ESA Assessment

On the 22nd I have my ESA assessment and I have to say it’s really making me nervous. It’s so hard trying to explain to people how much I struggle on a daily basis with both my pain and mental health and I’m terrified as if I’m refused I just don’t know how we are going to cope. I tried to write on a ‘support’ group how I am feeling and was surprised to find so many people making horrible comments towards me, I know there are people a lot worse off than myself and I can appreciate it is so much harder for them but to me this is difficult too and I need to ramble about it somewhere safely… I guess this is kinda what the blog is for after all!

I didn’t expect to get as far as actually going through with the assessment, I guess part of me hoped the steroid injections would have helped ease enough pain for me to start getting back on track and start looking for a part time job but after a good week everything has just gone back downhill and I’m back to where I was before the injections so I have no choice but to go through with the assessment and hope for the best but my anxiety is getting the better of me and feels like it’s eating me up.

How do you even begin to explain to a total stranger that although you look fine on the outside apart from walking a little funny that every step requires so much effort that even a 5 minute walk leaves you exhausted physically and mentally at the age of 25?

I know being completely honest is necessary but it’s also scary to think I’m going to have to admit to a stranger that I can’t pick up my baby at just 20 month’s old, if I take her out on my own I have to get the Mr to put her in her stroller as I can’t even do that without causing more pain, I cant even lift her onto a changing table so have to lay her stroller flat if I’m alone! How do you admit that you can’t even manage walking your 5 year old the 10-15 minute walk to school and back every day and have to rely on the Mr to do it otherwise I’m left in so much pain and feel so drained that I’m left completely useless for the rest of the day?

I guess a big part of it is me feeling like I am admitting I am a failure as a mother, I cant lift and rock my baby when she needs it, I cant walk my daughter to and from school and get chatting with the other mums, I cant take the girls to the park regularly, I cant bend down and pick up their toys properly, hell I cant even wash their damn clothes because the bending, lifting, and stretching to hang the clothes sends my back into spasm!

How do you admit all this to a stranger face to face? How do you explain that your basically useless and break down several times a day just trying to do the most basic of things? How do you explain that simple tasks make you feel so queasy because of the pain & a sharp bolt can make you vomit & leave you feeling so shaky and weak without sounding like a drama queen?

I’m also terrified my emotions will get the better of me on the day, I’m an emotional wreck most day’s as it is and if I get too worked up I get queasy and struggle to breath without throwing up! Any time I try to explain to someone what I’m going through it makes me feel like crap reeling off a list of basic tasks I struggle to do, how every time I struggle I become so upset and angry with myself for not being able to do such a ‘simple’ task etc. It all just sounds like I’m over reacting!

I guess I’ve tried to hide the pain and how it leaves me feeling from people for so long that now I need to open up and be honest so I can get the help I need it’s much harder and it feels like I’m about to go to confession to admit all my failures instead of sins.

It’s terrifying to think they could decide to deem me fit to work when I can’t even load the dishwasher daily, climb into the bath, push a hoover around and all the other thing’s most people do without thinking. The worst part is if they do say I am fit to work I have no choice but to try and find a job as there’s no way I could cope trying to keep on top of school runs, looking after Izzy etc so I need the Mr to be at home to carry on doing it all as I can’t.

Then there’s the added fear of how my health will affect a job as just 5 weeks doing 4 hours a day work experience at the job centre was draining and one of the day’s I had to be sent home as I was in so much pain & everything felt too much and I arrived in tears! I tried so hard for the first week or two to hide it but eventually the staff I worked closely with were picking up on it and I was made to go sit at a desk several times. One of those times I was struggling so much I buried my head in my arms on the desk to hide the tears whilst I tried to stretch my back out that one of the managers walked past and thought I was being lazy and told me to sit up which of course led to me feeling even worse and having to excuse myself to go hide in the toilet for 5 minutes to calm down.

I’d love to work, I’d love the chance to socialise with other’s and actually make some friends around here and do something to be proud of and show the girls the importance of working but I know realistically I just wouldn’t cope,I cant even keep on top of the blog on bad days because I just can’t even focus! It’s fairly easy to get this all down in words but how on earth am I meant to explain all this to a complete stranger and have them take me seriously? So many questions and I know on the day I’ll only feel worse and again afterwards waiting on their decision. I guess time will tell but I needed to get it all off my chest instead of letting it carry on eating me up!

Steroid Injection Recovery

On 8th march I had my steroid injections as some of you may know and I posted about the procedure and the first 24 hours and thought perhaps it would be helpful for other’s if I share the following few day’s too.

By the second evening I really felt exhausted after doing very little all day and the injection area was extremely sensitive and sore making it a struggle to get comfortable at all but surprisingly I woke up the following morning feeling slightly less discomfort and managed a short trip around town. I did really feel it having walked for a while and a cheeky stop at the pub probably didn’t help as the chair’s weren’t the comfiest and on top of that Izzy decided to jump and pull me to the floor and Eva managed to knock into me so hard I was almost in tears so again on the third evening I was really uncomfortable and tired. (Moral of the story actually rest for the 2-3 days following and avoid children 😉 haha) I did have a slightly earlier night in the hope I would feel better the following day.

Luckily by Friday morning I really did feel so much better and although I wasn’t completely pain-free the majority of the pain was the injection area again. My burning knees and tingly legs seemed to have stopped for a while. Unfortunately I just can’t stop myself trying to do thing’s I feel I’m supposed to do instead of resting otherwise I think I may have recovered a bit quicker but by Saturday morning I sat straight up in bed without even thinking and got up and dressed before I realised I wasn’t struggling to do so!

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it felt to suddenly realise I was almost completely pain-free! I still felt a few twinges across the day but nowhere near as bad as usual. The Mr suggested taking the girls to the pub for lunch as the weather was warmer and nice enough for them to play in the garden. Normally I dread it knowing after 15 minutes sat in the pub my back, hips and knees will feel like they are on fire and I wont be able to concentrate or enjoy myself but for a change I felt up for it and we spent an hour or 2 there having some lunch chatting with a few people whilst the girls watched a bit of the rugby before coming home for dinner.

Usually I get back and feel exhausted and just want to die on the sofa but instead I came back feeling just slightly achy but over the moon as we had managed a lovely lunch out where I didn’t spend the whole time trying to ignore my pain and getting stressed. We even received a compliment as we were leaving from the staff as we always tidy up after ourselves and the girls behave well too. Apparently they really notice the difference when we visit, we have visited several times over the last week or 2 with friends to try and stop feeling stuck in the flat and I was worried about taking the girls in there and annoying customers & staff so to be given such a compliment really cheered me up on top of the pain relief!

I expected to wake up Sunday morning and regret going out Saturday yet instead I felt amazing and managed to walk to town as well as tidying when I got back. It was so strange being able to do things without thinking again, I’d do something silly then get overly excited because I managed it so easily!

Again Monday morning I woke up feeling great and had the dishwasher loaded and on by the time the Mr & Eva had left for the school run at 8.20am! I put some music on to motivate me even more and managed to scrub half the kitchen before the Mr was back from the school run. I’m so pleased the injections have done something for me. Bolts of pain that were bringing me to tears feel like little tiny shocks now and are so much easier to ignore. My walk doesnt look as awful and im slightly faster than a snail again. Even if it only lasts a few more days I’d happily go through it all again just for the relief I have had already!

Have you had steroid injections? How did they work for you? If at all? How long did the effects last?


First steroid injections

I finally had my first steroid injections yesterday at Orsett Hospital after what felt like an extremely long wait. In the end my consultant decided to give me a Lumbar epidural steroid injection, Left L5, S1 Dorsal root ganglia and Right S1, S2,  S3 lateral branch diagnostic blocks.


I was so nervous but somehow managed to keep fairly calm on the surface. I arrived at 9am where I was shown to a bed and given a gown and the most stunning see through granny knickers going (haha!) to change into. I had my blood pressure taken once the nurse finally found a small enough arm wrap for me  & she checked my temperature before I signed some forms and was given my hospital bands and told someone would come and see me soon. I sat and skimmed the book I took along with me whilst trying to stop myself thinking of anything and working myself up. Then the lady next to me was called in after a while and I was told I would be next and someone would collect me in about 20 minutes.

I felt ridiculously nervous and mentioned on the way to the operating theatre that I had a bit of a needle phobia and was trying my best to ignore it. I had to be propped up with 2 pillows under my stomach as I am slim. They cracked a few jokes about but by then I had already began to panic and was trying to focus on not jumping off the table but my consultant Dr. Thompson noticed my heart rate and asked for me to be sedated and  I felt calm almost instantly and although I kind of felt something was happening it didn’t hurt and I wasn’t really aware of what was happening. I remember rolling onto my bed to be taken to recovery and slowly coming round fully a little while later.

Apart from a few tingles I felt very little to begin with, in fact I was amazed I had no pain! After I had been back on the ward a little while I was given tea and toast before attempting to stand. Surprisingly I felt fine standing and walking just a little stiff so the nurse let me change and called our friend Steve to come and collect me.

I felt a little stiff walking to the car and struggled to get comfy but didn’t feel too bad until I was almost home. Luckily Steve stopped and popped into a shop just in time for me to throw up. We managed to get home before I was sick again and I had a rest on the sofa. I tried to make sure I got up regularly and moved about to ease the stiffness although the pain gradually crept back over the afternoon.

first steroid injections

Over the next few hours my hips, back and legs felt like they were stiffening more and more and bolts of pain were taking my breath away and making me feel nauseous. By the evening I was in so much pain I felt so sick with each bolt of pain and struggled to eat. I spent most of the day on the sofa cuddled up with my pillow and wheat bag feeling exhausted and sorry for myself.

Before bed the Mr ran me a nice warm bath so I could de-tango myself and try to ease the pain a little in the hope I could get some sleep. I dosed myself up and although I did wake several times I had a fairly OK night but woke up very stiff again. Unfortunately I was sick a few more times when I got up due to bolts of pain and felt exhausted still but I tried to move around gently across the morning having a few rest periods on the sofa.

I decided to look Dr Thomson up on-line to see if there had been any feedback from his other patients and was surprised and pleased to find out just how successful he is in his field. When  I came across this page I really was impressed reading about Dr Thomson’s work and the 5th paragraph reminded me how it amazed me when he actually listened to me at my first pain management appointment and I had a feeling he really knew what he was talking about.



Having read this I am so glad I am under such a great team and although I am struggling with the pain I am confident that whether the injections work or not I am under a great consultant who will continue to help me. From the very few people who were able to share their experiences with me it seems I have been very lucky so far and hopefully the pain will ease up soon and the injections work even if its just a few day’s of relief! I will be sent another appointment in the next 13-18 weeks so I guess for now its just a case of resting and seeing how things go. I think I’m going to set up the Catch My Pain app to remind me to track my pain levels again now I have the G4 back so I can monitor everything until my next appointment.

Overcoming a bad patch

I’m pretty sure I am not alone in saying January was mostly awful!
I’ve been trying to overcome a bad patch. The cold weather made it miserable and made my whole body hurt so much I had to keep myself fairly dosed up, something I generally avoid doing as much as possible as I really don’t like taking any kind of medication and dealing with the side effects.

As you may have read my LGG4 died leaving me without a phone and almost camera-less.. I say almost because I do in fact own a real camera, I have a Fujifilm finepix S1500 but I misplaced the rechargeable batteries and hunted through the flat huffing and sulking for a good few days until I eventually found them.

Just as I thought I was winning I managed to take a few shots and went to put them on my laptop only I couldn’t find the USB lead! So of course I spent another few days tearing apart the flat like a madwoman.

The Mr  then suggested asking our tech geek if he had a spare. Turns out we went through all this when I got the camera (second hand) and tech geek had given me a memory card reader to use instead.

Of course this was sat in my kitchen junk draw staring at me for the entire week whilst I searched the draw for the batteries (which were actually in there too!?) and the non-existent USB lead.

Normally it wouldn’t bother me so much but I needed the pictures for our Weekend Box review and the Mr found a local photography group a few weeks back and I was hoping to brave it and try going to hopefully learn to take much better photo’s and to give me a break as well as meeting new people in the area.

I also started on the mission of cleaning my brother’s flat leaving me exhausted and well behind on my own housework. Obviously I don’t mind doing it as it really is needed and I am the only person he trusts to go through his stuff and sort it but I am suffering for it.

Both girl’s have been ill on and off throughout January too which obviously makes it even harder to get thing’s done or catch a moment to myself. Add to that the Issue’s we have been having with Eva’s school it has been a hectic, stressful and lonely month!

Overcoming a bad patch

So all in all January was a bit crap to be honest. I know to most people all these little things seem so silly but for me it just felt like one thing after another was going wrong and this caused my depression and anxiety to spiral out of control a little. Luckily February seems to be going fairly well minus a poorly Eva and issue[s with her school.

Reviewing the Weekend box really perked both Eva and myself up and gave us something to do whilst Izzy slept over the weekend.

I eventually managed to upload my pictures and finish the blog post too. I missed another photography group meet though as I have been overly anxious all week but I’m hoping to pluck up the courage to go on Tuesday.

As it turned out the LGG4 was still under warranty and although the collection was delayed by a day the G4 was collected for repair on Wednesday and should hopefully be back working within a week,
I have everything crossed it is fixable as I really do love that phone!

My brothers flat is so much cleaner and a lot more organised and his asthma has started to ease up slightly where there is less dust & mould. He is doing better in himself and on my last visit we went to ads with an unused gift card I found at his and bought him a decent saucepan, strainer and utensils and enough food to keep him going until my next visit.

Although I’ve been in a lot of pain lately we worked out wearing the Mr’s long johns helps with my leg pain where they stay warmer. Also the Mr has been making sure my wheat bags are warmed every night and he has been using a fan heater to warm the bed up each night to help too. Plus knowing I only have another month to wait until my steroid injections I am hopeful the pain may decrease a little!

To top it all the blog seems to be doing fairly ok even though I’ve struggled with posting and networking lately and I have a few more awesome reviews coming up very soon.

Over the coming month I’ll have more time to chat to other bloggers and read more posts too which I love doing! So if we haven’t spoken before please feel free to come say Hi sometime as I love discovering new blogs and having a chat.

Hopefully this coming Tuesday I will manage to make it to the Photography meet up, I just need to try not to think about it too much in the days leading up to it to keep my anxiety down. Easier said than done but I really need to try and do this for myself, give myself a bit of time out doing something I love & hopefully make some friends around here too!

Eva is booked in at the Dr’s Monday and I’m hoping we can get to the bottom of her headaches and a few other thing’s.

February is definitely looking to be a much better month already! How was your January? Do you have high hopes for February?

10 Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2016

10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2016

10 Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2016.. A whole new year to look forward to! I usually don’t have too much to look forward to as we enter each new year however so far 2016 seems to have a few things in store for us which I can not wait for. So here are My 10 things I’m looking forward to this year.

  1. Steroid injections in March I know it’s strange to look forward to a procedure like this but especially as the pain is creeping back again I’m hopeful they will help ease even a tiny bit of the pain to allow me to continue strengthening my core.
  2. The Easter holidays – Although we don’t particularly celebrate Easter as we aren’t religious in any way we do love to scoff a few choccy eggs! (Don’t we all!?) The holiday itself is a nice break for us and a chance to do things as a family. Things are looking slightly better financially so we are hoping to fit in a trip to London during the Easter hol’s to visit the science museum and anywhere else that takes the girl’s fancy. We haven’t had a chance to get out and do much with the girls & I intend on changing that this year!
  3. Eva’s 6th Birthday (10th May) – The last few years the majority of people have let Eva down on her birthday so last year we decided against a party. This year however I’ve decided we are going to do something different & take her & her friend out for the day to the zoo. If we have our own car by then it will probably be Colchester zoo otherwise we can all take the train & visit London zoo instead! ( 😀 I Love it when I have a back up plan!)
  4. The summer holidays (June-Sept) – Who doesn’t love it when the sun is shine and that alone is a perfect excuse to go out & enjoy it. I hurt so much when it’s cold it makes it hard for me to feel motivated enough to take the girls out much but in the summer I always make up for it.
  5. August – It’s part of the summer holidays but I love it for other reasons too! My brother turns 21 on the 5th, Izzy turns 2 on the 6th, and I turn 20… (6 D: ) on the 14th. It’s a big one for my brother this year and I fully intend on making sure he damn well enjoys it!
  6. Spending more time with my brother – In the last 2 weeks we have seen him 4 times, usually we see him maybe once every 2-3 months as he hides away when he is struggling but he seems to be realising now he can come to us no matter what & we will help in any way we can even if he just needs to be around people and chat nonsense 🙂
  7. Figuring out how to make pretty knitted & crocheted items – I’ve been knitting a few years now but never had the confidence to do anything other than a plain knitted blanket or scarf, this year I want to focus on my knitting a bit more & learn to crochet properly. (If you have any tutorials/patterns etc please Get in touch :D)
  8. Growing the blog – Getting back into blogging again has already helped me loads & it makes me really happy to see my followers growing and people actually reading my rambles. It makes me even happier when people like & comment too. I’m really enjoying blogging again & cant wait to see what progress I can make in 2016 & look forward to connecting with other bloggers too.
  9. Working with brands – I love product reviewing and testing all sorts of stuff from technology to food, toys to appliances, there’s very little I wouldn’t mind reviewing if I’m honest & after testing a Cake for Baker Day’s it’s reminded me just how much I loved doing this on my last blog.
  10. Learning to manage my pain – I am now under a pain management consultant who really seemed to listen on my first visit & has explained so much to me that although I still feel a little lost with it all after  we now have a plan in place to help me manage the pain and build my core strength back up. The plan so far is that I will see  my consultant every 8 weeks or so with steroid injections & physiotherapy alongside it and once I am able to manage the pain better I can work harder on building up my strength, in the meantime though I just need to keep active but not push myself so hard and actually rest when I need to.. easier said than done admittedly with 2 young children but I am at least trying to slow down!

So that’s my list (I love lists!) of 10 things I’m looking forward to this year, what are yours?