Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Slimming World: weeks 1-4.

I mentioned previously that me and Danny had decided to start the Slimming World diet - together so we have each other for support! We've never eaten too badly for main meals and in the last few years we've worked really hard to try and have varied meals containing as many vegetables as we could fit in. However, my snacking was more than a little out of control and portion sizes were a bit on the large size! We tried to cut back where we could but with the festive period looming and therefore a whole array of festive titbits in the house we couldn't help ourselves and come January we were desperately craving fresh and healthy foods! 

We have friends who have had great success with Slimming World so we thought we'd give it a go. I only want to lose a stone so I can get back down to my pre-IVF weight (and possibly a little bit more depending on how I feel then). Have any of you tried Slimming World? Let me know if you have and if you have any hints or tips then swing them my way!

I have to admit, I've probably chosen the worst time of year to start a diet because all I want to do in the Winter is eat comforting, warm, stodgy foods - if I'd done this in the summer it would have been a doddle! It's all quite simple to follow though. I've not found myself hungry at any stage and I love that you don't really have to cut anything out - as long as it's all within your daily allowances.

I was a little worried about my calcium intake because of my borderline osteoporosis, however, because I'm breastfeeding, I'm allowed an extra 'Healthy A' a day which is things like milk and cheese. I haven't used my extra 'HexA' yet though as my calcium levels were fine when I had them checked last year and I'm probably having more calcium with this diet already because I can have 'free' things like cottage cheese and some yoghurts. I do always make sure my 'A' choice for the day is milk though.

Anyway, I didn't know if any of you would be interested in this but I'm going to do a little regular summary of how the diets going. I'm not going in to detail with what I've eaten as I'm boring everyone over on Instagram every day with that but I thought it would be nice to just do a little progress post every few weeks!

Anyway, here's weeks 1-4! 

Week 1: days 1-7.

After this week I had dropped 2lbs which I was really pleased with. 

I was only able to exercise gently on 2 days and that left me feeling exhausted and in quite a lot of pain for the rest of the week. Can anyone suggest any gentle exercise that I could try (at home)? I did 23 minutes of yoga on each of those days and it wasn't overly strenuous but my tummy hurt so much from it and my fatigue was really bad. I'm really lost on what exercise I can do if something as gentle as yoga can leave me feeling like this.

I felt like I found my way a bit more by the end of the week and ate a bit better so hopefully next week should be easier. I've also realised that just because it's 'free' doesn't mean I have to eat it! I definitely felt a little too full after some of these breakfasts and lunches so that's something I've already started working on.

I've also noticed that with all the Slimming World recipes we have tried or looked at so far, they don't include vegetables in the sauces which I think is a great opportunity to add lots of goodness. It's definitely an area where we can improve on the recipe!

But so far I feel much better within myself, much less bloated and, overall, I feel pretty happy with how it's going - besides the odd few stumbles this week. I'm also wondering if it will have any effect on my endometriosis pains over the next few months. 

Anyway, here's hoping for another loss next week! 

Week 2: days 8-14.

After this week I had dropped 1lb which I was really pleased with, especially since I was also on my period and wanted to eat the entire kitchen! Only 11lbs more to go! I'm feeling a lot more comfortable already for dropping 3lbs and apparently it's noticeable that I have lost weight already which is always nice to hear! 

I felt much happier going in to this week knowing a bit more on what to expect and what to cut back on and add more of, and my portion sizes have been much better also.

Week 3: days 15-21.

After this week I had dropped 1lb. It's going slowly but it's going! 10lbs to go! 

Week 4: days 22-28.

I am so happy this week because I've managed to drop 3lbs!!! That's my biggest loss so far and takes me down to the halfway mark - half a stone gone, just another 7lbs left!

I've been trying to cut my syns down during the week and just have the full amount at the weekend, as well as not saving them just for treats but instead using them for our dinners also. It's meant I've enjoyed those dinners a lot more and they've left me feeling a lot more satisfied and like I've eaten something naughty so I'm not craving so much bad stuff! I've also been trying to put veg with things instead of rice or potato - for example, we used carrot and butternut squash spaghetti and cauliflower rice this week, and we bought ourselves a spiralizer (at last!) so now we can have these things more often.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

ENDO bracelet.

The lovely Aimée, a fellow endosister who blogs over at The Chronic Writer, sent me this little bracelet last week which she has made to raise awareness of endometriosis.

As March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, she has been fundraising by asking for donations for Endometriosis UK and sending these out as a thank you gift. The idea of the bracelet is that it will be seen on the wearer and it will spark "What's that for?" type questions and hopefully spread knowledge and awareness of endometriosis.

If you would like to donate to Endometriosis UK and have your very own bracelet, then you can visit Aimée's JustGiving page here. Remember, these donations are going direct to Endometriosis UK, a charity that supports all of us UK endosisters!

Image courtesy of http://www.endomarch.org/

Aimée is also attending the 4th annual EndoMarch on Saturday 25th March 2017, a worldwide event that aims to raise awareness and seeks change in various medical and educational sectors. Will you be attending your nearest march? 

I've heard on the grapevine that the Endomarch website is currently being updated with all the information on this years events but there is certainly still time to register and all the marches are completely free of charge. For now, you can find out more on the individual events by searching 'endomarch' on Twitter or Facebook for the most current information.

As per usual, I won't be able to attend again, but I'll be doing all I can during March to raise awareness and I wish so much luck to every single one of you who takes part - the ultimate girl love, sisters doing it for sisters! If, like me, you can't attend, don't worry! You can do your part by sharing information, tweets, statuses or pictures on the day or during the month of March. It's all about raising awareness, so ladies, do your bit!

Are you doing anything to raise money for any of the Endometriosis charities across the world? Email me at shireen.emlwy@gmail.com if you are - I'd be more than happy to help you get the word out!


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Real-life advice: how these women keep their endometriosis under control.

Image courtesy of https://www.popsugar.co.uk/smart-living/Tips-Living-Endometriosis-43039372
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Tori Crowther from Popsugar UK and asked if I would like to contribute towards an article on endometriosis!... My first ever contribution! Eek! I am still so excited over this!!

The article features some other fabulous endosisters and we've all offered up some of our own coping mechanisms on living with endometriosis (most of which can be used for other chronic illnesses also).

So, head on over to Popsugar's article "Real-Life Advice: How These Women Keep Their Endometriosis Under Control" and have a little read and remember to check out the other ladies who contributed by clicking on their names.

Do you have any coping mechanisms of your own? Let me know!


Friday, 20 January 2017

A brand spanking new year of hopes.

Happy new year folks! How was everyones Christmas and New Years?

Luckily we managed to get all of our festive shopping done in time (note to self, start a little earlier next year to save any panicking!) but we still had a super busy time, as we have done for the last few years, because of Hunter's birthday being on Christmas Eve. We had a family day out on the Friday and took him to an Adventure Farm which he loved and then had a little tea party with his closest family on his actual birthday. We then had another jam packed day for Christmas Day and after seeing lots of family, we cooked our very first Christmas dinner for my dad. Unfortunately, Hunter caught a nasty sickness bug which started during the early hours of Boxing Day and when he finally started to get better, I managed to catch it - just in time for New Years! Ugh, that was not a nice way to start the new year! Isn't it funny how we can somewhat deal with all this pain our chronic illnesses throw at us, but when we are struck down with a bug or even a simple cold we just can't cope!? Anyway, it passed within a week (a wasted week where we had planned to spend some nice, relaxing time together as a family because Danny was off work!) and I'm back to just the normal everyday endo pains and this exhausting fatigue that just hits me when it feels like it! I think that's the thing I find most frustrating with my health sometimes - that there is no rhyme nor reason to it so you can't predict anything.

After the chaos of December and our poorly spells had passed, I've been spending some time trying to get myself and the house organised again and get a bit fitter and healthier (don't laugh!) and I've been looking at all things blog related and where I want to take this space.

I'm sure that by this time next year I'll most likely be in the same position as I am now and have probably only gotten a few measly posts written again, but I'm really wanting to throw myself in to it this year. I spent some time the other week updating a few things on the blog and jotting down lots of ideas on what I want to achieve with all things EMLWY this year. As I said a while back, I don't want this space to just be about me. I'd LOVE for it to be a one stop space for all things endometriosis related, to make it about all you lovely ladies too and give this disease a face instead of pages full of impersonal facts and figures. I have lots of ideas for new things to write about and a few other super big ideas that scare me so much I'm trying not to think about them but that I'm super excited about. You'll just have to watch this space on all that though and see if I can get my act together and start juggling things a bit better! Is there anything you folks would like to see here? Would you like to be featured in some way? Get in touch and let me know!

Me and Danny were absolutely sick of eating so much rubbish over the Christmas period so last weekend we started the Slimming World diet. Before Christmas we weren't eating too badly, all our main meals were well balanced and mostly healthy, with lots of added vegetables wherever we could fit them in, but I really needed to sort my snacking out and stop with the butter laden crumpets at breakfast time. I started having porridge which was much better but the snacking continued and then having so many festive treats in the house did nothing for our waistlines and it felt like all I ate in December was either chocolate or beige. By the New Year my body was craving fresh green vegetables - I even salivated at the thought of cabbage at one point!! So, as I said, we started the Slimming World diet almost a week ago now and so far I think we are doing really well. I might put up a little weekly progress post on here come Saturday - would any of you be interested in that!? Either way, I'll keep you posted. I feel really proud of myself for finally sorting my eating habits out a bit and I'm already feeling much less bloated.

What else has happened since September... ... ... ... Not that much to be honest!

I feel like my health is progressively getting worse again. Over the last few months I've started needing to take painkillers again at period time. At first, it was just on the worst day where I was bleeding the heaviest (which has started to get much heavier now), then I needed them for the entire time I was bleeding, then it was a few days before hand too and now it's usually a week beforehand, a week (or 2 or 3 weeks - or 7 months! - who knows how long my periods are ever going to last!?) during and then the week afterwards. Now I'm starting to need to take them on odd days around this also. I've been getting ridiculously dizzy at period times and the weeks surrounding it too, to the point where I think I'm going to pass out and I have to sit down. I've also noticed that my fibromyalgia is definitely reacting to my periods and the pain I'm in with my endometriosis, and the week after my period is usually the worst week for me with fibromyalgia pains and fatigue. I'm starting to find that, like a few years ago, I'm only getting a few days break from pain and fatigue and bleeding and everything else now. So I know things are getting worse. I just don't know where things are going to end up! I mentioned a few months ago that I was getting lots of new little niggly things happening because of my fibromyalgia (I'm assuming it's the fibromyalgia anyway!), and that has just continued. I've started getting, hmmm, I don't know whether it's palpitations or what but it feels like my heart kind of skips a beat every now and then and it makes my chest go tight for a second and I have to gasp for breath. And then other little things, like my skin, it's completely changed recently and has been incredibly dry and every morning I have a red, blotchy rash on my back and arms, and my feet feel like they are on fire every night and they are so hot and achey. I really don't get what is happening to my body. There's always something up with it now!! I want to speak to a doctor to find out if all this is normal for fibromyalgia, but I'm actually worried he might just order me to be put down!

As for my acne, things have been very up and down with it but with the diet and a skincare routine which is working for me at the moment I'm hoping it might pick up... And stay up! I'll write a separate update on all of it for you though because it's been quite a few years since I last spoke of any skincare routines.

After being so undecided with it ever since I opened it, I eventually took the blog Instagram page down. I had initially decided to plug away at it and was enjoying it, but I found I was sharing all manner of information regarding endometriosis on there to only women with endometrosis, and that has always been what I didn't want to do! So anything blog/endometriosis/health related is now shared, once again, on my normal Instagram page (@thatgrrlshireen) so that any and everyone can read about endometriosis and if they don't want to read it then they can just bugger off. Simple. We need awareness so why should I hide away and be afraid of talking about it all!?

Yesterday I received the letter I had been expecting. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't receive it on the day my 'safe' period of 2 years was up. Today I had a 'Capability of Work Questionnaire' arrive from the DWP. Even though I had been expecting it, it all suddenly hit me and I've been in tears all day with the worry of it all. So once again, I'll have to be assessed by someone that most likely has only had a few minutes training on the health issues I live with, and who will sit there thinking I'm lying through my teeth because I have no physical signs of these illnesses. And then they'll write me off as 'fit for work', I'll have to appeal, they'll turn that down and then it'll all have to go to tribunal again. I just know it. And the thing I'm worrying about more than anything is that this time around, even though my endometriosis hasn't gone anywhere, I now have fibromyalgia and my osteopenia is now being classed as borderline osteoporosis, besides all that, I'm only on one type of medication. Even when I was at my very worst a few years ago and I was on a whole cocktail of painkillers, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants, even when I was seeing a counsellor and a psychologist, they still didn't believe me, so how are they ever going to believe I'm struggling so much when I'm not on all these things? I know, as I mentioned above, that things are getting worse, and I've always said, if my health requires it, I'll have to stop breastfeeding and go back on to whatever medication I need to take. I know that at some point, paracetamol aren't going to work for me anymore and I'll have to find something stronger - that point will come this year for sure as they are already only just helping. It's the whole having to sit in front of someone paid to get you back to work, trying to prove you are unwell even though they can't see inside you. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on what happens. I have until mid February to reply to them so when I'm a little less upset, I'll have a proper look at it all.

Oh, one more thing before I go, I wanted to let you all know about a fab jewellery brand called Polypicnic which is run by a fellow endosister, Bianca. She makes hand rolled polymer clay jewellery and a portion of each sale is donated to Endometriosis UK. I was super lucky to receive a beautiful pair of her earrings for my birthday and I absolutely love them. You can find Polypicnic on Etsy and Instagram so head on over and check them out!

Well, I think that's about everything. If you are reading this (and have managed to get to this point!) firstly, thank you and secondly, please let me know! Come and say hey over on Instagram or Facebook or leave a comment below! I'd love to know that people are actually reading all this waffle! And, before I forget, and as I already forgot to write it before I rambled on through this whole post, happy new year folks! I hope you all have a wonderful 2017 and that your health is treating you as well as can be, and if it's treating you badly, I hope you manage to find some energy to kick it in the butt and show it who's boss!


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Healthline's Best Endometriosis Blogs 2016.

The Best Endometriosis Blogs
Image courtesy of Healthline

I received an email today from the folks over at Healthline, informing me that EMLWY had made it on to their list of the Best Endometriosis Blogs of 2016 alongside some other amazing endometriosis blogs. You can view the list here but the other blogs also feature in the Endometriosis Library which can be found at the top of the page.

I've been taking a little time away from the blog recently, mainly due to health reasons, but also because this time of year is just crazy with my birthday, Hunters 2nd birthday on Christmas Eve and then of course Christmas! There doesn't seem to be enough time in the day for anything at the moment! But, I am itching to get writing again and I have lots planned for the blog in the new year so once 2016 is over and done with, I will be back!

In the mean time, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year and I just want to thank you for following EMLWY and all my ramblings. I appreciate your support more than you could ever know!


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Sunshine, Suffolk and a pain free week away.

If you follow me on Instagram (or any of the other social networks on the left), you might have already seen that we went on holiday the other week, down to my parents caravan in Lowestoft. Thankfully, the weather was hot, sunny and dry every day which is just what we needed after our very rainy trip to Dorset earlier this year! It was lovely to spend some proper time together and not worry about anything. My parents came down a few days after we got there to stay for the remainder of the week and it gave them some time with Hunter as well.

I'd been worried about my pain levels while away this time but, for the first time in a long time, I felt fantastic - all week!! I don't know whether it was just coincidence and I was just having a good week, or whether it was the heat, sunshine or being by the sea (maybe even a combination of everything!), but besides the odd twinges in the ovary area and my hip aching a little towards the end of the week, I felt normal and not fatigued in the slightest! Of course, it didn't last for long and I feel like I'm back to my normal again now we are home. But, I can't complain too much after my health giving me a much needed break for once!

In my last post, I mentioned about how my period had felt easier to handle due to the length of it. Well, last month my period started a day before it was due, however, it only lasted 6 days and although I was in the same amount of pain (agony!) it again made it much easier because of the length of it. This month, my period again started one day early but has, so far, been a bit odd! I was getting a lot of aches last week but I've not felt too bad whilst I've been on my actual period - probably because it's a bit all over the place. It was heavy for part of the day on Sunday and Monday, but apart from that it's just been like old blood and reasonably light - and the pain has been minimal because of it being so light. I don't know what's going on with it. I was hoping my body was getting in to some sort of pattern but, obviously not! I've also noticed that over the last few months, I've started getting hot flushes all the time again. I've not suffered with them for a few years now and the last time I got them was when we were going through IVF, but now they are back and I had forgotten how draining they can be! Seriously, if anyone has any tips on how to deal with them or if you've found anything to help ease them a little then please, let me know!

After my last period finished and my body had started calming down again from it, I discovered for the first time what it means to have a fibro 'flare'. Up until then I've had pretty constant low pain, sometimes it's worse, sometimes it's barely there, but never anything I couldn't handle and I could usually predict to some degree when my pain was going to worsen. Anyway, this one night, I was just getting cleared up after dinner and I started getting sharp pains down my left side and then it felt like it was creeping across my body. I took my Amitriptyline before bed and hoped that the pain would wear off while I slept. However, I was getting sharp little electrical like bolts of pain all over my body when I lay down and it just got worse and worse until I was in tears. I couldn't sleep and had to take some painkillers and then I eventually drifted off. I was pretty exhausted from it the next day and I was still getting sharp pains shooting down my body but it got easier and by the next day I felt absolutely fine again. Since then I've not had any pain really apart from when it came up to period time and my hands and legs have started aching but nothing major. It was odd and quite scary really because it was so unexpected. I'm hoping that this won't be a regular occurrence after my periods but we'll have to see what happens in a few days with that one.

I said above that my hip had been a little painful towards the end of our holiday. Well, I mentioned in a previous post that I had to go for a steroid injection for the trochanteric bursitis in my left hip, and that happened the day before we went on holiday. This pain has been ongoing for years and I've been given exercises from the physio as well as lots of different explanations for the pain. I mentioned it in passing to my Rheumatologist when I saw him earlier this year and after a quick examination he said it was trochanteric bursitis. Basically, around your joints you have little cushions and when one of those cushions goes it causes the bone to rub on bone and thus cause pain and inflammation. I had steroid injections when I was 29 weeks pregnant and they thought I had gone in to pre-term labour, so I knew it wasn't going to be the nicest thing in the world. Those were in my bum cheek though and I was pretty worried as this one was straight in to my joint. I expected to be taken in to a side room at the hospital and be given the injection by a nurse then shown out as quickly as I arrived, but instead, I was shown to a ward and had my own bed and cubicle and Danny and Hunter were able to stay with me which was nice (and definitely helped to ease my nerves since the nurses were cooing over Hunter!). The injection was given by a consultant and this time the steroids were mixed with an anaesthetic so I didn't really feel much besides pressure. Probably a good job because Danny said she was yanking the very large needle all over the place! My hip was a little sore immediately afterwards but I thought it was just from the injection and it would wear off. However, about 15 minutes later it started getting really painful and it just got worse. The pain spread all down my leg and it was making me feel really sick. Luckily though, I woke up the next day feeling fine. I was supposed to rest it for 24 hours (still moving around but nothing too strenuous) and then be sensible for the next 4-5 days and not do too much exercise but that went straight out the window when we got on holiday and did a 5 mile walk on the second day! Hey, I was making the most of having a few almost zero pain days! I can't say I've noticed a great deal of difference since the injection. The consultant did warn me that it might not help and it still aches in bed and if I've been sat/stood for too long. It's an odd one really because it's not constant pain so I've just become used to living with it. But I guess I'll just have to live with it a little bit longer!

My acne has been much better and if you follow my blog Instagram @emlwy then you might have seen me talking about it in the 'Stories' bit over the last few days. I'm in the middle of writing a post about what I've been doing to improve it so I won't say too much here but I'm hoping it continues to clear because it's really been getting me down again.

Oh, and I just wanted to touch on how I'm feeling anxiety wise at the moment since I was feeling riddled with it last time I posted. I don't know what was going on to effect it so much then but I've felt fine again since. Obviously, those issues that I spoke about are still underlying, but they are not the be all and end all right now. I know it was either my tablets or hormones making me feel that way but either way, hopefully it will all stay level again now.

Anyway, I'm hoping you are all well - or as well as can be! I've finally found my creative head and I've got quite a few posts planned now so keep checking this space! 


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Feeling depleted.

Ugh. I. AM. TIRED. That about sums up everything for me for the past few weeks! I am just completely exhausted every single day at the moment - even more than usual and I'm finding it a real struggle. This is probably the worst fatigue I've ever been through (and that includes my normal endo fatigue - and pregnancy fatigue with endo fatigue on top!) but seriously, this is something else! I've even noticed myself slurring my words and dragging myself around - everything has felt like such an effort. I've also been really tearful and down - more than likely due to being so tired I'm sure because it's not like me to just feel like crying for no reason at all. 

I've been in a lot of pain with my fibromyalgia recently and I've started to get a lot of random symptoms happening more often like pins and needles in my fingers, swollen knuckles and fingers, itches that won't go away for days even though there is nothing there and twitches in my face and other areas. 

My period is due this week and I've not had any bleeding yet. In fact, I've not bled for what feels like ages! It's great. I'm so glad I decided to come off the pill! My period last month was 5 days long and apart from the obvious pain, it felt a lot easier to handle because of the length of it. I know it's not going to stay this way so I'm revelling in it while I still can. 

My acne, however, has been really bad and my face at the moment is one constant giant breakout. It doesn't really seem to have had a break this month so I'm not overjoyed about that. The photo above was taken at the end of last month and it's not gotten any better, in fact it's a lot worse around my mouth and chin area now. I think the time has finally come where I need to start looking at my diet and cutting things out again. The main thing I want to start cutting back on again is caffeine. Before having Hunter, I had been caffeine free for a few years but I cannot function without a cup of coffee in the morning and one at night now. Sometimes I have to have a third cup in the middle of the day too! It's not good. I don't feel healthy in the slightest at the moment. Though, over the last few weeks we have been pretty good with our dinners. We are having healthier meals, better portion sizes and every meal is crammed full of vegetables. In fact, sadly, I'm finding it quite fun to get as many vegetables in to a dish as I possibly can! I guess there is nothing wrong with that! I now need to work on my snacking and cut out the breakfast crumpets!

I've been having pretty bad anxiety over a few things - sometimes for no reason at all, just things in my head, but the main thing being my benefits. I suddenly realised earlier this week that we are now well in to the second half of the year, and with that another step closer to December when my 'safe zone' comes to an end. In my last post from 2014, March to be exact, titled "3 weeks in", I was waiting for a tribunal date for my appeal against the DWP after they revoked my 'support group' status. I mentioned in my first post this year, "Guess who's back, back again!", that I had to attend a tribunal in October 2014 and that I had won it but didn't go in to any further detail. Well, 2014 - in that 7 month wait I had to send the Tribunal Services all my evidence - I actually had to write to them while I was in hospital and wasn't sure at that point whether I would be out in time for the actual hearing! I literally sent them everything from the past 2 or so years to back up my case, including all my appeal letters stating every minute detail of what I was going through and how I had been treated by the DWP. I even went through all of their ridiculous paperwork where they were basically calling me a liar and saying it was impossible to bleed for 3 weeks (hello!? 7 month period!) and noted everything I could. 
Well, a few days after coming out of hospital, and 32 weeks pregnant, I waddled off to the hearing and I was so, so, so nervous. I met with a judge and a doctor, who, thankfully, seemed to know a lot about endometriosis and about what I was telling him (which was refreshing to say the least!). But, guess who couldn't be bothered to turn up and represent their side. Yup, the DWP. I actually felt quite at ease during the hearing because the judge and doctor came across as pretty understanding. I had to base everything on the time period in hand (not the circumstances I was under at the time). I had to explain how far I could walk before needing a rest and show them exactly on a map. I talked about the pain, what medication I was on and the incontinence issues I had at the time as well as the depression I had been suffering. When they called me back in, the judge explained that I had won my case and not only would I be put back under 'support group' status but that he was also granting me a 2 year break where the DWP couldn't reassess me. Anyway, that 2 year break finishes in December this year and I'm really starting to worry about it. I've heard that some people get left alone after winning a tribunal case against the DWP but will I be that lucky!? I reckon they are going to pounce on me and reassess me at the first opportunity they get! Nothing much I can do about it all just yet really. It's just a case of seeing what happens in December, but the worry - I can't stop thinking about it right now. I would absolutely love to get back to work and to not have to worry about the DWP stopping my benefits or have to worry about money anymore, but I don't know whether I'm coming or going at the moment with my health and then there is weighing up childcare options for Hunter along with how much money I get on benefits versus how many hours I would have to work to make the same amount. Would my health allow me to work those hours? Would I be able to find a job after being out of work due to my health and still have to take a lot of sick days? And there is the anxiety. I didn't realise I suffered with anxiety until my Phychologist pointed it out a few years back and then doctors since, but it feels all consuming at the moment. I'm definitely not depressed and I feel blessed with what we have, even with the big question marks over my health situation, but this is different. I'm struggling with leaving the house unless someone is with me, I'm constantly questioning myself over everything, thinking I'm boring people, thinking people don't like me, thinking, thinking, overthinking everything. I hate it. It's silly. But can I stop? No.

While I've not been posting, I have been working on things in the background and you may notice a few new things knocking around the old blog, including a new Glossary. It's a work in process and I keep finding new terms to add all the time but it's definitely useful to look at if you don't know what something means. I've also been adding to the Endometriosis Library and there are lots of new blog and resource links on it - hopefully they can be of some use to you all, and the About page has had an update and now also has the FAQ's section it in too. If there is something you are wondering about me then you might just find it there! I'm currently working on the Endo-What!? page and trying to write some new sections for that. I'll let you know when I eventually get that done!

On my last post, I mentioned about the Instagram account I've set up purely for the blog (@emlwy) and not being sure whether to keep it or not. Well I decided to keep plugging away at it and I'm really glad I've kept it now because it's allowed me to post and interact with a lot more people than on my personal account (@thatgrrlshireen) - though some would argue that I could have just done it from one account but, hey ho. Also, with the introduction of the 'Stories' feature, I've decided to do a quick little video each day to let you all know how I'm feeling health wise. I'm no You Tuber but it's quite fun so far! So, if you are on Instagram, be sure to come on over and say hey! I'm trying to post daily on the blog account and it's purely health related things, whereas my personal account is any and everything! So if you get bored of seeing my bare face telling you how tired I am on the @emlwy account, you can hop over to @thatgrrlshireen and see lots of photos of food or me videoing silly things!

I've also been trying to post daily on EMLWY's Facebook and Twitter and if you have messaged me on Facebook over the last few years, you will have now received a reply (yes, I was really that far behind!). It's nice to be up to date with everything but I do still have a mountain of emails to tackle. That's definitely my next job/challenge!

What else have we been up to?... 

The weather has been lovely recently, bar the odd few days where it's poured! But it's meant we've been able to spend a lot of time outside and Hunter's been loving it. I really hate when the weather is nice and I don't feel well enough to get out though.

We had a fun day out at Twycross Zoo a few weeks ago. I'd had a tough weekend on my own with a little boy who had just discovered the 'terrible two's'. Danny had been out on both the Saturday and Sunday and Hunter didn't like having a slightly different routine (or one that didn't involve his daddy) and boy did he show it! I was pretty exhausted with it so Danny took the Monday off work and we went out for the day. It was a lovely day and Hunter had great fun. We went in to the lemur enclosure and the lemur's ran across Hunter's path as he was toddling along and he wasn't phased in the slightest! I guess though that they are just as unusual as a cat or dog at this age!

We also went out for lunch with my mum and dad last week to celebrate mama's birthday which was nice. Unfortunately, Danny couldn't join us as he was working so I took lots of photos of my food to show him instead!

... Here I was feeling like I didn't have much to tell you all about recently, but this has ended up being a pretty long post considering! I did have a little writers block though - hence the silence. That and every single time I've picked up my laptop, little man has somehow distracted me! 

Anyway, I'm off for now folks. Hope you are all as well as can be and having relatively 'good-pain' days!


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Blankety blank.

Apologies for being a little MIA on my posts recently. I tend to sit down and write at night time when Hunter has gone to sleep but my hands have been so painful that I've not been able to do any typing. In fact my pain levels have been pretty high all over my body recently and I've been waking up in pain which hasn't happened for a while. I'm just hoping that my body isn't getting used to the Amitriptyline because I really don't want to have to up the dosage this soon. Along with the pain, I've also been feeling completely exhausted and I can't think straight most of the time. Even writing this, I'm having trouble thinking what the next word should be!

On the plus side, my ridiculously long period seems to have stopped (HURRAH!) and because of this my skin has had some time to breath and has cleared a little (BIG HURRAH!). I had what I think is a 'normal' period, time wise, however it was really painful and very heavy. I'm still waiting to see how everything goes now I'm off my pill but so far, so... OK! It has only been 1 month so I'm not going to shout about anything just yet!

The weather was beautiful recently so we've been out and about quite a bit which has been really nice. I'm really appreciating the outdoors at the moment. I hate days where I'm in too much pain to leave the house and, on those days, I really have to wrestle hard with the 'mama guilt' and try and find some way of making it up to Hunter. I think it's only going to get harder as he gets older and wants to do more and more. 

Talking of our little man, he turned 18 months last week and with that we reached 18 months of breastfeeding. I'm so proud of our teamwork. With every month that passes, I can't believe how much he has grown and the new things he is learning. He absolutely amazes us every day. Last week we went to his playgroup and I was talking to a lady with an 8 week old baby boy. I thought Hunter was going to jump on him but instead he went over and stroked the babies face in the sweetest way. My ovaries absolutely flipped out and ever since then I've been thinking of babies. Not so much that I want one as such, but it seems to be the time of year where everyone is announcing their pregnancies and ladies who had babies at the same time as me are pregnant again. I don't know whether we would be able to have another baby or not and I've been feeling a little - not really sure what word to use to describe it, just a bit 'blah' over it all. I don't think I want another baby really but I sometimes feel that's just my head thinking that, while my heart cries out for another. Sometimes I can feel the same sadness I felt during our pre-IVF days creeping in. It's a really odd place this in-between. Give it another year though and I'm sure I'll know where I stand with these feelings, because this time last year I was adamant I never wanted another baby ever ever again.

Whilst I've been a bit quiet on the posting front, I've been doing little bits and bobs in the background: The Celebrities with Endometriosis post has had yet another update since Daisy Ridley recently opened up about her battle with endometriosis. The Endometriosis Library is also being updated almost constantly at the moment so be sure to check that out should you want to find any other endo blogs or support resources. I've also been updating the sites pins on Pinterest and it's Bloglovin' profile, where you can follow not only EMLWY, but lot's of other blogs.

Also, as you might have seen from my last post, I set up a new Instagram account for the blog (you can find me over @emlwy although my personal Instagram is still @thatgrrlshireen). I've only had it a few weeks now but I'm really unsure as to whether to keep it or not! It takes a good while to get yourself established on Instagram and my personal account is growing nicely now, whereas the new account is going to take some time to get a good amount of followers on it. I'm also wondering what the point of it really is! I mean, I've always been really open about my endometriosis and the whole point of this blog is to raise awareness of it - however, creating a separate Instagram account kind of goes against all of that and squirrels the awareness away to only those who already know about the disease! I'm following a lot more endo related accounts through it but my hearts not really in it. I really want to get the word out and if it means I lose a few followers here and there on my personal account then, so what!? So, apologies if you've followed me on there but, I might (and I say might because I haven't fully decided yet) remove it soon and just start to post a bit more on my personal account. I don't really know why I haven't done that already. I'm having such a 'DOH!' moment! *slaps forehead with palm of hand* Suggestions on a postcard please kiddo's!

Anyway, this turned in to a pretty long post considering I was at a bit of a loss over what to write about! Hopefully I'll find some clarity soon and be able to get some more writing done.

Take care in the meantime.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Instagram me!

Image courtesy of http://thenextweb.com/apps/2016/05/11/instagram-just-got-new-logo/#gref
Just a quick one to let you know that I've created a new Instagram account for the blog, simply so I can share a a bit more on there about endometriosis without feeling like I'm shoving it down the throats of those who aren't interested!

You can find me over @emlwy now or you can still follow my personal page, @thatgrrlshireen.

Also, I've kept my personal Instagram account linked to the blog (via the button on the left) purely so you can get to know the person behind EMLWY more.

Anyway, hope to see some of you over there!

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