Gym Voluntary Placement

Hey folks

Shit got real this week.

I don’t know if you remember that I’m on the InstructAbility Gym Instructor course?Well I started my voluntary placement this week. The wheels are turning.

So I went over on Monday and met the Gym manager Chelsie for a little chat and have a look round. It’s quite an amazing gym. Plenty of equipment and very big. So got my uniform ready for starting my 1st shadowing shift on Wednesday.

Met some lovely F.I’s (Fitness Instructors) on the Weds & Fri called Guy, Lucy & Ronnie. Who chatted with me. Shadowed Ronnie giving a induction on the Weds & Lucy giving an induction on the Fri.

I thought that this wouldn’t be too difficult to do but I underestimated the brain power that I have used up and the stress and anxiety that I’ve put myself under.

I think part of that is because I have to create a new routine. Now there are more elements that have to be fitted in. Whereas before i had to fit gym, personal trainer, exercise class, dog walk, physio and rest into a day. Now I have to add 3 x 6hr shifts into this. At the moment as well they aren’t set in stone as to what I am doing which is very frustrating to say the least but hopefully that will all be sorted today/tomorrow.

It’s another learning curve with my thought process too. You see sometimes I see things as very black & white. “It should be done like this so why isn’t it”! Whereas life isn’t black & white. There are plenty of grey areas, and more people in the equation now. Not just myself, Debbie, PT Lee, Headway, and Physio James. My responsibility has changed. So that’s giving me plenty of headaches.

Hopefully things will settle and I’ll get routine.

Let’s see what this week brings………

Laters 💋

Muscle spasm & colds

Hey everyone,

Hope you are well.

So what have I been up to since my last post?

Well I got another bloody cold! 3rd one in 4 months. It seems this has been the lurgy household. After all this time I still can’t get used to how they knock me on my arse! How dysfunctional it makes me. This last cold wouldn’t bloody leave either! But it’s ok as I had my trusty Allens Pine & Honey Syrup. It is herbal and kicks cold & flu’s arse! I’ve had that medicine since I was younger. I rely on it more now as after the sah & stroke I’m not allowed ibuprofen & so it’s hard to find cold & flu meds so I look at herbal alternatives.

So I haven’t been to the gym since New Year’s Eve!! Thanks to the cold and to some new muscle spasms in my back.

I’ve been waking between 3 & 4am for over a week with in my back on my right side near my kidney. It been horrendous! I’ve had to go to bed with a hot water bottle so that when I’m woken with the pain I can shove the bottle there so I can get back to sleep. I thought it might be a kidney infection. I was already booked in with my Doc to talk about my lack of loosing weight so I thought I’ll see him about this too to see what he thought. He believes it’s muscle spasm as it’s higher up than my kidney and thinks it’s because of my walking. So has referred me back to my old friends at Danesbury for some physio as I can’t afford private. I’ve also got to have another bunch of blood tests to check my liver, thyroid, glucose, electrolytes and a few others to see is there is any reason for my struggle to loose weight, even though I walk the dog everyday, am normally in the gym 2-3 times a week and am at slimming world.

I woke up this morning with minute pain in my back for the first time in 6 days. I couldn’t believe it. The only thing I did differently last night was instead of having the hot water bottle on my back I had it on my feet. So maybe keeping my foot warm kept the muscles in my leg relaxed and prevented the pain. I going to try again tonight and see.

Anyway I need to get up.

Laters 💋

Update after my walk yesterday

Hi folks,

So I thought I would give you a bit of an update on my body after my little walk yesterday.

I’m still really chuffed with my achievement yesterday but I don’t think I’ll be forgetting my stick again anytime soon.

A little reminder of my walking challenges………….

I have a drop foot all thanks to the little vasospasm I had after my aneurysm was clipped. I have a inverted right foot. So when I walk my foot goes outside heal, little toe then big toe then flat.

My muscles in my hip aren’t strong so I hitch and swing. In other words instead of my right leg coming through like someone not affected by walking issues use my left hip to hitch my right to swing my foot round so that my toes don’t catch on the ground and so I don’t fall over.

I’ve tried to explain in this pic but not great . Hopefully you have a rough idea of what I mean.

Anyway back to the update on how I am today………

My right foot is sore all down the outside, my knee hurts as it was locking a lot (not good) and my left leg hurts completely from hip all the way down. Having my walking stick takes some of the strain away from my left. As I use it on my left it’s like it doubles the strength on my left leg.

Today is going to be an interesting day. Even just getting out of bed was fun. It’s like my body is sulking. My legs are like children who won’t do as they are told and aren’t going to behave and my brain is like a parent who is stuck on repeat……………and contemplating if it’s too early to start on the wine 😊

Fatigue wise I don’t feel too bad this morning but I’m not sure how much charge there is in the battery. As soon as I start getting grumpy I’m going for a nap.

I’m still pleased with my achievement yesterday but next time I attempt it I’ll will be over a small distance with walking stick there just in case.

Have a great day folks!

Laters 💋

HaPpY nEw YeAr to you all

Happy new year folks!!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

To my fellow brain injury crew I hope the busyness of Christmas and New Year wasn’t too stressful and overwhelming. I hope you found your coping strategies if it was. Please feel free comment anything you found helped you. If it wasn’t an issue for you the please too tell how.

So a new year and new challenges for everyone. I’m sure there might be some of you out there thinking “no just the same old thing. Learning to walk, talk, speak, move my arm, to stand, to keep balance”, the list could go on forever. But………..

Think of it this way. Everything is a new challenge. It might not seem like it to you as you are the ones doing it day after day but it is. I know as I have those thoughts of nothings is getting better I’m just going round in circles. Take some time to reflect of what you have achieved over the last 12months either by yourself or with family and friends. I recommend with family and friends as they will tell you more about your achievements then you notice as you live it everyday. Each and every one of you have achieved. No matter how small you have still achieved something.

Here is a new challenge I had today.

Today I took my dog to the woods for a walk. Nothing different I try to most days. Only today I forgot my walking stick. How did you get to the car then I hear you say. Well it’s only a small hobble from front door to the lift and then lift to the car. I didn’t think anything of it until I was half way to the woods. I looked over and realised the walking stick wasn’t on the passenger side.

Now I was in a pickle as it was about 1hr to sunset. If I turned round and went home to get my stick and I didn’t get the dog out now then it would be too dark and being a sprocker she has lots of energy to burn. So we got to the woods and I decided that we was going to do our usual walk even though I didn’t have my stick. And we BLOODY WELL DID!! It took longer than normal, I was hitching more that I with the stick and swinging my leg out but I concentrated and focus and achieved it! I’ll pay for it a bit tomorrow in brain fatigue and my right leg not wanting to work, but I will suffer that tomorrow for the achievement I have made today.

Don’t get me wrong my little anxiety demon appeared on one shoulder telling me that I should not bother, I might fall over, how would you get up if you fall over it’s not safe and just go home. Then the courage demon turned up and said try. What’s the worst that could happen? So you might fall over and cry like a baby through the shock, so big deal. You will figure out how to get up again just like you have done every other time. For once the courage demon was a lot stronger that the anxiety demon. I done it! Like I said I will suffer tomorrow but the success today will always out weigh the pain.

If you had asked me last January what I would be in 12 months I would never have said or thought I would be about to embark on a new career in fitness!!

I am going to become a disabled gym instructor through a programme called InstructAbility. I have my physio James, my pt Lee and my exercise class instructor Fiona to thank for pushing me in that direction. With the support of them, my partner and family I have the confidence to achieve this.

Over the last few months there has been a positive change in my mental state. Something that I never thought was going to happen anytime soon. But it has and I’ve turned a corner.

Right I need to sleep. I started writing this at 9:30pm and it’s now 11pm.

Again happy new year to you all.

Laters 💋

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone

I just would like to wish each and every one of you that reads this blog a very Merry Christmas & good health & happiness in 2019.

I know I’m not great at keeping things up to date but 2019 is going to be big year with big changes and I have so much to tell you all.

Thank you again so much. It means so much to me.

Love to each one of you and your families.

Laters 💋

A bit of a catch up

Hey there folks,

I’m so sorry I’ve been so slack with my blog. Since coming back from Scotland it’s been quite a bit of a rollercoaster really. Lots of things have happened, lots of things have changed. There has also been bitter sweet moments.

So where do I start? I won’t delve too deep into things as this wouldn’t be in a very very very long blog post and I’m sure as it’s coming up to Christmas there was quite a lot of stuff that people have to do. So I’ll give you a bit of an overview.

Well there’s been some hard times for me and Debbie but bit by bit we are working through them. I think that anyone who says that after traumatic life event says that nothing has changed is in denial to themselves and don’t want to face the truth. That’s the hardest thing to face is the truth.

An old school friend of mine Shelley, who was only two days older than me sadly died of heart problems at the age of 37 years old. That hit me hard. Especially as I understand it she was in hospital and had had heart surgery to replace a valve. The operation was a success but she died the same day or the day after while still in hospital. I think it kind of also brought back to the surface the actual reality of how lucky I was that I survived all my fight. Yeah it’s been difficult to deal with. Harder than I realised until I started writing this blog. And the bittersweetness of Shirley’s untimely departure from this world was the fact that after 20 years all of us that used to hang around together at school Miriam, my best mate Sarah (rah), Emily, Linda, Alec Nick, Rebecca, Emma and myself were all there to say goodbye to Shelley. Stephen and another Sarah (smurf) couldn’t make it otherwise there would’ve been a full house. But we have all planned now to all meet up again at the beginning of February. We have rented a big house for the weekend so something to look forward to.

So I really The end of October and beginning of November was spent in Suffolk spending time with family as it was my sisters birthday so I thought for once that I should be there for her birthday although I couldn’t afford to treat her. Also caught up with friends and had a lovely night out with my best mate Sara which we haven’t done in years so that was lovely. Also said goodbye to Shelley.

The beginning of November I caught a beautiful bloody cold. And that wiped me out for nearly 3 weeks. I still haven’t adjusted to the way a cold wipes me out. Even three years down the line. I remember physio called Dave at Danesbury who explained it like this

“remember that through everything that has happened to you, your immune system is weaker and you are only running probably at about 75% of what you used to. So when you get a cold it will knock you below 50%”.

It’s true and I still cannot get used to it. And I get very frustrated.. But in the words of my aunty suck it up princess!

I haven’t been to the gym since my cold. So basically a month if not five weeks. I haven’t worked with Lee again for five weeks. I will get back into the swing of it and I will work with Lee again just got get it all in focus again.

I’m getting better with my hand therapy. Seem to have a new focus on that at the moment. As it seems my brain can’t focus on two areas at once. Which is so frustrating. I have a new cunning plan to aid my therapy. I am a massive chocolate fiend. So I have to do at least 90 repetitions of one of my many tasks for my hand before I can have A Malteser! And it works it’s a really good motivator for me which is so daft but that’s the way my brain wants to work. Because if I try and do it with no reward and just for the fact that I need to bloody well do it my brain has other ideas because obviously it’s a very big challenge for my brain. It has to try and connect the pathways between the nerves and muscles and tendons, all the way from my head to my fingertips. A very difficult to ask that takes up lots of brainpower. I’m slowly gaining more control of my brain to carry out the difficult tasks. And not allowing my left side to take Ava because it’s easier and quicker.

All my physio with Helen for the car crash is over as it’s fixed. I’m a little bit sad as she is very good and puts you at ease straight away.

Also my sessions of neurophysio with James are over too as now I need to really focus on doing the hard work and pushing my boundaries. Again I’m very sad about this too as I enjoyed my sessions with James. Sad sad times in the physio story ☹️😩😭

My final piece of news for this blog post is…

Back at the beginning of September, I think, I completed and application form on site called InstructAbility in conjunction with a charity called Aspire to get the opportunity to become a level 2 gym instructor. Well I’ve only bloody done it, didn’t I. I have been successful and I have been given a place on the course. I am amazed. Even now nearly 2 weeks down the line I still cannot believe that I have been lucky enough to get one of the places.

The induction is in a couple of weeks and then in January I start I four-week voluntary placement in a gym followed by the course and then finished off with another three month placement with that gym all voluntary. Providing that I manage pass the course, the gym I work in are happy with my work and I also encourage another 10 disabled people to use the gym then I’ll get my qualification. I can’t bloody wait. It’s going to be amazing. I have another new focus and path forward. It’s excellent.

Laters 💋

I’m gonna fly someday

Hey folks,

The title is what I’ve been saying since my brain aneurysm in 2015. As I’m sure many of you out there has been too since your brain injuries.

For some of us it might be that it isn’t a case of someday it is a case of I’m gonna do it now. Boom I’m going to do it. I’m gonna fly.

For others it might be it is a case of the consultation saying I wouldn’t advise it. Unfortunately you will be unable to fly.

Others it might be the fear, anxiety, worry, stress of, planning a trip, getting on the plan and being in that confined space…….what if something goes wrong. Is just too much. I can’t.

Or maybe the I’m gonna fly again one day. I am. Just not just yet. I am going to. I will.

I was, I say was, I still am a combination of the last two. I had always wanted to fly since since my aneurysm. But team ASF (anxiety, stress & fear) have been a very strong at holding me back.

But that all changed on 20/09/18. When I got my arse on the plan and went the to Highlands of bonnie Scotland. With my aunt.

The week or so leading up to it was hard work.

I wasn’t sleeping very well. Or much in fact. I’d wake up in the morning covered in sweat. Have nightmares. Wake up suddenly. I mean wide awake. My brain wasn’t going to let me rest. Or it I’d be struggling to keep my eyes open and get to bed and couldn’t get comfortable. Which is a real issue when one side of your body doesn’t function as well as it should.

Even with planning to go to techno gig that my friends Chris, Matt & Paul run called Sonance, taking my mum to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Motown legend that is Dionne Warwick and spending the afternoon with my ex Jo having a good laugh & a few drinks my body wouldn’t rest.

Now I had all these things planned for the days leading up to the flight as I know that going to music events is quickest way to exhaust me. Mentally and physically. Due to having to get to said event, catching up with people, unfamiliar venues so I have to be more aware of what is around me, the ground underfoot, any steps, where the toilets are, loud music and flashing lights.

But no team ASF we’re working overtime in keeping my from rest and sleep. That then just adds more emotions into the mix. Grumpy, anger, tiredness, snappy, dysphasia, my stutter, frustration, crying and rudeness. (I’m sure that most of my friends and family would say that’s nothing new🤪)

But regardless off all that I faced my fear and done it I got on that plane and flew. I done it! I faced team ASF head on and done it!

Now if you are reading this and thinking I never could then never say never. You might not be able to now but every step towards achieving that, no matter how small, no matter how many is still a step and you will get there.

Remember you are stronger than you think.

Laters 💋

Recovery from Maxed out on Music

I’m still recovering!! Still!! 5 weeks since it all began with elrow and 2 weeks since it finished at Classic Ibiza!!

It’s a slow slow road. I can’t just have a couple of early night then be ready to go again. See there is 2 issues with being so busy…..

Brain & physical fatigue

I tried to explain brain fatigue and I really struggle to. So here goes……..

Imagine your head as a roundabout. There are 6 exits leading to sleep, anger, happiness, problem solving, hunger & relationships. Now all the drivers know exactly where they are heading, all use their indicators, the traffic lights all work and the traffic flows smoothly (no brain injury).

Now now think of the holidays when all the tourists are in you town, city village and they where they are going, they travel slow, take wrong turns, indicating one way going another, to top it off there has been a massive electrical short and the traffic lights don’t work (brain injury). Eventually everything is going to come to a standstill.

I’ve got holidaymakers on my roundabout, the locals, every road on & off the roundabout is down to one lane due to roadworks and to top it off the traffic lights are intermittent, sometimes not working at all. Like the past couple of weeks.

Which then has the knock on effect to my physical abilities and rehab.

Because of all the new sites, destinations, environments, crowded areas, the fields I’ve walked on my, my brain is working overtime. I’m constantly assessing the ground I’m walking on, so I keep my balance & don’t fall over. Making sure that people give me room to move or just see my walking stick so I don’t trip them up or worse they knock my stick away and I fall over. Where there is where I can sit down. Where the disabled toilets are. I could go on but my mind is blank. As I tire then my speech gets affected. I start to stutter and loose whole words and sentences. Then I get angry and upset with myself and cry lots.

Then the the is the physical, my energy, my strength,my posture. The extra strain that is put on my hips, my left shoulder (which I’m still receiving physio for) and arm, my left knee, my feet and my back. Why all this…..ok. My left hip, knee, foot because most my body weight goes through that side. I start the day walking as correctly as I can but as I get tired my posture changes dramatically. I start hitching my right leg to walk. So I start leaning more to the left to compensate and “swing” my leg through. Then I’m then leaning on the walking stick more, gripping it tightly, pushing pressure up through my shoulder. I do everything with my left arm. From putting underwear on to pulling myself up off the floor. When you haven’t got the energy it makes tings bloody hard.

That then plays with my emotions. I “hulk out” as Deb calls it. I get angry because I can’t do things. I can’t sleep even though I’m tired. I start crying because I should be doing things and I can’t. I should be better than this and I’m not. I then get frustrated that I have to accept help or just sit there doing nothing and leaving everything to Deb.

And round and round we go. Then just for shits and giggles we will add in that my rehab is suffering because I went and had some fun. Then Mr & Mrs Physio (Helen &James) are going to be disappointed in me for not doing more and feel like I’m wasting their time.

So some out there might be thinking……..if you have to battle with all the that then don’t do it.

I say to them for me right now this is my full time job. And like the employed out there I need a break, a change of scene. Just like you take holiday from your job. I took holiday from rehab. Don’t get me wrong I’m paying for it. Maybe even put myself back a bit. That sucks big time, but the enjoyment I had out weighs it. Even if I have struggled with sleep, emotions, function and can’t get my brain and my right hand to connect much at the moment. Everyday for me is rehab in one way or another.

I can’t stop doing things because of the challenges I have. Next time they won’t be in succession like that. I’ll spread them out better. I’ve learnt a lot about myself over these few weeks and recognise when I need to slow it down more.

I don’t if this will make sense but I’ve published it now……………..oh well.

Laters 💋

Maxed out on music 🎧

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I’ve had a few busy weekends and music festivals! 3 in a row the be exact.

19th Aug ELROW TOWN @The Olympic Park.

This was an amazing day. I made sure that I had my silicone foot on today as I was going to be walking lots & hopefully dancing too. I was meeting my friend Yvette at the station the other end, so I had to made my own way there. No Debbie for backup or to lead the way. Train was easy though was straight through.

Met up with Yvette at the other end and it was time to party.

The only issue was walking stick and can of cider require the same hand, can’t be spilling it now! Yvette bless her helped so there was no cider casualties. PHEW!!

We had a good old dance. Well I kind of two step shuffled, but styled it out with the walking stick.

I hadn’t dance so much in such a long time. It was also nice to catch up with Yvette too and have a good old chin wag when it was cider time. It was a great day. Great dancing. I found my love for tech, house, tech house all over again.

24th-26th Maui Waui back in Suffolk.

Friends of ours (Verity & Molly) had been telling us for a couple of years that we should go with them to Maui Waui. We were always at another festival so couldn’t. This year we went! Wow! It was out there.

There was myself, Debbie, Verity, Molly, Gemma, Tori, Sadie & 3 others but I can’t remember their names (sorry). Our set up was great, our trailer tent, Gemma & Tori in an teepee, Verity & Molly in a caravan & Sadie and friends in a motorhome. Sweet!! These lot are bloody nuts. Love them all dearly. It was a very chaotic, fun weekend.

Tori the master chef, Verity the Desperados pusher, Debbie the Pee queen, Gemma the face painter, Captain Molly Spiced Gold, Sadie the Vapemaster and me Hop-along.

Debbie really relaxed over this weekend. It might of been the alcohol but also the fact the everyone looked after everyone. So she didn’t have to worry about me constantly. It was just brilliant. Again armed with my silicone boot it was time to party.

It’s not your average festival with headline acts and known artists. Well it is if you are familiar with the music. This is what is written on the website

What is Maui Maui?

Maui Waui is a 3 day international festival of music, performance and arts. Now in it 6th year it is fast becoming one of the area most exciting festivals, pulling in accomplished and undiscovered bands and performers from all around the globe. Maui Waui focuses on an all welcoming family feel with loads to do for Kids and Adults, from watching world class bands, full circus shows in a dedicated circus tent, big bass dance tents, small upbeat bands and acoustic acts, cabaret and comedy. Maui Waui invites you into their world – you will not be disappointed.

And we weren’t. It was fabulous. We enjoyed it so much we will be back next year. Such a wide variety of bands, dj’s, performers, duo’s, soloists and acts. Something for everyone. Loved every minute of it.

Classic Ibiza @Hatfield House.

Well this was the icing on the cake. It was just myself & Debbie.

So we our old lady shopping bag and filled with food, drinks, blanket & jumpers, plus chairs and table and we were all set up.

The Urban Soul Orchestra take some classic Ibiza dance, house, tech & trance tracks and play them with an orchestra. We had underworld born slippy, moby why does my heart, massive attack unfinished symphony, robert miles children, to name a few.

Again armed with my silicone boot it was time to dance.

Absolutely bloody amazing!! Brilliant music and an amazing light show to go with it. Took a video of ever track they played. It was brilliant.

Had a great night and again met some fantastic people. Watching Debbie let loose and bust some moves was just brilliant to see. Letting her hair down again, two weekend in a row. Fantastic. I can’t remember the last time she was so relaxed.

At the end of the night one woman walked up to me and said “can I just say you have the most amazing smile. I’ve looked over several times I just wanted you to know”. 😊

That was so lovely to hear. Especially when I don’t think I do after everything that has happened. 😊

A brilliant, busy, fun few weekends but I really suffered with tiredness. Will all be explained in my next blog.

Laters 💋