Monday, 28 September 2015

The invisible intruder…more like an alien invasion!


Meniere's Disease


That is what best describes my latest Meniere’s attack. I thought I had seen the worst this disease could throw at me, I really did. The daily manageable pain, the occasional dizzy spells and ground moving, the days of brain fog and loss of memory. How wrong I was. The last few days have demonstrated the ferocity and unpredictability of this illness. I am going to try and put the attack into words…please bear with me as I am still in the midst of some of the symptoms.

From the beginning of last week, I felt decidedly dodgy – heavy arms and legs, sickness, occasional room spin, brain fog and absolute knock out exhaustion. As the week progressed the symptoms became worse and by Thursday I was lucky to be able to string a full sentence together. By Thursday evening I had pain in both ears, pain I can only describe as red hot daggers being stuck in them. The pain killers took the edge off the pain but did not eradicate it. I lost my hearing, particularly when I was bending down (yes it’s absolutely true!) and the tinnitus was the loudest it had EVER been. My whole body felt like a lead weight.

Friday morning I woke up and the pain had spread down from my ears into the side of my neck and my jaw. This was the worst it had EVER been. The room was spinning and my whole body resembled a piece of very dense concrete. I couldn’t function and it scared me. Now, looking back the day is a bit of a blur. I remember at one point I tried to work and ended up resting my head on the desk and closing my eyes. Another day of work and life lost.

I came around a bit at night and watched the epic Leeds Rhino’s performance which honestly did not help my stress levels. There was a time I enjoyed going and standing on the terraces and being part of the whole atmosphere. Now it’s too loud and too scary!

Saturday I woke up and my senses of smell and taste were on overdrive. My hearing, however was a bit like Norman Collier (coming and going – just in case you don’t know who he is). My memory was shot to pieces and the lack of concentration meant I couldn’t remember what I had left the room for or who I was supposed to be ringing when I picked my mobile phone up. After a couple of hours of fighting, I lost the battle and went to sleep. 

Wes and I went to the shop for some fresh air. Soon I realised I was not okay. The ground was swaying. I had a major sweat on, fearing I would fall over and hurt myself or even worse, make a complete utter and total fool of myself. It is so unnerving not being able to hear every sound. It is like watching the television with mute on. I did my best to control myself but can honestly say I was terrified and incredibly HOT! Bed was calling!

Sunday, the tinnitus was loud, the sense of smell was overbearing but my head felt a little clearer. I ironed, wrote, prepared dinner and that was it…I was spent. Back to being laid up, nauseous and exhausted.

The pain I can handle but the wasted time, the frustration of not being able to do the simple things in life, let along write, is what drives me to distraction. It hurts when I lie down and I can’t stand up. For what seems an eternity, my life is in limbo. Until this invasion retreats, I feel totally useless. There is nothing more I can do other than ride it out. The trouble is very few people understand what this is like and expect you to continue at 100%, that then puts more pressure on me and prolongs the attacks.
Today I feel shaky, sore and still have the tinnitus and brain fog along with an upset stomach and being on edge. This is what it does, it unnerves you.Hopefully I have broken the back of it now and this week will be a slow recovery. It takes every ounce of my shattered energy to remain positive. It will pass…the illness will not kill me but the madness might! I have adapted and can now type without looking at the screen or keyboard and can actually write with my eyes closed!! But there is a limit to my talents and my tolerance.

This week is the Labour Party conference in Brighton. I would have loved to have been there, particularly as it has the feel of the ‘old’ style conference where there was debate and differences. That is what democracy should be about. If people have a vested interest, they should be able to have their say. Bravo to Jeremy Corbyn for stopping the apathy rot. Let’s have real debate about real issues.

Rugby League


So we have had our break – we are back to training on Tuesday. Well, I say we but Wes is
back to training on Tuesday. Under 19s here we come.







The Nanny


Is coming along slowly but surely. I love this storyline and the characters are really taking shape. The hardest element of any character is choosing a suitable name. A bit like when you’re naming your own children. This time I named all the characters before I started. It is a total distraction introducing a new character to the script and then pondering on their name. I admit I have changed a few names a long the way but that is what being creative is all about.


Beyond the Past





Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0



Well, that is me done this week. Have a safe and happy week. Please do not take your health for granted. I did until I didn’t have it anymore.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A brave new world...




This week has proven what I have been moaning on about for thirty plus years. A culture built on lies and spin results in a culture of not admitting mistakes and never, ever apologising. Yes, I am going to say it … I TOLD YOU SO! I feel vindicated on so many levels.

The underlying basis of my parenting has been respect, truth and equality. I have been ridiculed so many times for giving the boys a voice on all family matters and decisions, often being told, “They are ‘only’ children.” Actually, they are human beings who need to understand the importance of making decisions and the implications of the decisions being made. When I was growing up, I was never taught this. I have never assumed the boys automatically know how to be grown up. I really believe teaching children how to and how not to behave is a fundamental issue of parenting. It does irritate me that children are told to be independent thinkers but then chastised if their opinion is not the same as the adults!!! We have some real humdingers of arguments and debates. It is perfectly healthy and right that the children question my beliefs – it certainly keeps me on my toes!

No-one really understands the dynamics of our family unit but it is really simple – RESPECT, HONESTY, SUPPORT of each other and ourselves as individuals.When I am wrong, I tell them I was wrong and I apologise, and vice versa.

I absolutely love when Wes makes a mistake on the rugby pitch and immediately apologises for it, followed by him digging in deeper to make up for the mistake. That makes me incredibly proud, not just because he is honest but also that he understands it is not a major crisis to make a mistake. We all make mistakes but it is what we do after that counts. Your actions after the mistake define you.

I actually feel there is a wind of change in the UK and I applaud any move towards a more honest, kind world. Instead of swimming against the tide, I feel the boys are positioned well enough to take on this brave new world.

Meniere’s Madness


This week was balance awareness week, promoted by the Meniere’sSociety


I have never been more aware of my imbalance as I am at this moment. Thursday I was in church supporting Lucas’ school service and I could see FOUR of the same vicar! It is so unnerving. It didn’t help that he is a very vocal and animated chap and believes in audience participation. People throwing their arms in the air around you when you are trying to focus on a fixed part so not to fall over, is quite a challenge.

The dizziness I can cope with, just, but the hardest part of all of this is the overwhelming feeling of frustration. When it is bad, I have this huge pressure in my ears and the back of my head, the tinnitus becomes louder than the voices around me and I am so exhausted my whole body aches. Trying to maintain focus on work is tremendously hard, not just seeing the words on the page but also fighting through the ‘brain fog’. Just trying to do the day to day stuff – remembering why you are at the supermarket, why you are upstairs, why you sat at the laptop and when you have to do the school run. But then there is the overwhelming feeling of guilt and worry of struggling to financially support my lovely family. I feel inadequate which knocks my self-confidence to zero, made much harder by the lack of understanding from the world around you. It is truly a downward spiral until the fog clears and the pain subsides. It is even harder to cope without a partner but then it was hard to cope with people who refuse to understand the effects of this complicated condition.

In spite of wanting to hold my hands up and scream, ‘you win, I quit”, I can’t and I won’t! I will get through the attacks, I will get both boys through to adulthood and I will follow my dreams. Why? Because in spite of feeling totally inadequate and useless at times, I know in my heart that I am a fighter and I will leave my mark on this world!! There is always hope. So, in between the depths of dizziness and the attacks, I will continue to work towards fulfilling my dreams and ambitions.  I just have to accept there are limitations that may hinder me but won’t stop me.

Writing


One thing the illness has taught me is that I may no longer be super woman but more like super gran – well maybe not for a long time yet!! When I am incapacitated I do tend to analyse my life and if I’m honest the negativity takes over. However, one overriding factor is clear – I GET A REAL BUZZ OUT OF WRITING (no pun intended for fellow tinnitus sufferers). Whilst the financial insecurity of the day scares the hell out of me, I am glad I had no choice but to follow my dreams. I was forced into a corner and I grabbed the opportunity. It is a slow process but I am confident we are going through the hardest part now and will come out the other side happier and stronger.

The Nanny




Is progressing well and the research has been amazing. I am combining this with editing the sequel to Beyond the Past and my PhD research proposal. Yes I know I said I wasn’t going to but…

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Past

Following some expert advice, I have decided to turn this into a script. Next project after editing the sequel, the Nanny and writing blogs – no pressure like!




Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0


PhD

So, I was shelving this idea because I can’t get funding but then an email from the supervisor who is keen to progress, made me realise it is not a pipe dream or a stupid idea. So, I dusted the papers down and picked them up again. Actually, I love my proposal and love the preliminary research. 

It is New Computing Curricula: Corporate in Pedagogy

This is my research question, “Can the wind of change in Computing in high schools in England reach for the Cloud to achieve improved engagement, innovation and employability, offering the same opportunities to all students across the whole of the country?”

Not bad for a working class girl from east Leeds!! Subject to funding, I will be pursuing this as well as continuing to write. Only death will stop me!! Any ideas on sponsors, please, please let me know.


Well, that’s me done this week. Here’s to open mindedness and a much kinder society. 

Thank you Jeremy Corbyn for starting the road to recovery and to a new hope! I’ll be fighting with you all the way, subject to prior commitments of taxi driver, cook, mentor, supporter, teacher, cleaner, banker and all the other roles us parents take on. I hope you all will join us in the fight for a brave new world of truth and honesty.

Have a fabulous week. I’m off to junior football this afternoon. Enjoy yourselves and stay safe.







Sunday, 13 September 2015

My 100th POST!!




Wow! Where do I start this week? We have a new Labour Leader that to coin a Yorkshire saying ‘will put the cat amongst the pigeons’ – I love cats and dislike pigeons or as my Dad used to call them ‘flying rats’! Quite apt really.

So, this is my 100th post. Who would have thought it? Not me, that’s for sure. I thought no one would be interested, let alone read my ramblings but here I am! One hundred posts, hundreds of positive comments, over 26,000 views and some great online friendships. Thank you to each and every one of you for keeping me sane – well, trying anyway!

No one’s life is perfect but we do ALL have lots to be thankful of. I know I am thankful for two great boys, my independence and my brain – well, the latter when it wants to work.

After the popularity and support of last week’s blog I have made a momentous decision to live the rest of my life with the right people and not looking back, holding onto people who don’t truly love me and want me to fall at every obstacle that is put in my way. Guess what? I don’t feel lonely or scared. I think I have to admit here that my ex-husband was right all along – jeez that was HARD to say! Now, I feel liberated and free. 

It is really strange how, no matter what life throws at you, some feelings re-surface even after thirty plus years of getting on with life. I met someone recently that I haven’t seen for many, many years but the minute I was there in their presence I knew I was in the right place with the right people.  I was nervous but happy. It was a very strange and surreal moment. The challenge now is fitting in another element of life around the boys, writing, Menieres and Sheffield. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

One thing I have learnt this weekend is never, ever underestimate the power of your voice as a human being. We are a powerful source and have the ability to change even the most stubborn of establishments if we choose to do it together. I read today that Labour are now a threat to national security because Labour ‘would break a valuable consensus between the main parties on issues such as nationalisation, nuclear weapons, taxation and union laws.’ When was this general consensus agreed? We were all right after all – they were all the same at the last election. It is extremely dangerous in a democracy for a government to call the opposition 'a national security threat' especially when we fight against the tyranny of dictatorships.

Whatever your allegiance in politics, you have to admit having someone who will stand up and question the decisions of the country’s politicians has to be a good thing for the whole country. No longer is there a free loading seat in the ivory tower. 

Labour have to now be a HUGE opposition party holding all the Tory's terrible policies to account and exposing all the lies! That is how credibility is built. Bring it on, that’s what I say.

BACK TO THE DAY JOB…

It’s been a very busy week. 

THE NANNY


I have started writing the script to the Nanny in between some very valuable research as I want to do the subject justice. I can't believe I started writing this piece of work then the NI Assembly appears in the news headlines. Talk about timing...

“Sometimes the past cannot be laid to rest without direct intervention. John and Martha O’Grady were victims of the conflict in Ireland. They may have survived but witnessing the death of their parents and grandparents at the hands of the IRA had left indelible horror on their young minds. Orphaned, they were split up. Martha was sent to a convent and John adopted and moved to Manchester.
Thirty years on they are about to be reunited only to find the horrors of their past re-appear with potentially fatal consequences.”

LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! Can you tell I’m a little excited about this piece of work?
It is such an incredibly powerful subject so close to my heart. Watch this space…


STREETWISE


No update as yet – it is still with the first production company. Hopefully I will hear something soon and you will be the first to know …but only if you follow me on social media. Please let it be soon and be positive. I need a break from financial destitution!



The story is set in Leeds (surprise, surprise!) and tells the tale of fate bringing people together under extraordinary circumstances:

            Life’s path can change in the blink of an eye or the detonation of a bomb. Rob Kennedy should have been planning a wedding not a funeral. Consumed with guilt and grief, suicide seemed his only escape from his perpetual nightmare until a single act of kindness by a real life guardian angel, saves him from himself.
Twelve months on, unable to trace each other, Rob and Kate’s paths are about to cross once more in extraordinarily circumstances.”


BEYOND THE PAST



Following some expert advice, I have decided to turn this into a script. Next project after editing the sequel, the Nanny and writing blogs – no pressure like!






Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0



Well, I’m off now to write The Nanny before I go to watch Lucas play his first Under 10s football match – this year he can get fined for red and yellow cards so he has been warned…oh and his Dad will be paying the fines!!

Have a brilliant week. It will certainly be an interesting one…