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...