Monday, 20 July 2009

Changes

Changes are afoot over here in Amanda-land, and mostly good ones at that :o)

My health is improving in leaps and bounds at the moment (except today I feel awful, typical, huh? lol) But mostly it is improving loads. We went to visit my parents this weekend and they had a picture of us they had taken at Christmas... I hadn't realised just how ill I had looked. Seriously. Looking at the photo you'd think I'd had something terribly wrong with me - well I did, I suppose. It really made me sit up and think. Add to that the amount of comments I received at my friend's daughter's 1st birthday party along the lines of "God, you've lost some weight haven't you, get some meat on your bones, gal!" well I guess I have some way to go yet to full health. But I am getting better and boy can we notice the difference. I am happy, hopeful, and enjoying life again. I missed this.

We've got a busy summer ahead of us - a trip to Glastonbury this coming weekend, and one to Rome in August for a wedding. Then another wedding just after we get back. (And one more in January, though that's a while off yet!) It's great to have things to look forward to again and we're adding one more thing to that - a new blog!

Yes, that's right, I said a new blog! I have felt for some time now that this blog lacked direction. I didn't know what to do with it - I would post on all manner of things and there seemed to be no point to it other than letting off steam. I want my blog to be a place that not only I enjoy visiting but others do too. And I want it to be the best of my life, not just the worst. If I'm having a bad day I want it to inspire, not simply note the horribleness of it all. Don't get me wrong, I have needed to vent on this blog the past year as it has been so hard - but now that is all changing I feel the need for a new blog.

What is more exciting about this new blog? Well T is going to play a huge part in it. He has expressed a wish to be involved and we are going to work on it together. We are currently drawing together ideas for posts and working out the specifics of where to host, how to display etc etc but how exciting!! Hopefully soon you'll be looking forward to more video/audio extras like the ones before (in better quality when I have someone to record them for me!) as well as other little treat we can think of. I love nothing more than to be creative - except maybe to be creative with someone else!

So stay tuned guys, (if of course anyone is still reading after the blog went astray this year), we will be back with lots of fun and new things to enjoy!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

A little vid plu a question of faith

Ok first things first - for your "entertainment" and especially for Jeanne, here's a quick hello.

video

It's not great, unfortunately, again I lack the equipment for high quality video just like I lacked the equipment for high-quality singing in the last post but it's a start. If you like this I promise I'll find some better way of doing it in future!

If you hate my faith/spirituality ramblings please do feel free to ignore this one ;o)

And now on the the main topic of my post - faith, religion and God, or rather my confusion about all three! Oh don't I always come round to this topic (btw I'm blaming Isobel for this one, her recent post "Mormons rule. Pass it on." got me thinking about it big time!). I can't help returning to this over and over because I am, let's say, both completely amazed and completely baffled by faith and religion. No that's not right, I "get" faith - faith is about having faith in something based on your own experiences and feelings about what is true even if you don't have concrete evidence. In terms of faith I know roughly where I stand - I have faith that there is a God of some kind and that God has a plan far bigger than any of us can comprehend and that even the things we see as "bad" have a place in that plan. But when it comes to specifics I don't know what I believe - I haven't experienced enough to know the specifics and this is what baffles me about religion, I wonder how there can be so many different specifics that in one way are so alike and in other so different - like how our faith in God dictates the way we live our lives and whether we believe in one God or many Gods or many facets on the one God etc.

Sometimes I wish I had spent more time looking into this when I was younger - but when I was younger I never questioned the specifics... I believed in God and that was all that mattered. I spend a lot of my time questioning specifics nowadays - it's like my childhood faith vanished when the tiniest seed of doubt was planted in my mind only a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, this was a good thing, it made me think and it made me read and it made me question and I now know far more about different religions than I ever did... which is good. I have a long way to go of course, but I'm getting there, slowly. For example, Isobel's post got me looking deeper into LDS and what it actually means - I really didn't have much of a clue. I still don't... but I have a bit more of an idea since watching some of the videos on the web and having a look at the Book of Mormon which I have never looked at before.

I like being challenged like this and I feel that God, whoever that is, is bringing me people and situations to help me discover what I need to. Just the other day I met a Krishnan monk on the street - I had not made lunch that day and was in search of something to eat (difficult when you can't eat wheat or lettuce when most shops only sell sandwiches or salads!) and so I was walking down the street in my search when he stopped me. I was conscious of my time but something made me stop and listen to him. We had a good old chat, which reminds me I really must send him an email and thank him for that! I took a book off him and brought it home and started to read it. I didn't understand it all - just like I get baffled by the Bible sometimes despite growing up in a predominantly Christian society: I just haven't been taught about the history of the Bible and what it means and so certain parts baffle me as to what they are on about! Doesn't mean I don't try to understand them.

This pattern of being brought opportunities to experience, learn and question runs through my life. My family is not religious in the slightest but somehow I found my way along a very spiritual path. I spent several months as part of a church choir (let's not talk about the fact I spent most of that pre-occupied by my fear of singing - that just shows how crazy I am!) I then spent my 3 months in Germany living with a Salvation Army family and working with them and others, which despite being away from my home and incredibly difficult were also 3 of the most joyous months of my life. These months were also at a time when I had turned away from the church from a bad experience, turned to new-age spirituality which made perfect sense to me, and then was trying to understand how it all fit together: how could both feel right in their own way?

Tim and I have spent many hours talking about this - how we'd love to be part of a community but do not want to join one that stifles our own searches for God. We've looked into different faiths and the more I do this the more connections I see as opposed to differences - yet the differences still exist. And this baffles me. I don't have an answer and I doubt anyone of us does. But it excites and intrigues me no end. So I'm off to do some more reading now.

NB: Do you like the way I "passed it on" for Isobel whilst actually managing to integrate it into my own post. I don't know enough about Mormons to know if they truly "rule" or not, but I think Isobel is one classy chick and she certainly made me think!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Sunshine and Singing

Morning all,

I haven't got much time to post anything so thought I'd leave you with one of my favourite songs. I love to sing, but singing has been something I have always been very shy/nervous about so this is quite scary stuff - especially as it was recorded early this morning, over breakfast, on a very dodgy microphone (please do excuse the poor sound quality and slightly croaky voice quality!!)

This song reminds me of how easy it is to spend our time dreaming of something when in actual fact whilst dreaming we miss so many opportunities to actually have them in our lives. I'm never one to dismiss dreaming - love to dream - but dreams must be followed by action to bring the sunshine into our lives. Here's to making our dreams come true!

Click here (sorry you have to download it, I haven't figured out a better way of uploading audio to blogger yet and am considering changing to Typepad if this takes off and I choose to do more audio posts).

Friday, 26 June 2009

When you lose who you are

It seems to me that the ONLY reason one ever feels repressed, stressed of even depressed is because of the momentary loss of who you are at the deepest part of your soul. At least this is my experience!

Sure, I've been stressed by work, ill health, financial problems, ridiculous levels of perfectionism and guilt at not reaching such high standards etc etc - but despite all of those things a wonderful feeling of "everything's ok" was always there, if only I had stopped and looked.

Let me explain - thoughout the past few years I have been up and down in my feeling of joy and despair like the greatest yoyo you could ever hope to possess. Yep, I've had my fair share of stresses, as you all know, but there have been times in my life when I have had worse to worry about and been absolutely fine, and others when there has not been a reason to stress and yet there I was, facing the darkest nights. It was not my circumstance that caused me upset, but my reactions to them and they way I viewed the world.

I am a pleaser - I like to please others, either by my thoughts, words or deeds. I am also an achiever, blessed by an ability to achieve great things but burdened by the thought that this means I have to achieve everything and achieve it NOW! These two things combined have caused me more stress and concern than anything else. Seriously.

My second year at uni was one of my happiest - I was spiritually active, I wrote tons of poems and stories, and I had the time of my life. I felt secure, loved and protected and nothing really mattered. Consequently my health was fantastic too, for endo and IBS both react badly to stress, and without it I felt amazing. Then came my third year - I worried and fretted, I closed down spiritually because of my environment and I felt pressured to "prove my worth". Of course life sent me great teachers, but instead of seeing the opportunity to overcome my fears I fell prey to them and lost all my self-worth.

It took me almost a whole year and reaching rock bottom to realise this did not work and at the moment when I should have been stressed beyond measure I felt as chilled as anything. I had my final exams, the tutors were all on strike, and I had to start looking for jobs. But I realised in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter. And consequently I did far better, because through relaxation I found I actually enjoyed the process.

Again, recently, I struggled as my health deteriorated, I felt I was underachieving at work, and I wasn't there for those who needed me. It took a lot to shake me out of it and realise that again I had fallen under my own ideals of who I thought I should be - I should learn these languages, I should study to be a tour guide, I should do more at work, I should give more to my family, I should be able to get us out of debt, I should, I should, I should...

Should never, ever helps us as it places upon us a mask to hide who we really are. I lost my spirituality and my ability to see the beauty all around me and even within myself by following shoulds. I'm not saying there aren't times when I need to act a certain way, but they certainly shouldn't take over my entire life. So I am reclaiming my free time for me and I am rediscovering who I really am.

For too long this blog has been something I felt I should write - or rather it is something I have written posts about based on what I think people would want to read. So now it's time for a change. I am currently writing again and it is beautiful - to do what you feel in your heart and soul is an amazing thing. Too often I have blocked my creativity by trying to find ways to write that people would want - a silly thing for someone who once run a writing course to teach people they could write by writing what made them happy. Sometimes I need to practise what I preach!

And for too long I have not had the time to devote to this one thing I love so much - I have taken on projects here there and everywhere which have eaten up my time and then I have lamented the fact I have no time. Silly, really. So now I am excited to be building up an idea which will alow me to do what I want by truly being who I am.

Of course change can be scary - it means saying goodbye to things you know... like this blog I have nurtured for so long. But a change can be the best thing in the world, when you know why you are changing and what you really want. And for once I believe that I do.

So changes are afoot and I invite you to follow, if you wish, but for now I cannot say how it will change. All I know is that I am excited by this because finally I am ready to say "this is who I am - take it or leave it". Now, doesn't that make you sigh!!

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Importance of Dreams

Years ago when I tried to find a new email address (being fed up of getting spammed constantly due on my old one) I was listening to the You were meant for me by Jewel and the line "dreams last for so long" stuck in my head and became the key to my new address. Years later when considering starting a blog I chose a variation on the theme and chose "dream of living" for my blog's name for after all my whole reason for blogging was to build up friendships with those people who inspired me and who inspired my dream for my own life in so many ways.

I've been called a "romantic" by some - hey that's ok, I'm the most romantic fool you could ever find and it's one of the things T loves so much about me - proof that a dream I held was worth the wait for the man of my dreams really did come into my life at exactly the right time for the both of us. I'm not saying that every dream will come true - I know I have many fools dreams that take me away from reality once in a while when I need a little escape - but the key dreams we hold so dear, the ones that come from the heart and stick with us for years, if not forever, those are so worth holding on to.

I know I am not alone in this, in fact one of the blogs that inspired me the most to start my own blog and continues to gladden my heart is that of Cherry Menlove. Cherry is someone who has a dream and is living it and takes the time to share that with others to give hope and happiness where it may be lacking. Honestly if you haven't already popped by go visit her at http://www.cherrymenlove.com/

Sometimes, of course, when we are stuck in the painful moments in our life it can be hard to read of someone else's success, particularly in areas we want to achieve in. Too often in recent years I have felt bitter about why I don't seem to be getting anywhere and with the recent struggles at work and hormones all over the place I have been the worst one for that. "What's the point of trying to be the best person you can be, giving the best of yourself to others, working hard and playing by the rules if it never gets you anywhere" are familiar words in my head and even out of my mouth these past few weeks. My heart is yearning for more and in some respects a lot of my unhappiness comes from my reality not living up to my dreams...

Yet I would never denounce the power of dreams for they are what keeps me going. Without a dream I would lose hope and in times like these when it is so easy to fallen into a state of depressions a dream can really buoy you up and give you something to aim for (and I don't know about you but the lack of something to aim for depresses me more than anything else - if I'm living a life I don't like and see no future alternative what would be the point?) I've spoken before about the power of faith and gratitude and both of these go hand in hand with the power of dreams - like three best friends, held together forever. With faith that my dreams will come true and gratitude for all those that have how can I stay down for long?

I said in my last post, which you will not deny was rather angry and sad, that I might just start writing more about endo. Endo is one of those things that gets in my way - it sucks away my energy and makes me feel vulnerable. It messes with my hormones, and therefore my ability to think clearly and rationally. Worse than that, it is an invisible condition which is entirely unpredictable and is so badly understood by doctors and society both that it can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes endo even gets in the way of my dreams by taking away my hope, tugging on the energy resources I need to start living my dream, and just downright annoys me. But I would never have made it this far, never survived 4 years at uni with extensive travel, and the crazy business of starting out in the world of work if it weren't for dreams. I also would never have survived the endo without becoming a complete victim to it - by giving up.

Don't get me wrong, I have wanted to give up so many times in my life I cannot count them anymore. There is nothing wrong with giving up and sometimes I think I fight too hard, sometimes it might do me good to give up for a day or two. Some of my dreams have had to be readjusted, like my dream of working with children - instead of working with them now I am hoping I'll find a more easier way on my health in the future, running workshops perhaps or writing books instead of working in the nurseries. Others have been put on hold - like the dream of working from home and having more balance in my life. But many are ongoing and constantly I find them being fulfilled without my even trying - like my dream to speak several languages, I might not be fluent but after years of studying languages I pick them up very quickly now and working in the job I do, meeting people from all over the world on a daily basis, learning new words, phrases and even practising the ones I had forgotten, comes naturally.

Dream of Living is about just that - having a dream about life, the life that you want for yourself, and then living it. I have a long, long way to go but in the words of Bliss, "a part of me seems to know, that there is someone standing close, and guiding me whenever I go wrong". A friend of mine sent some Angels to be with my this week and already our house feels different. I'm a firm believer in Angels and used to ask them to be around me constantly - but I forget these days and having that reminder to stop, breathe and enjoy the sensation of being cared for constantly is a tonic beyond any other I could find. I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason - not that things are pre-destined and we have no choice, but that there will always be ways open to us if we are meant to go that route, and what else could lifelong dreams that stir you so strongly you cannot help but follow be but flickers of the path you feel you are born to tread?

I must go now as my bus leaves for work in ten minutes and I am not yet dressed hehe but I do hope that something in this post resonates with you. Have a wonderful week, my friends xx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sometimes I wonder...

why I feel so passionate about fighting for causes and those who cannot fight for themselves...

then I remember it's because I KNOW how hard it is to fight for yourself

Currently I am struggling with my employer - never mind the "we're a caring employer" impression they give out - I am currently one step away from formal procedures due to my absences - the same formal procedures used for people just taking the pee. I can't be dealing with that kind of stress - I have a chronic illness, an illness I told them about before even being employed and have been nothing but upfront with them about it throughout all the time I have had off. But do they care? Nope, they just see that the amount of days I've had off have hit the corporate triggers and so let's just fill in forms and tell our employee she is under review and any more absences this coming month (just one month after a major operation that she is still recovering from when she might just need some time off) one more day off during this month and that'll be that.

So - I am emotional as hell due to my hormones, exhausted beyond belief and terrified of making myself worse as I have done in the past by working beyond my ability to cope, sinking into the beginnings of depression and what do they do - they add to my stress. I used to love my job - in fact the job itself I still do love, but I feel like it is killing me. And it made me realise that the only time in the past 8 years I have not been like this was when I was working part-time at the uni - I was depressed and exhausted and ill at uni, whilst working at both nurseries and again now. It is like I don't have the stamina for full-time work - especially the kind I enjoy which means I am on my feet, up and down, round and round, serving people or caring for people. I just can't do it but have no choice but to continue. I do so love my job, but is it worth my health?

As it is I have 90% decided not to do my tour guide training - can you imagine me losing what little free time and energy I have left to studying for something even the healthiest people tell me is "extremely challenging"? Besides, I recently started writing again and I want to do that... or should I expand and say that I started writing again whilst on sick leave after the op and for the first time in years it began to truly flow because I was feeling relaxed - since going back to work I have written nothing and lost all confidence in what I was writing - all because I was stressed. I need to rebalance.

I'm looking forward to the forthcoming edition of endolink as it is focussing on women and the workplace. I am also looking into the possibility of having my endo classed as a "disability" for work purposes - because why should I be measured against the same absence targets as someone in perfect health who never needs time off sick? I go in when I feel like hell and have to be really bad to stay off, which just shows how ill I have felt, and yet because I have had so much time off I don't even get full pay when I'm off work now. How stinky is that?

My dad told me not to stress so much (in a nice way not an uncaring way - he is a manager and he knows how it works and how stupid it can be and he also knows me and how stressed I get and how stresed he gets and he feels so helpless - he is a true warrior for those who need it, yet wise enough to let people fight for themselves when they can!) Anyway he said I have done everything by the book - I have been honest with them from the start and they have no means to touch my job in any way because of it. That's not the point though - the point is they are doing this in the first place instead of reading the occupational health report and my drs notes and the forms I have to fill in constantly and seeing that it is all related to the one thing I cannot control. THAT is why I feel it is so important to fight and why, for the foreseeable future, I may just focus this blog on spreading endo awareness... I just may!


Monday, 18 May 2009

Country Living and Living Dreams

Have I ever told you guys just how much I have always wanted to live in the country? Ever since reading stories set on farms as a child I wanted to live out in nature. I was never one of those people who yearn for the convenience of big cities - and having lived in a couple I think they are ok convenience wise but just lack that quiet calm of the country.


Since moving out to the village we have been loving the changes in our lifestyle... freshly grown salad leaves and radishes (I can't normally eat lettuce - I think it may be the pesticides they use commercially because I am fine with our home grown varieties!) and we shall soon have runner beans, tomatoes, strawberries, apples, beetroot, onions and carrots to add to that (plus courgettes, aubergines and parsnips if they survive our ignorance in terms of vegetable growing!)

We've also enjoyed the friendliness of the neighbours and the feeling that everything is ok. It almost feels like the sun shines brighter here - let's just say going from no garden to one with roses, clematis, elder trees and hanging baskets is just a dream come true.


But having said that, I am a human and as such there is always the dream of something more...

It is not our home so whilst we are enjoying this stay as a trial run we do dream of one day having a place to truly call our own. And why stop there... if I'm going to dream I'm going to dream big, and why not it doesn't hurt anybody.

So, what do I dream of? Well, lots of things, as my blog title suggests hehe but one of the things I used to dream of as a teenager was being able to help young people (particularly those who are carers or have siblings who require a lot of care and attention so don't get it themselves). I wanted to run holidays for them, something special. How and where I never knew but I knew I wanted to do it. As I grew older I then experienced helping at camps for disabled teenagers... now there's another thought. And why not go further and include my love of nature and bringing people's awareness of it back into their lives, reminding people of the sheer beauty and simplicity of nature.

Let's just say that when T informed me the other day that you can purchase certain woodland areas I thought "wow, that is what I want!" So what exactly is this dream of mine? Well in an ideal world I would love to buy a large woodland area, also near some fields and a place to build a home. We could run a campsite where groups could come throughout the year - we could have disabled facilities for groups who needed them on the field, we could rent camping places in the woods for scout and girl guide groups as well as having a few yurts for those who wanted a holiday of a difference. Sounds lovely doesn't it... not very likely to happen, but a girl can dream!

And whilst we're talking about unlikely happenings, guess what happened to us the morning of my op? T opened the curtains at about 5:40am and shouted for me to come and look outside because standing right on our front lawn was a little muntjac. He was a darling and looked at us, then trotted across the road to eat some of the trees near the churchyard, before tottering off along the street in search of other tasty titbits. How amazing is that?!

Have ever told you how much I love the countryside?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Laparoscopy update

My laparoscopy went well - the consultant told me he didn't expect to find much as my scan last summer showed nothing to be worried about. So he was hugely surprised to find stage 3 endo which had stuck my right ovary to my abdominal wall, my uterus to my rectum and other spots around the ureter and utero-sacral ligaments. Just goes to show how little scans can show and how random endometriosis can be.

I was incredibly sick after the op and had to be kept in over night and given 3 huge bags of fluids as I just could not keep anything down but have managed to eat both breakfast and lunch today. I have a ridiculously sore throat and a nasty piece of skin or something hanging down from that little hangy down bit at the back of your throat which is annoying the hell out of me but every attempt to remove it just makes me retch and there is no way I am losing yet another meal that way - I need my nutrients so I'm having to deal with the annoyingness of it.

Pain wise I feel better than I have in months, aside from the gas pains - oh the gas pains I'd forgotten just how painful they can be plus I'm sore from throwing up. They think I threw up more this time because they flushed extra gas through my system to check they had made no holes in my bowel clearing the adhesions. I've been told to stay off work until at least nest Wednesday so that is what I plan to do.

I might go have another nap now. Be back with some normal blogging soon.

UPDATE: The thing at the back of my throat is pus (eeeewww tmi?) as I have an infected uvula from the tube they stick down your throat during the op. I got antibiotics yesterday but feel like crap - headache, throat so sore my whole mouth including my jaws and teeth hurt so bad I can hardly bear to eat just the minimum to keep taking painkillers and antibiotics, and general sicky feeling. 

The gas pains however are much better - I managed to even get in the bath for a quick soak today (with T's assistance to get back out again - there was no way I could do that myself). All in all I'm glad I told my work I'd be extending my leave from Monday to Thursday - gives the antibiotics more chance to kick in. 

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Think of me?

I have my lap on Wednesday. I'm really hoping that this will be the turning point of this long run of ill health I've had and I'll be able to get back to blogging about nice, happy things instead of moaning all the time - I hate moaning, talking about happy things is far more fun... and leaves room for posting pretty pictures too!

So, I had my pre-op assessment on Tuesday which went well. Prior to the appointment I was terrified of this op because my last one was less than pleasant. Having spoken to the nurse however I now realise that my experience was not just bad because of the complications and the terrible nausea following it, but the way the whole thing was handled was incorrect... "breach of confidentiality" actually came into the conversation - so although it could have been a hell of a lot worse, it was actually pretty bad and I was expecting the same thing to happen again. But now I feel far more confident - I am nervous still, of course, but I'm ok with it now.

I'll be treated in the new treatment centre in one of the largest hospitals in the UK - you can't really worry that much when you're in such good hands, can you? Plus T has been telling me all about it, seen as though he works at the hospital and knows some things about how wards work etc. In fact having someone look after me who looks after people post-op regularly is ideal - he'll be prepared for the nausea (unless they manage to get the anaesthetic right for me this time and avoid the nausea - here's hoping) and the tears - why do people cry after it, I never understood that!

Anyway, I am nervous but looking forward to it being over - I hope they find something they can deal with because that would really be the ideal - if they find it and can treat it then great... of course I hope they don't find too much... so if you're a praying, sending good thoughts, or energy healing kind of person then please think of me this coming Wednesday... I'd really appreciate it!

Edit: I forgot to say - my BMI was perfect and my blood pressure "textbook" according to the nurse on Tuesday - I am over the moon!! I don't think I have ever been like that - underweight, yes, slightly overweight, yes, high blood pressure, yes... let's hope this bodes well!!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Update, Birthday and Time off

Ok I have the shortest time before getting ready for work so apologies for the bullets!

  • I haven't been around much because I have felt the need to cut back my online time. I just haven't got the time or energy to do everything I want to and can't sit looking at a screen for as long as I used to. I have streamlined my bloglines feed to keep my endo friends and the baby blogs so that I can keep up with those who have things going on in their lives I don't want to miss - but the others I am not reading for the time being. I also won't be blogging myself as much - I can't cut myself off entirely but I need to cut back.
  • It was my birthday on Tuesday and I had a wonderful day in the garden - how blissful. T also bought me the soundtrack to Sister Act which has been playing constantly - do you know how this is the best present ever for me?! Well it is.
  • I saw occupational health on Wednesday which was um interesting. The nurse was concerned by how much I travel and work when I obviously cannot cope with it all whilst suffering with the endo and IBS. She wants me to cut down my hours or be redeployed to another area "short-term" until I get things under control healthwise - I can see why and in one way this is good but in another I don't want to lose my job because of it. She also wants me to see my GP and get a referral to both a nutritionalist and a pain management clinic as well as take up yoga again all to help me cope with what I do have because quite frankly I now have to accept this is a chronic condition. Damn.
  • Hence I got all upset and upset T that night by going over the fact that we may not ever be able to have children because a) I might not be able to fall pregnant, b) if I could I don't know if my body could cope with pregnancy as it doesn't cope with hormonal changes well and I would hate to have to make that decision or c) we just may not be able to afford it if I can't work due to health when I earn more than he does. Double damn.
  • I have my pre-op next week and then my lap on the 13th - let's hope they find something they can deal with to help make me feel better because I feel CRAP right now. I've had cramps since the weekend and the past 3 days I've had pain around my left ovary and shooting pains from there around my hip and down my leg - what's with that?? I've never had that before!! It hurts like hell though and now I feel sick as anything with trying to work - if I didn't have a meeting with my manager about improving the disabled guide for tourists which I have waited for weeks for I would call in sick today.
  • On the up side of things though I spoke to a friend on the phone I haven't seen since graduating and it was just like old times - so happy - and I am going to add skype this weekend to catch up with another friend and finally get round to calling others seen as though I have a 3 day weekend coming up - yay!!

Got to go to work now - hopefully be back in the not too distant future!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Updates for Easter

I haven't got much time to blog at the moment so I thought I'd just leave a few quick pointers:

  • My Grandma is coming to stay with us this weekend - I am SO excited I cannot tell you. I love my Grandma, she is like a part of my soul because she knows what is in my heart so well, be it something serious, something spiritual or something utterl ridiculous that we just have to giggle about. I am very much like my Grandma and that makes me happy because she is an amazing lady and I hope to be as amazing as she is when I am older!
  • Tomorrow is my last day before Easter - I will then have worked 7 days in a row. I am so ready for the rest because I have spent most of those 7 days in pain so I am doubly tired. At least tomorrow and Monday are short days (11 - 3) because of it being Easter.
  • I am spending a few nights at my aunt's next week. She lives in Cambridge itself and it was by staying at her house during the university holidays that I came to fall in love with the city. I loved spending time with her and miss those days so I am completely over the moon about spending a few days with her next week (T is on night shifts so I wouldn't see him anyway and by staying with her I also get the added benefit of being so much closer to work my days will be much shorter!)
  • I have had a pain in my lower back (around the left ovary area) which feels like a combination between a bruise and somebody pulling your hair. I used to get this bruised feeling a day before my period but now I don't have periods and it is just sticking around and annoying me - it hurts to walk (esp up stairs because it pulls) and it hurts to sit down (like someone has thumped me with an iron rod or something). It's not been as bad the last couple of days but I've started having headaches, feeling sick and today could hardly stomach my lunch. It is of course full moon time again and I am always worse around the full moon - even without bleeding my body still keeps to its cycle it seems... maybe I'm a werewolf in disguise, what do you think?
  • Work is getting really busy and I love it - I like being busy it makes the days go quicker. And now that we have two Italian girls and a Belgian girl working there plus someone from Germany and someone from Austria working in other parts of the office it is a linguist's dream!!

That's all I can think of right now, I'm too tired to think much so I'm going to go read in bed I think whilst I wait for T to arrive home from work. Have a wonderful Easter xx

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sacred Life Sunday - The Beauty of Sharing

Until very recently I held my faith very deep inside of me - I never wanted to speak of it. Actually that isn't true - when I was a child and teenager I had no qualms about talking about what I believed if asked but I never really volunteered information. And then after an experience whereby a certain "way of having faith" was forcibly thrown upon me I vowed never, ever to do the same to others. But I found that I couldn't talk about my faith at all really then, not openly with others of different beliefs. So I spent my time caught in my own little world, speaking so passionately with those I knew shared my way of thinking but never once opening up to others, despite their friendliness and compassion.

For those of you who have followed this blog for a while or those who know me you may already know that for a long time I have been feeling torn - a part of me continues to feel the pulling force of Christianity whilst another part of me is firmly rooted in the more liberal, new age communities. Because of this I even began to shut down the more spiritual side of myself I had previously been so strongly connected to - Angels, Reiki, Meditation and Spirit Guides. It was like I could only be one or the other person - a Christian who shunned the new age (which I couldn't do) or a new age person who shunned Christianity (not as hard as the first one but just as painful). Deep down I felt the need to make peace with them both, but try as I might I just kept getting lost in a circle of confusion.

Recently, however, I turned back to the Bible with an open heart and an open mind and suddenly it all made sense. I no longer felt anger or bitterness (ok I felt anger at some of the things certain people wrote about the new age in relation to the Bible - but I had no hard feelings when reading the Bible itself). It was like the dawning of a new day - bright and glorious, full of hope after the darkness of the night before. I felt happy and threw myself into both prayer and reading (you wouldn't believe the amount of books I have procured and read these past couple of months). But you know what was even greater than that? It was the ability to SHARE my faith with others - to say "God is great" and know that I didn't have to hide a part of myself in doing so! Because finally I felt comfortable saying to people "I'm not sure where I fit into all of this but I want to share with you this wonderful gift - I want to hear what YOU feel and I want to share with you what I feel" - how wonderful it felt to be able to look at it in that way.

And in doing so something even more incredibly occurred - I found that all this time I had a wrong impression of Christianity based purely on a select few people who had such strong convictions that I just couldn't agree with because I felt sure God wasn't telling me such things in my own heart. And I found that many of my Christian friends had very similar beliefs to me - in fact for every moment I was able to say "I don't feel comfortable with the idea of Jesus being the ONLY way to God", for example, they were equally able to say "I don't feel comfortable with the idea of hell and suffering"... and they were able to share with me what they felt the Bible taught about Jesus and I was able to share with them how my own interpretation helped me to make peace with suffering and the idea of hell. The more we spoke and the more I read the clearer it became to me that the few people I had spoken to in earlier years who had put me off Christianity completely due to their "holier than thou" and "we know the answers" attitude were so tiny in their minority - far more people have doubts that in fact strengthen their faith (for me having doubts means your ability to trust in something you do not know the answers to is made stronger - I hope that makes sense!)

I'm continuing to chat and read about these things and discovering a world I never knew - a world where there needn't be boundaries and I can be open in both my own sharing and the sharing of others in what we believe and how we feel God. That to me is a great blessing and has made me so much more open to building a relationship with God as well - so today I am celebrating the beauty that is found in sharing. When questions are asked, I will endeavour not to shy away in fear, for then my faith is weak, but to truly hear what is being asked, pray/meditate on the subject and accept that certain things may change - for faith is such a fluid thing - the basic tenets may never change, but our understanding of its finer details can easily grow as we experience more and more each day.

And in that light I am opening this post up to any questions/discussions anyone fancies having (either through the comments or email dreamslastforever{at}hotmail{dot}com regarding faith of any kind, be it Christian, new age or something else (though please do bear in mind if it is something else you may have to explain the basics to me because I only know these two paths). I promise not to force any of my opinions on you - I am in this to learn, not to argue!

Have a wonderful weekend
Amanda x

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Onto a happier note...

My posts of late have been rather dreary, which in a way is why I love blogging so much - it helps me look back and see how I was feeling at certain points and note the patterns of thought and behaviour I go through. How else would I remember exactly how much I have been obsessing over health issues, when so often our memory is inaccurate? I mean I often remember hard times as easier, happier and forget just how happy the happy times were - it's like I remember the essence of a feeling (I know I was happy/sad etc) but I do not remember the level of that emotion - it's good to see that, and as I was never any good at keeping a diary blogging helps me to come close to keeping one.

And so, looking back over my previous posts, I realise that my worry, though legitimate, has been a bit obsessive. I can't change what is happening and worrying about it isn't doing me any good except making me feel even worse. So, with that in mind, I am going to use this next blog post to list some of the ways in which I am blessed and remember some of those people and situations I have had in my thoughts and wish to pray for - doesn't tha sound like a much better blog post? It certainly sounds like a much better inner dialogue for me to be having anyway!

Blessings

  • I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves me with all his heart, cares for me deeply, laughs at my silliness and consoles me in my darkest times. He cooks, he cleans, he gets up early to ake my breakfast... all this and more to try and make my life easier for me during tough times. And more than that - he understands me. He understands my need to sometimes obsess over things just so that I can figure out for myself what it all means for me. He even takes me places he may not want to go originally but does because he loves me - and because he understands me on such a deep level he often finds he enjoys it himself in the end - how amazing it that?
  • I had a beautiful childhood, no matter how many times I complain about this or that (which really isn't that often to be fair). I was loved, guided, protected and yet allowed to make my own way in the world when I was ready. If it weren't for this great start in life I wouldn't be the person I am today, and although it may sounds strange I am proud of the person I have become (which is a BIG thing for me to say because I find being proud of myself very difficult).
  • I have amazing friends who, although not always close in distance, always remain close to y heart. Friendship is everything we could possibly ask for as far as I am concerned - T and I wouldn't make half as good a couple were it not for friendship!
  • I have a job - that pays pretty well even at the lowest end of the pay scale and includes a good pension scheme and repayments of my student loan. In times like this when so many are out of work I am so thankful both T and I work - despite my anger sometimes at never having any money left by the end of the month and never being able to buy things just because we might want a treat, I am thankful we have jobs and a home.
  • We have a beautiful hoe to return to each day - no matter the distance and inconvenience of commuting - in fact the commute has brought me time in the day to read, meditate and pray - things I never did on a daily basis before.

Prayers

  • I am keeping all my friends and family in my prayers, especially those who are facing life threatening illnesses within their own families.
  • I am praying for those I have met through blogging who are struggling so with their health, particularly endo-wise right now.
  • I am thinking of a colleague who is struggling with mobility issues right now - the pain it is causing her both physically and emotionally as she learns to readjust from being terribly active to unable to do anything.
  • I am asking to see the way forward with my own understanding of my beliefs - of God, Spirituality, life, death, reason and purpose... I am trying to be open to new ideas (and old), and to those sent to help me work this out at this stage in my journey

That will do for now - a much needed post I feel. I must run now otherwise I'll miss my bus. Hope you all have a lovely week. xx

Saturday, 28 March 2009

22 and a half days

Thought I'd better update you all on the work situation.

I had an "informal meeting" with my manager as advised by HR to inform me that I won't be hearing from occupational health until after April 1st as we are changing the company who do all that stuff. So that means I have to wait longer to find out what they are going to say. I did find out during this meeting that I have had 22 and a half days off since starting at the end of August last year - which is a lot. I understand that. I also understand that they are concerned because they have not all been for the same thing - even though I have told them they only reason I get so ill so easily is because I am so exhausted from dealing with the symptoms of the endo. Anyway I'm currently trying to use my time to find articles I can take with me to back up my case.

One of the things that has been bothering me is the fact that I remember saying in my interview that my health was fine. It was - I'd just suffered the bout of labyrinthitis and I told them about that but it was the first time I had really struggled with my health since leaving uni in 2006. I had had 2 years symptom free of the endo and although the pain was creeping back in it was manageable and I had not had to take any time off for it - plus I had previously had a scan and all seemed well so why would I worry about it? Aside from the odd stomach bug (which everyone gets especialy when working in nurseries with loads of babies) I had not taken any time off work. But seen as though I've only been there since end of August and my endo has become a continuous nightmare since they tried the Zoladex injections in October it doesn't look good - almost like I lied about my health...

And this thought plagued me all week until I remembered that I had to fill in a health questionnaire before being approved for my job - even though I'd passed the interview I couldn't be accepted until I passed the health check. I wrote down three things on that form - hypermobility of joints, labyrinthitis, and endometriosis. I even spoke to a lady on the phone who was concerned about how standing up for long hours would affect my joints and how the inner ear damage could affect my ability to work - neither of which have been a problem once. And yet she never once mentioned the endo - it didn't even seem to cross her mind that it would be a problem. So if someone from a health screening company didn't think it necessary to bring it up, why would I?

I've spoken to a few people who have put my mind at ease a bit more this week - my dad has told me he gets things from HR about staff under his management and it is a requirement for the company to make sure it is nothing work related that is causing the ill health, and my aunt has told me she was called in my occupational health when she started getting migraines and despite fearing she'd lose her job over it, it all turned out fine. I just wish I'd been working there a little bit longer before all this happened so that I didn't have to worry that people thought I was just lazy and/or weak.

This is, of course, my biggest concern. I know there is nothing I can do, not really, to change what happens with HR and occupational health. I can be informed, sure, and I can make sure they don't try and make me feel bad or pin blame on me, but at the end of the day a policy is a policy and if that means I have to go see them then I have to go see them and there is no point in stressing myself out over it because that just makes me even worse. But there has to be something I can do to ensure those around me do not start to resent me for the extra pressure put upon them. Both my manager and supervisor this week have brought it up with me that my ill health does put pressure on others because I was brought in to ease the pressure they suffered last summer which I have heard was horrendous. Time and again whenever I have mentioned getting tired easily it has been said that I need to build my energy up for the summer (and concern has been shown in their eyes not for how I feel now but for how it may affect the summer months). And although I understand this completely, I also wish it wasn't the case - and again I feel that had I been there longer and shown the resilience and energy levels I used to have just a year ago even, then there might be a bit more compassion.

That being said my manager did try to reassure me that if she didn't care she wouldn't bother sending me to occupation health but would have refused to sign off my probationary period, which she did after the intitial 6 month period despite my long absences. Of course, I am only just over those 6 months and if they take into account how many days I have been off sick I don't now if they are allowed to revoke it, does anyone know? I cannot shake the feeling that I am on very unsteady ground - not because I think they can sack me or anything but because if the summer is as busy as we are expecting and my health does not improve I don't know how much longer my body will keep going - I do not know how to work at a lower level as I have high standards and feel even more under pressure to prove my ability when I do manage to work. And let's be fair, I work in a job where there isn't really much chance of changing my role - I am needed to be there, in the office, on the front counter, every day - no part-time, flexi hours or home working to take the pressure off until my health is better (as the endo leaflet I read suggested) it just wouldn't work for a public information post.

*sigh* - I hate the fact that something like this can happen - I never really realised how much endo can affect your life. Before my diagnosis I was a student and so things were more flexible - I could work from home so long as I made my deadlines. Going out to work and keeping up with the rent and other responsibilities (especially after having T out of work for so many months last year and paying off debts from that) add so much more pressure. I also never realised the different effects it has - before it was the nausea and pain alone - now it is the fatigue and general ill health that gets me, the pain, though bad, is nowhere near what it was before and yet I think now my endo affects me more than it ever did previously. And what is worse is that it is such a silent illness - to everyone else you look healthy, especially if you're like me and cannot show vulnerability and just carry on as if nothing is wrong despite being in agony. And it is such an unknown that even though many people respond with "oh I know someone with endo, it can be so painful can't it?!" they never realise how many other ways it can affect someone - and how could they, I mean I never realised even though I had it myself.

Next week we start the 7 day opening hours in our office, which means that as a full time member of staff I will have to be in the office for 4 full days and 2 half days (that's 6 out of the 7) twice a month. We're hoping to change that to one week of 6 full days and one week of 4 full days but even so it does make it much harder than the winter months of 5 working days. I'm gonna need all the strength I can get - which is why today we did nothing but lay in bed the whole morning and then watch the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring. And for once I didn't feel like I should be doing more.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Occupational Health - should I be worried?

I had the usual "back-to-work" interview with my manager today - you know the ones you do when you've been absent where you fill out loads of forms? I've had so many of these since starting this job it becomes very disheartening and when you have to note all the past absences for 3 months and 5 months (and I've only been there since last August) you REALLY start to feel down.



I hate being ill so often - these days it's normal for me to feel sick, have cramps, have a stinking headache or just be exhausted but I drag myself into work regardless - and I'm pretty sure most people know this, although I think they have now become so used to it that they don't even realise I'm feeling rough anymore. But then along comes another illness and WHAM it gets me because my immune system is so low and my energy levels almost non-existant. And then I can't work. I hate it.


But more than that it worries me - I know that it is not great to miss lots of work because a) I've only been there a short time and b) it puts extra pressure on my colleagues. So imagine my horror when this morning my manager told me things like, "the summer is coming and we can't afford to keep getting casuals in to cover your absences" and "it's not fair on the rest of the team when you take time off in busy periods" and "I'm not telling you off... but..." (ok the but was silent but it was definately intoned as far as I was concerned - there was a real feeling of disapproval). The worst part was when she said it had been noted that I was spending a lot more time in the back office than on the front counter and was that because I had lost confidence in my ability to deal with the public... um NO - I have told her on several occasions I hate doing accommodation bookings but I seem to spend more time doing them than my actual job because I'm the only one who seems to have a clue about them and so get lumped with the job. I'd much rather be on the front desk and thought I'd made that clear - I mean I don't shy from things I don't like I hate accommodation but I do it nearly every day. Conversations like that make you feel really little.

So now I have to see occupational health because HR have flagged concerns about my absences. I have been expecting this since October to be quite honest and it was more the way my manager spoke to me and addressed the issue that annoyed me than the fact I have to see occ. health. But I am a little worried - is this going to make things better or worse? My dad reckons it'll be good because I'll actually be speaking to medical specialists who will know about endometriosis and the things I've tried to ease the symptoms. They may even, I hope, turn around to my manager and fill her in on the facts. I mean seriously this is a woman who had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis herself and yet she was shocked when I told her I feel sick regularly and doesn't seem to get that the only reason I am struggling is because of the effects of the condition or rather she doesn't seem to get hard I have to fight just to keep up with everyone else in the workplace.

Has anyone else had to see occupational health through concerns over their absences due to endo or any other ongoing condition? What was it like - was it positive or negative? What should I tell them and how can I make sure it benefits me as well as the employer? I cannot help the tiny voice in the back of my head that says although they cannot get rid of me on health grounds they can always look for other reasons... I'm probably over-reacting completely but it does worry me.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sacred Life Sunday - Faith

I've been meaning to do a Sunday post for ages now but never seemed to get around to it. But then, since putting my poll up, 5 out of the 6 voters so far chose "Spirituality" as something they would read - something which shocked me slightly and yet I wonder why it shocked me because spirituality and faith is such an important thing to people.

I guess I just assumed people would not want to read too much or rather I feared talking frankly about it because of offending someone or coming across as "pushy". I've spent a large amount of time over the past few years splitting myself in two - on one hand I was a highly spiritual person, devoting much of my time to exploring my faith - yet on the other I was highly secretive because of wanting to avoid confrontations regarding it. When I was a student at uni you couldn't go anywhere on campus without seeing a poster or passing someone handing out flyers or even being caught in the midst of the "mission week" of one of the religious groups or another. And sometimes I just didn't want to have to deal with that, because their whole "mission" was to convert me, rather than meet me in a central place and actually discuss faith. I got fed up of being preached to and I avoided these people like the plague.

I think that this is a sad thing because faith and spirituality are two of the most important things in my life and I know that I am not alone in this. But so often we become so defensive (I know I have done on so many occasions) because we do not like to have our faith questioned - it is hard! And yet recently I have been finding a fair amount of peace, joy and excitement in really questioning myself and saying "well do I actually believe that or am I just following the party line?"

My faith has helped me survive so many things over the years and it is my faith that keeps me going when times get rough. So many times the hardest thing for me was to get out of bed in the morning and get going. I have felt trapped by financial insecurities, constant assessments, and illness - oh the illness that has been the worst at times. I would go months having one thing after another and being dragged down further and further until I had no more energy left and yet I had to carry on. And I know I am lucky never to have had anything life threatening or that truly affects my entire life, but between the endo and a seemingly weak immune system I would feel my energy just being dragged away from me. These were the times when my faith supported me.

When I went into childcare finally after years of study I thought my dream had come true. I had always wanted to work with children and I was finally doing it - but financially I couldn't cope and that immune system of mine was shot entirely. I left for a while but again found myself coming back into it and this time all the doors were opened for me - I could fast-track to the top. But again finances and health stopped me and I was gutted - why couldn't I do what I loved so much? But you know what, I love my job now and although I know I will not want to do it forever, I feel like this is part of the plan. More and more I feel as if I am being led somewhere and all of those times - the struggles at uni, the pain of illness, the fear of not making next month's rent - all of it is leading me somewhere. And more and more I am finding it easier to surrender to that. When I want to give up and say "no more" my faith comes bubbling up from deep inside and says "just hold on, you can do it" and I can.

This doesn't mean I find life easy but I truly believe that my suffering in whatever form it is, is helping me prepare for something I am meant to do in the future. For example, I find I have far more compassion for others who are ill because of having suffered myself. I also know that I cannot know exactly how someone feels and how lonely it can be to feel ill, so I try never to say "I know how you feel" but rather to think about what I say and let them tell me what it is like. This has made me a far better support worker and carer then I possibly would have been. And the journey I have been on from absolute fear of discussing my faith through to being pleasantly surprised that we're not so different after all has taught me that the only way to dispell fears on both sides is to openly discuss things.

And sometimes my suffering is because I do not listen to my heart and choose to try things my way instead of trusting that there is a greater plan at work. For example, even though it broke my heart to leave childcare I know deep down that I was in it to fill the space in my heart that loves children and wants to be around them and that I was actually trying to make up for the fact I want children in my life and am impatient to wait until we're ready to have a family. But I didn't care about that - I just wanted to be there. Now, however, I realise that leaving childcare has offered me many more opportunities for both the present and the future - I have a lovely new home I wouldn't have if I hadn't left childcare when I did and met a particular colleague and I am learning skills I can use in the future to offer us a better standard of living. If I had continued to ask "why me?" and not accepted there was a greater plan at work I might have chosen to stay in childcare (I almost did turn down this new job) and then when I was really ill with the pseudo-menopause I'd have most likely lost my job rather than having the great support I had from my new employer - support that I continue to get today. We would also still be living in that small, damp, noisy flat instead of this beautiful village house. Ultimately my faith was what helped me make that decision - faith that the opportunity was there for a reason and the reason for my illness and our financial problems at that time was to make me go looking for that opportunity in the first place.

So today I am thankful for faith - and how at the darkest times it can lead us forward, and in the brightest times it celebrates life with us. Whatever you believe I do hope that it brings you happiness, peace and security. Have a lovely Sunday.

Amanda xx

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

An update post of allsorts

Wow I've been offline for weeks and now I'm in mega catch-up mode. So in order to stop me coming on to blogger every single day I'm just going to do one big update post - so please excuse the randomness.

The new house
I was planning on taking some photos of the house in the beautiful sunlight today but it seems to have taken to hiding behind the clouds so I can't update you on that. Then I was going to make some new cushion covers but couldn't decide how to do it. Then I was going to make my first attempt at a quilt but needed to wash the fabrics first. So I'm back online catching up whilst I wait for the washing machine to finish. So for now I'm going to leave you with some photos of the garden - just a few as I have so many I can keep some for before and after pictures later on.

First we started by covering and filling the boxes my parents brought for us to grow vegetables in. These are larger than your average stacking boxes as they are old ones my dad managed to get years ago. As you can see they were a hideous blue colour that just would not sit well in the garden, so my mum came up with the idea of wrapping them in green garden bags. But because the boxes were so large the bags didn't quite cover them, so a few bits of blue still peek through.
Once they were covered and filled with compost I got to planting seeds. I helped my dad plant his vegetable seeds in his garden couple of years ago but doing it in my own garden was so much more exciting (and scary because I so want them to succeed). My dad laughed at all the photos I took during the day but my mum reminded him of how proud he was of his first garden and home-grown vegetables and how she has the photos to prove it! Good old mum, eh?
We planted loads of seeds and have some left over to replace when we pick some of them (say the radishes) or to keep for next year. We planted: parsnips, beetroot, radishes, leeks (I spelt it leeeks on the label I was so excited lol), onions, spring onions, long carrots and small globe carrots, courgettes, tomatoes (a variety that will grow well outside in a grow bag), runner beans (to be planted outside after the frosts have gone - same with the tomatoes that currently sit on our windowsill), and strawberries. There is also an apple tree in the garden which I know had a fantastic crop last year and as we managed to get a free grow-bag yesterday we are planning on buying something else, preferably more fruit, to add to our home-grown goodness.
Here are the strawberries - well one plant - we managed to pick up two varieties by mistake but that is just as well because this one apparently fruits much earlier than the other one so we will be able to enjoy fresh strawberries (even if just one of two) at different times of the year!

After planting the vegetables we then planted pansies and primroses in the hanging baskets and the remaining ones along the front of the house amongst the daffodils and croci. Tim got an action shot of me wearing my dad's sunglasses (Tim broke mine by standing on them during our move so he still owes me a new pair lol). This reminds me of when I used to be underweight and tiny and how I'd look like a fly with big bug eyes if ever I borrowed my dad's glasses - thankfully I now have a slightly fuller face (even if it is still quite long and thin).

After that my dad and Tim (who was feeling a bit worse for wear having had a bit too much alcohol the night before - he actually didn't drink that much but it reacted badly with his antibiotics and he threw up loads poor darling) had to come up with a place to stick the bird box. We had planned to put it in the apple tree but then Kitty climbed up the trunk and we realised that this was NOT an option. So they decided to hang it on a plank of wood they then nailed to the top of the trellis by our shed and hear another tree we hang peanuts from. A blue tit went in to investigate that very same evening so we are hopeful we may have babies this year.

Kitty, however, having shown off her climbing skills then decided to lay in the middle of the lawn and bask in the sun whilst we did all the hard work - look at her, butter wouldn't melt and all that!!

This blog

I cannot decide whether to change my blog or not - when I started this blog it was an experiment, I didn't really have anything I particularly wanted to focus on. I loved reading family blogs and craft blogs and esecially homemaking blogs but I didn't really have anything in common with any of them. I've tried several blogs in that time - a few for my poetry and kids stories and some spiritual ones but this is the one that lasted and gradually I developed some friends who popped by. When I started blogging about endometriosis I discovered a lot of new friends but I didn't want to just have an "endoblog" because I still love sharing things with homemakers and crafters. I do not have much time to craft and make my house a home but I still enjoy sharing with them.

I also had a fairly successful Reiki blog but it became a challenge to keep it up - somebody else paid for the hosting and I felt I had to blog regularly (which I also felt here for quite some time) and I also felt it had to be worthwhile, not just random thoughts. I took a break from the Reiki blog ready for the move and now find the hosting has run out and I am still considering whether I want to get it renewed or not... part of me doesn't want to lose all the work and effort I put into it and I probably should have saved copies of what I put on there on my laptop but a bigger part of me feels it went out into the world and I don't need to hold on to the past. The older I get the less time I find I have and I just can't keep up all these online projects I could before and I don't like feeling tied to them.

Having said that I do love my blog here but I don't want to be tied to it - I need to remember it is an outlet rather than something I need to keep up to date all the time. There was a time when I was about the leave uni and after I graduated that I desperately wanted to be like so many of my blogging friends and work from home - but it never worked out - I never had the financial stability to do that (we barely survived last year when I was the main breadwinner). This week I am actually feeling quite down - although I love my job I have just become so weary through all we've been through and although I hate to admit it I have less energy and stamina than a lot of people because of the continued toll on my health and it is just so difficult to keep going - it has come to a head having spent some time at home, in the garden and seeing how beautiful it is and how much I am missing by being out of the house 12 hours a day and knowing that come April I will be working 6 days out of 7 every other week (2 of those days will be half days so I won't work more than 37.5 hours but the rota system means I am out 6 days a week on my weekend working patterns and the buses make my days extra long). This surprises me because when I started working there I realised I loved my job so much I felt I'd never want to leave, even if we had kids - but now I realise however much I love it, were I given the option to cut my hours and stay home more I would take it. I'll probably feel different again after my lap and when I get my energy levels back up again because I think it is just the exhaustion speaking right now.
So I really don't know what to do regarding the blog - do I keep it as a general blog - one where I post about absolutely anything in my life (after all "dream of living" is about life itself) or do I choose to just go in one direction... another thing that has been on my mind is that even though I have let the Reiki blog slip lately I have been doing a lot of spiritual seeking and have been talking in great depth to a Christian friend of mine about how "new age" beliefs and Christianity are not as different as they may initially seem - I have actually personally finally found the peace I was looking for - the fact I can choose to accept Jesus in my life without lying about who I am because I am not able to close my eyes and heart to new age spirituality yet I always felt the draw of Christianity - I never saw the way they could work together but now I do. My friend and I were talking about how there isn't really any literature out there about this - or rather there is but it is always very biased - one side is always showing the faults of the other and this happens from both sides! My friend then said I should write something based on my own experiences and although I don't feel near qualified enough to do this I have actually felt for several years now that my experiences, my searching for the connection between the two and the feeling I got when praying/meditating was that I was being led towards doing something like this. I didn't want to - I actually feared it for what it would bring into my life, but now I feel more like I want to express what I am finding out. That may sound totally presumptuous on my part but it is definately something I feel deep inside.
So again I wonder - do I bring spirituality to my blog? It is a deep part of my life after all. Or do I start another blog, one that combines new age and more traditional spirituality together, rather than one focussing only one one aspect - that of Reiki. Or do I not bother blogging about this at all? It makes more work for me - but writing is like therapy to me, I love to write. In fact a couple of years ago I starting handmaking books of my poetry but even then I separated my spiritual poetry from my other poems for fear of offending people or having questions asked - I wasn't ready for it. I wanted to build a life out of my writing - I wanted to inspire others as I had been inspired... I even held an online writers' group to inspire those who feared writing because they had been told previously they couldn't write. However much I love my job and have loved a lot of my roles I have always felt writing should be a part of it - in fact my dad is convinced I will publish something one day and I regularly had teachers commenting on this fact too. Very strange, but true. But at present I have to work to survive and I am so tired at the end of it - do I take up time writing more because after all it is pleasurable to me, or do I focus on other things... it's a hard decision for me to make. I would actually appreciate any comments from you guys about what you would like to read or what you think I would be good at. I may start a poll - in fact if you see a poll on m blog, please do take part and/or leave me a comment about this. There is so much I feel I have to give and so much I would love to write about but finding a direction is hard - do I focus on spirituality, endometriosis, home-life... or do I just write about whatever inspires me in the moment?
In fact I think I will go and set up a poll now - so please do take part :o) After that I am going to sit and cut out the articles from out Country Living magazines I have saved and put them into ringbinders in a style I will enjoy going back to again and again. I love creative projects and this is one I have wanted to do for months but never had the time for. Then hopefully tomorrow the sun will be back to its shining and I can sit outside and start that quilt!!
Have a lovely day
Amanda xx

Monday, 16 March 2009

Compassion

I promise I will get a few more pictures of the house and garden (scroll down for my last post to see the first lot) up over the next few days as I know so many of you are dying to see them (and I have LOADS because my parents came down this weekend and helped us tidy the garden and plant vegetable seeds). But as March is Endometriosis Awareness month and I have missed a big chunk of it by being offline and made some really good Endo-friends just before being turfed offline I want to write a post for them. (Of course anyone can read it!!)

I haven't actually got a single topic in my head so this may be a bit of a random post - but sometimes that is the very nature of illness - random! Take for example the fact that last month, during our move, I had the worst cramps I have had in a long time. Oh my God I kid you not, I was left in our flat trying to pack up the last few bits whilst in agony and trying to keep a brave face because Tim's parents were there to help us move and I knew we had to just get on and do it. As it was the move took us several weekends but that was the one weekend we had help and needed to make the most of it so the remaining weekends when we were on our own we had a lot less to do. I swear all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die right then, not pack. This month, however, despite having just had a nasty bout of flu which led to a sinus infection and a course of antibiotics which I would have guessed meant I would be run down and feel it more I actually only had one day of real pain and then the odd twinges - and even that one day wasn't as bad. Weird, huh?

But what is even stranger is the fact that this month I was so incredibly thirsty I felt like my brain was about to shrivel up because it must be so dry... have you ever felt so thirsty you feel like you must be so dehydrated and you think you can actually feel that in your brain? I know this sounds weird and I would have chalked it up to having been ill as well but it's not the first time this has happened. It doesn't happen every month and never really happened before last year, but when it does it doesn't matter how much I drink I just cannot quench my thirst and end up gagging for a drink whilst thinking "I can't drink another drop or else I may be sick because it's all so tasteless now and my stomach might burst". And this is even stranger when you know I usually don't drink enough because I don't seem to feel thirsty very often and have to consciously make myself drink to ensure I get enough fluids in me. Does anyone else ever suffer from this?

I don't know if it's something I need to mention to the doctor or not but as I haven't got to go see him any time soon and the next time I'll see a doctor it will be for my laparoscopy in May I don't think it'll be the right time to bring it up. Talking about laparoscopies, I just wanted to bring a friend to your attention (unless you follow her blog and already know about it). My Journey with Endometriosis is due for a lap very soon and so if you could keep her in your thoughts and pass on your best I would appreciate it and I'm sure she would too!! And whilst we are on the topic of keeping friends in our thoughts, another of my friends over at Ready Go: Battling Endometriosis is having a truly difficult time right now with diagnoses and different doctors and I would also appreciate support for her as well. Support is a major thing when you are dealing with anything challenging in life - be it a chronic illness or a major life change or even just a few rough days. I often find myself missing my friends and family who although living only a couple of hours away are still too far away to just pop by for coffee and a chat. Blogging offers us a chance to meet all sorts of people who know exactly how we feel and although I find myself having to work hard not to let myself spend all my time online and actually get out and actually enjoy the beautiful home we now have, I do find blogging such a support. Even knowing that despite the fact a lot of my endo-friends are facing far harder times and diagnoses than I am they still love and care for me is amazing - sometimes I feel bad for moaning when I know others suffer far more but then I realise that this mindset does not help me at all...

Let me explain... I love to care for others and have volunteered on camps and even worked in care homes and nurseries and adored my job, just so you know how much I love to care for others! But sometimes I find it so hard - I get bitter because I feel so rough. I find it difficult to take time off work when ill or say "no" to friends and family or even strangers when they need something and I know I really need the rest. I am torn between wanting to show the world I need its help and wanting to hide my weakness from the world and act like nothing is wrong - I find being vulnerable HARD! I think this related back to my childhood and teenage years... as a child I was constantly hurting myself - I was accident prone and could fall over nothing... when I was 17 I was diagnoses with hypermobile joints which meant I really did fall over nothing because quite frankly when an ankle or knee joint just pops out of place slightly it's very difficult to stay upright!! But for years I never knew my legs shouldn't do this and so I just thought I was clumsy - so I learnt not to make a fuss because people got fed up of me falling over so often - well maybe not fed up but when you've had major head injuries and lots of A&E (ER) visits, when you fall and scrape a knee it becomes no big deal! Then as a pre-teen I developed a fear - a true phobia - of being sick and related eating with being sick so developed an eating disorder and was referred to the hospital as I was clinically well underweight. I never told anybody why, I felt stupid, so I dealt with this phobia for years on my own (I developed it aged 10 and didn't tell anyone until I was 18 and although I had overcome a lot of it by then and was a normal weight - in fact I was slightly overweight because of Birth Control for my painful periods - I still suffered and still do sometimes have to fight hard to stop the fear monster catching me). Even at the age of 10 I couldn't show my vulnerability and this phobia/eating disorder is perhaps by its nature something that taught me to be secretive about how I feel. Finally, at 13 I started my periods and developed such awful problems that nobody wanted to hear about, finalising my inability to share how I felt.

Why am I telling you all this? Well this history has made me bitter - I have held so much pain inside I have never learnt to let others support me when I need it - even if they have offered sympathy to me I have turned it away... and then regreted it dearly. So, when I get really down, however much I want to support and care for others I can find myself becoming bitter and hard because *I* do not get that which I so crave. It is a big trap I set for myself and I suddenly realised recently that until I could learn to be compassionate to others despite being ill myself I would never learn true compassion - it is easy to be kind when you are happy, but to be kind when you are miserable is a whole other ball game. Once I realised this, in true tradition, life threw me a chance to test it out... T and I both fell ill with the flu and despite feeling like crap myself I actually got out of bed and looked after T who was suffering so badly the poor boy. And do you know what - for once I did it without bitterness - I actually cared for him with my whole heart and never once thought "I could do without this because so much happens to me". It was a new thing for me because I realised that if I could feel this way then maybe that is how others felt all the time and that I shouldn't feel guilty for moaning when I felt rough - others may be worse off than me but it didn't mean I couldn't feel sorry for myself too. I hope this makes some kind of sense - it is something I have dealt with - this guilt - for a long time and now I am learning that I don't have to live with it.

I think that is enough for now - not all that endo related yet it is in its own way! T and I have the rest of the week off together and the sun is shining so we are planning on spending a lot of time enjoying the garden. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I look forward to catching up with you all.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Our New Home


Here it is! Sorry about the long wait you've all had in seeing this. We've only just got our internet connected at home and both T and I have been stuck at home these past two weeks with first the flu and now sinusitis (meaning we're now finding the joys of antibiotics *bleugh*). I made it to work this morning but had to come home halfway through the day. We're a bit sick of being sick now and looking forward to my parents coming this weekend to help us set up a vegetable garden.

Because of this we haven't got the house sorted as quickly as possible and so I haven't taken photos inside yet - but let me introduce you to our beautiful surroundings... most importantly the church that sits right opposite our house.



And just so you don't think I am exagerrating about how close we are to this - here is a photo of our house from the graveyard (which, incidentally I walked through one night after getting off my bus a stop too soon - let's just say I'm not walking through a dark graveyard alone again any time soon - it was a bit creepy to say the least).



Do you see our house, behind the bush? If that's not enough proof for you - here is the church view from our meditation room...



Isn't that just perfect? I am so sad we will only be living here for a short time but am ready to make the absolute most of our time here!!

One last thing about our new home I will introduce you to this time (and I promise more will follow when I feel a bit better) is the neighbourhood cat (who we are told by the owners is called "Kitty" hehe). We don't know who Kitty belongs to but she certainly enjoys coming in to see us. Nearly every time we open a door she runs inside the house (and sometimes straight upstairs meaning we have to leave the office door closed at all times to protect our hamster!!) She loves to curl up with us and has mighty sharp claws she "knits" our legs with when she is happy - oh but she is so happy we don't mind. Here is T and Kitty having another one of their cuddles - T is quite besotted with her - but not so impressed that I have cottoned on to this and insist on getting evidence - see the face he is pulling in the photo hehe


I've loved not being tied to my computer all the time and am planning on spending far less time online so it may take me quite some time to catch up with you all - but I will catch up as I do think of you all lots.
Take care
Amanda x













Friday, 6 February 2009

The Big Move (edited)

I decided to edit my loooooooooooooong post of this morning by deleting it all and starting again. It was a depressive post written after a depressive week in which I cried multiple times (4 times yesterday alone - and I mean whole body wracking sobs not tiny sniffles). But T managed to persuade me to have the day off work as I have felt rubbish all week long and been unable to drag myself out of bed and function to any sort of normalcy and as he is unable to return to work until he's been symptom free from the sickness bug he had for 48 hours we decided to have a "stay in bed then go and visit the new house day".

Needless to say, despite feeling incredibly sick at the moment I am feeling like I have jumped into another life. The house is a million miles away from where we live now - and I'm not talking about the extra space (though that is wonderful of course!). It is in a village, right opposite a church whereas we currently live in a block of flats on a busy road, next to the football ground, down the road from the railway line and the airport... let's just say the absolute quiet in our new detached house in the village was almost deafening!

There is more as well - we are not renewing our cable tv subscription as we want to do things other than wile away the hours in front of the tv. We will still watch select programmes like QI (it's just starting now so I better finish this post soon) and we'll be getting broadband so I can keep up to date with you guys, but as we have turned one of the bedrooms into a meditation room and we have space to exercise and keep my crafting bits and bobs safe and tidy we are looking forward to changing our routines to do the things we just couldn't do here.

I promise to tell you all about the new house and even include pictures but for now I must finish my porridge (the only thing I fancy to eat right now), watching QI and then get an early night before we do the big move tomorrow. I will be offline (apart from checking emails at work whilst waiting for my bus to go home at night) so I will get behind a bit - but I will be back soon.

I've also been tagged by Claire (sorry will add a link later - I am truly hating to miss QI lol) and promise to be back to post on that because the whole exercise brought many smiles to mine and T's faces but the post will take some time to write properly.

So take care of yourselves and I look forward to catching up soon
Love
Amanda xx

Friday, 30 January 2009

Awards and Fun

Ok, so after the last few heavier posts I'm getting on to some more lighter, fun ones. If you want to read my endo update scroll down to the previous post.





But without further ado I must pass on the lovely award Clairey bestowed upon me yesterday - thanks Clairey!! Just to let you know, I met Clairey last year sometime (I think it was) and just fell in love with her blog and well Clairey too! She just cracks me up and I always feel so warmed by her posts. Seriously, go visit her if you haven't already!!





So this is the award:



Clairey's entry quotes the following about this particular award: "The authors say that blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in proximity in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be new friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandisement. Our hope is that when ribbons of these awards are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give your kind attention to these writers."

I always find it difficult to choose between all the wonderful blogs I read for passing on these awards but find great joy in trying to decided which ones fit which award and passing it on, hoping that the recipients will feel as much joy at receiving it as I did. So without further ado, here are my choices for this one:

Yes I *DO* know I have ten blogs listed below and I should only have eight but I don't care - I just couldn't cut it down any further and even so had to leave out several blogs I would have added had I not already exceeded my limit lol.. and yes I *DO* realise that nearly half of them are "endo blogs" but this award seems to fit those so well as the whole point of "endo blogs" is to develop friendships and support for such a painful illness. And YES I would have passed it on to Clairey had she not passed it on to me in the first place LOL

Maddy's Glass House - I love Maddy's writing style, enthusiasm and Aussie-ness :o) and look forward to reading updates on how she and her family are doing.

Higglety Pigglety - ever since finding out about Joanna and the adventures of Captain Rupert I have been a huge fan. I love exchanging the odd mail with them and even had the chance to write a poem about Captain Rupert which was an absolute joy as he is the funniest little bunny you will ever get to meet!

Vintage to Victorian - I adore reading Sue's updates on Dairy House Antiques - so charming - but even more I love the wonderfully, insightful posts like her recent one on "magic moments" from the past. Sue is such a friendly blogger and I am so glad I stumbled upon her blog one day.

Linden Grove - Simone's blog always excites me with her recent step-by-step projects and her tales of marmalade making etc and who could not adore the photos of Gizmo?!

Redwood House - Jan is such a friendly blogger, often popping by with a comment, and never forgetting to tell us tales of Jenny the dog (love Jenny) and recently the two cats - let's just say I love blogs which make me feel like I have been round for a cup of tea and know the whole family - that's what blogging is all about

(and on that note) Ragged Roses - was one of the first blogs I ever visited regularly and I feel as if I know Kim and her family like my very own, such are her tales of family days out and nights in with the girls, watching films they adore... I cannot enthuse enough about how much I love reading her updates!

Bio Girl - I found Sarah's blog only recently but have been an avid reader ever since - I love her wit and reading her blog is always a joy because she seems to be forever happy at the moment!

Ready Go: Battling Endometriosis - I had to include Amy because she has become such a close friend since I found her blog and we both starting injections (she continued when I couldn't). She is having such a hard time at the moment healthwise, and yet still finds the time and energy to invest in others - she is inspiring even though she may not feel that way and to me she embodies this award more than anyone else right now!

Jeanne's Endo Blog - I have been reading Jeanne's blog for a while but only starting exchanging messages last week and so although our friendship is new I want to pass on this award because of all the time and effort she puts in to helping others to cope with their pain and becoming such a great friend to so many people!

My Journey with Endometriosis - This was the very first "endo blog" I ever found and read and it was so friendly and inspiring that it led me to search for more. How can I not include this blog in my list of blogs which inspired friendship and closeness?

I hope you enjoy visiting some of these blogs - and those of you who I have passed it on to enjoy receiving the award and choosing people to pass it on to.

Amanda x