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. Punctuated by guinea pigs, anime, superheroes, transforming robots and cross stitching.

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 a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. 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:

A blog about life. 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 and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. 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'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Monday, 17 December 2012

New Arrivals...

Today has been such an odd day. I mean last night I was up most of it tossing, turning and being in a lot of pain and not really able to get a lot of sleep. Its weird that despite being utterly exhausted, I can't really sleep all that well because its just really painful. Every breath feels like I've inhaled glass shards and I think thats kind of effecting me in terms of mood. It's been really obvious to everyone else (but me) that I have not been myself and I've been unusually quiet and subdued, barely saying much and staying out of the way again. I'm certainly not noticing little things about myself, especially when my asthma does it's best to creep up on me.

Actually by the time I noticed this evening, I was well and truly in the midst of a battle and I'm determined to win, rather than get taken to hospital again. I couldn't go back to how things were before, it was draining and depressing to do the 1st time. To get back in to that life would probably be the death of me. I mean, I couldn't fault the work of the brave men and women of the West Midlands Ambulance Trust (I say "Brave" because they deal with so many people, some who are abusive, some who are just plain violent and others who are a waste of time and just wanted a bit of attention and yet they manage to still come back to work and do what they have to to help people) and the staff at my local hospital. In fact, I admire them because they still manage to help you, be it your first time ever or your millionth. I just don't want to go back to that point where I was never out of hospital for more than a few days because it just made me feel like I was just going to be "That ill girl" and it took it's toll on my sanity.

I guess I also want to just enjoy the company of Becky and our lovely animals. We had a couple of new additions on Saturday and I want to introduce them to our family. Becky has adopted a lovely little grey and white Rat who she has named Eva. Whereas I have adopted a cute grey and white Syrian Hamster who I have called Nero (after the young demon hunter from DMC4). I will allow Becky to introduce Eva at her own pace, but as for my little Nero, well hes a bit shy right now. After having been put in a box and going on a bus, poor little devil was scared half to death and before he went to his cage, he did sit and have a scream for a bit. He was probably thinking "OH MY GOD!! WHAT'S GOING ONNNN!!!" But he can be forgiven because he is absolutely tiny in a room full of giant creatures. And hes a cheeky little thing with a pretty little face so I couldn't bring myself to hate him ever! I mean look at him! He has such an adorable little face for such a little monster!

I suppose the next few nights are going to be spent getting to know my tiny new friend and watching him as he grows in to a little character like the other hamsters before him and as he learns to trust me more, I will be able to sit and just spend time with him. Its just going to take a few days before he can trust me properly, but being able to give him a cuddle against me was a start, that and him accepting my gift of a raisin, well both of us gave him a raisin and he seemed pretty happy about things.This morning he even sat and let me give him a gentle stroke and I sat for a little while just talking to him. At least by now, hes managed to stop screaming at me and doesn't seem too bothered if I mess up his bed slightly. Its a process that takes a while and when you do finally win your new pet's trust, its like you wonder how you ever got to that point.

Its been a bit of a varied week, between my asthma being a nightmare, poor weather amongst other things, its been a bit mad around here. Our American friend (well Becky's boyfriend) arrives back tomorrow which will mean that it will all be go in the house for the next few months. Bring it on I say, its a good chance for us all to be happy in each other's company and it's going to be an enriching experience.

Loves
Wendy xx


Friday, 14 December 2012

Redefined...

I've been thinking recently about the journey, the lessons and the strength of character that my condition has tested everyday. Some days are really better than others, and there are times when I can be full of life and energy when there are others when, like today, I am dozing off in the middle of a coffee shop, nearly landing face first in my Mushroom Napolenta panini and my Caramel Latte. I do love going and getting a coffee with Becky and we have that moment where we can have a laugh about the past week or two or just chill out for a while. Sometimes it can be a welcome break because for that hour or two, I am not some ill person, I am just like every other woman in the place, just there for pleasure. Besides, the coffee at Caffe Nero is just so exquisitely smooth and silky, and the added luxury of caramel sauce, vanilla syrup and even (against my better judgement, I will admit) a little whipped cream. Its like a naughty treat!

I do need that respite every so often because who would actually want to sit there and wallow in despair because of one thing. It may work for some people, but to be honest, spending my time thinking "Woe is me... oh poor tortured soul..." all the time does tend to get right on my nerves and I just want to break out and escape, do something new, something different. I always said that I never ever wanted my illness to be the only thing that defines me. I admit there have been times when I did let this slip, only to become annoyed with myself later because it was like I wasn't being me anymore, I was being this person who only seemed interested in self pity and that's not who I am. It wasn't how I was brought up. And I refuse to make that who I am.

Who I am is strong, she is wise. She is generous and kind. She never makes a judgement on anyone and would give her everything to help the people she cares about. However I do have a dark side, who doesn't? My dark side can be cold, cruel and distant towards people, once someone has gotten on my bad side, that is it and there is no way I am going to be won over again. Once a relationship ends, I don't go sniffing around for more. I always believe that exes are exes for a reason. I believe that everyone deserves a chance to lose it all and start afresh when it's possible.

I'm doing really well again (well mostly, there have been some hic-ups but thats really normal) and its thanks to the people who really mean a lot to me. Its because of these people that I feel strong enough to stand up and be counted and not be afraid of the girl in the mirror. I proved to myself that I am a good person, heck I proved it to myself a million and one times over, whether it was being a shoulder to cry on, someone to research and talk to the right people to sort out a problem or just someone to lend a hand. And as soon as Allen sets a foot back on British soil once more I will know then and there that I had done everything I could to help two friends who are in love with each other to spend as much time as they can together. It's important to them and because they mean a lot, it is important to me too. Everyone deserves that chance to be with the one they truly love and they're loved by that person implicitly.

I always used to look at life in all of the ways that I could have let everyone down, I guess it's true, "The closer you get to something, The tougher it is to see it, And I'll never take it for granted." I never saw myself like that ever before, I never looked at how hard I worked for my friends and how much I cared about the people who made life worth living so I guess now is probably the best time to say it. I may act distant and as though I don't even realise people are there, but I love the people who I have in my life and I am so grateful to have found people who make me feel special, beautiful and worthwhile every day, not just "that sick girl".

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Letting Go...

Sometimes I wonder to myself when (or even if) things will get better. Everyone always seems to believe that it's the case and that no matter how long this has all seemed to last that it will all stop soon. Well, it hasn't happened yet. Yesterday I spent most of the day doing all manner of treatments and who knows what else to try and avoid being admitted again. I have too much going on at the moment, what with my psych and our American friend returning to see the one he loves as well as my own love coming to see me as well. It's all getting a little crazy at the moment and to be honest, as much as I love being caught up in activity, I am actually starting to hate the effect it has on my body some days. For the last 4 days or so, after the run around and getting through it all, I have found myself taking short naps to try and just make it through the day.

It's been quite nasty and because we're due for even colder days and the possibility of snow and ice, I think my lungs are deciding that they have had enough of this now. I know I probably shouldn't complain, I mean I know there are people out there who have it a million times worse than I do, but there are times when I just feel so sick of being, well, sick. There are times when I wonder how much more of this can I actually take until it completely wears down my sanity to the point where I am little more than a gibbering wreck. And I will admit that there have been times when I have resorted to a very old habit to just make it through the day. I won't go in to great detail as to be honest, a lot of people would struggle to understand anyway, but I did start cutting as a way to relieve the pressure and until recently it was a common thing and after a while I began running out of subtle places to do it and not get caught. I'm breaking that habit now, but it hasn't been an easy one. To be honest, I was feeling rather embarrassed that something that I used to do in my teens was still my primary coping method.That feeling of embarrassment was really close to the surface when last night when I was in A+E being treated for yet another asthma attack that had gotten out of control.

I never in a million years expected for a nurse to look at my arms and when the Sister asked about the scars, she said "Self harm" almost straight away. I'm not used to people noticing my scars, and usually when they do, people jump straight to branding me as an "Attention Seeker" so when someone sat down with me and asked me what had been happening to make me feel the way I had been and how it had gotten to the point where I was looking for either a pencil sharpener blade or piece of broken glass to drag along the skin. Its not been easy to explain how alone being ill can make you feel and how you just want to scream at the top of my lungs that unless you have it, you just don't GET it. It's not really easy when you go on Facebook and see how much fun everyone I grew up with or went to school or college with are having. Sometimes I wish I was out there with them. Sometimes I just feel thankful that I made it this far through will alone. Simply put, although I know at times its what you would think as the "easy" option, but I am really just too stubborn to die.

I spent years lamenting about the past and time I wasted being foolish and reckless, wishing that I had made the most of everything and done everything I set out to. I always knew I had brittle asthma, that much was made crystal clear to me when I was 18, but those 3 years between when it was easier to live with and when I was 21 and it all just went downhill, and I should have spent every hour of everyday filling them with memories and doing everything I had set out to do. I guess hindsight would have been a fantastic thing back then and I would have known that my time to be a "normal" young woman would be limited, but its never the way things work and I know and understand that now. I think I finally allowed myself to let go of "what if" and just embrace what's important to me now. It's not been easy and there were times when it would have been a easier to just give in. I know it sounds strange but in allowing myself to feel what I needed to and do what I had to to relieve the pressure from making me want to burst. I will admit that it was a self-destructive method, but it allowed me to finally let go of everything and I felt better because of it.

Last night wasn't completely unexpected. I know my signs as well as anyone else. For the last week, I was becoming more and more symptomatic (although at times I don't notice because I am so used to how things go that I find it harder to distinguish whats going on). I was more quiet than usual and everyone was noticing that I was just not right in myself and as the days went on, I became more and more disinterested and by yesterday, I was just not right at all. I slept all day and by the time I went in, I was at the point where had I left it to get worse then I dread to think what would have happened. The result was a night in A+E and TTO medications of 50mg pred (never had that much at once before) antibiotics and pain killers. The thing I have noticed, the last few times I have been in, I have been in cubicle 10! There was a point in the late summer that I was in number 12, but as I was lying there just waiting for things to happen, I just looked ahead of me at the uninspiring view! I did amuse myself with the signal my phone had and tweeting random thoughts, this picture made me write about how no one had promised a splendid view!

Once I got home (with kind help from Martin) I sat talking with Becky for a while. Then I was having a cuddle with Kadaj, who when I first adopted him had a reputation towards being a bit vicious, and for the first time ever (hes always let Becky do it but not me) he allowed me to cradle him like a little baby! I guess he is my little baby and I love him dearly, whenever I stroked him while he was doing this, he licked my fingers gently and affectionately. So much for the aggressive "ASBO" piggie of the past!



Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Human Costs...

With the looming possibility of a major welfare overhall, it got me thinking of the human cost of chronic illness. A lot of people don't really understand what it can be like to have a health problem which feels as though it's holding you hostage, not that I'm complaining or entering in to an embittered rant about how much I miss having what would be seen as a normal life. I always said that I don't see myself as the only person to get ill, or one of the worst cases since the plague hit London. I'm not the first. I'm not the last but I do understand what life with an illness can be like.

The common belief is that living with a health problem is easy. This is the belief of the ignorant masses whose day isn't filled with treatment upon treatment, struggling to make do with even simple tasks or just getting by in any way that I can. Not helped by the judgements of people who really are clueless. One thing that always gets my back up is the attitudes of those who say what they think is a harmless comment such as "It must be nice to not have to go to work" or "I wish I could stay in bed all day". The temptation to go mad and rant at them about how they really do not get it at all. I think the worst thing I heard recently was on a shopping trip. These two people were discussing about how they as agreed that it was a good idea to "throw off all those lazy disabled people." Frankly it took all the self control in the world not to go up to them and say "How dare you. You have no idea how difficult it can be."

Another common misconception is that life with an illness is cheap. That would be true if you didn't have to pay for parts for some specialist equipment and therapies, mobility aids just to maintain some kind of independence, and for some, specialist people to help them. In about ideal world these things would be paid for by the primary care trusts but due to limited resources, that just isn't possible for anyone but the most severe cases.

So if you also think that helping the disabled is a waste, look instead at the people who claim unemployment benefits and don't even try and find work. In the USA, you are only allowed unemployment for 2 years and you have to have proof that you are actively seeking a job before you even get a penny. And you know something, the USA have a fantastic work ethic. And no one spends over a decade unemployed just because it's an easy option. And they look after those who can't work because of health problems. How do I know this? Well having an American friend living with us you tend to learn a lot.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Love...

The last few weeks have really tested my thoughts and feelings when it comes to the subject of love. Growing up, I never really understood it. My parents were never the lovey-dovey kind and they seldom showed any affection towards each other, let alone us kids. The one thing I remember the most, when it comes to my parents, was the constant fighting, the anger and the tears. I remember how the rows would start and my brother and I would be watching hugged up to each other as they screamed, shouted and even hit each other. I never really understood what the big appeal when it came to love was.

As a result, I never learned about distinguishing crushes and infactuation from real love. Not until I was about 16 years old and I had my first proper boyfriend. I remember the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, that electric when we kissed. The days spent together just talking about everything or climbing up the rocks (they were synthetic rocks set up at the lake for people to climb) and sitting on the highest point watching the wild rabbits scurry through the grass and shrubbery while the sun set just along the horizon. For 5 years we were there for each other, through thick and thin and I almost forgot for a while that I was one of the few kids out there that actually smiled when their parents split up.

Since that I have had relationships and even when they went wrong, I thought I had pretty much worked out what love was and how it really felt to be important and adored by someone. I'd lost my childish naivity about love and I really started to believe that love was something that came and went. Whether it was 3 days or 3 years, you were with someone then it would end. Its only recently that I started believing in true love again and I started to believe that two people could have a permanent connection. It was at this point that Jace came in to my life. And I have never felt so happy. Everything fit when I met him and I was able to see how beautiful love can really be.

Then this week, I also saw how much love can really hurt a person. I'm not talking about the kind of hurt that can make one bitter and twisted or skeptical about love and life. No, what I am talking about is bigger than that. I'm talking about the hurt that results from one person having the one they love cruelly ripped away from them, for what (as more research from all 3 of us has unearthed) should have never arised nor been a problem at all. A refusal by the UKBA to allow these two to be together, the resulting tears and the anger afterwards. All because one person couldn't be bothered to check the facts and their own protocols. I'm not going to go in to it in great detail but we are sorting things out slowly.

The UK Border Agency is supposed to keep us safe from people who want to come in and cause problems, prevent people and drug trafficking and smuggling in things that could be dangerous. Instead, Manchester's branch wanted to stop one of the most pleasant people I have ever met, and why? Because she had nothing better to do that day and was probably fed up of having no one to interrogate. Allen was sent away for no reason and we have been working tirelessly to find out why and ,ale sire that on his return very soon, the same chain of disgusting events won't reoccur. I won't have to watch my best friend as her heart breaks and she is denied the chance to even give the man she loves that one last kiss goodbye. I used to respect the work of the people in the UK Border Control. I know now that is no longer the case.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Standing (well sitting) Tall...

I have been drawing once more and I have been doing some of my illustrations for my ADIM stories. Not only do I enjoy it and find the pictures bring my stories to life, but in some ways, I do find the process cathartic. I think its because of the process to draw the images and put a little of myself in there as well as the calmness of it that helps me greatly. I haven't been well recently and I think after a while it was starting to make me feel a bit down in the dumps. Its understandable really even if I don't like it,

I have found that being out of the house on my scooter, even if its just a rumble up to town, has given me a whole new lease of life. Its actually been a pleasure to go to the shops or just potter about town. There was admittedly a few small mishaps, but the more I do it, the more confidence I seem to get. Now I can confidently move around shops and can even get on buses with it (I am getting REALLY good at parking in the wheelchair space and can even get on and off without issues). Its good to feel more like myself again and my quality of life has improved vastly. The change in me has been outstanding. On Sunday, I even went out by myself without any fear or worry. OK I was going to see an emergency doctor, but I felt so much more able and I do think that this was worthwhile.

I actually like going outside and going and living my life in a way that makes me very happy. Its been 3 or 4 years now since I have been able to get out and live my life without the fear of my asthma or my painful back, Dr Pike had suggested this a few years ago, but I am notorious for my stubborn nature and not wanting anyone to see me as less of a person because I rely on my mobility aids. People are even understanding more and I am getting less judgmental comments from people (the old fat guy over the road has taken to sneering when he sees me, but to he honest, I couldn't care less about what he has to say, hes just a jealous old man who just wants to make everyone as miserable as he is), I have also managed to make the scooter a bit more my own style with a well placed decal, and a few other things that officially mark my scooter as mine. I'm never giving up my independence again.

I even LOOK like me again and when I smile, its warm, friendly and inviting and when I laugh out loud, its been so much of a change in me. I forgot I think about laughing and enjoying my life. Being unwell all the time, it does get easy to forget about the nice things in life, but earlier, as we were walking to town and Becky was playing with my speed control, I actually laughed out loud! I was having such fun! My vibrant, bright red hair blowing behind me as I wore my favourite black trench coat with a cheerful shirt under it! I even saw my ex, who has FINALLY left me alone and I trundled past without ANY fear. That to me was probably one of the most important parts as I now finally felt strong enough to not even bat an eyelid. Then again, an email I sent not too long ago made it quite clear on how I feel and how I didn't want this person in my life ever again. I just carried on with my life as if there was no one in my way. Well really, no one is in my way. Not anymore. I had a lot of fun going up the hill and go shopping with Becky. As I said, it's great to get back to being me again. I'm actually looking forward to things again and in particular, my birthday on Sunday is going to be fantastic. I'll be spending time with people I care about and next Friday, we will be adding another member to our entourage. Becky's boyfriend Allen will be arriving in England, I really hope he likes it here! And before we know it, Jace will be moving in with us too.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 3 November 2012

What Ever Life Brings...

One thing I have rediscovered is my love of Autumn, the leaves changing and the way that they swirl and become vibrant colours is something that inspires poetry or for me to get my paintbox out. I have been enjoying the rumble up the hill to town on my scooter, there is something about finally getting my independence back that I have really embraced. I still have to carry a lot of medications with me as well as carrying all the usual essentials, but what amazes me the most is how something I had been so dubious about has made such a drastic change in my life. In short, I love it. I love the confidence it gives me to do the things that I like to do without having to worry too much about the pain or my breathing becoming an issue.

I know that having the scooter has meant a load of Becky's mind as well, I think she must have been going mad with worry whenever we went out and I was becoming so unwell as a result and I think she must have noticed the reduction in my sanity that comes with having to stay indoors and close to everything needed to just stay alive for yet another day. I don't think anyone really knew how much of a struggle things can be sometimes and how it can make me feel. Which sometimes led me to extremes such as self-harm, which takes a lot to admit. I have struggled with self-harm ever since I was about 14 and I used to remove the blades from pencil sharpeners or disposable razors. I am lucky in some ways because there have only been a few instances where that has caused serious scars, like my hand and left forearm. I do struggle with it sometimes and I am not afraid to admit it, but there have been more recent occasions which have resulted in my cutting, but I am not doing it anywhere near as often as I used to.

I'm not afraid or unaware of my mental health issues, in fact, I live with them day to day. I see the effect of my emotions and I do feel bad that this is how my mind is sometimes, but at the same time, I am thankful that I finally got the courage and ASKED for help, rather than leaving it to get to the point where suicide would have been the only way. And I am thankful for the people who have always been there, be it at the end of the phone or even here in my home with me. I am lucky to have a support network and I feel confident in myself and my own personal strength. Sometimes, not being afraid to ask for help can mean that you are finally ready to let it go. Becky said that to me, and I believe her.

Tomorrow, I am going to do something different. I am going to church with Becky. I am not Christian, but I do believe there is something there. I think I need to have a word with the "Big Guy Upstairs" because there have been a few things that have happened as of late and I need a bit of help to understand how I got to this point. I am not converting to anything, but just trying to find out exactly where it is I belong in all of this.

One thing I do know for sure is that in having to learn and accept my life with my disabilities, it taught me a lot about not judging others on appearances, empathy and having the confidence to say "Yes, I have an invisible disability, but I refuse to let that stop me." One such occasion happened today. I was in a shop and a group of people were in my way, after a few "excuse me" and a beep of my horn and I got through, but this kid was standing there, gawping at me, like I was some kind of circus freak. Becky challenged him and asked him if he had a problem. he didn't understand what the problem was, but his mother did and soon everyone made sure that that young man knew what he was doing was unacceptable. A lot of them even nodded when I said "yes, I have an invisible disability, so what?" May have sounded a bit harsh, but its true. I am not a freak and I am not something there for the amusement of others.

Most other people in town were alright actually. Some people who had seen me limping through before actually said they were glad to see me getting around better and not having to limp anymore. Others smiled and helped me out with things. Admittedly there was a young boy who nearly ran in to my scooter, his mother apologising profusely! But it was fine, it was a crowded place and even the most able people were struggling through.

Loves
Wendy xx 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Rude...

I do wonder sometimes why people get off on making others feel bad about their disabilities and problems. I'm no stranger to the prejudice that comes with health problems, but today really made me wonder about the mentality of people these days. The weird thing is, I am not talking about those in my own peer group, I am actually talking about a handful of very rude older people in the area. Not all old people however are rude, but it is the select few that really get my back up.

Since getting my mobility scooter, I have been able to get myself out of the house more and I have been ecstatic about this. Before, even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant jobs would leave me struggling for breath because of my asthma or in a lot of pain because of my arthritic joints and back. A lot of my health problems are invisible, yet I can't actually put it in to words just how painful and inhibitive they can be. Its taken a lot for me to actually realise and ask for help in a lot of this and have been frankly quite miserable in being stuck indoors most of the day and I should have spoken out and gotten this sorted over 18 months ago when the prospect of a wheelchair or mobility scooter was first mentioned by my GP, it was actually because I didn't want to LOOK disabled and have people judging me that was one of the reasons that I held off for as long as I could.

For the most part it has been wonderful. Learning how to use the scooter (which is actually been one of the most fun things I have done in a while, and the more I do it, the more confident I become) and popping up to the shops and back and even some journeys a little further afield. I did a trip to Sainsburys yesterday and it was like a completely different experience, even spoke to some lovely people and even had some people helping me through things like checking out and packing everything up in to my basket.

Today was a very different experience. It started out when I went to meet Becky in town. There is a rather unpleasant man who lives over the road from us. Whenever we see him, he is always shouting rather unpleasant things at people. Today I think he decided that he thought it was my turn for his spite, so as I was walking (which is a slower pace than most and with a very pronounced limp due to my back and joint problems, I only really walk when I take the bus somewhere, sometimes I even have to use crutches because my back is so bad), he decided to shout up the road at me that "You CAN walk can't you?!" I decided to ignore this rather rude man, he is the only one in the area that hasn't been supportive of me getting something to help my walking (I bumped in to my neighbors yesterday and they were pleased that I was finally able to get around properly once again). Later, I went with Becky on another little wander to Sainsburys and back and for some reason about 4-5 people in the supermarket were the most rude I had ever experienced. First off, I was with Becky at the Bakery area and this older man decided that he was going to force his way in front of me and nearly knock me in the face with his basket! Instead of saying "sorry about that" he just glared at Becky and myself! How rude! Then I had a group of old ladies watching me, and the remarks they were coming out with "whys she got that?" "she doesn't look disabled" "I wish I didn't have to walk", well it took a lot of self control to not turn around to those women and say "I'm sorry that I have several rather serious and invisible illnesses. It's not like I asked for this, so how dare you pass judgement on me on face value!"

I think that anyone who can judge another person on face value, whether they be young, old, sickly or well, ought to take a look at themselves. Who are they to justify how they behave towards other people? Just think, maybe people feel bad enough about themselves without being made to feel worse because they actually ASKED to be helped and decided to improve their quality of life! I'm not going to let this experience put me off using my scooter, because frankly, why should I feel bad that I am getting around better and able to live a more independent life. And if there are people who have a problem with me or the way I have to live my life, well frankly you can write it down, place it in an envelope and insert it in to whatever oraphis you choose.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 29 October 2012

Attitudes...

When is a cold just that, a cold, when it comes to me. Late last week, on the tail end of yet another nasty infection, I wound up with some kind of cold. That, as colds always seem to with me these days, went straight to my chest and even though my nose was clear and I didn't feel too bunged up, I have had one of the most horrible coughs, with a lovely undertow of wheeze, that I have had in a long while. I think it goes without saying that as a result neither myself nor Becky have had a good time trying to sleep with that going on. Between the two of us, I think she has had the worst of the sleep disturbance and I do feel a bit bad about it all, but at least she understands what is making it happen, this I am glad of.

I have spent most of the day between nebs, either sleeping, playing the Sims or nebbing. It seems that right now, I am spending most of my time tethered to a machine, but to be honest, I can live with that and accept it. What does get on my nerves is the feeling of being stuck in one place, that kind of comes with the territory of being me and having the conditions that I have. The hard part at times can be the admitting that something isn't quite right, or that that the thing you thought you had under control was actually spiraling way out of any form of control. I hate having to admit that to myself, let alone other people.

Right now, I am waiting for my mobility scooter (which a good friend is helping me organise) to be delivered. I think as soon as that comes, I am going to feel the benefit as I will be able to get mobile and get around town again, without that fear of being so short of breath or in pain from my orthopedic issues. Its been a bit hard to admit that I need help and its not an optional thing. But at the same time, I am glad that I have stuck my hand up and said "OK, I need help here" because as things stand, I am struggling to move or walk anywhere and that is having a negative impact on my physical and emotional wellbeing. I am glad that now I know my weight (which is perfectly healthy for my height and build, in fact, it is the lowest weight that I have been since beginning treatment) is now not the problem. The problem is the fact that my bones are weakened and the slight curve in my spine is entraping some nerves causing painful spasm and neuropathy.On top of that, adding in my stiff joints and bad lungs, and well you can imagine the final outcome really, but I do feel that by finally admitting I have a problem getting around these days, I am now open to the help I need.

I do feel now that nothing is going to get in my way anymore and I am going to continue to strive towards independent living and being able to do whatever I need to by myself. Maybe, eventually, I will be able to get from one end of the supermarket or shopping centre to the next without pain or discomfort, without the use of a machine to help me breathe or get around, but that is something I can work towards. I just hope that people are not as judgemental as they have been in the past. One thing that does still get my back up is the attitude from some of the older people towards younger people like me having disabilities. I am tempted to get a shirt that says "Some young people are disabled. Get over it." just to stop people being so judgemental. Just because my illness is invisible, does not make it any less real, any less painful. But that is something to work towards.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 26 October 2012

Hello Stranger...

I'm starting to go a bit downhill again, but I think its more because of the weather than anything else. Its getting cold, damp and dreary and my lungs are taking an exception to the change in weather. My infection isn't clearing up as fast as we'd have liked, but I am keeping my head up and thinking as positive as possible in order to get through. Sometimes I have to say it is hard, but I'm managing it. I'm hoping that as soon as we can get a mobility scooter sorted for me, I will feel a bit brighter and not like a bit of a prisoner in my own body. Sometimes its just the fact that I feel worn out from the work of walking just up the road (but with my lung function as it is that is hardly surprising) but at least I can still say that I am still trying my hardest to keep it up. Sometimes it's better than others, but I have managed to make peace with that.

Besides it would be all too easy for me to fall in to depression and feeling robbed. I know that many people in my shoes would feel like they had their life and independence taken away, but really, I gave up on feeling angry or frustrated by the circumstances around me. The people who have made me the way I am now will probably never feel any remorse for their actions and will never accept what they did. That is their problem really. And as for me, I am going to do whatever I can and not let anyone hold me back anymore. I'm nearly 25 years old for goodness sake. I am old enough to make my own choices in life and to accept the consequences of the choices I make. Not everyone may agree with what I choose in life, but honestly, its not about them. Its about me. What I want for my own future. And what I want is my own life back.

As Told By Ginger, main character Ginger Foutley.
I had been watching an old cartoon series that I used to love when I was a girl. It was called "As Told By Ginger" and the character was supposed to be around about the same age as me. It was about growing up, finding yourself and growing up, mentally and physically. Like me, Ginger was an artistic young girl who just wanted to find her own place and do what made her special (be it art, music or writing) and I related to her. As she progressed and grew up, it explored things like absent fathers, peer pressure, relationships and friendships. While I was watching the cartoons, I was taken back to that young girl who started watching the series at the age of 12 and it reminded me about not being afraid to embrace the things that made me who I am today. I think eventually, I would still like to publish the story of my life and as I have a lot of material (either from my blogs, photo albums, family and other sources) and eventually, as well as my "Another Day In Midgar" works, I'd love to get published and get in to writing.

I think it is the fact that I still do these things and write on a regular basis that has kept my writers streak very much in good shape. I eventually want people to know who I am. I want people who believe that disability is either funny or a reason to write someone off to read my story and know that someone who may not have been physically strong, still had the mental strength to shine, regardless of what she is made of.

So for the last few days, I have been playing my guitar again. Playing piano and drawing as well as my sewing. Obviously these have had to be done in short bursts because of my feeling unwell, but I feel like I am getting somewhere in life now. I don't feel so fearful or upset because of what has happened to me. What has happened has happened for a reason and I have managed to thrive as a result. I do see my own flaws and I have had to learn to "haul myself up and love my scars", and believe me, I have an awful lot of them to love and I don't see them as a failure, because although I did fall down once or twice, I always managed to pick myself back up and get on with my own life.

One thing I have learned in life is that it is just as important to love yourself as it is to love someone else or have love from another. As well as the importance of self respect and the guts to say "Yeah, I have been around the block. I have made mistakes in life, and torn everything down and built it back up again." No matter how many times I fall down, there is something inside me that always manages (and always will) to find the strength and get back up again. I don't run away and I don't deny who I am anymore. I know I can be a vindictive person when pushed hard enough, but at the same time, I also know that I can be only of the most loving, kind and generous people you could ever wish to meet, but only if you treat me like a person, not a "means to an end".

Stroke my Puppy!
I love Jace and I love Becky. Without these two I would never have managed to get as far as I have over the last year. Its been over a year since Becky and I met and we are really close and we are happy sharing my flat. Sometimes, we do our own thing. I will sit with my guitar and her with her pencil and I will play while she draws. Sometimes I will draw as she makes things on the Sims. Other times, like today, we will both work on our own collections of stamps (yes, I collect stamps as they are beautiful and a snapshot in time" and compare what we have and arrangements. I like to stick mine in groups of either location of origin or in groups of subject matter (today I had some which featured wild birds and flowers from Eastern Europe and Asia). When I am with Jace, its nice because we can stick on a DVD or a film on the laptop and just enjoy it. I can be myself with him around and its OK to have my dorky sense of humour (or a rather amusing dog puppet who we have named "Oscar"). I was really weak and shaking violently on Tuesday and Wednesday and they were both lovely about it. Watching Becky and Jace as they played with this puppet was just brilliant, I don't think I had seen someone laugh like that in a long time so the level of mirth was very welcome.

Loves
Wendy xx


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Staying Independant...

Some people see bravery and courage as doing something without fear or apprehension. As for me, well I see it as doing something in spite of that fear and the knowing that there are some things in life that you just have to do. Sometimes recognising that and actually doing it can be very hard to do. Or just a bit degrading or demoralising. That can sometimes make it hard to see the difference between admitting defeat or accepting the help you need. I have always been a bit cagy about asking for help. It has been in my nature for 24 years so you will excuse me for my lack of trust in others or my apprehension to approach people.

But today, I had an unexpected brave streak in me. Rather than suffering in silence and not asking for help, when clearly I needed it, I actually asked for help. I wanted to be helped. It had been such a challenge for me since my admission on Sunday to actually function in normal everyday life. I was getting out of breath and worn out from even doing the simplest of tasks, like getting up and walking from the bed to the lightswitch in the bedroom. It was starting to take a lot out of me and I will be the first to admit that. Being a variable condition as it is, I found that my asthma really does take a nose dive at this time of year and I can be sort of alright one moment, then the next barely conscious or able to breathe properly. Its a scary thing, but there have been times when I have actually thought to myself "This is it. This is the one that will take me." or in the aftermath "How many more times will this keep happening and how much more can I honestly take?" Many people do look down their noses at me. Sometimes I get someone saying "It's only asthma, how bad can it actually be?" or "I have it and I can do things", or even "You're too young to have a disability". I think after all of that, anyone would be reluctant to ask for help wouldn't they?

But, I am getting off the subject, today I actually plucked up the courage in Tescos and actually asked about borrowing a mobility cart. The lady agreed after a quick chat and I even showed her my disabled bus pass (as it is generally awarded to those with mobility issues) and she showed me the scooter. After a few moments of getting used to it (and crashing a couple of times!) I was soon whizzing around the shop like a pro! And what fun! I enjoyed going around the supermarket without getting so short of breath that I was actually happy. Its been 3 years (nearly 4) since I have been able to do that and actually enjoy being out and about. I didn't feel disabled or "broken" anymore. I felt independant and strong. I felt like I was 24 years old again.

We are now looking in to getting one of my own, so that I can get out of the house more often and not have to worry about getting so breathless that I need to use my nebuliser constantly. So maybe in the near future, you can expect to see me whizzing around town and having the time of my life in enjoying shopping and wandering around town once more. Just don't expect any fancy maneuver work!! Oh and watch your feet as I am still a learner!

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 22 October 2012

Another Day in Hospital...

Yesterday was a funny one. I have never really been one to ask for help, nor accept it unless I have no choice but to do so. Then again, I never like to notice whats wrong with me when there are so many other people around me. Its something I have always done. And I have always said it that I am not the first person to get ill, nor shall I ever be the last and I certainly don't have it the worst. That has always been just me and my philosophy really. That and I had vowed that I would push what was wrong with me aside so that Becky could get over her own problems. For no other reason than her needing my help more than I should have needed hers. I know that was foolish of me and it was probably a contributing factor to yesterday and I put myself at great risk. Or maybe I lost sight of perspective and forgot that yes her problem is certainly painful, but mine was more life threatening.

I actually don't remember the exact trigger this time around. All I knew was I was waking up at midday and feeling rather rough. I couldn't breathe in at all and was exhausted. I then got a phone call asking me to come and help as Becky's knee had become troublesome. I had been considering going in and getting this looked at and Becky managed to persuade me to go to A+E myself as she could tell that there was something very wrong. I did have my reservations. For one, I didn't want her to think I was copying her or doing it for attention. Once I had signed in, the Sister came out and called me through right away, put me in to a cubicle and a doctor was called pretty much right away. After 2 doctors, an ABG stab and a cannula being inserted (much to Becky's fascination) the treatment was about to start. This started a long track of back to back nebs, steroids, IV magnesium (I hadn't had it in a while and had forgotten just how crazy it sends me) and IV paracetamol. I got taken to MAU and it was pretty much decided that I was going to stay the night. After taking to the team and persuading them to allow me to go home, I was soon ready and on the bus to the flat.

Its typical of me to not sleep very well after being in hospital, even if it was only for a day. I get used to the sights, sounds and general awkwardness of sleeping in a room of other people, people who I don't know and who don't understand the general anxiety that being in hospital causes me. I was completely unprepared and had nothing more than the clothes on my back and the contents of my handbag (sadly this only contains my iPod, purse, nebs and inhalers). Becky was amazing though. She stayed by my side the whole time (well after the 1st hour because she had to go and get her knee looked at, I won't go in to specifics as it isn't my place) and at one point, we were both lying in the bed together snuggled up and talking. I think I did fall asleep briefly on her as well!

What was weird was that before I went, I was compensating well (or at least I thought I was) and although I was nebbing more than I usually do, I was still pottering around the house as I usually do. I think I did so much of a good job, we were all fooled and no one but me knew just how sick I had become. I think it must have come as a shock to everyone when they found out! So theres an infection in both sides, and a rather big and aggressive asthma attack to recover from. Not to mention the fun of maintaining the flat and ensuring that Becky will be alright. I know she tells me not to worry, but it is in my nature to care for and nurture the sick or injured. I just need to remember that sometimes I should turn that attention to myself once in a while. Rather than trying to sit it out and wait for it to pass. These things never manage to pass on their own, but I think I just want to keep trying, maybe it's a pride thing.

I do know one thing, for the next few days, I am going to take it easy and let myself build up slowly and carefully. Also, if I do get any more problems, I will stick to my promise and go back to A+E.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 15 October 2012

Future...

Everything is changing at the moment and I am actually glad. I mean for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am actually wanted and loved by someone, not for what they can get out of me, or for the person I used to be, but for who I am now. Because of that, I know I can accept and actually like who I am, regardless of my disabilities or indeed my past. As much as I do lament the past, I do accept that without it, I would have never learned how to be the way I am. Bright, plucky and optimistic. You know the phrase "never keep a good dog down" well I prefer to think of that as "never keep a good girl down".

OK so I wouldn't be the first person to admit that sometimes things aren't perfect and I sometimes start my day thinking "Oh wonderful, waking up sore as anything" or "Fantastic, I can taste the blood I coughed up last night" but now, I just see that as part of the package when it comes to me. Finding people who accept me for that has been the biggest thing I had to do. I mean I had to work out how to be positive and say "OK so it's not fantastic, but at least it's not worse than this" as well as finding a support network of friends, an adoptive family, my own family and the missing piece, someone who I love and I can share my life with.

I did find love in a way that I never even expected. Last year when I signed up to a website, I found myself talking to people who are like minded and in to a lot of the same things that I am. Most importantly, I found Jace. It was the day after my birthday last year and we had started talking, I think it had been about Naruto, but we had made a connection. After a while, that connection became deeper and we got to know each other. I remember, I logged on to Facebook, eager to read another message and keep talking. Sometimes we would ping back and forth for hours on end. I then told him I liked him and was finding myself falling more and more for him. When we finally met, I think then I just KNEW that we were meant to be together. That day was just magical and I had never felt that way before. The summer, the romance and the way things are going now. By next year, we are hoping to live together (and maybe in the near future finding a larger place so all of us can live together happily, but nothings decided yet). I know that sounds a bit odd, considering how hard we worked to keep the place we're in now (not that there was ever any chance of actually losing the place), but if we wind up getting a new place then we can actually set about making that place as homely as the one we are in now. We do love it here, but there may come a time when things may feel a bit overcrowded, which is normal really.

So here we are. We are all looking to the future and getting ready to make the rest of this year, and the years to come the best they can be, regardless of whether or not my health comes in to play.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Weird Events...

There have been some weird goings on at times, but I sometimes just brush it off and put it down to experience, from there I can move on and just pick myself back up and move forward. It's kind of how I have always been and it is probably how I have survived as long as this, well that and my lack of patience with idiots or childish "he said/she said". It is more productive in my view to just say "yeah, OK, everyone makes mistakes", get over it and move on. I am glad to say that I have managed to do so with many aspects of my life, saying "goodbye" to the people who are either intent on causing trouble or are too cowardly to say what that want to to my face. I don't need that and I won't actually put up with it, and frankly it is their loss.

Aside from that, I think some forgiveness is due to the doctors. We had to try a new approach on my recurrent chest infections. The norm has been throwing one kind of antibiotic at it and repeat for as long as it takes. Sometimes this didn't work and the infections started to get more severe and well we all know what the result of that was really. I so applaud the fact that the doctor did want to try something new that my body wouldn't have had the chance to become resistant to, that was good, and no one could have anticipated that I was going to react to that particular antibiotic the way I did. A bumpy rash on my neck and spending most of the morning with my head down the loo! I don't think I have ever been that violently sick with very little inside me... We want to try and get through the weekend and see the doctor on Monday once the reaction has gone, if not then... well I guess the rest is history really.

Today, I also received a claim pack to renew my DLA. All I have really had to do is fill it in, say what, if anything has changed since the last time and mention any new things that have popped up over the last couple of years. It's not a fun process at the best of times. The form, for anyone who has never seen one or had to fill one, is a daunting thing. It is 36 pages of complex and awkward questions that you have to be 100% honest about and say exactly what life is like. You also have some questions that repeat, almost in a way to catch you out and fluster you. Its a minefield of a form and often takes up to 2-3 hours to fill in. It took us 3 hours today, just wading through and answering the questions, OK so I wasn't as drained as I was when I first filled one in, but I was a bit put out afterwards, and my wrist felt like it was made of spaghetti!

I allowed myself a nice, relaxing afternoon, finishing a small project I had started a week ago. You see, my Sephy doll has been there for me when I have needed just to snuggle up, squeeze or just confide in when I have felt scared or upset over the years. I know it sounds really silly, but I have sometimes managed to talk to my plush Sephiroth doll about things that otherwise would have been either ignored or judged harshly. I know hes an inanimate object, but to me, its like having a constant companion and one who won't tell a soul what you said or how you felt. We all find a way of coping and to me, this is my way. Judge me all you like, because honestly, I don't care if you find it weird or not. But I digress, I had been working on a new jacket and maybe even some new shoes for Sephy as his originals are starting to look a bit worse for wear after 5 years, over 200 hospital trips (approx), probably 1000 miles of travel (approx) and many MANY parties and sleepovers. I managed to finish sewing his new black jacket, made out of PVC from some old boots which I could no longer wear due to injuries to my feet. Soon I will make his armour from some silver PVC and sew them on. As well as working on a Sephiroth Cross Stitch project, based on his original artwork from the FF7 game (back in 1997).

Loves
Wendy xx


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Inside "Bahamut"...

Well I decided that I would have a tech blog, not about a game or console, but on a rather unsung hero of our household. My laptop (which has always had the name Bahamut after the legendary dragons in the Final Fantasy series, my old Equium was called Behemoth and my old netbook was known as Highwind, its a kind of tradition to name things after Final Fantasy characters or creatures) was feeling and looking a bit poorly, and after 4 years of faithful and loyal service it is understandable that a few things were starting to get a bit worn out or had even stopped working altogether.

I will admit that this year, I have thrown a lot of time and money towards this device. I mean, the first things to replace were chargers (they do tend to wear out, especially when you take your laptop out) and I needed to replace the battery (again because I use my laptop here, there and everywhere). Considering the internal work that needed to be done (the power button board was worn and the mouse control was a bit poor these days, funny thing was once I had it all functional again, I had forgotten just how much I compensated for it!), those repairs were fairly minor.

So for a laptop repair, obviously the first task is to actually get inside of it. Often, laptops have veneer plates that cover the screws that hold the keyboard down and the screws under the keyboard (which have to be undone to get inside the machine), on my particular laptop (a Toshiba Satellite L500-1XL) the veneer plate was directly above the keyboard. Once I had taken that up, I was able to get at the small screws that held down the keyboard, undo the catch that holds the ribbon for the keyboard in place (sometimes it lifts up, other times it slides out) as well as releasing the ribbons for the power button and mouse button boards. Once everything was undone, here came the fun part. Lifting away the top casing, that gave access to the motherboard, processor, and the screws to release the (also broken) optical drive which I replaced and refitted a new, working drive.

Now, luckily nothing was wrong with the motherboard, hard drive or the RAM, so that in itself was a relief and saved me a lot of worry about repairs to the more vital workings. One thing I did need to do, however was carefully cleaning out the cooling fan as, again is understandable after 4 years, it had become a bit clogged up with dust and the kind of debris that only comes with 4 years of work. My attention could be turned to something a little more pressing.



I had to get a couple of really specific parts, a mouse button board and a power button board. These were incredibly simple to get hold of for the make and model and they weren't too expensive either so repairs could be done quickly and easily, all I really had to do was screw the parts down and connect them via their ribbons to the motherboard. In all, I think the entire process took me less than an hour and after testing that everything was back where it should be and functioning I was soon sorted and ready to go, very pleased with myself. Now I have made this laptop very much my own and had a LOT of fun doing so.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 5 October 2012

I woke up this morning feeling a bit rotten. This is nothing of particular concern, I mean, living with what I have to live with it can be understandable that I can wake up in the morning feeling a bit out of sorts and it has been something I have come to expect. Particularly after an episode of my asthma flaring up, that can be a particularly flat time for me.

Asthma attacks are, if you have never experienced one, exhausting. Sometimes you can actually feel the strain of your lungs trying their hardest to inflate and sometimes you can even feel the strain in other muscles in your body, for me it has always been around my collarbones, stomach and intercostal muscles that take the strain. I have even had occasions where the strain and resulting pain has even affected my sternum and diaphragm leaving my chest wall to feel like it has been ripped to bits. I do find that sometimes after a struggle I can actually feel more exhausted than I was during the actual thing itself (adrenaline can be a bitch at times) and then I have been known to just hit the deck and not wake up until the next day. One such occasion meant I slept from 4PM on a Tuesday and woke on the Wednesday at 10AM...

Yesterday was one of those attacks that just come out of nowhere with no real warning. I had been taking Jace back to the station (a time I hate because I do miss him horribly when he isn't here) and I had only gotten about halfway up the path that connects where I live to the main road where the bus stop is. I had been a bit riled up about something (that will not be discussed here as it isn't a matter of importance) and was suddenly so short of breath that we had to turn back, after nebs and a few moments rest, I was soon back to how I had been before, but by the time we had finally gotten back home, I think I must have looked like I hadn't slept for a month. I spent the evening doing a few quiet things and had gone to bed rather earlier than usual. I don't think I woke at all in the night and the next thing I was aware of was the man, a rather lovely decorator called Bob, coming to just finish the last little job on our bathroom.

The bathroom works are now finally complete. They completely tore everything out (including the old bath, sink and toilet and replaced it all. Its been repainted (after the poor job from the man who had done the last paint job, he actually lost his job because of his shoddy work) and it looks really nice. Last night we actually enjoyed a bath (sharing a bath saves water and its quite fun) and when we finished we sat and chatted about everything and anything. This whole experience has been interesting for both of us, I mean Becky has had to learn about me and my issues and I have also had to learn to adjust to Becky's issues as well. It has been challenging at times, it has to be said, but at the same time it has also been enjoyable and I think we have both learned a lot about ourselves as well. But then again I do believe there is truth to the idea that if two people can argue with each other and not want to either run as far away from each other as possible or tell either party to leave then they are ultimately comfortable and close as human beings.

Besides, you can't always get on with each other and when you live in close quarters it is understandable that there can be a few disagreements about things. I think the biggest issue that Becky and I have is that we are both two very strong and independent women who know our own minds and opinions. Neither of us likes to be told what we think or feel by anyone else and when you get two people like that together, it is probably like watching two hurricanes trying to overpower each other and ultimately the two hurricanes or minds then become one mind, which to someone who tries to split them off, it can become so dangerous and destructive.

But what we sometimes forget is that no matter how bad things are, or how cross a word is towards each other, deep down we only argue like that because we do genuinely care about each other and sometimes can't see exactly where the other is coming from. Sometimes it just happens but it has never lasted too long and afterwards it all gets forgotten and we go back to chilling out together and being happy.

The good news is that the internal works on the laptop are complete, the new button board that I had been waiting for arrived this morning, after a quick chat with the postman (who met and said hello to Kadaj who was out of his cage for a while) and a fitting that took me less than 10 minutes (all I really had to do was connect the short ribbon to the mousepad and the long ribbon to the motherboard, replace the keyboard and powerbutton ribbons, screw it all back down in to place and it was over with) and now I have full functionality of my beloved laptop. I don't mean to brag, but I am getting better and faster at taking apart my Toshiba Satellite L500-1XL laptop, much like the old Toshiba NB100 netbooks (if I ever see the inner workings of one of those it will be too soon) and now all repairs can be carried out quickly, efficiently and I'm proud of that.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Visit With Nat...

I love it when the unexpected happens. Be it a text, phone call or even a visit from a adored friend. Last night, it was all of our pleasure that Nat came round to see how we were all doing. Ever since I met Nat, at the beginning of my National Diploma in Media, it was the first day, he was 16 and I was 17, we have been very close. What I love about that bond is that we can always make time to see each other and have a laugh about everything that has been happening around us. Nathaniel is a kind sort of friend, the kind who doesn't make any judgements and takes you as you are.

We've been there for each other when we needed it. Either as a shoulder to cry on, someone to yell at and for them to not take it personally or to just have a cup of tea ready. Throughout everything, including the tenancy battle, he was there to advise and help and when he needs help, I do the same. A lot of people have wondered why we aren't dating, but I am here to say that there is a very good reason, but it is too complicated to explain here. That and it's just us being... well... us. He is one of the best friends I have ever had and I am thankful everyday for the fact that when I was 17, I decided to do a different course when I did.

Amongst the things we had a laugh about, I did show him a rather amusing email from my ex. This ex seems to just want to try and push and push, maybe it's to get a reaction or maybe he's just pissy because I wouldn't take him back. This email was one of the funniest things I had read for a while, heck I even showed it to 2 people who were implicated by it, neither of which had said the things that he had claimed they had said. In fact, one of them has little to nothing to do with him because of the fact that all he wants to do is bitch about me and how "hard done by" he is. Even some of his "friends" have said that he is frankly pathetic and needs to get over it. 

I mean seriously! GET A FUCKING GRIP!! As a writer, I have come across some rubbish in my time, but this was something else. What I don't get myself is why would someone who says he doesn't want to have anything to do with me is still blasting me and emailing me with either threats, attempts of intimidation or even to try and "help" me. You see he was actually being nice until I told him that I had no intention of being with him so he decided that he was going to try and get at me and those close to me. It must be something pathological.

Lucky for me, my friends are not having any of it and they are supportive of me. They tell me not to be afraid and to just keep going. Nat put it best by saying "It's like arguing with a 7 year old who just says "Why?" constantly". To be honest, I have found arguments from 6 year olds more interesting and believable, but that isn't really the point. My point is that I refuse to let anyone knock me down and keep me there. It is not in my nature to back down and run away. Besides who is really interested in a person THAT pointless and pathetic and his blog that no body actually reads.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Repairs...

It's been a lovely few days and I have spent them in the company of people who make me feel good about myself and make my life feel like it is worth living still. Jace came to visit and despite the sometimes awkward sleeping arrangements (having a double bed in one room and a futon in the other, (said futon can be a killer on those of us whose backs decide that they HAVE to be sore) and 3 people to accommodate (soon to be 4 of us)) it has been a really enjoyable few days. OK so we haven't really done too much unusual stuff or anything like that, but it was nice to just spend the time together as a group of people.

The fiasco that was the renovation of our bathroom is finally coming to a close, after another painter has finished the job he very kindly agreed to do. You see, the first decorator we had was something of a blundering idiot who watered the magnolia paint so much that it was just like a white wash, it looked absolutely dire. Paint was everywhere, including all over the lovely new fixtures and the window. The gentleman who came to put the work right, a man named Bob has as yet done a fantastic job and when he's finished we are going to have a lovely new bathroom which will be a pleasure to relax and enjoy a hot bath in.

It is times like this that I am actually thankful for my ability to pretty much maintain and fix up most things so that I can do it for myself. That way then if an unsatisfactory job has been done, I only have myself to blame and then I can get on with putting it right. This also means that once the work is completed, I can sit back and smile, knowing that I have done the best I could to get things back to how they should be. My laptop is a shining example of this.

I have had this thing for over 3 years now. In fact it could be getting closer to 4 years, I am not entirely sure. I won't go in to the specifics of why the replacement was needed, but over the years, this laptop has been maintained, and has never been permanently out of use. Yes there was the time when the ribbon for the power-button board had given up on me, but all I needed was some distance, a clear, cool head and of course the wonders of Ebay. I forgot that if you want ANYTHING 9 times out of 10 you can get hold of it through Ebay. My options were:

1. Get a pro to fix my laptop, with a hefty price tag.
2. Replace the laptop completely... (not even going to entertain that one).
3. Get the model numbers of the needed parts, order them and fit them myself, saving a hefty repair bill and having to break in yet another laptop.

Knowing me and how much I enjoy a challenge, I accepted option number 3, ordering 3 new parts at less than £15 each (laptop spares and repairs people are real life savers), including P+P and have been fitting them as soon as they arrive. Today was the replacement power button board (from another L500 series laptop, yet it was identical to what was originally there) and over the next couple of days will be the replacement mouse control board and keyboard. All it needs now is a new LCD panel and a new optical drive. Then my favourite laptop will be up, running and back to it's "out of box" standard.

It's amazing what can be done with a little handiwork and patience. I wish my body could be repaired the same way, but hey, you never know what could happen in a few years.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Embrace Your Dreams

I haven't blogged for a while. It's not because of a hectic lifestyle or my lack of things to talk about. It's been a result of having some news that I have only just been able to come to terms with. That and my rather lovely laptop was having some minor issues. Issues I have since sorted out and now have my "thought-box" back. Plus with a few other things around me, I have been able to get myself back on some kind of track, what with help from my wonderful friends, boyfriend and adoptive sister. Together we have managed to actually get a lot of ME back and I for one feel great to be able to smile. relax and say "Hey".

As for the laptop issue, well that was interesting in itself, seems the ribbon had worn out on a part and (because it is never really that simple is it?) the whole thing needed to be replaced with a new one. Its normal wear and tear really, considering that this is a laptop that has been in use for just over 3 years and has been my constant companion for that time. To finally see results during it's restoration and its nice to see that Bahamut is still as it always has been. I'm glad of it. Not because of any other reason than it has been a labour of love really.

2 weeks without it working properly has been both a welcome break and an absolute torment as I have had to rely on either my phone, tablet or the rather large and clunky desktop that resides in our bedroom. Don't get me wrong, I am fond of the computer, just not so fond of it's occasional tempremental attitude, but hey, we can't have it all can we? But then again I have always seen things in terms of as long as it works then I am contented so you know, I can just smile and laugh at the "personality" the computer has really, I think it's as much a part of this residence, along with the rather eclectic tastes of decor or ornamentation and it all collides to create a place where pleasured moments are had by everyone.

I suppose the other more recent developments in my life right now have been the growth of which my relationships are taking form, the days when I smile and laugh with the people I love the most are the days that remind me that I have been given a second chance at doing this and I appreciate it more than words can say. I take the time I have to spend with people who make me feel like a worthwhile individual as well as continuing with my art, music, photography and needle work (and of course my writing). Yes I dedicate a load of time to just doing what I please, but also, I CHOOSE to be happy and I actually CHOOSE to enjoy myself. And that is what is important. Isn't it?

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Pre-Attack...

I know I shouldn't let it bother me and I know you would have thought it would be something I have just accepted, but I hate the feeling of pre-attack... (I use that term to sum up the feeling I get just before one of my big attacks that result in a trip in to hospital) and it seems that over the last few days that feeling has become more and more troublesome. I'm struggling with the basics of everyday life (walking from the house to the bus stop at the end of the road is like running a marathon) and all I want to do is sleep. I managed to wear myself out today by playing 3-4 songs on Guitar Hero (a game that many people know I adore) which normally wouldn't have been the case.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself really, but I think I was starting to become complacent of my own limitations in life. I never imagined that at 24 years old, my life would be a series of medical treatments, hospital visits and hours of coughing or pain. I think what has got me so bummed out is the fact that when I see my old school mates, I see them with families and children, degrees and other things that hadn't seemed so unlikely for me when I was 20 or so. While I do believe in the whole idea of everything happens for a reason, I do wonder what reason there could be for all of this. Its a strange thing to ponder, but sometimes I cannot help but lose myself in thought for just a while.

I have started to finally deal with what has been eating away at me, and coming to terms with the traumatic parts of my background, when we see and accept the dark, the light is often brighter and hope always seems to follow. It may have taken many years and a lot of therapy, nights spent sobbing on my own or just doing what I had to to survive, but I am doing it. I am learning to cope with my OCD, my bi-polar and (yes, we all know about it and I am through being ashamed of it) my schizophrenia. I don't expect special treatment and I don't let anyone make me feel ashamed or inferior because of my problems. If anything, it is in accepting myself and my mental health that I can begin to heal and put the pieces of my mind back in to place and go on living as best as I can.

Accepting ones own limitations is something that anyone with a long term condition has to learn to do. I had to learn new ways of doing things and allowed myself time to either rest or how to give myself the right medication when I needed it. I also had to learn to give myself a bit of a break once in a while. It isn't selfish or anything else. It is just human nature to sometimes need a bit of a rest or taking an extra 5 minutes to walk to the shop or the bus stop. I'm dealing with my asthma and a small pneumonia infection again, so I know that sometimes I am just not going to be up for much for a while. The first time I had it was 3 years ago, I have had it a fair amount of times since, and I remember the recovery process is sometimes just as difficult as the actual conditions themselves. It can be very frustrating at times, especially when you get so tired doing something normal like taking a bath or making something to eat or drink. I'm adapting, but sometimes I do feel a bit dejected, I mean going out over the last few days was a bit difficult, but worth it.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 31 August 2012

I've been very unwell again. This doesn't really come as too much of a surprise nowadays but its still very tough to have to cope with. I mean, I should have worked out the warning signs really, especially when all I have wanted to do for the last week is sleep and I have not been too far away from my home nebuliser. I'm just not interested in anything right now and I have a fever which is persistent and making me feel really uncomfortable.

In myself I have become even more withdrawn than usual. Barely want to talk to anyone, and this cough I have had has sounded like some kind of bull seal trying to give birth to an elephant... its surreal, but it sounds so weird. knock it in with my fever and my asthma then we have on our hands something that could be bad if given an inch. I've been on my antibiotics for nearly a week and I haven't started to make acceptable headway as yet. We all know where this is headed, but I am hoping beyond all hope that it won't be the case.

I'd had a long stretch between admissions and I had been hoping that maybe I could keep that up, but we all know its never going to be the way, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. My hope is to at least get to Monday and be able to see Jace again. I miss him madly when we're apart and its like someone removed a massive part of me. I love him. And he loves me. That means more to me than anything I could tangibly own or hold. With him and Becky around, its nice to have a support network to come home to and to keep fighting for.

Becky has been a real saving grace during this whole thing. She listens to me when I feel a bit down and tries to offer some support or advice, on nights with 39 degree fevers, she sits up and helps me to try and cool it down and then makes sure that I eat or drink something. So that is definitely something to be happy about. It improves my quality of life and in some ways, makes it easier to rest and recover from things. What I enjoy most, is the knowing that I don't have to go through this kind of thing all by myself, unlike my usual methods of doing things.

I got so used to hiding my signals and symptoms from people because I would worried about the sheer inconvenience that my conditions and problems cause others. Now I just think that yes it may disturb a night of staring blankly at the TV, but it would be a bigger inconvenience if I was to have an attack and die right there and then. That and the paperwork for a sudden death is probably something of a nightmare and then there would be the crazy task of divvying up my worldly goods and other affairs. I mean my home is full of eclectic items, paintings and other strange objects and I would not envy whoever had to sort all that out!

A bit more positive news, we're having the bathroom refitted. OK so it's only going to be basic, white walls, beige flooring, white tiles, but working fixtures and a toilet that isn't temperamental unless you flush it in exactly the way it wants to be flushed would be something of a novelty, to go with a recently refitted kitchen and next years refit of carpeting, laminate flooring for the bedroom and a bit of new furniture to really pull the place together and make it look magnificent. I love this flat and knowing that I get to stay here is something of a wonderful thing.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 27 August 2012

I have noticed that recently, there is a number of individuals who seem to think that something that causes a lot of pain is really funny. So in a display of solidarity and inspired by Ducky, I want to put out an open plee to stop this idiocy. It isn't funny. It isn't clever and unless you have been there, it is impossible to put in to words just how much hell it can put a person through.

I am talking about the subject of rape.

I was raped. First time was regularly for a whole 6 week period when I was 12. I knew the person who did it and he had spent most of my time at primary school picking on me. I am not naming names, purely because I don't want to give that person the satisfaction of knowing that he hurt me. I never pressed charges because I was too frightened and was told that if I did then I would be killed. When I did speak out once, I was assaulted by this person and since had to live with the fear and knowing that this person violated me at such a young age. It happened once again when I was 15, again I knew the guy and was too afraid to press any charges.

The long term effect on me was that it took me a long time to learn to trust people, especially men, again. I still wake up in the middle of the night because of flashbacks and still don't like certain sights, sounds or smells that can trigger a flashback.

Rape isn't funny and it isn't something that should be taken lightly. If you have had it happen to you, I do urge you to speak out and not let these animals win.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Results

I have started to keep a written journal again, I think my biggest plan is to get it all published. I want to show people that my life isn't over, just because I have the conditions I do. If anything, being ill has given me the time and space to enjoy my writing and art, it makes me want to produce something worth remembering and worth people enjoying. So sometimes I will walk with Becky, obviously quite slowly, to a place where I can think. I don't want to publicise my secret place of peace (well its not that secret, but it is really out of the way).

It is in this place that I can be found, just sat on the bank of a stream, either watching the flow of the water, throwing pebbles in to the stream as I think of and process another memory. I speak to my departed little ones and listen to my heart for a change and not my head. It helps because I can access things there that were previously locked away when I would write in the old YMCA place. That place drained all spark from me and I was so depressed as I looked out over the balcony at an endless grey. As I sit there with my purple book with white flowers, a pen and my IPod, I write page after page of ramblings about life, and what I have been doing.

As I sat there the other day, I was wondering about something. 2 weeks ago, I had a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound scan (neither of them are particularly pleasant, but they allowed a good view of what is inside). It took me 2 attempts to get in the room, from nerves and that part of me that just really didn't WANT to know what has been going on. I knew from the age of 16 that I had PCOS and a retroverted uterus and that I would struggle to carry a baby, but I think knowing that there is something really wrong with my reproductive organs is probably something that would make the possibility of being a mother an impossibility was the one thing that could have made me feel worse about myself. I was pondering over it and then asked my guardian spirit what I should do.

As usual he took his time to reply, but he just calmly told me I needed to just go for it. If I wasn't going to face up to it now, when would I? It's alright to be scared, its a lot to take on for most people and for me it was like having to add yet another thing that is wrong with me, but it just seemed so final really and I didn't really feel like hearing once and for all that it was going to be hard to have a child. I haven't had the full results, but yesterday while I was booking an appointment, the receptionist asked if I would like to hear my scan result. She explained that as there has been something found in my scan, I have to book a doctors appointment and will more than likely need a referral to another doctor. I am scared, but I know there has to be something going on or I wouldn't have the pain, lumps or the fact that I haven't had a period since May.

I don't really want to dwell on it right now. To be honest there are more pressing matters right now and if I was to fall apart as a result of all of this, then it would be very selfish and unfair on Becky as she has a lot on her plate right now and she doesn't need me crying about something that can't be helped right now. I would much prefer to focus my energies on something else and just keep going until I know exactly what the problem is and how I can put it right. I am letting Becky in, but in some ways I just want to protect her from what could be happening to me. Until I know, I won't speculate.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Last night was an odd one. I had gone to bed around 11 originally, but due to a pain and difficulty in breathing, I was awake again by half past 12. So I ventured back in to the living room and was soon joining in with Becky in a bit of Model Madness! It is something of an open secret that my home is populated with many models of characters from my favourite games or anime series. It can be amusing to sometimes gather a small collection of characters and a camera and just have a good time in composing and shooting amusing images.

RAWER!! ONWARD!!
Becky had been using some of my Final Fantasy XIII models to compose more serious and characteristic pictures, whereas I was more interested in amusing myself with some more humorous images with one of my newer models, Raiden. Raiden is an interesting character and one who I was finding amusement with props (such as his assortment of accesories and other small objects in the room) and other characters, from other Final Fantasy XIII characters or even my small plush toy of Scar, who has been with me ever since a family holiday to Florida. I think the way I managed to perch Raiden on there was definitely worth it and it made both of us smile because he looked so contented riding on a lion. Scar was my favourite character in the Lion King and Raiden is one of the more interesting characters in Metal Gear.

Call me cute again. I dare you.
Hunting
This image was well lit (with Becky's booklight and against the right background. I wanted to make it look as though Raiden was hunting someone down. ready to make his kill. I wanted to make a small model look bigger than he actually was (considering that the actual model is about 15cm tall) and I wanted to almost bring him in to a lifelike scale. The clever thing with photography is that you can use perspective or other clever things to make something look a certain way. I love playing with perspective and props to give the characters and models life. There are times when I do wonder if the models do talk back to me, even though we know full well that it is impossible. But with photography and some lighting effects you can really make it seem so. Even if that is just a kind of fantasy or imagination, but each one has it's own personality and character and they all come to life in their own way. Sometimes my models provided me some kind of solace when I was feeling low. Even if they were just plastic models that just require a cleaning every week.

Another thing I wanted to show was the new agreement for my tenancy. This is the result of hard work and goes to show that when things are done properly and not by assumption that things can be done. As I had been the only tenant to live at the property for over a year (yes my ex's name was on the original agreement, but his side of the tenancy would have been at severe risk as he was not using the property as his home for over a year and had he received the flat by any kind of injustice then he would have been recharged for the rent, council tax and maintenance costs, of which that half I would have been refunded as I had paid them, the words of the tenancy team) the housing team all backed me and awarded me the property. When this agreement was signed on the 8th, I knew at that point that I was safe and I wasn't going to lose my home. I think we must have squealed and jumped around for about an hour after the signature. Now the old tenancy ends in under 2 hours. After midnight tonight, my ex will have absolutely NO right to the property and I can go on with my life and forget this farce, enjoy my home (and my lovely garden) for as long as I reside here. Yes this may seem smug, but knowing that we won and no one can take this away from us. My next aim in life is to do an OU course and my piercing course. I want to do these things and I am dedicated to what I want to do. Maybe one day, I can finish my HND and carry on getting my own life back on track.

I can thank my brother, my Pops, Becky, Jace and Nathaniel and Tom for all their help, support and council. Without those people I don't think this would have been at all possible and I think I would have fallen back in to my old role of the submissive one. They reminded me that when something is worth fighting for then you should go ahead and do it, say "You know what, just you try it and see how far you will get, but don't blame me when you look even more foolish".

Loves
Wendy xx




Wednesday, 8 August 2012

New Tenancy...

It's a new day and its probably one of the things that I have been looking forward to the most. Today is the day that I sign a new Tenancy Agreement for my flat. Its not going to change anything big, but it does mean that the flat is completely and utterly my own and any attempts to usurp it again will be an exercise in futility (and stupidity). It was surreal to see the form that was filled out when we applied for this property. My handwriting was a little messier than usual (but I had been recovering from a broken hand still and now have only just rehabilitated my hand), but the reasons that we had been in such a high priority for the housing (and I still am) were so simple that they were in black and white, my disabilities were adversely affected by the accommodation that we had been living in. No other reason or anything else contributed.

Now, had I have been the one to vacate the property, my tenancy officer explained that as the property was known as "adapted", then the remaining tenant, who would NOT have been entitled as he did NOT have any kind of disability whatsoever, would not have been able to keep the property as the council didn't have, and still don't, a duty to house him. He would have had to have left the property and gone back to his father's squalid hole. Now he seems to think that I used him to get this property, but neither us, nor the housing officer who has all the information to how the property was obtained, nor the other parties involved are able to see where or how that has come about. All we can see is a little boy who isn't getting his own way and throwing a massive temper tantrum. A lot of people who know us both mutually think that hes childish and frankly pathetic, trying to cause stress and injustice because he knows he screwed up and doesn't really want to face up to it.

Interestingly enough, he has been giving me all the evidence I need (through his blogs, his spiteful comments on my blog and the "charming" emails he has sent me) to actually go through with a case for harassment (with which could carry with it either hefty fines or even prison sentences) which, if I did pursue it, and if it does carry on, you can bet I will pursue it as we even have a crime number from the local police who are monitoring the situation fully, could give him such a black mark on his CRB check that he would never ever get the clearance to work with vulnerable adults or children, which in turn would make it impossible for him to EVER work in the teaching sector. What I don't get is that he sent me an email telling me not to contact him and that he wants nothing to do with me, but why is he still trying to snipe and cause trouble with blogs? But that is beside the point, this blog is about a triumph and a win that I think everyone knew there was little to no chance of it not happening.

So here we are, and here I am with a copy of the new agreement. We are triumphant and delighted that our home is not at risk and both Becky and myself have shown what can be achieved when you go by the books and do everything I have to. I am happy and I have achieved everything I have set out to do on this kind of thing. This is proof of a "happily ever after" and a second chance at life which I never believed possible. So I leave you now with the proof that all things can come right even at times of emotional distress or even when someone wants to attempt to make me unhappy or scared.

Loves
Wendy xx

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