Its Been A While….But I’m Back!

I haven’t written for quite some time but as 2013 comes to a close I cant help but look back at this year with some relief that is nearly over.

A year ago, on the 28th of December I underwent a procedure that was to relieve me of the daily pain I’d suffered for four years. In fact what was supposed to be a new pain free chapter in my life turned out to be quite the opposite and for the first six months of 2013 life stood still.

Life became almost unrecognisable, culminating in daily doses of Tramadol. I had become nearly two stone over weight and was struggling with depression. I had no money left from my savings and getting very little help from the government. I was broken. I looked in the mirror and did not know who that person was. Where did that happy confident girl go……

Well folks, she back!!! 

I may not be free of IC, I may not be slim although I have lost 22lbs so Im getting there, but my mind is back! My clear thinking is back, my control is back, my confidence is back!!! I AM BACK!  I find it hard to put into words how I feel. If I talked about all the shitty things that have happened over the last four years it would make for depressing reading, so Im not going to. In fact all of that is gone, let go, forgotten, forgiven.

Now is the time to grab life by the whatsits and enjoy! These last horrendous few years have taught me something very important. Maybe if I hadn’t been in that hell I would never have learned to appreciate the important things in life. Many of us a bit blinkered and go through life without my care or thought, well I was a bit like that. I was kind and generous to others, I was a good friend to many, I provided for my family as a single parent.. but… I didn’t understand what appreciating life was really all about! I’d never experienced long term chronic pain, never endured financial ruin. In fact I’d never really worried about money at all. But somehow I was never really happy deep down. Now I know why!

Life teaches us many great lessons, its up to us to listen, learn and take action!

I took action, I took responsibility. I came off tramadol, I lost weight and then I made the decision to go self employed. Every time I took one of those decisions I grew. I grew in confidence and I grew an understanding of what had been wrong in my life and that I had to get to rock bottom before I could learn and ultimately change my life for the better. 

So here we are nearing the end of 2013 and I thank god we are! I still have IC, I still have no money and I still have pain everyday. But!!? I feel happy, I feel alive and I feel ready to go on into the new year, 2014… here I come!

My name is Morag and I’m back x

Is This A Turning Point?

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Where to start…… Ok, the last four years have been s**t. Really really! Illness, financial ruin, relationship breakdown, moving house…… Being a single parent with a chronic pain condition has been a tough road to travel.

One constant in my life for two and a half years has been my horse, Finlay. There is not a day goes by when I don’t feel privileged to have him in my life. The time I spend with him Im not a mum, single parent with a chronic pain condition. Im just me! The girl who started riding aged 6 and never stopped. Of course as a mum I feel blessed everyday that I have two healthy happy boys but my horse time is me time!

In July this year I appeared to be having less pain on a daily basis, it was still there but not as severe. Around this time I started wearing a magnetic bracelet. I had been taking tramadol everyday so maybe that was the reason but I really wanted to get off this drug. I had started to lose weight, being 20 lbs overweight, this was a good thing. When the weight loss started I began to feel better about myself, I had control of something for the first time in years. This feeling of achievement spurred me on to come off the tramadol, which I did.

One other reason to come of the drug was I would begin a 6 week course of treatment for my IC, one day a week at hospital. So I wanted to be drug free to access whether this treatment would make any difference. The more decisions I made the more confident I became. I took on a small cleaning job a couple hours a week, Id met new friends and Finlay’s yard, and even contacted someone who has IC and lives locally to me! It was great to chat to someone who completely understood what I have been going through for five years.

So now a couple of months on, I’ve lost 14lbs, my pain is at a lower level and my self esteem is much improved. I don’t feel as insecure and I’m actually quite liking myself again.

Last week I was approached to work part time for a local lady who has three dressage horses. At first I was really unsure. Could I do the job? Could I manage pain levels? Could I use my catheters at work? Could I fit the hours around my youngest son and my own horse commitments? After much deliberation and conversations with friends (ok I know its not life or death, just a job) I decided to give it a go! In fact I am going self employed, freelance! Its a bit scary but… feel the fear and do it anyway!

So many good things have happened in the last two months. Why now? Is it because I took control of one thing in my life (my weight) Is it that when you project positivity that’s what you attract? Is it just the cycle of life, like life’s patterns? They say life changes every seven years and just over 7 years ago I met my ex. Hmmm that makes a lot of sense! So 7 years on and I’m finally turning a corner on to a new path. Who knows where it will take me. x

Ps, last week got my hair done for the first time in 12 months AND went out for a drink with friends. Well, they’d been trying to get me to the pub for three years 🙂 x

IC : Full Circle!

Next week I will start attending hospital once a week for treatment in the hope that this time around it will make a difference. This treatment as been tried before but as we have exhausted all other options apart from drastic measures like bladder reconstruction, its worth another try.

It does feel like Ive come full full circle right back to the beginning but the difference this time is that by using the catheters the bladder will actually be empty. I believe that all treatments failed previously because this important fact was missed. The bladder was not voiding sufficiently!

We all retain a certain amount for fluid, that’s very normal. But I was retaining up to 350mls! That’s very far from normal! So with the combination of drug therapy instilled into the bladder plus the bladder being properly empty maybe there is a chance that the pain will be less. Maybe!

The drug therapy is call Cystistat, I will have weekly instillations of this for 6 weeks in the hope that it will help to repair the damage to the lining of the bladder.

With IC you can only hope! x

Time For A Massage!

Im not talking about myself, don’t be daft! I wouldn’t pay for that for myself, no, we’re talking about equine deep muscle massage. This is the reason I haven’t been to the hairdressers in a year!! Horses, dogs and children come way before me (not in that order of course, I promise!) For the pricely sum of £30 Finlay got an MOT (service)

This was long overdue, I’ve always known he was stiff on his offside (right side) and he has had shiatsu treatments but he was feeling quite off! So it was time for something a bit more substantial, something more physical to get to the root of the problem. This is where Irene comes in.

Irene works with divining rods initially when gets to work massaging the affected area. I had never seen this technique before but she was highly recommended by the professional trainer at my yard. Im very open to alternative therapies and have, in the past, given healing (channelling energy) to humans and animals. So when Irene began I was full of questions, how she got started with divining rods, was it a spiritual connection, what guided her (the rods or spirit) She told me that she is a spiritualist and frequently attends ghost hunting weekends!

To some this may be amusing but if you saw what she did for Finlay you’d change your mind!

She stood on his near side first (left) the rods immediately started spinning wildly, the over to the other side which was exactly the same. I had given her very little information (wanted to see if she would pick up on what I already knew) Very quickly she said he was sore on both sides just behind the shoulder but much worse on the offside. Correct!

In fact he was really sore! My poor boy was climbing the wall when she started to massage the muscles. It was quite frightening to watch just how sore it was! I felt so guilty I hadn’t done this sooner. Finlay never really showed any real problem. Never disagreed when tacking up or girthing up etc. But last week I notice his stride shorten, so stopped riding that day and called Irene.

Irene explained that this problem has been there for years, long before I got him and that he’s had some kind of trauma on his offside. I’d always suspected this because that’s his stiff side, he sweats more on that side, lies on that side, always turns to the right (in his stable, spooking etc) Anything that means he doesn’t have to stretch his offside.

As Irene worked away he slowly began to feel more comfortable. I could visible see the blood flow returning to the muscle, a very slight pulse could be seen and the whole area was very soft. Finlay was breathing huge sighs of relief and resting his head in my arms. My beloved boy was finally feeling relaxed. Irene commented regularly about how lovely Finlay was, not in looks, in personality/energy. This is the exact same feeling I got when I first set eyes on him two and a half years ago. It was a spiritual connection.

Finn now has two days in the field (today and tomorrow) I will lunge on Saturday and saddle on Sunday.

Irene is a fascinating person, she works with top horses all over the country. Eventer Lenamore one example! Yet she loves nothing more than sleeping in a haunted house looking for ghosts. Add to that her 5ft2″ stature and broad Glasgow accent (imagine the Crankies, Janette, Scottish comedy legend) then you get a rather un-horsey looking person lol But never a truer word than don’t judge a book by its cover. She’s extremely professional and one of the nicest people Ive ever met!

Finlay is to have a follow up in two weeks time. On reflection I believe the months spent at the pervious yard compounded this hidden problem. The anxiety and stress increased the tension in his muscles leading to a sore Finnie.  x

Finlay v Kids Part II

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So, after the previous attempt to get my big Jessie (Scottish for wimp) horse past the kid goats the following day I was determined we would have another try.

The tactics were – speed and leg yields!

We set off on our hack, roads were quieter so this was good start and ten minutes later we were approaching the huge scary feck off alien monsters from outer space! Time to change up a gear. Approximately 30 yards away he was already snorting, head up with a slightly elevated gait…. kick on!

Into trot, a very big bouncing trot with snorting. Cue left leg yield! Damn it, should’ve put a martingale on…. kick on!

One thing in our favour this time was the fact that the kids were not in clear view. I could see them behind the tall hedge but this gave me a better chance to getting him actually past the hedge. And past the hedge we went!! It wasn’t pretty but he did it!

Lots of pats and words of encouragement later I felt like we’d overcome a wee hurdle. Now all we had to do was walk back haha!

He did walk back, with less snorting and carry on. Maybe the thought of getting back to the safety of his stable away from these horse eating monsters was the motivating factor!

We will keep going this route until he calms down and stops trying to put me in the ditch, which is rather deep by the way with a nice thorny hedge along side it.. NO thanks pal!

Love him x    

Finlay v Kids!

And the kids won!

Okay we’re not talking the human variety here, more the four legged cute kind. As I was feeling a bit under the weather today I decided on a ride out instead of working in the arena (much less effort for me lol) So we set off down the drive.

We’ve been this route four or five times. I always do this with Finlay when we move yards, go the same route for a week until he relaxes and feels more secure. So I didn’t think we would have any problems, how wrong was I?

The road seemed busier this morning, we met quite a few cars and not all of them slowing down either! Its a quiet road but can be a fast road too. Ten minutes away from the yard there is a small garden centre, we’ve been past it a few times and admittedly he is spooked by the geese (they also have a few animals) But I’ve always got him past safely.

Today however the kid goats were in full few twenty yards away. And that’s as far as we got! I tried all the tricks in the book but he was not going to walk past the goats. His heart was thumping so hard I could feel it. Eventually I got him to stand then I asked him to walk on which he did then before he decided it wasn’t going any further I turned him around and we walked back.

It may seem like I gave in but I knew there was no way I would get him past the goats so the only option was that I would make the decision when we turned around, not him. You’ll never win a fight with half ton of horse, so picking your battles and how you negotiate the issue is the only option. So we will keep hacking out to the garden centre until he feels brave enough to walk past. This may take a few days or a few weeks it doesn’t matter how long it takes the important thing is that Finlay learns there is nothing to be scared of.

I know him well enough to understand that nothing he does is out of badness, only fear. You would think a 17hh horse wouldn’t be scared of many things but you’d be surprised! Being a flight animal makes them very sensitive to possible dangers, some have more awareness of this than others. Some will overcome their fears quicker than others, they’re like people, all unique! x 

  

Times Are A Changing.

020Hello wordpress world, there have been a few changes in my little world of late. The most monumental was my youngest son starting primary school.

I was a tad anxious about A starting school but a week in and so far so good. It took him such a long time to settle into the nursery routine I was concerned he may find school difficult. I know its early days but Im really happy and he seems very happy too! Seeing him dressed in his school uniform, shirt and tie, makes me burst with pride and  tear in my eye. My baby is growing up too fast.

The other big change was, not quite as momentous as the first but actually more stressful!

Ten days ago I took the decision to move yards. After 6 months of trying to accommodate other people, watching my horse become more and more neurotic and the increased yard politics, I couldn’t stay there a day longer. Ive been thinking of moving for some time originally hoping to rent a small yard myself. It quickly became apparent that this option was just about impossible. So, after looking at a couple of yards where DIY was available I picked one. The following day I told the yard owner I was leaving in three days. End of!!  

Moving day was Saturday 17th, with the help of my very good friend, it went with out a hitch! that was the first good omen. Arriving at our new home during a torrential down pour ( I was on my third jacket by this time) we were greeted by the yard owner Denise.

Denise owns the yard but most of it is rented by a professional showjumper and his partner where they produce youngsters for competition. They also have their own horses plus schooling liveries (people who pay them to work their horses) The pro’s horses are like the F1 of the horse world. Me and Finlay are more the RAC Rally haha!

Denise uses a couple of stables for livery horses and I am lucky to be one! Everyone appears to be friendly and helpful, a really laid back atmosphere!

With in an hour of being in his new stable Finlay was already calmer. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing, this horse who had become so upset in his previous stable where even grooming him had become impossible was now completely chilled out!!

Five days on and he’s just getting better and better! He now doesn’t bother when his neighbour goes out leaving him, he doesn’t barge the door or chew constantly. He has his own paddock next to his stable neighbour and is now happily turnout out everyday!

Non horsey readers will think, whats all the fuss about lol, well moving a horse is a bit like moving house! Stress! But now that its all done I couldn’t be happier! I finally have my lovely boy back, my lovely big Finlay is happy again x

Summer

Its been a while!

Life has been busy this summer. The good weather seemed to make time pass quicker, the summer holidays are nearly over and my youngest son will start is first year of school. Im not sure he fully understands the concept of school. Like doing as you are told, for one. My youngest son seems to think he’s the boss of the world right now, this may pose a problem in the class room. I have a feeling the next couple fo months are going to be challenging.

He doesn’t have behavioural problems as such, just controlling his emotions can be hard for him. They never seem to be far from the surface. Like today to example, after spilling the contents of the dogs food bowl he was asked to pick it up and stop playing football in the kitchen. This resulted in him throwing the ball at me then crying. I promptly took him to the hallway and sat him on the step where he was to sit until he apologised. Turning my back on the raspberry he blew I went back into the kitchen.

These outbursts are not a daily occurrence by any means but it does worry me. How is he going to cope with a more structured day? He will have a classroom assistant and all of his friends from pre school will be in his class. I just hope he’s okay.

I feel much more protective of him that I did my eldest son. He has a different character though, took everything in his stride. The youngest one is a different kettle of fish all together. Im praying he settles into his new routine.

As a single parent life can be draining , Im sure it is for couples too, but when there is no one else to just run his bath, read the story, put him to bed, make breakfast, play/entertain all day, do the shopping, teach to ride a bike, play tennis, read, write, play knights castles dungeons dragons football hot wheels, cook, clean, wash…. blah blah blah… you get my point.

My eldest has been helping a bit more, well I say helping. What I mean is playing video games with his little brother! Whilst I don’t really condone this it does give me time for myself. And time to ride my saviour, my therapy, my horse Finlay. Where would I be without him… okay Id have money, Id have time to go shopping (not food) Id have time to see friends, money for a holiday haircut new clothes…. But he’s worth it.

So, summer is nearly over and I’m eagerly awaiting Autumn, my favourite time of year. The nights getting cooler, log fires, changing colours. A fresher feeling in the air.. not to mention (to all horse owners) no flies! Yippee, no flies or cleggs! Yes, Im looking forward to Autumn!

Oh and the magic mentioned in a previous post? Well that turned out to be a con after all, the bracelet however may actually work! I still have pain but not as intense and Im generally more positive!  

Be happy. Peace x

 

 

‘Could It be Magic…?’

So the song goes…. For the older reader that would be Barry Manilo or more recently ( I say recently that would be 1993) Take That.

That song comes to mind for a few reasons tonight.

As some of you know I have a chronic pain condition called IC and over that last four years it was become increasingly worse. After a conversation with a friend who lives in the US I decided to try magnet therapy.

I have no idea if this will work but Ive been wearing my silver horseshoe (of course) magnet bracelet for a week and I definitely have less pain!! Of course this is not a clinical test there could be other reasons. But if this continues I will be delighted!!

Another little piece of magic last week, an old friend came back into my life. This person has been part of my life on and off since high school and having both been through some very difficult years with other people we finally put out cards on the table and decided to take a chance. I was asked ‘are we making the same mistake’ I answered no, because after 15 years apart we are different people. Our, at times, traumatic experiences at the hands of others, have made us better people.  Be brave I said, take a chance at happiness.

Of course nothing is ever simple and the miles separate us but a visit next week is much anticipated!

Could it be magic? Well I feel I have been blessed with a little magic!  I feel loved x

Graduation Days!

This little family of mine has had some major events recently. Two graduations at opposite ends of the education system.

My youngest son who is five graduated from nursery a week ago on Friday! Complete with mortar board and certificate they had a great time! With lots of party games, balloons and general mayhem! It was a wonderful to see my little guy growing up and now ready for his first year of primary starting in August.

The second graduation was on Wednesday the 4th of July in Aberdeen. This one was a whole lot more serious, less games and balloons more pomp and ceremony! My eldest son Ben who is 22 years old this month graduated with a degree in Language & Linguistics. Four years of hard work and study finally realised! Not only did he achieve his degree but he worked his way through University to support himself financially! To say Im proud of him is an understatement!

We travelled up to Aberdeen on the Wednesday, its around 200 hundred miles or so, and stayed in a very lovely hotel. It was more than I could afford but I wanted this trip to be special for Ben, something he would remember. We had a good drive up and arrived at the Ardoe Country House Hotel mid afternoon. Set in its own country estate with spa, swimming pool and tennis courts, I could’ve stayed for a week!

I haven’t travelled much since I was diagnosed with IC so I was a little apprehensive but I managed to cope with its challenges throughout the trip. Staying in a hotel is a real novelty for my youngest son who proceeded to charm and amuse hotel staff and guests alike! Of course going to sleep even when exhausted was a tall order, he didn’t give in to the tiredness until we were all in bed and lights off around 11pm.

The following morning we had to be at the University early to collect robes and have photographs taken. Having ones photos taken that early in the morning is not for the faint hearted! I fear I may look rather old and haggard (photos have not arrived yet) However seeing my first born standing there in his robes and mortar board made me burst with pride. With his little brother gazing up at him in complete awe just made my heart melt.

Photos done, we proceeded over to the great hall. My youngest had his ipod to keep him amused during the ceremony but we did have to be seated quite some time before it actually started. As the graduates filed in I could see Ben walking to his seat, tall and proud. After all the initial introductions the chancellor lead the prayer. Cue mini melt down from youngest! Just when it all went quiet he changed games to the running dinosaur which had a very catchy theme tune. Would he turn it down? Nope! When a very pompous grumpy man turned around making obviously disapproving gestures I felt mortified. For fear of a total tantrum I did my best to reason with him, to no avail.

After 15 minutes of very bad behaviour he clamed down ( little shit!) and managed to just about see through the rest of the ceremony without further upset.

Near the end of the degree presentations it was time for Ben to receive his, until this point I had kept myself together pretty well but as soon as he made his way to the stage I felt the tears come. Tears of joy, pride and love for my son who was the first in our extended family to attend University. I quickly picked up my phone to distract myself and recorded this amazing moment in mine and my sons life.

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As we (the families) were leaving the great hall, after the graduates, a very kind couple came over and said to my youngest what a good boy he was sitting through the ceremony. I said how I felt others were disgusted that Id brought my sons little brother and that he had disrupted their enjoyment. They said on the contrary and that he did really well! I felt so much better and started to relax a little.

Outside the sun was shining and we enjoyed the atmosphere, watching  everyone milling around, with some wearing amazing traditional dress of students families who were of African origin. So many different cultures, it truly was a great day!

Back at our hotel we packed and checked out, if only I could afford to stay another night. Youngest stated he wanted to stay for a 100 days!! The drive home was long, I was very tired but we arrived safely and negotiated Glasgow rush hour to get back to Ayrshire around 6pm.

Two days later I’m still on a high. The trip used up this years holiday money but it was worth it. Maybe we will have a holiday next year. x