Jaye’s Journal: 11th ~ 16th June

 

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MONDAY: The new week begins and I’m not having a great time of it. The pain in my back continued over the weekend and shows no sign of abating yet.  I will try to carry on blogging as usual, despite being in agony, as I intend to keep up our presence on the web and work on my WIP, for it will give my mind something else to concentrate on. I’ll update you on this theory later in the week!

TUESDAY: The muscle spasms seem to have stopped and I am glad about that, but the pain continues.  Anita offered to massage my back with the Ibuprofen Gel and found some of the muscles in my lower back knotted into hard lumps. I am deformed!

My mood has sunk to a new low even for me, as I feel so helpless. The high spot of my day is staggering to the loo after climbing the stairs on my hands and knees!

WEDNESDAY:  I received a telephone call from my GP. The results of my recent urine test show a nasty kidney infection, so maybe the pain in my back isn’t from juggling couches after all! Antibiotics are winging their way to me, so relief should be arriving soon after with a little bit of luck.

THURSDAY: Another depressing day. Pain is no better and the frustration of being unable to do even the simplest thing is taking its toll. Everywhere I look, there are jobs that need doing, jobs I just cannot do at the moment and I want to scream, as in my depressed state I imagine I might be incapacitated for the rest of my natural life.

FRIDAY: I awoke the next morning with a strange revelation. The pain seemed to have receded a little during the night. It might have been my imagination, but it did feel different. I realised that it hadn’t hurt so much during the night either. One hour later, I knew something had changed. The crushing pain had indeed lessened and walking to the kitchen didn’t have my body begging to sit down.

Against Anita’s better judgement, I decide to have a shower, as I desperately needed one. We have a strong handrail over the bath, so all should be well. The pain passed an opinion on my activities later on, but even then, it wasn’t as bad as it has been.

I hope that I have turned a corner and will be back to normal in no time, although I do know I will have to be patient! All of which is a pain (no pun intended) as I have discovered that my muse has gone into hiding. Apparently, she doesn’t do pain!


 

 

 

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History Repeating…

 

 

 

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image by Pixabay.com

 

 

I have always wanted to believe that history doesn’t repeat itself, and prayed that I would never have to relive some of the pain and tragedy that has stained my life. This, I have discovered, is merely wishful thinking, although, thankfully, I haven’t had to relive the heart attack and cancer.

I have discovered that we can repeat other people’s mistakes too, often some that we swore on a stack of bibles we would never do. For example, my life has almost been a mirror image of my mothers, something I really despise myself for. Some of the things I have done, I did without the knowledge that she had beaten me to it, so to speak, so what’s all that about? Are we destined to do certain things, or is it merely coincidence?

Early in my life, I suffered from back pain. Over the years, x rays revealed nothing and I was told repeatedly to go home and rest. After twenty years of this, I broke down and begged them to do something. A special x-ray, involving injecting dye into my spine, revealed several crushed discs. I was literally on the verge of paralysis. Recovering from the surgery was a nightmare and I literally had to learn to walk again. It was all worth it, for in the 30 years since I have never had a backache.

But…

The nagging pain in my hip has been gradually getting worse for months now. It could mean a new hip, not something I envisaged at my time of life. The pain spreads across the base of my spine, reminding me all too well of the years I suffered from my back.

I have since had an appointment with the doctor to discuss the findings of the x-ray and subsequent treatment. According to the x-ray, my hips are fine, but there is substantial arthritis in my lower spine, so the pain won’t go away and has to be managed. Before I went, my imagination was running riot, reliving the awful memories of so long ago. If I had to choose which horror to repeat, it wouldn’t have been that one, so this at least was a blessing.

What I need now, is to adjust my diet to try to relieve arthritis, so any advice on this score will be most welcome!

2018…

 

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image by Pixabay.com

 

It’s as if we are on a merry-go-round, and everything is becoming a blur. This was brought home to me this morning as I drank my first cup of tea. I was watching the sky get lighter, gradually changing from inky black to grey, wondering what kind of day it would be.
Would it be boring, or eventful maybe? Busy, for sure, my cluttered desk an indication of that. As I watched, gentle fingers of soft pink stretched across the gradually lightening sky.
Even as I watched the wonder of it all, it faded away in an instant, leaving no trace behind. It made me think of all those sunrises and sunsets of my youth. Was it my imagination, or did they seem to last longer?
Was my memory at fault, or has the world become a much faster place?

I didn’t make any resolutions this year as I couldn’t bring myself to think positively about anything much. Two days before Christmas, I had my second annual mammogram to check if the monster in the woodpile has returned. They never tell you at the time, and the letter took an age to arrive. Luckily, the results were clear and I can breathe again until next year.

This ongoing personal drama has been a timely reminder that time is not elastic, that no amount of cramming and stretching will make it grow or change the outcome.

I didn’t want to write this post, but I thought it might help me to wade through the gloom that tries so hard to envelop me, allowing me to see the light that I know is still there somewhere.

Yesterday, I had an x-ray to see how bad they think my hip is. I am not expecting to be offered a brand new one just yet, although it is possible. It is more likely to be something else to be endured because of my age, and I will just have to give up trying to walk into town.

If I could afford it, I would get myself one of those disability scooters, or zoom buggies, as I call them. Although I would probably end up being banned, as the thought of whizzing around town is very appealing!

Then there are the cataracts. Last time they checked, they weren’t big enough to warrant being removed, so my eyesight is getting progressively worse.

I usually manage to smile at adversity, being an optimistic soul, but since my new teeth are the most uncomfortable things I have ever put in my mouth, that pleasure has been denied me too. I have an appointment next week to see if anything can be done about them, but I am not holding my breath!

So you see, all of these things have rubbed most of the New Year gilt from the gingerbread if you know what I mean. Finding something to smile about gets harder each day, and it is only my online friends that keep me going…

My New Year Resolutions may never make an appearance, but keeping my chin up is probably number one on my list!

My Mantra for 2018

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What would I change about me?

(This post has been inspired by something I read on whenwomeninspire.com)

I don’t think I have ever really liked myself.

Abandoned by my mother, bullied at school, a wallflower at every gathering, I was always in trouble of one kind or another.

At least that’s how it seemed to me.

Of course, all of those things just reinforced my idea that I had to be the most unwanted person on the planet, and this served to make me a loner in every sense of the word and funnily enough, I came to like it that way.

People either ignored me or nagged me to death, so I couldn’t wait to be old enough to live my own life, my way. Little did I know then that I was already earmarked to make more mistakes than the average bear. This led me to wish I could be different so many times.

I must have said the same thing repeatedly. If I were only shorter/thinner/prettier/smarter/braver, my life would miraculously change overnight.

Even now, at 74, there are more things I would change if I could. Admittedly, some I could manage if I were more determined, but everything else I must put up with, as old age is not being kind.

I have always been remarkably healthy, despite being prone to catching everything that was doing the rounds. (and a few that weren’t!)

So why have I never been happy with myself?

I have long wondered about this, for it didn’t seem that difficult to achieve, judging by the people around me. It doesn’t depress me too much but seems to reflect on everything I do. Anything I create is never quite how I imagined it would be, and this can depress me.

I try so hard to get things right and just when I think I have succeeded, doubts begin to gather and creep in, knocking my confidence.

DRUM ROLL!

All of this is going to change in 2018.

Depression, doubt and dissatisfaction have been given notice to leave the building.  I am not being morbid when I say this could be the last chance to get my act together, for I can feel the grim reaper creeping up behind me. I can’t tell how fast he is creeping, but I suspect I can keep ahead of him for a while longer!

At the moment, parts of me are in fierce competition to see which bit breaks down first, or simply stops working. So the pressure is on and the challenge has been accepted.

This year I will be more efficient with my time.

I will not waste my time or my patience on the unnecessary or futile.

I will seek out and find the fun in everything, and enjoy life a bit more…

My mantra for 2018  “If it aint fun, don’t do it!”

My Date with the Dentist…

 

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image by Pixabay

 

 

The day I had been long waiting and dreading in equal measure had finally arrived… and I had the flu…

Suspecting some kind of conspiracy, I knew I had to keep this appointment, even if it meant I crawled there on my hands and knees. I had been patient, endured endless days of torment, wondering if the outcome would ever be worth the wait.

Today I would find out.

I felt like death warmed over, my throat raw and my body wracked with pain. I couldn’t stop coughing, my head was splitting and befuddled with copious amounts of paracetamol. My voice had been reduced to a croak and I had trouble walking a straight line in my weakened condition. I was in no fit state to keep this appointment and I knew it. Fate had decided to throw one last spoke in my wheel and yet I knew that if I gave up now, I would never have the strength to fight it again.

As the time of my appointment drew near, I argued all the pros and cons.

  1. My Dentist would probably take one look at me and send me home. That’s if I could even get there in the first place. I could give up now and go back to bed.
  2. If anything was wrong, I wouldn’t be able to voice my opinion with anything approaching conviction. It might be better to go back to bed.
  3. There was always the possibility that this appointment would be a waste of time, the teeth would be a disaster or not be ready. None of the previous fittings had ended well, so my fears had foundation. My bed was looking better with every passing minute.
  4. Maybe the Dentist would fail to turn up. He could have the flu too or have flown the country to avoid my arrival. Maybe a sinkhole had opened up in the high street, consuming the building I headed for? I should really go back to bed…

 

I was clutching at straws by this time, trying to justify the state of me with what might happen if I managed to stagger down the road. But I knew myself far too well. I would stagger down the road and defy him to send me home… my new teeth would fit… and the fresh air would do me good. I could pull this off, hell, I had done worse in my time and none the worse for it.

If it all goes pear-shaped, at least I can lie on my deathbed and smile at the world with a brand new set of pearly white teeth!

 

Later that day…

I walked slowly into town, and with every step, convinced I was mad and about to reap the results of my insanity. Not only was the building where I had last seen it, the dentist had turned up too. Two out of three is not bad, so I waited for the sword of Damocles to claim the last one. This was not to be, for the new teeth had turned up too.

To cut a long story short, and after much pushing, prodding and various bits were smoothed off, I walked home, still feeling like crap, but grinning at everyone I met with a set of teeth that didn’t feel like my own.

It will take a while, he says, before they feel normal again, due mainly to the length of time I have been without them. I could have said so much at that point, but I really didn’t have the energy…

 

The Apple Blossom…

The story of my fight, actually… What happened to me nearly two years ago, still haunts me, reminding me of how lucky I am to be here…

(An excerpt from Apple Blossom, the short story I wrote to help other people who find themselves in a similar situation)

“The lights were dimmed, giving the treatment room a spooky atmosphere. The huge machine that towered over me as I lay on that uncomfortable table seemed even more menacing in the gloom.

The only light in the room was coming from the centre ceiling panels above me, which had been replaced by translucent photographs of apple blossom which softly gleamed in the darkness. Obviously, strategically positioned to take the patients mind off what was happening to them. The panel I liked best had fluffy white clouds on a blue sky behind the blossom.

I had been stretched out and precisely positioned on the platform, all the marks on my chest lined up with the eerie green beams of light that shone down from the machine. It was almost a kind torture, what with my arms pinned above my head, waiting for the machine to start humming. All the technicians had fled, leaving me on my own. Just me and the apple blossom above my head and a machine quite capable of giving me a lethal dose of radiation if it decoded to throw a wobbly. Quite scary, if you dwelt on it, which I was trying my level best not to do.

In the silence, I hear the soft clicks, which heralded the beginning of my third session. Just twelve more to go. Twelve more 20-mile trips to the hospital for just 10 minutes under the apple blossom. And all of this, just to make sure that the aggressive tumour that was cut from my body a few weeks ago has not left any of its calling cards behind. Well worth any inconvenience, I would say.

Not that I am loving any of it at the moment. I could almost be regarded as ungrateful, for although the surgery was quick and virtually painless, the after effects are not and I have no way of knowing if any of it is normal. They say it is, but I have my doubts.
I have two scars, one for the tumour and one for the sentinel lymph node, and I know they will be tender for a while yet, but I have this huge hard lump, which hurts quite a bit at the moment. Doubtless, all will heal eventually; I am just running out of patience.”

Universal Amazon Link:  myBook.to/appleblossom

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What do you know about Gluten?

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“Gluten intolerance can affect nearly every tissue in the body, including the brain, skin, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, smooth muscles and even the nucleus of cells. CD and NCGS are associated with an astonishing variety of diseases, from schizophrenia and epilepsy to Type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis, to dermatitis and psoriasis, to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism to peripheral neuropathy. Because the range of symptoms associated with gluten intolerance is so broad and nonspecific (e.g., can be attributed to any number of conditions), many patients and doctors don’t suspect gluten may be the cause.”

 

When I awoke this morning, my body was racked with pain, again. My joints were screaming before I even rolled out of bed. I knew there had to be a reason for it, and resolved to find out what it was as I was really tired of feeling like an old woman.  I am an old woman, but I don’t have to feel like one, now do I?

As I staggered to the bathroom, a word arrived in my brain. My brain works best first thing in the morning, something I don’t understand but welcome gratefully. Nice that it can sometimes, eh?

This word was ‘gluten’.

I resolved to investigate and see if gluten was affecting my body. I wasn’t prepared for the long list of symptoms that I found, just about everything I complain about was on that list. The weight gain, chronic itching, migraines, joint pain, constipation, asthma and my peripheral neuropathy!

I think it is time to stop eating food containing wheat, barley and rye.

 

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Gluten Containing Foods – foods to avoid

  • Biscuits
  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Cereals (except a few from the good list below)
  • Chocolate bars
  • Cookies
  • Corned beef
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Donuts
  • Gravies
  • Malt beverages e.g. whisky
  • Malt vinegar
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Muffins
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Pretzels
  • Pizza
  • Sauces
  • Sausages
  • Salami
  • Sauces – many have wheat as a thickener
  • Soups – many have wheat as a thickener
  • Wheat flour

And replace with these…

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

Read more at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/food-options/#0ltbAIH8aotdqp7W.99

Gluten-Free Substitutes

“Many items that usually contain gluten have gluten-free alternatives that are widely available in most grocery stores and make living gluten-free much easier. Keep in mind, however, that minimally processed fresh foods are a crucial part of a healthy gluten-free diet. It is very important to base your diet around fruits, vegetables, meats, and other healthy food groups listed above.

Many commercially available products are labelled “gluten-free,” but there will be some that are not; this is why proper label reading is important. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.” Be wary, as many products may appear to be gluten-free, but are not.

As a rule, traditional wheat products such as pasta, bread, crackers, and other baked goods are not gluten-free. However, there are many gluten-free options available that use alternative flours and grains. Often, gluten-free bread can be found in the freezer section. Additionally, there are gluten-free flours and flour blends available in the grocery aisle, allowing you to bake your own bread.”

All of this sounds like a plan, so when I have armed myself with a stack of rice cakes, I will begin to go gluten free. Losing the aches and pains will be sooo worth it!

I will report back on my progress, as soon as I get any!

 

 

 

The Heart of the Matter…

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After my heart attacks three years ago, and my subsequent brilliant behaviour since then, I didn’t think I would be having any further trouble in that direction. I can still remember every gruelling moment of that time, and how near I came to shuffling off this mortal coil.

For a while afterwards, though, I was very nervous. Every twinge of heartburn (for that is how it started before) was met with chewed fingernails and immense trepidation. Probably a good thing in the end, for it made me a model patient. I took my medication religiously, even though most of it had a dire effect on my asthma.

I gave up smoking that day, and I like to think it was because the cardiologist asked me to but the truth is, I didn’t want to die, so I stopped willingly. I have taken steps to improve my health and fitness too, and think I am in a much better shape now.

So when I began to notice something odd going on in my chest, my spirits hit the floor. I was experiencing little thumps and fluttering’s, and although this doesn’t sound too serious, I worried. When I checked my pulse, I noticed gaps in the rhythm. Every couple of minutes, my heart would skip a beat, and not a shred of romance or excitement anywhere near me!

I have my own blood pressure machine for regular check ups, and I seemed to be fine, so I was confused. I had recently stopped taking the daily aspirin and the beta-blocker, as they were making my asthma so much worse. Maybe I should start taking them again and see what happened. The other odd thing was that my ticker behaved itself during the day, but come the evening, it had a field day. Sleeping wasn’t easy either, more because I was worrying than anything else I think, for I can normally sleep through anything.

And of course, the usual question presented itself. Do I bother my doctor with this? I have a check-up soon, so I could mention it then…

I know at my age there is so much you just have to get on with, and I do seem to have more than my share in that department, but my instincts were not clear. I usually know what to do, whether it turns out to be a waste of everyone’s time or not.  My dilemma is this, apart from the funny goings on, I feel quite well. Apart from arthritis in every joint, failing eyesight, a painful neck and hip, the list is getting longer.

I decided to wait a few days and see what happens…

Two days later… I have reinstated the beta-blocker but not the aspirin, and the thumps and fluttering’s have now stopped. So far, so good. I wonder what will happen next?

Old age can be so much fun, don’t you think?