Sunday, 25 April 2010

new home

Just a quick message to say that, as of tomorrow, my new online home will be with my shop being located at, so please do update your readers if you use them.

Tomorrow starts the true beginning of my real-life dream. Over there you will get to read about my new business, try some projects for yourself, see the results of my "wheat-free recipe experiments" and hear about the wedding planning. There will still be a personal touch and I won't stop writing about the things I do here, but there will be far more added on a much more regular basis (daily through the week, I hope)... so I hope you will all pop by and see me there too xx

UPDATE: For those of you who found this blog through my Endometriosis posts, I have now started writing a weekly series on Trying to Conceive with Endometriosis at iVillageUK. The first article can be found here and all subsequent articles will be posted on the Pregnancy and Baby Channel every Tuesday.

My new blog also focusses on living with Endometriosis, so don't forget to pop by there as well.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Living the dream

Tim and I are still in limbo, still waiting for his CRB check to come through so that we can move and he can start his new job. But we are not wasting time...

Remember my last post about starting a business so that I could stay home and work around how I'm feeling? Well things are moving on. The sewing and painting idea have been put on hold for a new passion of mine - jewellery making. This time last week I had nothing and now I have a toolbox full of well over £200 worth of beads and things, several pieces to my name, and 6 sales under my belt. Not bad for one week, hey?

Here are a few examples:

The 'Diana' necklace - so called after the Goddess due to it's powerful beauty. It is made by four strings of crocheted wire with turquoise and garnet chips, which are then plaited together. I loved making it and was incredibly happy to sell it the very next day! I thoroughly plan on making many more like this with a variety of semi-precious stones for varying issues - this one was for emotional expression.

The 'Abigail' necklace - muted green and pink tones for a delicate, feminine look. Occasional pearls and silver beads give an extra feel of class to the necklace. This one is up for grabs and I shall be setting up a new website, once I can figure out a name for myself.

The 'Charlotte' necklace, named after the one from SATC - I love her elegance and beauty and felt that this necklace was just that. This one was admired by a customer but left because the person who she was buying for was more "hip" than "classy".

The 'Josie' earrings, named after a dear friend of mine who passed away. She had the biggest heart and these were just like her - full of love and happiness.

And this, well this is an experiment, to see what I could do with crochet and silver wire. Crocheting with wire is a strange thing when you're used to yarn, but rather simple to pick up, and doesn't it just make the most gorgeous pendants? I just love it, but don't quite know what to do with it yet.

So there you have it, a few samples of my ever-expanding collection of jewellery. And do you know what, making them has been so therapeutic... I feel happy for the first time in months, I fel calm and relaxed and have even had people comment on how well I am looking. Despite my reservations, my fear that the business will be a big flop and that I don't deserve to be so happy AND make some money, I feel that I am finally getting to the place I always wanted to be. I feel like I am beginning to live my dream. I am happy. And life is good.

Stay tuned, folks, I feel some big things are coming!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Too long...

It's been far too long since I updated here, but things are rather crazy at the minute. I spent the past two weeks helping my parents finally move back into their house (I'm not sure I ever really mentioned the fact that last August my parents lost their house to a fire... but after many long months of rebuilding, they are finally home). It was good to see them home again, but stressful sorting through all the boxes that came back from the cleaners.

Anyway, within those two weeks I also stressed about my job interview (for a full-time management position - you know, the one I was stressing about in my last blog post?) Anyway, the night before I decided not to go and finally admitted to my family that my biggest dream (other than having a family of our own, of course) was to set up a business where I could stay home and create beautiful things to sell... like this. I was shocked, to say the least, when they all backed me up and told me to go for it because quite frankly I thought it was far too reckless and irresponsible of me to even think about doing something I might truly enjoy - ah, the fun of low self-esteem, eh?

Well, anyway, I have been thinking a lot about this and have decided to focus on an area close to my heart - paintings, knits and personalised gifts (e.g. baby vests and blankets) in pretty pastels and muted tones, as well as the odd household gift perhaps, but mostly aimed at new babies, expanding families and treating new mums to something special (maybe a new necklace or pair of earrings to remind her she is still a beautiful lady and not just a mum now). What do you think?

Of course, now I am confused as to where to source the fabrics from - I want good quality, of course, but I still want the end products to be affordable and so cannot go out and buy masses of expensive materials to craft with. Any ideas?

I must go, I am exhausted - a combination of stress, hayfever, changing hormones and forgetting to take my anti-depressants for a couple of days seems to have knocked me for six, so a nap may be in order. But I promise to write an update and post some pictures again soon.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Difficult decisions

I have an interview to go to on Wednesday and it is for an amazing opportunity. The problem is, I'm not so sure I want the job. Had I been offered the interview a couple of years ago I'd have been overjoyed, but I'm in a different place now and my heart feels heavy when I think of actually doing the job... in fact my heart feels heavy whenever I think of working full-time at all, because I feel like I have finally found myself in a position where I can slow down and move forward in my life in a more fulfilling way than working my way up the career ladder and if I were to take this great opportunity, I would lose the equally great opportunity to really be me...

Let me explain. This new job would be full-time management of a charity shop. It would be a fantastic opportunity, being within the charity sector and getting management experience at 26! But, my health has been so bad this past year or two and I have been so desperate to have a break that to lose this by rushing straight into a demanding job seems counter-productive. I am sick of feeling so ill and exhausted all the time.

But more than that - Tim and I had planned on having my coil out during the coming few months so that we could try for a baby after the wedding. I want to do this whilst out of work because my endo means I feel rubbish a lot anyway, but start messing with my hormones and I'm a wreck. I want a family, I've always wanted a family, and it is finally within my grasp... I can finally get excited about it and believe it is a possibility, not just a dream. If I take this job, I put this dream out of reach again because I want to do this in the best way for me, Tim and the baby (if we fall pregnant).

And even more than that - I want to be at home to provide for Tim... to cook meals, clean, keep house and make it a home rather than the resting place it has become with us both working full-time and commuting. If I take this job one of us will have to commute as Tim will be working in another town to the one this job is in. When I think about it I *know* that it is right to say no and follow my heart and dreams, but that is so scary, to turn my back on what I've been taught to believe (i.e. that I have to work hard every day, that we'll always struggle financially, that I cannot stay home etc).

It's a difficult decision and I actually wish I hadn't been offered the interview, but I guess life is about learning to follow your heart sometimes and that isn't always easy.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Leaving, Gifts and Time to Spare

I haven't posted here for a while... my final month at the Tourist Office passed in a blur and here I am, an "ex-member" of the tourism team and caught between feelings or relief and joy at finally having chance to rest up after the previous year and a half of health-hell and sheer sadness at leaving a place I loved to work, with colleagues I adored.

Just look at the lovely gifts they gave me...

Isn't the bear just the most adorable. And guess what was inside the pretty green and chocolate box... a beautiful necklace and bracelet (which I am currently wearing so have no photo of), bought because of my comment the previous weekend that I had no nice jewellery. Not only have my colleagues helped me buy my wedding dress and shoes (oh yes, I have, no sorry, had amazing colleagues who would take me shopping and even run out in a lunch break when I found the perfect wedding dress in the sales!), but they also buy me the perfect leaving gift. I shall miss them a lot *sniff sniff* and hope they take me up on the offer to come visit any time.

So, what am I going to do with my time now I am out of work? Well, this coming week I am going to be in Lincoln helping my parents move back in to their home (do you remember I told you about the fire in their house last August? Well, the house is finally finished and they are finally home once more, but have tons of boxes to unpack and new things to buy to replace those that were lost in the fire). I also have an interview on 31st for a managerial position in a local charity shop. Now that was a surprise - I only applied on the off-chance. And I don't quite know how I feel about it, I mean we could really do with the extra money it would bring in and it would be an amazing opportunity if I were offered the job, but I had just got used to the idea of having time off over this summer, getting my health together and really working on making a home before starting part-time work before trying for a family. Suddenly I feel like that has gone (if I get the job, of course), and I feel like I was this close to getting the life I dreamed of and it has been pulled from under my feet again. Does that sound crazy?

Anyway, to take my mind off these thoughts, I am going to spend the afternoon trying my hand at jewellery making as the necklace and bracelet have really inspired me to have a go myself. I'm also going to have fun trying my hand at the wonderful recipes in the book that I won in Louise's giveaway (thank you Louise, I promise to reply to your last email soon!)... it's a Christmas book but that won't stop me using it in Spring! Just look at how beautifully the package was when it arrived...

And look at the sumptuous book and beautiful little posy she sent me...

Why the posy, you ask... well just look at what is written underneath...

Do you see my name there? How wonderful!

So anyway, I'll try and post pictures of the finished products, and hope that this blog will really pick up again now that I have some more time to post about the projects we are undertaking. So do call back again soon.

Have a lovely Sunday

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The right choice

As mentioned in my previous post, Tim and I have been looking at the changes we are making in our lives to help us move forward with our dreams. Some dreams have been put on hold (regular holidays, a mortgage, driving lessons for me etc) for those that we truly want to pursue now (getting married, having a baby, getting my health better etc)

With this in mind, I have been scouring Amazon to try and find books that will help us to really plan for this major event in our lives (the having a baby one). There is a wealth of information out there, but I am trying to find things that help me understand how to optimise my chances of conceiving in relation to my Endometriosis. Being unable to make my mind up over the cheaper Amazon deals, I walked into our local bookshop and picked up a book to look through and see how helpful it was. And it's pretty good.

With just a quick flick through the book, the things that have highlighted themselves are reducing stress, eating well and making time for each other. This makes me realise, more than anything else, that the decisions we have made to enable me to cut back on work truly are the right ones. With more time at home, I will be able to focus on sleeping well, planning healthy meals with the best foods for us, and letting go of the stresses caused by working in a hectic environment as I do now. Even when I do return to work, it will be far less stressful... I know this, because I am hopefully returning to a job I previously did and my health was actually the best it had been for a long time during the year I worked there.

It is reassuring to have this book that reminds us that although times may be hard in some ways (finances, mostly), we will actually be far better off in so many ways. We just have to hope that we are one of the lucky ones and fall pregnant naturally, because I really do not want to even think about what comes after that.

Of course, this is still a while off. Our wedding is not until October and we are going to wait until after that to have my Mirena coil out (there is no way we want the wedding day to be ruined because I am having a bad period!!) This is, as well, a scary decision. I have had my coil in since 2005, so have no idea what my periods will be like when they return. I mean, I had pain enough before my most recent laparoscopy and I wasn't even having proper periods... when I remember the agony and exhaustion that came with my periods before 2005, I wonder if it will be as bad again. I hope not, especially as I will be starting to get more work around the time we have the coil taken out. Sometimes, although I know I am very, very lucky in so many ways, even in my health, I so hate that fact that Endometriosis can cause so much worry over a decision that should be such an exciting one... I mean, it still is exciting, but it is tinged with worry too.

But, we know that we are doing everything we possibly can to make this easier for both of us, and that is all that really matters. We can't second-guess the future and so we shouldn't really try. Living in the moment is hard, though, so you may get a few more posts like this over the next few months!!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

What the future holds...

For a while now I have wondered where to take this blog, but it seems to me that I need to really focus on what is happening in our lives and use it as a real outlet, because right now big things are happening. And I do believe that this means the blog may turn far more towards a focus on endo, marriage and trying for a family than anything else... I hope this means I will make some new blogging friends with similar experiences, but without alienating any of my current readers!

Anyway, I better fill you all in on exactly what is going on. First things first, I finished the Synarel spray (used to induce a pseudo-menopause) just over a week ago, and things are interesting right now. I am constantly exhausted and I can only assume this is due to my hormones doing a rebalancing act. I've also had the odd day of bleeding (bright red) but nothing more, so I am warily waiting to see what happens.

I say "warily" because the whole point of trying the Synarel spray was to give my Mirena coil chance to really get going and help with the endo (my previous one stopped my periods, although didn't stop the endo growing back). I really want a few months of feeling good again, and for that reason I have given in my notice at work and shall be taking a few months out before returning to a previous job which is far more flexible. However, I am also wary because Tim and I are wanting to try for a family soon, and this means having the coil removed and who knows what "fun" that could bring.

The older I get, the harder it is to fight the maternal instinct that, for me, kicked in at a very young age. As a 9 year old, watching my mum work as a childminder, I knew that one day I wanted to be a parent myself. Growing up, I took opportunities to babysit and subsequently work in nurseries and day care, however in the previous year or two, especially since meeting Tim, the desire to start a family has really kicked in, spurred on by the fact that I am now old enough to consider it and that I am seeing friends and family having their own families too. It must also be mentioned that we are aware that the endo could well mean we could have difficulties falling pregnant and though we try not to worry about it, it is something we accept we may have to deal with one day soon.

Of course, to begin with, I was the only broody one of the two of us, but since our nephew was born Tim has caught the baby-bug too and we would like to think that after our wedding in October (my health permitting) we can think about trying for a family of our own. Scary, but exciting stuff. Especially when I watch things like "One Born Every Minute" - that's enough to make anyone want a baby!

This brings me on to another thing - money. We are not rich, far from it, and my coming out of work and considering part-time work only means money will only get tighter. It is the driving factor between us moving - if we ever want to be able to do this, then we need to live somewhere cheaper than in the commuter belt for our capital city. I have struggled with this, as I feel immense guilt at times for putting the pressure upon Tim to provide for us, yet I know that if we are ever to be able to have a family I will need to time to ensure I am strong and healthy and able to care for both myself and the baby. So the change is required. I just feel guilty about it.

So that's where I'm at... a hormonal wreck in some ways and struggling with the stress of changing towns, changing jobs, changing lives... many changes indeed. So I think this blog really will become far more of an outpouring of what is happening than anything truly constructive, so don't expect any well-thought-out posts any time soon!

Sunday, 28 February 2010


Please bear with me as I make some changes to the layout of this blog... I'll be back to normal posting shortly

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sacred Life Sunday - Love

Well, how could I miss the opportunity to write about love on Valentine's Day?

If you read my previous post you will have gathered that the past few weeks have been particularly taxing and needless to say I spent a fair few evenings crying. I cry a lot these days, and unlike in my past, when I would run away and hide, Tim will not let me do this and holds me tightly, even though I protest, until I calm down and know that I am safe. The amount of love that boy has for me is mind-blowing and I am just so blessed to have found him and know that I have the rest of my life to spend with him.

Take today for example. We don't have much money, that much must be obvious based on the decisions we are making to change this. But we wanted to do something special for Valentine's Day. So what are we doing? We're going to my favourite place in the world to walk amongst the Snowdrops - for me, it doesn't get any more romantic than that! Not only that, I came home from work to a beautiful cooked dinner, and watched Sharpe for the first time in my life (Tim is very good at finding things he knows I will love but would never consider watching on my own). And then this morning I am greeted with the sweetest card and a box of chocolates. It doesn't get much better than that.

I am someone who finds spending money we could use on something else very difficult. It comes from years of having to budget, sometimes not even eating enough, to to get by. Sometimes the work we choose, especially the ones that help others, pay such a meagre wage, but we must be happy and I am one of those people who would rather be poor and happy in my work, than sitting at a desk all day... I'm just not able to do it, and it is why I hated university so much. I am a do-er, pure and simple.

So anyway, my experience means I am an excellent budgeter and I cannot abide spending money when we could do things cheaper. Take our wedding for example... so far I have a wedding dress for £60, two bridesmaids dresses for £56 each, a venue for around £100, the legal wedding for £60, a cousin doing our evening disco, a friend taking our photographs, my uncle lending us his Bentley, my mum making invites and myself planning flowers and decorations. Our biggest spend will be the catering, for we cannot cut back on that, but I do believe our wedding may be one of the cheapest ones, to say we are aiming for have about 80 guests - and this is exactly how I want it. Our wedding is about our love for each other and making it unique - how much more unique can I be when it follows our principles and we make so much of it ourselves?

This doesn't mean I don't value the chance to buy things, I know sometimes you have to or just want to buy. Recently I made up a gift package to send to a fellow blogger and with postage costs it came to more than I spent on Tim for Valentine's - but you know what, when I told him (for we are nothing but honest with each other), he told me that he loved me because I love others enough to be so generous. And likewise, when it comes to Tim, I will work hard and go without so that he and I can live the life we want, together. And I do this happily. Love is the most important thing for us, being in love and being together, and I am so blessed that he feels this way too.

Love, it is a funny thing. It means so many things to so many people. Even to one person it means so much. To me it means both putting aside your own feelings for the benefit of the whole as well as knowing when to stand up and say something you know will hurt the other short-term, but comes from the love you have and want them to have more peace in the long-term. It is being able to love all those around you in ways unique to them, from the adoring love I share with Tim, to the gentle love I gave a scared cat, from the admiring love I give to those who support me to the encouraging love I give to a difficult child... so may aspects and sometimes painful as well as joyous, but I would not want to live my life without feeling love in all its ways.

I do hope you are having a wonderful Valentine's and that there is love surrounding you today
Amanda xx

Friday, 12 February 2010

Fighting talk

Sorry about an error in my previous post. Due to the flu or some other nasty bug I have caught I was not really with it and have not yet changed it. For more info and to hear all about the "win" with the article, please do visit Jeanne's blog!

Now for something else...

Tim and I sadly left number 22 at the weekend and I feel very displaced right now. I am exhausted from the move, stressed because of what is happening at work (restructures and all that), fed up of filling in application forms and annoyed to have gone down with some nasty bug of some sort. I should have seen it coming... my parents and Tim told me Sunday night I looked terribly ill and I felt like death itself but I still got up and went to work and sat in 16 degrees celcius all day (brrrrr) and then went to work on Tuesday and sat through 26 degrees celcius (bleugh) and then spent my day off on Wednesday filling in application forms and tidying up and all of this on top of the fact that I could not find my HRT patches and so had not worn one since Monday night (watch out, hormonal, chemically induced menopausal woman on the rampage) and now realised I had no idea where my new strip of anti-depressant tablets were....

So guess what happened. Tim shouted, I burst into tears and became a manic, frantic searching machine and cried and cried and cried... oh it was awful. I haven't done that since before I started these tablets. What a mess...

Life is hard, you know. Sometimes it downright sucks. I realised this once again whilst standing in the shower that night and remembered that I needed to get back to writing again and find that spark of life I had started to reclaim these past few months. I needed to retrace my steps, do more Reiki, pray more, sleep more, do what makes me happy, and plan for the future I always dreamed of.

Life is hard, and sometimes you fight back with all you've got until you can fight no more and even then you feel guilty for not fighting harder and longer. That's when you sometimes need to stop fighting more than anything else in the world and just let it happen. That's when you find some kind of peace, sometimes. Sometimes the real fight is with yourself and your "conscience", or whatever that guilt you feel seems to pass itself for these days. Just sometimes you need to let go...

I haven't got there yet, I've still got some fight, but my tactics are changing ever so slightly. I'm heading back to filling in application forms, but every once in a while I am stopping to create. 22 may be no more, but the dream lives on. I shall fight for it my entire life and one day I will win.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

We interrupt this blog...

for an important issue, not just for Endometrioisis sufferers (as it may first appear) but to all those who care about careful research and dedication to providing correct information in widely read media formats.

My friend Jeanne of Chronic Healing fame brought this article to my attention at the end of last week. Whilst the importance of pelvic examinations and the listening skills of the doctors we see are of utmost importance, the doctor who wrote this (a GYN no less) needs to seriously look into the research and knowledge behind Endometriosis and its diagnosis and treatment (not to mention that for cancer patients). It is a well-known fact amongst Endometriosis patients that the only way to know for sure if you have the condition is through a laparoscopic procedure. Ultrasounds and pelvic examinations will not easily diagnose the condition as this doctor suggests - I wish it were so simple because twice now I have been told for years that there was nothing wrong with me, and pelvic examinations and ultrasounds seemed to confirm this diagnosis. However, following surgery, both times I had to have multiple internal organs disconnected as scar tissue and adhesions had stuck them together. How such a thing is missed on an ultrasound scan must clearly show that surgery is needed to diagnose this condition, yet this particular doctor seems to be completely unaware of or disinterested in this fact. And there are far too many doctors out there like this, which explains why women with Endometriosis spend an average of 9-10 years in excruciating pain or battling infertility before they find out what is wrong... too many years to be told by a doctor that "some women are just like that" and that "you just have to put up with the pain"... and this is pain that can make you pass out, throw up and have hallucinations from the fever it can induce!

But even more dangerous is the fact that this doctor writing the article suggests that cancer could have been diagnosed or "found" through a simple pelvic examination. Surely he must know that to be absolutely sure a combination of tests is best. It is all too scary to think that doctors are happily misdiagnosing patients, but even worse is thinking of women who may, as Jeanne did, come acorss this article by putting "Endometriosis" into a search engine and believing the article to be trustworthy.

Now here is the worst part... several of us wrote comments regarding the article, only to find that comments were closed after only a handful of them were "approved". A retraction was not granted and the editor has yet to reply to letters sent direct. Following Jeanne's example, I felt this needed a mention and so am hi-jacking the blog for one more post to bring this to the attention of any readers I may have. I am nothing if not passionate about helping create better healthcare for patients, especially when I know first-hand the pain and suffering that a particular condition can cause. I am sometimes far too open for some people about my Endo, but having opened up and realised that it was other people's problems when they got embarrassed by the conversation and not my own, I found that many people were receptive and even had or knew someone with Endo themselves. Too many women have or know someone who has Endo, which can quite simply ruin a woman's life at times (and her partner's when he has to deal with the fallout from the pain, emotional and physical), and yet the condition is still so unknown.

I shall get round to adding an Endometriosis awareness badge on here sometime soon and plan to resurrect my "Writing the Pain" series about living with chronic pain, as well as bringing some more spiritual series to the blog. It is time I wrote about what I am passionate about and this marks the beginning of that.

If you feel like doing something about this, please do visit Jeanne's blog, the article, sign the Endometriosis Awareness petition or check out any official site about Endometriosis in the country you live in to learn more about what any one of your female friends may be silently suffering.


Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sacred Life Sunday - Blessings

I shall have to dig out the button and link for Sacred Life Sunday from my old blog, as this is something I feel I really need to get back in to the practise of. For those of you who didn't follow my old blog, Sacred Life Sunday was about writing blog posts that focused on anything sacred to you and finding inspiration and beauty in life.

Today's post is about Blessings and is chosen because I need to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for. Right now I am tucked up in bed aching, sick and exhausted beyond belief after a nightmare week at work and a weekend taken up entirely by packing boxes and cleaning the house as we made our interim move to the in-laws. I felt like crying by mid-afternoon today and probably would have been a wreck if not for the tablets I am currently taking, but after managing to sit down for half an hour in a softly lit room and taking the time to pray and give myself some Reiki (both of which are long overdue), I felt much calmer and realised I was looking at this all wrong.

Just before Christmas, following a terribly dark period in my life, I felt much more peace at knowing we had made a decision that would ultimately make our lives better by taking the focus of financial stresses and giving us more time to be together and enjoy each other much more often. But, as the stresses piled up I found it harder and harder to find that quiet trust that essentially things were ok and all I saw was the hardships. Time to take stock indeed!

So, below is just a small list of all the blessings within my life right now:

  • Tim - he keeps me sane, loves me with all his heart and reminds me that all that really matters is that we are together
  • my parents - they are so wonderfully supportive, no matter what and love me, even when I do not love myself
  • the rest of my family - I never really just how amazing they were until I grew up and saw how many children grow up without a loving, understanding, supportive network around them
  • my friends - I have always been blessed with many friends and feel sad when I find people who do not have this same blessing... I'd do anything for my friends and I know most of them would do anything for me, which reminds me what life and love is all about
  • my faith - although my faith wavers and I often have doubts and stresses over what it all means, I have never once had a lack of faith... by that I mean I have always believed that someone or something out there is watching over me and knows what is in my heart even when I do not fully understand it or am unable to put how I feel in to words
  • the world - our world is so beautiful, with breathtaking scenes and events taking place all around us, if only we stop and notice... a beautiful sky changing with the day, a flower blossoming, the sun shining of newly fallen snow, a cat coming to visit or a tree whispering in the breeze...
  • books - if it weren't for books I would be lost... seriously, as a child I remember being scared of dying not because of dying itself but because I couldn't take my books with me... funny, huh, but shows how much I love reading
  • a warm home - well, not always warm but much cosier than living on the streets like some people have to do, I am so lucky to have a place to come home to at the end of the day
  • health - ok, so my health is rubbish sometimes it really is, but I do not have anything terminal and I am still able to get out of bed in the morning unaided, go about my life independently and plan for a future (even if it may not be as I had always planned/imagined/dreamed)
  • happy news - I love happy news, like following a friend's adoption success, counting down the days to my dad's retirement at the end of the month, seeing a friend blossom and grow into a beautiful, independent person, and hearing of other friends' beautiful wedding over Christmas
I could go on, but I don't need to any more... I know I am blessed and thank God for that right now and hope I will remember to do this whenever I feel myself flagging

I hope you're having a wonderful Sunday, wherever you are

Friday, 5 February 2010

Headaches and things

This is an endo post, so if that doesn't interest you then skip this one and I'll see you back here shortly!

I'm currently on month 3 of a 4 month induced menopause. I tried one of these last year with terrible results (I only made a month because the Zoladex injection had such awful affects I couldn't function at all). This time round we tried Synarel nasal spray and HRT (Add Back) patches instead of tablets and so far I've been doing ok... tired and achy but ok.

I was also put on antidepressants and for a while was doing pretty darn good. This past month, however, the menopausal symptoms have got to me. Hot flushes catch me out, sleepless nights tire me and headaches spoil my day. I'm at the doctors every month at the moment and last time I went I spoke to her about the lack of sleep and headaches. When I say headaches I mean the ones that make you feel physically sick, throb when you move and/or make it hard to focus on anything. At first I thought it was because I spend more time looking at a computer screen in artificial light all day but then I realised I did that before and my head was fine. Suddenly I was suffering from them 70-80% of the time and painkillers did little to help.

The doctor prescribed yet another antidepressant, only this time in a low dose that is commonly used for chronic pain. Amitriptyline it's called, and since being prescribed it I have found several people I know who have tried it. My doctor warned me that I might feel "groggy" or "slightly hungover" for a day or two but to persevere with the tablets. So, I tried my first one when I knew I didn't have to work the next day. Unfortunately, "groggy" is no a word I would use... I was completely out of it!

It took Tim about an hour to drag me out of bed. I just couldn't stay awake and every time he woke me up I'd drift back off to sleep but not even realise I was dreaming until he said something to me and I woke up again. Then we proceeded to move some of the stuff from our house to his parents and I just wasn't with it at all. I almost fell asleep on our niece's bed whilst she was playing with her dolls and talking to me... this never happens, I usually take ages to fall asleep!! The worst part was that I returned to work the next day and still wasn't really with it. And I found out from my colleague and my aunt that both of them had experienced the same thing. Neither had taken more than one tablet and I have refused to take another one too.

So now I am stuck... do I try half a tablet and hope it has less of an effect but helps with the headaches or do I just try and live with the headaches for the month I have left of this menopause? I see the doctor in two weeks time so I will talk to her then, she told me to go back sooner if things got worse, but with all that is going on I don't know if I'll manage to get an appointment anyway (you can't make advanced appointments wit our doctor, it's a call on the day and hope there are some left kind of surgery and as it is in another village I can't get to unless someone drives me there, getting to see someone is somewhat difficult.)

Has anyone else suffered from this kind of pain when going through an induced menopause? Has anyone used Synarel or Amitriptyline? I could do with some advise about this one...

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Things are rather hectic here at 22... we're in the midst of packing and relocating temporarily before our big move "up North", we're applying for jobs and looking for houses to live in, and we've decided to bring our wedding day forward to this coming autumn (a provisional date has been set, whoo hoo!)

This means the blog and my story have gone on hold for a little while, but so much is running through my head and nearly everyday I figure a little bit more out and know where I am heading with both my life and this novel. It's a very exciting time, if rather stressful at moments.

I'm covered in bumps and bruises from hefting sofas and tables and cabinets up and down stairs, into vans and all round the houses (quite literally as well as metaphorically) and emotions are becoming strained with sadness at ending this part of our lives and fear of the next unknown, but on the whole we are positive, happy and excited. Besides, as Tim put it when we had finally managed to manoeuvre the sofa up the stairs, round the bend and in to our temporary abode "we can achieve anything, if we stick together"... and he's right. Sometimes it really is just the two of us left alone to deal with all the crap that life throws at us, but look how far we have come and how close we are because of it - if we can survive the previous two years at the very beginning of our relationship, we can survive anything. Bring it on world, we're ready for ya!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Readers' Panel

Following on from my previous post, the chapters for the first book are all planned and I am so excited as I get to grips with expanding them all in reality as well as figuring out the chapters for the following two books (if all goes to plan). It is exciting, though sometimes hard not to fall into skimming over the details in order to get to the more juicy bits of storyline...

For this reason, I am considering setting up a Readers' Panel - a group of people who I can rely on to read through a few chapters at a time, giving me their feedback on whether the characters and environment are "real", if the amount of detail is enough and more than anything else, whether it is enjoyable.

Tim is my only reader at the moment and I will more than likely draft in my sister and a couple of friends from my real-life world, however I realise these people may be "biased" and want a wider spectrum of people to read through it. With this is mind, I would like to open up this post to comments from any of my blog readers who have an interest in becoming one of my Readers' Panel... if you're interested, leave a comment saying so!

Of course, there are a few requisites:

  • The story is based in a fantasy world, so you will need to have an interest in reading a story that includes magic and Gods
  • I need to have known you for a while (i.e. you've commented on here several times) so that I know you are not going to run off with the story and make it your own
  • You need to be prepared to give constructive criticism as well as praise - I need to know how I am doing as a writer, not just as "a friend"
  • You need to be aware that the story will come in several stages, updated as I progress through the chapters, which dependent upon my time restrictions may be several weeks/months between one part of the story and the next (that means you may have to be patient!!)
I'm a little scared of putting my work "out there" like this, but realise that if I am ever to live my dream of writing for an audience then I have to take this jump into the unknown at some point. I'll see how much of a response I get to this post and then figure out if and how I will create this Readers' Panel and then email anyone who was interested with the details (which means I will need your email address if you sign up).

Right now though I am off to write some more... my weekend has been eaten up by wedding planning and packing boxes ready for our move and I want to make the most of the few hours I have left. Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend xx

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Fantasy Worlds

Following on from the success of the poetry series last month, my writing enjoyment has increased no end. I have re-found the joy of creating a whole world for myself and others to enjoy, whilst finding a new faith in my ability to do this.

For many years my dad has been convinced I was going to "write a book" that would be enjoyed by many, but it never seemed more to me than the belief of a proud (and slightly biased) parent. Even though it was a dream of mine to do exactly that. In fact, I have often thought of what I could write and started something last summer during one of my many breaks from work due to my health. But once I got back to work I forgot all about it and it all just ground to a halt.

Over the Christmas period I re-read one of my most favourite fantasy trilogies, one I never knew existed until I met Tim (fantasy worlds are one of our shared joys). The world was so real and the characters so "touchable" that I longed to produce a similar success and for once thought I might have a chance. With a few tweaks, my idea began to take a much stronger form and the world started taking on a life of its own. In one day I wrote the beginning chapter which, when added to the prologue, took my word count up to 7,000. I have never found it so easy to write that many words, making me realise that I was really on to something.

Of course, in a fantasy world, it is not just the characters that have to become real, but the land it is set in, the lives of the people and the little things that make the world unique. It is fun, yet challenging, and I have enjoyed spending my lunch breaks this week planning out the chapters and working out these finer details. There is still a long way to go, things I am not so adept at, like drawing maps and plans to the abbeys and villages and even the palace where this is set. But what fun...

When I first got Tim to read what I had written so far, the doubts began to creep in... what happens if it is not as good as I think it is, what happens if I have put too much detail and not enough dialogue in, what happens if it just isn't "real" to anybody else... so many thoughts running through my head. And yet, Tim absolutely loved it and cannot wait to read more. He may be biased, of course he may, but he does read an awful lot of fantasy books and I am sure he knows what makes a good one.

So, 2010, my year of possibility, really has started with a flourish and although I do not want to put too much about this book on my blog just yet (here's hoping it may one day be publishable, either by normal means or online somehow), I hope you will join me in celebrating the joy of creation and how much fun it can be. I never thought I would get to this place, but then again I also never thought I would write a whole series of poems like I did last month. You really can do as much as you set your mind and heart to. So tell me, what does your heart desire?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Quick hello ...

Hi id thought id wish everyone a happy new ! i dont post on here much at the moment as i am rubbish at organising time to write as i work shift on a busy neuro ward at a hospital . Im always quite happy to sit and do nothing after running around after sick patients all day ! Still I love my job and i work as part of a great nursing team looking after acutely ill patients from all walks of life.

We all love Christmas with all its festivity's and we all hope for a prosperous new year but please remember that this time of year is the coldest so try to take care great care on snow and ice and to look out for old people as we see a lot of head injury's which can claim lives and alter lives there familys life forever. I hope you all get through this period safely and please spare a thought for loved ones who need extra support this time of year.
All my love Tim x

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year, New Blog...

... well a new template at least. I spent this afternoon putting away the Christmas decorations. Christmas is over and so is the old year, it is time to bring in the new, right now. 2010 is going to bring many changes for us, including a move from number 22 (what are the chances of us moving into another house number 22?!) But as this blog is so very new I don't want to change it yet again, and, well, 22 is a magic number in many ways... it was at 22 I discovered I could paint pictures that really moved people. It was at 22 that we celebrated our engagement and began to dream of what the future could really hold for us. And it was at 22 that I started my poetry series which made me realise how much scope there was for spreading my work on this blog.

I want this blog to become more than just a rambling of thoughts, I want it to showcase all that I am (yeah, I know Tim is involved in this blog, but trying to get him to write a post is like trying to draw blood from a stone, so his job is now to take photos, make tasty foods and be the one who does the "important stuff" so I can get down to business on here - so he is still a major part of the blog, you know!) Therefore, as I am the one writing the posts I want them to focus on every aspect of what is going on in our lives, from the day-to-day happenings right through to my lifelong dream of writing for a regular audience.

Dreams have always been a focus in my life, I am a dreamer there is no getting away from that fact. Sometimes I become downhearted when reality just doesn't seem to live up to my dreams, but you know what, they still have such a big part to play... if I couldn't dream I wouldn't strive for anything, I wouldn't have written my advent series and I certainly wouldn't be considering some of the things I am right now. Dreams are good and it was at 22 that these dreams were created, refined and given power to become reality... 22 really is where dreams do come true.

So, welcome to the new, revamped 22, I look forward to seeing you here over the next 12 months and beyond. Right now, however, I have a bit more editing to do until the blog looks exactly how I dreamt it would - ta ta for now xx