Help with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

13 March 2019

Sometimes in life we face challenges and experiences that take us out of our comfort zone and as we progress through these, frustration, tears and trials can lead us to dark places.  These dark places are hidden from the outside world as we go about our daily life, unbeknown to others, we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.  

Going back a few months my life was plain sailing (well as much as it could be), Gee was diagnosed with autism and OCD and I had everything in hand.  As I look back over the last 7 years, we had many trips to the hospital with injuries to joints and were told there was nothing wrong with Gee, professionals assumed she had a low pain threshold.  After numerous x-rays and MRIs, in November we saw a great consultant who was not happy with all these visits and decided we should go to see the rheumatology team at Sheffield.

Since November’s visit to rheumatology  we have been inundated with appointments with the multi-disciplinary team who have diagnosed Gee with Poliarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.  Treatment started almost straight away with daily visits to the hospital for IV steroids to try and dampen down the inflammation and although this helped a little, it was felt she needed more treatment.   Needless to say the side effects of the drugs she is taking are horrendous, I feel so bad injecting her on a weekly basis with a substance that makes her feel so poorly and although we have anti-sickness medications things do not seem to be settling down at all.

Tuesdays are always a bad day as it is the day of her injection and as we lay in bed last night, she turned to me and said “if I was an animal they would put me to sleep”.  I feel so helpless, how do I make things right for her, I know for the rest of the week she will feel lethargic. I just want my daughter back and I’m beginning to wonder if the treatment is actually worth the price she is paying by suffering.  I pray for the weekend to hurry up because those are the only days she feels like doing anything.  

My blog has taken a back seat whilst all this has been happening but I would love to hear from any other parents who have or are going through this awful illness with their children.  Any tips would be greatly appreciated in helping Gee to overcome some of the barriers she is facing.

Update: we have to stop the current medication until her next review in a couple of weeks. I must say the whole team who are supporting her are amazing, very supportive and nothing is too much trouble.

So many changes in such a short space of time and all this ties in with a house move and new job. I must be mad and not to forget our new kitten Luna, she is so regal.

Roll on the warmer weather when we can get outdoors more and hopefully Gees health will have improved a little. 

Styling Your Jeans For Winter

6 January 2019

I love winter clothes and my staple item as to be a pair of well fitting jeans.  The beauty of jeans is that you can dress them up for a night out or wear them casually during the day. Teamed with a fabulous pair of heels you can create the perfect outfit for night time or they look equally as good with flats or boots for day time walks or shopping trips.

I recently found the most amazingly, comfortable and well fitting jeans I have ever purchased at JD Williams and a bargain at £29.40. The Shape and Sculpt high waisted skinny jeans are a perfect fit and made from stretchable denim, you do not feel restricted when moving around. I must admit I was a little dubious about purchasing jeans before trying them on but with JD Williams you can always exchange or return them.

Jumpers and long sleeved tops are perfect for the winter months and you can easily add accessories to give unique touches to your clothes, for example instead of wearing your top loosely over jeans try tucking it in and adding a belt to give a more defined shape, or add a scarf or costume jewellery to add colour. It is great fun experimenting with different accessories and really surprising how many different outfits you can create.  The great thing about Winter is that you can add layers using different textures and fabrics to highlight areas of interest to create the perfect silhouette.

Now I've found the best pair of jeans I just need to purchase a couple more staple items to compliment my wardrobe and to see it through to the Spring time when hopefully I can reduce the layering a little.

Whether you prefer bootcut, skinny or the more traditional fit there are so many ways to wear your jeans or to find the most appropriate pair for you.  My must do tip, is to try lots of pairs on until you the the fit most comfortable for you.

5 Ways To Improve Your Life After 50

27 December 2018

How did I arrive at my early 50's so quickly? I certainly don't feel any older in my mind, although my body may well have the telltale signs of ageing, which is inevitable. I do think we take life for granted at times, it is precious and can be taken away from you in seconds. After losing my brother in law who was in his early 30s to cancer, it was a serious wake up call. All those decisions we make in our younger years can impact our future and although we all make mistakes, I like to think that we learn from them. There is no point in dwelling on what could have been, we should focus on what lays ahead to make a brighter future for our family.

There are lots of simple ways to improve your well being and mental health as you hit the big ‘50’ enabling you to live life to the full.

1. Eat healthily – forget all those takeaways and opt for fresh foods that you can prepare yourself. With sensible planning and preparation, meal time routines can become a time to spend with loved ones. Sharing the cooking chores is a great way of spending more time together with your partner and family. Obviously the odd takeaway will not hurt you and can be a treat when you are pushed for time.

2. Travel – we love to explore new places and this will carry on in to our older years. Whether it is abroad or at home, there are lots of new destinations to discover that can help you enjoy unforgettable experiences. Travelling opens the mind, broadens your horizons and creates many happy memories.

3. Look after your health – regular health check ups with your GP can help to identify any potential health problems early on. It is never ok to ignore any niggling doubts you have in regards to your health.

4. Exercise – raises the levels of endorphins in our body which help to boost mood and decrease stress levels. Regular exercise will help you to maintain and improve your flexibility as you age. It also benefits the brain by improving blood flow and leaving you with a feel good factor.

5. Learn a new skill – we all have hobbies that we enjoy but there is bound to be something you have always wanted to do or achieve and now is the time to do it. Whether it is a qualification to enable you to advance at work or something you would like to do for pleasure, it is a fantastic way of keeping your brain active.

I never thought I would be moving in my 50’s but I am embracing the challenge this will bring. I have already been offered a new job, which I have accepted and can’t wait to start. So, with house renovations and a new job to focus on, I am ready to start this new chapter in my life. One area I definitely need to improve is my exercise levels and I will be making the most of a leisure centre that is nearby.

SunLife have produced some videos and posts interviewing individuals about their life after 50.

This is a collaborative post.

Christmas Dinner Preparation

18 December 2018

It is nearly time for my favourite meal of the year, Christmas dinner.  When the boys were little, I was a single mum and really struggled cooking and playing with their new toys.  I loved helping them to put things together and found it really difficult to divide my time, after all Christmas is about being with family.  I often felt bad, but over the years I have learnt to juggle tasks and prepare things on Christmas Eve allowing me the freedom to enjoy Christmas morning, spending more quality time with the children. 

Christmas Eve tasks
  1. Prepare all the vegetables. I par-boil the brussel sprouts, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage and broccoli and put them in cold water, drain them and seal them in bags ready for the big day.
  2. Wrap the chipolata sausages in bacon.
  3. Make the bread sauce and gravy.
  4. Make the Yorkshire pudding batter.
  5. Hubbie would not be happy if I did not make mince pies for Christmas Day, so I usually make these after I have been out to pick up my Turkey.
I am up really early Christmas Eve and usually out of the door at 7.00am to pick up last minute supplies. I find it so much quieter at that time and it then allows me to complete all the tasks above before lunch time. Once everything is complete, I can then spend the rest of Christmas Eve with my daughter, visiting family and friends and watching movies. Of course there is always lots of nibbles and wine to enjoy when we finally close our door to the outside world.

Recently I have been trying out some new pans from the Kaufmann's Sienna range. Not only do they look good but I found the pans easy to clean and they heated up quickly too. I loved the glass lids so that I could keep an eye on the cooking while I rushed on with other jobs which is especially handy around Christmas. The price is really good and for anyone wanting to do more cooking these are a great find and as we all know it’s so easy to buy from Amazon. I also spotted on their website there’s some recipes with videos. I definitely want to test these out in the New Year when I have a little more time.  The pans come with a 10 year guarantee and 5 year non-stick warranty so if anything was to go wrong, you know that you are covered. You can buy the range of pans at Amazon in either a 3 piece saucepan set, a 2 piece frying pan set and a 5 piece saucepan and frying pan set.

Another tradition I partake in is preparing a Christmas Eve box for Gee, it usually contains hot chocolate, a new Christmas mug, a DVD, reindeer food (although this year this may not happen), some new pyjamas and slippers and a Christmassy bath bomb. We love to have a nice bath and put our new pyjamas on and wait for Santa. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

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