Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sun, sand and sea in Alicante

Almost two weeks have passed since we got back from our holiday and I've spent each day since in bed recovering. I didn't think it was possible to feel so happy whilst being in so much pain! This holiday was such a big milestone for me. It was the first holiday I was able to go on in since I became unwell AND it marked the first time in 4 years I was able to leave the house five days in a row. For me that is a HUGE achievement and I couldn't be happier about it.

My boyfriend and I couldn't have wished for a better trip. I actually felt quite well (by my standards at least) and I was even able to do some activities I never would have imagined I'd be able to do again, like go on a jet ski, SO . MUCH . FUN! And do some snorkeling. The best 6 I ever spent was on a snorkel! I may have had my moments and I was probably the only person in the whole of Spain during the peak summer temperatures needing to have a long soak in a hot bath for an hour each night, and needing to go to bed with a hot water bottle and half a dozen heat pads scattered allover my aching body (Cue horrendously awful but ridiculously appropriate holiday song - Ole ole, ole ole, feeling hot, hot, hot) but none of that stuff matters, what matters is that I did it, I actually did something normal, and I had such a great time.

It felt AMAZING to be away with my favourite human enjoying the sunshine and just taking it all in. This was the sort of thing I dreamt of doing just a few years ago when it was almost impossible for me to make the journey from my bed to my bathroom so I made a conscious effort to fill my lungs with sea air and take in and appreciate every single moment. Ok, maybe I didn't appreciate seeing a floating poo in the sea, but I did appreciate everything else!

The highlight of the trip for me was a submarine we went on, which was incredible. I've always dreamt of being a mermaid and that will probably be the closest I'll get to ever being one, chillin' down at the bottom of the Med with all of my new fish friends!

The low-light of the holiday was when my camera broke (cries) which is why some of the photos are from my phone. The holiday you have spent years dreaming about and your camera goes and bloody breaks, how typical is that!? We still got some lovely photos though, but more importantly than that, we made some amazing memories.

We're all going on a yellow submarine..

Under the sea, under the sea...

Wearing my footless sandals made by the lovely Sian who blogs here

Debuting my TRIANGL bikini

The amazing view from our balcony

Our hotel had the nicest bar, they served the most delicious cocktails (non alcoholic for the Granny over here)

Have you been/are planning on going on holiday this year?
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Peace & love!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

There is always something to be thankful for

There is always, always something to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today?

I am thankful for you guys, for your continuous support, your sweet sweet comments, your thoughtful gestures and your friendship.
Yesterday's stranger can become tomorrow's friend.

For those of you that have followed this blog since the early stages when I really was very unwell, I am so thankful you chose to stick around and thankful that you chose to continue reading my posts because without readers this blog would probably have been abandoned long ago, and this blog has been my light in all of the darkness. It has become my escape, my creative outlet and a place I can be free.

I am thankful for every single email I have received, every single 'Stay Strong' every single 'Hang In There' and every single 'Don't Give Up!' I am thankful for your kind words because they are what gave me the strength to keep on pushing through, to keep on fighting, and without the support of some of you amazing people out there I don't think I would have made it to where I am today. I am in such a positive place right now and I'm more determined than ever to kick M.E's butt and show it who's boss and a big part of that is down to you and the strength you give me. 

Everyday we wake up to a new day, and we're alive. I am thankful to be alive, for to be alive means to have life and to have life means to have hope, hope for a better tomorrow. I'm still waiting for a cure, but until then I have hope and I have some wonderful people who give me hope every single day - you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Travelling abroad as a disabled person

Travelling abroad can be tiring and stressful for any healthy person, but when you're facing travelling as a disabled person or person with a disability, things start to become a little bit more tricky.

As I recently flew abroad (holiday blog post coming soon!) as a disabled person I thought it might be helpful for my disabled readers if I did a post about my experience, and to give you a few tips. The first time I flew abroad as a disabled person I had no idea what to expect and it was quite a nerve wracking prospect! However, with the right help, flying abroad cripple style couldn't be any less scary.

Special assistance

First things first, Special Assistance is a disabled travelers best friend. Without a shadow of a doubt if it wasn't for this service I wouldn't be able to travel. Special assistance is basically a service for anybody flying who has a disability or is disabled in some way. The SA team take care of you from your arrival at the airport right the way through until your departure at the other end. There are several types of services they offer depending on your individual needs, and depending on how much help you think you're going to need. This is particularly good if you are an independent wheelchair user but you just need to know where the lifts are, etc...

Although I always travel with my own wheelchair, if you prefer you can use a wheelchair provided by the airport. Whatever the reason is for you choosing to travel with assistance, they will never ask for confirmation as to why you are using the service. Anybody can use the service, including other members of your party so you won't be separated, and you will always be treated with the utmost respect and care. I can't praise the SA staff enough.

The best thing about the special assistance service is that it is completely free! Almost all airports now have a special assistance service in place, but be sure to check on your airports websites before booking.

Hand luggage essentials

(please note these essentials were for a two hour flight only. Longer flights would need more essentials)

If like me you are going to be travelling with a wheelchair, you want your hand luggage to be as light as possible otherwise you will have a heavy bag sat on your lap for who knows how long whilst waiting around in the airport. Here are some of the essentials I take with me in my hand luggage:

  • Compression socks - I have an illness known as POTS, and compression socks are vital for travelling as they help ease the pain in my legs. They also help stop my blood pressure rocketing to dangerous levels and preventing me from fainting - nobody wants to be that person that fainted just before take off...
  • Medication - Take a little bit extra just in case of delays. Be sure to take travel sickness tablets if you need them and take enough pain medication to keep you covered. The uncomfortable aeroplane seats can be a pain for those with chronic pain.
  • Entertainment - I always take an ipod/pad and a book. I listen to meditation audio tapes before flying to relax. It is normally quite hard to hear them on board over the noisy engines so I always make sure I've got a film on my ipad to keep me entertained, and a good book or magazines to read in case my battery runs out.
  • An eye mask - Depending on what time you are flying and how long your flight is you might want to take an eye mask on board with you. I always take one so if I'm tired and need a nap I can easily drift off. It's also good if you have sensory overload and lights hurt your eyes. Comical animal mask is preferred, but not essential.
  • Baby wipes - Because it's better to be safe than sorry! If you go to use the flight toilet and there's no toilet paper, you're going to be glad you packed these. They are also ideal for a quick freshen up if you're a little bit hot and sticky, and they are perfect to use if you happen to spill diet coke all over your legs! (True story)
  • Cane and other mobility aids - My fold up walking stick is always in my bag so if I need it, it's there. You can travel with special assistance with other mobility aids free of charge, including crutches and sticks, which is handy!
  • Snacks - We all know that airlines rip you off when it comes to food on board. I like to take a selection of healthy snacks to keep my energy levels up and I will never fly without a pack of chewing gum in my bag. Ear popping on takeoff is not fun.
  • Emergency contact details and a medical card - On the off chance that things don't go to plan and you have a funny turn, it is best to have your medical notes and an emergency contact number easily accessible in your bag. As I normally fly on my own this is especially important and reassuring. If anything was to happen, I know that the first aid flight assistant will know how what to do.

I'd definitely recommend flying with special assistance if you're unwell, disabled or have a disability. The service is second to none and with their help you have absolutely nothing to worry about. It might seem daunting if you've never flown as a disabled person before but you are treated like royalty and they take good care of you. You get to skip ques and you are normally seated before everyone else. I've flown with SA a couple of times now and I've always had an entire row to myself which is normally a rarity!  

If you're thinking about travelling abroad and have any questions, leave them in a comment below or message me directly :)

Have you ever flown as a disabled passenger before? What was your experience like? 

Peace & love

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A reason to be happy

Later on today, I will be going on my first holiday since I got ill. This for obvious reasons makes me extremely happy! I have been too ill to be able to go on a holiday for so many years, and although we are just going for five days, I know it is going to be amazing, and a break we both deserve, and definitely need. After all, it has been a tough four years. (Understatement of the Century) 

I am going with my boyfriend Alex, who I haven't seen in months and months because I've been stuck in England with so many medical appointments and hospital stuff to attend to (damn you chronic illness for keeping me apart from my favourite human for so long!) whilst he has been busy working in Madrid.

We are going to the beach (of course) in Alicante, Spain, and then following that I will be going back to Al's home in Madrid to stay for the foreseeable! Que feliz estoy!

I am ridiculously excited, but I must admit I am also quite nervous because I honestly have no idea as to how well my body will cope. Five days on the trot getting out of bed is a big deal for anyone with severe M.E, so please keep your fingers crossed for me! I can't wait to share with you guys some snippets from our holiday. If anyone needs me I'll probably be dipping my toes in the Med.

I'm also going to be doing a feature on travelling abroad with a wheelchair so if that's something that interests you be sure to keep an eye open for it in the upcoming weeks.

Have you been anywhere nice this year or are you planning on going anywhere soon? I'd love to know!

Hasta pronto chicos y chicas!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The nutriton edition

Wig C/O: Jakegallagherhair (click for website)
Dress: Vintage

Look, I've got pink hair!... This was just a little bit of fun as I LOVEEEEEE fruit! We all know just how important it is that we get our daily dosage of fruit and vegetables, but when you have a chronic illness and a weakened immune system, it is doubly important. I need to feed my body as much healthy foods as possible. After all food is fuel / You are what you eat / Eat for health, etc etc.

Since I've made a conscious effort to eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as well as taking vitamin supplements (I'm not joking around when I say my insides need all the help they can get!) I have definitely noticed a difference in how I've felt. It would be the same if a healthy person did it too, and surely the benefits eating fruit has on your skin and hair is a big enough incentive to get munching on some citrus delights, who doesn't want amazing skin and shiny healthy hair?!

There are so many ways to incorporate fruit into your day, think smoothies, fruit infused drinks, pancakes, fruit salads, ate with yogurt, topped over cereal... The possibilities are endless so you have no excuses!

Are you a big fruit eater?
What is your favourite type of fruit? Mine are strawberries! Mmmmm rico rico! 

Peace and love!

Monday, 28 July 2014

The calm before the storm

I recently found an old memory card and on it I found lots of photos from the weeks before I was hospitalised, before my first seizure and before the days of severe illness. I can't remember if I hid the memory card on purpose or not because for a long time I struggled to look at photos of that time because I was devastated that I was never going to be the girl that I saw in the photos again. It made me so angry and upset to look at what my life once was, and to see what my life had become which at that point was incredibly tough. A lot of the photos on the memory card were of me with friends enjoying myself and having lots of fun. I can look back at those photos now and I feel happy. I'm grateful for the memories and fun times. I wish there could have been more but I'm still grateful and I can laugh and remember lots of the funny things that we all did. We were all so carefree.

I also found on the memory card some photos of a lake my boyfriend Alex and I visited days before my life turned upside down. Days before they started taking tests on my spinal cord and attaching me to machines. I remember how ill I felt that day but even though I was in so much pain, even though I could hardly move, and even though I felt the worst I had ever felt up until that moment, I was still in total awe of the beauty of the lake. I remember for hours swallows were flying over our heads in a perfect V formation as they returned back home after migrating down South for the Winter. I remember how I refused to go home early because I wanted to stay and watch the sunset, and I am so glad we did because it was breathtaking. The sky was lit with all different colours and it was so calm and peaceful. It really was the calm before the storm. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Music is happiness

Everyone loves music, right? Well for me my love and appreciation for it hit new levels when I was able to listen to music again after several years of not being able to. You couldn't listen to music? You might be asking. Well the answer is no, I couldn't. Two years ago it was so painful for me to listen to music, and as you can probably imagine it was a pretty dismal situation to be in! Music is probably one of the only things in the world that has the power to bring total strangers together, and for many, music was their first love, to quote the famous John Miles song. 

One of the symptoms of M.E - the illness I suffer from - is sensory overload which basically means it can be incredibly painful to be touched, to see lights, or to hear things. There are different levels of extremity but I suffered with it severely, so much so that I had to avoid loud places and yep, you guessed it, I had to avoid music. *Sad crying emoji goes here*

When the severity of my sensory overload started to ease off a bit I was completely ecstatic! If I had the energy to dance I definitely would've done! I could listen to almost a whole entire album again and it felt so so good! My taste in music maybe isn't the most friendly on the ears, but we can't help what we like! I'm really into a lot of alternative stuff, punk, rock, even heavy metal so I might not be able to listen to some of my favourite artists and bands just yet, but I'm not complaining. For now I'm more than happy to listen to the likes of Soko, Laura Marling and Angus & Julia Stone, and I look forward to the day that X ray spex can be blasted down my ears once again.

What would you do if you were unable to listen to music for several years?
What sort of music are you into?

Peace & love!