Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm in awe of how our bodies work.
They put up with abuse, neglect and general disrespect but they don't take offence, they bounce right back, they even repair themselves, it might take years but it does get there in the end. It might not be quite what it was before but it'll do its very best to replicate it.
Three and a half years ago I had to take early retirement from work due to bad earache and pain in my neck and shoulder. It made me deaf, not just in the ear that hurt but both of them.
When I began treatment it was found that one ear had had limited hearing for quite a while due to impacted wax and when the other one started hurting it showed up the deafness in it that I already had so after three 'hoover' treatments one ear was cleared and I could hear again.
The other ear was diagnosed with an infection of the middle ear which was treated with antibiotics. It cleared up slowly but it didn't last, the pain was still there, the infection recurred three times over the next few months and I still couldn't hear.
Whilst all this was going on I began getting a lot of pain in my right side and was referred to hospital where I was diagnosed with uterine polyps.
After two were removed I still had a lot of pain so went in to hospital for an internal scan, this revealed my right fallopian tube was enlarged which meant an exploratory operation.
They found a large grapefruit sized mass which was removed and sent for examination. They also did a scrape of my uterus as the lining was thickened.
The results for both came back as cancer so next I had a hysterectomy, double salpingectomy, and double oophorectomy plus removal of my cervix and cervix cuff. Luckily it seemed to be enclosed and hadn't spread further so I only needed radiotherapy which they let me self medicate in the form of tablets.
When I awoke from the operation I couldn't sit, stand, turn over without awful pain, mostly in my lower back and buttocks. I practically laid on my side for almost five weeks and struggled to walk and sit. They decided I'd trapped my sciatic nerve where it crosses my back. It runs through two large muscles called the piriformis and they'd swelled and trapped the nerve. The pain was across my back, down my right leg and under my foot, right to the end of my toes and it was agony! You Americans quite rightly call this syndrome 'a pain in the butt' and believe me it sums it up exactly.....it felt like I was sitting on two boulders!
I had three intense courses of physiotherapy and was told it could take two years to disappear but eventually it would.....it didn't feel like it would at the time!
Anyway after a few weeks treatment when I was beginning to hobble around I went back to see my ear specialist who discovered I'd a tumour on my eardrum so I went in for a little operation to remove it.
I was terrified of the operation, not of what it was but because it was the operating table which had caused my bad back and I didn't want it getting any worse when it was just beginning to feel a little easier.
The operation was a success.
While other ailments came and went, a sprained knee ligament, a broken toe, a burst eardrum due to infection and another small operation to remove some scar tissue which was causing pain, other ailments appeared and have stayed, Psoriasis, Gilbert's Syndrome, Morton's Foot and osteoarthritis in my right knee and ankle.
But now..... three and a half years later I've finished with all my treatments and most of the medication, I've got the cancer all clear and though I still have the Psoriasis, Gilberts, arthritis and occasional liver tests to contend with everything has settled down and repaired itself very nicely.
I feel fit and well, I'm walking regularly again, exercising to my limits and after three and a half years of wandering around in the night sixteen nights ago I began sleeping straight through the night again, eight hours of unbroken sleep without even bathroom breaks!
Why.....I don't know but I do know sleep has made me feel so much better than I have for a long, long time.
And I'm happy.
Our bodies are amazing.
Their capacity for misuse but also for healing are phenomenal and I, for one, am in awe of it.
Are you in awe of yours?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Yesterday morning I was gardening before it got too hot, trimming dead heads, faffing about in my bog garden and generally getting dirty when I suddenly remembered I needed to order a couple of sacks of potatoes from the farm around the corner.
Let me set the scene....
When I garden I like to be comfortable, who doesn't?
So I wear an old soft cotton bra with absolutely no support what so ever.
A pair of baggy leggings that have seen better days and are held up by two large safety pins as the elastic has lost almost all its stretch. (I really ought to replace it!!)
A baggy old tshirt which has been washed so many times the colour is undefinable.
And to top it all off a pair of black socks and blue rubber wellington shoes.
....that actually sounds worse than I look when I read it back!! LOL and of course I wasn't very clean either, I hadn't even washed my hands just rubbed them on an old towel and my fingernails were gross to say the least!
Anyway, unwilling to get out of my gardening gear just to walk about two hundred yards and knowing the farmers wife would probably be dressed almost as badly as me (she helps with everything) I peered down the village street to see if the coast was clear so I could 'Go for it.'
The coast was clear, so 'Go for it' I did!
I hadn't gone more than two steps out of my front gate when the world and his wife seemed to appear from nowhere!!
I got 'Morning Martha-Ann' even as I was closing the front gate and turned to find a well dressed friend on her way to the village shop, boy did I feel like the poor relation!
But it was actually nice to see her as she said 'You look as though you've lost some more weight'.....how could she tell with all the baggy gear?
Maybe she thought they were baggy because I'd lost more weight, who knows but her comments pleased me immensely and boosted me up for the day.
A few steps further down the street, a car pulled up next to me and the window was wound down.....an old friend of my sons who lives in Georgia, USA was home visiting her parents and was beaming out at me and talking away as if it was yesterday she last saw me when in reality it was fourteen years, she had her two beautiful young sons with her too.
She looked immaculate and talked with a surprisingly American drawl instead of our usual Yorkshire accent.
It was lovely to see and chat with her but it made wish I'd changed my clothes!
Next on the list were three young mums, once my pupils, who knew me from the school I used to work at before I retired. They gathered round me chatting away, talking about their children and asking how I was, saying I looked well and it was lovely to see me. They were all very trendy and modern, pushing their latest offspring dressed in designer baby clothes.
It was lovely to see them and chat but next to their colourful clothes I felt old and haggard and sort of like a bag lady!
I eventually made the farm gate, this was the best bit and took me a while as wandered up the track slowly, watching butterflies and insects, listening to the birds singing and talking to the cows and scratching their foreheads as they nosily came to the fence of their field.
Upon reaching the farmhouse I made a fuss of the sheepdog in his kennel, stroked the cat and her three large kittens then knocked on the door to have it opened by an immaculate farmers wife all done up, even wearing make-up, and ready to attend an agricultural show with her husband who looked just as immaculate in a very sharp suit!
Well, I got back home without meeting a single soul (wouldn't you know it!!) and settled back into my garden with a sigh of relief.
Everyone I'd met was very nice and probably didn't even notice what I was wearing, I suppose to them I'm just Martha-Ann but I don't think I'll venture out dressed like that again as it certainly made me feel uncomfortable.
I know it shouldn't and we shouldn't worry what others think about us, but I do and I suppose I always will, can't change some things!
Friday, July 09, 2010
I've been a bit of a busy bee this last week and was hoping to post some pictures along with this blog but frustratingly my camera won't load to the computer so I'll have to paint a picture with words....
On Friday with my friend Judy I visited the beautiful and historic mediaeval town of Beverley in East Yorkshire.
It was a gorgeous sunny day but rather humid so we did the touristy thing of visiting the imposing Minster, parts of which date back to 700AD, where it was peaceful and cool.
We visted the Friary built in 1263 which is now a gallery and conference centre.
We also wandered the tiny mediaeval streets and alleyways enjoying the old houses and architecture and walked along the banks of the river Hull, known locally as Beverley Beck.
A visit to Beverley isn't complete without a visit to Nellies, more correctly called the White Horse Inn, the oldest coaching Inn in Beverley dating from 1666, but known locally as Nellies after the landlady who ran it for many years. Sadly not there now, the place is still run as she and her sister did it, even down to still having gas lighting!!
We had a lovely bar meal and a refreshing thirst quenching cold drink and afterwards strolled the Westwood, a common grazing pasture which is still run on the mediaeval rules by the Pasture Masters of the parish.
Saturday was a day of 'Hearts & Flowers' with a visit to a nearby church for an exhibition of wedding dresses and memorablia complimented by wedding floral arrangements.
The sights and smells were wonderful.
The oldest dress dated from 1786 and the youngest was one a bride had worn the Saturday before at a wedding in the church. It was wonderful to see the changing styles as we meandered through the decades.
Embroidered hearts decorated the pew ends, the magnificent floral bouquets and sill arrangements were works of art and the scent of lillies was overpowering.
There were cream teas, craft stalls and a raffle in the village hall to finish of the visit.....I later found out I'd been VERY lucky and won a raffle prize.....with over 2000 tickets sold, how lucky was that!!
Monday was a Garden Party for my Chapel's 'Knit, Natter & Stuff ' group.
We get together regularly to knit soft toys, teddybears, babies & toddlers cardigans, blankets, shawls, hats, gloves and mittens and make cloth school bags and small blackboards, pack shoeboxes with essential items like toothpaste, soap etc. for an African orphanage and raise money for 'Water Aid' which helps to dig wells for remote African villages where people have to walk miles for water and pay for it!
So far we've helped to pay for five wells, built two schools and a further four classrooms to an existing one and we're putting seven orphans through their schooling so fund raisers every now and again are essential.
The garden party was held in a friends stunning garden on a gloriously sunny day. We served cream teas & strawberries and ran a cake stall, bring & buy and a raffle.
Tuesday saw a visit to the studio and gallery of the very talented local wildlife artist and sculptor Robert Fuller. (If you google 'Robert Fuller, wildlife artist' you'll find pages which show you the kind of thing he does.)
It was an open day with guided walks across his land to badger, otter and kingfisher watch, but sadly we left it too late to book for any and they were all full so it'll mean another visit...Yippee!!
Robert & his father Richard are very well known it the area for their conservational farming methods.
Richard exhibits as well, not paintings, but wonderful wild life photography taken on his farm at Great Givendale. (You can google him too!!)
All in all a very busy but wonderful week which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I found this Stephanie Klein quote on a website today and thought it very apt.....I can relate to this!
I'd heard it all the time, 'Live for the moment.'
But if I did that, I'd weigh more than a dump truck.
Losing weight wasn't about the moment at all, it was about having faith in the future.
It was about knowing there would be another meal in a few hours.....
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Last night was one of 'those' nights.....I'm sure you've all had them, the kind where the night disappears so fast and you haven't been asleep for more than five minutes!!
Well last night was one of them...
Yesterday afternoon my neighbours children brought me a fledgling blackbird they'd rescued from the jaws of death.....well, their ginger cat really!
Knowing I've brought up chicks before and not being able to keep it 'cos of their two cats they trustingly brought it to me.
The trouble is it has a broken leg.
Not just a broken leg which I could splint with a matchstick, oh! no this has to be above the leg, probably around the hip joint so the leg is never going to work even if the chick survives.
He doesn't appear to be in pain and sits quite happily in his shoebox on his nest of paper towels.
He's quite well fledged with most of his feathers still intact though part of his tail looks very bedraggled and chewed, his yellow gape is gone and he's feisty and hungry so he probably has a chance.
I can't see any puncture wounds so there should be no infection, cat bites are notorious for that, but he probably needs more specialist care than I can give him so my neighbour will be taking him to the local RSPCA when it opens on Monday morning.
Anyway, I was late to bed, it was gone one thirty am, after watching a film and what with feeding the bird every three or four hour, the night had just seemed to streak away.
It went so fast.
I'd just got off to sleep to be awoken by a loud squawking from 'Bertie' blackbird.....and he was across the landing in another bedroom so you can imagine how loud he was!
I fed him the crushed up and water soaked dried cat food mix and mealworms and he quite happily went back off to sleep.....unfortunately I didn't, well, not straight away.
And when I did, I was woken yet again by a very vocal 'Bertie'.
After a repeat feeding performance I finally got back to sleep to be awoken by a very loud crashing noise!
Wondering what on earth was happening I looked out of the bedroom window to find a silver car had run slap bang into the back of a blue one parked across the road and a local young man emerging from the steaming or smoking car.....this is at five am!!
I pulled on some trousers over my nightwear and went outside to see if he was OK.....he was shook up but seemed unhurt and mad as hell with himself.
He rang his dad but refused to come inside to wait prefering to lie on the grass verge.
Dad appeared in minutes as they only live around the corner and they pushed the car to the side of the road, cleared all the debris, thanked me and left.
The odd thing is that there are other houses much nearer than me and not a soul appeared to have heard anything, didn't even look out of the windows and it was a hot & humid night so windows were open!
I got back in to find 'Bertie' squawking away again, I fed him and logged in to Spark, loaded a few pictures to Flickr and answered some e-mails.
It's now eight am and 'Bertie' is fast asleep.....LOL....I wish I was!!!
Final footnote: My DH slept through all this and is still asleep as I type!!
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