Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You

It has been a freezing week here in the UK, with widespread snow and some areas completely cut off.  Now the big thaw starts….we hope!  I can’t claim to have been cut off, but the cold is not the friend of my back and the titanium inside me feels as cold as the snow outside.  My spinal cord stimulator has been doing battle with the chronic nerve pain in my leg and back, as is seemed to ricochet off the charts….forget pain scored out of 10, how about multiply that by 10.  Even turning the stimulator up – increasing the intensity and speed of the “current” that I feel – couldn’t dampen it.

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You!

But the good news is that whilst I have been keeping warm inside I have been doing a fair bit of blog browsing and even got round to finally registering on UK blogs!  I guess the next thing to do is sort out going self hosted – the student engineer is supposed to be doing this and hosting me, after all IT and software is his thing – and he has been web hosting since he was about 14.  But I am just his mother….and placed way down the list of priorities!!!  There are no plans in the pipeline to attempt to make my fortune blogging, but it would be nice to be able to be available for some more review opportunities… come on, son, get it sorted.  He is currently sitting here programming and flying a drone in my lounge……aghhh mind the dog! (My video won’t work so a pic will give you the idea)IMG_20180305_165617264_HDR


The other son has been in contact this week, but not because he wanted to make conversation with his parents…..we usually just get messages passed on from Snapchats received by the lovely girl.  He wants his suit, his shoes, tie and tie pin sent to him….by this Thursday please for a formal dinner.  Hmmm….I wonder if there will be a little something for Mother’s Day sent by return courier?  I won’t hold my breath.

Our other family member to be happy to see the thaw is our shaggy old dog, Samson.  He will hide rather than have to go outside and I am sure that the cold makes his arthritis worse.  But do you think he will take his pills? We have tried burying in his food, wrapping in melted cheese, fig rolls, even inside pasta….but he is wise to it all now and will eat his food leaving 3 pills in the bottom of the bowl, with not a tooth mark on them!!  Suggestions people – he is on doggy cocodamol and Pardale V – and his cocodamol costs a damn site more than mine!!download (2)

So now some blogs for you – I have found everything from heat hacks (perfect just now), to skills we mustn’t lose (please, please let me know how you score…and if you have tapped a tree!), to making fashion accessible.  Sustainability is very current and we can probably all pick up some tips to change our habits, and if you are planning a UK or European city break don’t miss The Style Thread.  The final post in an invitation to a special virtual coffee morning on International Women’s Day – join with bloggers globally to celebrate.

Grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy some “me” time!

Please comment, like and share these posts if you enjoy them!

Have a great week,

Claire x




Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

We awoke to snow this morning and the Monday garden did look pretty magical!  But then the reality kicks in as we don’t do snow well here in the UK and by mid morning the rail companies were already announcing changes and cancellations to timetables tomorrow.  My girl and her friends are dying for the snow to continue so that they have a snow day tomorrow – it is bitterly cold, but I’m not sure if there will be enough snow for no school.

monday magic

My morning has been spent with another hospital visit: picking up results, being booked in for more investigations and all rounded off with the obligatory vampire visit for blood tests.  Apparently I’m anaemic (again) and my red blood cells are small…that is a new one on me.  It did make me smile when the young registrar asked how much red meat I eat….I could hear the student engineer’s response which sure enough he gave when I said it too him later “Never enough, MOTHER!! We NEED steak every day”.  In your dreams boy, unless you want to start paying more rent….

There has been a huge loss in our house this week leaving a massive void.  It is a death, but not of a person or a pet.  We have had to have our enormous ornamental cherry tree cut down as it was diseased and one half had already died.  But we tried to keep it for as long as possible – I don’t know how old it was, but we have been her 18 years – as it was such a major feature of the garden.  Now there is literally an empty void and a huge scar in the shape of diseased, raw stumps and an overwhelming that sadness that there won’t be the pink blossoms this year, or even the nightmare of the leaves in the autumn.  Funny how this loss can induce grief isn’t it?!  So I guess soon we will be looking for a new family member to inhabit the back garden…maybe another fruit tree, or something faster growing…..

My weekly inspiring blog posts may be coming a little to you than normal….in fact it is nearly wine o’clock here for those who enjoy a tipple, or perhaps that coffee is still on the menu.  So whatever your drink of choice, sit back and enjoy a few minutes with some inspiring blog posts and a vlog this week!  I will definitely be having a go at baking the GF choc chip cookies and eating them whilst reading some of your posts…..

Please like, share and comment…and have a good week!

Claire x



Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good morning – just about at the time of writing – and welcome to February.  It is a freezing morning here and we have even had a few flakes of snow – yours truly plans to stay indoors for the day.  It must be cold as the lovely girl actually put on a coat when she went out to do her paper round this morning, and believe me this is unheard of!.  Then it took hubby nearly 10 minutes to defrost the car windscreen, which was just as well as the student engineer and his other half wanted a lift to the station, but they were both still in bed 10 minutes before hubby needed to leave to get the girl to school!!  I have never seen two young men get out of the house so fast!!

Never a dull moment in our house this week with umpteen trips to see different doctors.  Gastroscopy on Monday – “would you like sedation, Claire?” “err…do I look stupid? Of course I want sedation!!! I’m a nurse and I have seen these….” – orthopaedics on Tuesday,(will write a proper post), GP on Wednesday.  Dad was really disappointed that I couldn’t arrange anything for Thursday and Friday!!  But of course there was the Blue Moon to distract everyone…or not in our case as it was too cloudy to see….and for me it really didn’t matter as fatigue and brain fog as dense as those clouds took over.  Well that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!pexels-photo-271897.jpeg

I wouldn’t want to leave out the middle child – particularly as we did receive contact from our politics student that wasn’t football related.  At 11pm Saturday night the ipad pinged and a message popped onto the screen – words to the effect “I have flu, I’ve thrown up everything I’ve eaten…what do I do?”.  Isn’t it amazing how these young, independent adults suddenly want their mummy & daddy for advice?  I mean what does he really think we are going to do from 300 miles away?  That makes me sound awful, and I’m not, honest – it just amused me. pexels-photo-416520.jpeg“Keep drinking….no, not alcohol, water!  Paracetamol….well ask a friend to go buy you some…..and don’t exceed the 24 hour limit!!”  We did speak to him yesterday and half his halls have flu, but I think he will survive.  I mean, I have had a shoulder hanging out again all weekend – what is he complaining about?? (This is tongue in cheek for those of you now wondering about my sense of humour – believe me, the son in question has the driest, darkest sense of humour around!)


In England the 1st February was #TimetoTalk Day – recognising and talking about mental health and illness.  I hope that opening up about this health issue is not confined to one day only, and I have found some great blog posts that focus on different aspects of mental health.  There is also a cosmetics review, some tips for all us bloggers to help our writing, and tips to juggle a busy life.  Two posts that really jumped out at me this week: one is published on a new blog, Chronic Pain India – please read the story of Namrata, A Hashi Warrior; the second is something close to my heart as an ex NHS nurse – the decision of The Ealing Mummy to leave the NHS.

Pin for later:

Monday Magic 5th Feb


So give yourself that break from whatever you are doing, grab a cuppa, sit down and explore some fantastic blog posts!


Image courtesy of Oriana’s Notes

Please give some feedback and comment, like, share posts!

Have a great week,

Claire x



Review of CBD Medipen – for chronic illness, pain, anxiety and well being

I came upon this review from Zec at Sat on My Butt blog and just knew that I had to share it with you – particularly those in the UK chronic illness community.  You might remember that I reviewed a CBD oil last year and I have been interested in trying something but was unsure what might be comparable (the oil that I reviewed was sent from the States)….this could be it!  Unfortunately we are currently funding our old dog’s drug habit  pain medication, and of course the family will vote that he comes before mum!! But this has been added to my list for Santa!

For the past three weeks I have been using the Medipen.


Medipen aren’t allowed to make any medical claims about their product, but fortunately. nothing stops me from doing that!

So what is a Medipen?

A Medipen is a Cannabinoid delivery device that vaporises the Cannabinoids that are in coconut oil, I am and have always been a non smoker and I have no problem using the Medipen.

The vapour is very smooth and doesn’t make you cough and splutter.

The cartridges contain 1ml of Cannabinoids suspended in a pharmaceutical grade Coconut oil.

What are Cannabinoids?

The Cannabis plant is made up from 114 different compounds, the THC is the compound that gives the psychoactive or high sensation people get when smoking cannabis.

The Medipen cartridges contain CBD, CBDV & CBG which do not give those sensations but they have been proven to help people with a wide ranges of health conditions.

Inside our bodies we have cannabinoid receptors, they are part of the endocannabinoid system.

It is now believed that originally humans would have gathered wild growing cannabis to use as food and our bodies use it to help combat many ills and conditions.

Cannabis has now been bred to contain more and more THC to give people a high and that has led to Cannabis getting a bad reputation and becoming illegal.

Medipen starter kit

I received the Medipen starter kit that comes in a tin and contains The base of the pen that contains the battery and the brains and also a rubber tip on the end that works with touch screen devices.

It also contains a USB charger and a Medipen cartridge containing the Cannabinoids.

It really is foolproof, you screw on the cartridge, place the tip in your mouth and suck and that’s it,no on or off button or settings, it is ready to go at any time.


To read Zec’s verdict on the Medipen for his anxiety and chronic pain read the full post here:

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good Morning and welcome to another week, another Monday Magic and some more great blog posts to explore!  Monday Magic

Here in England the schools return this week, much to my daughter’s disgust, and it feels slightly odd that we only have one child still at school.  I have almost missed the ritual trip out to buy school shoes and stationary, but my 15 year old doesn’t need me for this any longer.  Note that I have said ALMOST, not really missing queuing up with a numbered ticket in a branch of Clarks along with a bunch of harassed mums and boisterous children……however there are going to be some shopping lists I should think, ahead of the soon to be politics student going off to uni in a couple of weeks.  He is more concerned about his football season ticket and joining the Facebook freshers’ group than how many sets of bed linen and cutlery he might need. Who am I kidding? One set of bedding will last the term, won’t it – there is no way my 18 year old son will change it of his own accord, YUK!

Moving on swiftly, September is Chronic Pain awareness month and naturally with my background I will be mentioning it….just a few times!  This week also happens to be Fibromyalgia awareness week – which falls under the chronic pain umbrella – and Kat writes about this over on Chronically Composed – a Scottish journey with Chronic Pain.  The other posts I have found this week include a back to school guide, an emotive poem about depression (you can see I have commented on it), a young dad struggling with illness and surgery whilst raising his family, and a face that many of you are already familiar with – Danny from Dream Big who is currently concentrating on his Youtube channel and MS awareness.  Plus a great post looking at what is more important in blogging…numbers or friendship?

But to kick off I have kindly been given permission to bring you this fun poem from Anna on Healing Hugs and Hope blog……

An Ode to My Heating Pad

Oh, heating pad,
 your warm hugs ease
my aches and pains.
I need your healing squeeze
When my feet get cold,
or when I get one of my migraines.

From arthritis to subluxations,

you’ve nursed me through.
When I find my muscles tied,
I cuddle up to you.
It’s so nice and toasty,

with you by my side.

Due to my poor circulation,
I’m often very cold.
When my thyroid acts out,
you are too hot to hold.
Still, you know I’ll be back,
  it’s your gentle hugs I’m mad about.
If you love your heating pad so much, why don’t you marry it? Well, maybe I will….

A Silly Poem for People with Chronic Illness by Anna Ottlinger HEALING HUGS AND HOPE

So now time for feet up, cuppa in hand and enjoy some great posts!


I really hope that you enjoy these as much as I have – and had a giggle at the poem from Anna. It appealed to me as I really can’t go anywhere without my heating pad!  Please explore the blogs leave some messages and share posts you enjoy.

Claire x


Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Monday Magic

Good Morning, all!  Hope that those of you enjoying a Bank Holiday are having a fantastic day, and that everyone else has had a great weekend!

The weather is beautiful here and we have a family BBQ planned for later in the day – coincidental, but it just happens to be my parents 52nd wedding anniversary.  Dad would tell you that he would get less for a life sentence!!

A very good friend contacted me earlier in the week with the sad news that her mum had died.  She has been living in a nursing home for several years now and has gradually deteriorated, but in recent weeks she took a turn for the worse with a bad chest infection and just wasn’t strong enough to fight it. This week has been very hard for my friend, her brother & sister, and particularly her dad.  They had been married over 60 years.  It struck me that no matter how old or how sick a loved one is, the sense of loss at a death just can’t be anticipated.

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Beautiful bank holiday Monday!

When I received that message my own mum was here and I should probably point out that we have a great relationship.  She has been staying with me whilst the family have been away and has effectively been my carer again! Talk about turning the clock back, becoming the child again.  I felt so dependent physically and even a short car journey left me struggling, but it never fails to amaze me how that parent/child psychological bond is always there.  No matter how old you are,  it is always possible to feel like a teen again! A naughty teen at times!  Seriously though, thanks mum, I couldn’t have managed without you.

This week I have been able to spend time finding new groups and meeting new bloggers online.  So the inspiring blog posts I have for you are from a mixture of sources – one of them being the Facebook group Big Up Your Blog! – run by Suzie from “Suzie Speaks”.  I have included her post about self censorship on our blogs – it is something all bloggers should read, no matter what your content matter. I think that I have probably failed miserably on all counts!!  There is also a beautiful poem about a relationship break up, the role we play ins supporting new mothers emotionally and a shout out for a new disability campaign for parents later this year.

So as usual, grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy…..

Please remember to comment, check out other posts on these blogs and find a new writer to follow,

Claire x


Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good Morning!

I hope that you are all ready for another week – tennis at Wimbledon, more sun, heat and BBQs, and for many the end of the school term and for some the beginning of the long summer holidays.  So I really shouldn’t moan about this heat wave that we have in the south of the UK, but it is really sending my POTS/dysautonomia off the scale.  Please send me all your top tips and I will put a post together – funny tips too please!

Anyway I bought a big straw hat – not easy when you have inherited the family huge head! – and have been away for a couple of days with my parents to visit my brother at his new house.  We are talking brand new – living on a building site would aptly describe the estate at the moment – and my sister-in-law still has a lot of boxes to unpack.  Think I would be correct in saying mainly make up and bling…..she won’t be offended!  We were taken to the school play and end of year prize giving on Thursday, which was an incredibly hot day.  The children, aged 5 – 11, did a fantastic job of an interesting amalgamation of Romeo & Juliet, Peter Pan and the Cow who wanted to grow Sunflowers – beautiful costumes!  The whole event took place in a marquee – small Oxfordshire private school – and the heat during the afternoon was horrendous.  I think maybe the head should have adjusted her speech….shortened it!!


Well earned picnic at nephew’s school – featuring Grandad!

Anyway,  despite being armed with said hat, water and the salt grinder from my brother’s kitchen, Auntie Claire had already fainted on leaving the portaloo.  But I completely stole the show at the end of the day with a fantastic backwards faint when standing up from my wheelchair to get into the car.  I came round on the gravel carpark floor surrounded by faces….not just those of my family!  There was a parent who is a doctor, the school nurse, a teacher……and my mum trying to explain POTS, my spinal cord stimulator etc etc…..and please don’t call an ambulance!!  The school nurse was quite excited, having come to these events for years and having nothing to do.  As a fellow nurse I loved this



The stunning Hornbeam Walk at the Aston Pottery

Like many of you, I have spent the weekend feeling constantly giddy and last night managed to pop a hip and dislocate the knee and ankle on the same leg – the joys of EDS.  So whilst I should be at a governors’ visit day at our local primary school – Duncan would not let me go unless I could weight bear – I am instead sitting with leg up and finding some great posts for you.  The final You tube video comes from a young vlogger who appeared on the BBC yesterday morning to discuss organ donation in the UK – he has cystic fibrosis and is awaiting a lung transplant.  This post is about living with a chronic illness as a teen.

Time for your cuppa and relaxation time with some inspiring posts! Enjoy!Monday Magic


Please remember to like posts and follow these great bloggers!

Claire x

#Depression – it can happen to anyone!


I want to share a link to a blog post from a very talented young man who has just announced his departure from progressive rock band The Enid.  Please don’t switch off because Prog Rock isn’t your thing – it isn’t really mine either, but my husband has followed The Enid for years and so also the career of Joe Payne since he became their lead singer 5 years ago.  His talent is undeniable – his vocals would work on any musical theatre stage let alone a rock band.

My reason for sharing is that Joe has written a very candid post describing how life overtook him and before he really knew it, he had been taken over by anxiety and depression and breakdown.  I have described before how my husband suffered a similar mental health breakdown a couple of years ago, after a period of extreme pressure from both work and several life experiences.  There is still a stigma attached to any health issues that are related to the psyche rather than the physical – but this should remind us that if a young, talented and successful young man can succumb to depression, it really can effect anyone. Let’s all continue to raise awareness of the importance of mental health care – thank you Joe for sharing and very best wishes for your future.


Reflections and resolutions

The end of the year always feels like a time for reflection, doesn’t it? Or is it just a time for looking ahead and making those dreaded New Year resolutions, only to broken by Jan 5th!?  I really, really want to be looking forward for my own sanity and for those around me – but not before I reflect on this year.  Please indulge me……

It has been a tricky year in our house for a variety of health issues and the related monetary concerns that being unable to work brings.  It is almost exactly a year since Duncan was given the correct meds for his depression and was able to start on the long road to recovery.  At first, when he was so ill and unable to think straight, he was adamant he wouldn’t take drugs.  During my time nursing I cared for many patients and relatives who resisted antidepressants and we had the “if you had a headache you’d take a paracetamol; you have a chemical imbalance that just needs a little extra help to be put back to normal” chat.  At least when it was my own husband, not only had I this medical experience, but I had also been there myself just 2 years ago.  As a society we still prefer not to discuss issues of the psyche, whether our own or others – there remains a stigma around mental health problems.  Maybe this is part of the reason that so many of us feel an overwhelming need to refuse medication – feelings of shame, embarrassment, failure, fear, addiction concern, to name a few.  I remember feeling like a huge failure when I joined club Prozac and illogically ashamed.  It took several months before Duncan was convinced of the need for chemical help and then the first drug only went and made his symptoms worse.  But with great support from our GP and the correct drug, he has made progress.  We would probably both say, about each other, that seeing your partner in the grips of something that you have no control over is the hardest thing to witness.images (10)

Then one of our sons was also ill and this really did knock us for six, as we had never seen him like this before.  It emerged that he had recognised certain symptoms when reading articles with titles such as “Existential depression in the gifted and talented adolescent” – I was lost by the end of the first paragraph!  Happily with the right support all round,  we all have a better understanding and things are back on an even keel.  But our youngsters today never switch off.  They are constantly over stimulated as they rely on social media to communicate, and have a powerful hand held computer in the shape of a mobile phone on tap 24/7.  Overthinking has always been an issue in the very bright, but I wonder if we will see it increasingly becoming the norm?

My appointment with the specialist pain team at St Thomas’s came just in the midst of these crises.  I warned the psychologist that she had caught me at the end of a particularly stressful and emotional week, but she told me to describe everything from the start of my back problems.  “But that began in 1991 – should I really go back that far?” “Yes, please” “How long do you have?” Poor woman didn’t quite know what had hit her!!  This in turn led to my 2 week inpatient programme and subsequently the implant.  It all sounds terribly easy like this……

I have had some highs and lows over the last fortnight.  One real success was a trip to London to visit the student with the other teenagers.  We decided to brave the train rather than London Xmas roads, and I even had a member of BR help me to get into the carriage which made me feel about 90!  We had a lovely meal on the South bank and then enjoyed following our three offspring around the Xmas market. download (2) So nice to see them actually getting on.  In their black skinny jeans, I couldn’t help but compare the legs to strips of liquorice…..but I digress.  We walked to Trafalgar Square to see the Norwegian tree and then the kids went back with their brother to the student flat, whilst we made our way slowly back to Waterloo.  It wasn’t easy, my foot was dead and my leg kept giving way, but with the help of the stim (and Duncan half carrying me!) I did it – a far cry from a similar visit last year when we went to the theatre on the same night as the tube strike.  That was one very long trek and never has  Waterloo  bridge felt so endless – it took 45 minutes to get me across the bridge alone!  A couple of walks in our local park were made so much easier and even enjoyable as I was able to whack up the stim and counter the leg pain, even sitting outside for a hot choc.

But I have also learnt that the stim can only deal with so much!  As the weather has become colder over the last few days and the nights have been so windy, so my barometer body has played up accordingly.  My EDS has left me with extremely painful shoulders which dislocate regularly – Duncan monitors me when asleep to ensure that I haven’t lifted an arm above my head…and the weight then pulls itself out of socket!! The back pain at night has been reaching a peak and I actually fell asleep with the stim turned on, and a trip to our local shops became extreme as both the weather changed and my leg pain rocketed.  Even the stimulation couldn’t do battle with the nerve pain exacerbated by cold wind and rain – we couldn’t even stand upright – and the then familiar nausea and vomiting that follows when my body experiences large changes in temperature.  In this case it was stepping into our warm home!

For someone living with a chronic condition, looking forward to a new year can become something to dread rather than to celebrate.  At times the thought of living through another year in pain has been too much to contemplate even with the love and support of family and friends.  So this New Year, as others resolve to try that new diet, join the gym, do “dry January” etc., etc., I will continue to take each day as it comes.  As a family we will move forward together, continue to battle the intricacies of the benefits system, look toward Dunc returning to employment (albeit on a different level), the kids being teenagers(!) and for me to cautiously look to a year with some control over my body, that has been stolen by chronic pain, being restored to me with my stim.  I hope that we can remember that there is always someone worse off ……

Finally, after a very long post which I started on NYE, as you recover from festivities – I wish all my Painpals a peaceful and healthy 2016! download (1)

Empathy isn’t just for Xmas

We have been so unwell since my last post!  Duncan and I haven’t stopped coughing yet, I lost my voice completely last week – much to the delight of the kids – and have forbidden the student from coming home as I’m sleeping in his bed.  I have missed out on the various nativity productions at my primary school and have cancelled so many socials with friends I have lost count.images (7)  Panic started to kick in at the end of last week when the cupboards were bare and the fridge was empty, so we hauled ourselves coughing and wheezing to the supermarket.  As friends commented that they were busy getting everything done for Christmas, I was thinking that I hadn’t even thought about it let alone started!  Going from post operative recovery straight into flu/cough for nearly 3 weeks has not been a great seasonal prep time.

I have to admit that I have struggled with my back – coughing is rough at the best of times, isn’t it, putting stress on the abs, causing headaches and stress incontinence for us girls.  So the added stress on a not quite healed operation site has been tough.  My implant site (right butt!) and right leg has been so sore that some mornings I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve been beaten up and even resorted to my post op naproxen again.  The stimulation has actually made my nerve pain worse whilst I’ve been ill – I wonder why?  After nearly 3 weeks I am so fed up!  But on the up side, I have managed to get into the hairdresser’s seat this week and it is official – I am no longer grey.  Thanks to my lovely friend Bev, I now look and nearly feel 10 years younger!  Duncan and I got out to a carol service for the other school where I sit on the alumni association – I sang the carols beautifully.  Really easy to do when, as you open your mouth, no sound comes out!  It was here that I was given a piece of advice from an old school friend who has lots of remedies from his Indian grandmother.  We do lemon and honey hot drinks (unless like my brother and I, you can’t stand the smell of honey – long story going back to our childhood, our great grandmother and pots of coffee “thickened” with honey!!) whereas he recommended turmeric in hot water…..mmmm, delicious!  But I have been that desperate that I would give anything a go and, sweetened with a spot of brown sugar, it has proven oddly soothing.  Duncan has been well enough to drive to his parents today, we have shipped the teenage daughter off to stay with my brother and sister in law (thanks, Sandra!), and the boys are still at school/uni……so I am enjoying a glorious couple of days in an empty house.  Just me and my dog and rubbish Christmas movies……

For this is the season for goodwill, over indulgence, sentimental tv and bonhomie, isn’t it?  How many of us struggle to maintain the cheerful face as everyone around us appears to be having such a fantastic time?  Whether it is loneliness, grief, poverty or illness, there are a myriad of reasons out there that actually make this time of year very difficult for some of us.  Guilt is another emotion that gets in the way.  Guilt that you aren’t feeling jolly; guilt that your condition is keeping your loved ones from the activities that you feel they should be a part of; guilt that others feel that they must tiptoe around you; guilt that you can’t do for your friends and family what you would want to; guilt for feeling jealous of them.

It really is so true that when the chips are down, we find out who our friends are.  Over the twenty or so years since I have had my back problems, I have been surprised more than once by both the friends who have stepped up with support and those who have not!  This old adage is even more true with a chronic condition.  I am well aware that for some people my disability makes me a bloody nuisance these days, but it can still be hurtful.  I don’t want to have to constantly ask for a lift for instance, but when “friends” just no longer even think to ask or offer it is tough.  I was listening to the fantastic Adele’s song “Million Years Ago” and she seemed to be singing my song when she describes “not being able to stand the reflection I see; my life flashing by; missing my friends, when my life was a party to be thrown; but that was a million years ago”. images (8) I can see my friends’ lives moving on, careers unfurling, travels taking them far and wide, and I do feel that mine has come to a stand still.  Self pity?  I hope not.  More being realistic and understanding my limitations.  Note to self – New Year, new pain relief with the scs, new stage in my life!

I received a text today from a very supportive friend apologising for being a “rubbish” friend for not being in touch recently.  Yet her teenage daughter, who has an Asperger’s diagnosis, had tried to commit suicide.  Have you noticed that it is often the people who are in the most difficult situations themselves, who are also the very people who do make the time for their friends in need? I guess this goes back to the “when the chips are down” again – when we have been there maybe we develop a heightened empathy.  A friend who has been particularly supportive of me and of Duncan since his  mental health breakdown last year, has undergone her own battle with breast cancer, including extensive reconstructive surgery earlier this year.  Kylie Minogue took the time to surprise a young woman in her home, with a party live on a BBC show last night to “thank” her for the work that she has done for a breast cancer organisation.  What marks her out is that she was undergoing her own treatment for breast cancer, diagnosed in her late twenties, looking at the possibility of infertility, and yet pushed herself to run marathons, fund raise and praise the bravery of other women around her.  Of course Kylie had her own personal experience to drive her to want to do something for this young lady.

download (1)Christmas!  Looking on the bright side, Star Wars is back in our cinemas, the X Factor has finished and Jose Mourinho has been sacked……sorry, Duncan!