Sunday 28 November 2010

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

I know it's been a while since I wrote a blog post. I haven't been able to form the words for this post until now and still I'm unsure what I want to say..

Nearly two weeks ago I attended a hospital appointment with a consultant rheumatologist.

I've been having health problems for about three years now. Noticeable ones anyway. I've always suffered with debilitating migraines so I don't count them, they're just a part of life.

Prior to attending I'd got it into my head that he would look at me, say nothing was wrong and send me away. It's what I've come to expect of the NHS after it took me two years to be diagnosed with a dis-functioning gall bladder and also their inability to understand what is happening with my son and the issues around his bleeding all over his body from his capillaries. It's not really causing them any concern. Anyway, Imagine my surprise when I walk out with a diagnosis. The consultant diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.

I had never heard of fibromyalgia until that day. He handed me a leaflet and told me to go and read up on it and then manage it with my GP.

Fibromyalgia is described Here

I'm in a strange place now. I'm happy to know that the pain and fatigue haven't just been in my head, I actually have a diagnosable condition, but I now have to come to terms with the fact that this is permanent. I have to learn to live with it. I'm going to live my life with pain, using painkillers in an attempt to continue being mum, wife and working woman, plagued by fatigue and having trouble sleeping. I have nothing to show outwardly what pain I'm in or how completely exhausted I can feel. In fact I look perfectly healthy from the outside.

After the appointment I went home and I cried. The few weekends prior to the appointment I had been feeling particularly drained of energy and had said to myself that I would do something with the children the next weekend or a couple of weekends away and now I know it's not just a passing phase because the weather changed and I can't determine when it's going to come and go. My kids caught me crying and were wonderful. They hugged me and told me they loved me.

To make matters worse, I had a really unexpected reaction on telling a friend of the diagnosis. Her reaction was to tell me I needed a second opinion, making it clear she thought I couldn't possibly have this. She then went on to say, pre-empted by the phrase “Don't take this the wrong way but...” did I think it could be the painkillers causing the pain as she's read they can cause all sorts of side effects and painkiller addiction can do strange things. I told her I know my body and this wasn't a reaction to painkillers and I don't have an addiction. When I have good days, I don't take the pain relief, but if I'm in pain, I really can't function in my role at work without them. I felt so invalidated and this is also a reason the difficulty in my dealing with the information.

It's been a couple of weeks now, so here I am, ready to talk about things.  

Friday 12 November 2010

Friday Flash: Comfort Blanket

The glass is heavy in her hand as she sits in front of the small oval table. The cut of the glass reflecting light from the overhead bulb in rainbow prisms. She rests her elbows on her knees and swirls the glass around in her hand. The golden liquid rocking, leaving a trail around the glass like a slug might. Her nose tipping over the rim she breathes in it's warmth. She knows how it will wrap itself around her, like a blanket, comforting. She needs the comfort. Just this one. A small blanket to offer comfort, just a small comfort.

She tilts the glass gently, almost lovingly and inhales, feeling it's warmth as it slides down her throat. She likes how it feels and tilts it further, draining the amber fluid, it's slug like trail the only sign of her downfall. She grabs the bottle and doubles the comfort. A sense of bravery pervades. It's just a small blanket.

The blanket gets warmer, the bottle gets lighter, she no longer cares, she is warm.

The glass is heavy in her hand as she slumps across the sofa in front of the small oval table. She hears the door whine and raises her head. The small child framed in the doorway looks at the glass and then in her mothers eyes. The blanket is ripped away savagely as guilt slams it's hard iron fist into her bowels.

The glass is heavy in her hand. She has every reason to stop.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Emotional Attachment to Food

I have real trouble with food. I love the wrong types of food and today is day three of me attempting to lose more weight. I've lost a stone this year, but being only five foot tall, I don't carry weight well, so I do need to lose more. I know I'm not alone in this, because several thousand people are members of one slimming group or another. Statistically more woman diet then men, with almost two in five (37%) women dieting most of the time, compared to around just one in six (18%) of men.

Why is this? I don't believe it's just an urge to be thin. All the talk about aspiring to look like those women in the popular publications. I actually believe, for me, it's more about an emotional attachment to food and it's a pretty deep rooted one at that.

The minute I get stressed I start eating. If I'm sad, I eat. If I'm happy, I go out to celebrate, I eat.

Why is it I can just not see food as a fuel for my body, a means to function, rather than an emotional crutch with which I can support myself at required times.

Whilst I find that diet clubs do work, I feel they only work when you are in the right “zone” to enable you to follow the plan and once you follow the plan correctly, the weight drops off. But what about the times when your emotional place takes some bombardment and there's not a cat in hells chance of you sticking to the plan?

I've been off plan for about seven weeks now. I have been eating everything in sight. I have an urge to shove things in my mouth (mucky minds out of the gutter please!) A need for the food to heal something within me.

I genuinely feel it is this emotional attachment that needs dealing with. The disassociation from comfort, support and the shovelling until you can't move, type of feelings . We all know the way we should be eating, but recently I lost my brain, to pure emotive eating, which goes on to add a few pounds, making me even more miserable and away we go.

Is this emotional attachment to food, inbred into us? Or do we learn it?

I think some of it may be learnt. I had one of those upbringings where I was made to eat everything on my plate regardless of whether I liked it or not or whether I wanted or needed it.

Another time in life, when dating, we eat out a lot, or I did, so another emotional attachment to food was made. Happiness happens around food.

A life of different messages with food, have led to a middle aged short person constantly unhappy with her height and shape, yet seemingly unable to correct it. I'm not lazy. I've lost a stone. But with the stresses of a potentially ill child, boundary pushing teenagers and a busy working life, I seem unable to do what I know that I should.

Does anyone else have emotional food attachments to food and how do you deal with it?

Monday 8 November 2010

Monday Mentions

I've decided I'm going to have a regular feature on the blog called – Monday Mentions

This Monday feature will include blogs that I've found interesting over the past seven days. Why a Monday and not at the end of the week you may ask – or may not. It began with an M. Simple. 

I will look back over a weeks worth of blogs and pick out a couple that I think are worth a read for various reasons. As you can see from my blog, I'm all over the place, this isn't a themed blog and the mentioned blogs won't be following a theme either, they will be posts I've read that have interested me for one reason or another.

I have three blog posts to share for my first Monday Mention and they are;

 Milestone wings  I Loved it's innocence. A brilliant post on a child finding out that there is no tooth fairy. Sometimes it's nice to have magic in our lives.

Food, Wine and Drink. An interview with an guest author on writing your characters eating. Eating is simple, we do it every day (some of us more than others) but it can add a real touch of realism for your readers.

Contraceptives for kids. A highly topical and emotive subject and one handled brilliantly.  

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. 

Saturday 6 November 2010

Pen Name

On Thursday I received an email stating that a short story submission I had made to an ezine had been accepted.

Yesterday I entered an online Fridayflash competition.

I've got a couple of short stories written up, that just need editing, that I am intending to enter into other writing competitions and I am also working on a novel, which I would hope, could possible make into the published world one far off day.

This got me to thinking.

I work in the public sector and the writing work and self publicising I am doing could potentially get me found by a google search, if people I come across in my day to day working life, decided to google me to see what they can find out. (Yes, this really could be a possibility) I absolutely do not want the two worlds to cross in any way, shape or form and want to keep my private life, just that, private. So with this train of thought, I've decided I need a pen name.

Now I just need to come up with of one. I think I would probably prefer to keep my own first name (Jane) and then assign myself a different Surname. It sounds easy enough, but it's not. I have no idea what to call myself. I mean, it's not every day you get to pick your own name is it?

Do my blog readers have any idea's or suggestions of what would go well with Jane? Or do you think I should go for a complete overhaul if I'm using a pen name anyway and change both first and surname?

Any suggestions are very much appreciated.

Friday 5 November 2010

My First Friday Flash


“Get away from me!” She screamed.
He looked at her, feeling defeated.
“If you come near me one more time, I swear to God I will cut it off with a hack saw!”
He winced

Night was drawing in and the blinds had been closed. The bed covers were strewn across the end of the bed, rumpled and discarded whilst the television mindlessly chattered. He took a deep breath. He hated to see her hurting this way. Her words cutting him, their sharpness stinging his cheeks. He wanted to walk away, if only for a minute. To take quiet air in, gather himself and then go back. He knew he couldn't. He had to stay, had to listen. He shifted uncomfortably on his feet.

“I hate you so much right now!” She continued her tirade. The volume of her words accelerating rapidly upwards. He watched as her fists clenched, her jaw working between outbursts. He wanted so desperately to hold her, to tell her everything would be OK, but he knew he couldn't. He had to stay where he was and take what she threw, silently, without protest. It had been going on for such a long time. He wanted it to stop. He looked at her lovely face, so contorted, beads of sweat running from her hairline as she screamed louder.

 Hot and sweaty, he had never seen her more beautiful, than now, as she gave birth to their first child.

Monday 1 November 2010

First Short Story Rejection

Remember me saying that I submitted my first short story to Take-a-Break? well, I've had my first rejection. I knew it would come. How many people get lucky with their first submission? I doubt many. I expected the rejection and thought I would be fine with it, after all, it's rejection from a distance, but it did still did hit a nerve. I loved my first story. After I submitted it, I asked a friend who writes, to read it. She critiqued it and from that I confirmed with myself that it would be rejected. I have since started editing it as think the idea I was trying to convey, is good, I just need to make the middle section less......dull.

I thought I would share the original version with you. The edited version now has huge chunks missing that I need to rewrite. This is my first ever short story, my first attempt. I like it (well I would, wouldn't I) but I do know where it falls down now, but I thought here would be a good place to keepsake it.


The Arum lilies were beautiful. Stems, brightly green with stunningly, swirlingly, beautiful cream flowers. She loved the way they curled and the strength of the stems as she held them. A strand of ribbon binding the six lilies together. She clutched them tightly, breathing in deeply, allowing the floral scent and emotion to fill her senses.
Her eyes were closed.

It was her wedding day, every little girls dream. Her husband to be, by her side. It was her perfect day. Christie remembered the days in the run up to the wedding, visiting the small, family run cake store to check on the cake prior to delivery, three tiers, frosted to perfection and holding intricately made frosted lilies. She remembered trying on her dress to obsessive levels, watching how it flowed around her body as she danced in front of the mirror. The white bodice and capped sleeves, showing her tiny frame perfectly, whilst the drop of the silk from the bodice, swam around her slender legs, giving her the feel of a princess.

She had shopped for thank you gifts for her two bridesmaids, Sarah and Lucy. Christie and Sarah had been friends since the first day of infant school, at just five years of age, all pigtails and frilly socks. Both girls in awe of the large full time school and the new experience, latching on to each other in their mutual newness and fear of such a momentous occasion. Lucy had joined them a year later, moving to the area after her parents had split in a very acrimonious way and her mum had moved as far away from Lucy's father as she could. People often say that having a friendship of three is difficult to maintain, but Christie, Sarah and Lucy clicked, and true friendship held fast. The gifts were personal thank you's, not only for being a part of her big day, but for the years of treasured friendship. The trials and tribulations of teenagedom, where everything was a drama. Bad skin, boys and some fairly horrific fashion disasters. It had been a typical teenage roller coaster of a ride for the girls and one that bound their friendship even tighter together. The friendship bracelets were her tribute to them and all that they meant to her.

Now she also had Jonathan in her life. She noticed him when he started working in the large offices that were Peterman and son, conveyors. She noticed his tall frame, dark styled hair and endearing smile, the minute he walked through the large antique wooden framed double doors, into the open spaced office area. She figured he was out of her league. Not only was he incredibly handsome, but he was kind and gently spoken in any conversation. The day he asked to take her out, had been, at that point, one of the worst days of her career. He found her in Coffee-tup, the coffee shop on the corner of the block where they worked, her smudged mascara, giving her a look of the crazy, and her hair, having hands driven through it twenty times a minute had taken on a life of it's own. She was distraught after dropping the proverbial ball at work and having been hauled over the coals by her supervisor, and had promptly left for a strong sweet fix in her favourite place. This was where she was sat when Jonathan walked in. Christie hadn't noticed him enter as she had cocooned herself into the corner of the shop, as out of view as she could possibly be, sitting with her back to the rest of the shop in an effort to hide the demented panda look, which she was sure, was not the current look being shimmied down the London catwalks.

He had sat down quietly in front of her. He didn't even say anything, he sat and he looked and he waited. Bewildered, she gave an uncertain smile and at that, he quietly took her hand. The difficulties of the day forgotten and a place in her heart filled. From there, conversations, picnics, restaurants and days filled with laughter ensued, a journey to her place in front of the alter where she would give her life to this man. It couldn't be told in a dramatic way, her love was assuredly and definitive as time itself and she knew with all that she was, that it was consummate.

She could see the guests, the colours and smiles. The joy and emotion was tangible. It felt warm and sure, slowly caressing her as it enveloped and secured her. He was there beside her, everything, her world, her soul, her reason for being. She looked at her father, the man who gave her away, traditionally handing her to her husband, giving her new life.

She lifted and touched the flowers to her nose, taking a moment in the fragrance and feeling the heat of love. The softness of the petals caressing the tip of her nose. The sweet scent stirred something in her.

She opened her eyes.

Confusion welled up, a deep knot from her stomach, churning up into her chest, up welling, taking her very breath from within her. She held on to the strong stems, soaking up the scent into every pore of her being, she felt the gentle hands of Sarah and Lucy cupping her elbows and knew it was time to let go. With a breath taken from the depth of her soul, she looked down, deep into the dark hole in the earth opening up in front of her and opening her hands, released the beautiful cream Arum lilies, watching as they fell softly into the ground.