G is for …..

Graves disease, this has been a big part of my life for almost 6 years. Graves disease is an auto-immune thyroid disorder.

I had been attending the GP for a number is issues but when my usual doctor wasn’t available I was asked if I objected to a student doctor assessing me, I was fine with this and after an hour and quarter in the surgery, blood tests and seeing a second GP I was referred to an endocrine consultant for follow up tests.

I was one of the lucky ones, as Graves disease causes excessive hormones which speed up metabolism causing excessive weight loss. Sounds good doesn’t it, but it also causes excessive sweating, trembling, increased pounding heart rate, sleeplessness and tiredness. I felt like I was going crazy, I was exhausted but not sleeping. I didn’t eat without first taking a handful of tablets or being very close to a toilet. I felt panicky and stressed all the time. It was horrible.

It also causes thyroid eye disease, which cause the muscles to swell and become inflamed. The eyes become excessively dry and itchy, they bulge and if left untreated for too long can cause double vision and partial blindness.

Thankfully I was diagnosed at an early stage and responded really well to medication so had minimal eye problems and after being medically controlled for 5 years I came off all my medication at the end of last year and had corrective surgery on my left eye to lower my eyelid. So far it’s all gone well and my body is maintaining the correct thyroid levels and apart from one bout of conjunctivitis, thanks to hives, my eyes have also been very settled.

Later this year I am hoping to be discharged from the consultant but will continue to have regular blood tests to ensure my thyroid continues to behave itself.

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F is for …..

Friendships, I don’t have many close friends but the ones I do have understand that I might not see them for days, weeks or months at a time but if ever they need me I will drop everything and come running.

I rarely ask for help, assistance or time as I’m stupidly independant but I have a couple of people I know that in times of need I can text, call and they also will be there for me. I have a handful of very close friends and I cherish these special people for sticking with me as I know I’m a pain in the butt.

Losing Phil earlier this year was a huge blow, he was my oldest and closest friend, the person who probably knew me the best (and still came back for more) it still wipes me out when I realise he’s gone. The doorbell will ring and I’ll go to the door expecting to see him but it’s someone else, the disappointment is overwhelming or passing a favourite restaurant and realising we’ll never go again. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying myself without him here.

Thankfully I still have Jenny, the only other person who understands my stupid ways as much as Phil ever did, she listens when I need to talk and leaves me be when I need to be quiet but with someone around, she just gets me. I  think in many ways we are very similar but also our differences are what helps the other one the most.

Like I said I’m very loyal and will be there for anyone who needs me…. Just ask and I’ll be there.

E is for …..

Eczema it’s driving me and Oscar bonkers.

He has patches on the sides of each knee and another patch on the nape of his neck which is really itchy and driving him insane. He started as a baby and everything the doctor prescribed or suggested made it worse, a taster session at baby massage did the trick, plain old olive oil worked. Every evening in a warm room I stripped him off and rubbed it into his skin then left it to soak it for a while, then dressed him again. Within days it had faded and after a month completely gone. When he was younger it was easy to spot a flare up starting and deal with it but now he’s older and showering/bathing alone it’s not and he only mentions it when it hurts/bleeds or really itches.

The latest flare up (I think) is stress related, it’s been a busy year getting ready for 11+ exams so we are doing everything possible but as soon as I think its easing and we’ve got a handle on it then it flares up again. I’m hoping some sunshine will help although usually swimming sets his skin back a bit. I’m all stocked up on creams and lotions ready for our holiday, so watch this space …..

E is also for ERIC

The most wonderful step-dad and grandpa anyone could ask for. He’s our super star, even if he is a blue !

D is for ….

Diary and calendar, without it I’d be lost. My memory is shocking so I write everything down or it doesn’t get done. Sometimes people laugh at me because I make lists for everything but if I don’t then I forget stuff.

Without a list holidays usually begin with a trip to the shops to buy things I’ve forgotten and need, toothbrushes, hairbrush and socks are the first to come to mind but many others too.

My phone is full of reminders, calendar alerts and notes, I carry a notepad and a planner with me. Recently I have started photographing things, posters, books, timetables, anything that catches my eye and I’d like or need to remember.

Remember Dory, well I am Dory …..

1 Year allotment anniversary

Exactly 1 year ago today I took over a new allotment and a good friend took over the one next door, plots 331 + 332, we decided to work together and have it as one huge plot.

Unfortunately for us the plots hadn’t been worked/used for about five years, and before that they were owned by a gentleman in his 90’s so only a tiny patch had been used for many years before. When we arrived it looked like this …

A huge overgrown mess, many people told us we were mad, but not ones to shy away from a challenge we got stuck in. First we only had shears, hedge trimmers and a hand saw. We started but very quickly realised that is was going to take forever, so we joined the allotment association and borrowed the ‘big boys toys’

It was back breaking work but great fun. Soon we had clear ground but huge piles of brambles everywhere.IMG_3120

Unfortunately for us it was late autumn, the weather was turning and an eye operation meant I was out of action for a couple of months. But we got stuck back in a little over winter, chopping back more and more. Finally the weather started to clear and we invested in an incinerator bin.

We have spent the last month burning, chopping and burning some more, and now finally all we have left of last years brambles is a very small pile of ash.

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So in 12 months we may have only chopped and burned a few weeds, but now we can not only walk onto our plot but all the way from one end to the other without fear, scratches stings and a fight.

The plan for the next 12 months is car park area at the top, near the tree, a compost area, to complete the fencing, rotavate the land, and start growing. With the amount we have achieved this year I’m confident we can do it.

B is for ….

 

Books, I love reading and I’m never very far from a book. I alway read before sleeping but enjoy reading at other times too.

I don’t have a type or genre that I stick to, I read pretty much anything but I’m not a magazine/celebrity reader. I try not to read too many reviews about books as I find this clouds my judgement about them before I’ve read them but also negative reviews have turned me away from books that I’ve later read and enjoyed.

Reviews are subjective, just because one person doesn’t like a book doesn’t make it rubbish. I enjoy spending time at the library just looking at covers and reading snippets before choosing anything.

I only keep books that I know I will re-read. The one thing I’m most proud of is passing my love of books and reading on to Oscar, he never goes anywhere without a book and loves writing stories. He has mild dyslexia and understands it makes it a little more challenging but doesn’t stop him or his enjoyment of books.

Although I’m doing my own book challenge as part of my 50 before 50 list, I don’t often recommend or review them. I do update the list as I go so feel free to look and comment on any you think I would like.

I’m currently reading Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs as the title and cover seen on reviewing central blog appealed.

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