Life goes on

Occasional musings on everyday topics; including Wolfiesworks (small business by teenager Freya); chronic illness; freelancing and anything else that takes my fancy.

Geocaching Benefits

Here is a question that gets asked a lot

“What has Geocaching given you?”

“What do you believe the benefits are?”

The time honoured answer is usually along the lines of health & fitness for all the family, to get the children away from the games consoles and television. Now don’t get me wrong, those people are absolutely correct and that is how most geocachers start out on their journies. For some of us though, that journey can become incredibly personnal, and I apologise to everyone now because my story is a personnal one.

I first heard about geocaching sometime during 2010 after a chat with my little sister. A mutual friend of ours had discovered this “walking with a purpose hobby” and she though it would be something I would enjoy… And she’s not wrong! I love it. However, I had just moved and my family and I were still unpacking boxes and getting our lives in order.

In April 2011 I took a closer look at this game via the free iPhone app while we were out on a walk discovering our new area. Well, I couldn’t get my head around the built in compass, so needless to say I failed to find anything that day. My family thought I was mad rummaging in the undergrowth while they were exploring a nearby fort, which to them was far more interesting.

Anyway, we headed home and I took a look at Groundspeak’s website, Geocaching.com to find out more and began to plot the coordinates of a nearby route onto my OS map while everyone else were either on the pc or the wii, all ignoring each other (this had become the norm). The following weekend only the girls and I went out (on our own again) and we had much success. We then discovered that a “meet” was not too far from home and decided we would go along and get some advice.

This was when we first met Top rope Ian, Sir-Lancelot, Nick the trucker and Kallescrew. Little did I know then that these first faces would become some of my closest and much loved family. A week later I was told by my husband/partner of 14 years that he was leaving. I was devastated, distraught and angry! I had been trying to find a way to bring us closer together as we all liked the outdoors, I had no idea that in actual fact he didn’t want us to be closer…

Those first couple of months were the worst of my life as you can well imagine, but something I did have was geocaching. I didn’t do very much in the way of hunting or finding, but what I did gain were the best friends anyone could hope for. You see, on the first day I met those mentioned I had also joined the Facebook group, Geocaching in Kent, and that is where I turned when I felt my world was upside down. Everyone I spoke to were non-judgemental and incredibly supportive, they took me out on weekends when my kids were away, not to geocache at first but to get me out of the house, to cheer me up and to introduce me to more geocachers/friends.

Geocaching in Kent were my support group, forget all those marriage berievement groups and guidance counsellors, these guys held me up when I was at rock bottom. They gave me a shoulder to cry on, plenty of things to really laugh hard about and they gave me support where my own family couldn’t, almost three years on they still do.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I haven’t been a burden (well I hope not, but I know they would tell me if I had) and I have been there for them too when thay have had times of trouble. We help each other out of life’s little scrapes e.g Getting the car stuck in a green lane. One thing I can safely say with hand on my heart is that Kent Geocachers will always be there for you when you need them. Friends really are the family you choose for yourself, and these friends chose me at a time when I really needed them.

I guess what I am trying to say is – My benefit of geocaching was not the health & fitness, but finding an incredibly loving family of genuine people and for that I want to publically say THANK YOU to each and every one of them for everything they have done, continue to do and may well do in the future. I LOVE YOU GUYS XXX

Categories: Geo Stories, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

30 THINGS ABOUT MY INVISIBLE ILLNESS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

Looking for a geocache (on a good day)

Looking for a geocache (on a good day)

I was scrolling through the WordPress blogs that I follow and I stumbled across myjourneythroughme and her post about National Invisible Illness Week (Sept 9-15 2013), a list of 30 questions to answer about her invisible illness. These questions are the starting point that Lisa Copen (founder of Rest Ministries) used to create a meme (an idea passed from person to person within a culture [thank you Jess B & Wikipedia]) to help raise awareness of invisible illnesses (which vary greatly). Today I am feeling well enough to concentrate on filling out my own meme. So here goes …

 

30 THINGS ABOUT MY INVISIBLE ILLNESS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

1. The illness I live with is: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: I am still awaiting a full diagnosis but have suffered on and off since 1990. I had a partial diagnosis in 1999 then relapsed in Dec 2011 and finally have a more solid idea of what is going. I am now waiting for the fatigue clinic appointment.
3. But I had symptoms since: I was 14 years old.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Allowing my children to help me with everyday chores and letting my partner drive when I am tired.
5. Most people assume: There is nothing wrong with me, because I look fine. I don’t look tired, I can move well enough and I can be quite active.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Trying to move when the alarm goes off. You would not believe how much concentration is needed to open your eyes. Then of course there is the standing up to get dressed, pins and needles in your feet & toes (most uncomfortable), and then there is the light-headed dizzy spells – walls are my best friend in the morning.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: I actually don’t watch TV. I would much rather be social networking or blogging.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Well that’s easy, my smartphone. I can do everything on there that I can do on my netbook.
9. The hardest part about nights are: If I didn’t have the Amitriptilyne then I would have to say going to sleep. My body could be dead to the world with not enough energy to even move – but my brain wakes up and won’t shut up.
10. Each day I take _17_ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried relaxation/meditation but I need to be stricter on myself, I keep letting stress get in the way. I also use the blog as a form of “alternative treatment“.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible – there may still be a lot of stigma behind having an invisible illness but it is easier to hide behind the smile mask.
13. Regarding working and career: That is on hold at the moment. I discovered that I am unable to stay awake/alert enough to work as a teaching assistant. I even tried temping just a few days a week as a TA, but it hasn’t worked out as the fatigue is so unpredictable and I was letting schools down and even got sent home on a few occasions.
14. People would be surprised to know: I’m not sure about this one. People who know me know that I still enjoy walking & geocaching and that I like to push my illness to its limits with the occasional rock climb, abseil, kayak trip and camping.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That there are days where I simply cannot do even the simplest of tasks without assistance.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Continue to enjoy some extreme sports. However I do need to rest for a few days before and I get no choice but to recover for several days afterwards.
17. The commercials about my illness: I live in England and as far as I am aware there are no commercials regarding CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia. However I have seen some IBS adverts and frankly they only deal with the mildest forms and are no help to me at all.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: At the moment it is working.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: Work… Yes you read that right. I also had to give up being a Cub leader for a year and that was a really hard decision to make, and one that I am still making now. I don’t want to leave my Cubs, but I don’t know how much longer I can carry on leading them.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging & vegetable growing. The blog helps me to get the negative thoughts out of my head and make something positive from them. Who knows maybe someone has been helped from reading my woes.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Fit in all the visits that I owe friends and family. Sometimes I feel like I have become a recluse because I don’t go out to see people everyday.
22. My illness has taught me: Is still teaching me… to slow down, manage my time, accept help from others and enjoy each day as it comes because life is far too short.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “There can’t possibly be anything wrong with you! You look absolutely fine!” You know what love… I look fine because I force myself to look fine so that you don’t make silly comments like that!!!
24. But I love it when people: Treat me like they would anyone else, but deep down they know what is going on. Most of my friends can read the signs of my flares and know how and when to step in.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Treat each day as if it is your last. Because life is too short and you never know when you will be unable to carry on doing your favourite things.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How many people I have met that are also living with the same illness. We compare stories and strategies. It has been very helpful.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My fiance buys me little things, like gluten/wheat/dairy free chocolate.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: The stigmatism behind invisible illnesses needs to stop. We are NOT making this up – it is real.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Happy that my message is coming across and that you may have learned something new.

 

As some of you are aware, I have now moved the blog to www.geocachingwithgeokids.co.uk but felt it was important to post this here too.

Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

St Just in Roseland, Cornwall

St Just in Roseland church

St Just in Roseland church

One of the ornate stained glass windows

One of the ornate stained glass windows

 

I’ve just got back from a few days away in Cornwall with my geokids. Reason for going – the eldest was missing her boyfriend! Reason for taking her to Cornwall to see her boyfriend – So I could geocache in a new place! And I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful places we encountered.

Here is just one of them, St Just in Roseland Church. Roseland has nothing to do with roses, it apparently comes from the Cornish word ros or roos, meaning promontory. Which is exactly what the Roseland Peninsula is. It is a little jutted out piece of land surrounded by sea, rivers and streams and spans approximately 10 miles by 10 miles (don’t quote me on that!).

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

I was bought here by a geocache (“of course!” I can hear you all cry), why else would I be here! However, we got terribly sidetracked from the hunt for Roseland #3 – “Captain Jack’s nuptials” when we spotted the intriguiing and beguiling cemetary beside the road. The huge, tall palm trees and exotic looking flowers were all it took for us to enter the grounds and discover a new world within.

Look at the size of this single leaf

Look at the size of this single leaf

As we looked around it was clear to see that St Just Church was part of the Celtic church and well established long before the arrival of St Augustine in England. It is said that there has been a church here as early as A.D 550, but the present church was consecrated in August 1261. About half the church is from that era, with the tower, south chancel and pillars dating from the 15th Century.

One of the many walkway plaques

One of the many walkway plaques

All along the main walkway down to the church itself and the bay, were stone (granite, I think) plaques with a variety of biblical scriptures on them. All beautiful and relevant to the surroundings, which added to the calming atmosphere within the boundaries. I was in awe of the tombstones, all laid out with precision in a kind of stepping layer cut into the hillside. Some were plain and some were intricately decorated. The earliest that we found was dated 1755, but I am sure that if you were to head deeper into the tree growth there would be some earlier than that.

An ornate headstone

An ornate headstone

Following the footpath round the outside of the church and alongside the bay, we came across a sign, pointing us towards a “holy well”. We had to investigate: the path towards it was serene and beautiful. The tide was out, so I imagine it looks more peaceful when the bay is filled. I bought a guide book from the porch of the church in the hopes it would have some information about the well. Having read it, there is nothing! I have heard a rumour that there was a man with a “gammy” leg who went to the well and bathed in it. After the bathing the problems with his leg were miraculously healed.

The Holy Well

The Holy Well

After seeing the well we decided that we should now find the geocache. We had been in the church gardens for about an hour. We took one of the many paths through the jungle of palm tress and tropical looking plants and came across a more modern part of the cemetary. With a stone bordered stream that led to a heart shaped pool. My only thought at this point was that I would like my final resting place to be somewhere like St Just in Roseland church.

Heart shaped pool

Heart shaped pool

Categories: Geo Stories, Life goes on, UK History | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Small steps – big differences

If you have been following my blog then you will know that I am going through some tough battles at the moment. I am in the process of finding out if I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia (twelve month waiting list for the local fatigue clinic – way to go NHS waiting times, only another possible nine months to wait). After having ruled out the majority of potential illnesses and disorders that a GP can exclude I am now going through the wonderful process of trying to find some way of managing the pain and fatigue so that I can function like a “normal” human.

My first crochet project

My first crochet project

Last time I wrote about My life, my journey… I was waiting to see my doctor again as I had been experiencing the worst flare I have ever had. The outcome was an increase of Gabapentin to 600mg per day and to go back on the Amitriptyline with a dose of 20mg per day (to help me stay asleep at night). Three weeks on and I am noticing a difference, I certainly hadn’t been feeling as tired as before, for the most part and the pain is more manageable than previously. However I am finding that most days I am maxing out on Paracetamol still (and the occasional Ibuprofen).

I forgot to keep up with the mild muscle & relaxation exercise techniques that I was going to try out, mainly due to the fact that my memory is shot to pieces and my brain seems more fuddled than I am used to. That is not to say I am not exercising though.  Over the past three weeks, I have managed to continue two regular garden stints (i.e watering, planting, pruning) a day and I have taken up crochet too (to keep me off Facebook and give me something constructive to do while recovering).

I revived these flowers over the past month

I revived these flowers over the past month

Although I am doing my best to keep myself active, I have noticed a decline in my social interactions. I haven’t been out very much and I haven’t kept up with my favourite hobbies. The only socialising I have been doing is when people come over here to visit or via social networks and even that has been tough on the old grey cells. Which leads me to believe that the latest flare has left me feeling very fragile on an emotional level. I have been hiding away almost like a hermit trying to protect myself from the outside world and all its influences. But what help is that to me really? All it has done has begun to cause all the negative thought patterns to creep back into my mind. Such as feeling guilt about not keeping the home clean and tidy and not seeing friends, anxiety and panic about how to keep the bills paid, feelings of uselessness or failure that I am not doing right by my children. All the emotions that if not dealt with can push me the over the edge into the dark abyss of depression. Thankfully my close family are very understanding and see my internal battles on an daily basis and allow me / encourage me to speak out. This is what really helps to keep the depression at bay.

FODMAP foods

FODMAP foods

Saying that though, there has been a slight “plus” side to having rested so much over the past month. With the fatigue levels almost at “my normal” and the pain virtually manageable I have been able to concentrate more on my diet, that is the diet where I find foods that don’t make me feel unwell and discover the foods that will eventually make me thrive and put on a little more weight again. I have already been on a gluten free diet for 10 months but have recently been asked by the GP to try the FODMAP diet. I don’t know much about it other than it is meant to be a good one for IBS sufferers. Basically there are many good foods out there that aggravate the intestines & bowels. Anyway, what I have had to do is eliminate certain foods containing fructose, lactose and other words I cannot remember or spell. When I first read through the list of foods containing FODMAPs I was able to eliminate a very large proprtion of them as they were foods that I don’t have anyway, which pretty much left just lactose products and a few of my favourite fruits. So this month I have cut out milk and other dairy products… And what a change I have noticed. On the occasions where it has been pretty much unavoidable but to have milk in a hot drink, guess what? It has aggravated the IBS symptoms. Trouble is I now have to read every set of ingredients on everything I plan to eat which makes choosing some foods a mammoth task.

Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Wolfiesworks – The next stage

Wolfiesworks

Wolfiesworks on Facebook

Wolfie has been working very hard over the past few weeks. The decision to create a Facebook page was definitely the right one, with regular orders and personal requests coming in.

So for us the natural progression was to also move over to Google+ and create another page there. That way hitting an even bigger target audience. Wolfiesworks on Google+ is in its early days, but the positive feedback Wolfie is recieving shows that again it’s a positive move.

I am very excited for Wolfie and what the future may hold for her. It’s not every day you can turn your passion for a hobby into a small business venture.

Miniature Clay Charms

Miniature Clay Charms

Wolfiesworks on Google+

Wolfiesworks on Google+

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Wolfiesworks lesson in clay

Kent County Cachers

Kent County Cachers

As part of managing Wolfie’s Facebook page (and accounts) I am allowed to have as many charms and items as I would like. I’m not about to take advantage of this as I am willing to help Wolfie make a business out of clay sculpting, especially as, at the end of the day, she is still a teenager.

So instead of Wolfie making me something, she gave me a lesson in making my own key fob. I wanted to have the Kent County Cachers (geocaching) logo. Something easy, don’t you think? Well, with the exception of the Kent Invicta perhaps, but Wolfie had an idea about that.

Step One

Decide on a base colour (We chose glow in the dark, because we wanted to try it out) and roll it out to the required size and thickness. We actually printed off a copy of the logo to give us a guide size of 6 cm by 6cm.

Roll out the base

Roll out the base

Step Two

I cut out the logo and placed it onto the base so that I was able to cut nice straight edges. I’m not particularly good at keeping a steady hand, and that helped me. Using a sharp craft knife I cut the clay to size.

Cut out the base

Cut out the base

Step Three

I then repeated the previous process with the four small coloured squares that make up the county geocachers logo. First rolling out the clays to the required size and thickness, before cutting them into squares.

Squares are really easy

Squares are really easy

Step Four

Once all the required layers are in place and smoothed out (in my case moved and adjusted carefully because I like perfection) and a hole is made so I can add either a ball chain or split ring later, place the clay item on a clean baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 150°. The baking process hardens the clay.

Time for baking

Time for baking

Step Five

Here comes the slightly tricky bit. Replicating the drawings of the logo onto the cooled base. Wolfie decided it would be a good idea to carefully cut out the Kent Invicta and use the clear glaze to paste it into place. This idea seems to have worked out well.

Draw on the images

Draw on the images

Then came the time to replicate the other images. We used a very fine permanent marker (0.5 nib) to do this, and my not so steady hand. However I was pleased with the result.

Step Six

Just before glazing I wanted to put my mark on the back, my geocaching name. The final stage was glazing and attaching a ball chain. Wolfie uses a clear acrylics glaze, it protects the hardened clay and any detail that has been applied. It also seems to be water resistant too. Which is very handy for most of the things she makes.

Reverse

Reverse

 

Front

Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it, my first ever clay creation. We added the results to Wolfiesworks and by the following morning we had recieved a few orders. So Wolfie let me make those too. I’m pleased with the results and it kept me out of trouble for a day.

Kent County Cachers key fobs

Kent County Cachers key fobs

Categories: Life goes on, Wolfiesworks | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pain, Insomnia & Relaxation

This week has been awful with regards to pain. I had read somewhere that humidity can be a bane for cfs/fibro sufferers, so whenever I notice that my pain levels are higher than normal I check the weather reports. Specifically the percentage of humidity to see if there is a pattern. Now I live in the UK, famously known for being wet and miserable, so basically this will be pretty much a battle that cannot be won. Anyway, Having checked the weather every day this week the humidity has been averaging 70-77%. It was at its peak of 77% on Wednesday (when I wrote the passages below).

Please just let me sleep!

Please just let me sleep!

“It’s gone 1am!  I’m still tossing and turning, trying to find a position that is comfortable. One where the burning throbbing sensation in my legs and ankles actually eases. A position where my left shoulder is not shaking & twitching, and the sudden shooting pain in my back goes away. Hoping for a few blissful moments where it doesn’t feel like a pair of clamps above both wrists and around both elbows are tightening every few seconds. It’s time to give me a break. My body has felt like this since I woke up at 8 yesterday morning. By mid afternoon I was so exhausted mentally from it all I gave in to myself and had a lay down & cry. Closed my eyes for an hour curled up beside Mark. He slept, I didn’t! I had to keep moving to get comfortable. We were holding hands but I had to let go because the pain in my knuckles made my fingers scream.
Tonight though, it’s the same again. This is the worst I’ve had! I’m so tired I should be able to sleep. It’s the first night in 18 months that I’ve not managed to fall asleep as my head hits the pillow. I finished the last of the Amitriptilyne tablets last week… I know that’s what helped me sleep because if I forgot to take it, it would take me longer to doze off. However it would leave me feeling very dopey the following morning. It was no longer managing the pain so my doctor has taken me off it and started me on Gabapentin. Trouble is the pain is getting more intense and seems to be everywhere, even in places I didn’t have pain before.

I see him again on  Monday, but already I feel like I can’t wait that long. I’m too tired to cope anymore. Earlier I walked from the bedroom to the bathroom in tears because I couldn’t put weight on my left foot – it felt like I had a bad knock on the ankle bone. It’s not felt like that since it was last in plaster (2010).
My body isn’t my own today, I don’t know who this person is. As far as I can make out there is no physical reason why I hurt this bad but there is no mental one either. It doesn’t make sense. It’s upsetting that I feel I let those I love down by not being able to even cook a meal, it makes me angry that my body is betraying me. Am I being punished? If so what for? I have no idea.

Tonight all I want to do is sleep. It’s incredibly lonely lying in the dark, trying to keep the crying quiet so as not to wake up Mark. Part of me wants to wake him so I’m not alone, so that he can comfort and soothe me, calm & relax me in the hope that sleep will soon come. But the part of me that loves him more than I could ever begin to describe wants him to sleep to remain blissfully unaware until we are reunited in daylight. He’ll tell me I was daft to suffer for hours on my own, but he looks too beautiful sleeping. So for now I just write all this nonsense to get it out of my head, as much as I can because even holding the phone is causing extreme pain in my forearms.”

Mark woke up in the end and we had a chat and a calming session (with tea) until about half 3 am. Mark understands the pain levels very well (he has back issues that have plagued him his entire life) especially when our British weather is damp and humid. So our chat did help me a lot, as this is all fairly new to me.

I also found a sleep app called Relax Time, similar to the Sleep Stream app that I used to use on my old phone to see if that helps me. I particularly like the alphawave, it lulls me into a relaxed state. The bonus is, Mark can’t hear it so it doesn’t disturb him. It did help, but last night I found it irritating so didn’t use it. But I shall keep trying it.

The pain had leveled off a little yesterday, but because I am still worse than I am used to I decided to try some other methods that I have been reading about. So before bed last night I ran a nice hot bath with about 10 drops of lavendar essential oil. While I was in the bath I used another app on the phone, Hypnosis – Free realxation 3.0, and used the progessive muscle session. Seeing as I have been too unwell to exercise this week I thought that I should try some gentle muscle exercises. This felt great! Especially with a deep hot bath. Afterwards I felt relaxed and the pain had eased off (for about an hour or so). I did sleep better last night.

This morning, I decided to do the progressive muscle exercise again before getting dressed. This time laying flat on the bed. Again I felt more relaxed than I have all week, but the gentle exercise which is only about 15 minutes long did leave me feeling very fatigued. So I had to lay quietly with my eyes closed and breathing gently for about half an hour before I was able to function again.

I am going to keep trying this out though, especially when I am in so much all over pain and can’t bare the thought of taking a walk. It will be interesting to see how and if it works. In the meantime I will be back at the doctor’s on Monday to continue discussing pain management as 300mg of Gabapentin a day is most defintiely not working, and my emotional state has become very fragile again. I also feel the need to speak with a nutritionalist or dietician. Since finding out about the IBS I have discovered that my worst triggers are Sunflower and Vegetable Oil. This is not a good thing as we are finding that almost every food product has one or both of these products and I really do need some guidance.

Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wolfiesworks meets Geocaching

Wolfieswork on Facebook

Wolfieswork on Facebook

It has only been three weeks since Wolfie/Freya allowed me to take the plunge with creating a Facebook page to share her polymer clay creations with the world.

Geo-Soldier

Geo-Soldier

Well what can I say? Within those three weeks she has generated many more custom requests than we’ve had sales through Etsy. Having just browsed through the statistics (I love numbers) her page is reaching about 1000 views a week and this morning Wolfiesworks hit 50 likes.

Her hobby (and system of de-stressing) of moulding clay is rapidly becoming a viable business venture, and this morning she made the decision to invest in an invoice book and cash ledger to record all the comings and goings (a very grown up move).

IMG-20130609-WA0021

An awkward turtle

I took time looking back through the recent orders (& photographs) and have noticed that the majority of them have all come from geocachers.

It seems that our fellow gps geeks love the little figurines and MeChibi’s so much that several are becoming travel bug companions. For those that don’t know, a travel bug is a trackable dog tag with a unique code that you log online through Geocaching.com. They travel around from one geocache to another all over the world and geocachers pick them up to move on, discovering them along the way.

Geo-guinea pig

Geo-guinea pig

Two of the new MeChibi’s (one is still to be made, just waiting on a particular type of clay first) will be taking part in a “race”. They will be getting released on the same day and the trackable owners will be totaling up the companions mileage each month and the loser has to supply the winner with a McDonalds’ meal (I believe).

So what type of companion would you add to a travel bug? So far, Wolfie has supplied geocachers with an “awkward turtle”, a guinea pig, a hamster, a soldier, pirates, geocacher in a bush and a dog.

 

I’ve asked her if she will make a charm bracelet using the geocache container types icons. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will turn out.

Geo-hound

Geo-hound

Geocacher in a bush

Geocacher in a bush

Geo-Pirate

Geo-Pirate

Categories: Geo Stories, Travel Bugs, Wolfiesworks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chronic illness resembles an onion

Chronic pain & extreme fatigue is like an onion. It has many layers. One of those layers is unstable emotions.

I'm going out of my mind!

I’m going out of my mind!

Life throws us many challenges which we have to learn to deal with in many ways. It could be learning from repeated mistakes. It could be teaching us how to cope with a variety of different situations. But no matter what it is there are times when you feel that you just don’t have the mental or physical energy to even bother.

My doctor encourages me to write this blog as a means of getting all my fears, thoughts (both negative and positive), dreams, hopes and aspirations out of my head rather than sitting quietly stewing over everything that niggles and eats away in my mind.

You see when I don’t write it all down, my brain goes 19 to the dozen, at night lying in bed waiting for sleep to take me. Then when I do eventually drop off my subconscious takes over and more often than not it will still be mulling over every last thought I’ve had that day; week; month or even year. Leaving me totally exhausted and unrested eight to ten hours later!

Now the important thing about the whole experience of writing down my highs and lows is that I do tend to write when something really is bothering me. But it gets saved as a draft for me to look at the following day. Once I’ve had a chance to calm down (again positive and negative) I’ll spend a good few hours reading through my thoughts. Carefully changing and editing as I go. Some I keep and some I delete never to be seen again. Some of my post ideas get thought about and written over several days, none are ever spur of the moment (more haste, less speed!). All in the name of warding off depression (or so my gp tells me).

How I feel when my brain explodes!

How I feel when my brain explodes!

And it works. It really does. Talking out loud about how different scenarios affect me in different ways. Discussing aloud how I analyse a situation helps me to understand myself better and helps me with learning new ways to interact with people. By writing it down and then re-reading it many hours later helps me to clear my mind, and to learn what a particular feeling or emotion, activity or situation does to me on a variety of levels. It really is a valuable tool to some partial type of recovery. I certainly don’t want to be a person that keeps everything inside, quiet and festering until I can take it no longer and explode like a firework. Can you just imagine the damage that could cause? I don’t want to imagine it. (That just caused me to lose my train of thought completely!)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is me, you can read into me as much as you want to, but what you see is what you get. My words may hurt someone, my words may help someone, they do both to me you know. Many times I’ve sat and cried reading my words back to myself before publishing a post. I suppose that’s why a regular blog session spans about four hours.

I am emotional, I am physically and mentally exhausted all the time. Little things like not being able to lift a kettle or going in to the dishwasher for a pint of milk, or shooing the pup off the vegetable plot for another time do fill my eyes with tears and gives me a heavy heart. I can’t help that immediate response but what I can do is write about it and analyse it to understand why it happened, why I felt the way I did when it happened, how I can learn from that or prevent that effect (negative) from happening again or how to recreate an effect (positive) when I need to.

So yes, I write and I share for the whole world to see (well the odd few of you who like to check in from time to time) but I do it for me and my mental wellbeing, I do it to clear my mind so I can concentrate on the important things like what my children have been up to this week.

Clearing my mind

Clearing my mind

Related Posts
For other post about chronic fatigue and chronic pain, and how it affects my life, why not take a browse through the category My life, my journey…
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Garden Life

Trying to enjoy my garden

See, I told you it was a mess!

See, I told you it was a mess!

I will be the first to admit that my garden is a mess. It needs a lot of work and tender loving care. A project that I am planning on undertaking even though I am struggling to find a sensible work/life balance with the pain and exhaustion. At the moment I am still building up the Gabapentin levels and still tending to over do activities.

I read a great post over the weekend by desdemonad, writer of The Wind blows all over about pacing yourself. Some really great points were made about doing certain tasks for 10 minutes followed by a rest period of 15 minutes. I like this idea and it has great potential to work well, but only if I am hard on myself.

On Sunday I did three half hour stints in the garden in a bid to clear it of mess, rubbish and items that I no longer require. On Monday I only managed twenty minutes of filling rubbish sacks before succumbing to the tiredness and aches. Unfortunately I made the mistake of leaving the sacks in the garden and our lovely and not so little puppy has had a good rummage, so in that respect I would say I need to repeat work that has already been done.

In my last post, a usable garden! I mentioned the fact that I am on a journey to reclaim the

A boot full of goodies

A boot full of goodies

space for vegetable growing. Unfortunately for me though, the soil is currently so compacted and dry I know that I need assistance with that particular task (the girls are definitely not interested in turning soil). I am no longer strong enough to wield a garden fork! So despite the fact the garden is my project I have had to draft in my not-so-willing step-son. However my brain is trying to tell me “you can do it, it’s not that hard”, hence why I am distracting myself with the blog instead in the sunshine. (Yay, sun & heat in England today!)

Oops I went a little off topic there. Anyway, as a result of the small amount of activity I have spent the last 48 hours trying to recover (I used to be able to spend an entire day working in the garden). During that time my Mum had been on her weekly shopping trip with her parents (both in their mid to late 80s) and was sending me random messages telling me the things she had got for my project, to give me a bit of a head start. I went from resting to almost bouncing off the walls with excitement (well as much as my body allowed) and promptly got in the car and headed over for coffee and collection.

Hen proof cloche! Home to pepper and tomato plants.

Hen proof cloche! Home to pepper and tomato plants.

Needless to say the pacing strategy was thrown out the window when I returned home. I mean, I had a variety of new plants and seeds that needed re-potting and sowing before the pup got to them. So once the youngest was home from school we spent almost two hours in the garden pretending to be gardeners and building cloches and so far with much success. The downside though was last night I was so tired I didn’t want to have “date night” and was resting in bed by 20:00. I also forgot to eat so it was almost 22:00 before I got any food inside me, not a sensible thing to do as I had a very restless night, waking to move several times followed by the discomfort of heartburn (I still haven’t got the hang of IBS). And today it has taken me four hours to become functional enough to think.

So today I am kind of resting; in the garden with the net-book talking to you and planning my next moves for my 40 ft square barren wasteland. Enjoying the sounds of my hens in their new surroundings, the songs of the wild life and the mischievous noises of a puppy trying to see how much she can get away with.

Carrots, broccoli, courgette, chard, cabbage and sweetcorn (which looks like it grew over night)

Carrots, broccoli, courgette, chard, cabbage and sweetcorn (which looks like it grew over night)

Related Posts

For other post about chronic fatigue and chronic pain, and how it affects my life, why not take a browse through the category My life, my journey…
Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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