Health

Shaken, Not Stirred.

Shake me and I rattle.

Yesterday morning I was off to the doctor’s to try to sort out my every worsening health. Of course, an appointment at 10.10am quickly became an appointment at 10.45, which was followed by a mad dash to the chemists to pick up new prescriptions before cycling at breakneck speed back to my house to pick my books up, and then whipping off to uni. By the end of the morning I was already shattered!

But it was actually an incredibly productive appointment. (Even if I did almost get a bit tearful.)

The result of this visit to the doctor’s is that I now feel a little like a cocktail of drugs.

Shake me and I rattle.

But although I’m not a huge fan of being on lots of medication,  it has gotten to that point where I just want to find something that works. It has been almost 7 years now since I first started experiencing pain. That is a long time in the lifetime of a 20-year old. It has been 7 years since I could walk around in the day and feel absolutely no pain, I honestly cannot remember what it feels like to not have, at best, a slight aching pain in the base of my spine. And it has been almost 3 years since I had a really good night’s sleep, since I woke up feeling like I had the energy to face the day.

So if this cocktail manages to dull the pain and gives me decent nights and smoother mornings, then sign me up forever!

Sophie x

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Thoughts at 1.28am.

It’s 28 minutes past 1 in the morning.

Although my head hurts with the ache of tiredness there is no sleep to be had, my back throbs with too much intensity for my body to rest.

It’s times like this that I have to just admit defeat. Tomorrow morning will invariably be a write-off.

Such is life.

With endless reading to get through, piles of dissertation research on the go, a PGCE application in the process I guess it is really no surprise that I find myself here on a Friday night. My health is taking a turn for the worse. Again. I’m starting to wonder whether the cold weather that these months bring with them that is having the biggest impact on me. Or is it the amount of work and stress I am under at the moment. Or if it is being busy and living alone? I don’t have the answers.

My pain levels have spiked and I can’t pretend I am not concerned. So it is back to the doctor’s surgery. Maybe back to the hospital, who knows…

I’m not going to let it get the better of me though.

I have wonderful people in my life who will help me through. My lovely friends who text me to check whether I’m okay. My lovely friends who offer to get my shopping or who just pop round to check I’m okay. My lovely family who always have time for me.

You know you’ve got good friends when you have a lengthy Skype session and they don’t get tired of the fact that your brain is slow and sluggish and you probably weren’t very lucid (or interesting) to talk to!

So here we go again, it could be another long path. But I know I’m not alone, so thank you to everyone who looks out for me, thank you to everyone for being so understanding and caring, you mean the world to me 🙂

Sophie x

The End of an Era?

So I mentioned last Sunday that things have changed for me when it comes to matters of my health. People who have read my blog for a while will know that for the last six years I have had to deal with various different problems – back pain, stiffness, extreme fatigue, dizziness, headaches, trouble standing and walking etc. To put it in a simple term, I have a condition called fibromyalgia. (If you want to read about it there are several posts in my Posts Worth a Read section.)

I have been going to the hospital, the doctors, and the physio for almost six years now and on Friday afternoon something happened. I was discharged from the hospital. 

Basically the doctors can do no more for me. There is no cure and I have tried the vast majority of the treatments available so for now, I’m on my own. It feels a little odd, I’ve been going to hospital for so long that it has become a part of my life (I’m aware that’s quite sad), I can’t imagine not going. But for now, unless my condition changes, I won’t be going back.

It’s not all bad though.

I am determined that if I am going to have to live with this condition, I am just going to live with it. I want to really LIVE. So in a way, no longer having to deal with all sorts of hospital appointments means that it will be easier for me to feel like I’m leading a normal life.

Being at university and living at home this year means that life is slightly on hold, or perhaps it’s just that it’s easier. I feel a little like I’m a bubble which is cushioning me from the difficulties of adult, working life. Next year I am moving out again to live with some lovely lovely people from uni and it will be a nice in between step to help me figure out how well I’m be able to cope with my condition on my own.

I don’t know what I want from life yet, I just know that I want to do something that makes me happy, surround myself with wonderful people, and carry on finding pleasure in the simple but beautiful things in life. Who knows where I’ll end up or what I’ll end up doing but for now, I just want to move forwards in my life.

Stay positive everyone!

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(I wanted to include this lovely image of spring as it has been horrible snowy weather here and I’m trying to pretend we have sunshine and blue skies! Is it snowing where you are?)

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and enjoy the build up to Easter 🙂

Sophie x

Small Steps.

Ah life’s little ups and downs. You learn to take each day as it comes.

This weekend I was reminded of how rich my life is despite anything that may seem to be difficult or draining.

I have a wonderful partner who makes still makes me incredibly happy after almost five years. (Our five year anniversary is in just over a month!) I have the support of a fantastic family who always have time for each other in times of need and when the good times roll in. And I have some great friends, both old and new, there are some lovely people without whom my life wouldn’t be anywhere near as enjoyable.

Recently I’ve been on a slightly downwards sloped hill. My fatigue has been hitting me particularly badly and it just makes everything that little bit more difficult. I wake up every morning feeling sore and stiff and it takes me a couple of hours to feel fully able. It’s tough but I always take the time to stop and think: it could be so much worse.

And it really could.

There are so many people who have huge challenges to surmount in life, so many people who suffer, so many trials that are pushed on people completely outside of their control. I can’t imagine what it is like for those who truly suffer.

The other day a few people at uni commented how chirpy and positive and perky I always am and it made me realise how good I am at presenting the majority of the world with a happy front. It’s not really a facade, I am genuinely quite a happy, optimistic person. It’s more my way of keeping life going, of not giving in to my condition, of getting on with the world.

So I will continue smiling, continue saying hello to everyone I meet, continue enjoying the simple things in life and getting excited at the smallest positives, and just continue feeling lucky that I get to be the way I am.

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I hope you all had a brilliant start to the week!

Stay bright and chirpy for me 😉

Sophie x

Look Who’s Back!

Well hello there!

It’s been almost three weeks since I last blogged (what?!). That is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without posting and I’ve hardly been present online at all so I want to say sorry for neglecting everyone! I have really missed everybody and I’m definitely going to be catching up with all of you. Basically the short story is that I’ve been really ill recently. As in really ill. Each day, all of my energy was taken up by cycling to uni and going to lectures, the minute I got home I was straight back in bed. It’s been months since I’ve felt that extremity of exhaustion and to be honest it’s been tough. I didn’t feel like blogging because a) I had absolutely zero energy, b) I didn’t want to be super negative to you all, and c) I was doing next to nothing so I had nothing to write about!

But, after a slightly better week, and a really lovely weekend in London with Tom, I thought it was time to say hi again 🙂

I’m going to keep it simple, I figured I’d manage another instagram round-up of the past couple of weeks. As I said, I haven’t done an awful lot but I have managed to take a few pictures here and there. Last week I had a short assignment, it wasn’t a difficult piece but I really struggled to find enough hours when I didn’t feel like the dead walking so it took me longer than planned. Now I have to start all of my research for my four main essays this semester, wish me luck!

Autumn leaves | Stewed apples and homemade langue de chat | Raspberry and apple pie

Cycling from uni | Always reading | Autumnal fuchsias

Baking | Peanut butter cookies – so good! | Brioche from France 🙂

Pink metallic nails | Pasta bake comfort | I made a new veggie stir-fry

Gu chocolate fondant… oh my gosh! | More pastaaa | Fireside

Halloween pumpkin carving | Little Alice mouse | Isn’t she a beauty?

Poppy greetings | Chinese lanterns | Gorgeous chicken satay skewers

Tuna pastry | The perfect relaxing bath | New cookbook!

Sunday lunch | Apple crumble | New haircut

More stir-fry | Delicious blueberry and raspberry smoothie | Starbucks time – toffee nut latte

The best hot chocolate flavour = honeycomb! | Panini | Leftovers

So here’s a little catch up from me, now give me all of your news! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and have a great week 🙂

What’s been happening in your life at the moment?
Favourite hot drink of the moment?

Who’s starting to get excited for Christmas? (Me!!)

This Week #9.

I’m going to keep this post brief because I have developed a cold and combined with my fatigue it has left me feeling awful. I have an early start tomorrow and I need to get some sleep! I’ve had an okay week, I had a lovely day yesterday – I went shopping with my mother in the morning to buy presents for my next-door neighbours as they have just had a little baby boy. He’s so precious, I held him for such a long time and he is just a lovely baby. Then to give the mother some time to herself with the new baby I offered to look after their little girl, Ellen, who is five. She came round and we had heaps of fun baking and decorating biscuits 🙂 Unfortunately by the time I went to bed I wasn’t feeling very well and this morning was even worse. I only get a couple of colds a year but I’m hoping it won’t last long, I don’t need this on top of everything else!

A childhood favourite – mashed banana with yogurt | Roman holiday surprise (no idea why it’s called that!) | Monday seminar

Spaghetti with courgettes | Legs & Bum Pyramid workout | Spicy hula hoops

More pasta 😉 | Poppy’s sleep spot | Fish and chips – so moreish

Sweet baked potato for lunch | Breakfast reading | Honey toast comforts

I received a fantastic package from the lovely people at Total! I will be reviewing these next week – they’re delicious 🙂

Reading up on evolution for Victorian lit | Cheeky veg chow mein takeout | Raspberry and pomegranate yogurt from Total

My breakfast companion as always | The cutest babygrow for baby Arthur| Ellen’s decorating skills, they’re so cute!

Jamie Oliver’s 30 min meals Rogan Josh | Late night hot chocolate for poorly Sophie | Sunday afternoon studies

If you have Instagram too then you call follow me @loveliveandlearn to see my photos as I post them!

I hope you all enjoyed this post and had a lovely weekend 🙂

I also want to say that I am so overwhelmed and touched by all of the wonderful, supportive comments you left on my last post. Reading through them gave me a lot of comfort and I will be taking the time to reply to them all properly. I’m so lucky to have such amazing readers and blog friends!

An Update.

It’s been quite a while since I opened up and gave you all an update on how I’ve been doing for the past couple of months so I thought it was high time I wrote a post on it all. For any lovely new readers, if you’re interested in my condition I suggest you read this, this and this (if you don’t want to read it all then the last link is the most informative!) first so that everything makes a bit more sense.

As most of you will know, I recently transferred to a university closer to where I live so that I could move back home in the hope that it would give me a better chance to both do well in my degree and to recover. The move has been a lot easier than I expected, I’ve adapted to being home and losing my independence was a reasonably small sacrifice, and my first few weeks of studies have been going well. I was so nervous on my first day – petrified I’d get lost and unsure about how my classes and the people at uni were going to be! However it turns out there was no reason for my nerves, the lectures are really interesting, seminars are fun, and the people are just lovely.

In the last month and a bit I have been into various doctors/hospital appointments, sorting things out, having checkups, going to CBT sessions, and working with my physio. The outcome is fairly mixed which I suppose is to be expected. We already know that they will not be finding out the cause of all of my issues anytime soon and therefore won’t be finding some kind of “magic wand” cure. That sounds depressing but I’m used to that, it’s what I’ve been hearing from nurses, doctors, physios etc for years. But what has me feeling a little down is that no progress is really being made. Maybe that means that I’m slightly in denial, that I am still searching for a cure, but the thing is I want to feel like I’m improving, even if only slightly!

The doctors and nurses at the pain clinic seem to be fairly stumped. The woman I saw for my two CBT sessions (I’ve already been discharged) said that there was no need for me to carry on coming as from a pain management perspective, as well as the mental perspective with my psychological relationship with my condition, because I already do all of the things they recommend to chronic illness/pain sufferers. I’ll be completely honest, I’m not sure whether I’m pleased that I’m doing things right, or annoyed that she couldn’t do more…

I know I seem like I’m coping, but coping is a difficult concept. I’m getting to uni, I’m spending time with my family, I’m visiting Tom, and I’m keeping up with my work. But there is so much more that I want to do, and I can’t help but worry about the future.

This worry brings me to the most important change in my medical situation at the moment. The one positive that came out of my final CBT session was that we decided it was a good time to venture into the world of eating disorder help etc.

I have never been diagnosed with one of the big three (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating) but as everyone who is interested with or concerned about eating disorders and food issues knows, there is a lot more to having an eating disorder than fitting into one of those exact categories. Food and body image is something I have struggled with almost constantly since the age of 14 – that’s almost six years now. I don’t feel like I am currently suffering from a proper eating disorder, on the whole I eat pretty well, but I know that on the mental side my relationship with food is far from perfect. It’s actually pretty messed up.

So I’m going to be making an appointment with my doctor and getting a referral, recommended by my cognitive behavioural therapist, to a specialised out-patient centre in order to start seeing someone to help me in my journey to full, mental recovery.

I have to completely honest, I’m scared. I don’t know exactly what to expect but I have a feeling things will probably get a little worse before they get better – I am going to have to delve into memories I don’t want to dredge up and issues that I mostly ignore. But I feel like I’m in a good place, at least physically what with being at home, and now is the time. It’s always going to be difficult to do but it makes more sense to do it before I properly became independent and start full-time employment!

I’m sorry if this post is a little dense to read, and a little intense. I just feel like I owe it to the wonderful readers who always comment and really care about how I’m doing. As well as to all the readers who have been, or are going through, something similar.

I hope you’ve all had a great week!

Have you ever have any CBT? Was it helpful for you?
Have you ever been diagnosed with any kind of eating disorder, or EDNOS? Did you have medical help?
Any words of reassurance or advice for me?