Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Blah Egg!

It's become something of a joke within our family that when things don't go as you would like you exclaim "Blah Egg!", The Dave will never live this one down, he first stated this when he was frustrated and couldn't be bothered to say anything more. Since then it's become sort of a family "in" joke which we express at odd times when nothing else seems to fit, much to confusion of none family members.

My situation at this moment in time is somewhat "Blah Egg!" what with menopause, stress and possible ME looming, it's a confusing time. YET there are so many other things to be chipper about too ~ so this is not a moaning blog, just a kind of working things through really. The issue for me is that I'm simply not right, which is affecting how I wish to live my life and care for my family. So to be pretty honest it's damn inconvenient and if there is any kind of "quick fix" then I'm all in. I'm seeing my GP (again) on Friday to see what they think about it all but I'm not expecting any miracles as I fully understand their dilemma as all my blood tests come back normal and to all intent and purpose their is nothing they can diagnose me with outright.

So I am sort of compiling my own list of what to discuss and things to go through with the GP ~ although going through it I am still as confused as when I started ~ any thoughts from you about all this and your experiences/suggestions/opinoins would be appreciated in the comments and may help me clear my mind. 

So menopause...medical definition of menopause is when you have your last period, then no more because the ovaries stop producing eggs and your oestrogen levels drops. Before that you are classed as perimenopausal. Well, I have been perimenopausal since 2006 and now *touches wood* think I may be entering menopause (finally!) as I have not had a period since beginning of May. Although part of the perimenopausal stage is erratic periods so could just be my body playing with me right now! However, definitely on the final road with it all, which will be a relief to stop flushing like some kind of puce water fountain.

So what are the symptoms of perimenopause?
  • Hot flushes and sometimes in addition night sweats.
  • Vaginal dryness. 
  • Tiredness and sleep disturbance.
  • Mood swings.
  • Forgetfulness or lack of concentration.
  • Loss of interest in having sex.
I experience all of the above (much to my poor husbands consternation) and so will be hoping against hope that I have seen my last period and the barren stage has commenced.

So onto stress ~ we all suffer from stress at different times in our lives, it's perfectly normal. Although sometimes it can become too much and affect your life, emotions, behaviour, thinking ability and physical health. I have been diagnosed for well over a year with stress and this has made me become anxious too. My lovely GP prescribed sertraline 50mg to combat the anxiety side of things which has definitely helped enormously. BUT as stress can affect any part of the body it can also be very similar to other conditions (hence the ?ME part of potential diagnosis).
So, lets look at the signs of stress
  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated & moody (well that's the normal me anyway!)
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control.
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind.
  • Low self esteem, depressed.
  • Avoiding other people
So far, yes to all the above, we continue...
  • Low energy. 
  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach ~ either diarrhoea, constipation and/or nausea.
  • Chest pain and/or rapid heart beat.
  • Aches, pains, tense muscles.
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear.
  • Cold or sweaty hands and feet.
  • Excess sweating.
  • Dry mouth/difficulty swallowing.
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth.
Again yes to all of the above apart from I don't get the nervousness and shaking part or dry mouth - have tinnitus anyway (wonder if it was the loud music from my youth causing that?) and just been to the dentist who noticed internal cheek damage and scalloped tongue due to clenched jaw biting and catching both inner cheeks and tongue although this could be a result of my long term TMJ Syndrome. So having night mouth guard made to combat that.

We continue once more...
  • Constant worrying.
  • Racing thoughts.
  • Forgetfulness and disorganisation.
  • Inability to focus.
  • Poor judgement.
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side.
  • behavioural symptoms such as appetite changes (eating too much or too little), procrastinating & avoiding responsibilities, increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Also, sometimes nail biting, fidgeting and pacing.
Well, from the above I have constant worrying, but that's just my personality and I feel the forgetfulness is part of ageing. I do procrastinate though but try to be optimistic where possible. I have been drinking too many glasses of the wine to be fair, don't smoke or do drugs though. So not too many of the above apply.

So we move on to the ?ME/CFS ~ which has been raised on a few occasions. These are the typical features of ME/CFS...
  • Triggers can be illness or infection, OR toxins, vaccinations, major trauma or ~ which is what applies to me ~ STRESS.
  • Although sometimes there is no trigger that can be pinpointed.
  • Severe fatigue following mental or physical activity. Full extent usually becoming apparent 24/48 hours later.
  • Exercise intolerance.
  • Pain/myalgia.
  • Short term memory issues, concentration and maintaining attention issues.
  • Clumsiness.
  • Difficulty finding the right words.
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating episodes
  • Feeling faint (usually due to dropping in blood pressure).
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Sore throats.
  • Enlarged glands.
  • Joint Pains
  • Headaches
  • Issues with controlling body temperature.
  • Intermittent flu-like feelings.
  • Bowel changes.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression/anxiety.
  • Fluctuations of above symptoms usually occur.
So looking at the above list I tick almost all of them ~ I have chronic depression and anxiety, I have become lactose intolerant over the past few months and I have insomnia on top of the other symptoms which mesh with both stress and menopause. It's no wonder my GP is confused ~ I am too!!

So what to do eh? Well, put my head together with The Dave and my ME suffering girls and Keisha and decided there is really only one solution. Pace activities (as they do with ME) and adapt my lifestyle. I have joined a health club at my local hotel where there is a lovely warm small quiet pool where I have started swimming. I have little stamina, which is a shock to me being someone who not long ago could do 5-7 mile walks without any issues. BUT, I am building up very very slowly and tentatively, just a little swimming with some walking and gentle stretches in the water. 

DIET has changed too - now lactofree, low sugar, low fat with lots of fresh fruit and veggies. No more crash or fad diets, just normal sensible eating instead. 
We have also removed Aspartame from our home as feel that could possibly be poisoning us too. I have *sigh* also stepped away from the wine a few nights a week and reduced my intake (but not altogether ~ that would just be IMPOSSIBLE for me as it's my luxury item so to speak).
My weight needs to come down too. Yes, I know I am a firm believer of loving the body you are in but I am also an advocate of doing all you can to maintain your health and keeping your body in the best condition you can. So this is a tricky one as with all of the above symptoms exercising (which was my weight control method previously) is not really viable, the small amount of swimming doesn't really address it. I am embracing my current body but also accept it's not a healthy one and am looking at that and trying to change it. So hopefully with everyday healthy diet and careful portion control this will too come down over time, no crash diets, or tablets etc will be used as I firmly believe my body needs to do this slowly and safely. 
I also seem to have started to suffer from hayfever (bugger!) ~ so if anyone knows how to reduce the decibels of sneezes please get in touch as currently I am deafening all around me.
Hayfever portable tissue dispenser
So folks, whatever tips, advice, similar stories you may have, please share as I am positive I am not the only person facing these issues. My personal thoughts now after writing this blog is that my symptoms are due to the combination of transition from perimenopause to menopause along with stress, looking at all the facts I don't think it is ME after all and will see what advice the doctor can give me on top of what I am already doing.

HUGE EXCITEMENT!! Unrelated to all of the above ~ I have just purchased my first pair of shorts since having the children (I KID YOU NOT!). Admittedly my pins aren't skinny but are more sturdy and efficient BUT I have some and am wearing them, along with the floaty top given to me as a gift from my lovely sister Chloe. So, no matter what your shape or size, just say buggeritt and get those legs out because it's just too damn hot not to!
Me in my SHORTS! with Loki wondering what all the fuss is about
Together we can support one another, what you say?...

Saturday, 20 June 2015

It's a Minor Thing

Once upon a time, a very long time ago there was a young woman known as "Tonks" whose fiancée The Dave, bought her a gift of a 1969 Green Morris Minor. She loved that little car for they were both born in the same year (ahh) and she drove it everywhere. In the winter she had to mop out the water from inside and de-ice not only the outside but also the inside of the windscreen. The dip switch was on the floor which made dipping lights whilst changing gear an adventure! On hill starts the handbrake had a habit of dismantling itself and so she became a master of playing the accelerator and clutch to prevent backsliding and stalling.

Sadly, this little green gem when at the garage for it's MOT was failed, the mechanic said the only use left for it was to strain peas due to the large number of holes in it's underside. With a heavy heart she had to let her friend go to the car yard in the sky. She grieved for this little car for many many years and longingly looked at passing Morris Minors and remembered him ~ the journeys too and from Nursing placements during her training, leaving for honeymoon in it all decked out with toilet rolls and shaving foam, the backfiring when arriving at the hospital (making her friend Gilly duck down in the foot well with embarrassment!)...

Tonks & The Dave on the day after their wedding preparing to jet off to their honeymoon.

The rust was beginning to show..

He was a darling little car and made the same year I was born :)
Moving forward we are now many years later (to her 39th birthday to be precise) this now middle aged woman was surprised by a gift of a 1955 split screen Morris Minor by her husband. BUT, the drawback was there was work needing to be done on it and so not able to be driven just yet. 

First of all was the colour, it was a headache inducing grey colour, the inside however was in excellent condition and the seats were a wonderful shade of red. The decision was made when respraying it to change it from a grey to black, which I think suits it much better.

Going from dirge grey to shiny black

Then of course was the heart of the car which needed sorting out, a 2 litre Fiat Twin Cam Engine with 5 speed gear box. That baby needed so much TLC to get it up and running properly.

The heart is absent as having surgery
Once the engine was sorted there were seat belts to fit, oil leaks to repair etc. Then it was ready to go on the road when *BAM*  the oil pump drive fell off and made a hole in the engine, meaning it had to be sorted out again. THEN there was ANOTHER oil leak ...

BUT was The Dave daunted by this stream of bad luck? Hell no! He persevered as and when he could at weekends, doing his utmost to get the car on the road for his beloved Tonks. 

THEN finally, the day arrived and the car is now (all be it 7 years later) on the drive and able to be driven and loved once more. Unfortunately The Dave can't seem to get the speedo working, so Tonks will just have to try and gauge the speed and hope to avoid any tickets!

So, my Morris Minor is called MAS (due to her number plate), so this time round is female.
The Dave even had my nickname put on the boot too :)
I cannot express how thrilled I am that she is finally home and settled on our drive. I look forward to spending many happy years enjoy our driving adventures.


Thursday, 18 June 2015


Over the past year my body mass has increased due to being a carer, stress and illness which has meant I can't exercise the way I used to (which was my effective weight management tool), my 7 mile walks with the dogs have stopped and my body slowly seizing up and joints aching more and more. I have previously been far to self-concious and embarrassed about my size to don a swimsuit and enter a swimming pool to exercise with the wonderful support the water provides. That was until I realised how utterly ridiculous I was being ~ here I am, trying to promote self love and positive body image to my daughters yet hypocritically afraid of shedding my own clothes and embracing the body that has done me proud all these years.
I have a wonderful friend, Melanie, who speaks an awful lot of sense, and 3 daughters who are also incredibly mature and matter of fact about body image, who made me realise that I don't need to worry or be afraid. It's all about confidence and just getting on with life, why should I allow anticipated perceptions of others, imagined judgements from strangers, to stop me from just enjoying and living my life. They shared these articles with me which made me realise I was being silly to be afraid, the only person stopping me was me. You may wish to read them here and here.

So, the decision was made, I will start swimming and hold my head high in the process, I have NOTHING to be ashamed of.

First things first, I needed a swimsuit and being a bargain Betty I grabbed the first one I saw in my local Tesco which was very cheap and does the job (it covers my bits and pieces without cutting off my circulation).

How to get a Perfect Bikini Body:
Step 1. Have body - Step 2. Have bikini - Step 3. Combine (Step 4. Push anyone who objects into the pool)
Next step, find a pool I would be comfortable using, one with warm water (as many of the local pools are bloomin' freezing). Our local Menzies hotel has a gym and pool for members only. Hmm, I'm not a gym bunny and so doubtful about cost and joining but then after chatting to The Dave we decided that I would join with him and be his gym buddy. Whilst he does the full gym workout I would walk very steadily on the treadmill before taking a dip in the pool. Now, I think by now most of my blog readers will know our family ME history and on top of the ME Tasha really needs help with pain and gentle exercise to help strengthen the muscles around her joints to hold them in place as she is hypermobile. So we managed to negotiate membership for her too, so long as she only comes with me as her carer. This means I can go with Tasha for hydrotherapy in the warm pool separately from the gym/pool sessions with The Dave and hopefully manage to get myself fit without exacerbating my illness.

Hydrotherapy in heated water allows the body to be supported, reducing the stress on joints, easing pain and making movement easier.   Most people are more relaxed in the warm water and the nervous system is more receptive. HOWEVER, if you have ME be cautious as hydrotherapy isn't for everyone and it made my youngest daughter significantly worse when she had it via our physio department. Knowing the pitfalls first hand we won't be going in gung-ho but just starting off entering the water and doing very slow gentle stretches, floating and relaxing and I will perhaps start by doing a little swimming ~ but definitely not Tasha as it would be too much for her.

The final step was to get us over to the pool and into the water! So today was that day, together we tootled off to the hotel and entered the health club. The warmth and comforting smell of chlorine greeted us, music was softly playing and the staff were friendly and welcoming. Thankfully as we go between 9am and 5pm the place was pretty quiet for our first visit and the staff don't parade up and down glaring at you whilst you workout/swim but are discreetly there should you need assistance.

So ~ I did it! I wore a swimsuit and the world didn't end, nothing terrible happened, I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of moving through the warm supportive water, gently exercising my body before just relaxing back and enjoying the experience. It felt incredibly freeing and I wish now that I had done this so much sooner instead of being afraid.

My advice to anyone else in this boat? Just do it! Put on your swimsuit/bikini, hold your head up high and just be you, enjoy everything you love without fear of judgement from others. Confidence is the key ~ if you shuffle about and hold towels close to your body with an anxious look on your face by being self-conscious you draw attention to yourself not because of your size or shape, but by your behaviour. If you are confident and just enjoy yourself no-one takes a blind bit of notice of what you are doing.

p.s. I LOVE Beauty Redefined and if you do too you may like some of their merchandise which you can buy here I personally love these  mirror mantra signs which serve as a good reminder...
I DID IT! - proudly showing off my stretch marks, bulges and wobbly bits, popping into post swim shower :)


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Random Stuff Just Because :)

So the past week I've been pretty broken, post exertional malaise kicking me up the arse gave me a reality check on what I am capable of as opposed to what I imagine I am capable of (although I intend to continue to push the boundaries just to be sure).

So, with aching joints, heavy limbs and intense fatigue I was limited to what I have been able to do ~ not enjoying boredom I googled silly fun facts and weird and wonderful just for the sake of it to find out what would turn up.

So, if you have nothing else better to do then pop your feet up with a cuppa and either some chocolate or biscuits ~ or if you live life in the "what the hell, fuck it lane" then have BOTH and enjoy the useless information I found out (although I haven't checked it all to see if it is in actual fact true ~ but hey, it's still interesting ~ no?)

  • The Guinness World Record for time between twins being born is 87 days apart (I kid you not - read the article here). 
  • Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.
  • You are born with 300 bones, by the time you are an adult you will have 206.
  • Andorra, a tiny country between France & Spain, has the longest average lifespan: 83.49 years.
  • Female kangaroos have three vaginas (how on earth do they cope?) True fact - read it here.
  • Paraskevidekatriaphobia means fear of Friday the 13th, which occurs one to three times a year. The word "paraskevidekatriaphobia" was devised by Dr. Donald Dossey who told his patients that "when you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!"
  • Leading on from the above, Arnold Schonberg suffered from triskaidecphobia, the fear of the number 13. He died 13 minutes from midnight on Friday the 13th.
  • It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it.
  • We were told in our nursing days that your stomach when empty is approximately the size of a sausage but can expand up to 10 times it's size. In adult humans, the stomach has a relaxed, near empty volume of about 45 to 75 milliliters. Because it is a distensible organ, it normally expands to hold about one litre of food. The stomach of a newborn human baby will only be able to retain about 30 milliliters.
  • A normal raindrop falls at about 7 miles per hour.
  • There is a World Championship Masurbator awarded to Masanobo Sato, who holds the record at 9 hours and 58 minutes.
  • For every human on Earth there are 1.6 million ants. The total weight of all those ants, however, is about the same as all the humans.
  • Popcorn was the first food cooked in a microwave. The second food was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters.
  • Flies jump backwards during take off.
  • If you consistently fart for 6 years & 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
  • To produce a single pound of honey, a single bee would have to visit 2 million flowers.
  • A "gut feeling" is a chemical signal that your stomach creates to warn the brain of danger.
  • The first soup was made from Hippopotamus, which dates back to 6000BC (noooooo!!!)
  •  Nearly three percent of the ice in Antarctic glaciers is penguin urine.
  • There is a glacier called “Blood Falls” in Antarctica that regularly pours out oxidised salty water which looks red, making it look like the ice is bleeding.
  • For every ‘normal’ webpage, there are five porn pages.
  • A "Jiffy" is the scientific name for 1/100th  of a second.
  • Research indicates that mosquito's are attracted to people who have recently eaten banana's ~ bugger, I love a banana me!
  • During it’s lifetime an oyster changes its sex from male to female and back several times.
  • During the first two years of a babies life, new parents will miss on average 6 months of sleep.
  • A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions. For instance, there is a folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.
  • Dr. Seuss pronounced his name “soyce”.
  • French kissing involves all 34 muscles of the face, whilst a pucker kiss only uses 2.
  • If you eat too many carrots the beta carotene found in them will turn you slightly orange ~ this actually happened to my niece as my sister made her lots of home-made purree foods for her using carrots and orange veggies ~ in my opinion she wasn't just slightly orange but looked as if she had been tangoed! 
  • Your tongue is the only muscle in your body attached at only one end.
  • There are approximately 100 million acts of sexual intercourse each day.
  • A womans brain shrinks during pregnancy and takes up to six months to regain it's full size. (seriously I don't think mine regained it's full size after my last pregnancy!).
Well, I hope that helped you pass away a few minutes whilst you slurped your way through a cuppa and munched and dunked your biccies and chocolates?

Big loves to all and hopes that if you are having a bad day that tomorrow is better for you ~ onwards and upwards for me I hope. Tomorrow I am daring to go and throw myself into our lovely local pool which is small and very warm and have a spot of hydrotherapy with middle born child. Hoping it will ease the muscles and soothe my poor aching body. However, before then I will have to dig out the old epilator and start mowing the body hair ~ don't want to scare anyone!