For life's little ups and downs.
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.
I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
People always say things like "You're too young..." and "I've never seen someone with your conditions at your age...." and I don't find comfort in that. I don't like it when people are overly sympathetic, I think that Squall from Final Fantasy 8 said it best when he said "Sympathy is a burden I don't need." and in all honesty, I don't need it. I don't WANT it. It doesn't make things better, nor does it change the fact that things are as they are. You see a lot of what they call "catfish" (people who try and lure others in with sob-stories and try and gain sympathy/relationships/even material gain) in support groups and it makes me angry. I get annoyed because these people are so wrapped up in their own fictitious misery that they waste the perfectly good opportunities out there. Maybe they are caught up in a kind of Munchausen's by proxy or mental health issues, I don't know, but lying about something and praying on a group of already vulnerable people is just awful.
Sympathy isn't the same as friendship.
Yes, it is nice that people show concern over me and I do see the good intentions but I often remind them that they don't have to feel bad for me. I don't feel bad for myself because I know that in some way I am making a difference somewhere. Even if it is by someone reading my blog (and I have had so many emails from people saying how they enjoy it and how it helps them) or Twitter feed.
I am not alone.
I am trying to do something positive. I publish this blog as a way of showing people that just because my body is giving me issues, doesn't mean that I am over and done with. It just means that I am more determined to keep proving myself as a person. I hate it when people who are genuinely sick have to go to great lengths sometimes to validate their lives or "prove" their conditions. It's bad enough that we have to live with it without anyone making that harder for whatever reason. I don't get why someone would want that kind of attention, personally, I hate it. I don't like people fussing over me and I like to get things done without complaining about how bad it was. If I posted on Facebook every single time I had a twinge of pain or a cough it would be the most depressing thing ever.
Instead, I try and think of good things to post about. Like the antics of the guinea pig/s (at the moment we only have one pig as Kaiba left us last week) or a project or game I am playing. I try and keep the good, positive things up because I want people to read my feed and see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that there are things that can break through the harshness of having health problems. My advice for other people is always "don't let yourself become your condition." and it is something I do my best to keep up with myself. I have asthma, it doesn't have me. It doesn't consume my life and it isn't the only thing I think about. I don't over-analyse everything and obsess over monitoring (because that can only lead to paranoia and hypochondria). I try and enjoy my hobbies and post about those.
Sleeves on decks whether it be Yu-Gi-Oh! or Final Fantasy are important as you are handling the cards, shuffling them (and if you're brave enough to let others shuffle as well) and generally potentially leaving your cards (some of which can be worth staggering amounts of money e.g Legend Dissidia Sephiroth in holofoil can fetch up to £50 on eBay, I was lucky really with that one, I pulled a non foil and got a foil for a bit cheaper as the seller didn't realise what they were selling) to become bent, ragged and completely wrecked. Its a shame when you see a deck that has been completely ragged half to death by it's owner and the cards are so beaten up that they are coming apart, literally. Especially when you see how beautiful they once were. Obviously I keep all my cards sleeved (each deck has a sleeve set so theres no way of "marking cards or rigging what comes out) because I want to take care of them. I want them to last longer and I want people to see them when they are antiques and say "wow, look at the care these have been given."
Maybe it's because I was raised to appreciate things. When something broke when I was a kid, we didn't automatically get a new one. We had to repair what we had and treat things with care and respect. I think that a lot of our "throwaway" culture has come from kids being spoilt and things being automatically replaced once they were broken by rough handling or improper use. We don't just do it with toys or other things either, it seems that people even do it with living creatures as well. I could go on about it but at the end of the day, what will that do? I guess I want to inspire people to respect the things they have and, especially at this time of year, the people/pets in their lives because you can't just replace them that easily.
Sunday, 18 December 2016
Friday, 2 December 2016
I'm not exactly feeling 100% at the moment but I am happy because on Saturday last week, my mum and her partner Dave came to visit and I was finally able to introduce my mum to Jace and it went really well. Of course there is always a bit of wariness when you introduce someone to your family, wondering if they will get on and then when it happens, it was like we were already one big happy family. Its nice because knowing that my mum approves of my relationship is important of course but its good that Jace felt welcomed in as well. I have been with Jace for 4 years now and although there were tough times and distance issues, we are really thriving together now. Which is all I have ever really wanted in a relationship.
My birthday itself was wonderful really. I mean, if you can't do what you enjoy most on your birthday, when can you? We spent the day together doing things we enjoy and I was spoiled rotten really. I know a lot of people would have looked at me funny when they saw how happy I was to be given a Sephiroth card for the Final Fantasy TCG, but that meant a lot to me for the reason that it was brought by someone who knew what such a thing would be to me. It has inspired us to start playing the game and we now have the VII and X starter decks respectively. I also brought some boosters AND the special holograph card of Sephiroth (as well as pulling one from a pack, not foil but still a legendary rare card) which really felt a bit like fate, even more so when I managed to play Sephiroth as a forward in the game and was able to do well with him. The game itself is a bit weird to get used to but once you do get it, its really quite a lot of fun and well thought out. Of course we still adore our Yu-Gi-Oh! games but this is something a little different.
Another thing that was different recently was that Jace got to see first hand what happens when my asthma decides that it's had enough and serious medical attention is needed. The biggest thing with my condition is that like many brittle asthmatics, I can go from being able to live normally to practically suffocating within a moment's notice. This is scary. No, scrap that. This is terrifying. Luckily the attack began at the doctors and I was given a neb immediately, stupid Wendy didn't take her meds early that morning, rookie mistake. After 3 hours at the surgery I was then taken to the hospital and spent 8 hours in A&E before leaving (just as they were ready for me to take up my bed on a ward but I really didn't fancy staying there without my meds, it just wouldn't have been helpful for me because I was already annoyed as the GP tried to first fob us off with "oh its the weather..." when clearly there was an infection brewing, not impressed...at all.)
That was on Tuesday, now on Friday, I am doing OK I think. Jace is keeping a close eye on me and knows now that if I can barely manage 2 words with one breath then its time to get help. We have also been monitoring my peak flow measurements and general wellbeing a bit closer to try and keep things level. So far, I'm not sleeping all day which is of course a good thing but it is a good thing we have increased the quantity of salbutamol nebs per script! All in all, a kind of mixed couple of weeks and hoping that things start moving forward. I am hoping to get my Christmas cards sent out in the next few days too.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Going out for me means a LOT of preparation beforehand. Where I'm going, how long I'll be out (what medications do I need to carry/oxygen cylinders) and what I need to do. As a result, I don't tend to go out much but to be honest, there isn't really an awful lot that I need to do. I know a lot of people would be all too eager to brand me as "lazy" or judge me for not going out but they really don't know the full story. They don't know that I spend half my time either struggling to breathe or recovering from attacks. They don't know that we are often up in the night because I need nebs or inhalers and they don't see the effects that chronic lung problems leave you with and it is really hard t explain to someone who doesn't know what it's like because unless you have lived a day in my shoes you really don't know. I'm not going to moan and have a "woe is me" post about it but I am going to acknowledge that things do get tough sometimes.
At the moment I feel exhausted as it has been several days since my asthma has allowed for a good night's sleep. This is not only tough on me though, it is tough on Jace, especially when he has to wake up to put me on a neb and has to see me suffer when things are a bit more difficult (like when my lungs decide that 3 in the morning is the best time to spasm and tighten) and I worry about how he feels in all of this. Thats actually kind of typical Wendy, worrying about the state of others rather than my own condition. Maybe its because it is easier to care for others than to worry about my own condition. Maybe its because I was accused enough times of causing the illnesses of others (I know its shortsightedness on the part of the accusers) but I really don't like being accused of something I didn't actually do. I love Jace and having him here with me has been the best thing for me for a long time. He understands me and knows when I am just saying "I'm fine" when really I'm not.
Currently I have been making sure that everything is as it needs to be. My card making is going really well and producing some lovely results, if I may say so myself. My craft supplies are practically taking over the bungalow though so I am trying my hardest to put things away in a way that is organised and tidy. There is nothing worse than when your craft gear is strewn about and you don't know what is what or where it comes from. I like to be organised and know what I have, how much of it I have and plenty of stock of anything else. Unfortunately the spill over can be an issue so I spent the last week going through what I had, throwing away what wasn't any use to me anymore (which for a craft person is hard to do because EVERYTHING can be used again if you have enough imagination). So far I've made 30+ handmade cards (each with it's own unique design and finishing) and have another 10 or so to finish. I know that they will spread the right amount of joy to the people who get them and I have branched out from my usual circle of friends to others who have made my life better.
The best thing about being a part of a certain community group is that you meet and talk to a lot of new and interesting people. Being a part of Brittle Asthma support and Spoonie groups has been fantastic because not only am I feeling like I'm a part of something bigger and better but I'm meeting and making friends with people who know what I'm experiencing and how I feel. I've made a number of good friends over the years and it feels nice to be able to send them something personalised and pretty to thank them for being... them. My friends are like an extended family and I value people over anything else in this world. There are things in life that are crap but the trick is to not let that get to you and to know that with the right people around you, anything is possible.
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Friday, 14 October 2016
I look at things in this way because I have no other choice. You either deal with it, or you deal with it. I was dealt what you could call an unlucky hand. That sucks but the thing I did was turn that "bad luck" on it's head and found ways around it. For instance, I find that while I am unable to work, I have more time to dedicate to things I enjoy and find things that matter to me on a personal level. I have found that I have been able to dedicate more time and attention to the small squeaky creatures that I share my home with, and importantly, I don't take those moments of happiness for granted. When you offer your pet a food item and they come right up and take it from you, its a rewarding thing because you know that you have earned the creature's trust and affection. It's even more rewarding when someone moves in and the animals are instantly accepting and friendly towards them. I think that my recent idea of staying positive and keeping things on a positive note may well be finally paying off. I mean, I know its easy to fall in to melancholy and even easier to just stagnate there but I wonder, is that the best way for life? It's annoying that there's so many people who wallow in how unhappy they are about the way their lives are going and usually things are not that bad. Maybe it's just that people like to complain. I prefer to look at things in a way that says "OK. This is what it is, BUT this is how I can make it better."
Living with my conditions means that you have to take things as they are. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes, we have our challenges. But through it all, we see it as yet more to strengthen our already strong bond. Jace seems to really be finding his place here and we have a happy home. OK, my health has been shaky these last few weeks but it's been possible to work around it with what medication and equipment we have available to us. Jace has learned so much already and he understands the signs of when I'm having difficulties. I've been having a few rough mornings the past week but we've been able to calm the things. It's likely that my autumnal fungal infection has decided to rear it's head, but it'll need clarification before we go nuts on treatment.
Its nearly a year since I left the flat and moved here. There are a few things I do miss about the flat but to be honest, the bungalow is more of a home for us. The flat kind of had this temporary feel to it. Maybe it was rushed so much because of that want to get out of the YMCA as quickly as possible as that place was just like a mental black hole. I don't regret the 5 years I was there, I had some very nice times. I do think though that I should have moved sooner than I did as the damp, mould and being too close to the neighbours for comfort didn't do me any favours in the long run but hey, we live and learn. If we knew the best things to do from the offset, we wouldn't ever make mistakes and would never have the chance to learn and grow from them.
For now though, I am going to rest and let my body fight this infection as much as it can.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
In my situation it would be so easy to have a million posts about how crap things get. Maybe it's just the part of my mind that thinks that it's a lot more rewarding and pleasing to keep things positive and if needs be, find a positive if it's not readily available. I notice that people who post about how miserable they are and every twinge don't really get sympathy the more they do it. Sympathy is pointless, it doesn't fix the problem and it makes us forget that we need to put the work in ourselves too.
I'm not saying that people ought not grumble because we all have grumbles and gripes but there's a difference between a little gripe to constant moaning. We get it. Poor health and pain sucks but you can't let that define you as an individual. We are not an illness that just happens to have a person. We don't need to be obsessively checking every tiny symptom or scaring ourselves with "Dr Google". As admittedly you do need to monitor some illnesses but other than that being too alarmist about it will only mean that one day you could become ill and no one will listen (think boy who cried "wolf").
But in some way I think that hypochondria is a serious condition, along with Munchausen's. It recently came up in a support group about someone who told out and out lies about having a medical problem and it upset a lot of people. I think these people are in need of some kind of help to identify why they are so desperate to fill a need with a pretend illness (sometimes it can be something basic like only getting attention as a child when you were sick or people telling you that you're ill and weak so they can control you). Maybe it's because I live with illnesses that make me feel rubbish most days that it does get to me to see someone pretending to be ill when all I want is to get better and not need 20+ medications (probably nearly 50 pills a day, plus liquid morphine, inhalers and nebs and oxygen) just to be able to do things.
The thing is, I know Im not the worst case out there, there are people who are worse than I am and every day is a blessing because it's another day I'm still here and still fighting to survive. If someone said to me "take this and you will never have your problem again" I would with no hesitations. I'd love to be able to do things I loved and go back to work (I miss working as it really did feel lovely to open the bank account, see a wage and think "I earned that" rather than having to rely on the state) and not spend days just flopped about waiting to get well. That day may come, it may not. Of course I would grab it with both hands if someone offered me that chance but for now, my "job" is staying alive.
Jace has been helping me do that, from medications to making sure that if I'm tired, I rest a little. I know it's been challenging for him on days where even though I need to stay in bed, I've just wanted to flit about and do things, main things we did recently was having a complete clear out. Just getting rid of the things I don't need or use, giving away things that can be used again and throwing away the junk because I do have a hoarding instinct at times (typical part of OCD) and it's a challenge to keep that in check. I had to ask myself why I couldn't let go of things, there wasn't much reason for it in most cases and it had just been there at the time. Usually I hoard books, DVDs, drawing stuff and little trinkets, I'm cutting back on it now because this isn't just my space anymore, it's Jace's too. It's not fair for me to make him live amongst my rubbish. We are getting there and it's been a rewarding process from adapting to living with someone in an intimate way and it's one I intend to keep working on.
Move forward, don't stagnate.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
The guinea pigs, well they have flourished here too. I can't believe it was just a year ago when I brought those two fluff balls home and how tiny they were! Kaiba looked more like a pom-pom when I first got him and I remember thinking his fluffy fur was so funny. Now he is a big boy (and we know now that he is actually blind as well) he needs regular grooming and trims otherwise he starts to resemble a mop! Its funny when he sits with his hair over his face like "Yeah. I'm awesome" and then plops down in the corner of the hutch. He still hasn't mastered how to climb UP the ramp yet (seems to have more fun rolling down there instead which is actually funny to watch!) but he has time and I have patience with him.
Yugi. Well I remember when I first saw and held little Yugi and he was barely the length of my hand, hyper like all young guinea pigs but the most loving little lad. Hes still that way even now and he seems to know when either Jace or I are up as he will wheek for breakfast and attention. However he is the greedier one of the two and is probably a little on the chunky side (thats OK, he's a pig its kind of in his nature) but he does love to cuddle and he has grown so well and I am proud of them. I am proud of all of my animals. Loki is doing amazingly well too now we are out of that stressful environment and now have a wonderful future coming our way.
Just goes to show. Change is a good thing sometimes.
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
I know it has been a huge step for Jace and I appreciate that every day. He's chosen to live away from everything he knew back in Blackpool and I have been doing my best to make sure that he is able to find himself friends and people who he can talk to, people who share interests with us both. I won't go in to too much detail though as it isn't really my place to speculate. All I know is that he is here now and we are happier than we have been in some time, as long distance in relationships is a tough factor. We have been together for over 4 years and we had times that were harder than others (again I don't think I need to go in to too much detail here as its a private thing) and there were times when we felt helpless to stop the things going wrong.
The main thing though is that we were able to overcome those things and as a team we made a wonderful life together and this is where we are today. We live in our own little place out of the way and we are happy. Very happy. And this will only continue to get better as time goes on.
In terms of my health, things haven't been quite as rosy as this but I guess that is what you expect from a brittle asthmatic who can go from being fine one moment to not being so fine the next. This infection I have been battling for nearly 2 years (pseudomonas is a nightmare because it colonises and then you end up fighting against something that in my doctor's words "never really goes away completely, just gets weaker for a while") or maybe even longer, I don't know. I actually don't remember when it started, its been that long. Its one of those things though isn't it? But the most important thing is that I'm not doing this by myself anymore (my friends have been awesome but they can't keep watch over me for 24 hours a day) and I have someone to help me, to love me and to support me when I need it most. And Jace also has someone to make him feel the same way.
We have a simple life here. But its fun, we have plenty of things to share and things are only going to get better.
Sunday, 24 July 2016
I felt for her, she just kept saying that she couldn't go home, not while she could get the care she needed there despite the doctors explaining multiple times that actually being in hospital exposes you to bugs and infections and the home is the safest place. A lot of the time, all they want is someone to sit with them or just treat them like a person. I always try to be kind and polite to people, especially when there's 6 of you and you are in a room together for an undetermined amount of time. Even if it is just by sitting with an old lady in a chair while she babbles unable to fall asleep and holding her hand or striking up a conversation with people, which usually means that most times I leave the place with new friends. I believe that being friendly and kind to others is a valuable thing, even if some people take it for granted. I don't do it for any other reason than I feel its the best way to be. Its like my own way of "paying it forward".
I came across the film "Pay it Forward" a few weeks ago and it struck me as a really interesting film with such a great message, even though the story didn't have a happy ending. It follows the story of a kid called Trevor who upon being set a social studies assignment did something incredible after meeting with a new teacher whose own misfortunes in life helped them relate to each other. Trevor lives with his alcoholic mother who works as a stripper and in a Vegas casino, she wants to make things better for the two of them but really struggles due to her own issues. Basically the assignment was to think of an idea of how to make the world a better place and set it in motion. Whilst riding home, he meets a junkie called Jerry and takes him home for a good meal and a safe place to stay, but instead of asking his new friend to pay him back, he comes up with the idea of "Pay it forward." in which after someone has done something selfless to help you, you go forward and help 3 other people in a similar way. They then go and help another 3 people and it grows in size.
Admittedly it does kind of depend on human conscience and whether people can actually do selfless things (sounds silly but there are a LOT of people out there who call themselves "social justice warriors" and just repost memes on Facebook instead of actually getting up and doing something to change the issues they "care" about) but the idea was something that I really liked.
I may not be able to fix a car or give a homeless guy a meal and safe place to sleep, but I try and offer my friends and neighbours anything they need, whether its a cup of sugar or to borrow my strimmer. I do cross stitch pictures for people and make and send cards because I want to. I want to spread beauty and kindness. I show people who ask me how to cross stitch as I feel that as a therapy it has really brought something calming in to my life, which when things were going wrong, I clung to. I don't have a lot of the material stuff but the one thing I have in spades is kindness and patience towards other people (some less than deserving of course, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and all that) . Some people test that more than others but you get that regardless of where you go and there are always people out there who are only in it for their own reasons, that's OK, because when you find out who those people are, you don't owe them anything.
In fact, in life, you don't owe anyone anything. No one truly owes you anything. The world doesn't expect of you and you shouldn't expect too much of yourself. As long as you are doing something you know isn't harming other people or is making your world a neater place to live in then fine. Personally, I like to spread the word with art and crafts. I feel that it gives a lot of positivity and can make you feel better, maybe not in a way you want but it gives you something to work forward on.
I guess the message I want to take away from all of this is to keep yourselves smiling and if you can help someone else. DO.
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
It is rather frustrating that this infection has come and gone at a constant for over 2 years and it just seems to get just under the borderlines so that treatment stops but give me a week and its like it all starts again like a vicious circle which adds more and more to the thickening and stiffening of my airways. To be honest, it makes me angry because I really just want to be better. I want to be able to breathe easy or not have to worry about the pain of my back and legs anymore. Unfortunately my health issues are mainly hereditary and that is something I really have to get to grips with as they are a part of my genes. They are a permanent thing now.
I guess it's important to keep on top of them and manage as best we can even in circumstances where it is difficult. I'm not going to lie. I do feel restricted and I do hate that I struggle with things day to day but I try as much as I can. I do try and be independent. I do try and make sure I am looking after myself and the animals as best to my ability, they are the world to me. They are like my family and they make me feel so much better about everything, even on days when I feel like I am on a low ebb. They remind me daily that I am the most important human in the world to them. During one of my more dark moods recently (I won't go in to it fully but I was feeling so down I couldn't even see straight, it happens), it was them squeaking and cuddling up to me that reminded me that I wasn't going to go anywhere. Maybe its because they know when I feel stressed or upset they know that then is the time to make me feel loved and it helps me take a huge step back from the edge, which is something you never realise just how close you are until someone or something pulls you back.
I live with bi-polar disorder, OCD, slight Aspergers as well as borderline personality (schizophrenia) and I don't see those as reasons to be ashamed of myself. Actually, having issues myself has allowed me massive amounts of empathy and I have learned to look at things from as many points of view as possible. Sometimes things can seem better if you take the time to look around. I have had to understand a lot of my thought processes and reassess myself as a person. Things have changed from where they were 6 years ago and while so much has gotten better there is the undeniable fact that there are things that aren't so good. Its not something that is anyone's fault or anything like that, its just as it is.
For now though I am going to continue to keep up the good fight against this infection, do I think I will get very far? Maybe not but at least I am still trying to make the best of it.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Today, I found out about another dog who died due to the cruelty of their owners and the complacent nature of the RSPCA who aren't doing anything to make sure that this person doesn't harm an animal again. Hamish spent his 14 months of life being tortured and abused before succumbing to his his injuries and sadly passing away. I just can't understand it. I really can't. How can people think it right to beat, abuse or torture their pets? When my ex-neighbour poisoned my guinea pig Bumble, we did what we could to make sure that he didn't get away with it (nor the 12 months of hell he put me through as well). The problem is, animal abuse doesn't carry any serious consequences.
If you were to do some of the things that I have heard of and seen done to animals to a child you would have the book thrown at you. Why should that be any different to a dog or a cat, or any animal for that matter. It seems to have gotten worse recently and theres been many stories around about animals that have been brutalised, tortured and even mutilated by sick individuals who only get a slap on the wrist, told they can't have a pet (although 9 times out of 10 they do anyway) and then let on their merry way to go and find another helpless victim. Suspended sentences are a joke.
The Frankish brothers got paltry suspended sentences and when the public spoke up about it THEY were the ones that were given protection! Who protected Baby? Who stood up and said "That's not right." and helped that poor dog? At the time, no one. We seriously need to rethink how we deal with this issue and make sure that there are proper deterrents out there and proper consequences. These people need to be punished and know that what they did was wrong and (if its even possible) rehabilitated in to decent people who won't attack an animal because they saw it as beneath them.
Thursday, 2 June 2016
I didn't wake up one morning and think to myself "You know what, I feel like being confined to a wheelchair most of the day and stuck on oxygen."
I didn't want this.
I don't actually enjoy it.
It is just as it is. My wheelchair is my independence. Without it, I am not able to do things and yes that does kind of annoy me because I never used to need one, but it turns out, it was probably already pre-determined somewhere along the lines. I have always had trouble walking and can't run at all, never have been able to due to a mild case of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (or HPS) which I inherited from my father's side of the family (along with my "Squint" (that weird eye thing), stomach problems and a few other things). Basically this means my legs don't work as they should and as a result, my back (not helped by a curve or a serious injury during childhood, the joys of being the younger sister of 2 older brothers who loved wrestling, well we all watched it but they loved to do the moves on me as I was a lot smaller than them and easier to chuck about) I have problems walking, standing or even sitting unsupported. When I have bad days, my legs shake so much that I have to use a grab rail to transfer to the shower. Its not fun and there were frustrating times too. The problem with school is that unless you're sporty, you aren't really respected, so get someone like me in to the mix, it wasn't a whole barrel of laughs.
I remember the teachers telling my mum that I was just trying to get out of PE and running and my mum turning around and saying "No, its not that she doesn't want to. She can't. She never could." My mum stuck up for me a lot because she knew what I was dealing with and she did do her best to make sure that I at least stayed out of a chair in my childhood, even when after my back injury (which happened when I was 10) she was told that we would only know the true after effect of it as I got older and whether my dad's decision to withhold medical help at the time (not to mention moving me, which you NEVER do with someone who has hurt their back, EVER.) would have drastic consequences for me. When my mum told me about how for 6 months she effectively had to watch me learn to "walk" again and how I always limped afterwards, I felt for her because that must have really been hard for her to see and how powerless she was against my dad.
I just accept it because that's what I have to do. If it means that I am able to keep on living for as long as I can then I will carry on doing what I have to. It's not been easy and in some ways it felt like another blow and loss to my independence to have to use a scooter, then a wheelchair but at the same time it reminded me that going out and living and enjoying life didn't need to be painful or exhausting. In some ways its like I have been allowed to live my own life once again and for that I am thankful. Its hard to be stuck indoors with an illness and not be able to get anywhere or do anything. It made me miserable because I felt trapped in a kind of prison, I wanted to do things. But I couldn't. I wanted to be free but I was in a body that was slowly unable to keep up and I think it took me a long time to adapt to things. There are days when I do struggle with the implications of being in a chair, but I have people on my side to offer help, support and love. I think that is how I managed to get through the adjustment of moving from my flat to a bungalow (which turns out was the best thing ever for me).
I had to learn that people are always going to have negative comments towards you. I will never forget the time I got on a bus on my old scooter and this woman shoved past me saying "I'm 84 and I don't need one of those." Or when Becky took on a kid who was gawping at me (much to the support of everyone else in the shop at the time, including said kid's own mother). Or even the hassle it takes for me to even get on a bus if the driver is too lazy to put the ramp down, this happens pretty much every time I try and go out which is partly why I don't go out much. I do try and have a sense of humour about things, even if they bother me. For instance, when I was at an appointment, a small child blurted out "Mummy, whats that on that lady's face?" and I smiled and joked that it stopped my bogeys from falling out. Children aren't intentionally malicious, they just don't always understand.
I always say to people, look at me. Don't judge me for what I can't do but for the person I am.
Monday, 30 May 2016
I have always liked dogs and its always been a bit of a thing for me to own one, particularly a Staffie cross type, like her. No matter how many years pass, I still miss my childhood dog, Judy. Judy was like a permanent constant in my life, a friend and, towards the end, a cuddle companion. My childhood ended the day she was put to sleep and I moved out the day afterwards. I still remember the exact date (July 27, 2004. I moved out on the 28th to live in Redditch). I know its been 12 years, but I still think of her. Heck whenever I do think about her sometimes I either laugh because she was so funny or cry because I miss her. She was there for me though a lot of the bad times and some of the biggest hurts ever. She always encouraged me and let me know that although other kids were a total mystery to me, she loved me anyway.
People say to me that a pet is "only a pet" but I really don't agree. To me, a pet is as much a member of the family as anyone else. I don't see my pets as anything else and I really wouldn't be anywhere without the love of those little animals who live in my bungalow. Call me a sentimental moron if you want. But I have never ever lived in a home without a pet and I never intend to because to me, home is where the pet is, no matter what the pet is. So call me crazy when I jumped at the chance to take on a lovely 12 year old Staffie cross called Sandy. She is such a lovely dog, and until the asthma attack hit (turns out I have had an allergy to dogs for a good long time, who knew?) I was happy in thinking that I had found myself someone else to love and needed someone who was home 24/7. I think the one thing I can take from this and smile is that for a night, I spent time with a dog again. Its silly really and impractical to give your emotions out to someone you only got one night with but I will always have that at least. That moment where she lay on my lap while watching stuff on the laptop and we fell asleep cuddled up to each other. The moral here though is health first, you can't look after a pet when you can't look after yourself. I guess for me, its a definite answer that I won't be getting a puppy any time soon, but I will stick with what I know I can keep, guinea pigs. I just hope that Sandy gets a good forever home soon and is able to live happily ever after.
Its funny when I was feeling upset earlier, I had both guinea pigs come out and sit on my lap to remind me that although I am not perfect, I am the world to them. It makes me feel more love towards the pets I have and reminds me that although they're only with us for a while, they stay with us in our hearts, or something like that anyway. I still remember everything about every piggie I have had, from Patch and Alphonse to Tiggy, Bumbles and Scruff. I remember the good times. The funny moments and the moments where they reminded me that it was OK to be a little bit "broken" and they didn't mind that at all. Heck, Patch used to be a comfort to me when I was bad because of how he used to lie with me and nuzzle. Yugi and Kaiba are funny little ones and they definitely reminded me today that I am a piggy-mum and I always will be. OK so it was funny that while cleaning the hutch, Yugi kept running up, nibbling my knuckles and running away cheekily!
I guess that for now, I am just going to be thankful for the wonderful things I do have in my life. I have people who I love and who love me. I have my fur-babies. I have a wonderful new home which I love the chance to take care of it. All around, I think I am blessed with what I have and I think I have enough to be happy.
Monday, 23 May 2016
I have had a lot of things to adapt to over the last few years, from being on home oxygen to getting help with carers coming in every day. Getting used to being in a wheelchair has been particularly frustrating because its like you have to learn how to live all over again. Sounds dramatic but I would happily challenge a non-chair user to spend a couple of days in my shoes. I didn't even realise the challenge we have to face with simple things like getting on/off buses, going around the streets (and looking everywhere for the fabled "dropped curbs" or accessible shops) and the general scorn you get from some people. I think the biggest thing is that its human nature to shun what we don't really understand. Not everyone has had to learn about being in a wheelchair or live on what is basically a cocktail of medications. And I know even more who would rather die than be that way. I think in some ways, its a reminder to me that I have been through the rough stuff and I came out the other end a decent human being.
Admittedly I hadn't been as well as I could be over the last week or so. Actually, I have been feeling off since everyone came down with this weird flu bug. Unfortunately flu and asthma are never a good mix and as a result I developed bacterial bronchitis which has been making me feel drained. I have been keeping myself occupied with old cartoons (curled up in bed with Sephy, my favourite plush doll), games and of course my craft work. I think that by keeping myself occupied, it helps me keep my mind off everything. OK so I got a bit addicted to Tropico 5 (building myself a couple of idyllic tropical islands and running them in different ways, actually a really relaxing game, the music just gets me as well and before I know where I am, 2 hours are gone!) and other games. After all, a depressed mind is often bolstered by boredom. This is why keeping up on my blogging, writing, gaming and general arts and crafts has been something of a lifesaver for me. With plenty to keep my mind busy, I have less time to spend thinking about the whole "woe is me...my life is -sooooooo- hard" crap. Because lets face it, people who compete to have the crappiest hand in life are just pathetic and not worth thinking about. Some people who have real problems are actually going to get things changed because you can't stay miserable forever.
I still believe that moving on from my old place was the right thing for me to do. OK so it wasn't exactly easy and there were times when it wasn't fun to organise (particularly when it was a week before Christmas) but it was something that has worked out for the better for me. The bungalow is a lot bigger than the flat and has more open space. There aren't problems with damp or mould nor are there issues with antisocial behaviour, including foul mouthed kids and even more foul "parents". My animals are safer here too as theres no access or way for kids to come in and open cages. Overall, its been such a good thing and I know I keep harping on about it. But I really do feel so much brighter and more positive here. I don't know what the next years are going to hold, but I think we can safely say that we will all find out together!
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
You should enjoy yourself and do things that make you happy. Don't be scared of new things and just go with it. After all, we only have so long to do it and when you think about it, what is stopping you from doing the things you want to do? Those who blame others for missed chances are weak willed and foolish. Maybe it's easier to blame others for your misfortunes rather than being adult and taking responsibility? I don't know. Personally, I am making the most of things, yes there are days when I feel so exhausted that I can't move. Yes there are days when I just want to give up and break down in to tears. But then I remind myself of something, I am still alive. Despite the illness, people who tried to drag me down their level or anything else. I am still here. I am still able to hold my head up and say "You know what, yeah the past was a bit rough but who says I am letting the future be the same?"
People ask me how I cope with everything. The simplest answer is "I just do." I can't wave a magic wand and make it better and make years of chronic chest infections and pretty much daily asthma symptoms and attacks disappear. Nor can I erase the damage that has done to my lungs and the knock on effect that has had (and the effects of the treatments) on other parts of my body. There is no cure. I know that. I accept that. BUT I keep on going because I don't see why I should have to stop because of things. I am independent and it is a huge part of who I am. I have my wheelchair and oxygen cylinders so that I may live as comfortably and independently as I can. I have freedom. Maybe not in all the ways that someone would want it, but I still have something, right?
Since moving I have felt so much better in myself. Living in a quiet and more out of the way area of Redditch has been lovely. Sitting around and listening to birds outside. The area is lovely and peaceful and there's no trouble. Ever. OK so its a bit out of the way but I don't mind it too much (OK so the buses still need a lot to be desired at times, last week when Jace was over, the last thing we wanted to hear a bus driver say was "sometimes the brakes work, sometimes they don't", talk about unsettling...) I do feel calmer and I have been able to relax and enjoy my bungalow. One thing I definitely agree with now is that change can be a good thing. Change can bring about growth and often that is where things start to get better. Maybe things will get better healthwise? Maybe not. But I know in myself that I am going to withstand it and I am strong enough to get back up again.
Sunday, 17 April 2016
I guess it isn't important now. I've been in my bungalow for 4 months now (I can hardly believe it myself) and I love being here. There's something nice about waking up and not thinking "What is my neighbour going to do THIS time?" or having their music perforate any peace and quiet you had. Abbeydale isn't in itself a horrible place. Its just a tough place for someone who is sensitive to some things and more likely to suffer due to stress and for someone who values things like privacy and not hearing a street full of kids screeching like banshees all summer. I think that where I am now is a lot more suitable to me and and I am definitely a lot better off here. For one, I can get around this place so much easier and its easier to keep clean tidy and fresh. A better home environment is good for me and it's good for the animals as well. I think they were also suffering at the psycho hands of my neighbour and they knew that it was affecting me to that point.
Sunday, 3 April 2016
In the UK if an animal is abused and the perpetrator is taken to court, the sentences handed down are so lenient and often with "suspended sentences" the criminals are basically told that if they're a good boy/girl for a little while, they will avoid prison completely. I think this isn't right. I really don't believe in suspended sentencing anyway, especially in cases where either a person or animal was seriously harmed or killed. It's too soft an approach and it just sends out the clear message that even if you do something that is so awful, you'll get a slap on the wrist. People don't take it seriously and I think they have learned that they can be as inhumane towards an animal as they please and get one of these weak "sentences".
No case illustrates how wrong this is more than the sad story of a bulldog named Baby. You may have heard Baby's story already since it went viral last week. Baby's last few months were torture at the hands of the humans she thought would love her and keep her safe. In the videos online you see the shocking way that Andrew and Daniel Frankish, of Redcar, pick her up and throw her repeatedly down a flight of stairs while laughing and joking about what they were doing. Picking her up by the ears to "make it scream some more" or head-butting her against the walls. Standing on her chest and using her as a trampoline while the poor dog lay submissive and still obedient towards these thugs. This was all filmed and 3 months later, Baby was put to sleep due to her losing the use of her back legs (those last few months must have been so painful for her, having had a spinal injury myself that was left untreated, I know first hand how hard that can be). 2 years later and the memory chip containing the footage was found on a supermarket floor, the RSPCA and police got involved and the lads both got suspended sentences and 6 month tagging/curfew.
These two were defended by their mother who said that they were "fucked" on drugs and that they didn't know what they were doing. The fact that they actually filmed the attack on Baby and kept the memory card and footage shows that they not only knew what they did but they were probably proud of themselves for doing so. Keeping the videos as some kind of sick trophy to relive the moment where they were "big men" and attacked a defenseless pet. Obviously the boys are pretty much going to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders in case someone decides to give them a beating but they aren't the victims here.
Baby's case wasn't exactly isolated and there have been numerous incidents of animal abuse and the poor sentencing of judges that almost make it OK to abuse an animal. As usual Facebook has been used positively to promote the plight of Baby and to call the authorities to drag these scumbags back in to court, get them proper sentences and use this case as a landmark to point towards tougher consequences for animal abusers. If you would like to get involved please click here to join the Facebook group as well as signing the petitions here and here.
Please help us get justice for Baby and stop something this horrible from ever happening again.
Saturday, 2 April 2016
When I get up in a morning, I start my days with food and the first fistful of tablets of the day. Followed by liquid meds and nebuliser meds. Then I can get up and get going and do whatever it is I do some days. A large proportion of my day is spent working on sewing projects, gaming and playing with my pets. Loki has recently (thanks to the kind donation from next door, seriously, everyone is amazing here!) moved outside in to an outdoor hutch/run. He loves it! It's warm and cozy at night and during the day he has all the room he wants to just be a bunny. This means that he is in a more suitable environment and hes a lot happier as a result. That to me is a sign of owning a pet and doing it responsibly. I do go out to him daily with food/water/greens and hay so he is not starving. None of my pets are given less than complete love, care and compassion.
I loved the quiet surroundings and the fact that the people here are just so much nicer than my old neighbours. I started working on a cross stitch project when I knew I was moving. It was the last thing I started at my old place and the biggest thing I've finished here in my new home. I did a cross stitch of Sephiroth from Dissidia, it took me 3 months of hard work. 3 months of nights spent curled up with it and now it is framed and mounted. I felt an amazing sense of pride when I put the finished work in to the frame. Even more so when people started seeing it out on display and saying how amazing the piece was to watch it grow. I did take photos and they are on my Instagram page of the process, along with other pictures of the things I do in the place I do them. I like to live my life despite having things that make it harder for me to do so and I hate it when people think that because I am disabled that I won't enjoy going out or socialising. I am still here and I am making the best of my lot here because I have to. I can't sit around and feel sorry for myself forever now can I? I like to make the most of the days I can do things and on the days where I just don't have the energy, I try and give myself things to do so that I don't stagnate or get in to a routine of not doing much.
Its been since moving that my whole attitude has been turned around. If someone had said to me last year that I would have moved in to a new home and found myself incredibly happy once more, I would have thought "Yeah. OK..." but look at how things have turned around for me!
Thursday, 25 February 2016
Unpacking is pretty much done with and OK there's boxes of misc stuff but we had misc boxes at the old place so to be honest they're not worrying me. To be honest it's stuff I can browse through whenever I feel up to it really. I've shifted the last few boxes of belongings and unpacked everything I use and need so I'm doing OK with that. It's amazing how much you acquire over the years but at the same time you do sometimes look at stuff and ask yourself "what exactly was I going to do with this?!" But I think that I have my bungalow as I want it. It's clean and tidy and importantly, its secure and tucked right up and away from all the hustle and bustle. Even with a pub over the road, we don't have drunken chavs walking down the street shouting and swearing in the early morning. It's something I don't miss to be honest.
I've been so much better here and it's been wonderful for me to have a home where I can feel safer. I didn't like leaving the flat on Abbeydale unguarded as it didn't feel like that secure an area. I kept the curtains closed because of kids playing "look at the freak" and I felt like my privacy was being invaded, especially when they would run around my garden. To be honest, I think I had reached a point in Abbeydale where I was closed to giving up in myself, my home suffered through. I won't go into the specifics about how, who and why because it holds no purpose to play the "blame game". I'm not a little kid anymore and I'm doing my best to let go of the past and keep looking forward to the future, whether that's 5 years or 50+.
I owe it to myself to keep trying. I owe it to my loved ones to keep smiling, even on the bad days and know that the pain and other stuff doesn't last forever. Heck, I even owe it to the people who try to bring me down because nothing quite says " Fuck you" (excuse the language) better than when someone who tried to destroy you sees you grow and thrive and they realise that despite them, you're living your life and making it better and they won't even get a look in, because they don't deserve it. Simple really. I'm not making it obvious where my address is to anyone unless I want them to know and the people who do know have promised to keep it secret and they know who not to tell, not that they would tell that individual anything anyway.
I've been a bit off since having a tumble from my futon. Trying to get in at the doctors has been a nightmare (booked up for the next month!) and I can't justify going to A&E for it. They probably make more fuss about my asthma being a pain but I don't want to have to go in. There's something nice about not being taken away from a place that I want to hold on to. Don't get me wrong, we are fortunate enough to have the NHS and we all have a grumble and a gripe with it but it's obvious that they're stretched to the limit. Obviously if things go really down hill then I will go but for now I'm comfortable where I am.
I did have to say goodbye to an old friend though. After 4 years, my old Samsung just had enough and was ready to retire to the place where mobile phones go when they die. Maybe holding on to it was like holding on to another part of the life I've left behind and it was buggy. Nothing updated. Nothing worked properly. It lagged. So I treated myself because it was time to do something nice that was for me.
Friday, 19 February 2016
I think this bungalow is a great place and it is in such a lovely part of town. I won't say where exactly for security reasons but I can honestly say it is quiet and secluded down here. I live at the end of the row as well but no one here is any trouble. I get on with the neighbours (Mr and Mrs S (names not given, again for privacy reasons) have been wonderful and so helpful and kind to me) and I feel something I have not felt in some time. I feel safe and secure. I feel comfortable and I feel happy. I'm not scared of what could happen outside anymore or who could invite themselves in and as it's a bungalow, there isn't anyone living upstairs. I have an enclosed garden which is fenced off and the boundaries are clear and no mistake could be made.
I think that my mental health has seen the biggest improvement over the last few weeks. I have stopped being so quiet and timid and become more outgoing and vibrant. I feel more myself here and it shows in so many ways. My neighbours have said that in the short time I've been here, I've gone from that timid, frightened girl to a vibrant and boisterous young woman who is the real me. I don't feel so hopeless. I have a future and that's something no one can take away. Today I even ventured out to find the local shops and explore the area a bit. It was a pleasant run and I felt proud because I'd motivated myself to go and look around. I guess the reason I hadn't blogged was that there was so much I needed to do to set myself up here and settle in. When I came back home after Christmas, the thought in my mind was "Right, I've got the move over with. Everything's here and the keys to the old place are gone. Now it's time for a fresh new beginning." Its taken me ages to get to this point but I'm taking pride in my home and I plan to carry that on.