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.
A blog about life. I live with Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Crohns Disease (my IBS was rediagnosed as Crohns), Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. I have recently also been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea (which makes me stop breathing in my sleep) 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 and CPAP.
I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.
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.
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!
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.