I thought I was having a stroke..

#hemiplegicmigraine #migraine #workingmum #health # therapies #medication #headache

When I attempted to call my parents for help, but couldn’t figure out how to use my phone- i had to accept, I have a problem.

For years I’ve known that I experience migraines which i would describe as invasive and unusual, having blurred eye sight with pins and needles- but never to this extent.

It was a Sunday, and the first thing I noticed was my eye sight. For me, its like a have someone shining a camera light at the side of my face so all I can see is a curved ray come across my span of vision, cutting off the most left area of my sight.

Then, the throbbing headache starts. It becomes hard to concentrate.

On this occasion my fingers started tingling, then my wrist, then my fore arm- they started feeling numb. Along with this my tongue started to get pins and needles, and my bottom lip on the left side started drooping, almost pulling itself down.

This was new…

This has never happened before…

My instinct was- arm numb, lip drooping, and all on my left side. Is this a stroke? I grabbed my phone but then (along with already having trouble seeing, with the light and words becoming jumbled), I couldn’t read. I could see words on my phone but I didn’t understand them. I could acknowledge there was a phone book symbol but my brain couldn’t tell my hand to press it- and I couldn’t remember what who ‘mum’ was (despite it being saved as ‘mum’). I’d lost all comprehension of words and how they worked. I felt like a 3 year old looking at a book- i knew it meant something but I had no idea what.

I sat, staring at it, confused and increasingly anxious. Why can’t I understand these words? The TV was on the background but what was it saying? I could hear the voices but it didn’t makes sense. What do words mean?!

I have no idea how much time passed. I remember sitting on the floor with my phone next to me but no idea how to work it. Eventually, after an unknown amount of time, i figured out how to call someone.

It rang… but when there was an answer- I didn’t have words. I didn’t know any. I don’t recall the words I used but it was something along the lines of ‘come, need, come’. I was taken to A&E.

By the time I was seen in A&E I was starting to come around. I was talking, still a bit muffled, but I was able to answer questions and move my arm again. My mouth was moving as usual but some pins and needles were still in my tongue and fingers. I felt sick and I had an awful headache.

The I was told- this was a migraine. Now, in the grand scheme of what I thought I was experience, this is NOTHING. I was already wondering how much rehab potential I would have if I had permanent stroke damage, so to hear it was a migraine I was ecstatic! Confused, but ecstatic!

But now I have to come to terms with what this means.

Since this particular event I have spent time reflecting on the ‘smaller’ migraines I have been experiencing and how they have been changing over the years. In typical 20-something year old fashion I hadn’t paid much interest in these events once they had passed- but this time I had to take it more seriously.

I made an appointment with the GP and we spoke about triggers and treatment options, as well as how often I was having them and how they present themselves. Turns out, when I thought about it- I was having a lot of migraines and they had become more severe. Since this realisation I have had several of these events, and since becoming a mother I am much more concerned about my safety, as well as my sons when I experience them. Because, as you just read, I’m not able to look after myself at these points, let alone someone else.

I’ve tried all sorts of weird and wonderful more holistic approaches to treatment, anything from vitamins to acupuncture. None of it has worked for me- so now I’m trying the medication.

Preventative medication is a new path for me, and one which seems difficult to negotiate – as there is no definitive cure, and a lot of self reported ‘this works for me’ methods.

So here’s to the start of my journey into the world of migraine treatment. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Introducing, Atlanta

#dog, #bluestaffie, #rehoming, #mother, #staffie, #dogs, #family, #motherhood, #pets

So, she woke up this morning looking particularly glorious and I thought it’s only fair to share this with the world- introducing, Atlanta..

207C7CB8-C1D2-4C60-989A-C34552CFBB50 I know what you’re all thinking, how does she do it? #nofilterrequired

In all seriousness, this beauty is the result of rehoming. Can I urge anyone who reads this to consider rehoming a dog rather than going to a breeder? It’s not for everyone I know- but at least keep your mind open to the idea. There are so many beauties without loving homes that are over looked because they’re not newborns.

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She had some inital behavioural issues, mostly about avoiding random fears (boxes and black bags), and she had no idea how to walk on a lead! Plus to this day she has never understood doggie etiquette- if your dog growls at her she tries to lick their face. But in all honesty she really has blossomed into part of the family, and is my (fur)baby, as well as my sons best friend.

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She is patient, loving, gentle and irreplaceable. Love dogs and please consider rehoming.

10 little things that make me happy

#women, #mentalhealth, #list, #greatful, #stress, #family, #mindful

The ‘nothing days’- where nothing bad happened, and where nothing good happened. If someone were to ask ‘how was your day?’, I would say ‘okay’.

These happen more often than not, but generally- I’m often feeling tired or under low key stress. I tend to only recognise the dramatically good or bad. 

So, I’ve been making more of an effort to acknowledge the daily pros. Not the big successes, but the small wins- just to remind me what really matters.

Here’s today’s list:

  1. Getting my 3 year old dressed and getting a surprise hug midway.
  1. Going to get a specific product from the supermarket and finding out it’s half price. Everyone likes saving some cash!
  1. Getting to see your partner unexpectedly during the day, we don’t usually see each other midweek.
  1. Seeing a 97 year old going on their first date since the passing of their wife ten years ago.
  1. Finally setting a date to meet up with friend, as your diaries have clashed for 3 months.

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I would love to be a person that practices mindfulness but at the moment I can’t get into it. I guess this is my practical glimpse into it!

Grown Up Guilt

#guilt #mother #mum #workingmum #dayoff #pressure #stress #mentalworkload

It’s Thursday. Usually I’d be working an 8am to 4pm shift- but I’ve booked today off. I’ve used annual leave, knowing my husband is working and my son is with a sitter- and i feel guilty.

No, I’m not sleeping in and watching trash TV. I’m not having my hair or nails done. I’m not going to the gym or going to a fun class. I’m not even meeting up with family or friends.

The reason I booked the day off is because I need to catch up with life. I need to do the washing, clean the floors and catch up with the uni work I’m behind with. I don’t have time to do these things between shifts and picking up my son, and as anyone who spends time with toddlers knows- doing it with him isn’t possible.

So why do I feel guilty?

Since having my son, for some reason ‘me time’ no longer exists. Don’t get me wrong, I knew when I had him that things were going to change- but there has to be a balance between doing things for everyone else, and doing things for myself. There must be a separation between myself as a person and my identity as a mother.

It’s a constant struggle that I still haven’t mastered. I’ve heard my friends say ‘it’s healthy’ to have time to myself, and my husband has never commented on it negatively so why do I feel so bad?

Self pressure. The worst type of pressure.

Plus, as for many working parents- I use my sitters to work, so when it comes to personal time away I just feel guilty asking them to do even childcare.

I’m hoping I get the hang of this before he turns 18 because this grown up guilt stuff isn’t fun!

Going back to school, what was I thinking?!

#university #adultlearning #backtoschool #postgraduate #masters #workingmum #workingparent #motherhood

It’s been 5 years since I finished university. I’m one of those lucky ones that got a job in my chosen field and I am desperately in love with what I do. But… healthcare is changing. I am seeing more and more graduates going into post-grad studies straight away, and the top jobs are becoming more competitive. It’s hardly worth applying unless you have those extra letters after your name.

When I graduated there was a huge emphasis on gaining experience, and that being known in your field would stand you in good stead- but the game is clearly changing.

I’m lucky enough that in some respects, 5 years isn’t a long time, getting back into the education frame of mind shouldn’t be too bad, and the academic changes along with technological advances in learning wont have jumped that far. Right?

Wrong.

Terribly wrong.

Horrifically wrong.

Think again.

What the hell is ‘distance learning’, ‘e-lectures’ and the obsession with video recording?!

Okay, so a lot of this was being talked about what I was leaving uni last time, but seeing it in full swing makes me feel like I missed something. I’ve always considered myself pretty tech minded and I’m quick to find my way around computers but the new systems used and lack of personal contact came as a shock. 5 years ago people had laptops in their rooms but they weren’t steaming live lectures and doing group work in WhatsApp, we were using excel and word! I realised that the other professionals coming back for masters were completely overwhelmed- my allocated partner confessed that being over 50 she did not feel comfortable with the new ways of learning- and soon was no where to be seen.

And that’s just the practical side of learning.

It turns out, that in 5 years, i forgot quite how much has changed. I now not only have my bills to pay- but i have a house to mortgage and family to support. There’s no room for ‘I’ll start that essay tomorrow’ because I’ve got a full weeks work to do. Plus there’s that little thing called parenting that I overlooked- I didn’t have a screaming toddler last time I tried to practice my clinical skills work. Plus living on campus certainly cut out that pesky commute I do daily.

I’m now nearly half way through a part time masters, and every time i finish a module I get a huge sense of achievement, and a complete buzz that floats me along until the next project… I’m hoping that once I complete this I’ll look back and glow because it was worth my time and effort.

Or am I just going to realise that all this hard work makes no difference what so ever? Any reassurance would be appreciated!

Welcome to the ‘Do It All’ Generation

#mother #mum #workingmum #workingmom #career #volunteering #women #university #adultlearning #mentalhealth #toddlers

I attended a conference two weeks ago, and was asked to summarise myself in 3 lines- I wasn’t able to do it. Frankly- I’m still not able to do it. In the last 3 years, since having my son, my world has changed (as it does with all parents) both for better, and for worse.

I now have the glorious role of being someone’s mother; I get to nurture him and teach him, experience unconditional love, and burst with pride on a regular basis. I love him- but I’m more than his mother.

I am also a wife, a friend, a daughter- I have other relationships that I need to invest time in. The need is both for myself (because I need to feel useful and participate in the adult world for my own mental health), and for the other people who need support and care.

Let’s not forget that career I was building before my son came along- that six months maternity leave gave me the most important gift in my life, but it was also incredibly inconvenient to my career. Since he’s come along I’ve had two promotions, and I don’t intend to stop there. Again, I want to be clear that this is for me- but my family also need me to earn money to ensure they get what they need.

Oh, and to add to the commitments I have in life a volunteer for a charity (because giving back is good for the soul, and an example to my son), plus I have gone back to university (because learning is life long).

I know I don’t have to do all these things, but I’ve found since having a son that society has attempted to push me in directions that I don’t want to go- and I know I’m not the only parent who feels like this.

This blog is to share my experiences since becoming a;

Twenty something, Vegetarian, Wife, Home owner, Daughter, Friend, Manager, Student, Volunteer and Mother. Who has interests in mental health, animal rights, and promoting the use of local business (finally- I did it in 3 lines!).

Here’s to future adventures x