Monday, 20 December 2010

This will make you think

I have come across this blog http://mhee-free.blogspot.com/
it is an ambitious plan and journey raising money along the way for charity.

What a time of year to pick to do this challenge. I hope he makes it and survives the cold weather.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Update CV

I really need to start updating my CV.

The last twelve months have been really busy. Coming up with ideas and moving forward.

Volunteering has kept me going and now I am slowly heading a direction I want to go in.

I have attended a few courses, taken online tests and attended various training and awareness sessions. This means certificates of what I have achieved will be put in the folder I have now set up and organised recently.

I just hope I can manage to pass my web design course. I just need to steady my nerves and get on with the assessment on the night.

One thing now is a blessing in that my swimming course does not clash with the web design assessment week which at one point they did. The reason for this is the swimming coaching course has been cancelled.

I will undertake the training later in the New Year hopefully once a place is booked for me.

I will have to update my CV in case any of the places I volunteer at require it and also it will do me good to adapt it with a sense of achievement rather than look back with nothing changed on it.

I am busier now than when I worked full time - hard to believe but it is true.

The advantage is I can still attend hospital appointments without letting anyone down as what I do is in the evening or early morning or happens at a weekend.

Above all else I count my blessings everyday.

Keep warm and keep well everyone.

Fee

Friday, 3 December 2010

Trying to Stay Positive

I dislike December and have done for many years now.

There seems to be so much commercial pressure on people.

I am lucky where we live that community spirit runs high. Our neighbours have been without a working boiler for over a week. So have no hot water.
Eventually they were given two fan heaters on Monday night.

This means we have company coming round, cheering me up as we sit and have hot drinks in our living room which we are lucky is cosy.

Yesterday we attended a funeral and this gave me really mixed emotions. I felt numb from the cold but also numb mentally not too sure why or how I am to come to terms with these feelings. I am just trying my best to move forward.

I am trying to stay focused on my hobbies and interests.

I am so lucky I have a cat as she is a complete stress buster.

Keep warm and keep well this cold spell.

Best wishes to everyone.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Where has this year gone?

I don't know if anyone else is feeling like this that the year has just flown by.

With December looming ever closer I am certainly very busy.

This week alone I have done one online assessment and passed Welcoming Disabled People. This is one sure way to ensure someone reads a book as there is a short test about it either online or by telephone and you only get two attempts to pass by a certain date.

I am still attending my website design course and slowly getting to grips with setting up templates but I must remember to create the site first then the pages DOH.

On Thursday night I was at Shrewsbury School for over 3 hours of training to become a Kelloggs Swim Champion. This training enables people to understand why certain groups don't or won't go swimming and then see if something can be done to help them. As Swimming After Surgery (SAS) has now launched I had a lot of knowledge of how to go about this but still felt a lack of confidence in how to broach the subject with other people. So I gained a lot from the course and am now classed as a Kelloggs Swim Champion.

This means I will have two more certificates to add to my collection.

I hope everyone keeps warm and well during this cold spell.

Best wishes

Fee

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Coventry 2010

This time last year I had completed my first Rotary Disabled Sports Championship following this many opportunities opened up to me.

On Saturday I arrived at Coventry as far as we knew there would not be a full team but at least 6 others would turn up.

Apart from the rotarian who had organised the event from our counties,my husband and a coach no one else arrived from our team. This made an embarrassing situation. I was full of mixed emotions from being let down, embarrassed, angry and upset. After a while I decided to make a joke of it "Billy no team mates" came to mind.

http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/committee.asp?ClubCtteeID=9369&ClubID=356

As you will see from the links every team has a table where packed lunches are provided and is a safe area to leave sports kit etc.

The table next to ours was Warwickshire. As soon as they heard I was on my own they "adopted" me. This meant I could participate in some of the sports I had been entered into.

I was entered into the senior ladies swimming and relay event for Warwickshire and this meant a lot. I also felt humble as one of my swimming relay team mates was an 8 year old boy with no arms. I wondered how he would manage the event. His swimming teacher held him above the water as it was too deep for him to stand up in it.

Once the starter said "go" he launched himself backwards and kicked his legs as fast as he could. When it came to the relay he was exhausted yet he swam again. I was fortunate to be able to help him out of the pool once he had completed his swim.

On Sunday he was given a sandwich. I wondered if his mum would hold this for him. He was passed his sandwich and he held it in his toes quite happily.

He then played football and fell over. In his usual style he just picked himself up with no fuss whatsoever. I was completely humbled watching him and absolutely fascinated by his outlook on life.

We had a laugh on Sunday while practising for the wheelchair pitstop. We had borrowed a wheelchair with quick release wheels for the purpose. This had to be held by two lifters while two "mechanics" released the wheels and raced around the course then the wheels were put back on and the racer had to continue on with the rest of the course to prove the wheels had been put on properly.

This was a very fast race and the lifters and mechanics had to deal with three separate wheelchairs as there was one junior , one female senior and one male senior competitor.

This event was timed and the room was fascinated watching this event.

The next event was the wheelchair slalom. Unfortunately the wheelchair we had borrowed was too wide for this event so I had to use my usual wheelchair.

The course is laid out in such a way that the wheelchair has to go through two tram lines then, round some cones then into a block fowards and immediately reversed back into another block where the wheelchair had to go backwards to the block at the back without touching and had to ensure the whole wheelchair went over the line.

This takes some skill and if anyone didn't go all the way in time penalties were issued.

Luckily for me one of my teammates had turned up on Sunday for his events so we just had to borrow a junior from Warwickshire to be able to take part in these events. This event was appreciated by spectators and those taking part alike. For everyone that completed the course the whole room cheered.

It was an amazing weekend and one I will never forget.

At the end of the event there was a closing ceremoney where awards and trophies were given out. By this time my team mate had left and I was back to being "Billy no team mates".

Some of the teams took team photographs afterwards so I decided I would just head off home quietly. Someone noticed and called me back for the Warwickshire team photograph. I made some new friends and was invited to join three other teams next year if a team can't be put together next year.

I will just wait and see what happens.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Swimming After Surgery

I have finally got a launch date following a telephone call last Monday.

The day the free swimming lessons start is Wednesday 27th October at 6.30 pm - 7.30pm at Short Wood Primary School, Limekiln Lane, Wellington.

This means I have been busy preparing posters, leaflet dropping, liaising with various organisations to ask if posters can be put up.

I also did a recorded radio interview on Friday morning which was broadcast on Saturday morning on the Eric Smith show on BBC Radio Shropshire to promote this project.

I just hope everything goes well with this project.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Rotary Fun Day

Yesterday morning was a cold and chilly start. My husband and I had woken up at 6am as previously arranged. We were going to set off to Cheser at 7 am along with our neighbours.

Armed with directions from multimap and a satnav we were prepared. At 6.15 am the telephone rang it was the neighbours to say they were ready and would be round at our home shortly.

We arrived at our destinaton early. I explained to the neighbours that I prefer to arrive early rather than late as car parking can be problematic.

There were many rotary groups organising the event and so many volunteers.

We found the registration desk and eventually registered. We were given cards with all the events listed on them. I had stars against the events I was meant to take part in but that did not mean I couldn't attempt other activities. The main part of the day was to try new things and have fun.

Myself and our neighbours are very competitive so much so we all had a go at darts when we discovered one had beaten the other we aimed to beat that person. At one point all three of us were in a line of three dart boards my neighbours were standing up while iI was in the wheelchair aiming at the dart boards. I got 89, my female neighbour got 87 and her husband got 108 but I couldn't beat that score.

We then ventured off to Velcro darts this is soft balls with velcro on to aim at a large fabric target to which the balls should stick. There were five balls of various colours this also ended up very competitve and we each tried to beat the other.

Next we went to new age kurling this was held in the squash courts and was great fun. None of us had ever seen this game before but soon threw ourselves into it.

There was an event called pedal power this was various bicycles suitable for disabled people to try. Due to the fact I had had a hip operation this year I was unable to use a foot powered cycle so was able to use a hand powered bicyle. This was a wonderful experience and made me realise that despite my legs don't work properly I could still use a bicyle by hand if I waned to in the future.

There were several bicycles on the track at one point and I felt a bit nervous luckily I had listened to how to slow down or speed up with the bicycle I was on. I had to brake a few times due to others speeding and racing each other with enthusiasm.

After this I attempted cricket from the wheelchair. I had heard my coach in stafford talking about the cricket group he had set up and I felt it was not for me. Litte did I realise how much I would enjoy it.

There were several of us in wheelchairs playing cricket and it was a fantastc feeling to be able to catch and hit a cricket ball. There were many smiling faces showing signs of enjoyment and achievement.

On each of the cards activities were scored or signed off.

I attempted carpet bowls and enjoyed this very much. My neighbours also took part in this sport and competed against each other.

There were some sports we were good at and some we weren't so good at.

At 3pm the events were packed away. At 3.15 there was a medal ceremony everyone who took part was given a medal. Prior to the medals being given out the highest scorers were awarded certificates.

Our group was at the back of the ceremony listening to what was going on and being supportive. Several certificates were given out.

The next thing we heard was my name being called, my neighbours took my bags off me so that we could manoevre the wheelchair through the crowd. Eventually I got to where I was meant to be and was presented with a certificate for carpet bowls.

This is the second time I have attended a Rotary fun day this year thanks to the disability sport club I attend in Stafford. Last time I won a trophy for being the top wheelchair contestant (this is currently on the mantlepiece).

Our neighbours enjoyed themselves and had no idea what sports were available to them until yesterday now they seem interested in doing lots more.

During the winter months we still train at Stafford no matter what the weather there is only a week when the club doesn't meet and that is Christmas week.

Last Thursday evening was interesting as I was in Stafford training with javelin throwing when a thunderstorm hit. We were prepared for the rain with waterproofs and umbrellas but the lightning and thunder was just a bit much. I was throwing pretty well despite the rain when the thunder came I jumped out of my skin and went white. My coach knew I didn't like storms as I had explained this to him before the session. I battled on and the storm seemed to ebb away slightly. This gave me time to have some more throws and then the storm returned with a vengence. This meant end of training while we had to shelter indoors. I had no idea how many athletes actually attended the track until that moment when we were all in the same room. When out on track or field it doesn't appear that many.

The main thing that the coaches instill in us is enjoying sport far more than anything else.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Life is Like Buses

I had set my heart on a web design course and finally plucked up the courage to enrol on one.

I was apprehensive when I attended the local college on Wednesday evening to do the course. I know how to turn on a computer but web design seemed beyond me.

I needn't have worried the tutor asked how many of us could use Word answer was all of us. We were then informed that this meant we could cope with the course.

Well here goes. First lecture over and completed. The package used is dreamweaver. From a student perspective this is a good package but to purchase a copy to use at home is going to be very expensive.

So why is my life like buses. I have been attempting to set up Swimming After Surgery with the help of the local authority. Finally they now have funding and have allocated swimming pool time. You've guessed it, Wednesday evenings have been picked for this project.

Oh well, I will have to miss one lecture to help with this project and then return to the web design course. It can't be helped and I can't split myself in two no matter how much I would love to.

In the meantime I have been plodding along with my usual hobbies, writing, helping out at the swimming club and disability sports.

Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the Wellington Festival as yet again I have a prior engagement.

This year seems to be full of double booking or things I would love to do but have already confirmed a position somewhere else.

I have managed to keep a promise to my husband which was the bungalow would be painted, furniture arranged and carpet in, within 3 months and we have achieved that.

This was why I was determined to enrol on a web design course and move forward with my life.

Now onwards and upwards to see what else I can achieve. Who knows where the rest of the year will take me.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Black Cloud Again

This cloud came over this evening but it is not as black as the one last night.

I could imagine it being like an aeroplane or something similar.

Last night's cloud was really eerie. This one was a little bit tamer but still came over at some speed.

I wonder what other types of cloud I will see and shapes - who knows it may even inspire a story or two.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

A Black Cloud Overhead

Last night I was sitting in our living room and looking out of the window. All of a sudden a huge black sheet of cloud appeared and moved stealhily overhead.

It was really eerie and I felt that it was like an alien spaceship passing overhead. I wonder if this is where some sci-fi writers get there ideas from.

I called my husband to look at the cloud and he agreed it was spooky. It didn't rain while the cloud was passing over but the wind got up.

The black cloud merged into the darkness as quickly as it had first appeared.

I wonder if I will ever see the like again.

Best wishes

Fee

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Body Language

Yesterday I spent the day at Telford Town Centre raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I held a bucket on my lap and due to the rules for charities was not allowed to rattle or shake it.

I chose a spot between M&S and Primark as I did not want to block the entrances to the shops and cause a nuisance.

I was surprised at how many people actually stopped and put money in. Some people made me feel invisible and there seemed like a large area between myself and them.

Many young girls stopped and put money in the bucket.

One lady even apologised that she had no change and asked if a £5 note would do?!! I was really surprised at so many people wanting to support this charity.

It was a busy day in the centre with Breakthrough (a breast cancer charity) Cancer Research UK and various other charities collecting in the shopping centre.

When my husband told me breakthrough were collecting further up, I told him to put some money in for us.

As the bucket had been empty when we collected it I was surprised at the weight of it by midday. By 5pm it was nearly full and shoppers were dispersing so we decided to call it a day.

I enjoyed watching the body language, guessing who would give and who would ignore me. Sometimes I was right other times I was surprised.

A couple of times my husband and I not only were given donations but offers of coffees if we wanted them fetching. We accepted the donations but not the drinks. It was lovely to be asked and this got a conversation going along the lines of "we know how hard it is doing this sort of thing". "Aren't you bored yet?"

When we handed the bucket over I was surprised at how heavy it was. Every penny will be counted and every penny means so much to this charity.

Every minute I spent sat between the two shops meant so much knowing I was giving something back to a charity that has supported me and gave me a grant towards the deposit for our wedding. We returned the favour by donating our giftlist to Macmillan and a representative was invited to the wedding to help collect the donations of which we had many.

Macmillan not only provide nurses, they do the following:-

give benefit advice,
offer support and someone to talk to when having a bad day
solve problems many cancer patients face and if they can't solve them get the media involved to raise the issues.
They campaign via email and media to change things that have a huge financial impact on cancer patients e.g. prescription charges
currently they are campaigning on hospital car parking and help with fuel bills as some cancer patients require the heating on all year round and not just in the winter.
Macmillan have support centres throughout the UK where patients, relatives and carers can drop in for support and advice among other things.

I became involved with Macmillan at a conference for cancer patients, carers and professionals and since then I have become a patient cancer voice and my husband last year became a carer cancer voice.

This entails writing letters to MPs. Occasionally appearing on television if required and every cancer voice can say no if this is not an option for them.

I thought long and hard before becoming a cancer voice as I wasn't sure I was up to it. I then thought of those too weak to get the media involved in their lives but facing the same problems I have faced I knew it was the right thing for me to do.

Not everyday is a good day but with Macmillan Cancer Support's assistance I can cope and by being involved with the charity I know I am helping those that follow this horrid journey.

I still get days when I wish I had never been diagnosed with the "C" word I still can't bring myself to say it to myself or about myself. To me I have just had numerous operations for various things and unfortunately the "C" word came up as a diagnosis for a few of them.

If I hadn't had it would I be the person I am today? NO definitely not.

It has taught me not to be materialisitic. Value my friends and family and count my blessings everyday.

I am here for a reason and that is to help others.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bureaucracy

There are so many people to inform when a move takes place. The various benefits departments which in total took four phone calls and being placed on hold listening to the various music to then being put in a queue on hold for a very very long time. It wouldn't be so bad if these numbers were 0800 but being 0845 still costs a bit.

Next was the dentist that was easy no change of practice so can stay on the books at the dentist we use.

Doctors is a bit unsure of catchment area so will telephone us back to see if we have to move practices.

Council Tax Department was informed as soon as we signed the tenancy agreement via the housing association so that saved a bit of time and a phone call.

I am determined to keep on top of informing people and aim to advise at least two a day.

Otherwise a whole day would be taken up with telephone calls.

Having gone to the old address yesterday evening to remove some smaller items from the house I returned to the new home to discover someone had tried to ring but the number was withheld. At present we have not got the answer service set up with our telephone provider (something they omitted to do) and we are waiting for this to happen within 48 hours. As the caller could not leave a message and we have no idea who telephoned as the number was withheld I have no idea which council department, housing association or other such body has tried to telephone us. I wish these departments would unblock the withheld number so that we know who has telephoned.

Friends of mine will not accept withheld numbers on their telephones and have informed the local authority departments of this. They still receive telephone calls from these departments and have access to their telephone numbers so why can the same not be done to help communicate with others.

I have managed to change my magazines subscriptions online via email so that no confusion arose over telephone calls with "S" and "F" getting muddled up and this also saved me time.

As for driving licences once production of ID issues have been sorted out with various departments requiring photographic identification then these will be sent off to the DVLA.

So on the whole I am up to date with the bureaucracy of moving.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Impossible has been achieved

Well who would have thought despite recuperating from an operation I have also managed to move home.

Yes I have managed to help pack hump some furniture and even move the cat to a new home.

What? I hear you say Fee moving we had no idea she was planning this so soon. We found out last Friday we had been selected for a housing association bungalow. Only snag was tenancy had to be taken up and move started on Monday 12th July.

Yes I am now blogging from my new home with a working telephone and internet connection too.

As soon as a box came into the property it was promptly unpacked and sent back to the old property to be refilled and emptied yet again and again. I didn't want to be surrounded by boxes and mess.

Even the pictures are up on the walls as of Monday afternoon.

We are lucky as our neighbours are wonderful. I awoke on Tuesday afternoon to a card placed under the front door. This was from our immediate neighbours who I had only said hello and our names to while venturing out for yet another load of furniture.

Today another card was placed under the front door without any names on the front of the envelope.

This was from our other neighbours who we hadn't even met.

It is nice to have such wonderful community spirit.

At our previous address we have been told "You are not to leave the close without coming back for a proper goodbye".

We had wonderful community spirit with the close. If someone was digging up a tree we would lend our loppers and grit to help with whatever chores were needed to be done. If a barbecue was being held the neighbours would turn up with a little something to drink. If any problems we all knew we could rely on one lady in particular who acted like Neighbourhood Watch. Woe betide you if you upset this lady the whole close would turn on you.

Now with the final bits to clear and cleaning up of the old property the number of offers of help have been coming thick and fast.

Long live community spirit it means so much in this day and age.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Things were going well :-(

Hi Everyone,

I was hoping to post some good news on my recovery but to no avail. Tonight the out of hours doctor had to call and do a home visit. This means that this little person is now housebound for the rest of the week.

Oh well, this means more time for reading, knitting and whatever else takes my fancy.

I will also be having the pleasure of blood tests being carried out at home. Who knows it could even be a lovely young male doctor!!!

I expected to be tired after the anaesthetic and a little low but each time I have an operation it seems to take longer to get over than the last one. I know I will bounce back I have many times before. This time I have learn to be a patient patient if you know what I mean.

No more going out and about for me right now and it will take me a while to get back on my feet literally.

I just have to wait and see what the tests are going to show and hope that it is not more bad news.

I am keeping my spirits up as much as possible and have certainly not lost my sense of humour.

I just need to take this time out right now to recharge my batteries recover and move forward one step at a time.

Who knows what fantasy land I could end up in and write about.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Recovering

Dear All,

I am recovering at home slowly. This path is going to be slow as I am not allowed to go swimming while I have the dressings on my wounds.

As soon as I am able to I will be hitting the water and have purchased some swimming aids in readiness. These aids will also be useful for when I do my swimming coach training.

I am learning to be a patient patient and I am finding this hard.

Luckily I love knitting and have kept myself occupied with this.

I have to keep myself busy and am doing this in anyway I can.

I have not been allocated with crutches due to the lymphoedema down left arm and side and am managing with my walking poles.

I have a "new toy" which is a picking up gadget to save me struggling.

I am hoping to focus back on my writing soon but at the moment my mind seems to wander and I am struggling to become positive about it all.

It is like I have one person on one shoulder saying "I can do it" and another saying "You can't do that you aren't good enough".

I am having these mental battles with everything I am attempting at present but know I will overcome them in time.

I just have to cope and get over this operation first then I will move on with everything I want to achieve.

I haven't lost sight of my goals and dreams. I am still fighting for these and know one day everything I aim for I will have achieved.

I just have to pick myself up and dust myself down. Like the song "I get knocked down but I get up again".

That is me summed up right now.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Friday, 11 June 2010

Mixed Feelings

Well the last few weeks have been really busy for me what with one thing and another.

I am still busy collecting sponsorship money in from the mile sponsored swim I managed to complete on 23rd May.

As for some of the time I have been attending various hospital appointments. Yesterday was no exception but I have good news. I am at last discharged from the eye department at RSH. The staff have been absolutely wonderful and despite the fact I will have small black floaters my eyes have recovered from the surgery I had in March.

Yesterday morning, I had two telephone calls. One was an Occupational Therapist making an appointment to see me next week in preparation for my operation on 25th June. Having confirmed this appointment I then started to prepare for the journey to Shrewsbury.

The second telephone call was the hospital where I am to have my operation. "Can you come in earlier?"
Me dumbfounded not sure how to respond "when and why?"
We have had some cancellations and need to fill the slots and it is Monday 14th June.

Call up to loving and wonderful husband. Does Monday suit you for the operation date?

"Yes, fine with me".
Checking diary frantically "um does it have to be Monday I have an appointment in Sheffield that day".

Oh what the heck get it over and done with the sooner the better.

"Yes the 14th will be fine thank you."

Frantically trying to make mental notes of who to contact about cancelled appointments on Monday.

First let Debenhams know I won't be there by telephone and back this up with an email to let them know I am sitll willing to help with the project.

Second let family know not able to visit this weekend.

Third telephone Occupational Therapy team and let them know things have been brought forward.

The list seemed endless but I got there in the end.

With last night being late night shopping off we set to buy various items I required to go to hospital with. I had been putting this off till nearer the operation date but yesterday's news brought everything forward.

So most things have been purchased and I am slowly calming down having ticked lots of my lists.

I have even managed to fill in the CRB check form I was given to complete last Friday.

So today is now a normal Friday with a visit to the dentist this afternoon. An engineer to visit the washing machine and a load of routine stuff.

All I have left to do is pack my hospital bag. Prepare my Chairman's Challenge if I ever manage to get my head around the challenge and set off to the swimming pool as normal.

It is nice to have normal things to do instead of sitting at home fretting.

I just wish my life was "normal" who knows one day it could be, but would I be the same as I am now. I love life's challenges and what it throws at me, it has made me a stronger person. I understand and can empathise with people a lot more when they are scared or upset. Worrying about the future is normal but to me just getting through each day is a challenge.

One thing I have definitely learned is I love challenges. I am setting myself goals and who knows what the rest of this year will bring.

I hope to return to disabled sports in Stafford soon as this will bring new challenges in itself and I love trying to beat my personal best.

This year is certainly full of surprises some nice some not so nice but I will keep going to beat the blues.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Good News

Yesterday I had the results of my mammogram carried out a couple of weeks ago. The results are CLEAR.

The consultant was away but I saw his registrar who was very nice (my dream the night before last was that the consultant was too busy to see me and I got very annoyed and was dragged away by two security guards). I had an examination and was told to go back in six months with a mammogram to be carried out every 12 months. This means I am one of the lucky ones to be kept an eye on. The reality of it is I am never going to be free of hospital appointments which affects Life Insurance and other financial issues. It is like a positive and a negative thing all at once. I remain positive and keep moving forward. November brings a bunch of hospital appointments together so hopefully I can have at least one month free from hospital this year fingers crossed.

I am now prepared for a trip to Gobowen Hospital today for a five hour pre-operative assessment. I know this will be a trip to see the phlebotomist ("vampire" in my world). I will then find out how long the operation will be and how long the stay in hospital should last (I hope not long).

My wonderful husband and I went through everything we could think of last night of questions to ask and have written these out so that nothing gets forgotten. I think I may hand this to the nurse prior to the assessment being carried out so they have time to prepare answers.

I am positive and upbeat.

Best wishes

Fee

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Dreams

I wonder how many other people have dreams and remember them.

I had a dream last night about a forthcoming hospital appointment which happens to be today. I dreamt the Consultant didn't see me and I felt such a nuisance that I had to be dragged out of the building by security. I soon woke up following this dream. I was shaking like a leaf.

A friend of mine is going through a real tough time right now and we both have operations coming up next month. This had obviously been preying on my mind as I had a weird dream about being knocked over by a large man.

This prompted a telephone call to my friend with a suggestion to help take the stress out of a situation that is obviously worrying me.

When I told her about my dreams she laughed, as we both know that it is not reality.

So the next plan of action is to get ready for hospital appointments and see what will happen next. Let's hope that my dream doesn't come true this afternoon.

Best wishes

Fee

Sunday, 23 May 2010

I've Done It

Well I have done it. It took 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the mile swim but I DID IT.

It helped having some wonderful support along the way and to know I was being kept an eye on by the swimming club Secretary and Chairman made me more determined to keep on going and complete the challenge I had set for myself.

I was so worried about it as I had had a bad cold during the week. The cough is still lingering but at least I pushed myself rather than crying off from doing the swim.

At forty lengths I had an energy drink which spurred me on. On the last length someone said "I've lost count you will have to start again". Luckily I knew it was my last one so wasn't put off by this comment.

The staff at the swimming club have been wonderful support and I know now whatever ideas I come up with I will complete them no matter what befalls me along the way.

I am so pleased with myself as not only have I pushed myself to do the swimming challenge but I went out yesterday to The Square in Shrewsbury to help raise awareness of the Relay for Life event at London Road Sports Centre in Shrewsbury on 11th and 12th September this year.

If the weather hadn't been so hot my wonderful husband would have worn a cowboy shirt and I was hoping to have finished a poncho to wear and have some fun. Instead I wore a pink beach wrap, dressed up with a fake pearl necklace, a long pink skirt and red lipstick on my cheeks, along with a pink headband across my head as an indian squaw. This shows that fancy dress doesn't have to cost a lot and by just raiding my wardrobe I was able to come up with something suitable.

I love being creative and now I will have to turn my mind to more challenges as this now seems like an anticlimax now. A bit like after I got married. Having organised a lot of things, what was I going to focus on. A lot of energy had gone into planning the wedding, finding bargains and searching the internet had been thrilling.

I just have to see what comes up next. I love my life despite the trials I face along the way. Would I swap it for something else? NO!

I am far more challenged doing what I am doing and achieving that I can't imagine going back to the way my life used to be. I am meeting wonderful people along the way and facing challenges I thought I would never attempt let alone complete.

What will be my next challenge? I have no idea right now but knowing me it won't be long before I find something else to meet my needs.

I feel so different from this morning. The worry of was I up to the challenge and would it go all right has gone. I suppose that is how a professional performer feels before they go out on stage.

I could have chickened out this morning and notified the club I wasn't up to it, but I know right now I would have been thinking what a missed opportunity this would have been and anything is worth attempting even if I hadn't finished at least I would have tried.

I suggested to someone they should be in the pool with me when they hinted I should be swimming faster. Their reply had been

"I have a war wound on my leg which prevents me swimming". My retort was

"I have more scars than you and I am doing it".

"I will have to think of some other excuse next time won't I" he replied.

Thinking to myself "too right".

I am now tired and going to sleep and hope my cough goes away soon as it frightens Missi our cat. The reason for this is it sounds like a dog barking at times. I try and comfort her to let her realise it is me but she gets worried and hides. Eventually she comes out from her hiding place for a fuss and of course food.

She is currently lying on the windowsill making lots of noise at a magpie which is annoying her. Yet, if we let her out she soon comes back in luckily with no dead animals. I think she is more mouth than action.

I just have to trawl through my sponsor sheets and work out who has paid what and keep track of amounts. I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunities I have had and without asking friends, family and contacts I would never have raised the amount I have. So a big THANK YOU to all those who supported me in this event.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee x

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Challenge Looms

I have had a hectic week preparing for the sponsored swim, attending my usual activities and getting organised for various hospital appointments next week.

I just hope I can do the swim and be proud of my achievements tomorrow. That is my one goal that I truly wish to complete.

Am I nervous? Yes. Why? Members of the club will be watching me and I don't want to let anyone down.

Whatever I turn my hand to I try and do my very best at. I always try to give 100%. Sometimes circumstances mean this is not able to be achieved and I have to be realistic.

I really hope that things go well tomorrow.

All I can do now is rest and prepare as best I can for the event.

I am trying not to worry too much about what I have no control over.

Writing is the same, the challenges are the same and the doubts of will I be good enough to get published or complete the task I set myself.

Life certainly is busy and very fulfilling.

Best wishes to everyone and I promise to keep you posted as to how the swim goes.

Fee

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Inspiration

I came across a regular columnist in able magazine and discovered she has a blog at http://buggeringonwards.blogspot.com/ . Lorraine really deserves a mention on my blog as without reading her column I would never have sent my first letter to able magazine and had it accepted.

I haven't got a letter in this time as I was under the weather when the last magazine came out and nothing had got my blood boiling to respond to either so that was that.

This year is not going as I planned it would but heyho that is life and I just have to get on with it somehow.

Hospital appointments are just around the corner so this means a really busy week next week with lots of journeys and various consultants to see.

I will also be taking a break in Wales visiting friends who I haven't seen for a while so when I return my batteries should be recharged with energy and hopefully I will be able to write a lot more too.

I just need to find the motivation not inspiration.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Monday, 17 May 2010

Practice makes perfect

Dear all,

For those of you who want to know how my swimming challenges are going please read the following link http://fee-takingtheplunge.blogspot.com/ . I am so grateful to Wrekin Writers who have offered me so much support not only with my writing but the other challenges I face throughout my life.

Saturday proved an interesting session at the writing group as good old Simon Whaley gave us a recipe demonstration on writing. His magic bowl produced some wonderful letters of how to initially get published. Thank you Simon for your inspiration and words of wisdom.

The sponsored swim is looming fast upon the horizon. Will I do it? We will all have to wait and see. If last night is anything to go by I should manage it providing I don't daydream in the deep end see Taking The Plunge post.

With wonderful support from my husband I am achieving many things. Sometimes I set my sights too high and hit disappointment but the main thing is I try.

I am still busy with my charity work and this Saturday coming should see me dressed up in Shrewsbury Square raising awareness of Cancer Research UK Relay for Life taking place on the 11th and 12th September this year at London Road Sports Centre, Shrewsbury.

I have lots of things keeping me occupied right now so blogging is slow but steady.

I will keep you posted as to more news next week.

Best wishes

Fee

Monday, 10 May 2010

Reflection

I am feeling exhausted right now and so appears to be my inspiration for writing.

I feel that things flow better when a good frame of mind occurs and depression, fatigue, or other moods hit then my writing is affected. I am not suffering writers block far from it just sheer exhaustion.

Lack of sleep, pain, bureaucracy and other factors are having a major impact on my life my write now and priorties have to be given to whatever is needed most.

Each time I pull myself up out of the slump something else seems to be coming along and blocking my recovery. I am completely unsure as to why my life has a habit of being like this but I know in time like I have before I will bounce back better than ever. The question is WHEN?

Bureaucracy is a major factor and trying to get one department talking to another seems to be an alien world but I am gradually breaking down these barriers.

I am prioritising meetings that matter most to me. Putting off what isn't really important and trying to concentrate on ME for the first time ever in my life.

I am still going to try and achieve my goal of the sponsored mile swim on the 23rd May as I have set my heart on trying to achieve something this year.

My plans to go to Westminster again this year are on the back burner, the writer's retreat is impossible for me this year with other financial restraints.

The new year dawned with me wanting to achieve so much. Nearly half the year has gone by and half of what I wanted to achieve has gone by the by. This is all through no fault of my own other than horrid circumstances and bad weather.

Now June is looming with yet another operation date so everything else is being put off until I see how that relates to the rest of the year.

I am trying to be realistic and so positive too. I daren't put my name forward for too much this year in case I can't make it and feel as though I am letting others down. I much prefer to say I don't know rather than a certain I can and I will.

At last my hospital folders have been sorted out into which hospital and who deals with what. I have two A4 lever arch files one for the local hospital trust the other for the orthopaedic hospital near Gobowen.

So at just a turn of a page I know who last saw me when and if I need a follow up.

This also makes it easier for when the DWP want proof of my medical conditions which happens frequently. I hope they don't want to see my scars ever again as this happened in November 2007. I have had enough of bureaucracy.

So onwards and upwards solving problems along the way not only for now but for those that follow in these footsteps to make life a little easier than what feels like an uphill struggle.

As I am exhausted I am off to bed (the sofa!!) so goodnight one and all sleep tight and god bless.

Love from Feex

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Why I love Writing

You never know what is around the corner. Well I certainly didn't this year has been a roller coaster in more ways than one but my writing is surprising me in many ways.

I had forgotten I had sent some helpful advice to someone via Your Cat magazine, little did I realise they would also print these tips in Cat Chat. I had no idea until yesterday that this had been accepted and won something. I hadn't got past the first page of the magazine when it had arrived so hadn't even spotted the little paragraph printed with my name by it.

Then Take a Break have printed something in this week's edition so every week and month is producing little surprises of things I have sent off and forgotten about.

Bureaucracy is still causing me problems but heyho the ups and downs of life. The car knows its own way to the hospital and Wednesday

With various appointments coming up thick and fast and some wondering when the next lot are going to arrive through the post my life is full of awe and wonder.

I am still following the advice that Simon Whaley gave about treating my writing like a relationship. In my life I have six different relationships. My wonderful husband, my cat, my writing, sport, friends and hospital. Trying to fit time in for everything is a juggling act but I know I can't neglect any of my relationships. Each relationship has its own importance on my life and the impact the decisions I make will have various consequences on the way things will turn out.

Life is strange but so is my writing. Looking back on what I achieved last year and what I am achieving without even thinking I must do this that or the other is amazing.

That is why I love my writing life so much.

Best wishes to everyone

Feex

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Time

Oh dear where has the time gone it is well over a month since I lasted visited my blogs.

What have I been doing?

As ever life is always full of ups and downs and I seem to be on a merry go round.

First of all my most important achievement I managed to get letter of the Week in The News of The World on the 21st March 2010. This should reveal a cheque for £75. So for those that doubt letter writing is useful or can earn you anything this will prove you wrong, give it a go and see what you can achieve.

I have had my usual ups and downs of hospital appointments and this has resulted in some news which I didn't want to hear but I will have to tolerate just the same. I am now going to go into hospital for yet another operation on the 25th June this time it is going to be on my left hip which involves and arthroscopy and biopsy. If successful this will mean a left hip replacement later this year.

On a more positive note before the operation on the 25th June I hope to undertake a sponspored swim of a mile to raise money for the swimming club I help out at and at the same time raise money for the costs of the first stage of becoming a swimming coach.

I have a friend who I attend swimming with on Sunday evenings and he has agreed to support me with this venture by undertaking it with me.

When I went swimming on Sunday evening I managed to achieve 50 lengths in under an hour. A mile is 80 lengths and with what I managed to achieve on Sunday this is certainly possible and gives time for a break in between the sessions.

So I am well on the way to achieving my dreams.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Opening The Mind

I recently attended the disability forum at the local council. This really opened my mind up to other people's difficulties when coping with various disabilities.

I nearly didn't attend as I have felt so tired since the operation on the 4th March but I pushed myself to go and I am glad I did.

There were several people with hearing loss and they were explaining the difficulties they have when using taxis. When looking at my own experience of using taxis I could understand their difficulties. More often than not a taxi firm will telephone the number that has booked them to let them know the car is about to approach the customer. When the car does arrive the driver (not always) will sound his horn. Think of this from someone who is deaf - how can they hear the telephone ring or the sound of the horn? The solution is for taxi drivers to text customers that they are arriving this way they will feel their mobile phone vibrate and know that the taxi is approaching.

To inform a taxi driver where they are going there needs to be a card system which the customer can write on to let the taxi know where they wish to be taken and can ask how much the fare is. The driver then would write on the card letting the customer know that he has understood their instructions and how much the fare is.

I also found a deaf lady who has had similar surgery to myself and wishes to go swimming. This will mean an interpreter will have to attend the swimming sessions but that is not a problem as I have a friend who has learnt British Sign Language and is willing to help with this issue.

I wish I had been taught British Sign Language at school that way there would not be the barrier there is for deaf people to be understood. It would have also made me more aware of their needs and how to help overcome their difficulties coping with such a disability.


I am so lucky in so many ways.

I have wonderful friends and various skills I can utilise to help others.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Saturday, 13 March 2010

On The Mend

After last week's traumas out of the way I am now able to blog again.

The operation on both my eyes is now complete. I am unable to go swimming for four weeks so have itchy fingers and excess energy to utilise somehow or so I thought.

I am extremely tired not surprising really I suppose after what I have endured over the years.

A friend who has had the same surgery as myself is going through a hard time at present so we are both helping each other through the ups and downs of life. My worst fears came to fruitition when the car went wrong the week of the operation but luckily with back up plans in place this friend drove both myself and my husband to hospital.

One good turn deserves another so last week when her son went to the doctors and was advised to attend hospital we didn't hesitate to support her through that and return the favour as she didn't have transport at the time.

The cheque arrived from The Sun yesterday (still pinching myself).


Even though I can't go in the water at the local pool I even managed to attend last night to show my face and offer what support I could to the local swimming club.

Today has been hectic at home with rewiring being undertaken. Further problems were discovered with three light fittings in the house and one socket which will be undertaken at a later date.

Today I had a smile on my face as Able Magazine arrived and yet again another letter was published this time with a photograph. So I seem to have found a regular outlet for my writing.

My husband can't wait to show it to his mother tomorrow. He is so proud of my achievements to date.

I will get into the swing of writing again soon when I feel stronger at least I am on the mend.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

Friday, 26 February 2010

I've Finally Done It - Hooray

I hope you are all sitting down when you read this post.

This morning I opened a national newspaper namely "The Sun" and turned to the letters page. I often do this to see if I have been lucky enough to get a letter or two published.

Well to my amazement I didn't notice my letter until I looked to see what had won letter of the day and the £50 that comes with this pleasure and there it was for all to see. My emailled letter sent while watching News at Ten and I had a bee in my bonnet about two main news items. So instead of just sitting staring at the television ranting as some people do I emailled off my rant in coherent language and hey presto I achieved a result.

Patience is a virtue and like a spider I just tried and tried again to get a letter printed.

The more you do something the better you get with practise and experience.

Who knows what the rest of the year will bring but this is one success I will not forget.

Thank you Wrekin Writers for all your support and encouragement.

This boost will help me through the turbulent week I face next week.

Tonight has been helpful too as I went to the local swimming club where I volunteer as a poolside helper. I now know I am an asset to the club and am starting to fit in well.

The business cards arrived Thursday morning and have been well received. I dropped some off at the hospital today in time for clinic day on Monday.

So being organised certainly helps.

The house looks like a bomb has hit it right now as the shower is finally getting revamped after months of not being able to utilise it.

The bathroom mirror is currently on the living room floor and Missi now thinks we have another cat. This is hilarious to watch as she keeps walking around it to find the cat. Unlike previous cats I have owned she isn't bounding up to it sideways with a bushy tail she seems to accept that there is something strange happening in this house.

I suppose living with me must be very strange for her!!

Missi is a very caring cat and worries when anything happens to either of us. The other night my darling husband choked for a short while. During this episode Missi looked through the bannisters to see what was going on but kept a distance as she was concerned.

We had already seen this behaviour in early January when I was taken ill but not before for Steve. Now we know she cares for us equally and vice versa.

My writing is being spurred on by her company. I am going to take it easy the next week or so but hope that the success today will spur me on to achieve even greater things.

I have lots of projects keeping me busy right now and will update you all as to progress soon.

Best wishes to you all.

Feex

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

SAS is Born!!

Swimming After Surgery (SAS) is born today. Hooray.

Just got to wait for the business cards to arrive and distribute them.

I can't wait to see them in real life.

After a sleep disturbed night I have finally succeeded in coming up with a name which covers everyone.

Who knows where this idea will lead.

The training for my swimming coaching is on hold until I know where I am after the operation. Still trying to find funding for this but I don't think it will be too much of a problem with my get up and go.

Things will just take longer than I expected or wanted but that is my life a roller coaster ride shame I am not at a theme park enjoy the ups and downs but heyho I am happy and pleased with what I have achieved so far.

Will just have to learn to take it easier next week hence the rush this week to see everything come to fruitition.

So there is no stopping this mad woman from charging around right now.

What with complicated knitting patterns being furiously completed before next week and other things that need good eyesight to be finished off this lady is certainly going to be busy before she finally puts her feet up on a trolley bed.

Not too sure what next Friday will bring but will keep you posted as to progress.

I am upbeat and positive no doubt I will have the anaesthetist's team in hysterics as usual. One day someone walked past the door where I was being prepared and asked "Are you sure that is a patient in there?" As there was so much laughter going on.

Onwards and upwards.

Best wishes to you all.

Feex

Monday, 22 February 2010

Good News

After attending the local breast cancer support group and getting some feedback I followed the advice and contacted the breast cancer care nurses today as I knew they would be around with it being clinic day.

On hearing my idea they are thrilled about it and will help me in anyway they can. This is boosting my confidence.

I then went off to my pre-operative assessment today. Good job it is laser eye surgery being undertaken under general anaesthetic else I would have to be an in-patient. Yippee I will be a day case on the 4th March.

On my return I checked the answerphone and there was a message from the breast cancer unit wanting to help me further with the swimming group idea.

So in less than three weeks things are kicking off and there is no holding me back.

No matter what I am determined, positive and strong willed.

Hopefully the next two weeks will be filled with more good news.

Just got to think of a suitable name for the swimming group so that flyers can be produced.

So watch this space for more updates.

Best wishes

Fee

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Can You Help me or someone you know?

Dear All,

I am looking for ladies in the area of Shropshire who have had breast surgery to help them overcome any confidence issues they have about going swimming. If you know of anyone no matter what their age, whether they have had a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, mastectomy or double mastectomy there is help and assistance with these issues.

I had this idea just over two weeks ago. The Telford and Wrekin Council have a County Swimming Officer who I have been in contact with. They are more than happy to assist in helping set up this group and have even earmarked a swimming pool near Wellington for the initial sessions as it would give more privacy.

These sessions would take post March if I can get enough interest.

If you know of anyone please put them in touch with me or ask them to contact the council who will be more than happy to assist.

Thank you all for your support.

Best wishes
Fee

Postivity Reigns Hooray


Thank you Wrekin Writers for making my day

yesterday. I knew the competition existed but

had no idea I would get placed. I just tried my

best sending out letters, a poem to a website, articles to another website and playing with my tools which are my computer and my keyboard. Don't trust me with a pen and paper I can never read it back.


It reminds me of my shorthand days at college struggling to make the images make sense. Yes I am that old.


I even started out typing on a manual typewriter and when it came to the exams in the second year for which we had training with electronic ones half the group took the manual typewriters upstairs to the exam room. Now new technology is a major part of my life although I don't have an Apple, Ipod, MP3 player and the like I just have my old faithfull pc standing on a desk in amongst all the junk of what we class as the "spare room".


I have learnt a lot of the over the last twelve months with Wrekin Writers, giving things a go even when the words of "what is the point, I can't do that". I gave it a go and hey presto look what I have achieved so far.


I have picked up lots of tips from various different sources and have taken most of them on board. I am not good at retaining all the information but the majority sticks with me.


Most importantly a quote from SW (he will know from this who I am referring to) "If you send your work out somebody will read it" whether it gets published or not I give it a go.


My wonderful supportive husband telephoned his mother as soon as I returned from the meeting yesterday she was thrilled to bits.


Not as thrilled as I was when Di presented me with my prize. For those that have read my other blog http://pawsforthought-fee.blogspot.com/ you will understand the thought behind the prize.
I really look forward to the writing group meetings as not only do I get to meet wonderful supportive people but I forget about my own reality.
Writing is also an escape route from problems.
Who knows what will happen this year but whatever it is I will always give something a go no matter how daunting the challenge ahead.
Best of luck to you all you writers out there and for those that have never considered themselves writers give it a go and who knows what you could achieve.
Well done to Julie http://jlpwritersquest.blogspot.com/ and Jan for their successes too.
Best wishes to you all.
Love
Feex

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I am Coping (Just)

Why haven't I blogged for a while.

As some of you may know by now my life never goes to plan.

My plan this year was to return to work. This has not happened for various reasons unfortunately and through no fault of my own.

Having had various bouts of ulcerative colitis knocking me off my feet and even hospitalising me on one occasion I have felt rather run down.

Last week I woke up with black dots in front of my right eye (the same one that had laser eye surgery to repair a torn retina in September last year) so we telephoned the eye department to let them know. I should have been followed up after the laser surgery in clinic but this did not happen unfortunately.

I therefore had two visits to the Eye Department last Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon. I was so up beat on Thursday thinking this is just a check up and that I could cope with the floaters (black dots). Just before we left the clinic I was informed I am to undergo laser eye surgery on both eyes next month. The right eye is to have the bleeding torn retina repaired again and the left eye is for a lattice (not sure what this is).

So it is a matter of waiting for pre-op assessment.

I am busy campaigning meanwhile to help others with lymphoedema so that when they are in hospital there is not a two hour argument over a needle going into an affected limb. The solution to me seems simple. Give patients with lymphoedema a green wrist band to put on the affected limb, that way staff will know not to insert any needles into that limb.

Having attended the Cancer Forum yesterday I was going to wait and bring this up at the next meeting but another lady also had issues regarding lymphoedema so that got me on the soap box. So I feel something positive is happening.

On Monday I attended the hospice (don't worry I am not going anywhere yet) this is where lymphoedema patients are currently treated with Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) as this service is not available in either hospital in Shrewsbury or Telford.

One blessing on going to the hospice is that there are no car parking charges at these premises HOORAY.

I am now awaiting a support vest to arrive to treat the lymphoedema down my torso.

My mother says I was born awkward and stayed awkward. In some ways I agree.

When I last saw my GP I said "If I was a dog I would be put down by now". He laughed but agreed.

I had hoped to keep away from the breast consultant until July but unfortunately this is not the case. I am due to be seen under the "two week rule" so yet again awaiting hospital appointment to come through.

I am trying to remain upbeat and positive about everything, keeping busy helping others and campaigning.

There are some days when it is hard going but I know there are others out there far worse off than me. I think things happen to me for a reason and that as I am an outspoken person wanting to change things for the better that this is why I am here.

At the forum yesterday someone asked "is there any part of you not affected by anything?"

My husband piped up "Yes, her mouth".

This made everyone laugh.

I am laughing too. It is laughter that is the best medicine right now.

Best wishes to you all.

Love

Fee

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Easy Knit Patterns

Anyone looking for free knitting patterns for babies then look no further than this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/my_pages/babywear/hkp/028.shtml

I have knitted the above blanket several times with or without the lace border. It is easy and cheap to make.

I make them for friends and even raffled some off at the raffle we held at our wedding evening reception.

So for those stuck indoors wanting some inspiration of what to do I thought I would post this.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

No Wonder I dread doing this!

I learned a lot last night at the Poolside Helpers Course. I certainly had my eyes opened to a lot of things.

When I was young we were taught swimming at school. One of the methods was a huge metal hoop on a long handle. I expect some of you may remember seeing these at a swimming pool you may have used over the years.

The use of these was for the swimmer to hold onto or be put in the middle of the hoop as they swam around the swimming pool. After a while the teacher would remove it. If the person learning to swim didn't realise it had gone it was fine. However, if the person swimming in the pool did realise they panicked and went under water.

The best way to teach anyone no matter what age to swim is to get them used to the swimming pool area first. Remember there are a lot of strange noises and smells for them to become accustomed to. Once they start to relax then gently coax them into the pool. Once this is achieved and they are in the shallow end get them to bob up and down. If they are unsure of this hold their hands and do it with them.

To get them adjusted to the water and not to scare them ask them to put blow bubbles in the water (DO NOT tell them to put their face under water as this will worry them). By making it fun the fear goes.

I still dislike my face going underwater as when I was taught to put my head underwater I was told to hold my nose. This made me fear the water going up my nose and I still have this fear today. I overcome this with a nose clip. If I had been taught the blowing bubble method perhaps I would not be so afraid.

Playing in the water is the best way to start swimming as once happy playing in the water every step of swimming can be fun.

Once a person is happy blowing bubbles in the water the next step is get them to wave at you while standing up. Then gradually get them to do this going under the water. This again takes the fear away and the person being taught is not holding their nose.

Now I understand my fear of going underwater more I will try and make my swimming much more fun and play at it. Instead of making it a task.

So much for the theory of chucking a person in at the deep end. This may put off a person swimming for life. After all swimming is a life skill. I am so glad I have learnt to swim and I hope that my journey from now on will encourage others to take part in a sport everyone no matter what age or disability can enjoy.

Best wishes

Fee

Friday, 29 January 2010

Are you Looking to Change Your Life?

Yes I am. I am looking to be healthier, happier and motivated to achieve my goals.

What am I doing to achieve these? I had a visit from Health Trainers this week, they do home visits or you can attend a centre if you wish. It is a free service run by the NHS. They weighed me. Good news since the beginning of January I have lost half a stone. However, I still have a high BMI of 30, this should be lower. What can I do to change things?

First of all make sure I get three meals a day. I am not very good at this. I started well today. I had a poached egg on brown toast for breakfast. I had a baked potato and salad for lunch. I had half what I normally have for tea rather than a whole tin to myself I had half a tin. I have eaten fruit and drunk some fruit juice.

One warning I have received is don't count 5 portions of fruit as your five a day as they are full of sugar too. So I am doing well when I wrote my daily behaviour sheets today. No snacks at all in between meals. The ladies who visited me also checked how much alcohol intake I have per week and if I smoked. Good news, I don't drink much alcohol so that is not a worry. I have never smoked so that is ok. It is just diet and exercise we need to concentrate on.

What do I need to change I need to do vigorous exercise? I know I do disability sports and swimming but this is not enough to get me out of breath after ten minutes. What I will do is four very fast lengths when I first go into the pool and then take it more slowly and swim lengths the rest of the time.

So I am being positve, trying to achieve my goals, aims and dreams.

The Health Trainers Scheme is not a short quick fix. It is a slow realistic plan. They also recommend various gym courses and exercise programmes to suit the client.

Good luck if any of you have plans for the New Year. Go for your goals and achieve them.

Best wishes

Fee

I Have Done It

I have now completed the first step of my journey to become a swimming coach.

This means I will receive a certificate in about six weeks time.

The next step has been taken I have ordered the text books I require to embark on the next level of training.

This will involve actually getting in the pool and have demonstrations. I can't wait to find out when the next course is and get stuck in. In the meantime I now await the textbooks.

I have made some new friends and the course has certainly opened my eyes to hazards around the pool and in it.

Best wishes

Fee

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sharing an Experience

I met up with a friend who has had similar surgery to myself.

We are both over the first year of the operation and hurdles have had to be overcome in many ways.

My friend is going to tackle a hurdle I myself have already crossed. It is to go swimming for the first time since the operation.

In January 2008 I bought a specialist swimming costume. However, in June 2008 I finally plucked up courage to take the plunge.

I fully understand the feelings my friend is coping with. No one can force her to swim, she has to decide herself.

Once the decision is made as to when she wants to go swimming, she knows she can count on me to go with her and help her through such a traumatic time.

The first thing to be done will be to decide whether to borrow a specialist swimming costume or purchase one. Then I will telephone the chosen venue to make arrangements to make the transition easier.

After the swimming session, I know a few days later m friend will look at her swim wear, bikinis etc and decide what she wants to keep and what she can't wear. When I did this I sobbed.

My wonderful husband supported me through this trauma. He asked me if he could do it for me. The answer was a resounding NO as it was something I just had to do for myself.

I have told her I am there for her, no matter what her needs, whether it be a visit, a telephone call, or some support in any way I can.

One thing I discovered is, it is hard to cope with these things on your own but once someone hear that others have been through it, thoughts of "if they can do it so can I" come into one's head.

I wish I hadn't had to learn these things on my own but I have and did.

Now to be able to offer the support I never had to someone who really needs it is a wonderful feeling.

Also knowing who to contact to get the support needed and finding this information is the most difficult thing. I just wish there was a one stop shop for this but at present there isn't.

That is why I am doing the training course I have embarked on so that others in the same boat as me can cope better knowing there are others out there who care and realise what they are feeling. Other courses will follow I hope so that I can achieve my goals.

It is doing something positive that is keeping me going right now.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Star Signs

I know some of you will think I have gone off my trolley. Perhaps I have but something in someone else's blog got me thinking about star signs. This particular person is a gemini.

With my mother being this star sign - meaning twins and myself being part of the only set of twins in our family it is something that intrigues me.

I therefore looked up both my star sign and that of my mother, which also happens to be the same as my husband (Gemini). My father is also the same star sign as me.

On looking both star signs up. Gemini are like minded souls with Libra. Yet Libra has a perfect partner in Gemini. (strange that life doesn't always work out according to stars, but there was an explanation further down the page of the website I found Gemini's are overtaken by curiousity. (more like grass is greener on the other side scenario). This does not apply to my current life I am pleased to say.

Sometimes I feel like a cat with many lives. I count the past as one life and this present relationship/marriage as my second life. Neither of which have been boring. Challenging definitely but life is full of challenges which I face head on.

There are times when I feel I could run away from all my problems but I expect we all feel like that at times.

This is the link I got the information about both star signs from http://www.kellystarsigns.com/starsigns/libra.aspx -take a peek and see what you find out about yourselves if you wish.

I warn you not everything applies to all as in "ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL".

When I read out the information to my husband about his star sign he agreed with some things and not others.

It certainly made us smile and gave us a giggle.

Nothing like trying to analyse yourselves and trying to work out how others view you. It certainly opened my eyes.

Best wishes

Fee

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Art or Writing

I met an artist in Church Stretton today. It was a chance meeting.

For the first time in ages I joined my husband in a drink at a public house before visiting my mother in law. We do this occasionally as a treat. I had a small sherry and sat down to enjoy the moment. As I sat down the lady at the table next to us got up and went to the bar, placed an order while the gentleman with her shouted a comment to her. Apparently she hadn't heard what he had said to her about what he wanted. He then made a comment about women multi-tasking. I was intrigued by what he said and banter started up between us.

He said that he was considering enforced early retirement. I then told him I was already in that position and didn't like not doing anything during the day so had turned my hand to helping others and doing charity work.

He then commented that "you haven't sorted out your own life yet". No truer word said in jest. I know I haven't sorted out my own life yet, but that is what life is a journey and if it was sorted out it wouldn't be such a challenge.

It was then I asked him what he did for a job. He told me he is an artist. I told him I am writing. He then informed me I had the hardest job of the two. I looked puzzled. Explanation followed. Once a picture is in a frame everyone can see it and judge it. Writing:- Everyone has to read it before they can accept what has been written. If a book cover doesn't attract a reader the book may not get read. If a picture is admired it gets purchased.

I thought about this long and hard. In some ways he is right. Surely this is the job of the publisher to ensure what someone has written will sell to a particular market.

Am I disheartened? Not at all. I am more determined than ever to improve on my writing skills to ensure that whatever I write people will want to read.

So watch this space.

Best wishes

Fee

A Spring in my step

I have had another letter published in the national press today.

I have also been swimming tonight and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the pool. Last night I went to the same pool and it was really quiet. Tonight however, was packed and it was a fight to get a space to do lengths.

With about half an hour to the end of the session the pool quietened down again and finally there was more space to swim.

Last night's swimming session had been spoilt for me. Even though the pool was being used by so few people a couple decided to take over one side of the pool for themselves. Each time I did a length both of them got in my way and I had to move around them. Then when I set off again they kicked water in my face, yet prior to this they had been standing the shallow end chatting. Some people have no consideration for others.

To avoid further upset I moved to another side of the pool and practised swimming on my back with Steve letting me know each time I was reaching either side of the pool.

I can float really well on my back but my arms need a lot of work. I have therefore purchased some aqua weights for my arms while I swim. Once my arms are built up in strength I can then use these for my legs and keep my leg movement as much as possible.

Today I have felt so much better, the lighter evenings, the sun shining seems to have made me mellow. This week, we plan to empty all the kitchen cupboards (one at a time) sort and clean stuff out. I am hoping that old stuff will get binned and what is suitable kept clean and tidy. I know what this is called Spring Cleaning.

After the kitchen cupboards, the drawers will be next and then the fridge.

Hopefully these plans will work, but we all know what can happen to plans. Something else can come along and take precedence.

Best wishes to everyone and enjoy the Spring.

Fee

Friday, 22 January 2010

Trying Something New

I have just got home after 4 hours at my local swimming pool. No, I haven't been swimming for this length of time. In fact I haven't even been in the water.

What have I been doing then? I have started one part of a two part course to become a pool side helper.

I have learnt a lot tonight, like how to signal front crawl by putting my hands out in front of me and waggling them palm side up. To demonstrate back stroke the hands are palm side down. Strange concept, no not really when you realise this is the way the feet are in position when doing these strokes. Mystery solved.

Not only that we all went pool side to see what hazards and risks there are when children are in the pool and around it. There were a lot.

This really opened my eyes and I am so glad I have started this course.

I have learnt a lot so far and can't wait for next week now the nerves have gone. Just hope I can pass the examination next week.

Best wishes

Fee

Thursday, 21 January 2010

I am Back

Well what have I been doing for the last few days.

On Monday we went to Kent for a funeral. When we set off the side roads were clear of ice but when we got to the main roads to our surprise and horror there was a sheet of ice. Luckily my husband kept the car under control despite the fact we ended up on the wrong side of the road, luckily no other cars were coming our way.

We had at this point thought of it got much worse of turning round and heading home.

On reaching the M54 it was really congested with traffic and we on that road for nearly an hour then we went on to the M6 again really busy. While being stuck in a queue we put the radio on to listen to traffic news.

It was then we decided to change our route.

So we headed for the M1 and then the Dartford Tunnel Crossing. This turned out to be a good decision.

We got to the crematorium in plenty of time thank goodness. I hate being late for anything and get anxious about this.

At the wake Steve told his cousins that I ensure we leave in plenty of time to be on time for things. His cousins agreed with my sentiments entirely and I felt at ease as this was the first time I had met them.

We then left at about 4pm and got home at 8.30pm.

Tuesday I was exhausted and knowing I had a looming hospital appointment this was at the back of my mind.

Tuesday night I managed to get to Stafford for the disability sports I participate in.

Considering I haven't done any of these for well over four weeks I had a good start to the year.

Yesterday I went to hospital for what I thought was going to be a straight forward check up and obtain two new asthma inhalers (I was diagnosed with this in November 2008) and thought that would be the appointment.

Well the consultant listened to my cough, told me the TB tests were clear and that apparently I do not have asthma. He could do nothing else for me apart from refer me to an ENT consultant as he now thinks I have a blockage at the back of my nose and throat and this is causing me to cough.

On claiming back the car parking charges after the appointment the clerk at the desk heard me coughing and said "that sounds nasty". I explained that was why I had attended the hospital and that I had had it for so long. She asked if it hurt my sides with coughing. I explained it does. In November 2008 when I was first examined by my own GP I was at home in bed, my back had locked with the coughing and my chest really hurt.

Now to find out that what I thought was a condition I could cope with the uncertainty is now sinking in.

I will visit my own GP next week as I know it takes a couple of days for letters to reach him from the hospital. So would prefer him to have the full picture before I see him.

So I have to wait for the ENT referral which the consultant advised could be four months from now.

So the waiting game is now on. My wonderful husband is concerned as to what could be causing this cough. I am trying not to worry too much and put on a brave face with it all as one of my other friends has said no point worrying until I have to.

In the meantime I am getting on with my life as best as I can. I will be off to Stafford again tonight and I am determined to keep up the good start I made on Tuesday.

As for writing The New Writer arrived today. I am hoping the negativity in my life will disappear and that I will find inspiration to keep going.

So today is going to be spent reading that magazine and my other books that I use.

So fingers crossed now this year is going to improve and I will feel better with myself and my writing.

I just have to take the plunge and try new things.

Best wishes to you and above all else good luck with writing ventures.

Fee

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Taking the Plunge

Well I know I said I wasn't going to blog much over the next couple of days so I am making up for it now.

Tonight I plucked up the courage and went swimming for the first time this year. Having had a break for over three weeks, I was a bit apprehensive.

My darling husband telephoned the leisure centre we use to ensure that the swimming session was still on. Relief it was. So having packed the swimming bag and put it in the car, my husband came back in to fetch me.

We arrived in plenty of time at the leisure centre but things did not start well. In his hurry to pack my wonderful husband had forgotten we needed our flexcards. I was left in the reception area while he drove back to fetch them.

Once he returned we went through to the changing area and I was so excited.

Havig had such a long time away from the pool, I thought I would only manage four lengths. At this point a friend from the pool from last year spoke to me and got me through the pain barrier. He had returned to the pool last week for the first time for a couple of weeks and discovered the same pain barrier himself.

I have no idea how many lengths I completed but I was so thrilled to be back in the pool and had a steady start.

I feel invigorated and am looking forward to disability sports on Tuesday and Thursday. I also have something else to keep me busy this week and next and will tell you more about that in a future post.

Looking out for writing opportunities has also helped me help others. Cats was a topic of conversation tonight and being a passion of mine I wanted to help my friend with his cats.

I am determined to keep as fit as I can this year even if I don't manage to lose weight.

So I have now made a good start, by starting slowly but surely.

Later on this year I hope to be back to the standard of swimming I was in November last year and can't wait to see what time I can do on the swimming side.

No matter what I do, I will do my best but above all else I will enjoy all the challenges ahead.

Best wishes

Fee

Learning in Blogland

Well you can imagine my shock this morning when I discovered a very inappropriate comment had been left on a post in my blog. It was in a foreign language and had some English in it too.

In case this happens to anyone else or they wish to delete the comment. Go to the end of the comment and look for the dustbin icon. Click on this and this gives you the opportunity to delete any such comments.

I am not going to be visiting my blog over the next couple of days and will therefore be putting comment moderation on to prevent anyone being offended in my absence.

I am sorry this has happened so please be patient with me.

It is all a learning experience and one I could have done without at this present moment in time.

Please appreciate the situation I am in and accept my apologies for the delay in accepting comments.

I hope everyone understands the circumstances I find myself in.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Inspiration



With the snow recently the writing meeting today was cancelled.




When I eventually woke up this morning (nearly 10 am) I was a bit down.




This soon turned into I am going to get up no matter what and see what today brings.




Expecting someone to give us a quote for the shower room at 11 am today. Yes it has been a long time ago since the Welsh Dresser arrived and the tiles were stripped off the wall to let it dry out. Things never move very quickly in this house. I get the ideas and spout them and eventually they get acted on.




The door bell rang at 10.30 am. I thought the builder was keen. No it was the postman with two parcels for me.


As you can see from the picture Di had inspired me but so had Writing Magazine with an advert for The Oldie and as I had not been feeling too happy recently treated myself to a subscription of the said magazine with offer of the annual (free) for taking out said subscription.


On opening the annual I discovered this ".............. I hope that readers of this book may feel inspired to try their hand at writing something. I can promise that it will be careful consideration and - if you're lucky - may actually appear in print."


So there you have it. Inspiration to write.


Not only did The Oldie arrive but so did Fast Fiction. This will be read in depth before I try anything.


I know I can write letters, but can I really write short stories? I will see where this leads. I did submit one last year to a competition but even I can see it wasn't good enough against those that got placed.


I will have to improve.


If I don't try I will never know.


I can imagine Sue standing in the workshop the clock saying ten to twelve and saying you have five minutes to do this now get on with itotherwise we won't finish on time. Three, two, one go. Simon would be there with his stop watch timing us all.


I wonder how many of us have books that really inspire us to write. Mine is Jane Wenham Jones "Wannabe a Writer".
Without her tips I would not have had the courage to write so many letters to the national press.






I am lucky to have found such a wonderful supportive group and even though we haven't met up today I am really looking forward to the next meeting.
I hope this post has inspired someone to find some inspiration from somewhere to do some writing, send it off and who knows what we will be reading in the future.
Last night chatting to a young friend of mine, we were talking about Enid Blyton. Now there is someone whose writing was popular and I think still is with all generations as I loved the Noddy annuals, Malory Towers, St Clares, The Famous Five and the mystery books she wrote.
When my husband saw the conversation he hadn't heard of St Clares. I showed him a link to the series and explained what it had been about and why I had loved it.
Who knows I may even get to read the stories again this time with the view of a writer rather than a reader. Now what do I mean by that? I mean how did Enid get the images together so that the reader could gather images in their head to realise the story and get the full impact of it. How does the writer get the reader to relate to the characters?
If this isn't inspiration to write and read I don't know what is.
Anyway I will love and leave you for now while I go bury my head in the annual (to have a good a laugh) and to see if I could write anything for that magazine. Also will try my hand at the fast fiction exercises once I understand what I am meant to be doing.
Best wishes to you all.
Fee

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

MORE SNOW

We went out shopping again today. The plan was to go to Shrewsbury visit various charity shops to obtain a suit for me to wear to a funeral on Monday.

Apart from the side roads in Telford the main roads and pavements in Shrewsbury were clear. There was a bit of congestion due to the gas exlosion on the 3rd January and the affected buildings being cordoned off for safety reasons.

After visiting most of the charity shops in Shrewsbury and finding nothing suitable my wonderful husband took me to the mainstream shops.

Still I found nothing suitable in Shrewsbury but he found a new pair of spectacles (desperately needed due to his current pair being held together with clear tape). Unlike me my other half can purchase spectacles to suit his prescription at a very reasonable price.

We then ventured into Spencers Mall Car Park in Telford. This was quiet for once with only a couple of vehicles parked there. My husband purchased car parking ticket and off we set. Having used my walking poles in Shrewsbury due to many charity shops not having wheelchair access my back and legs were hurting, so we decided to use the "pram" as my wheelchair is affectionately known.

Setting off forwards to start with was ok but we soon hit the ruts. Having been asked by Mike how I cope with the wheelchair in the snow this prompted this post on my blog.

It was easier for my husband to pull me backwards than push forwards along the ruts. Many people passing by smiled at our determination to get to where we wanted to go.

Once on tarmac again the pram was turned around and I was facing foward with my husband pushing me from behind. Felt normal again.

We ventured into a couple of shops. The second one I ventured into I finally found what I had been looking for. Worried about trying it on, my ever patient husband found the fitting rooms and insisted I try the outfit on. To my surprise and delight this store had fitting rooms large enough to accommodate both wheelchair and carer. This made the worry of trying on the suit disappear and I felt quite confident.

There was even a chair/stool suitable for me to sit on so that I could feel at ease trying the clothes on. Having got into the suit and sat down in it, (something I didn't do when I was being fitted for my wedding dress) I knew I was going to feel comfortable all day in the outfit.

I changed back and set off from the changing rooms thanking the staff for their assistance and commented on the facilities there are now available for disabled people.

That was it a shopping trip that was worthwhile and easy for once.

We then had something to eat. After coming out of the restaurant I heard the tail end of a tanoy message informing people to get their car parking tickets validated as Telford Town Shopping Centre will be closed at 4.30 pm.

It was 4.25 pm and we were discussing whether to go grocery shopping or not. There was nothing very urgent we needed so we decided to head for the car and home.

Going to the car proved problematical as new snow had fallen and this had started to freeze. This meant my husband had to turn me round and pull me back to the car as it made the going easier.

That is how we manage in the snow with the wheelchair.

Best wishes to everyone and please take care.

Fee

Monday, 11 January 2010

Disappointment but I understand why

Well I have just checked my emails and discovered one I didn't want to read.

The writing group meeting is cancelled this Saturday. I fully understand it is due to the weather and we don't want anyone else getting hurt on the ice and snow.

I had no idea I really look forward to the writers meetings as they encourage me to keep going, try new things and hear what others are up to.

I had even managed to do the Chairman's Challenge and this was a challenge for me, having rewritten the thing a dozen times. Yes I had honestly.

Steve has read what I have done and was impressed with it but to be honest I think he is biased.

Oh well Saturday will be spent doing something else now not sure what. Feel at a loss as I do so look forward to the writing group.

Thanks for letting me know Simon.

Best wishes and please everyone take care out there.

Fee