About me

Up to this point.....

a picture of me

Why a mental health and wellbeing blog you may ask? Well the short version is I am good at talking, listening, considering options and most of all through my own obstacles and experiences I have learned to not sweat the small stuff. That small stuff that at early points in my life seemed like HUGE stuff! My own personal situation is this, the careers I went after and loved I can no longer do due to my health issues. The stress, sadness and years I have spent mulling over my life and what the heck was I going to do?  Well here I am hopefully passing on some words of wisdom and helping people de stress a little. 

 

I have worked since I left school following one dream after another. Always putting one hundred percent into everything I turned my attention to.  The result was I did get the jobs I wanted and I always received good feedback.  Then sadly in my mid thirties my health stepped in and put a stop to all that.  Body bother and two gorgeous children later here I am and now I am in my early forties.  On going health annoyances but I will do something productive and important so I can still show my children things are possible when you get a lot chucked at you.  So now I love sewing and general craft,  now I sell and I gab! I have always been good at gabbing. SO I hopefully will put it to good use.

This blog is to provide people with an opportunity to get some help to maintain a  our mental heath and well being.  There is a forum section in the MORE drop down list if you would like to ask a question/start a discussion or answer someone else's.  Join a like minded community by becoming a member at no cost and is easy to do, just fill in the simple form in the members section (bimonthly newsletters go to members).

I believe nature and wildlife can play a huge role in our well being and I therefore think we really need to start looking after our planet and wildlife as they looks after us.  So I also have some tips and ideas how you can connect with nature whilst helping out our wildlife. 

I also regulary test out eco-friendly swaps with my family to see if we can make some changes and I let you know what we find out to help you decide if you would like to give any of our suggestions a try. Small changes can and are making a big difference.

Gentle hugs

Tracey x

Tropical Leaves

My health journey and the reason for this blog...

Start at the beginning!

My health journey begins at the tender age of 11 years old.  I had zero issues at this point, in fact the worst thing I had suffered is mumps!

Nine days after turning 11 years old I was on my first holiday, a trip to Wales with my primary school.  Two days in and my life changed forever, we went on a walk on a glorious sunny day, excitement and eager to run free.  The aim of the day was to get to the top of a place called Pot Hole Crag.  Well we made it up to the top, had some lunch and then it was time to head back.

This is when it all went wrong, as I was making my way down the front which we were told to and not the path down the side!!  My little 11 year old legs built up some momentum, then I was unable to control those little legs, I fell off the crag and on I bounced.. believe it or not my main head injuries were from me hitting a wall at the bottom (bad luck right!).

I broke both my arms, my right eye socket was completely smashed, my left eye socket was fractured, my jaw dislocated, some chipped teeth, a hole in my right nostril, I had several deep laserations all over my face and head, shoulders and hips were really beat up.  Somehow my legs were virtually untouched. Mad isn't it?!

A very kind man with his family came to my rescue and as he knew the area he piggy backed me further down to a cottage a lady owned (he had me by the wrists though, so you can imagine how bad they became) this man saved my life and I will forever be grateful, turns out he was from St Helens, not far from where I now live.  I often wonder if he is still here. From the cottage an ambulance was called and off I went to Wrexham Maelor.

I do not remember any of this by the way.  My first memory was waking in a Cat Scanner and a male voice saying 'you will be alright chicken'.  Then the oddest of all he asked me 'were you wearing a helmet when you fell of the horse' You can imagine my confusion can't you! Hahahaha this was the weirdest experience of my life so far!

As I could not see and only hear, when I heard my parents voice I was relieved by something I knew and could make sense of. Just as they arrived I vomited profusely, what a greeting eh?  They actually walked past me and asked were I was, it was only later that I realised just how messed up I must have looked, then they were shown my legs and feet and that is when I heard my mum cry.. Once I was stitched up and x rayed, bloods and everything else to keep me stable the decision was made to transfer me to my local childrens hospital for my surgery.  Off we went in the slowest ambulance ride ever to Alder Hey, as my surgery was pending they had to drive slow as not to cause any further issues with my injuries.

The next morning I was prepped and off to have my surgery.  They had to fix my right eye socket and use implants and rods and screws to make me a new socket and repair some of the laserations I had.  Around tea time I was back in a private room with my parents.  Arms in casts, face huge, unable to see and in immense pain from the hips up.  I could do nothing for myself and at this tender age I was not impressed being undressed, washed and put on a bed pan by strangers, especially male strangers.  I was so embarrassed.  All I wanted is for my parents to be there with me the whole time but they couldn't.  I was not told until after a week and about to recover at home that they had literally shaved my hair off right down the middle.  I was one of those girls who hated anyone cutting any length off my hair, SO THAT DID NOT GO DOWN WELL!!

I had a very bruised right frontal lobe and this gave and has given me problems ever since. I was diagnosed after some time had passed as having frontal lobe disfunction.  My short term memory was awful for around 4-5 years and during this time my memories of my life are very scrambled and hit and miss.

It has taken many years for me to understand this condition and learn to live with what it does, it caused me many problems over the years but now I feel I have control over it quite well and can work with it.

A year after the original surgery the eye socket was having problems with the skin around it - the metal plate was aggrevating the skin and almost poking through.  They said after a year it will have done it's job so it could be removed and they would do some scar revision for me to lift my eyelid more too.

That was done and as a typical kid I asked to keep the plate and screws, which are in my jewellery box to this day.

Five years of twice a week appointments for my vision and post op care at the hospital, various ups and downs.  My brain injury meant I had to have tests to check funtion, memory, moods and my mental health.  I felt like I was constantly poked and proded.  The tests always came back poor and I felt so stupid and this caused me a great deal of issues.  Senior school was no fun at all, I missed two days a week and I felt so stupid that I hated every second of school. 

Oh and the bullies loved me as you can imagine (that is a topic for another time though).

Fast forward to my late teens to early twenties.  My back was getting very sore, yearly it seemed to get worse.  In my early twenties as I had physical jobs I decided to go and speak to a Dr. What a waste of time this was, it was basically your young, slim, go home.  Told to take paracetamol, which I have been on anyway since my accident at 11 years old...  Off I went, couple more years later and even more pain back to a Dr, the same except offered physio.  I went to physio and after a few sessions they said keep these excercises up and you will be fine.  I was not! By this time I was also feeling generally rough, tired all the time and aching in lots of joints. I myself put this down to the accident and that it why some of my joints were achy, my hips began to really, really hurt.  In my late twenties I went on my first holiday abroad ever, with my now fiance to Barcelona.  Oh boy did we walk some miles and oh boy did my hips really hurt to the point that I was limping around for my last few days of the holiday.  When I got back I went the Drs again, given codeine for a few weeks on I went. Later on I ended up going to University to become an Operating Department Practitioner.  This required working at the hospitals full time and studying full time (yes, mental right?) about half way through my back was getting worse and worse and fatigue was ramping up, which I put down to the hectic work load. 

I began missing chunks here and there and I began to get infections regular which the Dr put down to being rundown with the work load and to go home and enjoy my life.  I thought the same to be honest but the go home and enjoy your life comment really annoyed me.  I then owed time at the end of my training, which I had to make up for in a certain time frame if I was to graduate with my cohort.  I managed it, I was so proud of myself, that day getting my cap and gown on was somethiing I will never forget.  I got a job in a hospital I loved and could not have been happier, as the next few years passed and the on call rota boomed here I was again wiped out, infection after infection and people began noticing a change in me.  How ill I looked all the time, the fact I struggled to do the three minute scrub routine as my arms ached so much that it became a nightmare.  After nearly passing out in work I was put in our recovery room, wired up to the ECG and the nurse said I am no Dr but your ECG does not look right.  Yet another trip to the Dr, sent for ECG, then off I went to the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.  24 hour ECG worn and heart scan done, then I was told I had periods of tachycardia, ventricular ectopic beats, that my heart was healthy but the electric pathway goes out of sync regulary.  Verapamil was prescribed and off I went.  Maybe in the future I may need an ablation.  I decided to try an osteopath and at first it felt nice and then as it intensifed it got to the point that when I left my appointment I could barely move and struggled to drive home. The ostepath said 'it is not a dsic problem you have' so treated me as so.  Comments kept coming and my back was horrendous now and then we wanted a child.

That didn't go quite to plan either but then a successful pregnancy which gave us our son.  I suffered with Pelvic Girdle Pain whilst I was carrying him, ouchy! Not long after having him I decided enough was enough I went back the drs and fianlly an understanding Dr who took some notice and arranged an MRI for me.  HOOBLOODYRAH!

My results: I did in fact have disc problems and that physio or osteopathy would in fact aggrevate my problem!! Great I thought.. I had prolapsed discs and degeneration causing my nerves to be squashed which explained some of the pain I was getting in my legs and bum.  Referred to the pain clinic and a surgeon.  Lots of meds later and a grim ratio of incontinence I decided not to go ahead with the surgery as our son was only a few months old.  I rattled 'literally' along for a few years but things had gotten worse and I was more and more feeling run down, sick all the time, weak, couldn't think straight, falling asleep at the drop of a hat.  Another trip to the Drs, same understanding Dr thank god, she arranged some bloods for me and I was called back.  I had problems with ATP, my Cretanine Kinase levels were stupidly high.  So high that this is what an athletes would be after they did a work out! Then came the words, it is showing constant occuring muscle damage! My mind was blown but it made sense as to why when I do anything it hurts and I get such bad weakness.  My vitamin D was also so low that she said even if you sat in the sun all day your levels would not get high enough, so on tablets for life she said.  Regular bloods for the Cretanine Kinase levels showed it only came down a bit, she said if it doesn't improve I will send you to a neurologist.  This never happened even though my levels remained the same. I was now off work sick as sick can be and a year passes and I lose my career.  Gutted was an understatement, my mental health was really bad after this. (a discussion for another time).

Now onto a sibling for our son, we are lucky after some time that we got blessed with a daughter, once again poor pelvis suffered, however I was warned not to carry another child due to my back problems, so this I have to take responsibility for and the progression of my problem after carrying her.

Fast forward again as I would be writing a novel otherwise, I have now been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephomyelitis, Fibromyalgia and recently had a major spinal operation were my lumbar spine had some work done, a vertabrae was pushed back into place, boney spurs and gas removed from a few vertabrae, rods and screws put in to keep my lumbar vertbrae in the proper places to release the squased nerves with bone grafts put in to stablise it all.  After the surgery the consultant told me my nerves were badly squashed and damaged in two places and not just one as he thought.  Due to his amazing scaffolding skills he said they are laying in nice open spaces now and time will tell if they can recover to some extent.  The day after the surgery I was leaking a load of serous fluid which resulted in them opening my stitches back up and resuturing them on the ward with a kick ass pressure bandage applied that covered most of my back.  The hope was this would work or they would have to take me back to theatre.  Thrilled to say it worked, after five days at the amazing Walton Neuro Centre I went home.  Now I have three years recovery time for this, slow and steady wins the race.

Due to my ongoing issues with my joints, hands, wrists, hips, elbows and shoulders I am currently waiting on some test results as it is looking like the rheaumatiod arthritis they told me about is going up a notch or six and now needs some attention.  At the moment my left shoulder and now whole arm can barely move and it is causing me great pain, they are suspecting possible frozen shoulder until the results come back.  My whole arm is so bloody painful, not just my shoulder so who knows!! 

UPDATE: They have diagnosed me with osteoarthritis in my hands, hip impingments and still unsure about my arm.  So physio, more x-rays, joint injections and referral to an orthopeadic surgeon!

 

There is so much more to all this but seriously, this is long enough isn't it?! sorry but this is my health history and now I am on a mission to live my life to the full and keep positive and help others along the way. 

Thank you for reading, gentle hugs xx