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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Need a Little Perspective on Life?

As I mentioned only the other day, this wet weather (however well needed), can make us all feel a little down sometimes, and combined with the trials of everyday life, can even lead us to letting our perspective on life slip to the point of self-pity, as we haul ourselves up in our living rooms on this soggy Saturday evening to shelter from the rain, watching some great British reality TV on the tele box, whilst snuggling on the sofa with the husband or dog and perhaps even indulging ourselves with a little take away curry! Or is that just me?  Exciting my life sometimes hey!

Should you too feel you need your perspective on life realigned, then do please take two minutes of your evening, to visit the blog and fund raising page of this wonderful lady Claire Lomas who is walking the 26.2 miles of The Virgin London Marathon in an incredible and quite frankly futuristic bionic suit!

Those of you who are regular readers of my ramblings, may well remember my post about Claire back in February- http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5858905601208498656#editor/target=post;postID=3007508646424172791; but for those of you who are not aware of her incredible story, here is a précis of her remarkable story.

Thirty-two year old Claire Lomas had an accident whilst competing in The Osberton Horse Trials in May 2007, when she was thrown from her horse into a tree- resulting in a devastating T4 spinal injury, which left her paralysed and requiring the use of a wheelchair.

Since that point almost five years ago, Claire has got herself to an incredible position where since her accident she has found herself a wonderful companion in her husband Dan and has even been blessed with the incredible gift of her daughter Maisie!
 Claire's most recent challenge in this amazing and inspirational life of hers, has come in her desire to walk, yes walk the London Marathon after hearing of the developments in the design of the 'bionic suit'.

After months of training, (all of which you can read about at her wonderful blog- http://get-claire-walking.co.uk/wordpress/) - Claire has now completed an amazing 9 miles of her endeavour and raised an amazing  £39,419.90 for the wonderful and deserved charity Spinal Research.

Please support this wonderful lady, who I have myself been blessed with speaking to, by donating at her Just Giving page-b http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Lomas

It has been far too long since I have written a Reason to Smile post, but I believe that the worthiness of Claire's story more than makes up for this!

Reclaim perspective and positivity to your weekend- visit http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Lomas

Take care and have the best weekend that you are able.

Karen. x

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Damp!


Eau de damp dog fills the air, and soaked to the skin, juggling wet iphone and tangled headphones, I return from a less than sunny dog walk!
It's times like these when it is so easy to adopt the stereotypical British mentality to moan about the weather; but armed with my new found armour of positive attitude, I'm determine that a little rain won't dampen my newly ameliorated spirits.
In fact I was only recently discussing with a friend who's a born and raised California, the merits of living in a country with such varied weather!

I love the changes of the seasons and actually enjoy a good walk in the rain listening to a bit of Jeremy Vine on my iphone. I know, I know- I'm twenty eight not forty eight, but what can I say- the girl loves a bit of Radio 2!!
What is not so much fun is dealing with the aftermath of a damp dog who encounters one of his best doggy pals in the park and decides to have a good roll in the mud! Brilliant- thanks Barley!

Variety is the spice of life and there is nothing more varied than the British weather, with soaring sunny days in March and snow in Spring and the biggest and most recent contradiction of them all- flood warnings during an official period of drought! Only in the UK.

Last Wednesday I was given steroid injections in each hip in an attempt by my GP to curtail my ever increasing pain in my hips. Unfortunately, as was the same when I used to receive regular steroid epidural injections in my spine- the injections have thus far had little positive affect and have instead caused me a massive increase in pain.

It is warned that this increase in pain may well be the case for up to a fortnight following the procedure, so unfortunately I am currently stuck in groundhog day as I struggle to sleep with unrelenting pain; wake in the night with unrelenting pain; wake in the morning with unrelenting pain and try and get through my day with unrelenting pain.
Regular readers may well wonder how different this situation actually is to my normal daily routine that I moan to you about- and you would be right to ponder such a thought, as this perpetual pain riddled hell has indeed been my life for near on six years now: however recently I had finally got myself to a longed for stage in my rehabilitation, where through my hours of pouring over theology, philosophy and general positive thinking and meditation books- I have finally acquired the knowledge and skills to apply techniques and philosophies to my day to day living, in an attempt to live a more sustained and stress free existence.

An advocate of the teachings of Rhonda Byrne, I have been spending each morning compiling a list of ten things that I am thankful for that day. I also read my Daily Teachings book which gives me a Bible teaching morning and night to ruminate upon, and between the two very different, yet equally inspiring philosophies, I have found myself in a position of a much more balanced and positive mind.

With this improved emotional state and applied meditational techniques, I have found myself in a position where I have been able to deal with my never ceasing pain in a much better way- the most significant point that I have found to be most beneficial, is to not to beat myself up and let my emotional state spin out of control if I find myself bed bound for an hour, afternoon or even a day due to pain- as this negative emotion and subsequent anxiety, will only exacerbate my pain.

In the same vein as this thought, I feel it is now imperative that I do not let this setback of this HUGE increase in pain and spasms let this positive attitude slip back to a thoroughly unhealthy place.

Having been unable to sleep until 4am and confined to my bed until 11am this morning, I felt my mood steadily slide, as I thought of what a slip this was from the improved sleeping pattern that I had worked so hard to achieve.

When I finally rose at 11.20am and pulled up my blinds only to be confronted by a dull and dreary day- I drew upon my acquired positive thinking techniques and spent time before my day commenced, focusing upon all of the positives of the wet weather in front of me.

- We're in a drought!


- My dog will love splashing in the puddles!


and finally...


- I love the aroma of the rain soaked vegetation in the park!

There were other positives that I focused upon today, such as how grateful I was to have the help and support of family around me and how grateful I am to have a roof over my head, ( particularly in this weather!),  and a comfortable bed in which to sleep in, when so many others in my city are not so fortunate.

Well, with that said and 'The Apprentice' finished, I am off to bed to read my pages of positivity!

Tomorrow is a new day, another day that when it is over you will never get back- so I'm going to try and make the most of it. If like me though, you are not able to always get out and are instead confined to laying around indoors- let's not make that situation even more negative by letting ourselves get into a negative emotional spin and allow ourselves to spend that time down and depressed.

Have the best 27th April 2012 that you can everyone despite any torrential rain that you may experience! Sleep well. x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Morning After

Well, here I am curled up upon my sofa devouring the Sunday papers and a tasty bacon sarnie lovingly made for me by my husband- wrapped up in a cosy blanket sipping my lavender tea and nursing my ever so slightly fuzzy head and aching hips and legs.

The cause of the 'ever so slightly fuzzy head' is the fantastic Hen Night last night of one of my dearest friends. It was a night that looked not to have been possible for me to take part in even up to 6pm yesterday, after having received steroid injections into my hips on Wednesday I experienced an immense increase in pain as a direct consequence.

Curled up in tears as a consequence of these injections both on Friday night and Saturday afternoon as I knew the celebrations to already be well and truly in full swing- I was reassured by my ever-so-understanding and supportive best friends that I should not worry myself about missing this important night as The darling Hen in question- 'Chicken' as she's affectionately and ironically known to me, would make sure that she and I would have our own 'Hen celebrations' when I was able, if I were not to be well enough to come along to last night's festivities.

True friends are just so incredible and valuable to me and Chicken is no exception! With the help and support of my fantastic husband who offered to drive me across London to the event- until that is, he realised that he had left his van keys at work in central London- whoops!

That established, he forked out for a cab for me each way, ( no cheap feet!), as getting the bus, ( as the ever so more efficient tube is out of the question for me as The London Underground is not accessible for wheelchairs- but that is a whole different rant for another day!), was out of the question as my pain was at unbearable levels.

After several false starts of getting my glad rags on and sitting in my wheelchair ready to go, only to find the pain sore to incredible heights and having to once more return to my bed to lay out flat and dose up on another drop of morphine- I finally got myself into a taxi- wooo!

The maid- of- honour to my Chicken is a wonderful lady who works as an events coordinator and boy must she be good at her job, as her organisational and creative skills were just fabulous!

Despite knowing how meticulous and thorough this wonderful lady is when it comes to arranging events, the worrier in me has learnt the hard way over the last few years that I have been using a wheelchair, that even when venue representatives assure you on the phone that they are accessible, all too many times my husband and I have rocked up to far too many restaurants, bars and wedding venues, to find this not to be the case and instead find restrictions such as steps to certain areas of the building, or even incredibly four or five steps to the front door of the venue, with an all too ill-informed receptionist naively reassuring us that- "we have lifts inside to all the floors"- BUT you DON'T have access to get into the building- brilliant!

Or even - " we thought that you'd have one of those 'normal' wheelchairs that we could get a couple of our barmen to lift."

AGHHHHHHHH! When will the world wake up to the needs of wheelchair users?! And the fact that people don't want to be lifted up like a prize piece of meat, on show to all in the club, restaurant or wedding venue. You already have a metal contraption attached to your person causing you to stick out like a sore thumb- why would you want that attention amplified? I don't I tell you!

As I sat in my cab en route to the Hen Do that my pain had already restricted me from attending 60% of- that anxious, pessimist in me that has grown in spirit since I started being confronted with such disappointing situations in trying to have a social life- was nervous at best, that on arrival to tonight's celebrations, I would be restricted with access and without the usual companionship of my husband Garry, who is nothing short of a knight in shining armour in such circumstances as he negotiates with venue staff to assist him in lifting my 100kg wheelchair- with only the slender frames of my slim girlfriends to assist in any lifting or manoeuvring, I would be unable to enter the restaurant and bar where we had our reservation.

Despite the fantastic events coordinator maid-of-honour's reassurances that all venues were accessible- that fear that the staff may have mislead or over assured her was running through my veins like an effervescing irritant. How awful was I to feel if this were to be the case and on arrival my simple existence would cause that uncomfortable stress that I would not be physically able to enter and the subsequent uncomfortable air that either I go home or the party change it's plans.
Aghh- the prospect of the guilt associated with that situation was just too awful.

Well to cut a long story only slightly short- the maid-of honour's assurances were spot on and the venue was one of the most fantastically accessible I have ever had the great fortune to have been to. Wide doorways, wide aisles, easily accessible disabled toilets, perfectly 'heighted' tables and lifts to all floors- fan-bloody-tastic! A wheelchair users dream!

On top of that they also served my all time favourite and newly discovered no. 1 cocktail- The Porn Star Martini- yum, yum, yummison!

A handful of these, coupled with a great atmosphere and awesome conversation and I was well on the way to distracting myself from my hideous pain.

Top this off with a scrummy lamb burger and 'cowboy chilli fries' and the night was just truly fantastic!

As things began to wrap up at this venue and plans evolved into moving on to nearby cheesy 80's club- Reflex, despite the earlier restrictions of having to miss the days' daytime Hen activities of life drawing a beautiful naked man and competing in 'Hen games' at a nearby hotel- I had already been able to take part in far more than I had anticipated my pain riddled body to allow me to; so even if there was to be access disappointment when we arrived at the club, I would be comforted by the fact that I had had much more of a night than I had ever anticipated.

My pain was also starting to consume me again by this point- so if having to go home early was to be enforced upon me by the club not being fully accessible- I knew I would be saved ever so slightly from the extent of after-activity-pain that I pay the price with every time I leave the house for an event.

With this at the forefront of my mind, we rocked up at The Reflex only to be warmly welcomed into the venue and directed towards the beautiful and ethereally shiny gleaming silver lift to ALL floors! Result! Once again- nothing was off limits!

What a thoroughly refreshing change to experience central London venues, ( or even venues in any geographical location for that matter!), with equal access to those who have physical limitations!

Buzzing from such a discovery I set about waving my arms in the air to the well known movements of The Grease Megamix in excitement and elation that there were such fab places still available to me and others in similar circumstances to mine!

Top all of this off with mega-cocktails with ten straws to be shared amongst our clan and all in all it was the perfect end to a pretty fantastic, never anticipated night! A night to celebrate the friendship that we all have with a pretty darn amazing lady! My Chicken Moore!

My friend Chicken was with me when I had my car accident that resulted in my need for a wheelchair. She was sat next to me in the passenger seat as the car hit from behind- and despite her own injury and need for alternative holistic therapies, she has been next to me holding my hand both physically and emotionally ever since.

She is one of my closest and dearest friends and I feel so incredibly blessed to have her in my life

My Chicken is marrying my brother's best friend who I have know for over ten years now and who I took great pleasure (and now in hindsite great pride), in introducing that fateful day back in July 2007- it's all thanks to me guys! Hee hee!

In this crazy, hectic and all to stressful fast paced existence that is life in 2012, it is all to easy to forget what is actually important. In my opinion it is not the material possessions; it is not the salary of your job, or even the job itself; it is not the superficial lives of the Z list celebrities that we tend to become consumed with by the drip-feeding nature of the media- but the lives and loves of our family and friends that matter and should be treasured.

Friends and this special friend in particular are so valuable to me. Without such friends, I believe that I would have slipped to much deeper levels of depression during my time accepting my accident induced circumstances.

Today, Sunday 22nd April, I am so incredibly thankful to God for both the existence of accessible venues, ( even if they are so sadly few and far between- today I am focusing upon the positives!), and also for the blessings of amazing friends in my life, like my dearest Chicken!

Treasure those times when strength and circumstances come together to allow you to be able to get out and live some semblance of a 'normal' life. Some degree of the life that you may have lived prior to you becoming disabled.

Treasure also those dear moments with dear friends- it is those times that you can never put a price on and never get back should you have all the money and power in the world.

Make some magic moments today everyone- have a great Sunday 22nd April 2012. As I've said before and will no doubt say again- you'll never get another!