This is my body

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I’ve been thinking about my body a lot lately. Over the last 7 months I’ve seen it change and adapt so that it can heal, I’ve felt it slow down and been crippled by pain, I’ve seen it expand in the mirror. To say that I’ve been upset about it would be an understatement, combined it wrecked my confidence. How could I be seen with my stunning friends when my skin was marked by the way it had to stretch? How could I pretend to not see when guys would look at them and look past me being the chubby one. It made me angry because I never used to care so why did I now?

Tomorrow I start the gym for my physio sessions, which is a huge part of my recovery. It’s taken 7 long months of small stretches and exercises, acupuncture and pain. While watching Caitlin Moran last night (this is the video that inspired me) I had a realisation. While she stood up and showed her stomach off to the huge crowd and just went this is me I had a feeling burst inside me. She doesn’t give a shit, so why should I? Why should I get teary because I put on weight while my body was you know putting one of the most important bones in my body back together.

So here is the scary bit…this is my belly, something that caused me a lot of upset over the years…

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There you go, that’s it my tum after a lot of healing. I don’t know, looking at it why I get so freaked out and angry at myself. I look at these pictures and think to myself I really like my curves and it’s just what it is. I’m not going into that gym to boast on Instagram and Twitter about how healthy I am, about my fabulous weight loss (if that happens). I’m going to the gym to continue to fix my body after trauma, to build muscle back where it’s gone. If I lose some fat, that’s fine but I’ve decided that it’s no longer my aim.

I don’t want to get into that dangerous territory where I start getting controlling over what I eat again. I know how dangerous that can be especially when you’re already trying to get through depression because you start hating and taking out your sadness on your body. Been there, done that.

I’m fully aware that this post might get some negative responses, that I’m fat, I’m ugly. Whatever. If this makes one person feel better about their body, male or female, then I’m pleased I wrote this. I’m going to try my hardest not to let my body let me down yes I’m bigger than I was and covered in stretch makes but you know what putting a spine back together makes my body pretty cool.

This is my body and I’m proud of it, fuck what anyone else thinks and I hope you can feel that way too.

My experience of Acupuncture

As a part of my fracture recovery I semi-voluntarily get stabbed with tiny needles all over my spine and occasionally my legs. Doesn’t that sound like fun? What I thought was just something that you paid people to do if you were slightly mad, is actually funded on the NHS. Now I’ll be honest I was very sceptical about the way this works and if it works at all. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. After weeks and weeks of still not being able to move and a little persuasion I was booked in to acupuncture.

I said last week that things are only slightly improving with my spine, leading me to be willing to try anything and everything to get rid of some of this pain and get a more active lifestyle back (I was supposed to be super ripped by this point, then I decided to fall off a horse). Meeting Nicola I was nervous, more than nervous but because she is absolutely fab she managed to make me feel informed enough to give it a try. Nicola is the most amazing physio, she answers any and all of my questions, encourages me and understands when the pain is a little bit too much. I don’t think I would have let anyone else use me as a dart board three times.

A lot of people ask me things like what does it feel like? Does it hurt? Do you watch? I can answer honestly that it feels like someone is jabbing you, not in an ‘oh my god what the hell are you doing’ kind of way. Some lucky so and sos don’t feel it at all apparently, I most definitely do. For me there are certain points which are quite painful, whereas others are just a bit annoying, for example there’s one in the middle of my lower back that I’ve had every time and I can usually ignore it. Another point that I had today was on my hip which lead me to swear out loud, it didn’t feel great and the weirdest one I’ve had so far is the backs of my knees, I don’t even know how to describe that. Obviously with it being on my back I can’t watch it, nor would I want to.

If you don’t like needles, scroll past this next image…

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Sometimes it can cause pain afterwards and, you guessed it, I’m one of the lucky few who get a fair bit of pain after. I can also get sleepy too. I’ve had 3 sessions and I haven’t seen any incredible results yet unfortunately. I’m going to have a few more sessions, partly because we tried the alternative today and I nearly cried in pain as Nicola tried to relax the muscles. I can’t say that I’d recommend it to people other than to help curb a needle phobia, I’m starting to not be that bothered as long as I don’t have to see it.

I think if I wasn’t struggling so much with pain and it hadn’t been so long I would have held off. I don’t see it as anything magical or groundbreaking, that said it might be more to do with what’s wrong with me rather than the actual treatment, who knows. I’m hoping that after pain clinic and seeing the Neurosurgeon I can finally get back on track, get rid of acupuncture and get back into some fitness!

Image from paramount-physiotherapy.com

I miss fitness! My thoughts on ‘being brave’ and keeping going.

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Now I’ve said before that I’m not a health and fitness fanatic. If there was an option between a healthy snack and something covered in chocolate I’d bite your hand off for the chocolate. I made some healthier choices this year, I walked to uni most days (unless it was a Thursday morning, early starts after a late night are not a good idea), I swam occasionally and for the first time in my life I embraced a sport and did it every week. I’m also stubborn and have a rebellious streak. Normally if someone told me that I wasn’t allowed to ride I’d prove them wrong and get on, going twice as fast. I can’t do that right now.

To say that all this stress hasn’t been easy is an understatement. It’s not in the way that people see it. I keep getting told that I’m brave, that I’m so inspiring. To be honest I find it incredible that people are so sympathetic to me fracturing my spine but 6 years of mental health problems didn’t get any cards or bravery speeches, but that’s another blog post. I mean yeah I suppose to other people they really can’t imagine just getting on with life after breaking a vital part of your body, but do I feel brave? No. I just feel like I’m getting on with it. It’s something I spoke to my parents about the other day after people were told about me and just were amazed. It was nice and they were lovely people but I just said to my parents, wouldn’t everyone just get on with their lives? Apparently not, but I was raised to just battle on through.

So after yesterday’s post it’s clear that I’m still up and down, still getting there. Today a low decided to hit. I think it’s post festival blues, combined with stressing about the future and being tired from my back pain. It was relatively normal stuff and I wasn’t miserable or ‘meh’ all day, it was more when I was alone. I realised that the things I’d normally do when I feel bad, I couldn’t do and it just made me want to curl up under my duvet and cry. I didn’t. I finished the book I started reading last night and spoke to a few friends.

I never realised that exercise was something I’d miss, but then again I suppose you don’t until it’s something that you can’t do. I want to do some sit ups to get rid of a little excess weight, I want to sign up to gym, run around with the kids at work, swim without worrying I won’t be able to get out of the pool. Hell I’d like to be able to have a bath without worrying that I will get stuck!

The one thing I have though is writing, writing this or songs or fiction. I have to get out of the clouded stage before I can write anything but I can feel it lifting more and more as I type this. I am struggling a little bit with my exercise and little walks to clear my head. I suppose it’s one of the biggest challenges to my mental health it’s all the things I’d usually avoid. If I try and search for a positive in all this I suppose I can see that I’ve been there once and even though I’ve spent a good amount of time on my own, I’m currently missing my friends like a limb and I deal with physical pain every day I’m getting through it one day at a time.

I know this is a long blog but I can almost bet anything that someone out there will read this and understand. That someone will understand the both freeing and unnerving feeling that I have to go through this low without my normal strategies. I’m ok though, really. I have a good few days lined up and for once I can remember that these lows don’t last forever.

Thanks for reading guys, as usual I’d love to hear from you. Oh! And thank you to every single one of you following me on twitter, another 100 followers in the past few weeks! It really put a smile on my face!

Letting go and getting on with my life

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Let it goooo, let it goooo! No, I’m not writing a post about Frozen, although I’ve been known to burst into song with more than one of my friends in random locations, have sung it to my hamsters and to horses while brushing them….yep. I’ve had a lot of time to think lately, it does that to you when you’re stuck with nothing to do but analyse your own thoughts. I realised that I’ve been holding on to all these old grudges, anger and just letting it eat me up from inside. I’ve overanalysed everything in my life and wondered if I’m a terrible person, wondered what’s good for me and what’s not.

Take today for example I stayed in my flat for most of the day, I sulked around, ignored my phone and was just miserable and angry and frustrated. I then met up with Joe, we both let ourselves rant for a bit before I was violently sick (a lovely occasional side effect of all my medication) and went home quite poorly.

I was laying there after falling asleep and being sick again (so attractive, I know) and I just thought why am I letting myself get so worked up? Why am I holding on to so much and caring about what everyone else is thinking, saying, doing? I just need to let go and focus on getting better and being more relaxed, more positive like I have been during the year. I miss just laughing and spontaneous trips with friends. I know now isn’t the easiest time, of course I’m going to be pissed off, I have a fractured spine.

So I made a promise to myself, to try and see the positives again, to try not to get so frustrated when I can’t do things. As Ali said to me the other day, I’m carrying on with education, I’ll have more summers to mess around and I have all of final year where hopefully I won’t be stuck in a brace and having to sleep for most of the day. So this is my pledge to try and let go of the frustrations in my life and embrace the good things because life is really too short.

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Taking note from Elsa of course 😉 

Wheelchairs, Goodbyes and Dinner along the river

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Left to Right Alissa,Eleanor, Amy, Maisha, Dani, Me 

Yesterday marked the arrival of my wheelchair, which I’d been recommended to rent out, but it was more cost effective to buy it *sigh*. I hadn’t been looking forward to it but I wasn’t that anxious until they rang the doorbell to deliver it. It came in it’s big box while Ali unwrapped it for me. We both just kind of stared at it for a while. I could tell that something in him matched my uneasiness about it. I sat in it and got back out again trying not to cry before asking him to put it away, I can’t even push myself in it!  I didn’t want it, I hated it and I didn’t want to go anywhere.

Luckily I got to escape to my doctors appointment, determined to walk to the bus stop. I got given more pain medication, had been dealing with the lousy insurance company and had to call Orthopaedics about a mistake they had made in my appointments. To put it simply I was pretty low. It didn’t help that on the bus ride home there were no seats. Standing on a bus brings unbelievable pain and luckily a woman spotted my face and let me sit down and a man offered to help me get up again after, which being me I said no to. I met Laura quickly to pick up my new prescription and she cheered me up, but I was still uneasy about going out in the evening.

A thousand thoughts went through my head, what if people stare? What if I just become the wheelchair girl when I go out? What if people laugh? I didn’t have too long to think about it before Amy picked me up. From then on it was more trying to navigate the roads…they really aren’t that wheelchair friendly. Pavements to get across the road weren’t straight and we couldn’t pull my chair, horrendous pathways I feel for people who are wheelchair bound, it’s really not fair!

From then on we met the girls and I started to relax, nobody here treated me different that’s for sure! They all relaxed too after being a bit nervous themselves and we were ready to have a great last meal with Alissa before she headed back to the US *sniff* and before Dani and El caught their flight to Prague.We had a great time, good food and I laughed so much my face hurt. We were all laughing and screaming while Amy and Eleanor divided steering me and trying to avoid the river ;). 10521733_10153886855593206_6154522888338423380_n

Dinner along the Thames

Despite smiling so much I went home and cried, I cried because I was going to miss Alissa who has become such a big part of our lives, I cried because I wished more than anything that I was going to Prague with the girls and I partly cried with relief because none of them saw me any differently. I woke up with a funny picture of ‘stick chloe’ on the plane with El and Dani to make me smile. I carried on with the day going for my brace measurement appointment, having a coffee with Laura before picking up some drawing stuff on the way home as something to do.

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Last night when the girls had made me laugh so much the chair didn’t matter 🙂 

The closer I got to home the more pain I was in. I got so mad, I was trying to be positive and everything but WHY was I so frustrated and sad all the time? On top of that I was completely exhausted, fed up I took a lie down to rest again. It is hard, I didn’t think I’d mind as much as I do but I’m usually up and about all the time. I caught myself dreaming about going swimming again, or for an absent minded walk around Kingston and for the next 6 or so weeks I’m stuck not being able to do either. 11295569_10153888888068206_1153168637262698221_n

Being Supergirl for my brace measurements appointment

I’m both positive and sad at the same time. I know it won’t be forever but I think missing out on Prague has hit the hardest. I know I can go again, but I look at the girls pictures and love and miss them both so much. So all in all a confusing day and I’m just about ready to sleep after being cooked a lovely Steak by Ali tonight (to make up for the palm size excuse for one that had the girls wetting themselves last night!).

Tomorrow will be better, I’ll make sure of it. Night guys!

Things get better!

Hello you lovely lot!

Yesterday I was pretty down, I’m sure a lot of you saw it, I needed to get all the stress and anxiety and worries I had written down because I promised all of you I would be honest. Today was met with another trip to Kingston Hospital and desperately hoping something would be sorted. My lovely Mum came up today to come with me so that Ali could go and record Bass with the boys.

Now I’m very slow at walking at the moment, I’m hardly walking at all. So I met my Mum for a hot chocolate on this miserable rainy day and managed to find a Sylvia Plath book to pick me up a little bit before the big appointment, but that wasn’t what was amazing about today. This morning I started reading Katie Piper’s ‘Things Get Better’ after the horrible lows and anxiety yesterday. I tweeted about it and then the BEST thing happened KATIE REPLIED! THE KATIE PIPER!!!  Now I’m a huge fan of her’s she stands for everything I want to be and believe in. It gave me the push I needed to get me through the day! I want to get real copies of all her books, especially ‘Start your day with Katie’ to help with my positivity.

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My tweet from Katie Piper!!! 🙂 

Mum and I braved the rain and wind to get the bus to the hospital (thankfully the passengers and bus drivers were really helpful today, thank you!). I was terrified. Nobody had really told me what to expect or what could happen, the last I knew they were still on the edge of debating surgery. So I sat and waited to be called through for what seemed like ages until a friendly nurse called me through. The walk down the corridor was possibly the longest and most embarrasing. It’s painful to walk so I walk with tiny steps, holding on to the wall for support and I could see the sympathy in everyone’s faces while mine was going red with both determination and embarrassment. When I finally got into the room again the nurses were great getting me settled to wait for the doctor.

I try not to cry in these situations, I want to seem like a good patient, that I appreciate what doctors do. I held my Mum’s hand while waiting and just hoped they wouldn’t go ahead with surgery. The doctor was sweet, quick and good at what he had to do. He checked me over, answered my questions and apologised for the rudeness of A&E a few days before. Apparently my legs are strong, which is a happy surprise for me, he could see how much pain I was in and tried to make it as quick as possible. I was told a back brace would be needed, stronger painkillers and a follow up appointment with x rays in 6 weeks. That was it but I felt so much more confident that he knew what he was doing. Then on to physio while the nurse thankfully ran up to put my brace request in for me (it’s special equipment that needs to be ordered in).

I only had to wait 10 minutes to see my lovely physio lady, Linda. She was funny, kind and made me feel good and didn’t push me to see what movement I had for now! I really liked her and she me so now I have physio lined up asap but the good news is I should fully recover. I’ve also been suggested a wheelchair (now purchased) for days out and NOT to push myself too hard at all, like I kind of have been.

With the good news I called around, I’m also still allowed to go to Athens! Then it was off to buy a few new pair of PJs, The Simpsons ones, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, Cola ones – thank you Primark! Finally Mum, Ali and I went for some dinner before I got taken home to rest again, it had been quite a painful day.

I’m still struggling with all of this, I know how lucky I am but I’m nervous about the Brace and Wheelchair. No ones ever been able to see something wrong with me, I get worried about how people will react, even if it is temporary. It might seem silly but I’m trying to work through and not get too angry/frustrated as I have been.

So there you go! Fully up to date and hopefully my wheelchair will be here after the weekend and I’ll have news on the rest of my appointments soon. I’m still super bored and in bed most of the time so I’m coming up with new things for the blog but I’d love for you guys to chat to me too, leave me a comment, tweet me, email me! I love to hear from you all!

I have to say it

I’m feeling low, there I said it, I typed what I’ve wanted to type for days. I’m trying so hard to be positive and thankful all the time but I’m so worried about all this. No one tells me what’s really going on and I’m losing all my faith in the NHS, which I hate. I’ve always been someone who shouts how great it is and for most of the time (apart from my mental health) I’ve been seen and sorted with kindess and concern. Now I don’t know if it’s because I’m older but no one who’s supposed to be taking care of me medically cares.

Everyone’s telling me to do this, do that, don’t to this blah, blah,blah. The thing is? The people I need to tell me the stuff I can and can’t do aren’t listening. I’ve had these fractures for 3 weeks and by sobbing in A&E last night it’s the only way it’s been pushed through. I was treated like shit by the doctor last night, he didn’t care, he any sympathy, I waited 4 hours for his rudeness.

I feel so lost and lonely. Ali’s working his arse off looking after me, my parents and grandparents are all worried and I hate it. I hate it. Sometimes I want to scream and launch things because this is the kind of low I’ve never experienced before. I can’t just do what I normally do when I’m going into a low, go from along walk to clear my head because that walk leaves me in a lot of pain and having to lie down and think again. I’m fed up, lonely and so worried about what’s going on with me spine. Am I crazy?

I’m supposed to be going for a meal with work tonight, I’m a ball of anxiety and not wanting to go. You watch me walk and you know something’s wrong. I know Joe’s going to have to help me tonight and, well, I’m fiercely independent and to me it’s just embarrassing.

I’m sorry to write such negativity, I might change my mind later if/when I go out. I just need a hug and hopefully I’ll sleep this low off later. I really, really hope so. Maybe I’ll write again later.

Much love to you all and thank you for your support x