The beginning – My Journey begins in Brazil.

Thanks for joining me!

me and mike in brazil

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Brazil 2000 – July

To say I was excited would be an understatement. I never in a million years thought we would have the money to afford a holiday in Brazil as the rates were really expensive. It was one place i have always wanted to visit, and believe me I have been all around the world at sometime in my life.

To be honest the thought of seeing a few hunky maybe footballer types running around on the beaches wouldn’t go amiss either….but i would never tell my hubby that.

I had gone to my local travel agents and there in the window was NEW THIS SEASON holiday in Recife Brazil on a “package” holiday. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was the perfect holiday for Mike and I it was in a small Hotel in Recife the name of it now escapes my memory.  It was so cheap and we could afford it. The Hotel was located close to the town and the beach was yards away. I booked it without hesitation for July 2000.

Mike my hubby was excited as I was even though he was well travelled himself. Finally the day came to leave and we got there after a long flight and journey but the Hotel was fine, had a swimming pool and beach was amazing like the beach on the old Bounty chocolate adverts.  We soon found our bearings and hired a beach buggy fabulous so much fun.  The beaches were virtually deserted as the PACKAGE holiday had only just started and we only saw a few other holiday makers, it was all just a trial anyway to see how it went down with the British customers. Well we were hooked and even talking about returning again the next year.

We had a great time really was fun, the weather was a bit unsettled though but still we enjoyed beach-combing, watching beach football, swimming, and just chilling and oh yes eating the local food which was brilliant just what we liked.  We ate in the Brazilian restaurants and met lots of new people and just whiled away our days chatting and sightseeing as well.

Towards the end of the holiday we took a visit again to the town and decided to mooch the shops for presents to take home. I was in one when suddenly I had no vision in my left eye it was scary and bizarre. I remember clutching hold of Mikes arm and almost in tears was telling him “I cant see, I cant see, out of my left eye, get me out of here quickly”.   He was shocked but didn’t argue and took me outside. I just held onto him as hard as i could so frightened i was going to die there and then in a strange place without my family.   He calmed me down and i managed to open my eye again and the vision was weird i couldn’t see to the side at all, and it was so blurry and fuzzy.  We took the quickest route back to the buggy and mike got me back to Hotel. By then my vision was slowly returning.  He spoke to the receptionist and she got the local doctor out to see me.

He was a very nice kind man and made me feel comfortable and safe again. He checked me thoroughly and said in good English i hadn’t had a stroke but i must see my doctor as soon as i went back to the UK.  He said i should be ok to stay for the next few days of my holiday but should rest for a day or two.

When he went i just wanted to go home, i was so scared and frightened, Mike got hold of the representative of the holiday company. He explained by the time it took to organise me a flight i would be going home anyway, and it would be just as easy if I just stayed there and finished the rest of my holiday.

In the morning things were almost back to normal my eyes felt better and my left wasn’t as painful or blurry.

So we spent the next few days just enjoying the rest of our holiday and time together.

Thankfully I managed to survive the homeward bound journey.

When I arrived home; the next day i popped round to see my daughter with her presents, and to tell her all about my holiday and the scary happenings to me I had. Whilst she was in the kitchen making a cup of coffee for me, well it happened again. My left eye went blind, like a black spot in the middle of the eye, all blurry and out of focus and the pain when i moved it.

My daughter insisted i went to the doctor so an appointment was made for the next day.

I went there and explained what happened. The doctor almost looked bored as I described the symptoms and finally just looked at me and said I expect it was the travelling, the heat and anxiety, I wouldn’t worry too much as it resolved itself the first time, and as you have just said to me, it feels better that day. He didn’t even bother to check my eyes.

I left that office feeling totally deflated how can someone potentially go blind TWICE, and yet not even have tests?

I was back at work the next day, and slowly the memories of my scary episodes started to fade until the next episode a few years later…………

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“Was I losing my Sanity”?

Life after Brazil settled back down to the usual routine of rushing around in my job. I had a wonderful job i was an Educational Developer for a small college in our city. I was responsible to create and support accredited I.T. programs and also recreational classes throughout the 11 learning satellite centres which were attached to the college.

I was responsible for 54 tutors as well. On top of all that i taught I.T. and also basic cooking in the community.

I never stopped probably worked 60 hours. I was so proud the day i went for the interview as i was working for another college closer by in their flexible learning centre supporting members of the public in I.T. based learning.  I loved the job but it wasnt challenging enough for me. I LOVED to be challenged. Maybe it was the Leo in me, or i took after my father who was just the same.

The interview consisted of a 2 hour interview the first was an hour on power point on how i would develop the necessary accredited programmes and deal with the quality, training, and variety of courses to present to the local community.  By the time i had finished i was totally drained and whacked out. I was told I would hear back in a few day, and started to drive home.

I had to suddenly stop the car as i felt so ill i thought i was going to pass out. My eyes were so blurry i couldn’t see. I took long sips of cold water and just tried to chill back down.  I just thought it was the stress i had just been through. Finally i was able to carry on with my journey home.  I must admit i didn’t take much notice of the journey home i was just thinking about what i had just been through.  It was like torture, jeez they wanted to know everything. I was up against a panel of people all firing shots at me about my “VISION” for their new programs in the community.

A few days later I received a thick envelope and it was a job offer, i was so excited i squealed like a stuck pig when i read it and Mike my hubby came running out thinking i had hurt myself.   The money was good too and it would really help us.

I put my notice in that day I was working in a local colleges Flexible Learning suite (supporting learners in I.T.) and started to research on the Internet about all the I.T. programmes which i worked with now anyway but i had never had to actually deal with the qualification side of the courses. It was going to be a long hard road for me but i was so excited to have such a challenge.

Eventually I started my job, i had a PA, Dylis who had been working with me several years came with me, sadly she died a few years ago and is sadly missed.

DYLIS
Dilys the best PA anyone could have had sadly missed RIP.

Things started to go wrong in 2001 well i had been getting subtle little life disturbances before that but i had just ignored them. When I started my new job things i had noticed a little bit prior started to really show up.

I mean how come every single day when i went into the city office I would enter the office and immediately drift to the right and bang my arm or leg on the row of filing cabinets?  It was madness i was getting black and blue, and the girls in my office started to tease me about being a secret drinker. Hardly yes i liked a glass of the old vino at night to relax but i would never drink for my breakfast lol I wasn’t that desperate.

Then Dily’s would find me ASLEEP on my desk about 3pm i just couldn’t stay awake, omg meetings were such a chore for me, as they got warmer i got more exhausted.

Oh dear then the invisible “Genie” only i could feel turned up. He would sit on my chest and viciously stab my body with a knife i had no idea where the pain would be at any given time, it would just suddenly hit me and i would shout out at times in shock. Dily’s would look at me old fashioned “you alright zen”, no I had that stupid pain again its bizarre. Was i losing my mind?

The days turned into weeks, then months and a few years on with me still experiencing all kinds of weird stuff had settled down into a routine and things were going good. I had all the I.T. qualifications in place, managed to sail through an ECDL audit with full marks, had written a full workable procedure for my tutors, had put together copious amounts of exercise books all on Microsoft suite, taken qualifications myself, taught cooking to recovering addicts and even had time to become an NVQ assessor just so we could offer Teacher Assistant and Administration NVQ to the local community.

To say my life was on full sail would be an understatement.

2004 the eyes hit me again, massive urinary infection and a period in my life when i could barely function, but i did. My GP once again put it all down to stress, and high blood pressure.

Then the next stage of my madness turned up. The proverbial dropping things. There i would be with car keys in hand then they would be on the floor. UGH every day i would drop something. What the hell was going on. I was an avid car boot Queen. I loved collecting and my second passion apart from my job was collecting and learning about antiques. I had a bedroom full of stuff. I would research and then if i thought they would sell they would go on Ebay. I sold a lot of stuff and prided myself of my collection of stuff and my quirky likeness for all things odd.

I had a little studio with a sheet over a table where i would lovingly arrange my latest piece i had found. Suddenly without warning that lovely piece i had treasured would be just on the floor in well more pieces then it started with. After i had massacred a few nice items I said to Mike that’s it someone else will have to photograph for me. I was so upset what was happening to me I didn’t even know i had let go of the item until i heard it smash.

It was madness.

The tiredness crept back in, and then the balance issues came back and I was constantly banging myself i was literally black and blue at one point and Dily’s commented one day jeez you look like your being beaten or something.  I assured her i was not, well she knew that anyway mike being a friend.

Then the pins and needles arrived so bad in my legs i found myself struggling to drive thank god i had an automatic i thought to myself. I think Mike was beginning to think i was going nuts too…….pins and needles in my legs yet i could feel them, how weird was that, maybe i needed a new mattress.

It got so bad i had to ring Dily’s up and ask her to take me to work.

Every meeting was a challenge as i got so hot and felt sick and couldnt even focus on the contents.

Life just got weirder and weirder and more odd things would pop up and I really thought i was loosing my mind. I mean you should be able to have a bath right without getting stuck in it, and i mean that in a way that no i wasn’t so fat i couldn’t get out, the heat of the bath just sucked the life out of me.

Poor Mike my hubby tried to get me out on one occasion when my legs refused to work, and he went flying backwards as he wasn’t very strong himself suffering with his COPD. It was hopeless i was sat there scared and more scared. I suddenly thought well maybe its the heat of the water, so i pulled the plug and let the water drain out……………………. it took about 10 minutes laying in that bath for me to feel able to attempt getting out of the bath again, so this time with Mikes help i was successful and just flopped on my bed and lay there for ages, just like a balloon and been burst or a tyre let down and deflated, i had no energy whatsoever.

I realised  that my days in the bath were over. Not only for my safety but Mikes too i didn’t want him hurting himself trying to extricate me from the bath.  So we had a shower installed.   Oh dear well errr that was a fairly good idea, but then when i was having a shower i had areas on my body which I literally couldn’t feel the water hitting the skin, I mean what was all that about?

I started to convince myself i was loosing my mind.

(Since then my illness progressed so much that even a shower was a real chore and i hate them  even more so now they wipe me out all day, sometimes two.)

Until 2006 my life was ok sort of, but the mystery of my illness continued and there was always a new challenge for me to face.

We had booked a holiday for Malta in 2006 with my sister and her husband and we were really looking forward to it.  I thought as did Mike perhaps getting away would do me good as i had been working non stop sometimes 60 to 70 hours a week, what with the teaching and qualification developing, keeping teachers in work, and making sure all the paperwork was done correctly and still writing exercise sheets and books, and lesson plans and checking my tutors too; really took it out off me.

Just before we were to travel the worse urinary tract infection hit me. Two weeks of antibiotics would not shift it, and I felt awful too, really tired and in pain for the first time especially in my back.   I couldn’t get rid of this infection and it got closer to the holiday my doctor advised me not to travel, as my medical insurance would be invalid if anything to do with that happened. Sadly, we decided not to go ahead it was a hard decision to make, but because my doctor had supported me with this i was able to get my money back thank goodness, but it was sad as i was looking forward to the holiday with my sister they still went and enjoyed it.

I still know the exact day and date that my life changed for ever. It was the 11th September 2006 a Monday.

On the Friday our college had a big award ceremony for all the students who had done well. I wasn’t feeling special i had been suffering more with really bad backache and the heat was wiping me out, we were having a late summer.  I went to the ceremony but have to say I was glad when it was over and I could go home to rest.

Every weekend I would usually go to a local car boot sale, they were my joy and relaxation. I would buy lots of things usually as i was a collector and I sold stuff on Ebay. It really helped me to wind down. There was the usual one not far about 10 minutes away by car.

Mike took me and parked up.  I was still aching in my back but was determined to have a walk around.  It didn’t take very long for me to realise something wasn’t quite right. My legs were so stiff i could barely move them one foot in front of the other.  It was almost like walking with concrete boots on.  I tried to enjoy myself, but stiff legs, and cramp in the back of the shins was starting to take a toll. I found Mike and told him i needed to go home. He knew there must be something wrong for me to do that, i had never done it before even in the freezing winter.

I got home and just had to go to bed and lay down. I cold barely move and my left foot i remember was almost dead.  I stayed there and eventually after Mike ensuring i had some food for the evening i fell asleep.

When i woke up in the morning my legs were so stiff and in pain I could barely move. I nudged mike awake and told him he would have to help me get out of bed. I just couldn’t even swing my legs out of the bed, they were dead weights.

I remember trying to stand up and nearly falling over. Eventually Mike managed to get me to the bathroom but it was a real struggle.

There was no way i was going to be able to get to work in this state.  Mike rang Dily’s and explained, then he rang the doctor, who eventually came to see me around lunchtime. This was a new practice as i had left the old one.  She did some quick tests and told me she thought there was something neurological going on, and would make a referral to a neurologist and i was best to just rest for now, and come and see her when I felt a bit better as a referral in those days would take several weeks.

Mid week I felt a little better and went to see her. She did more neurological tests and confirmed she was on the right track. As I wanted to go back to work as soon as I could I agreed  to see the neurologist privately.

That was the second part of my journey was I going insane or was I really sick…….it took 10 long years to find out the answer to that question…………………………………………….

Testing testing 1,2,3…

Getting a diagnosis of whatever it was that was ailing me was not going to be an easy thing. I realised that after my first visit to the neurologist.  Because I wanted an urgent answer i even went private for the first MRI.  I just wanted to go back to work.

My first meeting with him was positive. He let me ramble on about things that had gone on. Then I was asked to lay on the bed and he started a barrage of tests jeez it was like being in a torture chamber, I mean what did i do to deserve having long sharp pins sticking into my legs……………………..

fig0204

You would think OUCH would be the first thing out of my mouth nope.  He started on my left leg knee down to foot and under foot.  I just lay there wondering what on earth he was doing come on for gods sake get on with it.  He kind of looked at me from under his arm and said can’t you feel this?  “Feel what I said”?  I should have been ouching and snatching back my leg but it just lay prone.  However, when he went to stick it on the other leg and asked me SHARP or DULL i shamefully have to say i nearly kicked him hard boy I felt that.  Flipping heck ouch and double ouch.

The next thing to be revealed to me was a TUNING FORK…. I looked at it thinking out wow what is he going to do with that give me a TUNE UP ba boom lol. 

Basically he tapped the fork onto the edge of the bed and said prior to that please let me know if you feel the vibrations… Well left leg from knee down and foot, toes and ankle NOTHING much on my foot and ankle zero.   Right foot i could feel the vibrations. 

So then we did other tests i believe to test my gait, and one where i had to stand with my eyes closed and I nearly fell over.  I still cant do that.   The tests seemed to last an eternity.  (See illustration below I had them all and a few added)

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He told me i needed further testing as i had left sided weakness and other issues going on.  So we agreed an MRI of the brain, which i paid for at The Cobalt Centre in Cheltenham   surprisingly not massively expensive and got seen very quickly no waiting when you pay private you get seen in a few days not weeks or months.

The results of that were some degeneration top of spine some SWEDISH NODES, but also large patch of high signal foci in the deep white matter of my brain………..WOW sounds good right…………. WRONG.

The radiologist had simply seen the date of my birth 1951 and put it down to more LIKELY my age and not a demyelinating disease.

Now folks this is the truth i had no idea what was wrong with me even from the bizarre weirdness and i had deliberately kept away from Dr Google, but i did ask my Neurologist what was he looking for when i saw him for the results. He said then MS.  He also told me quite honestly it could take a long time to finally get a diagnosis as certain criteria had to be met.

One thing  I can say in the defence of my neurologist it was one of the times he was actually honest with me when he said those immortal words……….it could take a long time to get a diagnosis…..jeez literally did I know how right he was.

Ok fair enough I would see him again after the New Year I cant remember the dates, but there is a reason for that.

I got through Christmas I think ok. Mike then in the New Year had to make a trip to China and would be gone about 2 weeks.  I know I shouldn’t say this but I found his trips away BLISS, because they gave me time to recharge my batteries and chill down a bit.   Yes of course I missed him but sometimes a break is good especially as i was a miserable old bag with all this stuff going on, i think even Mike needed a break from me to be honest.

Well i was bored, not allowed to work as i was signed off.  There is only so much you can do in a day and i found the simplest things would wipe me out soon it became obvious i wasn’t going to be bored not for a long time anyway……..

Ground Hog day……..it really exists……..

ground hog day

I am sure it was the 17/18th January this date seems fixed in my mind so we will go with either one for the sake of argument.   I remember my daughter Miranda rang me to tell me not to PANIC….she had a car accident coming out of the road from the riding school she worked at…..whenever anyone says don’t PANIC well hell you do. She was ok, just bashed about phew but shook up and resting, her husband Greg was looking after my grandson.

I woke up the next morning so we will go for the 18th early. I got up stiff as usual and crampy legs. Looked in the mirror and thought hell girl you look old. I used to dye my hair which had gone prematurely grey regularly but since my illness had not bothered. My hair was a mess so I decided Mirror Mirror on the wall, Zenda sure as hell was not the fairest of them all, so went off downstairs carefully to get my scissors, i was going to trim my fringe.  I remember coming back up getting my dye ready as i was going to cover that grey, and giving the hair a snip I can even remember chucking the hair into the loo.  I kind of remember a little bit of rinsing but i am not sure about that one.

Next thing I remember is sitting on my settee fully dressed and my hair done talking to my daughter and it was my time to FREAK her out…………………………………………..

Groundhog day came to me that morning in the form of an episode of what the doctor called Transient Global Amnesia. Sounds posh doesn’t it like my memory had suddenly gone off globetrotting lol.

My daughter tells me (as i cant remember most of the times I rang her up), I kept ringing her up and asking where my husband was I couldn’t find him anywhere. She would tell me he was in China then i would repeat myself over and over again just like a scene in Groundhog day, until i would suddenly put the phone down.  She said I rang 4 times saying the same thing, in between my daughter freaking out she managed to get hold of her sister and begged her to come to my house to see what was going on, as the accident she had the day before had rendered her immobile.

Well oh dear all i remember is suddenly sitting on the settee talking to her i suppose on the fifth call and my global wondering memory was coming back to me.  I felt weird i can tell you the feeling was horrible like you were so drunk you just couldn’t remember what you had said.   She told me to sit tight her sister was on her way to me. Now weirdly enough I must have remembered my daughters phone number to ring her i never really worked out why.

Slowly it was like coming out of a fog and I started to remember where I was and who I was like awakening from a long sleep maybe i was in a production of Sleeping Beauty but some how the Beauty doesn’t quite fit my profile.

The door bell rang and i got up to answer it, and there was my older daughter looking at me very anxiously.  “Mum are you ok what is going on?”  I think i just repeated what I knew.  She quickly took charge and before i knew it, I was sitting in the doctors office in front of my doctor explaining what I think had happened. He checked me over, I had a slight temperature and a normal blood pressure, he said he didn’t think it was a stroke but classic of what they call an episode of TGA and my memory would slowly come back but i would never remember what i had actually done in the approximately 2 hours I was blacked out.  Golly it was scary. He explained it was quite rare and even more rare to have another episode of it……………….errrrrrr well he got that one wrong.

See below with caption.

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This is me in 2015 after another big episode of the rare TGA.  Trust me to prove my doctor wrong. I don’t remember any of that day and ended up in hospital. 

Well I spent about two weeks trying to get over my rather scary and bizarre episode of TGA. My husband had been contacted and was brought home early as the doctor didnt want me left on my own.  I slowly recovered but never got my memory back. I do know when my daughter bought me home she went upstairs to check the bathroom, and the place was spotless. I had dyed my hair and put all the empty boxes and rubbish in the bin, the towels were in the washing machine, my bed had been made and my bedroom tidied up.

Of course I had to research this phenomenon and it could have been triggered either by my daughters accident or actually hanging curtains as the day before I had hung one set up.

As the days turned into weeks and then months i felt better about it, but still could not remember much of that day.

But lots of weird things were afoot I was convinced at one point my father who had died in 1997 was haunting me as so many odd things were happening but that’s all another story for another day…………all I know is the doctor I saw that day who said it was rare to have another episode got it wrong completely trust me to be different…………….

Rare ……. that’s a laugh

If you have been following me the last blog explained my attack of TGA, and the doctor assuring me it was rare and he doubted I would ever have another attack.

Can’t remember what year or what day, but I was still driving even though I struggled to walk and my mobility was compromised I had gone into my town which is about a three minute drive away.  I came out of the supermarket and stood there like a blank lemon where was my car?  I always parked it in the same place or close to the shop.

I did panic I found my illness made me panic more now so I rang my daughter I was crying I mean really. “I cant find my car someone has stolen it”, I was convinced. She calmed me down and came straight to me and parked up. “Come on mum” are you sure you didn’t go anywhere else. I assured her I hadn’t.  Quick thinking she got my handbag and had a look inside. There was my building society book and clearly inside was a deposit I had made that exact day. Well the Building Society is a few minutes walk from the supermarket.

I had a blank look on my face so she made me stay in her car and went off to have a look around the car parks.  She came back about 10 minutes later. “Mum I found your car it was parked outside the post office with your disabled badge displayed. Well I had no memory whatsoever of going there I still don’t.

I started to have odd things happening to me where i would have no memory of doing something but it would only last a few minutes.  It was kind of scary, and I found myself writing down such things as I HAVE FED THE CATS or DOGS, I had to constantly remind myself as the animals were getting fatter and fatter. I was also over feeding the fish as i had no memory of feeding them at times.

I started having weird hallucinations with regards smell, it would be onions, or burning, I spent many a day walking around the house scared that I was going to have a fire.

My husband was concerned as he was away a lot but i had a care worker by then who kept me safe.

I have since found about MS and BRAIN FOG…..was I actually suffering from this or was it something else?

DVxkADeWAAIyDZLI always thought that brain fog in MS was more cognitive issues bit like getting old, cant remember a word or going into a room and not remembering why you went there in the first place. I mean I get all of that anyway. Also like the image I can read a sentence  and just not be able to comprehend it at all. I cant concentrate on things for long so tend to flit from one thing to the next.  Also my typing deteriorated I would write things and read them back and find words in there which had no meaning to the actually subject whatsoever.  I spent ages checking over my work, my spelling well its really not good now and thank goodness for spell check.  To me that is brain fog well my version.

What I seemed to be suffering with was more total memory loss. I would for example give someone one of my chickens, and they would comment on it one day, and I would blankly look at them as i had no memory of even talking to them, never mind giving them one of my beloved birds.

I found myself repeating things all the time, I would totally forget what I had said to someone and even that I had said it.  This was ongoing and got tiresome but well you just put up with these things don’t you.   Until the day you end up kind of waking up in hospital with a blank expression on your face.

It was 2015 I believe October.  I had gotten up as normal early Mike and I had hatched chicks and they were about 4 weeks old, so I had to attend them, clean them out and make sure they had fresh water and food.  They were so darn cute.  I remember doing some of that, then vaguely remember saying to Mike “I feel sick and my stomach felt weird I need to go and sit down”.   That was it. 

BLANK memory.

no-enough-memory

Just imagine for one minute not being able to make any new memory whilst you were having an “episode” of whatever it was…..no memory you just sit there like normal hell you even look normal (well as normal as possible), but you are just repeating yourself over and over again, as you don’t remember saying anything…..yep we are back to the old ground hog again………….reliving the same thing over and over again.

I just suddenly and slowly remember looking to the right of me in a hospital bed, as yes I woke up in hospital its like waking up I suppose and realising your surroundings. My daughter was sitting there my eldest you could see how worried she was. She explained what happened, then Mike came in.  He had to call  an ambulance as i was just sat on the settee complaining of feeling weird and sick and repeating myself over and over again. I have no memory of the ambulance ride, or the ambulance men, or the doctor who saw me when i got there.

I was moved upstairs to the neurological ward, and slowly my memory BEFORE the attack started to come back.  I still have no memory of the hospital. I do remember the next day talking to a very dishy neurologist who after taking my medical history decided i was suffering with Transient Epileptic Amnesia which is quite rare, yeh trust me; way too greedy by halves, not only did I finally get told in 2016 I had progressive MS but in 2015 I was given a cup of TEA…..get it……and I HATE TEA bleurgh never drink it so that’s another joke the Joker has played on me, give me the one thing i really cant stomach…….

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T.E.A. = TRANSIENT EPILEPTIC AMNESIA

 

I take a special tablet every night to ward off other attacks, but I have to say I do suffer with some weird things but then I wonder if they are down to MS brain fog, so much stuff we get is kind of similar and you never know where one thing starts and another finishes.

Sadly this disease has robbed me of some of my autobiography and I lost quite a bit of stuff from my child hood and later, although there is no rhyme or reason to what has disappeared from my brain, and actually lately I have suddenly had flash backs of things I thought I had forgotten.

I don’t think anyone can really understand how scary the episodes have been its left me anxious I know that, and I wont go out on my own unless it is just to pop my dog over the road to our local park just in case I have another attack.  2015 October was a bad month, but November 2015 until the 21st February 2016 was even worse then I could have ever imagined……………………………………

Just when you thought your life was stabilising……….fate kicks you in the stomach….and the EYES have it. 

Well where was I?  Oh yes 2015 was a very weird year for me and even now I find it difficult to recall stuff after my visit to hospital in a blank wiped out memory state.

I saw a different neurologist in the hospital who diagnosed me with TEA but he told me I needed to see my own neurologist urgently so whilst I was in there they made me an appointment I told them to do it privately as I would see him very quickly.

I had an appointment within a few days.

I saw my neurologist who had my notes and he agreed with the findings as we had been together for 10 years and obviously I had been telling him over that time of all the weird stuff I was experiencing.  Also I told him my eyes were playing me up again so whilst I was there he proceeded to test them with cards they use to test for colourblindness. If you have Optical neuritis it can dull your colour perception, I didn’t know that until it was all explained to me.  Ishihara Color Test I believe it is called. You get presented with these cards and have to say what number you can see.

colour blind testing

 

Well I failed somewhat I have no idea why, but my neurologist booked me for another Visual evoked response test, VEP for short.  If you have never had one of these don’t be frightened by it as really its nothing to worry about honestly.  You just sit down and have wires attached to your head with small patches. The wires record your brain’s responses as you watch a screen that displays an alternating checkerboard pattern.

The test measures the speed at which your optic nerve sends signals to your brain. If it’s damaged, they’ll move more slowly. A piece of cake the worse thing about having them done is the stuff they use to attach the patches to your head its sticky and hard to get off.

VEP

 

Nothing to worry about if your a Motorsport enthusiast its like watching the chequer flag go down for another win for Lewis Hamilton on the Grand Prix.

It doesn’t take long and there are no after affects just matted hair.  Now I have to go back again in time sorry folks…..but I had already had one of these in 2008 I think it was.  You see from 2007 until 2015 I like you my readers will have been through a barrage of tortuous testing. Some of you will have been lucky in some respects as your tests would have given a clear cut diagnosis of this insidious disease.

However a lot of us poor mortals would end up back and forth being forced into tiny spaces for our MRI, sitting in front of the chequer flat, having a large needle in our back, and more MRI with dye as well (don’t forget the dye) but i don’t want to dwell too much on them as I will write about the tests I went through and the results I had, but yes I had this VEP test before.

The results were wait for it………………..Slowing of the brain bilaterally. The test measured the speed at which my optic nerve was sending signals to my brain and as it was damaged they were moving more slowly.  Which indicated I had a bout of Optical Neuritis. When was that, I cant see it would have been in 2000 as Optical Neuritis usually mends itself, so it could have been anytime between then and 2007.  Who knows. 

So no more answers for me, just more tests. I was put on the tablets for my TEA and my neurologist assured me taking them I would never have another attack, and he sent for an urgent VEP to be performed.

Woopee lucky me. I had that done very quickly which was surprise as I actually didn’t pay for it I was done on the NHS, I believe it was end of November something like that. I just had to wait for the familiar white envelope with the NHS mark on the back to get the results which never came until about end of January 2016.

patience-is-a-virtue

 

As you guys reading this know we spend most of our time either waiting for an appointment, OR being put in queue for our tests, then yes waiting and waiting for the results. no wonder a lot of us have high blood pressure.

 

Life continued after the test in November and I went to my sisters birthday party on the 17th December. It was held in a small cafe about a 30 minute drive away from me, and my care worker took me there. All my family were there including my mum, and all my other brothers and sisters. We are a large family as mum was Italian and there were six of us. The only person missing was my eldest brother who was living in Australia, sadly I would meet him way too soon.

The cafe was like a hot house yes you know what I am going to say, heat and MS do not mix do they.  I was struggling to eat my egg and spinach on gluten free bread, when suddenly the vision issues really appeared with a vengeance, they were so bad i could barely see out of my left eye I knew the signs, and sadly had to get out of there. Heat exacerbation is a bitch isn’t it?  Sadly I had to split as I felt ill and needed to go home and rest.

Oh the joys of Utoffs syndrome. Hands up all of you who suffer from it? I think for me it is one of the worse symptoms as it can come in many guises.

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I will leave my story here for now as what happens after my test is still painful for me but I promise you I will continue my story in a few days.

I will leave you with a laugh for now as it was December I thought this would give you a chuckle.  I will be back in a few days.

One of the funniest things on FRIENDS.

Learning to live with Disability and the beginning of realisation life is going to change.

I will add pages and link them to my blog the one below is what we all do every day, activities of daily living.

ADL(Activities of Daily Living)

MOVING ON FROM THE EYES HAVE IT…………………………..

Following on from my sisters birthday party…………………..

After I had the issue with the heat induced attack of Optical Neuritis at my sisters birthday party, it was only a few more days for Christmas. Just slightly over a week. I cant for the life of me think what we did that Christmas I am sure Mike and I just wanted a quiet one but knowing my family I expect we had a few more for lunch.

What has happened over the last few years has taken away some of my memory sadly, and it is hard to recall events, BUT I remember what happened on Christmas day 2015 not because it was a happy holiday, because the events that enfolded would change Christmas for ever for myself and I believe my family.   The main player of this event was sadly my beloved mother.

Mum was going to my older sisters house for Christmas.

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Mum had rung my brother up to tell him she couldnt get down the stairs and was in pain in her hip, as he only lived five minutes away he and his wife went straight away to help her. In the meantime they had already told my sister what was happening.

I am not going to dwell on the events that slowly unfolded as I still find it all incredibly difficult, and sadly after weeks of pain we lost mum on the 21st February. To say I was in emotional pain is an understatement.  I have still not gotten over her loss, maybe I will write about it one day on another blog but this is my blog about my MS Journey. Yes these events had an impact on my health as any form of stress will trigger off pseudo flares and exacerbation’s.

The kicker for me was just after my mothers death, I finally had an appointment with my neurologist. A letter had plopped onto the door mat and it was from him inviting me to make an appointment as the results of my last VEP test back in November were positive once again for slowing of the brain………………………..Oh the irony of it, the results came to me by snail mail obviously and if only the results had come before I lost mum, I could have finally told her what was ailing me all those years.   I could have finally told her, that the times I wanted to come and see her but had to cancel last minute was because I had Progressive Multiple Sclerosis which was slowly bit by bit eroding my life and abilities, much like one of those cliff edges that slowly crumble over time and you end up splat in the sea.

697af22a53d8d11567fb6cc7b7cb3d90Like the house about to fall over the cliff edge; having PPMS eventually I too will eventually tip over the edge. Mine is slowly tipping over in the form of my disability.  Since my mothers death and another horrendous event which I will talk about soon, my health has eroded so it is now precariously hanging……I am trying hard to stop it because I have the strength and genes of two wonderful people who made me strong my mum and dad.

I could have told her “mum I wanted to see you but my MS is playing up”.  Not going to see her when I had arranged it, always made me feel bad about myself and frustrated to hell as I just didn’t understand why. I do now sadly.

Life after mums death was hard; my MS had gone into a tail spin, I had lost interest in life I just couldn’t get out of the depression that was surrounding me like a black cloak.  I hated feeling this way.  I don’t know how I got through my mums funeral but I did, and I managed to respect and repay all the love she had shown me over the years by talking at her funeral even though I was supported by my daughters trying to keep me upright, I managed from deep inside of me to quote a wonderful poem…...you can read it here.

If you want to know more about my mum you can read the tribute I wrote for her here.

(The tribute is in a form of a tri-fold sorry it was the way I handed it out at the funeral.)

Because of the nature of her death, I had a job to do which helped me grieve and get through these dark days, my job was to make sure that no other over 90 year would be treated as badly as my mother was that fateful Christmas day 2015.   I put together a case of complaint with the help of my sister, and eventually the surgery where my mother attended was taken to task over her unnecessary and untimely and painful death. She would have been 93 on the 6th January.  A wonderful women born in Italy, I will write about her one day and link it here but not now, this is about my journey I dont want too many distractions.

Life slowly came back into balance. My label of Progressive MS made no difference to me not really, it just made it easier for other people to understand why I was who I was now.

Anyone reading this with MS knows how hard stress can affect our lives.  Probably stress could be one of the main factors which triggers off this disease.  Mine started not long after I lost my father in October 1997 so perhaps it is right.  For those with MS this is an interesting article about how to deal with it, and for those reading this because they are my friends and what to join in my journey and understand more about me and my partner MS, the link will give you a little insight into what things I have to avoid and why.

Stress and MS.

Now I finally had my label I was scheduled on a round of appointments. My first one was to see the doctor at the Pain Clinic. Yes MS sadly does give you pain.  Did you not know that?  Some doctors say it doesn’t, but it does and it really depends on what type of MS you actually have. Did you know there was more then one type of MS?

  • Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS). This is the most common form of multiple sclerosis. …
  • Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS). In SPMS, symptoms worsen more steadily over time, with or without the occurrence of relapses and remissions. …
  • Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). …
  • Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS).

I am blessed with PPMS.  This one is probably rarer then the first one RRMS.   It can show up later in life …. although I am not convinced as I can remember having wierd episodes way back in 1981 but one neurologist told me if it was MS then I would be more disabled….err more disabled then whom?  Every single person with MS the effects are different that is why MS is called a SNOWFLAKE disease. There you go you see if you stick with me you will all be MS experts.

Millions of snowflakes that’s usSnowflakesOnWindshield

Every person with MS will have different symptoms. Their diagnosis will come about different to another. Everyone of us our treatment will be different.

So THINK on all of you reading this who don’t have MS do not make the fundamental and errr annoying mistake of saying to someone with MS well I KNOW  Joe Bloggs who have MS and he can still go on holidays.  Good for Joe Bloggs but remember whoever you say this too may not take it well.

I have had it said to me and believe you me it really is annoying, because don’t these people actually think I would like to go on a holiday?  Don’t these people think that if I had the energy even to travel 30 minutes without it wiping me out I would be the first in the queue to do it?   Just remember there are approximately 2.5 million people in the world with MS and we are ALL different. …………………….

Where was I, sorry I do have a tendency to wonder off ……. ah yes the good old Pain Clinic……PPMS has pain oh yes. Now again we will try and tell someone I have pain I am in pain and you will usually be encountered with “oh yes me too” I have the same.  Meaningful people, wonderful people who have to encounter with something.  IF you don’t have MS and your talking about your hip or poor knee joints, or arthritis etc etc et el….yes you will have pain BUT it wont be anything like the MS pain………….. yours will be crumbling joints, dry joints, slipped joints (joints i.e. bone not the smoking kind), its a different kettle of fish. (I love that expression……….now Zenda don’t get distracted).

Mine is down to a wonky nervous system. The signals from my brain to my body are all screwed up, so my pain in essence is actually well not real but equally its horrendously painful and lasts 247 unless I am asleep.I hate nerve pain.

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Sometimes I actually feel like that photo as though I am on fire.  Its horrendous. Nothing makes it better. Going back to the pain clinic my doctor told me all he can offer me is drugs they use for depression/Psych drugs which I have tried most of. He actually was quite honest with me and said all they do really is turn you into a zombie.  I decided as they don’t suit me I would go naked. I only allow myself one 2mg diazepam at night which I take when I have been woken up with a spasm. So the pain clinic for me was a bust no point really it was just a case of get on with it, like I had been doing anyway.

I find my self management as good as anything the NHS (in the UK the NHS runs our medical care) can chuck at me.

Whilst at the pain clinic I was encouraged to attend an evaluation by a special type of psychologist cant remember her exact label or name. I went with my care worker. It lasted ages and exhausted me.  The up shot of two exhausting hours was for me to attend a Mindfulness Class. Really?  I was to say the least shocked after all that talking about my MS AND how it affected me a course on Mindfulness was going to be my saviour. I was given a sheet of paper with links on it and told to go away and have a look at the classes and what they were about.

Eventually after waiting weeks i was given an appointment to attend one. The class was in the City at 2pm for 2 hours. Now I explained quite clearly to this therapist the afternoons were a NO for me as by then I was exhausted and also to attend a class which meant I needed transport was impossible as I didn’t drive. It seems the therapist as per usual just didn’t bother to listen to me.

I often wonder if they get some sort of pay back to fill these classes as really the point of them well you can now get an APP and download it and get cured without even leaving your chair.  https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps#headspace

After that appointment I gave up with doctors, and specialists, and spent the rest of my time filling in forms and writing letters of complaint about the way my mother had been treated by her Primary Care Surgery.

I just muddled on to be honest coping the best way I could and was at least pleased that our family were given an apology for the poor way my mother had been treated. It went some way for me to cope with her senseless death.

I don’t remember much of 2016 and I know Christmas was quiet as i couldn’t bear to think about it without my beloved mum being able to be part of it.

Life moved forward and I just learnt to get used to having my MS and did it my way as good old Frankie would say in his immortal song.  It worked for me.

Yes life was just well………. trying to cope with my illness and my husbands COPD and life in general until that awful and fateful day of 3rd October 2017 at 05.00 hours when my world came crashing down the cliff edge.

fallig down a cliff

I will talk about this on my next blog……………….

 


When Grief came knocking on my door……….


It suddenly went deathly quiet when my husband took his last breaths on earth it was surreal, I looked at him laying in the hospital bed he looked asleep but I knew he wasn’t as he was finally quiet and peaceful. I felt a sudden sense of disbelief he was gone, just gone like he never existed.   I started to cry and rant “he cant be he cant be”, I tried to shake him awake he wouldn’t wake up. I just cried by burying my face into his thin dead arm and just cried until I thought my heart would break.

It was the 3rd October 2018 at 5.00am. 

Grief swaddled me tight and wouldn’t let me go, I just wanted to be with him there right now.  How could this be happening my mind was in a turmoil thoughts racing, Mike Mike don’t leave me please I need you I love you……how could it happen, how.

Just a week prior we were so happy.  It was the weekend of the 23rd of September I remember it. Mike had woken up and as usual he was sitting in our conservatory in his chair and we started to talk about our future. We had been mulling over for a long time after he retired if we should move for our health.

He suffered with COPD, and I of course had my MS.  Both of us yearned to be near the sea. It was almost like it was calling us both. “Mike said to me that morning, what do you think about me going over to the Isle of Wight and do a reccy for places that might suit us. Can we afford it?”   “Yes of course we can” I replied.  “Will you be strong enough though hun to do the journey”, and he looked at me with those blue eyes of his and said of course he would be, he hadn’t felt so good for ages.

Well I know that is true, as well I was constantly nagging him about his hoarding and if he was really serious about us moving he would have to start chucking out some of his treasures he had saved for years otherwise we would never be able to move.  I found him one day not long after actually tidying up his bedroom cupboard I nearly collapsed with shock.  He was obviously serious then about moving.

Going back to the conversation, I agreed if he wanted too then I would book him a ferry passage and find him a nice hotel.   Whilst he was there he hoped to meet up with his son who lived there. It would be like a little holiday for him, he deserved it as recently he had a scare with his health on top of his COPD in a form of a lump in his breast. After tests it showed it was benign, phew one less thing to worry about, but worried I knew he was.

We agreed the date he would set off which was the 26th of September. He was full of it for the next few days, chatting about the IOW, the areas he should look at and I went off on Google and found some properties for him to have a look at outside.

It was time for him to leave, he was packed and ready to go to catch his ferry. Its not too long a drive to Southampton from where we live and he made good time. When he got to the ferry he rang me and we chatted a bit until he boarded.

Whilst he was away he rang me regularly with updates on areas, which I would mark down as good, bad or plain right ugly.  He met a young couple in his hotel and he told me they chatted on the Wednesday night and he was so happy animated like the Mike I used to know a funny caring Mike who could sure spin a yarn and make people smile.

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I asked him if he wasn’t too tired, and he assured me he was fine, he was a bit sad as he hadn’t managed to catch up with his son, but he was busy at work, and well it was short notice so couldn’t take any time off. Still Mike wasn’t too upset as we were going to go back anyway and would make sure the next visit was more organised.  I had already found a few self catering cottages to stay and they would allow us to take our dog Lucy.

He finally arrived home on the 28th September, tired but happy.  After a bit of rest he was off to town to buy his usual beer and fags, and asked me if I wanted anything. You see he was sort of my carer too as I was limited.

I couldn’t drive or go out on my own, so having him leave me on my own was quite daunting for me to be honest.  I hadn’t been on my own for a long time now since he retired when he was 70. Mike was just always there and I knew if I needed him he would be there for me, so it was with a sense of relief when he came home I felt safe again.  I asked him for some Maltesers my very naughty and sinful treat I allowed myself now and then.

Off he went on his big black mobility scooter.   He loved that thing. You know I never would have thought in a million years I would see my husband driving one of them instead of a Hillman Imp or Mini, as Mike was an amazing driver and won many awards for Hill climbing and grass track driving.

He had no fear whatsoever.  Seeing him drive off on his scooter was a far cry from the days he was trailing his cars, although to be fair only a few months prior to this he had come FIRST IN CLASS in a competition not bad for an old man of 71.

The first image below is his very last trophy he won a tropy Piston.  This was for the last competition he did in his Corsa with my grandson Conner.  (Mike with his mini and favorite Imp).

Going back to Mike driving off on his mobility scooter I really must stop this habit of mine of going off on a tangent.

He was out for a good hour I wasn’t in the least bit worried, as Mike was a talker, and I expect he was chatting to all and sundry on his journey to the shops he was a very sociable guy, he just loved talking and the locals new him and respected him, as well. Mike was a good guy one of the best and would help anyone who needed it.

Finally he came home….and yes you got it did you, he forgot my Maltesers he was so engrossed in talking to everyone about his journey to the IOW. Oh well I forgave him they only give me a stomach ache anyway as they have gluten in them. (A bit of useless information a lot of people suffering with MS have a gluten intolerance).

Where was I, oh yes. He was back home safe from his travels.

The next day was Friday and I had an appointment at the doctors the 29th.  I heard Mike coughing in the night, but well that is normal for him. He had the worse cough most days, but still insisted on smoking, it used to drive me mad, but well what can you do, it was his body not mine.

Jade my care-worker was with me to collect me, and Mike started to come into the sitting room, we could actually hear him before we saw him, as his chest was whistling and wheezing so loud it was like an old steam train. He didn’t look special. Instinctively I took his temperature, it was up not high but up. When you have COPD you have to be careful as you can get chest infections very quickly.  As I was going to the doctors anyway when I got there I asked the receptionist if she could arrange for a doctors visit as I didn’t want Mike going out with a temperature.

When I got back from the doctors, he was still feeling a bit rough. The doctor arrived soon after I did, and checked him over, and said he couldn’t hear any congestion, but put him on steroids and a course of antibiotics just in case.  Jade went off and got them from the pharmacy and Mike started them straight away.

On Saturday he was better his temperature was normal again. I just assumed he was tired from his trip. He felt so well he went off again on his scooter to talk to his friend who owned a shop in the town and tell him all about his trip. He came home about an hour later. He did look tired, so I told him to rest.

On Sunday, he wasn’t well.  Now I know that with my MS I just deal with it, nothing much else I can do, but someone suffering with COPD is a different thing. Its quite limiting, and Mike was at the point he got breathless very easy and tired.  I would always regulate his condition, so I took his oxygen levels, his blood pressure and temperature, and bizarrely they were all low, which puzzled me.    I had never known him to have low oxygen as even though he had COPD his oxygen was always good.

I told him I felt he should see a doctor but he wouldn’t hear of it and got anxious and unusual for him, irritated with me for suggesting it. I said fair enough go and have a sleep and I will see how you are when you wake up.  Three hours later he woke up so i did the tests again and they had improved so I decided not to stress him more by talking about doctors visiting.

During the night I could hear him coughing again.

It was early about 6am  I heard him go to the bathroom. He would always pop his head around the corner when he got up to see if I needed help getting downstairs or if I needed anything. I waited for what seemed an eternity but he didn’t come in, and I strangely enough I never heard him leave the toilet which set alarm bells off.

I felt anxious and worried so I managed to get up and go and see what was happening.

Never did I expect to see him like that.

I have a fold down support bar between our shower and the toilet, and he was hanging on to it, and well he looked terrible. “Mike whats wrong hun I asked”.  He struggled to even look up at me, his blue eyes were gone they looked lifeless and his mouth was opening but nothing sensible was coming out of it. I could clearly see he was in distress and pain, and was clutching the side of his chest where he had the breast lump, I sort of heard him say PAIN, PAIN, help me..but it was like his tongue was swollen and the words were almost unintelligible.

They say when you are in a position of stress and fear your Adrenalin kicks in. I have no idea what I did but somehow I put a blanket over his shoulders and told him to stay where he was, i was getting our neighbour.

I managed to get my neighbour who was shocked when he saw Mike, we decided to leave him on the toilet with a blanket as he was simply unable to move. I finally got the ambulance and two paramedics make to attend to him.

They said it was urgent they got him to hospital. It was easier if they just got him and go, rather then wait for me to get things sorted out.

I went out with them, and when they put him the ambulance and he turned around and looked at me I knew he was in for a rough ride, his oxygen mask was filling with moisture from his breath as he struggled to get air, and his eyes were beseeching me to follow him to be with him.

I must have been so shocked as I fell right in front of the ambulance men I had forgotten for a minute I had MS and was just not thinking about my own safety it was blank gone. They helped me up and made sure I got back to the house safe. I was fine, just scraped a bit when i fell against our wall.   They told me they would get the doctor to ring me with an update then I would be able to go and see him I had one last look of Mike before the doors were shut and the blue light started to flash and they were off taking my Mike with them.

The phone call finally came, it was bad news. She said he had pneumonia with sepsis and the next 24 hours would be crucial. He was in resuscitation ward and i could go and see him. My daughter picked me up and we raced off to the hospital.

Now really what would you think if your husband was rushed to hospital, gasping for breath given 24 hours to either live or die……really what would you think?

My daughter pushed me in my wheelchair to the resuscitation unit I was dreading going through the doors to see him, probably laying down with bits of machinery coming out of his body.

I felt sick with fear.  When we got into the ward the first person we saw was Mike. Sat up in bed eating DRIED BISCUITS and having a drink.  I was so shocked if I had been standing I would have fallen down.

He even managed a cheeky smile.  I just cuddled him and hugged him with relief. He was telling us both he thought he was being pumped through with steroids and felt not too bad.

We talked and he said something odd, he told me close to my ear that he had lived the best 25 years of his life with me and he was really happy and then he said those immortal words I will never forget as long as I live……..

“Zen, I don’t want to go to the IOW to be truthful its a real DUMP lol…………………… can you start to look at Minehead?

Well I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, that was the Mike I knew.  He was back. My immortal Mike who had been through some terrible diseases and always bounced back.

He wanted his phone and a few other bits so I told him I would go home and his son could collect them from me, and give them to him, as he was desperate to see his sons.

All went as planned and phones and bits taken to the hospital for him. Mike rang me at lunchtime, said something about it not being the right phone, not quite sure what that was about, he was ok, and his other son was coming about 7pm to see him. He told me not to go back as I would be too tired, and would prefer me to visit him in the morning.  I had no thoughts in my head I wouldn’t see him again so agreed.

I had a phone call about 7.15 I think off his son. He almost sounded relieved as when he saw his father he was fine, tired yes, but making his usual jokes. He did tell me later that when he was there he told him, he didn’t want to die, not really he wasn’t scared, but he didn’t want to die as he would miss ME too much, those words have been a comfort to me in my dark times to be honest.  I felt relief he seemed to have rallied and was looking forward to seeing him in the morning.

I had taken my MS medication and was almost asleep it was about 9.15. It was the ward Sister. I knew straight away by her voice it wasn’t good. “You need to come now she said”. Your husband is declining fast. I thought I had misheard her, she repeated herself, I just said ok put the phone down and on auto pilot rang my daughter who collected me and we were in the hospital and by his bedside very quickly.  I managed to get hold of his sister and sons who came to be with him.

He wasn’t there. He just wasn’t.  The person in the bed looked nothing like my Mike, he was in a coma and breathing was so loud and laboured every breath must have been painful.

I stayed with him all night which brings us back to 5am 3rd October 2018, when he took his last breaths and left me and the uninvited guest grief came to visit  me.

The fall out from his death was like an atomic bomb going off.

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THE FALLOUT FROM MY HUSBANDS DEATH TRIGGERED A PROGRESSION OF MY MS

 

Music Soothes the Savage Breast

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,

To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.

I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d,

And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d,

By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.

What then am I? Am I more senseless grown

Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!

‘Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.

Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night

The silent Tomb receiv’d the good Old King;

He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg’d

Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.

Why am not I at Peace?

The Mourning Bride, a poem by William Congreve, 1697:

My life is now listening to music all day. When i feel down and not able to cope my music calms me. This is one of my favorite pieces.

Then tomorrow i will be listening to King Crimson.

Another day Crosby Stills Nash

I’ve only just begun, The Carpenters

My list is endless. When you feel down and depressed listen to music it really is calming and can make everything seem so much better. Just the sound of the ocean is soothing. You never have to be alone when you can have music in your life.

I am sat on the shore listening to the ocean.

WHO was I before I got sick?

2000 in Brazil on holiday with my Mike

I never realised as I sat there having that photo taken on a lovely day in Brazil that soon my life would radically change and the person I was that day would slowly dissolve away like sparkly fairy dust.

Before that day I was working as a tutor in further education. I loved work. Over my life time I have taken on many jobs being a Leo I just enjoyed challenges.

When I was 16 I lived in Cyprus with my family dad was in the RAF. I completed a typing course as most of us did way back then. We would be clack, clacking away at those big heavy typewriters. Before we even started our nails if they were long would be forcibly trimmed back by our tutor, “girls you can’t possible type with talons” and well we just accepted that, thankfully back then I was a nail biter so never had to face that assault on my body. Some of the girls would cry for days looking at their beautiful finger nails all cut down to the tops of their fingers and bits of coloured nails lay sadly tossed onto the floor.

I remember these well. To learn to type the keys would have blank plugs placed over the letters.

I loved typing and excelled at it. My words per minute were top of the class I could hit accurate speeds of 80wpm. I passed all my typing tests but sadly did not do so well with GCSE in English and Maths. I can’t remember my results now but sure that I failed maths, although I did pass Commerce and English but only scraped through that. Ah well never let these things get you down over the years I have to say my life was good as far as working was concerned.

So in the sunshine of Cyprus you would find me in the typing pool, as I was an accurate typist they promoted me to typing the accounts on a long platen machine. You had to type on A3 paper sidewise and use tabulations, there were no computers back then. It was down to skill and precision oh yeh and the need for maths to work out the tabulation points. I found this really it was so complicated yet I excelled at it. I loved it. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XjFdDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=typing+and+tabulation&source=bl&ots=Tttw5t6PDo&sig=ACfU3U3IisrfugwWuUMwgbAnQKTy4c_phQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjnk8SdwNzmAhUZShUIHSJOAHAQ6AEwDHoECA0QAQ#v=onepage&q=typing%20and%20tabulation&f=false

I would use a long roller platen to type the accounts

It was fun working if my memory serves me my wages were about 20.00 a week for 37 hours. A job became vacant as a secretary/typist for a Flight Lieutenant in the Mechanical Transport Section, which I applied for and got. I loved that job and it was a huge promotion for me I was told a lot of people applied for it but I got chosen. My boss was such a great guy, Flight Lieutenant Bateman, I worked hard for him, and of course the place was teeming with men which gave my ego a boost

It was my first sojourn into working in a man’s environment and have to say I enjoyed it and over time learnt to stand up for myself in a male environment which stood me in good stead in the future as I often ended up working in engineering companies.

I met my first husband in Cyprus. He left before I did as he was stationed back to the UK. However, we got married eventually in minehead it was a lovely wedding I have to say both my parents were against it they didn’t trust my choice perhaps really I should have listened to them. I married my soldier Michael James Turner-Sterling. He was married in full dress uniform and to be fair he did look smart.

My first wedding to Michael he did look smart. My mother made my dress.
So innocent, 18 years old. 17th July 1970 with my beloved Dad.

I was shy off 19 in July when I got married. Michael was a hard man, very aggressive and controlling, and it was my first lesson in love the hard way.

After the honeymoon we were stationed in Camberley at Sandhurst no idea what he did there he was in the RAOC (Royal Army Ordnance Corp). We had a small bedroom in some ladies house, all I can remember is it was lonely and there was no drain to the sink, so everytime I did dishes I had to make sure there was a bucket handy. Still well you just got on with it. Lucky we were not there long before he was called for service in Germany Munster. Without hesitation I had everything packed in an MFO box, and off he went, whilst I waited at my parents house for him to find us a home. Finally the call came, and at 19 without hesitation I found myself travelling to Munster Germany on my own with my suitcase excited to start a new venture, I don’t remember being scared just excited.

Michael my husband had secured an upstairs studio apartment temporary living with a German lady Frau Pennykamp. Gosh she was a bit of tyrant and didn’t really speak much English. I was left for days on my own whilst Mike was at work, and it was lonely but thankfully we were given a married quarter flat after just a few months of moving there, and once I had settled in I got to know the other girls and we would while our days away having coffee mornings, and shopping and in the evening meeting friends for drinks and spontaneous jamming sessions as we had met German friends who were into folk and guitar so life was never boring.

I had my first daughter Nicola in Germany. It was a lonely time as there was no support from family but my new Army friends helped and so did SAAFA.

I worked in the NAAFI for a time just to get out of the flat before I was pregnant, but once baby came well I was too busy for that. My best friend Linda came to stay with us for a holiday which was brilliant and my dad came over twice to support me, when I was having marital issues (thats not for now).

After 3 years Michael again was posted but this time to Hong Kong. I had to travel with a young child it was such a long way back then, we stopped in Goa, thankfully Nicky my first child was a model baby and behaved herself and slept most of the way. We finally and exhaustively arrived at the airport which was a scary thing, as in those days the runway was actually on a strip of land between water, eek as I looked out the window my heart racing and clutching Nicola to me, the thoughts of crashing into the sea came into my head and believe me when I tell you I was glad to feel that bump of landing.

Terrifying landing at Kai Tak airport. That’s it folks.

Living in hong kong was just amazing I loved every part of it, even the tropical storms, I grew up fast there emotionally and spiritually. The shopping, people hustle and bustle of life, the odd superstitions. It was just amazing. I lived to start with on Hong Kong side before we moved to Kowloon. Hongong i lived in a high rise sort of flat. When I had to put my washing upstairs, I could literally see the aeroplanes go by and from my balcony I could see the people inside the plane and wave at the time, as they were going to land at Kai Tak.

I could see the faces of people in the aeroplanes as they were landing at Kai Tak from my balcony. After 2 weeks I never even noticed the planes.

I became strong because well I had too, living with a controlling man thousands of miles away from family there was no other option. But I think it was this period of my life that defined who I would become. It was become hard or not survive.

I had my second daughter in Hong Kong Miranda. I nearly lost her when suddenly without warning I was hit my excruiating pain, which turned out to be a massive cyst on one of my ovaries. I was taken to the hospital on an emergency and thank the lord they managed to remove it without harming my baby, I was only 3 months pregnant at the time. I had a good recovery and an easy birth thankfully.

My best friend Linda came to stay with us for a holiday which helped.

shopping in the markets

Sadly in that period of time, we lost my sister in law Lorraine who was a bridesmaid at our wedding to leukemia it took Michael hard to be honest as he thought the world of her, and I honestly don’t think he ever got over her death. We had gone back to the UK to see his family and I noticed at the time she didn’t look well. Yes it was a very sad time. She was an amazing Morris Dancer and only 16 when she died.

Lorraine next to me stood by my elder sister tania.

One saving grace which kept me sane was back when we were in Hong kong the army encouraged married couples to go on holiday we were allowed a 1,000 mile radius from Hong Kong and they would pay the flights and most of the hotel bill. Whatever was left we had to pay. Wow it was a holiday of a lifetime, one which I will never forget. We chose to go to Thailand.

Sunset on the beach Pattaya.

It was just amazing we did a two tier holiday, Bangkok for a week then Pattaya. It was breathtaking the scenery, the temples, the food, I remember Bangkok as being noisy and busy, and the taxis were little motorcycle put puts which choked the air with their exhaust fumes but you didn’t care as the excitement far outweighed any concerns you had for possible health issues.

Our holiday was good we had a lovely time, and well it almost felt normal, and Mike was actually happy and calm. I think the pressure of his job at times was too much for him. He was very hard on himself and others around him. Everything had to be his way and he expected only the best. I was not allowed to have faults, if I wrote to my family he would read the letter before it went and any spelling mistakes he would denote them with RED biro………… When he came home from work the house had to be spotless the toys put away the children quiet and ready for bed even at 6pm.

I remember even now to this day, Michael coming home from work and literally going ballistic because I had not cleaned the rubbish bin, it had been a long tiring day. BUT no excuses were allowed and he was quick to shout at me and cal me a lazy cow, as he poured himself his usual whiskey and sat waiting for his dinner. I was simply not allowed to have any failings.

This was so instilled into my brain that I am still sort of the same, I cant abide mess, everything has to be organised, perhaps in some bizarre way it did help me over the years, as I become a great Head Housekeeper at a hotel for several years and loved it, and I enjoy cleaning I find it quite relaxing, and when my brain is in a bad place if you know me and see a sparkly house you know that I am depressed or was.

I love cleaning now and it relaxes me. My poor late husband Mike thought it was a curse he was the opposite of my first husband.

Slowly overtime his verbal abuse turned me into a meek person, I became scared of him, as his demands were not only mental but physical too. The children especially our eldest had to be perfect. He told me once his step father made him tie his shoelaces at the age of 2 and if he didn’t do it right he would be punished.

Anyone reading this please if your are being verbally abused find the courage to get out from under it. No one who can love someone can harm them or want to control them with cruel words.

Sadly this bullying by his step father defined who he was. Michael actually was a confused man, he had a turmoil of his own going on but over the years I took the brunt of it, and found myself protecting my family more and more until the day it drove me to do something I will never forgive myself for, he took away my dignity and sense of worth, and in desperation for my own sanity I nearly succeeded in ending my life. It was a hard period and I still feel guilty that I could be so thoughtless as to leave my two girls unprotected but at the time thousands of miles away from family support I could see no other way out of it. Lucky I was unsuccessful and I felt ashamed of myself for allowing him to become so much in charge of me.

I felt alone no one to talk too. If anyone reading this ever feels this black, talk to someone. Please. Find someone and talk.

I recovered with the help of support from a therapist and this was the time, I changed and took control of my life, and really stood up for myself.

The weird thing is after my stay in hospital I had to see this therapist, and my husband was forced to see one too. Now the guys office was on the 13th floor, so Michael told me he walked up to the 14th floor and walked down to his office as he didn’t want to be seen going in there. I wish really he had help when he was younger as he wasn’t a bad person not at all, he too was abused and this was the only example of a relationship he had. It’s true what they say.

My first husband was verbally abused all the time. His step father even turned his siblings against him as he felt he never belonged to the new family. He ran away and joined the army at 15 as a boy soldier, but the scars were deep and did a lot of damage.

It was an odd transition period as in a way we had switched as now I was the strong one and stood up for myself and the day he tried to bully me was the day he got a shock which stayed with him for the rest of our marriage. He learnt he had pushed me too far and nearly paid a price for that. I can’t say much suffice to say he saw just how red and angry he had made me and it scared him.

Things settled after that, and we were stationed back to the UK to Tidworth. We stayed with my parents until we got sorted. In that time I had to have emergency surgery as I had been suffering terrible pain for 2 years and it turned out to be a massive gallstone which had blocked my gallbladder I was only 26 tall and slim so was totally not expected to be that.

It left me very ill and I had to stay in ICU for a week. I never thought that I would get over it but well I did thankfully I always seemed to be able to bounce back quickly. A year later I had to have a total hysterectomy as they found my womb was full of endometriosis, and fibroids and some dodgy cells so out it all came. I was not long out of hospital before I went to work to pay off our credit card debt. I worked in the hospital laundry a horrible job and a tiring one, and still I had to look after the house as well and the 2 children I was about 27 at the time.

We stayed in Tidworth until Michael was discharged from the Army as he had enough basically. We arranged to go and stay with our friends Roy and Lesley up Wigan way until we found a house.

As Michael had managed to get a good job a mortgage was offered and we found our terrace 2 bedroom house, with garden. We moved into 121 Baker Street yes we did lol. Everytime I hear that song it reminds me of my life back then. 121 Baker Street, Poolstock, Wigan.
https://youtu.be/Fo6aKnRnBxM

We had an amazing view in those days of the 2 Westward Cooling Towers. They never actually bothered us, we would go for walks around and they sort of just became part of your life. When you saw them after being away you knew you were close to home. They were home for beautiful wild orchids (which were protected).

Our view Westward Towers sadly demolished in the eighties.

We met some lovely friends there and I got work too.

I got a great job with Wigan county council as an outreach worker team leader (I had gone for the lower paid job but they were so impressed with me they offered me the lead). I was so proud of myself and ran a team of 3 people and our aim and objective was to move young people from education into Youth Training Schemes.

We did well; even this scheme called YTS was slagged off as using slave labour it wasn’t, not if done properly. The young people we moved into jobs were well supported and the small business that they were allocated too were under no illusions as to what was expected of them and how they had to treat the young people.

It was sad the YTS was deemed slave labour, when we now have similar issues and complaints about apprenticeships. The saying goes people dont want to learn from the bottom up, they want to be earning the top wage but not aspire to it.

I had one girl who wanted to work with a mortician, yes you read that right, and I managed to find her a placement, and she was success story as after her period of training she stayed with the company who were very impressed with her. We had others too. I loved that job, and my training as a youth leader (I did a course whilst we were stationed in Tidworth and became a youth leader through Wiltshire County Council and ran a youth club then). This helped me a lot in the outreach Leaders job in Wigan.

Life was ok not perfect we had ups and downs more downs than ups, and my strength and resolved made it possible for me to finally decide that enough was enough. I think being offered such a good job made me wake up to the fact that there was little wrong with me, it was my husband who had the issues not me. I was finally waking up to the fact and my confidence was growing. Actually what made me decide was something Michael did to me. He had bought me a beautiful pedigree Afghan hound a male I called him Darak. I loved that dog. He was just stunning the kids loved him too.

Afghan hound. No my Darek but he was as stunning.

Darak was only young and for some reason took a total dislike to anything that belonged to Michael and would destroy it, shoes, phone you name it if he left it out, the dog would chew it. I got home one day to take him for his walk, and he wasnt there. I found out that night that Michael had sold him to someone as he was fed up of the dog ruining his stuff. He never told me he was doing this, just did it. It broke my heart and I never forgave him, and as far as I was concerned that was the end of my marriage.

My parents came to see me and we talked and finally I got the strength to leave my husband. I had to for my own sanity and my children’s safety too.

We seperated after 11 years of marriage, I really did try to make it work, but since Michael left the Army his behaviour became more erratic, he drank way too much he did work hard no doubt about that, but my family had to come first. We agreed I would stay in the house, and he supported me with maintenance, and life kind of settled into a new routine.

Then I did something so stupid, I still can’t get my head around why I did it.

Life for me and the girls was good when he had left, I was working well, the bills were paid, then suddenly Michael started to come round more and would ask constantly if we could get back together, he missed us, he swore he would change. He told me had been offered a great new job with a company called Kalamazoo Business Systems, and had been offered a job in Kenya. He wanted us to start fresh and give our lives together another go.

I remember landing at Nairobi airport and the drive to our new home we actually saw giraffes roaming the outside of the city which then was a lot smaller.

Why oh why did I do it? I still cant work it out. I really was in a good place on my own and had been dating but I think part of me felt the children needed their father even though he wasnt the best dad he was thier father and seemed to have changed to them. Perhaps my leaving him had shook him up a bit. He did seem different much more calm.

Like a fool I agreed. We put the house on the market and moved to a temporary house in Staffordshire whilst Mike underwent training for his new job. Then before I knew it we were on a plane to Kenya to start our new life. In all this time, I have to say he was not the same, he was far more caring so perhaps I was lulled into a false sense of security.

We were allocated a lovely house with grounds, a live in gardener handyman called Vitas. The house or villa was lovely with lots of kennels and grounds so we got two labradors cream and black Penny and Tuppence, and my life settled into a routine. Girls were placed in school, we managed to find me an old banger to drive around in, i got involved with the local RSPCA and helped as a volunteer and even took in animals to recover, so yes life settled it was all ok really.

I loved Kenya the people were just amazing. I also got involved into the environmental issues of Kenya as well which even way back then was a worry, with trees being cut for charcoal leaving a lot of land barren with no protection so topsoil would fly away in the wind, making it hard for the plants to grow. We would visit villages and try to show them and teach them other ways to make cooking fires.

There are a lot of new initiatives now to try and address this issue and you can go and volunteer there. https://onetreeplanted.org/products/kenya

I learnt about environmental issues dust to dust stopping kenya turning into a desert.

Yes it was a very interesting time in my life I have no regrets just sadness.

I never felt scared or unsafe, even when Mike had to go to Mombasa to work for a few days things were always good.

We lived there nearly a year. It took forever to sell our house in the UK and the upkeep of the mortgage was hard work and it was a relief to finally find out it was sold. It took the usual 3 months for contracts to exchange and complete.

Then my world came tumbling down…………….

The news finally came the house was sold what equity left was agreed to go into our joint bank account was about £3,000 lot of money in those days. Then well life just changed. Mike no longer was a tolerant man, but horrible. Just like that over night I swear. The children irritated him, I could not do a thing right. He made it as horrible as possible for me.

The catalyst came very quickly. It had been a difficult day I remember my eldest was playing up and I was tired as I had been on my own with the children and felt raw and beaten. I was at the end of my tether and I foolishly said to my daughter “you wait until your father gets home young lady!”

He came home and punished her, far too aggressively and I then realised he had not changed it was all for show, somehow to keep me close whilst the house was sold. Once the papers were signed I was no longer needed. I woke up to it and decided to protect myself and my family I had to leave. We discussed it and arrangements were made and within just a short time family contacted and with my girls arm and arm I left him never looking back. It was so hard to go back to UK I felt a failure a fool. I had been played. But it wasn’t until I got home I realised just how much.

I stayed with my sister and my father helped me find a place to live back then renting a place with children was pretty hard but he found me a lovely flat in Nailsworth (never even heard of it but it was a beautiful village), and I wasn’t too scared as I knew I had money from the sale of the house at least so I thought £1,500 a fortune to me.

My new home Nailsworth a really lovely town.

I had a rude awakening when I did arrive back to the UK and checked the bank account as instead of the expected money from the sale of the house, there was only £80 in there. My father helped me to sort it out and it would appear somehow paperwork instructions were believed to have been sent to our solicitors which I had no knowledge of signing transferring all sales into another account which didn’t even have my name on it. When we managed to contact Michael about it he totally denied anything and being so far away with no reciprocations from Kenya there was nothing I could do about it.

I was penniless with no home, BUT the anger in me somehow kept me from going insane, and I became so strong just had to as my girls needed me I had to protect them. So with 80.00 we got some second hand furniture i can remember it now an old cottage suite some beds and bits and bobs and we started our new life and I managed to get benefits until I could find a job.

The girls soon got into a school and met friends, and my new life began. I never received another penny of my ex husband as he worked that well as you couldn’t force money out of Kenya. So for many years it was down to me, and this man got away with looking after his own family and then took on a new wife and a step daughter, having told me over and over again he didn’t want children. But he had needs and he needed someone to look after him, so he soon found another women and a step daughter.

Thats the thing isnt it even when you feel beaten and abused I decided to keep the hatred out of my heart in order to survive. Hatred achieves nothing.

I settled into Nailsworth and soon got a job. Using my secretarial skills I teamed up with a friend Julie who I had met and we opened our own secretarial services, both got jobs straight away, which turned into full time work. From that day I was never without work.

I worked in an estate agent, run a restaurant, no challenge was too hard for me, I started to heal, and eventually after a failed new relationship, we moved into Stroud, and I got more work, the girls met friends and had a lovely life.

I worked for a temp agency and did so many jobs, and attended courses, learnt Export documentation, ran offices, another estate agent, I never stopped, always working and honing my skills. The girls did well at school and with all my hard work I managed to get them a pony each, and they went off riding. Life was as good as it could be.

Mandy in Kenya where she got her love for riding from. She was six here.

We moved a few times but I enjoyed those challenges. I realised men were well a waste of time, my children were more important to me. They became my reason for living, and though I know my life had dark days I also had good times too. Taking them off on holiday, riding with them, it was good. I did drink way too much at times, this was the aftermath of living with my husband, but overtime with help I managed to even sort that out for myself.

We moved again to Stonehouse, where I had a job where my new husband Mike worked (yes I know confusing), when the business did a dip I was made redundant, but never let it stop me, walking through the town one day I saw an advert for a community worker just the same job I had in Wigan all those years before, applied for it and got it. It also included running the local learning centre, but I also had to learn Microsoft Office and use a COMPUTER oh my goodness gone were the days of clack clack or electric typewriters, I had to use a Computer and learn to use the operating system.

I did it in 3 weeks, took every course and passed all the exams on Microsoft and ended up running the college, teaching the students, supporting them, then I got headhunted by the local college, and worked teaching adults in further education, which meant I had to attend night school and complete a teachers training certification which I am proud to say I passed both levels with flying colours. Nothing could stop me, I even become an NVQ assessor for Business Admin.

I ran the local college loved my job, and even had two of the best students who won awards their awards were handed to them by our local councillor David Drew, I am on the far right. Alison was senior learner and Victoria junior both had different issues with learning but did so well. I was very proud of them both.

I had my my Mike and we were living together he was amazing so different. My eldest had left by then and was starting her own journey with her new husband.

Life was good finally.

Finally I had a life to be proud of, a man who loved me for me. My first husband had come back from Kenya and we had made friends again, I dont think its good to leave blackness in your heart it just consumes you, and I forgave. He had broken up with his second wife, and was trying to get back to being with the girls, but suddenly fate stopped that he died suddenly in his early fifties, at least he got to see our daughter Nicola married and he met his grandchildren, but well life wasn’t so good on him.

In the meantime, my life was always busy, I worked long hours, my new husband Mike and I bought our council house, he worked away a lot as an engineer, overall our life was good. I was head hunted again, and was running a city college flexible learning centres 11 satelite centres, 54 tutors, putting into place new examinations for I.T. such as ECDL, and IBT2, running community courses, teaching business admin, basic cooking in the community, I even did a course on how to survive the Millenium with a bunch of ladies which was a real hoot but it was fun to do.

Yes that was how I was before the picture was taken in 2000.

A beaten women, who rose from the ashes like the phoenix and worked hard to be who she became, a FIGHTER, a WARRIOR, I learnt that life isn’t like a box of chocolates, it’s hard work, it throws curveballs at you, and takes you through a maze of emotions, each time you think you have found the way out of the puzzle another issue takes its place.

I worked hard to be born again.

You have to deal with it, find a way. Never harm another human being, we are all trying to survive the best way we can.

Everyone of us comes with baggage no one is perfect. Before you criticise someone for not doing something right ask yourself why is your way better?

I could have given up way back but I didn’t. Each knock back I learnt from it. I improved my life and hopefully the people around me, I loved all my students, and I worked hard.

I loved my family unconditionally, I even mourned the man who made me who I am now, as even though our lives were rocky I knew he had a bad life when he was brought up by a mean step father, always forgive it is not worth, losing family as we will always need them one day.

All that behind me, that day I was sat with my mike on that rock in Brazil all that is why I am writing this now 20 years on, after finally finding out I had progressive MS, lost my mother, and my beloved, all that before that day is why I am here now writing my story.

Without all the growing up and learning how to become a good person, I would not be here now to look back on a wonderful life.

A truly wonderful life, even with the black times, it has been a wonderful life, the saying life is what you make it is so very true.

Life is what you make it, your life is in your hands you can’t blame others for your failings, they are your failings, always when you look out the window instead of looking out on a bad day, see the beauty in what you are looking at. There is always beauty just in a flower, or birds eating off a bird table, the sky making strange shapes, so much good around us.

No dont blame your failings on anyone else. Improve yourself and own up to your own failings.

People look at me now and see an older women a disabled women using aids, a women who struggles to walk or sometimes even talk, I just want people to learn the story behind the disability, how I got here, how I manage. Who I was. I love my life and people. Yes I am disabled I got given the joker card and was given MS to deal with. My life before my MS defined how I would deal with it.

Always look at your strengths they will always be there when you need to draw on them when your having a bad day. I hope you enjoyed my story. It is all true as I remember it.

This is me Zenda Trim before and now, just the same person, but one perhaps a bit wiser now.

Me before in Tidworth
ME NOW. Before I lost my husband. I am the same person just have to endure more challenges. x

Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Below some of my life and memories. I have had a good life and will always think of those moments as they matter.

Have we lost the meaning of Christmas?

I keep hearing this in my head no idea why but perhaps its my alter ego telling me to write my thoughts down……….

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat Please put a penny in the old man’s hat If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!

Christmas is coming! (Music composed by Edith Nesbit Bland 1858 – 4 May 1924 , lyrics author unknown.

I wonder who wrote the lyrics to this nursery rhyme which has been handed down from generation to generation.

The words to me in my head remind me of when I was young and hearing this rythme I would feel excited as I knew soon I would be enjoying a wonderful traditional Christmas with my family.

Christmas is coming, its a festival of plenty but the words Please put a penny in the old man’s hat what does that mean or signify? Why would it be included in what is supposed to be a Nursery ryme announcing a time of joy, warmth, gifts, and family and friends who meet together to celebrate the date of Christs birth. Such a simple concept.

Please put a penny in the old mans hat – is it saying although its a time of joy and celebration never forget the more unfortunate of you and give to charity or donate to the less fortunate?

I think the meaning of this simple rhyme has been lost over time.

Let’s look at Christmas now in 2019. Sing the song and sit back and think about all your Christmases in the last five years. Were they Joyful? I can almost guarantee that some were not.

Christmas now well we are bombarded by advertisements – toys, chocolates, clothing, gifts of varying sizes and prices. You are virtually brain washed. Decorations are put up early, shops sell Christmas stuff from September.

Then you ask the children what would they like, and instead of simple things, you get a list full of electronic toys, games, laptops, ipads, tablets, T.V. and the list is endless.

You sit back overwhelmed by the demands of a very expensive Christmas list.

Stop and think why do you have to indulge in their wants? Who is forcing you to do this? Do you think your children will love you less if you just buy them one present?

Our lives are not our own anymore, we are programmed to follow the many who like lost sheep follow each other, we are pressurised by our children as they are pressurised by their friends to have all the latest gadjets.

Christmas is coming……..Instead of you feeling joyful of the festival to come, you feel instead DREAD. Your mind racing how to buy all these things, checking your credit cards and your bank balances, and wondering if you will have enough money left to even feed your family.

Why? why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated in this way, isnt it time to simply just say NO.

I remember a few years ago a young man who run his own business he worked really hard and having a new relationship it came with two children both females. At Christmas he asked what they would like and they both insisted they had the latest phone, which I believe at the time was £250, each. He had no way of paying for it without working long hours.

My advice to him was say NO, sorry but you simply cannot afford it, but alas he never listened and purchased the gifts. If he had said NO what really would have happened? We need to take back control of our families. We need to make a stand. Christmas is not Joyous for many anymore. Its stressful and it causes friction in families and debt in many.

Christmas is coming……..spare a thought for the homeless, the people who have nothing, the children starving in Africa. Maybe we need to teach our young that we just can’t do it. Its not because we love them less its just because if we do it for that one time, it means for months they will have to do without other things.

I loved Christmas when I was a child. The memory of going to evening mass, with my family and when it was over coming home and my father would always make us ham and poached eggs, then we would go to bed.

We knew if we didn’t sleep Santa would never come, so we forced ourselves to sleep.

My father would tip toe through the house, with his RAF blue long knee socks full of things for us to enjoy in the morning. Our stocking would be full of a tangerine, nuts, a toy and I remember like a mule thing which you pushed underneath and it would fall over. We would spend ages with our stockings, such simple things, but to me the best.

Then when we got up we knew we were in for a treat as there would be sheets of pasta drying on our parents bed and we would be imbibing on home made lasagne as a starter to our Christmas meal baked by our mother an expert coming from Italy. The smells were soooo good. Everything home made, home made cake, pudding, biscuits, mince pies.

Our presents would be under the tree, we got one or two each, I remember a dolly I got one year gosh I loved that doll.

My christmas dolly and my brother peter with his pet chameleon
Tripoli Africa.

Our Christmas lunch was just amazing. There were four children for several years until the other two were born and added.

Oh yes mustn’t forget the Christmas crackers which were treasured whatever was in them always a surprise. Sometimes the cracker would not explode when it was pulled between us, so we would take turns in snapping it to make the noise. First we took it in turns to read the silly motto which came with the cracker the silly joke and laugh and giggle or groan at some, then we would play with spinning tops, jumping jacks or magnifying glasses like they were the most expensive gifts in the world. Oh and of course wear our paper hats.

Some funnies to have a giggle.

What school subject are snakes best at? Hisstory

What do you call a crazy golfer?
A Crack put

What lies at the bottom of the sea and shivers? A nervous wreck

What do vampires sing on new Year’s Eve? Auld Fang Syne.

What’s the fastest thing in water? A motor Pike

Christmas Crackers a source of huge amusement.

We would sit for hours eating and laughing and enjoying each others company. The Christmas pudding would arrive and we would hope that one of us would get the prize the three-penny piece wrapped in silver foil. The person who got it would let out a huge WHOOP of joy as back in the day threepence would buy you plenty. Even louder when it changed from the traditional three-penny piece to a silver sixpence.

Joy for one when they found the silver sixpence.

Once the meal was over we would all pitch in clearing up, dad would have a snooze and we would probably end up playing board games until it was time for tea. The tea would consist of home made Christmas cakes and turkey sandwiches and home made trifle….my mouth is watering just typing this.

By the time it was bed time we would be stuffed and exhausted but replete and happy. The next day was Boxing day another lovely day to enjoy family time together, and a splendid cold meats buffet accompanied with home made chutneys. We would play with our toys, and just chat and have fun. It was always about fun and love and warmth.

Christmas for us was never about the presents. Yes having a present was obviously exciting but the festival itself with all the traditions was what really I felt the most exciting thing.

I stopped enjoying Christmas some time ago now, I don’t consider myself a Grinch not at all as I have always been giving. To me it doesn’t feel the same anymore. It appears to be more about what is given then what is enjoyed.

You can enjoy your time at Christmas just being together as a family, enjoying a meal which did not cost the earth, and a few presents which mean something to the person receiving. Why does it have to be all about expensive presents, and spending a fortune on so much food, there is simply no way it will all be eaten in the two days. The waste bin sadly swallowing more then the humans.

Sit back and just think, do I need all this food? Why do you need so much. The money you save on food could go into the old mans hat…….. instead of the black rubbish bin.

I have known people to buy a goose, turkey, duck, chicken, ham and beef and salmon just for two days. Is it really important to have so much, think of all the animals that have had to be slaughtered to put on a Christmas meal with that much meat.

Christmas is coming………… Enjoy it without the stress the debt and just have fun with your families. Christmas is not about how much we give or spend but about the joy of family. Just being with each other remember life is tenuous and whilst we are stressing over all this money we can loose a loved one so easily. It means nothing Christmas not really, not anymore but our families mean something, and we should just enjoy them and perhaps start a new tradition of less giving of material things, and more giving of ourselves.

This was the best Christmas my husband and I enjoyed together it was an Australian themed Christmas. My brother lives over there and I wanted to share Christmas in some way with him, so we did a bar b q and wore hats, and had kangaroos about the place, and of course Fosters beer it was the best ever. Even though it had snowed. It is a Christmas I will always cherish with my Mike. One to remember.

Best Christmas ever.

Have a lovely Christmas with your friends and family, and spare a thought for the old mans hat…………………………………god bless.

Beautiful Selkie – Scottish Mythology
Sharing xmas out for lunch with family. I think this is the penultimate xmas I shared with Mike before he passed away in 2017.

Criminalising the Disabled – UK

In the United Kingdom if you are deemed disabled you can apply for several benefits. One is called PIP which stands for Personal Independence Payment. Before this we had a simpler system called Disability Living Allowance. If you qualified for enhanced rate you could choose to take the money monthly OR use it to get a mobility car which is sort of hire purchase for life. The car choices were many and varied including WAV vehicles (Wheelchair Access), and many people took this option to make their lives easier and yes to get to work.

The other is a Blue Badge, which enables you to park close to shops and if you have one it is easier to get your wheelchair out of the car, because the designated spaces are wider.

All sounds good doesn’t it? How caring are our Governments to have these schemes in place.

So how does one apply for these benefits. Well you contact the Department of Work & Pensions on 0800 917 2222. You have to answer questions which takes about 20 minutes to ascertain if you even qualify for PIP. If you are then you are sent the massive and huge booklet that you have to actually fill in. Now anyone who is disabled will take one look and think your joking right no chance. Myself included having PPMS my brain is useless. I was lucky as I could ask for help from Aged UK (yes being old has its advantages). A lovely lady came and helped me fill in this huge form who I found out came from the DWP.

You can ask for help from Citizen Advice and if your really stuck a member of the DWP can again come and help you.

Now surely, if you have been diagnosed by a specialist why do you have to be put through all the stress of applying for this benefit? Would it not be easier all round if there was a score scheme. Well there is but obviously no one seems to be aware of it which was designed for MS. It’s called the EDSS Score.

EDSS SCORE SIMPLY EXPLAINED.

Now this is useful, surely it could be adapted to include disabilities as a general rule? If someone was given a score by a specialist then the form could be massively reduced saving a few trees, and personal sanity. You could simply supply your score which would be certified by a specialist. Thus saving huge time and effort on the behalf of the person applying.

Obviously you would be asked how does your disability affect you alongside. But the scheme at the moment is you get points for mobility and care. The higher the points the more chance of getting the higher rates. Some illness are varied in their disability. One day you can feel fine, then the next day you can barely walk so it is very difficult for people to fill the forms in as on that day they may be having one of their better days.

IF you are diagnosed with a life changing illness like MS for example its progressive and there are NO CURES. Yes there are for RRMS disease modifying drugs, but these only slow down progression to a certain extent. With Primary Progressive MS, although there is a new drug which could benefit some people now, it is not guaranteed as a cure, only to reduce the progressive deterioration of the disease.

The scheme at the moment is so hard to get. Many people who were awarded a high rate say on the old scheme DLA, now do not actually match on the new scheme PIP. How can things be so wrong? This leaves many applicants in financial hardship.

Now if you don’t get high rate mobility you could lose your money and your car and a lot of people have relied on the car to get to work or even have some sort of life.

So If they did not score on the high mobility then they would lose this benefit and their car. It’s a bit rough isn’t it? It has left many applications in a severe financial and emotional mess and yes suicidal I have heard that “cry” worriedly on forums, where people are so wound up and upset about being put through this tortuous process they talk about ending it all WHAT’S THE POINT, you hear its damn well upsetting.

Why are they making it so hard? Because the first scheme DLA was so abused. (So it was thought).

AGAIN the genuine are PENALISED because of the ABUSERS to the system. Genuine people are being criminalised. Made out to feel like they are acting in a fraudulent way.

Genuine disabled made to feel like criminals.

If people didn’t scam or abuse our systems we would all be stress free. It makes me so mad that the few ruin it for the many.  If you are genuinely disabled with a need why the hell should we have to jump hoops?  It’s hard enough being disabled without adding on top the stress of applying for a benefit which is meant to help us have a better life.

It’s like the Powers that be are doing us a huge favour. There is a sting in the tail. For example if you have worked or have savings and you are awarded the higher rate in care say for PIP they will use that if you apply for government funded care package.

Now if you haven’t worked and have no savings you get it free. Rough justice why work in the first place!

Most of us working or have worked, maybe have some savings get given PIP. I qualified for ENHANCED IN CARE.

DO I benefit? 

I have worked since I was 14 only time I did not work was when I brought up my two daughters, but went back to work. I get a full pension with a little bit from my husbands. 

Before I qualified I had government help for my care and was able to hire a care worker for 10 hours a week which was so useful. It enabled me to get out more, go to see my mother in Bristol, and I had help with my personal grooming and bathing.

Because of circumstances I had to sell my house which means I have savings. So now I do not qualify for this 10 hours it would mean paying out £520 a month towards my care. As I was unable to find a suitable home now I rent a small flat so including the rent for this and the care that I would have to pay my monthly outgoings before I ate would be £990 a month more then my pension.

I cannot afford to pay for 10 hours care now without seriously dipping into my savings which I want to use if I can find a house to buy, so I have reduced it drastically and now suffering the consequences as I rarely go out, (my emotional and mental health has been compromised), and I don’t have that person there that I knew I could rely on to support me on my down days. Yes I have family who can take me out BUT they are not trained to deal with someone with disability. Its not that simple, you ask someone to take you to an appointment you have to use your wheelchair, oh well thats easy enough……….. WRONG it couldn’t be further from the truth.

If your not used to dealing with someone in a wheelchair you can make that little journey out; exhausting and painful. I know I have been there. With all the best intentions and kindness experience is definitely best. My care worker was great with helping me bathe and keep clean and wash my hair.

MANY people who get PIP use it to make their lives easier. some save and buy scooters, or wheelchairs, others to go to gym or swimming etc.

I doubt many are going off on holiday with it and lying on a beach somewhere smoking fat cigars and drinking champagne. 

we are penalised over and over again for being DISABLED. there are more and more people becoming disabled, and need help.

I WOULD swap in  a heartbeat if I didn’t. believe me. 

IF someone is diagnosed with a life changing incurable disease, then why the hell do we have to beg for money? No its not our right to have this benefit, but it is there to help us to have a better life so if the government offer it, why make it so totally impossible to achieve getting it? It’s like being tested to see how determined we are….like going on an Army assault course and the ones who get to the end are rewarded the ones who fail are chucked on the scrap heap. That’s how it feels to me.

ARMY ASSAULT COURSE

Now people with MENTAL HEALTH can apply for the new PIP which I actually think is really good. Having said that what about our mental health?  The mental health of people who apply for PIP and are left bereft because of the complexity of the system, they loose their money, their cars, their dignity and some are so distressed over all this sadly they lose the will to live. Yes you can appeal a decision by going for a Mandatory consideration……….but that in itself is stressful and can take months to achieve.

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Challenging-a-Personal-Independence-Payment-decisi/Ask-for-Mandatory-Reconsideration

The next obstacle to making our lives easier is to apply for a Blue Badge. IF you are lucky to get awarded the enhanced rate in PIP, you have more chance of getting a blue badge but its not a GIVEN. You still have to fill in forms and some have to still have an assessment. AGAIN because the blue badge scheme is and was abused………….

The Blue Badge.

The coveted Blue Badge.

The blue badge scheme is to enable disabled people or with limited mobility an ease to park and not have to walk too far.

My husband was diagnosed with END STAGE COPD. He was sadly deteriorating and did struggle to walk far, not with his mobility but with lack of breath. He struggled to walk from the car park to the shop door so I persuaded him to apply apply for one.

The assessment nearly put him in hospital!    My husband explained to the assessor at the time of the assessment that he really struggled with his breath and found it hard to walk very far.  Having said that, the assessor decided to see if he was actually telling the truth (even though he had back up paperwork from his doctor) and they made him walk way above his capabilities and got a shock when he had to sit on the pavement to catch his breath.  He did get his badge but was made to feel like a criminal in doing so. He was quite upset when he came home and took several days to recover. I know he said he wished he had not bothered, but he did get his badge, and it did help him before he passed away.

I think the system is cruel, and discriminatory.   

and against our human rights i.e. 

  • the right to an adequate standard of living
  • the right to the highest possible standard of physical and mental health

Maybe we should start marching to parliament in our wheelchairs and scooters?  

I just dont understand how some people get PIP and others dont. WHY SOME assessment centres are brilliant and yet other people get zero points.

OK taking a slight diversion here as this is another pet hate of mine.

Regarding parking say at large supermarkets. Where I live there are more TODDLER AND MOTHER places then DISABLED.  Do these people have to jump hoops, prove they have kids and a need for these spaces NO. BUT WE DO.  They could simply borrow someone’s child and buggy so they can park close yes some people are that lazy. Yet genuine disabled people are put through hell and back to get the same spaces allocated them. Just different images on the parking spot.

I remember one day some moons back my care worker took me shopping to Tesco and there were no disabled parking spots, so she parked in a toddler and child space as they were virtually all EMPTY. Before we could get my wheelchair out, a guy came and told us to move! We were not allowed to park there. I mean yet people quite often feel it is ok to use the disabled parking places to quickly run in to the shop to get their fags or beer lol. Or block off the disabled spots with poor parking as they cannot park anywhere else so well lets just block the disabled off they are not important. RIGHT? Stand up all those of you that this has happened too where you have gone shopping and someone has used the spaces available and you can’t get parked and desperate for a wee? Been there done that and thank god for ladies incontinence pads is all I can say.

The solution is so easy. If your disabled you register and are given a disability score and this should be used in all applications for help. Still I suppose being simple is way to hard for any government. They have to make everything so hard to apply for. Its like they think by doing so people will give up and sadly some do.

Having a blue badge. Does it suddenly mean we are RICH and able to make a huge killing on the stock market?  NO it just means that when we have to go out say for an appointment at the doctors/specialist or even to feed ourselves we can do so in comfort and less pain as we don’t have to walk so far.   To be honest one of the reasons I rarely go out is not being able to find a space available, and having the person caring for me at that time struggling to get a wheelchair out and then negotiating it to the shop door, or its raining so we have further for us to get wet!

WE should never have to beg for help.  Its a bit of money to make our lives more independent, isn’t that what PIP is about our INDEPENDENCE?  Surely if it helps someone with a car and they can get to work or extra money to feed themselves healthier, then perhaps they will feel well enough to go back to work. Isn’t it or couldn’t it be a WIN WIN situation?

SORRY fed up of being disabled, fed up of begging for lifts, fed up of struggling everyday to even want to get up and fed up of feeling like a criminal.  Also upset for my friends that I have met on the Internet who are constantly stressed over having to reapply for benefits and becoming so stressed over it all they are literally making themselves more sick.

Still I have my memories of good times before becoming disabled. The pictures below show some of my life before and after becoming sick.

BUT you know what I wouldn’t change it for the world, as all the great memories I have of my life with my husband helps me through the dark times of pain. I have done more in my lifetime then many people could dream of. 

I just want the system to change to make it easier for the disabled to have better and healthier lives, not to make them feel like criminals, but make them feel supported and needed even with disabilities, we have a right to a life, and respect just like anyone else.  

God decided to make us his soldiers. I am tired of being tough, but still not too tired to worry about my friends who have to face such awful challenges in their lives, and are left to feel let down. Remember no one wants to be disabled……………it can happen to anyone at anytime in a nanosecond. So come on the powers that be listen to us, make it easier for us, RESPECT us, help us, don’t criminalise us……………..please.

I think this is very true.

Please feel free to share your own experiences, good or bad.

Thank you for reading.

The Simplest things can heal…..

Lately I have felt lost and alone even with people around me. My pain of my MS seems to have magnified and suddenly I have found myself struggling to cope. I lay at night wondering how will I manage to get through another day of this nerve pain, and yes pain in my heart due to still grieving for my husband.

Nearly two years on will be on the 3rd October, still my heart aches for his loss and also the pain of my MS instead of sitting quietly in the background has suddenly become much more noticeable. Its very hard finding things to do now to turn the volume down, and I have found myself musing over the fact that what on earth am I making all this effort for? Really having had a wonderful life 30 years of it more or less with my husband at 68 what was left for me?

Mike and I with Lucy on holiday in IOW one of happy times

I am feeling so sorry for myself, many people out there are far worse off then I am. I could make more effort but being ill for so long its hard to break the habit. If my hubby was still alive at least I would have someone with me to share my worries and pain, but being on my own now its difficult as I dont want to burden my family with my moaning all the time. Stupidly in a low point in my life more through grief my monkey chatter persuaded me to leave my home of 28 years and move into a more secure place to be safe. I felt by doing so it would take the stress off my family for worrying about me, as being in a large 3 bedroom house with lots of rooms and a huge garden there were plenty of traps for me, to hurt myself.

So the house went on the market and I moved into my tiny sheltered/Independent living flat. I do have access to outside a bit of garden and my flat is located on ground floor and now no flat next to me on the left, so really I have autonomy to more or less do what I want with regard to making the patch my area.

A bit of my outside area I have made my own.

I have hand rails outside and they are covered in solar lights, my little area just twinkles at night with lots of solar lights, my aim was to make it look like a happy place. The bird feeding table went up but wasnt sure that being so close to my flat there would be any visitors.

Depression can come in many forms. It snucks up on you, and before you know it your immersed in it’s confines the voices in your head (I call my monkey chatter), who persuade you that your doing badly, you need to get a grip, everything it tells you is negative. If you listen hard enough it makes sense, and then your confidence starts to dwindle, your self doubt increases, and your feeling of despair becomes all you can feel.

I woke up one morning and thought if I was going to survive this new chapter in my life change had to happen but how? Walking is hard work, going out on my own is scary even on a scooter, because you worry that the tool you rely on will break down and you will be stuck.

Everytime I want to go out I have to ask someone to take me. That in itself makes me feel useless. “A trip to the garden centre is offered, they do not realise by offering me this it is just another reminder that I cant do my garden anymore, and have to rely on people. Looking at all the lovely plants where can I put them? I love flowers and plants, my home before was full of things, trees are my favorite, fruit trees. I love ornaments for the garden now my little space is full of them.

Some of my pots i have changed it since

Come on I will take you for lunch!”. It’s not because no one asks me but lunch ugh!. It hurts to sit for very long and at the moment I am cursed with the worse flatulence anyone can face. Having MS its screwed with my bowels and my bladder and two things I can rely on is the need NOT to go to toilet so wind builds up, and needing to constantly pee so when I do go out I have to make sure there is a toilet accessible. So once I have eaten my lunch the lower bowel decides to let rip, obviously being a lady lol, I have to hold it and this in turn gives me stomach ache.

Recently in my area in lovely Cotswolds the farmers were spraying their fields with liquid manure for the years planting and the aroma outside was to say the least a slight pungent lol. I could easily stand outside then I let rip and just blame it on them as believe me I could hold my own with the smell of my manure lol. I reckon if you could actually bottle it I would be able to light up my flat ha ha. Warning handle with care danger of explosion! So you can see the conundrum I face going out is embarrassing for me there is only so much wind you can hold back without an atomic bomb going off!

Wasn’t me honest!

Several years ago now having a reaction in my gums my teeth started to fall out. It was thought this was down to an overactive immune system. I had a few left and decided to have them removed. My rationale was to wear dentures, well I was a pensioner so done well to have kept my gnashers for so long. WRONG, I could not get on with them. After only a month my mouth shrunk and my new shiny teeth fell out. I found it really difficult to chew with them in, so Mike just said don’t bother Zen, I never notice anyway and to be honest you don’t look right wearing them. So for several years now I have not felt the need. So again going out for lunch is embarrassing for me, as it takes me so long to eat safely.

I would rather eat in my own space and not feel embarrassed or a fool. So its down to me really like I said family have asked.

So where was I oh yes, once more I was feeling pretty low, the pain was on a scale 10. Just imagine your body on fire. Literally. Every part of you burning. Its horrible and makes me feel sick. Every nerve in my body is alive and active. This is worse when it’s warm or I am tired.

Sometimes my body feels like it’s on FIRE

It was another morning of feeling despair and pain it was time to get up. Getting up out of bed and slowly stumbling to the back patio door to let the dog out, my mind sluggish thinking what will today bring, I open the blinds (I have a snazzy electric blind you just press a remote and it slowly comes up to reveal the outside. Lucy anxiously and excitedly pressing her nose to the window, “come on mum I need a pee”, finally blinds up and curtains opened to reveal outside. There on the grass eating like there was no tomorrow was a little hedgehog. I was so excited didn’t want to make too much noise as it might scare it off. It was way too intent on snuffling up food probably bird food to even notice me.

My little hog eating

I had no choice but to let lucy out, so sternly I asked her to calm and she did and then she was out the door crossing her legs, and went off to relieve herself. The hog never noticed and carried on.

I had totally forgotten I was tired, in pain with burning as I watched with my face against the window this little creature enjoying its repast of food. Suddenly I shook myself and grabbed my camera and managed to get a few photos. By then lucy was back. The cat had also gone out and came back in with Lucy.

I was shocked for minutes my body was ignored and I felt so much better. Could the simplest thing like a prickly round hog have changed my mindset so easily?

Once I was up fully I went hunting on Amazon armed only with a mouse I typed in hedgehog food, and found a lot of stuff good things he could eat as I didnt want him eating bird food. Next day delivery, lots of food with fly larvae, CLICK and DELIVER it arrived in 24 hours.

So the next day came, the blinds went up and guess who was there yes my little hog. I was so excited to see him again. I took more photos and a video, and Lucy good girl that she is just ignored it. My mind racing concentrating on holding a camera still leaning against the window to stop hand shake, again I actually forgot about my pain. Snuffle snuffle chomp chomp that hog could eat i had given him some dried cat food which it was obviously enjoying. https://youtu.be/JEy-GTiQ2Hg?t=23

Later the next day the hog food arrived so I now had his hedgehog food, and he was there again. More videos, more JOY, it was a lovely morning too. Lucy had come in and so had the cat and I suddenly heard a really odd bird making such a racket. Never heard that before. Then to my right I caught a movement in a tree and there suddenly was a WOODPECKER, omg I was so excited. I managed to get a small video of it it was a green woodpecker. https://youtu.be/b7arQgVLZ40?t=4

I had never seen a woodpecker even in my other very large garden where I used to live. I could just see it on the side of the tree, and managed shakily to get some sort of video proof. Since that day I have seen him several times, he will fly in low suss out the territory if its safe he hops onto the side of the tree, if not he flies into the large bushes by the side of my flat. I always have pigeons they eat like feathered pigs and constantly hog the bird food. I also have a pair of collared doves. So delicate and pretty birds. https://youtu.be/dxmfLGUUOQ8?t=4

Sorry video of woodpecker was very short.

One day feeling low again I looked out of the window and there were new birds on the feeder. I had never seen them before. They were tiny with long tails. I held my breath in fear of scaring them off, but they stayed there for at least five minutes and I managed to get a photo of them. There must have been at least 5 or 6 all different sizes. Again intent on watching them, my pain dissolved into the background.

I had taken a good photo of one of them and was quite pleased and was able to identify them as Long Tailed Tits, there was a family of them. I read that they always fly in families. They visited me several days. I am hoping they will come back next year too. It was so exciting to see them, I nearly called out to my Mike as we used to watch the birds in our garden when he was alive. He would have been over the moon at this visit. He loved birds, and nature and was one of the kindest people I know. Not being able to share this made me feel sad and depressed. It has a two edged sword.

Long tailed tits a family.
An adult long tailed tit.

On the one hand excitement to see such lovely little birds I had never seen before then the realisation that the one person I would have loved to have shared it with was no longer with me.

Since the first day of my hog visit, every morning when I get up and open the blinds I am anxiously waiting hoping to see my hog or even some new bird life. I did take one video of the hog and then in my peripheral vision I saw above a balloon flying overhead which made my day even more exciting. (On the video above).

So what did I learn about all this? I have learnt truly that the simplest of things can be better then any drugs, the simplest of things can make the pain disappear, the simplest of things can lift your spirits, if you look for them they are there. I had stopped looking too intent on wallowing in my own misery to realise that outside my safe cocoon there was still life going on, new families being made, little creatures working hard to survive, everyone of them was busy busy busy, not only giving me happiness but a reason to carry on.

I have bought my hog a house and its tucked under the big bush, although I havent seen him outside he has been seen and when yesterday I checked his house the entrance the leaves had been flattened down, so something had been in there. I truly hope he uses it to hibernate as he will be safe. We are loosing so much of our wildlife now, destroying hedgerows, using poison to kill slugs, and with the weather being so hot they are thirsty.

Take time to leave water out for the birds and the other little animals and if you can afford it, feed the birds. Its been such a rotten year in the United Kingdom very dry and hot and birds and wildlife are thirsty and hungry as for example the slugs the hogs eat have dried up with the heat and this has meant their food source is a lot more limited so they are coming out more in the day searching for food, as they need to pile on the pounds for their hibernation in the winter.

Just look out of your window and watch all the life going on out there when you feel down and sad, it will give you a boost.

If we practice hard enough, we can become thoroughly interested in even the simplest things of daily life, the way a child would. The smallest things would become so meaningful, they might even be worth a few words or a photograph, whatever method you use to capture them.

Author John Dickenson

Gazania Kiss Orange Flame come out today with the sunshine.

Having MS have I been dealt a card which is called the Joker?

The Joker card

Sometimes I wonder what is Multiple Sclerosis? Is it just a figment of someones imagination or a trick by a sick and invisible entity. I mean really how can you be sat quietly at home just chilling out and suddenly for no explicable reason you have a tarantula walking across your forehead! No really that’s what it feels like.

I wont put up an image as I know some people have phobias over spiders. I can remember clearly trying not to panic as I assumed a spider had crawled onto my face, so carefully without panic got up and slowly scared out of mind and hanging onto my hand rails for dear life, walked to the mirror located in my hallway. Expecting to see this long haired creature on my forehead instead of which there was NOTHING! I could still feel it walking across my forehead. Jeez I must have been going insane or something. It was a horrible sensation. Quickly I washed my face, and the sensation did go away. It was warm I remember that.

This was a madness and period of my life when I suddenly was invaded by ants, and nits in my hair, and fleas running across my face. I got more exercise going to the mirror to see all these crawly things but never found one.

Invisible nits which made you scratch your scalp raw. Boy that Joker card was aving a larf with me. What else was he going to chuck at me.

I did have a giggle though when I found out what this sensation is called. Formication, my brain being my brain immediately went to the naughty step lol, but basically it’s a type of paresthesia. Paresthesia happen when you feel sensations on your skin that don’t have a physical cause. Paresthesia can take many forms. These can include burning, tingling, or numbness. With formication, you might also describe the “crawling” sensation as feeling like “pins and needles.” Formication is also called a tactile hallucination. This means that you’re feeling a sensation that has no physical cause.

Formication can be a symptom of several conditions. These conditions include  Fibromyaligia, Multiple Sclerosis and also Parkinson’s disease.

Oh yes also Withdrawal from alcohol or drug use can also trigger formication

So knowing what it was and it had a name kind of mind it easier to cope with but at one point I was totally paranoid thinking my house was infested with little crawlie things. Eek.

Another wonderful sensation was the biting bee. I was actually in the garden with my chickens when I suddenly felt a bee or wasp sting me really hard, jeez it made me jump out of my skin and my husband came into view just as I was screaming in pain, crying “omg omg omg” I have been stung by something, as I hastily started to drag my trousers off myself trying not to fall over to find the offending perpetrator of my body. Mike came rushing up to me to help, and between us we managed to get my trousers off but nothing fell out onto the floor and there wasn’t a mark on my leg where I felt the bite.

No way how could that be? (bee get it lol).

This was getting ridiculous now. I was really being dealt the Joker card, what was going to come next I wonder.

Have you ever stood say in the kitchen and feel someone is looking at you from behind? You just have that feeling that there is someone there and kind of hold your breath because your scared to death to turn around, then suddenly you actually feel someone push you? Now it was either a spirit and I can assure you it wasn’t an alcoholic one or it was another weird symptom perhaps some sort of spasm, but I swear to god I had been pushed although I never actually moved.

Ah the joys of MS.

A new one for me was trickling cold water down the back of my legs. Yep this is true. I again would be minding my own business and going about my day probably just musing about life or something similar when suddenly the back of my legs would actually feel wet and I could without doubt feel what was like water or wet going down my leg. Well for someone with a disability I could sure move when the needs must and lucky for me I was stood very close to our downstairs toilet. Making a Beeline for that as I assumed without realising it and with some horror at myself had peed. Expecting to see urine soaked underwear and the back of my trousers wet there was NOTHING. Nope all dry and nicely groomed where I left it all in the morning after I had my shower.

Now this only really happened a few times and it was earlier on in my journey. I did read about a disease that is mistaken for MS or vice versus called Arachnoiditis, but for me I feel as that is caused through nerve problems in the spine perhaps this had caused it for me. I belong to MS groups and have read others who have also experienced this with MS. If it had happened more often then perhaps I would have been worried, but I did mention it to my neurologist and he just looked at me and smiled and with a reassuring pat on my hand told me it was all down to my illness.

Weirdly enough one of the first symptoms that presented itself to me at the beginning was the strange sensation of wearing wellie boots running through a frozen field with a hole in your wellie, and freezing water making your toes feel like they had frostbite. Now that was a great one and I was convinced if I looked at my toes they would be encased in ice lol.

I did mention these things to my neurologist who said they were all forms of parenthesis.

To be honest writing this down I am feeling like some sort of nut job lol. I mean how can all these weird things happen to me or do they happen to others too. I don’t remember playing a game of cards or actually being handed the Joker card, but somehow somewhere I must have really ticked someone off, as even though these symptoms were not in themselves serious they were driving me mad.

I know I am not the only one who suffers with all these things and thankfully that is kind of comforting to know.

One of the worse ones I had though was the pain in the front of my shin. Usually my weirdo symptoms exhaust themselves very quickly and disappear as mysteriously as they came, but the shin pain was horrific. I remember at the time pushing myself to walk more with my dog. This was early onset. When I got home and was just resting on my recliner the pain started. I swear to god that someone an invisible entity had stabbed me in the front of my shin with a large knife. The pain was so intense I grabbed hold of my shin and shouted out and nearly scared mike to death. Now this pain lasted days so bad was it I really had to see my GP. As usual I got THAT LOOK, and yes you guessed it well it was down to whatever was going on with me at the time. I was told to take paracetamol and rest.

Thanks doc, so I did, and roughly 2 weeks later it finally had gone, just like it came.

Oh dear the bee is back. Yep I must have wished it on myself. At the moment living in my little sheltered flat I am trying to make an area outside which makes it more homely or like the home I left. On one side is a border which was so neglected. I had asked if I could maintain it, and was granted permission, so all the old overgrown plants which were so neglected were removed by my gardener, and the ground was given a good feeding. I decided to turn it into a little bee garden by having planted only plants that would encourage bees. Within 2 weeks I saw my first bee and was quite excited I know right I live such an exciting life. But there was the little bee, flitting away busy from Borage to flowering Thyme, gathering pollen to make the honey.

Since then I have had more and more arrive and I believe its like one is the scout who goes back to a hive and communicates that there is a bounty to be had follow me boys …………

Bees off to feast

Ah where was I oh yes, the bees starting to come to my area and I love watching them always so busy. Then just a few days ago the biting came back. Sting, sting sting……….. on my knee of all places really bad. I did lift my trouser leg up but in my heart I knew it was just an hallucination another Joker card, like he was saying “you want bees………….well your going to get bees”! There they were like magic back on my leg biting me.

Fleetingly in my brain I wandered is it true you get what you wish for? I am not scared of it now though, and just ride it through until it decides to try something new the last attack was yesterday after being at the neurologist and the heat was exhausting, so I wonder what will be on the cards today…………………..!

If you’re reading this with MS and suffer similar please share as we are not alone.

Try being disabled for a day and not feel excluded from normal life……

I am disabled right, according to The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). The EDSS scale ranges from 0 to 10 in 0.5 unit increments that represent higher levels of disability. Scoring is based on an examination by member of the medical team or whoever is dealing with your disability. https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/expanded-disability-status-scale-edss

I believe at the moment my scale is 6.5 and I am aiming to stay there as long as I can.

6.5 Requires two walking aids – pair of canes, crutches, etc. – to walk about 20m without resting. I use a rollator for me is the same as two canes.

I want to live as good a life as I can. I bought myself an electric wheelchair and my friend would take me out in the car and we would go off shopping. I remember one particular day we were in a famous store to look at some clothing. In minutes i was totally tangled up as the rows of clothing were not wide enough for me to negotiate through the aisles. It was really frustrating for me. So we went to another shop and similar happened.

I was beginning to think i would never be able to buy anything, and really sadly that is why i confine myself to the house and buy online as it is so much easier, but it does limit my life and isolates me even more.

Oh then the supermarket smack bang in the middle will be a load of metal baskets which stops you again from moving around them. I mean really.

Ok so off I go for jolly jaunt around town. There is a pavement with a canter lever which slopes right downwards and you have to take you life in your own hands to negotiate it. Not only that it also has Blister tactile squares, for the blind, and this makes it even harder in a wheelchair or scooter. I have nearly come foul with this bit of pavement and ended up in the road, lucky for me there was no cars turning right or left into it.

Ah then you get to the shops and you want to go into them even the bank on the corner before it closed had no ramp for me to get in so i was excluded from going in there so ended up once again relying on the Internet to do my banking.

Even in 2019 shops are ignoring the rights of disabled people who have to use tools such as rollators, wheelchairs and scooters. It is hard enough being disabled but why should we not be able to go into shops easily. Many never provide you with wheelchairs which would help a lot.

Then I thought to myself i really would like a new scooter one with a cover over it so when it rains i can still get out and about. So I did a lot of research, and found one a really nice scooter with a canopy which can be moved back and stored behind your seat, and if it rains, you can simply un-pin it and cover yourself (Scooterpac)

Sounds so easy doesn’t it. Like having a convertible and taking the top down or over yourself.

You can choose to have the cover on or off. The scooterpac is a great invention to be honest, as the idea is it can be stored behind your seat then when it rains you simply pull it back over yourself.

So when you watch a video of it well it looks pretty darn good and easy.

So they use a young women on the video I watched, she made it look all so easy, and I suppose to be fair if your not weak on the upper part of your body it really would be.

The first thing you have to do is take the cover off the scooter pac which was exhausting as it was very tight. It’s there for protection and to keep the actual top tidy and secure.

Now why oh why oh why do they not use a DISABLED PERSON to show the demo? I mean seriously. I was stuck and it was exhausting as i had to pull this canopy over and it was high and my arms were tired and exhausted. To fold it back away did not work for me as the person who had fitted it put the sides on the wrong way. Once that was sorted(I had to get the scooter company out as no one could do it not even healthy people) trying to fold the sides and secure them to the back was really difficult for me. Oh and having to put the cover back over the top cover of the scooterpac was a nightmare really hard to do. Very tight and I ended up getting my young lad who was decorating my flat at the time to do it, and honestly he will confirm even he had a struggle with it.

If your not too disabled the Scooterpac is a really great idea. I would have loved it but trying to put it away was just too hard for me. A really great idea i would highly recommend it, but if your very disabled you would be better with a cover that stays on.

So well now I had my scooter sorted it was time to go out into town. I was excited but then I hit the first obstacle?

Getting out of the park where I live.

Both ends of the park you have to negotiate one of these.

The shape says it all, my bottom can pass but the top of me has no chance. The large gate is locked also only for council.

Let me rewind. I need to go down into the local park to take the dog for her walk, and before I changed my scooter for a bigger more reliable one, I could go into town even by negotiating the above bollards. But the access to the park even that is a chore as there are two sets of gates. The last gate is a nightmare as its tall and you have to find a way to stand a bit to open it then of course it opens INWARDS not outwards (I mean really who designed these gates for disabled living quarters). They obviously didn’t have a clue. Now I have my dog with me, and doing this is heart stopping as I am always frightened I am going to run her over, but she seems to have learnt self preservation thank god.

A picture of my first obstacle double gates which you have to negotiate on your scooter.

First obstacle a gate on the right which is surrounded by hedge.
Sorry videos dont work anymore

Next obstacle is a tall gate as I said above it opens inwards. See video above as I have included it at the end of the video. Now once you get through it safely and close it behind you then you are in the park. BUT If you want to go into the town you are immediately stuck as the barriers are not big enough to allow me through (I am not the only one who lives in my flats who cant get out this way).

This is what you come up against its access to the town well its a barred access to the town as i cant get through it with my new scooter.

Once we finally get through the tall gate though if we are just going for a walk we have a lovely time going around the park and she enjoys it.

The barriers. Now the idea of these barriers I believe is to stop motor bikes and bikes. or odd shaped people from entering. WRONG, as every day I see bikes in there and on occasions there are motor bikes at night using the grass as grass track race. The point is down the bottom corner is an area which is OPEN but has a rock in the middle so I am not sure I want to try going that way but motor bikes have no problems.

Surely there must be another way of stopping the nuisances but also allow the disabled a right of way to live in their town without difficult obstacles I wonder how other towns deal with these issues. Please share good practices please.

OK YOU COULD if you wanted to go the long way round. It’s a long path which is so uneven and full of holes and dips and slopes, you take your life in your hands. By the time you get to the bottom and closer to town you feel like you have been in a roller coaster. I come home feeling awful. Even with a scooter with good suspension you sure get a bashing about and I wear my seat belt as sometimes with the slopes you feel like your going to topple over (I know that I wont but its difficult when you are trying to stay safe with pedestrians around and a dog who is walking by your side. When I finally get home boy I feel like I have been in the gym as everything aches.

Going long way round.

9 minutes walking the path is very uneven and hard on your back
quick way is actually quicker then map states. I just go through the bottom tall gate then a few minutes into the town, but i can’t get past the barrier anymore with my new scooter.

Then the scooter its really well made. Excellent. But it is too much scooter for me as I am very weak in my arms and found it hard for me not to loose grip on the tiller as it was very light touch and any bump I would loose grip which is quite scary.

Any manufacture of disabled products should ensure all their products are tested or displayed with disabled people. Every persons disability affects them differently.

Councils perhaps you should get someone not disabled to road test your towns, and shop keepers do the same too. Just walk or ride in my shoes for one day and you would soon learn just how disabled friendly we really are. Ok you get points for certain things but ultimately you are excluding us from having a normal life as we could possible have, as really its off putting struggling to get in shops time consuming and frustrating that a lot of disabled people now dont bother and spend more time at home or on their computers buying on line, rather then going to the local shops, because at least buying on line you get treated with respect and every delivery driver i have come across has been amazingly helpful and kind.

I never asked to be disabled I just want an easy life, i don’t want nor do i need any more barriers thrown at me. Next time you want to design something for example like the barriers in parks just remember that a disabled person may have to negotiate it. You should think disabled first before you decide to do these things as there are 11 MILLION people just in the UK who are disabled.

Sadly everyday more and more people are becoming disabled and its up to local authorities and manufacturers to get mobile and disability friendly in order to allow us to have a good and enjoyable life, not one which has barriers chucked at us like bad pavements, poor management in shops and unfriendly disabled aids which have not been tested by the exact people they are designed for.

We are disabled – BUT should we get over ourselves?

I have thought long and hard about writing this but it is no good it is really bugging me. I hope that whoever reads this does not find it offensive its not meant to be, but its my way of trying to find a perspective into something that is constantly being dragged up on forums and groups.

What is it? Hum well have you ever gone out say to the shops and noticed anyone looking at you in an odd way? Maybe you think why is that person looking at me like that?

Nearly every week I go on forums or groups and there will be someone on there literally “spitting feathers and full of indignity”

Angry and indignant (not thirsty).
Drawing by Hannah Scully .

Now you would think World War III had started. I would have an image in my head of some person with arms under their breast standing there and taking real offence………. I am drawn in to the conversation as it seems so intense something awful must have happened to induce such a vitriolic and angry post.

It would sometimes start with…….. “How dare they look at me like that? (Hum reading on thinking this might be juicy), who do they think they are for gods sake”! I could literally feel the fire of anger coming off the screen…what had this person done to illicit such a response……..so holding my breath I would carry on reading.

“The nerve of the them. I was just walking into the supermarket with my walking stick, and this moron standing in front of me, looks at me like I am diseased or something and steps out of my way and the look they gave me was disgusting like I was dirt under their shoe, just because I am disabled and use a stick how dare they look at me like that………….”

I know my brain is very slow and it would take a few seconds to comprehend what on earth this person was moaning about.

It would seem the person had some how purposefully or inadvertently given the impression that they found the look of their disability as distasteful or not real, perhaps the person with the stick was some how playing games and just doing it to get attention or money off the state, who knows, but the writer of the piece would be so mad one would think they had been physically assaulted.

I have had a think back about times when my disease first got so bad i needed a stick and an arm to lean on. I would go to the supermarket and by the time I got to the check out would be exhausted and out of balance.

I had often stumbled and needed to hold onto my carers arm to stop me falling. Yes I would admit that someone in the queue by the side of me would look at me with a look of sadness which would prompt me to say “oops I need to put more water in my gin in the mornings” and this would break the ice and the person would smile and giggle with me which broke the tension of the moment. I would always turn these awkward times into a scenario where one could laugh and smile alongside of me. My illness never made me sad, frustrated yes but never sad.

I was proud actually that even though I had a life changing disability that I could still go out and that I could still quip about it and interact with people to show them well there is nothing to be scared of not really, hell no I may have MS but I am not dead yet there is still life in the old dog yet lol. Below just a few photos of me over the years of having MS, I just got on with it, and never bothered about what others may have thought. I never stress over what I cant change.

I kind of felt sorry really for the posters as my feeling is they were not angry at this person but more angry with themselves and what was going on around them, and it was their way of dealing with it, by focusing on a tiny thing that may have happened and turning it into a major incident. Maybe a need to be noticed perhaps, for people to feel sorry for them, or even feed their insecurities about their disease.

After thinking about it I realised that people with MS or any other chronic illness can be very insecure, and some of them needed to be supported but didn’t know how. So they use the media to feed it to feel loved and supported.

You could almost imagine them sat in their room lonely and sad, lapping up all the answers of support, lapping it up like a cat would lap up a bowl of tasty cream. The person who had unwittingly looked that way, would never know that they had caused such a drama which would be unfolding and getting more and more intense and down right nasty towards them.

Image by Ruca Souza

I am sure they would have been horrified. Its almost like someone being stoned like in the days gone by, but verbally a trial by media. It would almost become mob rule as other posters would get wired up and angry for the first poster.

In days gone by people would be stirred up by verbal communication and things could get pretty nasty. Now its all down to lonely people living in their own seclusion feeding off each other the object of their hatred was not known or seen, but it didn’t matter not really as they could feel for the poster as they too were in the same situation and perhaps similar had happened to them too, so a simple moan could turn into hours and hours of posts from all over the world.

With the Internet you can start a post at night in the USA and it would be picked up some time in the morning for example in the UK, then posters would pass on their thoughts, and come the afternoon in the UK it would be the morning in the USA etc, and so that one small post could be doing the rounds for many many hours all over the world and getting bigger and bigger. At least in times gone by you reacted and it was done and dusted there and then. I feel now its so much more unhealthy. We tend to hold onto our anger and never let it go which cant be good for us surely.

Then just when you thought it had calmed down someone else would find the post and kick it off again, and indignity would reign once more around the satellites…….

Stone throwing the old fashioned way.

An innocent glance taken totally out of context had been used to feed someone else insecurities. Perhaps the indignant person needed to GET over themselves and find a life………yes they were disabled they had been given a rotten calling card but they needed to learn to deal with it for themselves not stir up a emotional feeding frenzy by others in the same place. All these people responding for me feeding the insecurity were the same sadly.

Life with a disability doesn’t have to be the end of their life but the start of a new one with lots of challenges yes, but we have to choose our paths in life. It is so much easier to take the easy path of just not dealing with it, and passing it all onto someone else and live the rest of our lives indignant because someone LOOKED at us in a weird way and make a huge thing about it which would feed us for a week and prop up our fragile egos.

As Humans I believe we are an innately self-absorbed species. Partly down to the fact that we have an instinct for survival. Could this person who is sharing this awful experience on say Facebook be using it as a way to survive another day. Using this exaggerated incident to enable them to cope through their own day, isn’t this a bit selfish really?

This could be dangerous unintentionally. There are a lot of people now living with a Mental illness who also have alongside a chronic illness they have to deal with. By sharing this story it could unintentionally stir up someone else who may not be as equipped to deal with it. It could even stir up hatred to all things NORMAL.

We have no idea how fragile minds are and the Internet is now a breeding ground for many things some of them not so good. By Normal I mean a focus can then turn onto someone who unwittingly one day looked at someone and without realising it set off a chain of events, because they appeared to be a “normal” person with no visible disabilities…………….

This doesn’t mean they have no disabilities just that the poster couldn’t see any, but perhaps their innocent look was of sorrow, or they may not have been looking at the person but through them as they were reminding themselves of something that happened to them that day. DON’T assume they were looking at you in a bad way.

Perhaps if you are reading this just be aware that if there is an issue with someone LOOKING at you in an odd way, look at yourself, and how you deal with things in your life at that point in time, and keep it to yourself, as innocently you could be putting other peoples lives in jeopardy.

You see that look, the best thing is to Stop Take a deep breatheThink of something funny – move on.

We all need to learn to GET over ourselves, yes we are disabled, but we are not a unique species with special privileges in life, we have to learn to deal with what we have been given, and not expect others to prop us up, as these same people may be more disabled then we are, more fragile then we are, and more scared then we are.

Let us all try to be a bit more tolerant of each other. We are humans and we are all just trying to survive the best we can, we don’t need to be stirred up and stressed to support someone as it just makes their day worse too.

Your needs shouldn’t always come first. Just remember whatever you post on media can have a ripple effect that leads to a tsunami, be mindful that others may be way more fragile. Just try to look at the funny side of things. Make yourself laugh, and the incident will just fade away.

I have another saying too when someone says to me “well you look really well” and I quip back well why shouldn’t I? I am not ill I am just NEUROLOGICALLY CHALLENGED, and it makes them smile and they know I am ok.

If you really want to be happy, you need to take a step back. You need to engage with the people around you, and with the rest of the world. Because this individual focus really isn’t working for anyone. Certainly not for you as it just leaves you having a bad day and a constant reminder inadvertently that yes you are disabled………. Turn the computer off, get out of the house, sit in the sunshine, do something, don’t focus on the bad things in your life, look around you, there is beauty you just need to look for it.

Beauty is everywhere you just have to open your eyes.

A mug of Hot Chocolate a day….helps fight MS fatigue.

OK now really when someone said to me that hot chocolate could help fight my MS my first thoughts were of the hot sultry relaxing group who I used to listen too years ago…yes if your my age you might remember them, Hot Chocolate. They could help me get over my MS any day lol.

The original lineup. The amazing Hot Chocolate band.
It started with a Kiss

Oh those were the days. Hot Chocolate and much less calories…..

So now researchers have come up with a small group of people who have tested the theory which seems to be for the idea. One cup of high flavonoid hot chocolate a day may help keep the old MS fatigue at bay.

Really could it only be that easy I think to myself. So its off to Amazon to do some serious Hot Chocolate purchasing to test out this theory. Anyone want to join me?

I decided after some research to go with Green & Blacks as their coco content is 97%. I am making my coco with coconut milk as I hate dairy milk. So I will see how I get on. Its a bit errrrr strong so added a bit of sugar.

I am thinking if it helps MS fatigue then why not all types of fatigue for others suffering with Fibromyalgia, M.E. CFS the list is endless.

If you want to read about it well it explains it here.
https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/03/05/drinking-hot-chocolate-rich-cocoa-could-help-people-ms-battle-fatigue-study

Bottoms up…….. chin chin and all that let the calories begin and the fatigue diminish………….

Bottoms Up, who knows after two weeks of drinking hot chocolate I too may be able to do a hand stand.

So who is with me on this challenge…………………………