Saturday, 13 June 2015

Five on Friday ~ Thankful through Challenging Times

Hello Lovely People!
How are you all doing? Good I do so hope.

As for myself, I've kind of lost my Bloggy mojo.  I had no idea what to share today and so I just started writing some thoughts down.  Mainly along the Project Gratitude line... plus the lovely Amy's linky Five on Friday party gave me some structure.  I'm going to use archived photos too just to ease me back in to the process.

I really felt I had nothing to share or anything interesting to say.  Perhaps I don't... but I've come back to write this intro to collate these thoughts all together and I'm glad I have created this post.  So, thank you for stopping by.  Normal jolly service will resume I'm sure.  In the meantime, here are some things I've given thanks for this past few days:

# 1 ~   Family Firsts

Well, half term absolutely flew by. We had a fab time staying away with friends and family for the first few days.  Then we spent a few days in London doing all the touristy things with the children for the first time, which they completely LoVED. I will write a separate post about this as a journal of this Family First.  It was also the first time I've done London in a wheelchair and needless to say it was very, very challenging.  A great experience for the children and I am completely delighted to have shared it with them... But my goodness it was hard.

Please don't ever underestimate the wonder of legs that work and the joy of movement without pain.

# 2 ~  My Mum

My mum came to stay on Sunday for this past week.  She instinctively helps with so many of the everyday things, getting breakfast, the school runs etc while I am confined to my bed. I am so very thankful for her love and support.  Perhaps I am even more thankful for her relationship with my children.  It is magical and born from helping me and my children long term as occasionally I've had to divert energy in order to overcome physical challenges.  Hours of care, play, love and reassuringly 'being' have made their mark on their hearts.

She has her own health issues but is a generous soul who will help whenever she can.  A day does not pass where I do not feel enormously grateful for her impact on our life.

# 3 ~  A Lucky Escape

Image result for bicycle quotes
Also on Sunday morning, the Hubby called to say he'd had another puncture (the third in as many bike rides) and was stuck somewhere on Cheddar Gorge.  This is his new exercise having had to stop running since his achilles rupture.  A learning path I guess.  I loaded the kids in the car and left a note for my mum who was supposed to arrive any moment... myself moaning about however were we to get the bike, him and the kids in the car with myself so unwell.

As we drove up through the Gorge, we found him by the side of the road... as our eyes met, I knew more had happened than a simple puncture.  He had not wanted to worry me over the phone but had underestimated a sharp bend in the road and crashed (and come off) his bike.  Having missed the bend he shot over the the other side of the road and way up onto the verge of a parking area.  Either a car coming the opposite way, or cars parked in the layby would have led to more serious injury.  He was clearly rattled over an hour after it had happened and even though masking it from the children... I knew immediately we were fortunate that he was not seriously physically hurt.  It was a wake up call for us both.  Myself for my fuss at a 'puncture' and him as a speed warning.  I am so thankful that we have these lessons reaffirmed and our eyes refocused on what matters most.

# 4 ~  Medicine

On Tuesday I saw the Rheumatologist again, had a whole number of additional tests and have started another course of steroids (not in the photo which is of my normal routine nightly meds). Relief from my inflammatory flare and lack of pacing will come in a couple weeks if this follows the pattern of previous flares.  So thankful for this medication and the hope that the Doctors have in trying to manage my symptoms more effectively in future.  Hope is powerful in itself.

# 5 ~ Journalling

Thankful that I have different options to brain dump!  Due to the trauma of my original accident, my central nervous system is highly sensitized.  It is ill and this affects so many things; messages to my body from my brain are confused, during flares my brain function is very slow and my clarity of thought is not at it's best.  I have a journal recording my health daily as a tool in managing symptoms.  I have many different options for putting thoughts and ideas down and I am especially happy to have this space to reflect on. To record them seems to make sense of it all in my mind and enables me to reassess the importance of some things and the insignificance of others.

I am quite an introverted, reflective personality and since my accident this trait has become more extreme.  I am aware that I have gone into myself this week.  Into survival mode - just getting through.  I can get anxious leaving the house.  I try to force myself though as otherwise the barriers increase and I'd become increasingly isolated if I didn't make the extra effort.

I hadn't wanted to blog today. I haven't written a post for a while and I was beginning to feel that if I didn't write soon, I may have lost my voice.  I expect this is simply an example of the mental place I'm in.  But I'm glad I have written this. It has calmed my mind and helped me process some negative thinking and on reflection, writing has highlighted the need to value these challenges... providing perspective and changing the way I look at events.

Whilst this isn't perhaps the happiest post I have ever written it does bring contentment to recognise and give thanks for the everyday moments in life - not just the perfect bits.  I've struggled through a painful and physically hard week but I am still grateful.  The weekend is here and relief shall come.

Increasingly, I realise that happiness does not come from having or always being happy. For me it can come as the storm clouds pass and the first glimmer of sun breaks through.  This is the metaphor for my happy moments these past two weeks.  Nothing life changing or particularly eventful.  For now, I'm resting my body and have a new peace of mind.

The sun will shine... but sometimes we need a few clouds to really appreciate it when it does break through.


  1. Your last words of this post are your wisest, and something that I will try very hard to remember myself. Those darker moments, definitely make the brighter ones brighter don't they. Would we appreciate the brighter moments without the darker ones I wonder. I am so glad to hear that your meds are doing their good things and that your husband was alright after his bike accident. It must have been very scary for you all but it sounds as though you coped with it very well. I am glad that you had the impetus to blog today. Thank you so much for writing this and for joining in. I hope that you are having a good weekend - with bright moments! xx

  2. I'm sorry things have been rough Janine. Some of the things you have gratitude for are very powerful and moving. Your mum sounds truly wonderful, I am so glad you have her to help and to be there for you all. And modern medicine, a fantastic thing indeed. I hope you find the right combination to really help you stabilise things. And I'm very happy that your other half's accident wasn't worse. No doubt he will be taking those corners a bit more cautiously. I used to cycle a lot, and things like that are always scary. Bless him for not wanting to worry you over the phone! I hope you have a really good weekend, with plenty of rest and relaxation. Sending you my best as always. CJ xx

  3. So sorry about your illness, its great that you have support from your lovely mum. Its good she has a close relationship with your kids, that is so special. My parents and in laws live overseas so my kids don't see them. So glad your hubby was ok after the bike scare. I am glad you had a lovely time in London. Heres to more happy times ahead for you.

  4. I think you have written a beautiful blog. It's about you and your life and family and that is what matters. I'm so sorry to hear you are feeling bad. It sounds like you had a lovely time in London. It's one of my favorite cities; probably because my favorite books are always centered there. Thank goodness your husband's bike accident wasn't worse. I'd say he has a guardian angel watching over him. I wish you the very best. And I hope and pray that you will feel better soon. My best to you.

  5. Dear Janine,
    Congratulations on your achievement of your London tour. I hope the wheelchair helpd to increase your comfort and stamina.
    How wonderful to have someone like your mum who just knows what to do because having to give instructions all the time is especially difficult and draining when one is ill. It is such a big relief to have someone like your mum because then you can truly rest, knowing that everything is under control without the need for your extra attention.
    Thank goodness your hubby is okay! Has he thought about putting a special anti-puncture goo (known as 'slime' in my city) inside the bike tyres? You make a good pair at the moment - nursing your aches and pains.
    We are lucky to have medications that can offer some relief although I don't envy your handful. (I am suffering side effects from one of my meds today so still in my PJs at 14:30. It is a difficult balance sometimes.)
    You have done well to put so much down in your blog. Losing the ability to think clearly is such a debilitating part of fatigue that is more than just physical tiredness (that healthy people often fail to understand).
    Sending empathic hugs as you ride out your latest flare. Was the trip to London worth it? (I suspect, yes!). Think back on all you have achieved so far and feel good about that. It's a big deal for someone with your health issues. Well done! Glad you are able to relax and go with the flow. May your flare make a hasty retreat.
    Healing hugs, Jodie xxx

  6. Your mum sounds like a wonderful person, I am glad she is there to help. I do hope your flare is on its way out and that you feel better soon. My husband is a cyclist and there have been a few hairy moments. I remember when he his handlebars broke into two and he fell off at full speed. I am glad your husband is ok, I am sure he'll take it more slowly in the future. x

  7. I am so glad you enjoyed your time in London. I can see that it would really be a challenge to do it in a chair, but you are always so willing to overcome the struggle to have the time with your family. Such wonderful memoires you have made! I am glad your hubby is okay. How terribly scary for both of you! Sometimes it takes these eye-opening experiences to remind us how precious life is and how hard it would be to live without any of our loved ones. I hope this coming week brings you joy, safety and a refreshed view of the world. Hugs to you and yours!

  8. I admire you for taking your family to London even though it would be difficult for you. I'm having an arthritic knee that is making it hard for me to walk.. it will go ZING out of nowhere. I don't know what your original accident was, but I hope you get completely well and soon. I'm glad your husband wasn't more badly hurt! Thank heavens for your Mom. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  9. So sorry to read that life is such a challenge at the moment lucky you are to have your dear mum to help you wishes for more sunshine breaking through those clouds x
    Susan x