. In fact it’s nigh on impossible. But with my Medipen I could feel my body calming and the tension easing from my muscles. Though it could often still take me a while to drop off, the chances I would sleep were higher. Plus, the sleep I did get was much more restorative than usual. A benefit I’d read about, but been highly sceptical of.
It was due to the help I had with sleeping that my husband decided to try the Medipen one evening. He himself is a restless sleeper and spends many nights tossing and turning. I gladly offered to share, why should I be the only one reaping the benefits of our new little doohickey? Surprisingly he dropped off within minutes. Much faster than I do. I guess that’s the benefit of a properly functioning body, things work better on you! But what was even more surprising was what else happened that night…
If my husband used the Medipen before sleep not only would he rest better, he slept silently!! NO SNORING!!!
Usually my husband not only snores; but talks, moves and sometimes even gets out of bed! To be calm and quiet was not only got for him, it was GREAT for me! My often tired and grumpy husband woke with a spring in his step, and I didn’t consider committing murder each night. Definitely a win win!
As always I woke on a morning feeling like a dogs dinner. But, I did find that whilst using Medipen that feeling subsided faster. Usually I don’t see mornings at all. During this trial I woke around 9/10 am each day. After an hour or so to come around and allow my heart medication to work I could actually get up and dressed. I had the energy to go out and do things, or cook, play with my children. I could be a ‘real’ mum!
My main worry was having even less energy whilst using this product, I couldn’t believe I had more!
Yes I still had to be careful and pace; I couldn’t do as much as ‘normal’ mums could. But I could do enough to give me my smile back. Enough to make my children feel they had more of me. I could be present in my own life. We went on holiday towards the end of my trial, a break at a holiday park in Yorkshire. On every other holiday we’ve been on my husband has taken charge, but not this time. I not only participated, I had fun. I was out doing things with the kids every day. Ok, by ‘doing things with’ I mean I watched them doing activities; but that’s 1000 times better than being stuck in the van whilst they go have adventures without me!
I found that even during the day the Medipen calmed me. Not so as the make me sleepy, just to make things easier to handle. When your body is constantly in pain, and teetering on the edge of ‘fight or flight’ mode, it’s easy to have a meltdown. Me seeming moody or snappy is commonplace in my household. Crying feats and explosions of anger are also not unheard of. During the trial these episodes happened much less often. In fact, when things happened that would usually have my heart racing (more than usual) and adrenaline cursing through my veins, I actually managed to remain calm and carry on. My driving improved, how I coped with others driving improved. I had more patience and could shrug things off better.
Of course nothing is perfect. At times my pain would still sneak through and bite me on the bum. Also, I did find it hard not to forget that though I was feeling better I wasn’t ACTUALLY better. The Medipen is not medicinal. Whilst it can take away feelings of pain etc, it does not cure the underlying cause. I did end up crashing a couple of times during this trial and ending up back in my bed. It’s easy to do too much when you start to feel human again. But it’s a learning curve. One that I was happy to be on! I’d rather crash from doing too much than not be able to do anything at all!
But; I hear you asking yourself, why is this blog in past tense if the product is so good? Why is she not using it anymore? Well my friends, that’s where the surgery comes in. As cannabinol is still so new to the medical community, and not yet sanctioned by the NHS, I was advise to stop usage before my operation and for a time after. It’s now a month since my surgery and I realise that now I have to make a decision.
I thought my big decision was whether to try the Medipen, in fact it’s whether to continue to use it long term.
The Medipen is by no means a ‘cheap option’. Living on disability benefits the cost per cartridge is arguably quite high. (Though I must point out it’s much cheaper than smoking!) I have to ask myself, are the benefits of the Medipen worth the financial implications? Would I be better spending that money on other things? Am I being selfish? Would my family be better off if I used the money elsewhere? These are all questions I’ve been wrestling with for the last month. As I’ve been pretty much bed bound, struggling to sleep and barely coping with my pain. Can I take money from our family pot and spend it on me??
The answer is yes.
Because when I do better, my family does better. My relationship with my husband improves. My children are happier. Life in general is just easier. Sure, I could use that money on toys, trips out or takeaways. But they hold no real value to my family. What we need is to make memories together. I want to be at the park, feeding the ducks with my husband and baby. Not home watching videos of it on my phone. They want me there too. I’m sick of being backstage in the show that is my family’s life. It’s about time I was up front and centre! I owe it to them, I owe it to myself!
So tomorrow I order my new cartridges. I restart my Medipen journey; and I hope I see the same results. Then, in the spring, I hope to be writing an article outlining how I’ve found long term use of Medipen. I really hope that, unlike with medications, the benefits do not ware off with time. I’ve got a good feeling that they won’t… *Please note that I received my Medipen and cartridges free as a Thankyou for writing about my experiences. All opinions in this blog are honest and my own.
In the last few months my levels of pain and exhaustion have hit a whole new high. This has left me pretty much bedbound most days. Then awake and restless at night. Alongside all that, my Gastroparesis has flared, meaning I’m nauseous almost all the time. My stomach feels full and bloated and eating, or even drinking, causes severe pain. When everything piles up like this it’s hard to cope. I found myself breaking down and sobbing on an all too regular basis.
I’m already taking slow release Tramadol, Paracetamol and Codeine for my pain. I also have Gabapentin for nerve pain and other issues.
Please note, it is not generally advisable to take Tramadol and Codeine together. I have special permission from the pain clinic and have been given clear instructions on safe dosage. Please don’t ever take medication that is not prescribed to you, or at a higher dose than prescribed by your GP.
I cannot take anything Ibuprofen based due to my IBD, nor can I take many of the anti nausea medications that are on the market. During my last Gastroparesis flare my GP tried me on many of these medications, they either didn’t work, upset my bowel, or worse. What could be worse? Giving me the symptoms of a brain tumour, that’s what. My body reacts to things in very weird and wonderful ways. Waiting for my test results to come back after I’d been told I was displaying all the signs of a prolactinoma was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, one which I do not intend to repeat.
So, as you can imagine, my options are now pretty limited. Basically there’s only one thing to move up to. Morphine. Be it tablet or patch form, it doesn’t matter. That’s the only thing left. I discussed this with my husband. Yes, I want to feel better. Yes, I want to be up and about more. But Morphine? I’m thirty years old. Do I really want to put my, already dysfunctional body, through that? I know that Morphine is a strong pain relieving option. But I also know that any pain relief doesn’t seem as effective on me as it is on others, this could be down to my dodgy collagen. Even in hospital when I’ve been given Morphine intravenously, it’s not had a major effect. I never ever get spaced out or super relaxed. It just doesn’t affect me that strongly. So I’d be putting my body through all that stress, for a minimal effect. I don’t think it’s worth it.
But what other choice did I have? None. Or so I thought. Soon after our conversation my husband saw an article about the Medipen which he sent over to me. Basically the Medipen is a vape machine which uses extracts from the Cannabis plant, combined with coconut oil. The extracts are completely devoid of any of the chemicals which cause the feeling of being ‘high’. They purely contain the chemical which has the most benefits, CBD. I’m not going to lie, I was wary. Very wary. Cannabis has a lot of stigma around it. Then add to this the fact that you inhale it in a vape machine, meaning you look like you’re smoking. That was too much.
I’m not anti Cannabis. I don’t believe it’s a big evil drug that is bringing it to its knees. Honestly I don’t. Used in the correct way, I can see why it could be popular. However I am anti smoking. I do not smoke, have never smoked, and have no desire to. I’m not going to lecture people about their life choices, but in my opinion my body has enough wrong with it without me adding to the list. When you think of Cannabis that’s what comes to mind. Smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. Spliffs, bongs, hash briwnies. But mostly dingy rooms full of pungent acrid smoke. That’s the stereotype. The stereotype that is widely spread and etched into people’s minds. But that’s not me. I’m a mother. A none smoker. A disabled member of the community just trying to make the best of my life.
My initial reaction to the Medipen wasn’t great. But I read the article. I researched. I looked on their website. Mostly I checked out the reviews. Page after page after page of people thanking the company. People with Cancer, MS, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Insomnia and bowel complaints, all were seeing results! They were gushing about their great experiences. Better sleep, less pain, more energy. The reviews were astounding. Many even called it life changing. My viewpoint started to shift. Reluctantly I discussed it with my doctor. Terrified by his reaction. What if he thought I was a pot head? I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me to go for it! Recently another patient of his had tried a similar product and had excellent results. He agreed it was time I started thinking outside the box in order to improve my day to day life. Wow! The (unofficial) go ahead from my doctor!
That night I contacted the company and arranged for my sample. I’ve been anxiously waiting for it ever since. Desperate to try it, but afraid the hype was too much to be true. Honestly, I was afraid to even hope. As for the stigma? I put it out of my mind. I told myself, who cares what other people think?! I need an improvement in my life. I cannot keep going like this, and I don’t want to take opiates. Besides, as with stigma about anything, we just need to raise our voices and educate. Show people they’re wrong. Highlight the true facts of the matter.
My Medipen arrived this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing how I go with it, and updating you all on my experiences; from my initial reactions (including reactions to it from those around me) to the results of longer term use. Here’s hoping it’s all positive!! I’m just happy I actually have something to place my hope in for once.
Recently I’ve been going through a really difficult time. A change in my medications has gone incredibly wrong, meaning I’ve been flaring in every sense of the word. My pain levels have skyrocketed, leaving my meds completely unable to make any dent in them. I’m having hot and cold sweats, shakes, breathlessness and tremors. My racing heart is causing me to be dizzy and trip over my words, and my feet! On top of all that I can’t sleep at night, even though a constant exhaustion sits over me like a suffocating toxic fog. In short it’s been hell. Complete hell.
This morning I woke up feeling much the same as I have every other day. I’d only had five hours of interrupted, restless sleep. I was exhausted and in pain. But, I was determined to get out of the house. As I laid in bed and waited for my meds to kick in, something amazing happened. They actually kicked in! For the first time in a long time the haze of exhaustion began to lift and my pain eased just enough to move around without visibly wincing! I couldn’t believe it!
Of course I did what anyone would do. I made the most of it! In the car we hopped, and down to the park we went. This time, I didn’t sit on a bench and watch as my husband played with the kids. I got up, and I joined in! Today it was me taking our baby on the rides. It was me playing along. It was me being ‘fun mum’. Yes it hurt. Yes it took my breath away. Yes I’m now in bed feeling like I’ve been run over by an articulated lorry. But it was so so worth it!! It’s amazing the difference a few hours out (if that) can make to your mental state.
Technically today I did the wrong thing. Technically I should have paced myself. Taken it steady. Reserved some energy for tomorrow. But what’s the point? What’s the point in saving myself, when I have so many overlapping conditions that tomorrow I can still wake up unable to function? I cannot live like that. I cannot and I will not. These last few months have been an exhausting whirlwind of pain and symptoms that’s left me feeling a shadow of myself. Yesterday I was low. I was the lowest I’ve been in a while, crying hysterically at the doctors receptionist when they couldn’t get me an appointment. Sobbing in the bathroom at 2am as I tried to shower away my searing pain. I needed a day like today. Today was my body’s gift to me, I’d be damned if I was going to waste it!
As for tomorrow? Well, if I’m out for the count (which I likely would have been anyway) then at least I have my wonderful few hours at the park today to look back on. To me, that’s worth it.
Throughout the world there are thousands upon thousands of people living below the radar. Struggling just to exhist, let alone be ‘functioning’ members of the community. These people, people like me, live with disability. Together we form a huge portion of the global community, but with so few of us in the public eye it’s hard to get our stories out there. So that’s what I’m hoping to do. I’d love to give you a window into our lives, a hearty welcome and a good look around!
Jennifer is a forty two year old lady who has suffered with Spina Bifida since birth. Basically her spine did not form properly, causing her to live with a host of health problems throughout her life. These include not only crippling pain and loss of sensation, but also mobility issues. For along time Jennifer fought hard to get around on crutches, until eventually her body could not manage anymore. She is now permanently wheelchair bound.
As Jennifer doesn’t have the upper body strength to propel herself, she relies on others to get her about. Luckily she has a wonderful husband who lives her dearly. He happily devotes himself to caring for her, cooking her meals and taking her anywhere she needs. It takes a special bond to love through severe disability, and they have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, living in constant pain and exhaustion is not easy. For Jennifer, as with many of us struggling with disabilities, depression has dogged her life. Trying its best to creep it’s way into her psyche on even the brightest of days. But she does not let it win!
Jennifer has filled her life with so much love its overflowing. How? With her beautiful pooches and pussy cats, who brighten her days with their bouncy personalities and unwavering adoration. One such companion was Monty. A cheerful West Highland Terrier, he was Jennifer’s constant companion of seventeen years. After seeing her through both good times and bad, he said his goodbyes and grew his Angel wings in August of 2015. That loss was one of the toughest to go through, and coming to terms with it has been hard.
You’d think that with so much difficulty in her life Jennifer would be bitter? But you couldn’t be further from the truth. As soon as you speak to her you feel an eternal optimism exuding from her. This strong woman will not let anything bring her down for long. So much so, that rather than wallow in grief, she has turned the harrowing loss of her beloved pet into something positive. Jennifer has chosen to craft. She crafts through pain. She crafts through depression. She crafts through the melancholy of day after day of living with disability. In fact, she’s made so much that she’s even opened her own shop, Monty’s Makes.
Jennifer sells a whole range of beautiful bespoke crafts. Each item can take her days, if not weeks to complete. She does all her crafts sitting down, but due to pain in her back she has to do several short sessions on and one piece. To keep things interesting Jennifer likes to hop from piece to piece. When asked about her crafting she says:
It might take a while to get things done, but I never give up. I enjoy it as it helps me to take things not so seriously.
When visiting Jennifer’s shop you are immediately hit by the sheer volume of beautiful work she has created. From the kitch hand sewn items, to the funky jewellery. There’s something for everyone, not forgetting of course a good dose of doggy themed makes. How could she not. Here’s a few of my favourite pieces:
I love the jade green and aquamarine hues of this beautiful bracelet. Being a bangle its so easy to pop on, perfect for someone who struggles with fine motor skills like me! Each loop of the bangle has had two of the shimmering beads attached by hand, creating a truly decadent and stunning piece of jewellery. My jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the minuscule price tag. It’s definitely one for my Christmas list!
A sucker for anything kitch I adore these little birds. I can imagine them adorning the nursery of a well loved newborn. Or dancing merrily on a cot mobile to help soothe baby to sleep. Alternatively they’d be great looped through the Zips on handbags as a quirky adornment, looking cool and making the zip easier to grab at the same time. Another feature I love is that Jennifer allows her customers to customise these and many other items, offering a variety of colour choices.
Finally I have to say that I ADORE this iPad holder. With the issues I have in my wrists I really struggle to hold my iPad. This is not great as I spend the majority of many days in bed, with only my iPad for company. Sometimes the pain is too bad to even hold it. My husband did buy me a small plastic stand, but due to resting it on myself, I often end up with my iPad smacking me in the face. No fun. This is absolutely perfect!! It’s sturdy and pretty and everything I could want in an iPad stand! Even better I have no doubt it could be used for mirrors and even books. I’m really feeling all the love for this item!!
Just when I really thought my admiration for the drive and determination shown by Jennifer could go no further, she surprises me once more. Because Jennifer takes no profit whatsoever from Monty’s Makes. You see in 2002, after a harrowing four year battle with lung cancer Jennifer lost her Father. Then last New Years Eve more sorrow befell her family when her sister in law sadly passed from Breast Cancer. Even with all her own hurdles Jennifer couldn’t sit back and do nothing. So that was why she decided to create her shop and donate all profits to Cancer research. And what does Jennifer have to say about her wonderful gesture?
I just wanted to help others, like I’ve been helped all my life.
If you too want to help others please take a look through Monty’s Makes and see if anything catches your eye. Otherwise feel free to make a donation at Cancer Research UK. Jennifer would really appreciate it.
**Please note this is NOT a sponsored post. No money or goods were exchanged for the writing of this post.**