Can you help me to help?

I have an amazing opportunity. Two weeks helping in hospitals in Africa!

The opportunity to shadow doctors, see how life works in developing countries and help out in the community. It’s an opportunity that could be life changing and not only gain me so much medical experience but also life experiences I will treasure forever.

I have a lot against me. My conditions, my circumstances but also the fact that I need to fund raise around £3000 to be able to go on this adventure.

I want to show the world just how much a single mum with chronic conditions can achieve when she puts her mind to it, that despite the obstacles anything is possible.

Can you help me? Whether it’s 50p or a share of my gofundme page, any tiny bit of help will be so appreciated. Also any ideas on what else I can try to fund raise would also be amazing.

You can find my page at  Jems volunteering in Africa

I will post updates as I go both here and on the gofundme site for all those who want to follow my progress. Wish me luck and thank you! xxx

 

And they stayed down

It’s been a tough couple of months.

When I wrote my last post I was feeling low and the fibro was flaring up. What I didn’t know though was that I was just at the start of a massive nose dive in both my mental and physical health.

I hit a wall and decided to take some time out from Uni (attendance but still working from home) so I could recoup and hopefully return with a new spark, ready to fight another day. That didn’t happen though.

I got sick, a fluey cold bug that’s still doing the rounds now, this knocked me down further and as anyone with Fibro knows, everything hits us so much harder. A simple cold hits us like a bus. Then the snow came at the same time and instead of getting the much needed rest I required, I was walking 6km in the snow to collect my children from school and getting them home safely.

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Collecting them in the snow was tough, but at least the smiles on their faces pulled me through

 

I hate that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy those snow days with them. It’s not something we get here and it could have been so much fun. I dragged myself up and got us outside for a small amount of snow monster building and snow angel carving, memories that will hopefully stay with them, not the tired sick mom instead.

Then the car broke. It’s been two and a half weeks now that the garage have been working on her and finding parts (problem with old cars) and it’s killing me. The school runs are pretty much all I do and crashing out in between. I feel useless, I feel tired and the pain is excruciating. I never realised just how much my car meant to me, until I had to live without it, how much it actually does help me in my life. I felt like a bit of a fraud sometimes with my blue badge, that a 30 something mum of two with an illness you can’t even see, didn’t really deserve it. But actually I rely on it far more than I ever knew.

 

Admitting that to myself is hard, that I am ill and this is my life, possibly forever.

 

 

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What I live for ❤

When the spoons are down

It takes a lot out of me, does life. Just going through the daily motions can be exhausting. It’s not something I try to show generally. A lot of the time I put on a smile, a mask and hide away the true extent of the pain and crippling fatigue.

Something that I am trying to change little by little. Starting to open up about the true daily struggles of living with invisible illnesses, sometimes in life, but mostly here, in this little blog of mine. Trying to find the words that can convey just how it feels to live every day.

But I can’t find the words. Sure I can write about the surface, with tales of eloquently put together analogies. I can describe in relatable terms how it feels perhaps, or try to convey the struggles with examples of spoons and finite resources.

However, it just doesn’t ever feel, when I read these posts back, that I ever truly manage to describe what it’s like to live this way. I guess this goes for many things in life, that experience is something that can never truly be replaced by another medium.

You may think then why bother?

I guess it’s because I have to at least try. So that somewhere out there is something for people to see and read and at least try a little bit to understand what it is like for people like myself. That each and every day is a struggle, that just living life full of pain and chronic exhaustion, is a constant uphill battle. That the small things like just being out for the day, attending lectures, walking around, are huge monumental tasks that require perseverance and often sheer determination not to let these awful diseases win. That I want a better life and for now I am willing to fight for it.

But I am tired. I am in pain. More than you could ever know.

Life is but a pantomime

It seems apt that after my last blog post I would have a gap.

The post came after a long period of really bad health for myself, coupled on top of that was a lot of life s*** and things really weren’t great at all for me towards the end of last year. Never the less I struggled through and have just about made it out the other side….just about. It taught me a lot in that time about just how much you don’t know people and the people who would stab me in the back and let me down just seemed to increase as each week went by. But I also found some really great people who helped pull me out of the water when I was drowning and I am so eternally grateful to them.

Things gradually got better in some respects, some things are ongoing and other things, like my health, are never going to be 100% and it’s learning to live within my capabilities. Something I never seem to be able to accept.

Assessments are finally over and the new semester starts next week marking the fact that I am now officially half way through my degree! Time to carry on working hard and hoping for that brighter future.

It is also showtime for our panto! We had our first run of three shows last weekend and whilst things were stacked against us, the shows went really well and things seem to be working out.

 

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Before show antics

Last few shows to go this weekend and then I am taking a break from theatre acting to concentrate on university for a year or three lol.

 

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In character for the pantomime – the three musketeers!

 

What it’s like to be me

 

When you have an invisible illness it’s easy for people to forget.

That each day starts with an unknown.

That a full night’s sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you will have enough energy for the day. It’s not even certain you will have enough energy for the morning.

That each day you don’t know if you will have a slight niggle in your back or an unending headache, or whether you will wake up in agony, that the slightest touch could feel like you’ve been hit by a sledge hammer.

That these words aren’t even an exaggeration, but an actual truth, that you have to live with on a daily basis.

And this is just when you are “healthy”.

Now imagine what it’s like to couple this along with general illness.

A stomach bug that someone might be over in 48hrs, leaves you broken for weeks.

A cold that lasts someone maybe a week or two? Could go on for months.

Months of further drain on an already worn out body, let alone mind.

 

But it’s easy to forget, with a fake smile and a carry-on attitude.

 

That until you crack and fall, they don’t even notice your pain, and they wonder what is wrong?

 

And that’s just the physical.

 

What if alongside all of this you suffer in silence with hidden mental illness too? That a low mood is a stable ground on which you live every day, as familiar as a warm blanket on a frosty night, when the darkness rolls in.

That crippling anxiety could strike at any moment? Panic and try to breath and run away, when no one realises the incredible crushing on your chest and in your head, has come along and hit you like a ton of bricks.

 

What if all of this was in one person?

 

The pain, the fatigue, the low and loneliness, and the heart crushing anxiety too.

And what if it was all invisible, behind that fake smile and perseverance.

 

And you carry on, you live your life with everyone unknowing.

Unknowing what it is truly like to try and fit all of that into life and fit all the things that need to be done, when it is nearly impossible to even put one foot in front of the other.

That you continue to do what you can for everyone else even though you can barely look after yourself.

 

And when you fall, there is no one there to catch you because they forget how fragile your wings really are.

 

Life on the battle field

Sometimes the hardest thing about each day is not giving up.

How easy it would be to just give in, give in to the constant pain, give in to the constant fatigue. How easy it would be to just live a simple life, doing nothing but resting.

There are days, dark days, when I come close.

Close to just packing it all in, wondering why I bother with the constant stress, the constant worry. Why am I fighting? What’s the point?

And it is a possibility, that there is no point. That in 2, 5, 10 years, I will end up with a fantastic degree and no health to use it. That after everything I put in, I will end up just where I might as well go now. That all the extra time and effort I put into upping those grades just that extra little bit, will be meaningless.

Maybe it’s my stubborn brain, and perhaps I should be thankful for that, the stubborn competitiveness in me that always wants to get the best marks and be on top.

Maybe it’s my children, the want for a better future for us, our own home, a pet Chihuahua, security and comfortable living. I would move heaven and earth for them, move mountains and cross seas, no matter what state I was in.

It’s actually taken me a couple of sessions across an entire day to write this post. Tonight I want to give up, things I know I know aren’t there, I’m behind on prep and there are things which I wanted to investigate that I am running out of time to do. I am done. I feel like I am going to fail. As the tears fall around me, the fuzzy endless mind block and pain and fatigue grips me. I am done.

But I won’t give up. I never do.

The tears will dry, the sun will rise again and like every day before it, I WILL keep moving. I WILL keep trying. Because no matter the outcome at the end of this journey, I want to say, that despite it all, all the pain, all the weakness, all the stupid nights of stupid brain fog, I did it.

As long as I keep going and keep swimming.

 

Coming in second

Second year is certainly a step up.

Its been a couple of weeks now since we all came back to start our second year and it certainly is taking its toll. I haven’t been well with my fibro recently and the fatigue is certainly making the increase in workload difficult. Along side this I seem to be suffering with everything going. I started off last month with tonsillitis, which then merged into a seemingly unending bout of sore throat. Im still not 100% there, and now I am fighting a bad cold.

So all in all it hasn’t been great and I am starting to panic about falling behind.

I need to get organised.

I have finally managed to figure out all my timetables and lab groups, something that seems to be even harder and more complicated this year! And I have also started something called a bullet journal. Its only in early days at the moment and I have only really had it properly set up a couple of days, so once I am more used to it and seen how it goes over a protracted period of time I will let you guys know what I think!

Theatre is going well, I am now co-directing the panto, so this is certainly different! More info to come as and when we have booked some venues, but the show itself if definitely shaping up well!

Things are slowly getting there in my household at last, finally managed to get a new fridge freezer and rid of the separates so this is very….very…cool. Its so roomy and in one place lol.

So yeah thats basically my jumbled update on life, unfortunately things like this seem to be coming in second place at the moment (see the title does make sense haha) much like my health to everything else. But I really do hope to write some better and more frequent content for you all soon, maybe I should put it in my bullet journal!

xxx