I guess that's been the question if you've come to have a look lately....
To be honest, I haven't been in the best of health and am finally finding out what it means when I used to think I was sick like if I had a cold or a stomach bug or something compared to what I'm going through now.
Basically, I've had a few "weird" neurological episodes over the years, nothing huge, a couple of numb patches on my body, my eyes flicking and doing weird stuff and my spatial perception (that thing in your brain that determines if you have enough room to reverse your car without hitting anything) being on holiday. During one "episode" a few years ago I scraped the entire side of my van along the driveway gate because in my not quite right mind I swear it looked like I had plenty of room. Nobody was more shocked than me to hear that noise of metal scraping on metal, maybe except for Doug who looked at me like I was an idiot when I told him what I'd done. Lucky for me the van is a heap of crap anyway lol
So these neurological symptoms came for a few weeks at a time and would go again, with a few years in between episodes so I really didn't think much of it but after the van incident I did tell my doctor who arranged for a CT scan of my head which was totally normal (but at least I had picture proof that no matter how scattered I am, I DO have a brain!). Fast forward to last year as we were preparing to move. Life was stressful, crazy, full of dramas and I was working ridiculous hours right up until the move the week before Christmas. Around November I started to notice pins and needles in the fingers on my left hand. Odd, I thought. Didn't pay much attention. The numb patches I had always had started to get a bit bigger and new ones appeared, like having a shot of novacaine at the dentist where you can feel pressure on your face but the sensation is really dulled if you know what I mean? I also intermittently got the sensation of having something cold or hot on my left leg or arm but there was nothing there. I started to get really tired and run down and naturally assumed it was because of all the stuff going on in life so pretty much tried to ignore it all and took on an "I'll deal with it after the holidays" type of thing. I even went away for a few days with the fam to the beach and things settled down again. Excellent, I thought, clearly just needed a break...
Hit the fast forward button again to the first week of February. Here in Brisbane we had a full on heat wave that first week. My office, which technically is a carpeted formal dining room, is the only room in the house with no air con and no ceiling fan. It faces west and gets the afternoon sun from at least midday until the sun goes down and the temperature in the room was like an oven. As the week progressed I got more and more exhausted even though I was sitting at my desk the whole time. I started taking naps during the day because I was just so freaking tired. My ankles swelled up (my beloved cankles have thankfully left the building and I dearly hope they never return) and my blood pressure shot up as well which is unheard of for me. I am very proud of my rock solid 110/70 bp that never shifts, even when I'm hugely pregnant. I figured it was just the heat and the ankles were from drinking three litres of water a day cos I was so hot. So whinged and bitched and made Doug eventually put in the window mounted air con unit we had the garage which he had been putting off for a while as his computer sits right in the path of the big split system in the rumpus room. Sorry, Doug is normally a wonderful and very considerate guy but I don't think he got how unwell the heat was making me feel and it wasn't like he had to sit in that room all day sweltering.
I was so grateful for the air con but the exhaustion and fatigue didn't improve and I was finding it a bit of a struggle to get up at 4am for my usual starts. I also started getting the same other symptoms back with a big increase in pins and needles to the point where it was occurring all along my left side from the top of my head to my feet. My brain basically went to mush and I forgot how to spell things, forgot conversations mid-sentence, had trouble remembering the names of things and my left hand became fumbly and incoordinated, not great for a typist!!! I started having bladder problems with urgency and my left arm and leg started to feel a bit weak. I had an episode of a tremor in my right arm and tripping because my foot wasn't lifting high enough when I was walking, had an awful case of clumsy, dropping stuff, walking into doorways, walking into furniture, etc. Within a few weeks the tremor in my left arm had become what's called an intention tremor, it's only really noticeable when I try to use my left arm/hand to do something in particular, like pick up a glass or carry something. I started to get muscle ticks and jerks which don't hurt but are hugely annoying.
By this time I'm worried and get a referral to a neurologist who sees me within a week. I failed a few of the basic neurological tests they do, like close your eyes and heel-toe walk in a straight line, my reflexes were a bit off on my left side and the lack of sensation has spread to most of my left side. I had an MRI scan done of my brain and whole spine (reassuringly I still had a brain cos I was starting to wonder...) which was a bit scary actually. I'm not claustrophobic by nature but my gp gave me valium to take beforehand anyway. Really glad I took it. Anyway, upshot of the MRI was that it was "clean" meaning nothing obvious to see that would be causing stuff. I had a sleep study done and it turns out I sleep just fine. I had basic blood workups done and I don't have diabetes, high cholestserol or anything else for that matter except for slightly low B group vitamins. My neurologist is seeing me again soon but I don't know where we'll go from here.
So my days now are made up of sleeping longer, taking a nap at lunchtime, cutting back my workload because I just can't type as fast right now, and trying to get on with things in spite of all the weird symptoms still going on. My left leg weakness is bugging me some if I have to walk for anything more than a quick dash into the shops and I end up limping and exhausted as if my leg isn't strong enough to support me. So I made the decision to get a "spazz stick" as I call it, not having a joke at anyone but myself there either. The walking stick comes out if I know I have to be at the shops or walk any kind of longer distances, or if I have to stand for a long time. It's taken some getting used to and luckily some days are better than others and I don't feel like I need it so I don't use it. Other days I get so limpy and sore from just walking around that it goes with me if I leave the house for any reason. It feels a bit strange because to look at me, there's literally nothing you can see from the outside to explain why I'd need it and because the dr isn't sure what's causing it all yet I can't say "well, it's because I have ....". I figure it's better to give in and use the damned stick than to sit at home and not go out because I'm having trouble walking, which is the point I got to when I decided to go buy it after looking at them a few times already. I hope this is something that will either fix itself or can be diagnosed and treated and I can put the stick in the garage until the kids need it for dress ups or a school play or something.
I'm not going to go so far as to say I'm messed up or scared because at least with my medical typing, I know that there are often solutions for the most minor of problems so I'm not really worried about what it might be (that being side, I was bloody relieved when the MRI didn't show anything ghastly like a brain tumour or something!), I'm just more concerned with getting it identified so I can get some treatment and get on with things. I don't have time for this crap lol
So that's where I've been, not scrapping, not blogging, not doing much of anything but trying to get by. I'm lucky that I'm good at denial and have mastered not thinking about things that upset or bother me. I'm now pretty used to the pins and needles stuff and the other symptoms. They've been going on for almost three months now and I guess I've gotten used to all the strange sensations and things that happen. I'm starting to think of this as my new "normal" but it hopefully won't stay that way but to worry constantly, to fight every symptom and focus in on it just makes things harder, not easier, and I haven't got enough room in my head for that. All in all I'm pretty optimistic, I'm not scared of what the future will throw at me and whatever happens I know I'm going to be okay. I'm stronger than I know and I think most people are. They just don't know it until something happens and they make it out the other side pretty much okay, or as okay as they can be.
So, super quick round up of life in general whilst all the above crap has been trying to get in the way....
Doug has been wonderful, doing most of the housework and being a wonderful husband and dad as usual. I know he sounds too good to be true and so many people have "sunshine and roses" blogs but he is just that great apart from being "zoned out" on his computer now and then and really I can't blame him as it's his relaxation time and he doesn't get much of it. He's a happy camper now the V8s and F1 have started up again.
Blayd went to his second National All Styles Tournament for the year yesterday and came home with a third place trophy in points sparring and a first place in continuous sparring. I'm really proud of him but he looks like crap with bruises all up and down his arms. The big boys (the black belts) don't hold back....
Lachlann is LOVING his dance classes and eagerly wants to add tap and hip hop to his weekly jazz and ballet classes. It means the world to see him come home after class with a huge smile on his face. It has done wonders for his self-confidence and I believe he's truly found his "thing". I have no idea if he's any good at dancing as he's only just started but he's a very emotive child, my deep and mysterious one, and so as long as it makes him happy then that's how long he'll be doing it I guess.
James has been busy doing lots of drawing and much watching of Avatar (a cartoon) supplemented with plenty of Sponge Bob. He's having a "difficult" stage right now where he is having trouble giving up the screeching, choking, roll around on the floor tantrums when he doesn't get his own way. He's always been fond of a bit of drama but at nearly 8 it's getting beyond a joke so we're trying a few parenting strategies to deal with that one. I think he's feeling a bit left out of things so we've been trying to do more one-on-one stuff with him.
Caeligh has adjusted to school life remarkably well and she has heaps of friends already. Her ADHD medication is the best thing we've ever done for her, giving her the opportunity to be just like any other child at school and improving her relationships with pretty much everyone around her. Her medication is a bit like Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage though - as soon as it wears off she deteriorates rapidly into her impulsive, uncontrollable behaviour so we've been keeping an eagle eye on the timing so we don't have that problem. She's now mastered cartwheels, handstands against a wall, and being able to flip over forward in a back arch type position. She's trying to learn to balance her weight to be able to bring her hands up one at a time to get full circle up to standing position again but I don't think her little muscles are strong enough just yet. Doesn't ever stop her trying though!!! She's also taken a keen interest in any kind of animal documentaries on TV so each night we sit and watch half an hour of something. Typically Caeligh though, her favourite ones are the dangerous animals, especially snakes, spiders, or anything that will kill something else. I figure at least it's educational.
As I said before, I've done virtually no scrapping at all save for the layout I've created to teach at this year's Scrapbook Expo in June. While I will no longer be on the Kaisercraft design team (I am not reapplying as I just don't know what my health will do and I'd rather they find new DT with passion, drive and plenty of time to promote the products) I will however be teaching in the Kaisercraft Classroom. The layout at the start of this epic massive post is the one I'll be teaching. The class description is on the website at www.scrapbookexpo.com.au in the Kaisercraft Classroom descriptions. Sorry the photo isn't better. I tried taking it outside, on Lola's rear bumper but it's not as great as I'd like. It's covered in bling, doodling, mesh, inking, layering etc and looks so much better in real life - I promise!!! lol The cropped photo will make it onto the expo's website this week. I'm teaching from 2.30-4.30 Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I'm looking forward to "plugging back in" to the scrapping world I feel like I've been out of for so long and catching up with people as I've really turned into a bit of a hermit, not going out and not ringing people etc. What's been going on has been hard to explain and I feel like maybe people won't understand anyway so I've kind of just withdrawn from the world in general a bit.
Anyway, this is my first venture back into the scrapping world, with the layout above and updating my blog. I don't have any real plans other than teaching for Kaisercraft at the expo and I'm going to be gentle on myself and not scrap unless I really feel the urge to, which is not often these days and let's just say that fine motor skills aren't my greatest asset right now anyway lol
I've missed you guys! I've missed documenting what's going on in my life even if nobody else reads it and I've missed feeling like a part of a community that I love so much no matter how infrequently I've been scrapping. I'll keep y'all posted on the health thing; wish me luck in finding out what's going wrong and how to fix it. I don't really feel like me anymore which is strange because I always said I didn't really know who I was but I do know now at least that this for sure isn't me and I'd like my old, don't know who I am self back please.... L xx