All things must pass….

Last week I finally got an appointment with the pain specialist I have been waiting see. I had pinned my hopes on this Dr having some answers for me. He did. Unfortunately it wasn’t a diagnosis I wanted. 

My new consultant is convinced that I have Fibromyalgia.  As you may know I have been living with chronic illness for some time. I have a number of debilitating digestive tract issues. I also have problems maintaining a healthy haemoglobin level, which causes a raft of symptoms ranging from fatigue to angina attacks. Along with these known conditions I have increasingly had mystery symptoms. Pains with no definable cause, intensification of pain resulting from my health issues, continual sleep disturbance despite taking really quite strong sleeping pills, confusion , memory loss & needing to pee constantly. Add that to my existing physical symptoms & PTSD and you begin to get picture of what I’m dealing with. 

Pain in particular has been taking over my life. It limits almost everything. I can’t make plans, my social life has contracted & working outside the home is impossible. Even keeping up with housework is a mammoth task. I needed help. I was clinging to the idea that someone would find a problem that could be fixed. That I’d be offered surgery or medication of some crazy treatment, at the end of which I would reclaim some of my life. I knew that my diagnosed problems wouldn’t go away, but I held out hope that these newer cryptic concerns would be cured. Sadly, that is not to be. 

There is some relief in having someone say this is what’s wrong with you. I am glad not to have been patronised or had my mental health blamed again. I just wish the outlook was a bit sunnier. Since Thursday I have been adjusting to the fact that my pain is never going away. My current condition is likely to be my continuous one. I’ve had to read up on fibromyalgia & prepare myself for all it may mean. I have also been confronted with the new knowledge that pregnancy, which was never going to be straightforward is hugely impacted by fibro. This has been a big blow. I’ve wanted to be pregnant for a very long time. Knowing that I will most likely struggle to enjoy the experience is a punch in the gut. 

So, accepting this new diagnosis is a process. However, I am by no means defeated. I will start a new medication tomorrow. It’s likely to be a rough ride as it is harsh on the stomach, but the pain relief it can offer is worth trying for. I’ve already been referred to various groups & medical professionals. I’m doing my own research; I am open to anything. Expect to join me on a journey of experimentation with pain management techniques. 

I refuse to be beaten by this. Which is not to say I won’t bitch or wallow sometimes. I’m not superwoman. I accept my body will always place limitations on me. I also acknowledge that I am nowhere near to being at peace with that. I’m angry and sad, but not defeated. I have a very clear picture of the things I need to be happy. It’s just a case of working out how to achieve them within the confines of my illness. Let’s face it, I’ve been playing with a bad hand for a while, but I can bluff my way to a win. 

  

Summer in the city…

A few week ago I was invited to a Hotter Shoes blogger event. I’ll be honest I didn’t know very much about Hotter & the little I did had led me to believe that it probably wouldn’t meet my shoe needs. Well, it seems I had judged them unfairly.

  
It is true that Hotter do have styles that cater to an older audience, but they offer a lot more besides. I was particularly taken with their more casual sandals & wedges. I love an outlandish heel, but these days they only really come out for the big occasions. Something flat and not pain inducing is more my everyday brief. Enter Hotter with their focus on comfort and fit.

Unfortunately for me a few of styles I really liked included leather, which obviously clashes with my  veggie sensibilities. Hence, I was feeling a little down cast until one  of the super Hotter staff members unearthed these cuties.

  

The weather took a while to co operate, but over the last week or so my wee floral beauties have hardly been off my feet. I can attest that all those bubbles in the soles really do make my feet feel cushioned delightfully cushioned. They don’t rub or pinch or harass my tootsies in any way. I suspect they’ll be getting plenty of wear this summer.

  
 

 * These shoes were gifted, but opinions are my own. 

Cruelty Free Beauty….

I don’t do many beauty reviews. Not because I don’t like them, but because I’m a fairly low maintainance girl & I’m far from an expert. However when I discovered totally cruelty free* cosmetics by Arbonne I really wanted to spread the word. 

So, let’s start spreading. I chose to try their Intelligence Cc Cream first as I was looking for lighter weight coverage for my face. I went for fair as my skin is practically see through. This shade works well for me & can be easily built if you’re looking for fuller coverage.  The cream itself feels very smooth, but is a little thicker than I expected. I think this is simply because I was specifically looking for an everyday ‘no make up’ look. In my case I mixed it with a little vitamin E serum & it was perfect. However, as I previously said it provides deeper coverage just as well.    

  
The cream lives up to it’s multi purpose claims. I use it without a primer with great results. Along with creating an even complexion it also covers blemishes very well, even when used lightly. The cream feels lovely on the skin & creates a fresh, natural look that lasts all day. All in all I’d give it a big thumbs up. I cannot wait to try out more of Arbonne’s products. 

  

You can browse & buy these ethical beauty dreams here.

* botanically based, suitable for vegans & Pets certified animal cruelty free. 

** I was gifted this product, but opinions expressed are all my own. 

You can’t touch this…

It’s a rainy bank holiday Monday & I’ve decided to have a lazy day. I’m just casually scrolling through Facebook when a post gets my attention. I’m not surprised by the post, it’s nothing new. Nonetheless it makes me feel a tad ragey. 

  
   
My first thoughts run to the sheer entitlement of this man. He wants to do something & no one else’s feelings on the matter count. These thoughts are swiftly followed by exhaustion at constantly having to explain why this is not ok. His dismissal of rape culture as something made up by ‘angry women’ & his total refusal to accept women’s safety concerns are appalling. The problem of course, is that these attitudes are pervasive. Men routinely behave this way. 

  
I am aware that I am not the first woman to raise these issues, but I really think it’s important that we share our experiences. 1 in 5 women in uk have been sexually assualted at some point in their life. To be honest I’m surprised this figure isn’t much higher. Women and girls are harassed daily. It’s infuriating, frightening, humiliating, stressful & so much more. Still girls are told by teachers that ‘boys will boys’ and schools put the onus on what girls wear rather on male behaviour. We are told cat calling is a compliment and police down play our reports of sexual assualt. 

Men, it seems have no concept of the female experience. They will never understand the extent of the harassment we endure unless we speak out. Basically, we need to ram it down their throats. 

With that in mind I want to share some of the stand out moments of sexual intimidation that I have experienced. 

1/ I was approximately 10yrs old & wearing my favourite outfit. It was one of those heat sensitive t shirts that change colour & a velvet skirt. The t shirt reads hotspot, I thought this was the coolest thing ever. At a family gathering an adult, male family friend slaps my bum & says ‘that’s your hotspot’. I was 10yrs old. The incident confused & frightened me so much that I didn’t tell a soul it had happened. 

2/ I’m 11 or twelve and have just started secondary school. The boys in my class routinely try to undo girl’s bras through their blouses. I don’t wear a bra yet & so am mercilessly mocked. 

3/ That same year myself & a friend are followed off a bus & right to her house by a complete stranger. He’s a middle aged man & we are terrified.

4/ On my way home from school one day a man approaches me & warns me that there is another man playing with himself ahead. A week or so later the same man does the same thing. On speaking to the police it turns out there have been dozens of complaints. 

5/ By 15 my flat as a pancake figure has ceased to be. My breast growth has gone into over drive & my boobs are large. My life long battle begins. Boys at school grab me and make crude comments. Adult bus drivers make disgusting comments despite my wearing a school uniform. For the first time I hear the male theory that big breasts mean I am slut.

6/ At some point in my mid teens I go on holiday with a friend’s family. Throughout the holiday my friend’s mother alludes to the size of my breasts & my refusal to hide them under tent like apparel, means that I am not a nice girl. 

7/ When I begin clubbing at around 16, I am confronted with the fact that my body is not my own. Men in clubs consider the female form to be fair game. I am groped, slapped, pinched, rubbed against over & over. When I complain I am verbally abused & told I shouldn’t be wearing revealing clothes if I don’t want this. I’m a bitch, slut, frigid, a tease. 

8/ I’m 19 and my way to meet a friend for drinks. As I walk down a busy street a group of young teenage boys surround me, shout about my breasts, one boy thrusts his hand into my dress & violently grabs my nipple. None of the passers by make any attempt to help me. When I report this incident to the police, the first question I am asked is what was I wearing. No action is ever taken. I am left feeling dirty & angry. 

9/ In my mid twenties I faint at street market. When I come round a man is taking a picture of my cleavage. 

10/  I try internet dating & am bombarded with sexual comments. If I ignore these comments I get abusive messages telling me I am rude & stuck up. If I say no thanks, I receive messages telling me what an ugly, fat bitch I am & how dare I reject this prize of a man. Several times I block men only to have them create new accounts so they can continue to abuse me. 

11/ At an early post graduation job I must wear a blue shirt provided by my employer. I request the largest size, but it still gapes at the bust. I am summoned to HR to talk about how I am dressed inappropriately.

12/ I am leading a sexual health workshop with teenagers. Their teacher requests my card & then adds ‘you look like you could improve my sexual health’.

13/ By my early 30’s I am thoroughly disgusted with all this abuse. I am collecting my prescription from the chemist when an old man looks me up & down, shouts ‘nice’ & proceeds to squeeze both breasts. I automatically harshly push the man away from me. Later when reporting this to the police I am questioned about how I pushed him, how much force I used & why I hit the man. Again, no action is ever taken. 

14/ A man I dated briefly over ten years ago periodically sent pictures of his penis despite me telling him not to. When I blocked him from one way of contacting he found me somewhere else & continued. 

These are only a tiny taste of the aggravation I have endured. My experience is by no means unique. So, next time you want to complain about women being on the defensive or not appreciating your advances have a think about why she is reacting that way. Before you laugh at a friend’s unsolicitated comments to a female stranger, consider how much of these ‘compliments’ she must deal with.  Ask the women in your life about their exposure to molestation (verbal or physical). Hopefully a glimpse of the reality of the female experience will alter you view point.