For life's little ups and downs.

A rather quirky, funny and sometimes daunting look in to the life of someone who has a lot of health problems but does their best to keep positive.


I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with 2 mental health problems as well as a disabling and sometimes painful physical problem. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.

About Me:

I am young, caring and a very smiley. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life and these keep me going through the best and worst of times. I live with Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Chronic IBS, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis. I live with these conditions, but I refuse to let them keep me down and out. I still try and make the most of my days despite being so poorly and having to rely on my wheelchair, nebulisers, nearly 50 pills a day and 2l/min of oxygen.

I went through hell due to bad diagnosis and poor clinical care, and I suffered a lot as a result. I do my blog to tell a story of hope and how a heart full of pain and sadness can find a beautiful light inside. I agreed with Cissnei in Crisis Core when she said that "Wings symbolise freedom for those who have none". I have always dreamed about having a pair of wings and being able to fly away from all of the things that hurt me in life. Sadly many times my wings were clipped or even pulled away and I was left with nothing.

I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Why?

Maybe it's because I was brought up around animals and taught to respect every creature from a young age but something recently has really stirred me up. Its made me angry and sad at the same time because I know what a pet should be to a family. Animal cruelty is on the rise in the UK and it makes me question my faith in humanity. From when I found out about Baby the bulldog, I knew I wanted to help spread the word as much as I could, and even if it was only 1 or 2 signatures I managed to inspire, then it was successful. I also openly support Operation Frankish in their endevour to make sure that these people are taken to task about what they did.

Today, I found out about another dog who died due to the cruelty of their owners and the complacent nature of the RSPCA who aren't doing anything to make sure that this person doesn't harm an animal again. Hamish spent his 14 months of life being tortured and abused before succumbing to his his injuries and sadly passing away. I just can't understand it. I really can't. How can people think it right to beat, abuse or torture their pets? When my ex-neighbour poisoned my guinea pig Bumble, we did what we could to make sure that he didn't get away with it (nor the 12 months of hell he put me through as well). The problem is, animal abuse doesn't carry any serious consequences.

If you were to do some of the things that I have heard of and seen done to animals to a child you would have the book thrown at you. Why should that be any different to a dog or a cat, or any animal for that matter. It seems to have gotten worse recently and theres been many stories around about animals that have been brutalised, tortured and even mutilated by sick individuals who only get a slap on the wrist, told they can't have a pet (although 9 times out of 10 they do anyway) and then let on their merry way to go and find another helpless victim. Suspended sentences are a joke.

The Frankish brothers got paltry suspended sentences and when the public spoke up about it THEY were the ones that were given protection! Who protected Baby? Who stood up and said "That's not right." and helped that poor dog? At the time, no one. We seriously need to rethink how we deal with this issue and make sure that there are proper deterrents out there and proper consequences. These people need to be punished and know that what they did was wrong and (if its even possible) rehabilitated in to decent people who won't attack an animal because they saw it as beneath them.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Wheelchair

I read an article recently about how to behave around a wheelchair user and it did get me thinking about what the outdoors experience is like for someone in a wheelchair. Someone like me. I haven't always been in a wheelchair and I get a lot of people saying things like "since when did you need a wheelchair?" or "I didn't know you were that bad..." and sometimes I just feel so angry because it wasn't my choice to end up this way.  I don't feel sorry for myself by any means, but sometimes people can say things that are actually really offensive without realising.

I didn't wake up one morning and think to myself "You know what, I feel like being confined to a wheelchair most of the day and stuck on oxygen."

I didn't want this.

I don't actually enjoy it.

It is just as it is. My wheelchair is my independence. Without it, I am not able to do things and yes that does kind of annoy me because I never used to need one, but it turns out, it was probably already pre-determined somewhere along the lines. I have always had trouble walking and can't run at all, never have been able to due to a mild case of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (or HPS) which I inherited from my father's side of the family (along with my "Squint" (that weird eye thing), stomach problems and a few other things). Basically this means my legs don't work as they should and as a result, my back (not helped by a curve or a serious injury during childhood, the joys of being the younger sister of 2 older brothers who loved wrestling, well we all watched it but they loved to do the moves on me as I was a lot smaller than them and easier to chuck about) I have problems walking, standing or even sitting unsupported. When I have bad days, my legs shake so much that I have to use a grab rail to transfer to the shower. Its not fun and there were frustrating times too. The problem with school is that unless you're sporty, you aren't really respected, so get someone like me in to the mix, it wasn't a whole barrel of laughs.

I remember the teachers telling my mum that I was just trying to get out of PE and running and my mum turning around and saying "No, its not that she doesn't want to. She can't. She never could." My mum stuck up for me a lot because she knew what I was dealing with and she did do her best to make sure that I at least stayed out of a chair in my childhood, even when after my back injury (which happened when I was 10) she was told that we would only know the true after effect of it as I got older and whether my dad's decision to withhold medical help at the time (not to mention moving me, which you NEVER do with someone who has hurt their back, EVER.) would have drastic consequences for me. When my mum told me about how for 6 months she effectively had to watch me learn to "walk" again and how I always limped afterwards, I felt for her because that must have really been hard for her to see and how powerless she was against my dad.

I just accept it because that's what I have to do. If it means that I am able to keep on living for as long as I can then I will carry on doing what I have to. It's not been easy and in some ways it felt like another blow and loss to my independence to have to use a scooter, then a wheelchair but at the same time it reminded me that going out and living and enjoying life didn't need to be painful or exhausting. In some ways its like I have been allowed to live my own life once again and for that I am thankful. Its hard to be stuck indoors with an illness and not be able to get anywhere or do anything. It made me miserable because I felt trapped in a kind of prison, I wanted to do things. But I couldn't. I wanted to be free but I was in a body that was slowly unable to keep up and I think it took me a long time to adapt to things. There are days when I do struggle with the implications of being in a chair, but I have people on my side to offer help, support and love. I think that is how I managed to get through the adjustment of moving from my flat to a bungalow (which turns out was the best thing ever for me).

I had to learn that people are always going to have negative comments towards you. I will never forget the time I got on a bus on my old scooter and this woman shoved past me saying "I'm 84 and I don't need one of those." Or when Becky took on a kid who was gawping at me (much to the support of everyone else in the shop at the time, including said kid's own mother). Or even the hassle it takes for me to even get on a bus if the driver is too lazy to put the ramp down, this happens pretty much every time I try and go out which is partly why I don't go out much. I do try and have a sense of humour about things, even if they bother me. For instance, when I was at an appointment, a small child blurted out "Mummy, whats that on that lady's face?" and I smiled and joked that it stopped my bogeys from falling out. Children aren't intentionally malicious, they just don't always understand.

I always say to people, look at me. Don't judge me for what I can't do but for the person I am.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 30 May 2016

Animals and Love.

Sometimes, no matter how much you want something, if it's just not meant to be, its not meant to be. I'm not talking of a break up or anything like that, more of a pet experiment that didn't go too well. It did however open a floodgate that even now feels as raw as it did 12 years ago. I never realised until recently how much my animals really meant to me, especially when the story of Baby the bulldog broke and I cried tears for such a sad story of a dog who just wanted to be loved and was treated like that and how much that really hit me. I know now how some parents may feel when they see things about children being hurt and how it makes them love and appreciate their own more. OK so its not in as big a way and people will probably deny it, but to me, my guinea pigs and rabbit are my children. They are the world to me and they love me, even when I couldn't love myself.

I have always liked dogs and its always been a bit of a thing for me to own one, particularly a Staffie cross type, like her. No matter how many years pass, I still miss my childhood dog, Judy. Judy was like a permanent constant in my life, a friend and, towards the end, a cuddle companion. My childhood ended the day she was put to sleep and I moved out the day afterwards. I still remember the exact date (July 27, 2004. I moved out on the 28th to live in Redditch). I know its been 12 years, but I still think of her. Heck whenever I do think about her sometimes I either laugh because she was so funny or cry because I miss her. She was there for me though a lot of the bad times and some of the biggest hurts ever. She always encouraged me and let me know that although other kids were a total mystery to me, she loved me anyway.

People say to me that a pet is "only a pet" but I really don't agree. To me, a pet is as much a member of the family as anyone else. I don't see my pets as anything else and I really wouldn't be anywhere without the love of those little animals who live in my bungalow.  Call me a sentimental moron if you want. But I have never ever lived in a home without a pet and I never intend to because to me, home is where the pet is, no matter what the pet is. So call me crazy when I jumped at the chance to take on a lovely 12 year old Staffie cross called Sandy. She is such a lovely dog, and until the asthma attack hit (turns out I have had an allergy to dogs for a good long time, who knew?) I was happy in thinking that I had found myself someone else to love and needed someone who was home 24/7. I think the one thing I can take from this and smile is that for a night, I spent time with a dog again. Its silly really and impractical to give your emotions out to someone you only got one night with but I will always have that at least. That moment where she lay on my lap while watching stuff on the laptop and we fell asleep cuddled up to each other. The moral here though is health first, you can't look after a pet when you can't look after yourself. I guess for me, its a definite answer that I won't be getting a puppy any time soon, but I will stick with what I know I can keep, guinea pigs. I just hope that Sandy gets a good forever home soon and is able to live happily ever after.

Its funny when I was feeling upset earlier, I had both guinea pigs come out and sit on my lap to remind me that although I am not perfect, I am the world to them. It makes me feel more love towards the pets I have and reminds me that although they're only with us for a while, they stay with us in our hearts, or something like that anyway. I still remember everything about every piggie I have had, from Patch and Alphonse to Tiggy, Bumbles and Scruff. I remember the good times. The funny moments and the moments where they reminded me  that it was OK to be a little bit "broken" and they didn't mind that at all. Heck, Patch used to be a comfort to me when I was bad because of how he used to lie with me and nuzzle. Yugi and Kaiba are funny little ones and they definitely reminded me today that I am a piggy-mum and I always will be. OK so it was funny that while cleaning the hutch, Yugi kept running up, nibbling my knuckles and running away cheekily!

I guess that for now, I am just going to be thankful for the wonderful things I do have in my life. I have people who I love and who love me. I have my fur-babies. I have a wonderful new home which I love the chance to take care of it. All around, I think I am blessed with what I have and I think I have enough to be happy.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 23 May 2016

2016 - So far

I love it when good news hits my inbox. It is always a great honour to be named by Healthline as one of their 12 best asthma blogs. This is something I have been honoured with for 4 years running. I am glad that my blog reaches so many people and provides inspiration and empowerment. That is after all the reason I started this blog 6 years ago. I can't believe how much has changed from those humble beginnings back in the YMCA to where I am now. Maybe it is in the growth and change that I have managed to gain a better understanding of life and where we all fit in. Yes there have been a few negative comments but hey, there are always going to be people out there who want to knock you down, but that is their problem. Not mine. Haters are going to hate, so they say. Instead, I am focusing myself with keeping up with my message of positive thinking and trying to keep the glass half full. That is how life should be.

I have had a lot of things to adapt to over the last few years, from being on home oxygen to getting help with carers coming in every day. Getting used to being in a wheelchair has been particularly frustrating because its like you have to learn how to live all over again. Sounds dramatic but I would happily challenge a non-chair user to spend a couple of days in my shoes. I didn't even realise the challenge we have to face with simple things like getting on/off buses, going around the streets (and looking everywhere for the fabled "dropped curbs" or accessible shops) and the general scorn you get from some people. I think the biggest thing is that its human nature to shun what we don't really understand. Not everyone has had to learn about being in a wheelchair or live on what is basically a cocktail of medications. And I know even more who would rather die than be that way. I think in some ways, its a reminder to me that I have been through the rough stuff and I came out the other end a decent human being.

Admittedly I hadn't been as well as I could be over the last week or so. Actually, I have been feeling off since everyone came down with this weird flu bug. Unfortunately flu and asthma are never a good mix and as a result I developed bacterial bronchitis which has been making me feel drained. I have been keeping myself occupied with old cartoons (curled up in bed with Sephy, my favourite plush doll), games and of course my craft work. I think that by keeping myself occupied, it helps me keep my mind off everything. OK so I got a bit addicted to Tropico 5 (building myself a couple of idyllic tropical islands and running them in different ways, actually a really relaxing game, the music just gets me as well and before I know where I am, 2 hours are gone!) and other games. After all, a depressed mind is often bolstered by boredom. This is why keeping up on my blogging, writing, gaming and general arts and crafts has been something of a lifesaver for me. With plenty to keep my mind busy, I have less time to spend thinking about the whole "woe is me...my life is -sooooooo- hard" crap. Because lets face it, people who compete to have the crappiest hand in life are just pathetic and not worth thinking about. Some people who have real problems are actually going to get things changed because you can't stay miserable forever.

I still believe that moving on from my old place was the right thing for me to do. OK so it wasn't exactly easy and there were times when it wasn't fun to organise (particularly when it was a week before Christmas) but it was something that has worked out for the better for me. The bungalow is a lot bigger than the flat and has more open space. There aren't problems with damp or mould nor are there issues with antisocial behaviour, including foul mouthed kids and even more foul "parents". My animals are safer here too as theres no access or way for kids to come in and open cages. Overall, its been such a good thing and I know I keep harping on about it. But I really do feel so much brighter and more positive here. I don't know what the next years are going to hold, but I think we can safely say that we will all find out together!

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Change. It Can be Good. Honest!

This last week has been one of discovery and getting to know a new console. Since getting my PS4, I have been lost in the adventure of the Transformers Devastation game, seriously good fun and fits in to the storyline pre-Transformers The Movie (1986). With 5 playable Autobots and a bounty of weapons, mods, moves and other stuff (plus some little things to look for like Decepticon flags and Kremzeek! (Kremzeek was like this little electronic bug character that Megatron used to "infect" Teletran 1 during the 2nd season of the original series. Small but it packed a heck of a punch) and side missions). Plenty to keep me occupied and amazed as I watch the characters come back to life once again. OK so my splitter and PS4 didn't agree with each other so now my splitter manages my Xbox, PS3 and Virgin box. That's OK of course, as they are all plugged in and all work but it was a bit of a pain to sort out at the time.

Another thing I have been exploring came in the form of an orange box. Inside the box were some rather interesting and some unusual sweets and snacks all the way from Japan. TokyoTreat is one of those box subscription things you get and every month you get sent a generous amount of interesting new things. This is great because chances are you have never tasted anything quite like it. I experienced the rather delicate sweetness of Matcha (powdered green tea). There are things that I am looking to get again (admittedly buying online) and some things I am not so sure of. Either way it was a great little idea and the snacks and treats definitely add something to my day because you know what they say about stagnating and getting in to ruts. Something I would avoid like the plague. While illness is draining, monotony is worse. Its a fine line between routine and a little bit of spontaneous fun.

You should enjoy yourself and do things that make you happy. Don't be scared of new things and just go with it. After all, we only have so long to do it and when you think about it, what is stopping you from doing the things you want to do? Those who blame others for missed chances are weak willed and foolish. Maybe it's easier to blame others for your misfortunes rather than being adult and taking responsibility? I don't know. Personally, I am making the most of things, yes there are days when I feel so exhausted that I can't move. Yes there are days when I just want to give up and break down in to tears. But then I remind myself of something, I am still alive. Despite the illness, people who tried to drag me down their level or anything else. I am still here. I am still able to hold my head up and say "You know what, yeah the past was a bit rough but who says I am letting the future be the same?"

People ask me how I cope with everything. The simplest answer is "I just do." I can't wave a magic wand and make it better and make years of chronic chest infections and pretty much daily asthma symptoms and attacks disappear. Nor can I erase the damage that has done to my lungs and the knock on effect that has had (and the effects of the treatments) on other parts of my body. There is no cure. I know that. I accept that. BUT I keep on going because I don't see why I should have to stop because of things. I am independent and it is a huge part of who I am. I have my wheelchair and oxygen cylinders so that I may live as comfortably and independently as I can. I have freedom. Maybe not in all the ways that someone would want it, but I still have something, right?

Since moving I have felt so much better in myself. Living in a quiet and more out of the way area of Redditch has been lovely. Sitting around and listening to birds outside. The area is lovely and peaceful and there's no trouble. Ever. OK so its a bit out of the way but I don't mind it too much (OK so the buses still need a lot to be desired at times, last week when Jace was over, the last thing we wanted to hear a bus driver say was "sometimes the brakes work, sometimes they don't", talk about unsettling...) I do feel calmer and I have been able to relax and enjoy my bungalow. One thing I definitely agree with now is that change can be a good thing. Change can bring about growth and often that is where things start to get better. Maybe things will get better healthwise? Maybe not. But I know in myself that I am going to withstand it and I am strong enough to get back up again.

Loves
Wendy xx


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Spring!

Spring has well and truly sprung here and there are even flowers in my garden. Its now that I can see the scope and sheer size of what I have to work with here. Thanks to a very kind neighbour, I now have proper hutches and runs for the animals (Loki is enjoying being an outdoorsy bunny, the piggies aren't so keen on being outdoors so they're staying inside with me but they LOVE having more space to run about). I think all of us are really seeing the long term benefits of moving, even if the move itself was a logistical nightmare! Its true, you never know just how much crap you own until said crap has to be shifted from place to place. Maybe its the fact that it's the warmer weather or the fact that I am now living in a home that I don't feel scared or threatened in anymore, but I feel more like the old me as the time passes. Maybe I was skeptical at first about the move, it was a heck of a change and I think it was one that had to happen because I was so depressed that I didn't even see how depressed I was feeling until it was nearly too late. My old place was fine but towards the end of my time there, I was restricted on how I could live there. I couldn't use my kitchen

I have mostly unpacked now and just have a few boxes left in storage, otherwise, I can say with certainty that I am unpacked and am living in my happy home. The weird thing is, while I was unpacking, I never noticed how much I was doing and it took me ages to get the place how I like it. Of course now comes the part where I have to maintain it and keep it to the standards that I have put upon myself. I don't mind doing bits of housework. This is all that is left to unpack now, considering that there used to be boxes as far as the eye could see, this is a vast improvement and the few boxes left, I know roughly what's in there. I am house-proud and I find cleaning cathartic, but sometimes I will admit that I push my body too hard and my reward is usually a wheezy chest needing nebs. It's OK though because my home is how it should be. Clean and tidy. Something I couldn't seem to achieve at the old place, maybe it was something in the air (actually there was a lot of damp in the air from way before I lived there) that made me feel more and more like giving up. Its weird but every time I go in to that little room, it gets more tidy and things start making their way to proper places. Its only a little space (just small enough to not be classed as a 2nd bedroom but could easily be used as one)

I guess it isn't important now. I've been in my bungalow for 4 months now (I can hardly believe it myself) and I love being here. There's something nice about waking up and not thinking "What is my neighbour going to do THIS time?" or having their music perforate any peace and quiet you had. Abbeydale isn't in itself a horrible place. Its just a tough place for someone who is sensitive to some things and more likely to suffer due to stress and for someone who values things like privacy and not hearing a street full of kids screeching like banshees all summer. I think that where I am now is a lot more suitable to me and and I am definitely a lot better off here. For one, I can get around this place so much easier and its easier to keep clean tidy and fresh. A better home environment is good for me and it's good for the animals as well. I think they were also suffering at the psycho hands of my neighbour and they knew that it was affecting me to that point.

Funny, looking back at a blog from this time last year, I was making plans of home improvements, new furniture and redecorating. I guess that when you look back on it, I did get a home upgrade. Just not in the way we originally thought. Maybe this is one of those moments where you realise that you went through hell and came out smiling. 

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Justice for Baby

Very rarely do I ever come across something that shakes me to the core. Being an animal lover for all of my life means that I have infinite time for our furry, feathered or scaley friends. My pets aren't just animals to me. They are my family. They have the same level of love and attention as I would want to get myself and they are happy and well cared for. They are loved. But they are lucky. Not all animals are fortunate enough to find homes where they are treated not as subservient but as family members in their own right. Its horrible to think that the UK, a nation who are supposed to be known for their love of animals, is seeing more and more animal crime and abuse.

In the UK if an animal is abused and the perpetrator is taken to court, the sentences handed down are so lenient and often with "suspended sentences" the criminals are basically told that if they're a good boy/girl for a little while, they will avoid prison completely. I think this isn't right. I really don't believe in suspended sentencing anyway, especially in cases where either a person or animal was seriously harmed or killed. It's too soft an approach and it just sends out the clear message that even if you do something that is so awful, you'll get a slap on the wrist. People don't take it seriously and I think they have learned that they can be as inhumane towards an animal as they please and get one of these weak "sentences".

No case illustrates how wrong this is more than the sad story of a bulldog named Baby. You may have heard Baby's story already since it went viral last week. Baby's last few months were torture at the hands of the humans she thought would love her and keep her safe. In the videos online you see the shocking way that Andrew and Daniel Frankish, of Redcar, pick her up and throw her repeatedly down a flight of stairs while laughing and joking about what they were doing. Picking her up by the ears to "make it scream some more" or head-butting her against the walls. Standing on her chest and using her as a trampoline while the poor dog lay submissive and still obedient towards these thugs. This was all filmed and 3 months later, Baby was put to sleep due to her losing the use of her back legs (those last few months must have been so painful for her, having had a spinal injury myself that was left untreated, I know first hand how hard that can be). 2 years later and the memory chip containing the footage was found on a supermarket floor, the RSPCA and police got involved and the lads both got suspended sentences and 6 month tagging/curfew.

These two were defended by their mother who said that they were "fucked" on drugs and that they didn't know what they were doing. The fact that they actually filmed the attack on Baby and kept the memory card and footage shows that they not only knew what they did but they were probably proud of themselves for doing so. Keeping the videos as some kind of sick trophy to relive the moment where they were "big men" and attacked a defenseless pet. Obviously the boys are pretty much going to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders in case someone decides to give them a beating but they aren't the victims here.

Baby's case wasn't exactly isolated and there have been numerous incidents of animal abuse and the poor sentencing of judges that almost make it OK to abuse an animal. As usual Facebook has been used positively to promote the plight of Baby and to call the authorities to drag these scumbags back in to court, get them proper sentences and use this case as a landmark to point towards tougher consequences for animal abusers. If you would like to get involved please click here to join the Facebook group as well as signing the petitions here and here.

Please help us get justice for Baby and stop something this horrible from ever happening again.

Loves
Wendy xx

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