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.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Loose Ends.

I finished my home IVs today and to be honest I am both glad and a little concerned. We no longer have to worry about dangling lines, sore IV sites and the eventual pain of when the vein says "nope" and shuts down entirely. The thing is, I am not magically better which is what I am struggling with, the idea that my "baseline" has changed and things aren't bouncing back the way they were. This actually terrifies me because although I know that I am not as young as I was and my body has had to deal with so much over the last 8 years, it doesn't make it any less real.

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.

Right now, our latest thing has been the Final Fantasy TCG. Jace has a deck based on the Final Fantasy X set and I have Final Fantasy VII (of course). Right now I am working on different variants of the VII deck (Starter, Classic, Remake, Crisis and Advent) which will grow in time as more cards are released. I did however treat myself to a Final Fantasy VII Advent Children playmat and sleeve set which look absolutely incredible! Typical high quality as well that you would expect from Square Enix and the sleeves are amazing as well.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Rough Week...

Treatment for certain conditions can be confusing. Heck, I find my asthma as confusing as anything else and its weird, not even the doctors or nurses really understand it and why its being so difficult. Basically for years it has been bounced around more times than a rubber bouncy ball between different doctors, nurses, hospitals and everywhere else in between. 

Since October, there has been a bit of a spike in my usage and that in itself could a sign of things being out of whack and something that needs desperately looking in to. Why are things so much more difficult at the moment? I have no idea, I have constant infections near enough and I am struggling with things like getting up and going for a pee (yes, going for a pee is actually quite physical apparently) or even eating/drinking.

When I was started with o2, I was given it to use as I was generally going around and doing my thing. Up to 16 hours per day and not at night. Then several admissions and several different people saying different things later they then said that I as probably benefiting from it overnight but, as usual another person disagrees and it all goes up in the air again (excuse the pun) and as usual the respiratory nurses leave everyone baffled. Lather, rince, repeat. The one thing that has come of all the confusion is that we finally are getting the sleep study done by the local hospital. I'm not 100% sure on how this will go but if we can get concrete evidence then that's our lives made easier.

At the moment though I'm pretty much in quarrentine as I'm on home IVs. Basically no going out and limiting people coming in, not because of what I could give but because of what I could catch, especially with an open IV line (basically direct access to my bloodstream) and the impact that could have on me. It hasn't been plain sailing either due to my twitchy veins and the fact that I am just so tired as well (apparently getting up at 4 in the morning to neb and clear rubbish off my chest is becoming a norm for us). Jace has been wonderfully patient as always and he has been helping so much with the management of my illnesses and keeping my spirits up as well. 

We lost one of our pigs this week as well which was sad really. Kaiba had a number of health complications himself and had developed an eye ulcer which his poor little body just couldn't fight anymore. It was heartbreaking as he fought as hard as he could to get through it but unfortunately, he passed away knowing he was loved and that in doing so, the pain would be over and he would be free. Unfortunately that has left us with a guinea pig shaped hole to fill and Yugi needs a new friend, something we will be sorting out after Christmas. Until then he has been lapping up extra attention and fuss as well as being given plenty of things to nibble and enjoy. He is a good little pig really, he just needs some company as guinea pigs are social animals by nature. It's never easy when you lose a pet, this is the first one we've lost since moving here but I think that deep down, it was the best thing for Kaiba as he was going to lose that eye and would have never survived afterwards.

I guess that other than Jace and I getting in to a new game, there hasn't really been much going on here. I will write a bit more on the new game we discovered, the Final Fantasy Opus TCG game (the cards... just wow....) but for now, I think I shall leave it here and see where the next week takes us. 

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 2 December 2016

Birthday, Family and Other Stuff

Hard to think but the girl who doctors didn't think would see 25 is still here and recently turned 29! OK so I have to use a lot of equipment these days and I spend time trying not to cough myself stupid (easier said than done at times) but I am here. I am still surviving and I am still strong enough in myself to keep moving forwards. I think that the last year or so has been a bit harder than we anticipated but the best thing to have come from it all is that finally after us wanting to get this together, Jace and I are finally working as a unit. Its been great to have someone here to help me and love me even if I am sick or feverish.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Crafting and Life

Its the worst time of year coming up for asthmatics. Winter is always difficult for people with any kind of asthma but for someone with severe asthma like me, it is absolutely frustrating. I know people mean well and going out is a healthy thing to do but for me, going out in winter is just asking for problems due to freezing cold and wet or the fact that it is the time of year where everyone is snuffling back a cold or a touch of 'flu (which for me is more than a slight inconvenience, once that cold goes to my chest I am pretty much screwed really), not to mention the unreliable bus service.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Its worth it.

Its been a difficult few days for us really. Not because of anything personal or anything like that but because it's been a challenge to keep my peak flow above (or around) 200l/min, usually anything below that is when things get difficult, my best is around 400l/min and anything below that is considered bad. Admittedly since being on oxygen at home, it's been easier to cope with and I'm not struggling as much as I was but then again we haven't been able to get above 250l/min for a good couple of years now unless I've nebbed and been given a ton of steroids. Before I had the oxygen I was unable to even move from bed to chair, each breath I take is never taken for granted. I never realised how much poor lung function could affect my entire body.

Basically if you have never experienced it, it is hard to explain how exhausting it can be. Imagine everything you do taking twice or 3 times the effort than it normally would. Then there's the tired feeling you get with it, like you haven't slept in weeks or months. Its hard to explain to people who don't know that those dark circles around my eyes aren't because of anything other than being so exhausted, and trust me, I have heard some bad ones, including being accused of being a "smack head" which was quite funny actually but at the same time it made me angry because I have never done hard drugs and I never will.  

Jace has been fantastic in helping me with the attacks and pain, even sitting up with me in the early hours while nebs run through (and I am probably falling back asleep usually). The problem with having chronic chest infections is that it can be hard to work out the cause and sometimes you encounter doctors who are so oblivious to how serious things can get. Basically, what I have at the moment is a fungal infection which one of the doctors at the surgery (one who is renowned for being an idiot, I get called in urgently to discuss some bloods and then he dismisses it completely, turned out that I had been anaemic for the past 18 months or so, who'd have thought?) dismissed as "just a bit of thrush" and was "normal". My usual doctor said that when this gets in your lungs its never "just a bit of thrush" and could be dangerous. So its a month of Itraconazole and hoping that it hasn't taken too much of a hold on my system. Last time it was a "if this fails then we may have to look at other options" sort of situation so I really want to avoid that if I can. The fact is, when you only have about 30% of your lungs functioning and at less than normal with gas exchange, you can't afford to mess around with things. I know that something isn't right with my lungs but I just don't feel "that" bad if that makes sense?

It's hard for me to know when enough is enough. I live with this every day, I know the symptoms and what they feel like and I know that I probably put up with a lot more than most would even consider but if I didn't, I wouldn't have a life. My Facebook feed would be constant moaning about being ill and let's be honest, it's an t a positive way forward in life. Does this make my suffering less real? No. It just means that I'm not putting it on others and making them deal with it. I see it in "Spoonie" (sick people, look up Spoon Theory) communities it makes me feel frustrated that people are so obsessed with their illnesses, especially when they have no conditions in the first place (known as "Catfish"). It just trivialises the whole thing. Its hard enough having to deal with long term health issues but when people make it a joke, it's like adding a whole new level of justification to an already stretched situation. I know that you can't always see the battles other people face but when people knowingly outwardly lie, it makes me angry.

At the moment, my aim is to stay away from the hospital for as long as I can. I spent my last birthday in there and I really wouldn't like to spend yet another one in there, especially if it can be avoided somehow. I know it sounds silly but it was a difficult situation last year and despite friends and family, I still felt alone and having an attack that a more demanding patient wouldn't let the nurses deal with was even worse, I have never heard a nurse tell a patient to wait in such a plain way but I am so glad of it because it would have been a rotten way to spend an evening.

All I can say is thank goodness for the equipment and things we have at home.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 14 October 2016

Life is...

I find it weird when people ask me how I put up with it all and how I cope. Like it was a conscious effort on my part to keep going even when I feel exhausted and like I just want to go and sleep for a month or so. To be honest, I never know quiet what to say or how to say it because for me, this isn't just some "thing" I do. It is just simply life. We all have choices in life and some people have the choice to be happy and simply don't do so because for whatever reason they don't think that they can. Of course I am not saying that people don't have difficulties which are often relative to the person encountering them (some people can't cope with things the way others can which again is fine, that is normal).

I find it interesting to see how things can just happen. I think that the biggest lesson I've learned from my experiences is to keep a philosophical view to things and trust my own instincts and intuition. Oh, and to not let the ignorance of others get me down. No matter where you go or what you do, there's always going to be someone somewhere who thinks they know better and no one will convince them otherwise! Fact is, people can lie all they want, some of them are so bad and make no sense and it's really actually quite funny. Best one recently was that down in Abbeydale someone was convinced that my friends and I were always smoking pot (with an oxygen tank, even a moron could put 2+2 and see that this wouldn't be clever but then again, this is a special kind of fool, not to mention the whole chronic respiratory problems or the fact that even when police were called in to search my place they found nothing whatsoever, person was apparently to be done for wasting police time).

The irony in that is that I seldom even drink alcohol nowadays (special occasions only and in very small amounts as alcohol and a number of my tablets do not mix) and have never done hard drugs. I experimented a few times with weed when I was a lot younger but that's about all really. Compared to many my age, I've lived a clean lifestyle. And what oddly enough, I'm proud of that.

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."

During his time here, Jace and I have been able to work around not only my conditions and the limitations they cause but we have learned how to be around each other. Sounds obvious but it's very important to note that even if you're in a relationship for a long time, it can be different when you share the same space. In some cases it can be the breaking point, but in this case it has been one thing that helped us get closer and closer. Jace has also been winning the trust of my little furry judges of character. It's worth saying that animals can often be very intuitive about people's personalities. Usually if the guinea pigs don't trust a person, that's probably because of a good reason. Yesterday, we opened the hutch door to see whether Yugi or Kaiba would come out on their own. Yugi is the more responsive of the pair and he was straight out, coming up and saying "hello" and even allowing us to give him a stroke on his terms. 

Things here are going really well, besides some health issues (the fungus among us has decided to rear its ugly head once more and my lungs seem to have become a holiday resort for it). Since Jace moved in with me, it has been like a new chapter in both our lives has begun and we are both just so happy about it. If anyone told me this time last year that I would be out of Abbeydale and living in a nice bungalow in the nicer area of Redditch with Jace, I think I would have looked at them as though they had suggested that the sky was actually green. Its amazing to see the change in both of us really, both physically and mentally. I think that being happier makes for a better wellbeing and I think that we are both feeling that things are just as they should be. And to be honest, I wouldn't trade that feeling for the world.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Always Move Forward.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Things are Changing!

It's funny but over the past few weeks, I've made more progress with myself than I ever did in 2 years. I think that moving from Abbeydale to the bungalow (still not saying where it is for privacy reasons) has played a part in that. The biggest issues with the flat weren't the flat, but the surroundings weren't right for me after 5 years, my health and needs have changed a lot and living in flats that are stacking people one on top of another in a loud area (often full of drunk people) just wasn't working anymore. The place we're in now is in a quieter and generally nicer area. The property has more space for us to live in. It sounds silly but it also has allowed me yet further distance from the past as well. I was carrying too much on my shoulders by staying there but at the time it was my home and I won't ever deny that we did have good times in that flat. Sometimes it takes some time and distance to really see what was really going on and how that was affecting me but because I didn't think I could have anything better, I kind of settled for it.

Having Jace here with me is wonderful. He's really taken to caring for me and making sure that I'm safe and comfortable as well as maintaining my independence as much as possible as that is kind of part of who I am. I have been independent since I was 9, I won't let that be taken from me. Its been unusual as I have been so used to my own routines, and when you live by yourself you don't notice the little quirks you have in your personality (e.g. aggression towards the toilet seat). These aren't bad things by any means, we all have our quirks and eccentric natures. Its called being human. But at the same time, I don't think we are supposed to live solitary lives. Its down to finding the right person and you both enjoying each other's company. Even if that is spent while one of you is playing on the Wii-U and the other on the Vita. Its OK because we're still doing things together.

The best thing is that I know that I can trust Jace with things and he is a calm and patient person. He doesn't know exactly everything I am going through for himself but hes been so good and gentle with me. Over the last couple of weeks I have had a persistent fever and chest infection that really isn't shifting well. The last few days have been pretty bad asthma wise and I have been pretty tired and sore as a result. Having someone to spend the afternoon playing games with or just watching a film and cuddling helps though. Sometimes its the non-medical things you need like affection and closeness that can make a sucky situation less so.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A New Chapter

It's been nearly 2 weeks now since Jace moved in with me here. Its been the best 2 weeks that I have had in a long while and even though I have been quite poorly during this time, I have been contented. I think that having Jace around has helped improve my confidence to no end and I have found myself doing (and wanting to do) more than before where all I felt like I was in a cycle of eat, sleep, clean, watch TV, sleep etc. We've both been happier for the new situation and I know that this was the right step to take. We'd been planning how to do this for a while so to have finally gone and done it was like a dream coming true for us.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Paying it Forward.

Getting over asthma attacks is one of the most exhaustive processes I know. It is hard work and it leaves you feeling like everything is a million times harder than it ought to be. I spent a lot of the first few days at home sleeping because I just felt so tired but finally calm because I was back home, in my own environment where I belong. The one thing I really didn't realise how much I appreciated until I couldn't get that was the quiet. In hospital unfortunately there are a lot of people who are demanding, especially on medical wards where patients are generally dumped while waiting for care home placements (totally wrong, but when the families don't want to take them home, where else can they go?) because they are too demanding for families, it is awful to watch, even more so when you watch a lady on the ward who as soon as she was told she was able to go, started throwing herself on the floor and refusing food or drink.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

ARGGGHH!!!!!!!

I've been having a few rough days recently. I won't go in to too much detail as it wouldn't be appropriate and I have always tried to keep my private life as what it ought to be. Private. On another 2 week slog of antibiotics again, well halfway through but not really feeling much better. It's OK these things take a while and it was left for a month to get ingrained and deep set (because getting an appointment for the same month is like getting hen's teeth) and my bloods had indicated that there was active infection but no one took action on it, probably because like all surgeries, my doctors are overworked and under more and more pressure. The result is that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, someone will always slip through the net and unfortunately that has been me. Again. I'm annoyed but to be honest, I expected no less.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 13 June 2016

Why?

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Wheelchair

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

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

I didn't want this.

I don't actually enjoy it.

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

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 30 May 2016

Animals and Love.

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

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 23 May 2016

2016 - So far

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Change. It Can be Good. Honest!

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

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Spring!

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Justice for Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Turning Around.

Sometimes, I get so sick of people telling me how "easy" my life is. Especially when people assume that it's easy being disabled. Let's be clear about on this and I know many people would agree when I say it. Being disabled is hard. Being disabled is sometimes incredibly frustrating. Being disabled means that crossing paths with ignorant people can be the worst thing ever. Someone once said that due to my illnesses, which mean that I'm on ESA instead of being made to look for work, that they were jealous. How can someone be jealous of this?! It's sick! I have missed out on things due to my conditions and have also lost a lot of things I enjoyed. I have days when I can go out but sometimes even something as simple as getting on a bus can start a huge confrontation, usually due to lazy drivers and parents with buggies that shove you out of the way (not all of them are like it but I have met my share). 

And before ANYONE starts. I am NOT saying that babies should be thrown off of buses. If a wheelchair and a pram are waiting at the same stop, the person who arrived first should get the place, unless there is room for both. If a wheelchair wanted to get on and there were already prams there and they couldn't be folded, then fine. I can wait. All I am saying is that if you can hold your child and theres a wheelchair to get on, please be considerate and DO NOT shove someone out of the way to barge past them. It's rude. Oh and to be told that "that thing on [my] face is disgusting..." yeah... Its keeping me alive whereas some people and their ignorant attitudes are probably sending them to an early grave.

When you have brittle asthma its fair to say that there are days where you really can't do very much. Heck recently I have been having a period of that and it drives me mad because I am an active and very independent person. I choose to live in a home which is clean and fresh. I choose not to live like a slob. I choose to not let aspects of my life affect others because I was brought up better than that. Obviously I do have bad days and I get really annoyed with them because I know there is work needing to be done and I need to get up and do it, even if I have no energy or am in pain because who else is going to do it for me? It may seem harsh but that is how it is and it is sometimes harder work on my body than I ever realise.

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.

These last few days I have been really suffering from my infection and the fact that I have been working daily to keep my home to the standard it should be kept to. The people who lived here before didn't give it the care and attention it needs and as a result there was a sadness in the air when I first moved in, probably because the people who had it before me used it as some kind of squalid pit with it's own personal fly-tip. I fell in love with the bungalow from the moment I saw it and wanted to live here.  Now I am spending time sorting it out and making a home for myself. It looks nice already but there are still some things that need to be sorted and a few things that need to go up before I consider it finished. It's a long project to come to life but I do take great pride in keeping my home neat, tidy and keeping that pesky dust down! I have become quite adept at wheelchair hoovering! So I have no excuse to live in a filthy home. Then again, I am of the belief that no one has the excuse to live in a dirty shit-pit (excuse my language).
 
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!

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Another Door Closes, Another Door Opens.

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.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 19 February 2016

Making a Home.

Well, we're further in the cause of unpacking the new place. Today, I managed to get the rest of the corner clear in the bedroom and now theres only 2 boxes of bric-a-brac waiting to be sifted through and put away properly. Those are now waiting in the little room out of the way. The bungalow is actually bigger than we realised it was originally (with all my stuff in place and organised, admittedly theres space to spare), not to mention the rather generous garden space I have (which was cleared by the council). I was talking to Natt recently and he said that I seemed to be so much brighter and happier here, more like the old me. The girl who used to live in her attic and love it there. Since moving, I've been a bit busy what with unpacking the boxes upon boxes of personal possessions and putting my savings to good use on buying more nice storage space for my collection of books, games, DVDs and CDs. I like having things tidy and organised so its rewarding to see my effort coming to something. Now I'm putting what we call the finishing touches to the bungalow but all in all, its a nice, clean place to live. It really came together yesterday when the rug I ordered arrived and now it's just the little finishing touches to bring the place to life completely. 

When people ask me "was it worth it?" I can honestly say it was. It really was. I think that although I liked my old place, it just wasn't right for me anymore and as my health declined over the years, I became less able to live and maintain it to the standards I'd always been able to keep before. When I mean standards, I mean the floor being vacuumed than once a month and the dusting being done regularly too. I know its a lot of work but to be honest, what is the point in having a place when you don't strive to make it a home. Even if it's only simple little touches like hanging curtains or splurging on a rug and new units but to be honest, the things at the flat were being held together by duct tape and happy thoughts. There are a few things we managed to salvage but most of the furniture here is new and I brought what I needed bit by bit (with a generous back-payment with my PIP/ESA when things went a bit off due to the last tenant not telling the DWP that the council had kicked them out so they thought they were still living here. Cheek of it!) but in all, I think it has been a worthy investment. It's an investment in my own future and that is something in itself. And who wants to come home to a place that was damp, mouldy and generally never felt that clean and sanitary?

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.

Loves
Wendy xx


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