Category Archives: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Weekly roundup

The Eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that my Roundup post is a tad late because I’ve had such a busy week this is the first time I’ve had the chance to sit and write a post.

Monday didn’t start off well.  I go into town to help my parents and as I’m sauntering along to the front door of Sainsburys to get them a bit of shopping I see my lovely friend Linda from my Camera Club.  She waves and I think to myself “ahhh that’s nice, bumping into Linda” and then my heart suddenly drops like a stone.  Shit!  SHIT!!  I’d totally forgotten I’d actually arranged to meet Linda outside the door of Sainsburys so that we could go to a cafe for lunch together.  I was 20 minutes late, she’d been trying to ring me but I’d left my phone at home and she was worried sick I’d been taken ill or collapsed somewhere.  I was in my wellies and had Bertie in the car, so I had to make a mad dash to my Mum’s house, drop the dog off and hare back round to the cafe.  I loathe people being late and by now I’d been keeping Linda waiting for half an hour.

As if all that weren’t bad enough, after lunch we both pottered round to the chemist for some bits and bobs.  They didn’t have the denture cleanser my Mum wanted so I left Linda to her shopping and went back to my car.  It’s only when I arrived back at my parents’ house that I remember Linda had told me she woken that morning with a vertigo spell, didn’t feel she could drive so had walked into town and I hadn’t even offered her a lift home, despite the fact she lives half a mile away and the trudge home is all uphill.  I wrote a very grovelling email as an apology and can only hope she doesn’t ditch me as a friend!  My brain was already fairly AWOL due to my M.E. but now I’m galloping towards Menopause it’s almost permanently left the building!

Tuesday I spent the day practising a talk on Photoshop Elements which I gave to the beginner’s photography class that night.

Wednesday was my last Camera Club of this season.  I won’t miss going out in the evenings as it makes me feel proper rubbish, but I’ll really miss seeing everyone and having a focus to the week.  My Dad also re-took his driving test for the second time (which you have to do following a Dementia diagnosis) and we were all delighted when he yet again passed with flying colours 🙂  You absolutely have to be able to drive where we live as there is almost no public transport, so if he’d lost his licence we would all have felt the consequences.

Thursday my Mum had a hospital appointment in the city to have two new hearing aids fitted and I offered to take her so that we could visit a couple of wheelchair friendly shops afterwards for a potter around (we have zero clothes shops in the town where we live).  Now Mum isn’t drunk every day she’s starting to want to do things again and we both enjoyed our afternoon together.  As a bonus she can now also hear and I no longer have to shout 😉

By Friday I was on my knees energy-wise and starting my period didn’t help.  The good news, however, is my recent pain flare is much reduced and this week I have felt almost back to my usual self.  As an added bonus I haven’t had a migraine at all during my period for the first time in several months and my Endometriosis pain was bearable.  Yayyy 🙂

Sunday I had tickets for a Photoshop workshop, which was initially arranged for last month but had to be cancelled due to snow.  We all turned up and waited and waited and waited for it to start, but it was obvious they were having technical difficulties and 45 minutes later we were told it would have to be cancelled again as they couldn’t get the presentation to work.  However, we were all just about to walk out the door when a workaround for the glitch was found and the day progressed as planned.  Sadly I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, but it was still nice to have a catch-up with members from other Camera Clubs.

My sitting with my friends’ two kids went well last weekend and I ended up with a grown-up shot for the teenager and a fantasy one for the 8 year old which I’m calling ‘The world at her feet’.



Weekly roundup

I appreciate I’ve been pretty fed up in recent weeks so you’ll be pleased to know I’m starting this week’s roundup with something cheerful.  Each year there is a photographic competition between all 52 Camera Clubs in the north of England.  Literally thousands of images are submitted from some of the best amateur photographers in my region and I always feel quite intimidated at the wonderful photographs which beat mine each year 😉  The judging for this year’s competition took place yesterday and I was expecting my usual disappointment when out of the blue I recieved an email to say I have won the trophy for best portrait.  Me!  Lying here in my bed crippled with pain and illness!!  To say I am chuffed to little meatballs is not doing my smiley face justice 😀  I will be presented with my cup in December at an awards ceremony on the other side of the country (why it takes so long is anyone’s guess), so I can only hope I am well enough to attend.

The second piece of good news is that my back pain, which has tortured me for three weeks now, suddenly decided it was bored and moved on to pastures new!  My body never ceases to amaze me.  I can go to bed in silly amounts of pain and wake up the next morning like nothing ever happened.  I’m not saying I’m totally back to normal and am still definitely having a pain flare, but my back is 70% better than it was for no real reason I can find.  Not that I’m complaining.

Wednesday I had to take Bertie to the vets.  He’s prone to fatty tumours and has a difficult to feel one between his ribs which has definitely grown in the past couple of months to over 1cm in length.  However, the vet is 98% sure it’s nothing sinister and we’re just going to keep monitoring it.  Between that 5 minute appointment and his 15 minute emergency treatment last week for his back pain the bill came to £104 ($150).  Eeeekkk!

Wednesday night was Camera Club and I did make it, only to leave halfway through because my back was so painful I couldn’t sit upright for another second.

Thursday the weather was uncharacteristically fine and sunny, which gave me chance to tidy up my tiny little garden following the ravages of winter.  As I’m crouching over cutting off dead leaves I think to myself that it’s probably not my best ever plan, bearing in mind gardening kills my back on a good day and I was definitely not having a good day, but then I thought “fuck it” my back’s hurting anyway so what’s the worst that can happen?  I went to bed that night in agony…………..then as previously mentioned I woke the next morning loads better!  Work that one out!  I’m wondering now if something had pinged out in my back weeks ago and the extended movements I did while gardening maybe pinged it back in again?  Stranger things have happened.

Friday I met my best mate for lunch and had a really great afternoon.  Fabulous food and fabulous company – my life doesn’t get any better than that 😀

Today I have my friends’ two daughters coming over for a photo shoot while they’re on their Easter break from school.  I’m going to try out my new plexiglass on the teenager, faking a rainy window shot, and the 8 year old is going to be sitting on the moon – don’t ask 😉

Before that though I need to get up, get dressed and take the hound out.  At least it’s not raining.  Yesterday Bert had a Vicar of Dibly moment.  He was splashing about in the puddles, stepped in one………..and went up to his shoulders in mud.  He was totally stuck and I had to wade in and rescue him.  Needless to say when we got home he went straight in the shower 😉

Weekly roundup

I’ve felt a little bit brighter this week and have managed three good nights sleep for which I am eternally grateful, but I’m still not able to physically do much due to my stupid back pain and am still more exhausted than usual.  The mast cell reactions I was having after meals also seem to have settled a bit which is a humongous relief, though I have woken this morning with my nose streaming which I’m assuming is hayfever being as though the Birch pollen season is now under way.

When you have complex medical conditions it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint what’s causing what.  My mast cells are currently over-reactive as I’m allergic to Birch pollen and I know my back is always more painful when my mast cells are having a hissy fit.  I’m also hugely peri-menopausal and my hormones are up and down like a Bridge’s nightie.  In animal studies, histamine has been found to be amplified by oestrogen so it’s no surprise that my mast cells are currently playing up.  Of course, I could also be having completely unrelated back problems due to my hEDS, who the hell knows?!

I must have been ovulating on Wednesday because my uterine pain was back with a vengeance and I spent most of the day unable to stand up straight, however it only lasted 24 hours and I was determined to go to Camera Club in the evening as it was our last digital image competition of the year.  I’m glad I did because my photos were placed a respectable 3rd and 2nd and my scores were enough to ensure I won the league so I’m now on course to receive two trophies at our annual dinner next month 🙂  In particular the judge loved my #metoo selfie, which made me happy because I love it too and the message the #metoo campaign promotes – it’s way past time for the silence relating to the sexual harassment and abuse of women to end.

My replacement plexi-glass also arrived so poor Bertie was drafted in as my model while I experiemented with taking fake rainy window photos.  He’ll do anything for dog biscuits 😀

Thursday I had some devastating news.  As regular readers will know I am battling my insurance company to extend my PHI (income protection) policy from 60 to the new retirement age of 65.  I’ve taken my case to the Financia Ombudsman who decided against me this week.  So I now have five days to put together an appeal.  Do I need this stress in my life when I already feel like shit?  No I do not.  There are times I think that Someone Up There hates me.

As I have been in so much pain recently I haven’t been able to do any cooking and my freezeer resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s very bare cupboard, so I bit the bullet on Friday morning and made several meals and smoothies.  Of course, that set my back pain off again and I’m lucky if I got three hours sleep that night.  FFS.

Some good news on the health front for a change.  I have severe GERD and was keeping it at bay with Famotidine (an H2 antihistamine) until January when my mast cells suddenly decided they’d had quite enough of those and rebelled.  I’d already become allergic to all the other H2 antihistamines on the market and my immune system doesn’t like PPIs either, so the only thing left to take was some Gavison liquid and pop Rennies like they were Smarties.  Needless to say I was in reflux hell for weeks at the start of the year and had an awful cough as the acid rose up into my lungs.  However, the good news is it’s settled down a bit!  I’ve started having my main meal at lunchtime and just a small snack at night and although I do still have reflux the cough has largely gone and the pain is bearable.  Yayyyyyy!  It does always get worse the week before my period, as progesterone makes connective tissue even more floppy than usual and the sphincter which holds my stomach contents in place doesn’t do its job properly, but I’m hoping once the menopause is over that might improve.  Watch this space.

The daughter of a friend who walks my dog is very bendy.  She’s now 13 and has started having mild back, knee and foot pain.  My friend knows all about my hEDS and we both agree her daughter is hypermobile, so she bit the bullet and rang her GP about it this week.  She was dreading it, knowing the battle I had to get diagnosed and the fact that my Doctor had never heard of the condition, so imagine both our surprise when before she even said what she thought the issue was her GP said “I think your daughter has hypermobility syndrome.  It’s not something I know much about, so I’m going to refer you to the muscular-skeletal specialist here at the health centre”.  Hurahhhh!  That the message about hypermobility is finally trickling through is brilliant and that this young girl will get the help she needs at an early age is fabulous.

It’s Easter Sunday today and my parents and I are going out for lunch.  It’ll be nice to have someone else do the cooking for a change and to not have to wash up afterwards!


Weekly roundup

I can only apologise for there not being a blog post this week……again.  It seems to be becoming a bit of a habit.   I am riddled with pain, not sleeping and as grumpy as a bear with a sore arse so to be honest I just haven’t felt very chatty.

Monday initially panned out as per usual.  I went to see my parents and did various jobs for them like renewing their car insurance and filling in some medical forms, then took Bertie for a potter down by the river on the way home.   All was fine, except I was feeling particularly tired and sore so at 6.30pm I ran myself a bath with the intention of slavering Ibuleve gel everywhere and having an early night.  No such luck.  Bert wandered into the bathroom then proceeded to do several whizzy circles before standing still like a statue and not moving, which usually means his herniated spinal disc is hurting like hell and he can’t get comfortable.  So I got out of the bath early and gave him some paracetamol.  It didn’t help and it became obvious he couldn’t sit without huge discomfort and couldn’t lie down at all.  He’s been on Gabapentin in the past and I had some tablets left over, so I gave him one of those which usually works wonders.  Not this time.  It didn’t even touch the sides.  By 10pm it was clear something was very wrong and, as there is a risk his herniated disc could slip entirely and paralyse him, I rang the vets for advice.  The vet was out on a call but eventually rang me back and said I had to take Bert through to the surgery.  So 11 o’clock at night saw me getting dressed and heading into town.  The vet was a bit flummoxed as to what the issue was, but gave him a Tramadol injection and said we’d just have to see what the next 12-24 hours brought and I had to keep an eye out for any signs of paralysis or neurological deficits.  Thankfully after his jab Bert managed to get some sleep (more than me at any rate) and was moving around more the next morning though still couldn’t sit or lie without pain.  So I rang the vets back and they left a prescription for 4 days worth of Tramadol in tablet form.  This helped enormously and he’s now totally back to normal, so I’m assuming he’d just sprained or strained a muscle in his back.  I can’t even put into words how relieved I am.

I, on the other hand, have come out in sympathy with a huge pain flare up.  In fact, my back and pelvic pain hasn’t gone since my period finished last week so although I’m not bleeding I still feel like I’m having my menstrual cycle, excruciating endo and adeno pain included.  My pain has never lasted beyond my period before, so I’ve no idea what’s going on.  My knees are aching, my thighs are burning, I’m getting shooting pains down both legs right to my toes, my entire back is painful, my hips are killing me and I have constant lower right abdominal pain.  I’m fucking miserable.  The pain is making sleep difficult and nothing I do is helping.

I was hugely tired following my period in any event so it feels unfair for my body to not let me rest.  You know it’s bad when I missed my Camera Club on Wednesday night and was barely out of bed from Tuesday to Friday.  God I was bored and barely spoke to anyone for days.  These are the times I’d kill for someone to present me with my dinner on a tray in bed and wash up afterwards, or even just ring me and ask how I am because my parents didn’t even bother 😦

Friday morning I received a phone call out of the blue.  A lady comes to my house to clip Bertie and we’d arranged for it to be done back in November but she didn’t turn up, even though I’d spent 1½ backbreaking hours shampooing, drying and brushing him so he was ready to be cut.  The worst part is she didn’t ring me to say she wasn’t coming until 15 minutes before the appointment time – if she’d rung me first thing I wouldn’t have bothered bathing him and getting him ready for heaven’s sake!  Then in December she arranged to come and have her daughter photographed and never turned up for that either.  She rang me to apologise saying she’d simply forgotten and eventually we re-scheduled for January.  Only she didn’t turn up again, this time not even bothering to ring and apologise and I hadn’t heard a peep out of her for two months until this week.  I think she treated me so shoddily I could barely speak to her.  After giggling an apology for not turning up back in January (her excuse is that she just forgot, again) and me telling her was totally unacceptable as I’d had to leave a Consultant’s appointment with my Dad early and it had taken me an hour to set the studio up, not to mention the time spent ironing two dresses for the little girl to wear and by the way has she forgotten I’m ill?, she had the cheek to say she was ringing to invite me round for coffee and a natter!  Some folk have no shame.   I felt like agreeing then simply not turning up, but unlike her I respect other people’s time and energy so just declined the invitation with all the politeness I could muster before saying I had to go and putting the phone down.  I was about as friendly as an Iceberg but I can’t stand people who continually treat you like shit then laugh about it like it’s inconsequential – it’s not.  Needless to say I will be finding someone else to clip Bertie.

Speaking of photographs, I have an idea in my head for an image taken through a fake rainy window, so ordered a huge piece of clear acrylic sheeting to act as the glass.  It arrived on Weds in packaging which looked like it had gone 10 rounds with Amir Khan and with an inch long scratch, so I had to take loads of photos and send them off to the company I bought it from.  They were fine and agreed to replace it, but it just pisses me off that every single thing you do these days goes wrong.  I barely have the energy to do stuff when it all goes well but when I have to repeat the process it’s all just too much.

Spending so much time in bed, though, I have managed to finish a photo I’ve been working on for a while.  It’s involved learning a few new photoshop skills but I’m fairly happy with the end result which I’m calling ‘Queen Bee’.  I do actually need a few more bees for the picture but they are still hibernating so I’ll have to wait until summer to totally finish the shot.  The tiara (from China, via Amazon) is gorgeous and I pranced around the house in it for most of the morning.  I swear I wasn’t born to be poor – being a princess suits me better 😀

Saturday was the first day we’ve had this year with the temperature in double digits, so despite still being in godawful pain I was determined to go for a walk with Bertie.  I rang my Dad to ask if he wanted to tag along and we went up to one of the Lakes both of us hobbling along like a pair of constipated ducks, my Dad from his spinal stenosis +arthritis and me from my fuck-knows-what.  The scenary was stunning as per usual, I never cease to be grateful that I live where I do and the exercise did wonders for my mood and spirit at the time, however at 3.30am this morning when pain woke me then refused to let me go back to sleep I second guessed whether or not it had been my best ever plan.  It’s times like these when you have no clue what’s happening or what to do about the situation that you really should have medical backup – a professional with knowledge of EDS who could offer advice and guidance.  But as usual I have no-one and am just left to get on with it.  It’s the 21st Century and the fact I’m receiving zero medical care for any of my three conditions really is a disgrace.

So as you can probably tell I’m grumpy, exhausted and fed up which is all a bit pointless as it doesn’t change the situation but this week I haven’t been able to be anything but.  I’d give my left arm for some pain killing drugs as my trusty TENS machine, which does usually help to mask my back pain, is having no effect whatsoever and the novelty of the shooting, burning pains in my legs is wearing thin.  I’ve also been having some mast cell reactions after I eat which I haven’t had in 3 years, however my brain won’t even let me think about that let alone talk about it so for now I’m ignoring it in the hopes it will bugger off.  Yes, I know that’s unlikely but I’m happy in my denial, reality being more than I can handle just at the mo.

Until next time my friends x




Weekly roundup

Following my peri-menopause post yesterday I’ve had a rash of fake likes.  You know they’re fake when a) they’re from random men liking a post on the fucking menopause and b) they’re from websites trying to sell a “healthy” lifestyle or some other such crap.  That these people prey on the chronically ill, or that they think the menopause, which many women find hugely difficult, is something they can cash in on disgusts me.  Bloody parasites.

My Mum has gone quickly downhill with her breathing this week and was so poorly on Weds we had to get the Doctor out.  She has severe osteoporosis and spondylitis, which can be hugely painful, and the usual paracetomol wasn’t touching the sides so she thought she’d try some Ibuprofen in the hopes the anti-inflammatory aspect would help.  And it did, enormously, which was great.  Around the same time she took delivery of her new custom made compression stockings for her fluid filled legs, which she has been wearing faithfully every day and which she says are really comfortable.  The rash of blisters on the inside of her legs has gone already, which is brilliant news, so the stockings do appear to be helping.  Only of course life is never that simple, and one or the other of the new treatments has put further strain on her heart and affected her breathing.  Four days without the new treatments, and with an increase to her water pills, her breathing is still rubbish but she’s thankfully not feeling as ill as she was.

My Dad finds my Mum being poorly really stressful and coupled with the fact his spinal stenosis is really troublesome now and very painful he too has had a tough week 😦

I started with awful pelvic pain again on Wednesday, which on Friday night resulted in my period arriving.  I was on day 20 of my cycle, when last month Aunt Flo didn’t arrive until day 40.  Couple that with my regular period-induced crippling migraine and I too have not had the best week ever so it probably wasn’t the most opportune time to tackle a technical job on my computer.  However my no-longer-supported-Windows-Mail email client has become so glitchy it was doing my nut in, so I bit the bullet and switched everything over to Thunderbird.  It took 4 hours all in all, and I managed to loose all my sent emails from the last 5 days, but I got there in the end which is nothing short of miraculous bearing in mind I’m not the most computer savvy person on the planet.

The only bright spot on the horizon was Tuesday.  I’d helped a friend by printing and mounting a photo she’d taken for someone’s birthday, so we met for lunch so that I could give it to her.  She works night shift as a volunteer Samaritan, which I admire hugely, though she had me in fits of laughter telling me of a sex caller she’d had the night before who lured her in with tales of self harm then ejaculated all over his phone.  Who the fuck calls the Samaritans just to jerk off?!

Today my Dad was supposed to be going out for lunch with some members of his family who were travelling over from the North East.  Mum was too sick to go so I said I’d cook us both a nice Sunday lunch at her house, however last night we had more bad weather and the main road from the North East to the North West is blocked by snow and a 12 vehicle pile-up, so I’ve no idea if our visitors will even attempt the journey.   My head is still banging with a migraine and the thought of eating, let alone cooking, a Sunday roast doesn’t do much for me but I’ll still go and there’s enough for three if Dad doesn’t make it out.

Will my goddamn periods ever end?  Will Spring ever arrive?  Has Prince Charming lost his fucking horse?  Can you become pregnant over the phone?  These questions and many others will be answered on the next episode of…………Soap.



Mast Cells in M.E.

This month a two day summit was held in America for clinicians working in the field of CFS/M.E. and long-time advocates and ME Doctors David Kaufman, Charles Lapp and Susan Levine all discussed the fact that they are now suspecting mast cell activation as either a cause, effect or perpetrator of the disease – their views are outlined in this piece from Medscape.  Having thought this for five years now I hate to say “I told you so” but……..well…………I told you so 😉

All joking aside, I am as convinced as I can be that mast cells play a role in M.E.  Having followed research on the illness now for a quarter of a century it’s the only theory I have come across that even remotely fits every aspect of the disease as outlined in my Canary post.  And in my world, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck.  I may be proved completely wrong, but at the moment with the knowledge we have my feet are firmly in the mast cell camp.

The link to the Medscape article was posted on the ME Association’s Facebook page and seemed to ring a bell with quite a few patients.  They all then, naturally, wanted to get tested for mast cell disease in the hopes they would be cured.  I wish it were that simple.

Although I believe mast cells are implicated in M.E. that does not mean I think M.E. is just another name for Mast Cell Activation Disorder.  MCAD is a distinct disease entity.  You can have MCAD on its own, you can have MCAD alongside other diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or M.E., of if you’re unlucky you can have both or in my case all three.  Treating the symptoms of MCAD (there is no cure) will do nothing to help your M.E., at least not in my experience.

If mast cells are implicated in M.E. why doesn’t treating the underlying mast cell disease help?  Good question.  I’m not a Doctor or a Research Scientist and even if I were I probably still wouldn’t know the answer.  MCAD was only discovered as a disease a decade ago and we currently know very little about it.  Treatments are available but they’re crude and even leading Doctors in the MCAD field admit they are limited in the ways they can help.

The focus is often on Histamine in respect of MCAD, but it’s only one of 30 chemical mediators expressed by mast cells so is only a tiny part of the MCAD puzzle.  We currently only have the capability to test for half a dozen of the 30 mediators (and in the UK only have the means to test for a couple), so we have a very long way to go in being able to accurately test for mast cell activation.  Even if excess histamine is found to be present it binds to four receptors in the body (at least, we only currently know about four) and we only have drugs to target two of those receptors (H1 and H2), so if H3 or H4 receptors are implicated in M.E. we can’t currently do anything about that.

Being treated for MCAD probably saved my life, but it had little effect on my M.E. with two notable exceptions.  The horrendous insomnia which has plagued me for the 24 years I’ve been ill was helped dramatically when I no longer had stimulating histamine in my brain, and the back pain from which I’d suffered for 30 odd years improved by about 60%.  But I still have M.E. in all its fluey, achey, brain fogged, POTSy, sore throated, weak muscled, post exertional malaise glory.  It’s a bugger.

It’s hugely difficult to get an official MCAD diagnosis here in Britain and most people end up having to go down the very expensive private route as MCAD still isn’t officially recognized here in the UK so isn’t funded on the NHS.  There are a couple of NHS Consultants who might see you but in practice only if you have severe disease and have classic MCAD symptoms like flushing, hives and a history of anaphylaxis which has been confirmed isn’t due to allergies.  Having received your diagnosis, treatments are limited and in my case the very fact I have MCAD and my mast cells reject drugs on a grand scale means I have anaphylaxis to the tablets needed to treat my anaphylaxis, which would be hilarious if it weren’t so scary.

To anyone reading this who wants to rush out to see an MCAD specialist trust me when I say you’re heading down a difficult and potentially expensive road with no real destination, so think carefully about whether or not you want to spend your energy doing that before you start.  I’m not saying don’t, just that it’s probably not going to help your M.E. so unless you have clear symptoms of MCAD and are debilitated by those it will all be a bit pointless.

Having said all that I’m still hugely excited by the fact that Doctors are picking up on the fact that M.E. and MCAD might be related.  It’s no coincidence that Doctors seeing Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos patients were finding that a large sub-section of those also had MCAD, and it’s no coincidence that many of those also had a diagnosis of M.E.  The hEDS/POTS/ME triangle is well known about in the patient population and the underlying common denominator appears to be mast cell activation.


Weekly roundup

I don’t know where to start with the summary of my week which has had more ups and downs than the Big Dipper.

Monday I made an appointment to see the Optician about my severe eye floaters.  I know I promised you a post on eye problems which I haven’t delivered so will try and rectify that in the next few days, but suffice to say my floaters are now so bad I’m effectively losing my sight and it’s seriously getting me down, especially as it interferes hugely with my photography and computer use.  She has referred me to the Opthamologist at the hospital and I have an appointment in May.  More on that in my eye post.

Tuesday the weather finally turned and a mysterious orange ball of fire, which hasn’t been seen in some time, appeared in the sky so I took the opportunity to tidy up my miniscule back garden which looked like a bomb had hit it after the recent snow storms and gales, including scooping up half a tonne of bird shit.  I think I’m looking after my little furry friends a bit too well because I now have about 30 sparrows living in the 10 foot piece of hedge which separates my garden from next door and they indiscriminately poop for England!  I wonder if you can potty train birds like you can potty train cats to crap in a litter box?  Hmmmm, I’ll have to work on that.

Wednesday was Camera Club and our last print competition of the season.  I shared joint 2nd place with my portrait of a little girl (one of my fav pictures to date, which looks so much better in print than on a computer screen) and joint 1st with my picture of some ducklings.

As it was our last print competition of the year (we break up in April for the summer) the scores were tallied up and I discovered I’d won the League!  This is my first year in the Advanced class, so to be honest I wasn’t expecting to win anything let alone the entire thing, so to say I was gobsmacked doesn’t do my jaw hitting the floor justice 🙂  I shall be receiving a cup at our annual dinner next month.

On to the bad news.  Ever since my Armageddon period the other week I have had awful endometriosis pain, then this week I was ovulating and the pain catapulted into outer orbit.  My lower back, hips and pelvis are on fire and have been on fire for 4 days now.  I don’t know whether I’ve had yet another ovarian cyst which has burst (the pelvic pain is on the right side) or whether my bad period has caused fresh adhesions on my bowel, bladder or ovary, but OMG it’s rubbish.  I can barely stand upright, pooping is torture, peeing isn’t much better and nothing I do alleviates the pain.  I actually slept last night with 2 TENS pads on my tummy and 2 on my back/hips but my TENS machine is only just taking the edge off.  FFS I’ve had enough.

After sleeping like the dead for months, which has been totally wonderful, this week I’ve barely slept a wink.  If I manage to ignore the pain long enough to actually get to sleep I wake around 4am and am so perky it might as well be lunchtime.  I’m assuming this is hormone related, as many women going through menopause complain of insomnia, but it makes for a lonnnng day especially when that day is riddled with stinging, fiery, unrelenting pain.  Add to this my 4 days of weird head symptoms and it’s fair to say I wish, not for the first time, I’d been born a man.

My best mate took pity on me and drove through to meet me for lunch yesterday.  She looked about as crap as I felt (she also has M.E.) but it was lovely to have a catch up, even if I do scare her witless with my tales of peri-menopause which, as she is 8 years younger than me, is a journey she’s only just starting to embark on.  She asked me how I was feeling emotionally, as many women going through the menopause complain of being depressed, anxious or evilly bad tempered, but to be honest despite everything my mood is remarkably good for the most part.  Yes there are times when I feel so ill I wish I were dead, but 85% of the time I still wake looking forward to the day and have lost none of my passion for life which is quite an achievement considering everything that’s going on.

Today is Mother’s Day and I am going out for lunch with my folks and the dog.  Mum is still drinking but it appears to be much, much less than previously and she’s actually said some really nice things recently such as the fact she is proud of my achievements in photography and that despite my health problems I went out and found a hobby I love and through that have met some wonderful people.  It’s been so long since she’s been even cognizant of my life, let alone expressed any emotions, that I was completely taken aback and didn’t know quite how to respond.  She’s also been to a couple of family meals recently, which she hasn’t done in several years, and really enjoyed them which are all super positive steps.  I’m so wary, though, of her falling off the wagon I can’t let myself relax or trust the new her, which is understandable after everything we’ve been through.  She’s been a slurry, fuddled, bullying, critical drunk for so long that’s it’s hard to remember the lovely person she used to be and it’s going to take time to get used to her being nice again.

On that note I shall love you and leave you.  I’m ravenous so will get some breakfast then take the mutt out.  It’s a hazy, spring morning and I can hear a blackbird singing its heart out in my garden, which always brings me joy even if the little fucker has probably just shit on my patio.