Cleared for take off :)

Cleared for take off :)

Well there have been no further recurrence of the mini strokes that I experienced, my ecg results were fine, MRI scan showed no permanent damage, cholesterol results, that I was initially told were 11.6 actually turned out to be 5.6 – still high but not unbelievably, dangerously high and blood pressure is down.

And all that means I can drive again WOO HOO. Sadly, it also means I don’t have to work from home any more so I am back in the office from Tuesday BOO. Although my consultant did suggest I ought to work from home more often … I wonder what would happen if I suggested it :) Might be worth mentioning.

Anyway, other than having to see the GP on Wednesday, I am clear of medical appointments for three months when blood tests need to be done again to see if anything has changed. In the meantime I intend to continue with the health kick – low cholesterol/fat healthy diet and lots of walking. Oh and I can go back on the list to have my hernia operation now.

The thing I am most pleased about is I am still not smoking. According to the app on my phone it has now been 43 days, 11 hours and 48 minutes and this has saved me £333.26.

Quite where the money has gone I am not sure, because I am certainly not any better off at the moment. All I can say for sure is I am slightly (very slightly) less debt ridden.

I am sure the financial benefits will come at some point. Although I am spending a fair amount in prescription charges instead now!

And dental treatment – although I had the final piece of dental work done last week, so now I am clear until the next six month check up. There is progress after all. Slow and steady wins the race.

So what have I been up to for the last few weeks?

Well I have been working from home but that means the housework keeps up to date as well.

I’ve taken to walking on the Common a fair bit when the weather hasn’t  been diabolical. I have watched every single episode of every series of Criminal Minds and got through the first two and a half series of Merlin.

I have rediscovered my interest in cooking. I am eating loads but it’s much healthier than it was. If it doesn’t involve oats or lentils, I don’t want to know lol. No, it’s not quite that bad but I do actually love fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses and whole grains etc etc so I am making an effort to use them. My ten bean chilli is gorgeous, as is a recipe I discovered/adapted for apple, oat and honey cookies made with no sugar and no butter yum.

At some point, also given the increased levels of activity, I am hoping the weight will start falling off. At the moment, I am just happy to have lost a few pounds despite the fact I have stopped smoking.

Man has been down to look after me for a couple of long weekends and on Friday I drove to his in Nottingham for the first time for ages and ages.

I have been trying to capture lots of different birds with my camera as I have been on my wanders on the common (although it was lovely to be able to go a bit further afield and visit Attenborough Nature Reserve yesterday) and this has become a bit of an additional hobby.

I’ve also read a bit.

I haven’t been able to get out to see any more churches, but now I’m back on the road again, who knows :).

And I think it’s time to start blogging again.

So here’s some of my birdy photos … rest assured there will be more pictures to follow :)

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20130213-204307.jpgDo you like my flowers? Cheerful aren’t they? I love the bright colours, they remind me that spring is on the way.

They are from my lovely colleagues from work and I think they’re gorgeous :)

The last time I wrote on here was the day I headed home from Man’s house near the end of January.

Before I left his house I had a weird thing happen to me.

We were sitting watching the television and all of a sudden I got really bad double vision and the left side of my head had pins and needles, even the left side of my tongue, it was like there was a line drawn down the middle.

Then the pins and needles switched to the other side. It last about 15 minutes during which time I panicked and Man had me do sensible things like stick my tongue out and raise my arms in the air (can be indicators of someone having a stroke).

Anyway, half hour later I felt fine and decided to drive home, despite Man’s protestations that I should go to hospital. So drive home I did.

The following day I went to the dentist and then to work and worked all day (about 12 hours). Just as I was about to leave I got pins and needles in the left side of my head and down my left arm. They lasted about 15 minutes again.

Having promised Man I would seek medical advice if it happened again, I popped in to the reception at A&E on my way home and asked the receptionist whether or not she thought I ought to see someone.

I spent the next three hours having blood tests and ecgs and being monitored, speaking to the doctor and then being discharged with a referral for a CT scan.

Apparently I hadn’t had a stroke but it was highly likely I had had two TIAs or mini strokes.

I was also told I couldn’t drive for four weeks from that date.

I also had raging toothache from the dental appointment that morning. I was hoping it was just the anesthetic wearing off … turned out it wasn’t. You know that ‘never rains but it pours’ sort of day.

Unable to get to work and not sure what was going on, I worked from home for the rest of that week. By Thursday I could stand the pain of my tooth no longer and had to return to have the first part of root canal treatment done. By Saturday I was back there getting a prescription for antibiotics because I then had an infection in it as well.

On the Monday, I spent the day at the Stroke Clinic.

Such fun. I had a CT scan and an MRI scan and an ultrasound of the jugular, blood tests, another ecg and then a long chat with a consultant who spoke in sentences I didn’t understand. (But at least the antiobiotics were kicking in for the infection in my tooth!).

The upshot was that I should have been admitted to hospital the week before and I was at serious risk of having a full blown stroke. I ticked most of the risk factor boxes – overweight, bad diet, until ten days previously I had been a smoker, family history (grandmother), stressful job, two TIAs in a 48 hour period and a cholesterol level that was more than double what it should be.

And this was on top of my two hernias and gastritis. Not exactly a picture of glowing health.

I took the week off work, I felt dreadful. But, to be honest, I felt/feel dreadful mentally more than physically. Although I fell asleep (a lot).

The consultant, who I didn’t understand, scared me. Was he telling me I was seriously ill? I think he was trying to but I didn’t know what things like statins and lipitors were – his customer relation skills sucked.

I did understand that he was telling me I had to rest, I had to take regular but gentle exercise, I had to eat a low cholesterol diet, I had to cancel the operation for the hernia that I had scheduled for the following weekend and I wasn’t allowed to drive.

I also understood I had to have more blood tests, see my GP, have a 24 hour ecg and go back and see him in a month.

So I walked down to the GP (it’s a two hour process to walk down there, see the GP and walk back) and spoke to her and then I walked back the following day to have more blood taken.

Man came down for the weekend and we walked a lot on the common. Gorgeous daughters one and two have been taking me to the shops and my parents have run me to dental appointments and hospital appointments.

I have been working from home around the medical appointments and trying to make sure I get lots of sleep. But the two lots of tablets the stroke guy gave me (the blood thinners and stuff to lower my cholesterol) set my gastritis off, even though he also doubled the dosage of the medication for that.

I have been trying to get out for a walk every day but sometimes the weather in February isn’t very conducive to that and I have been trying to eat a very healthy, low fat, low cholesterol diet.

And I have been trying to get my head around what I need to do to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Everyone has been extremely kind and helpful and I have been a bit snappy. I’m not very good at talking about things. So people ask me how I am and I say fine, and I say it in a manner which indicates no further questions are welcome. I don’t mean to, well actually I do. I suppose it is a defence mechanism. I just find it very difficult to express myself without being overly emotional and I don’t want to cry all the time :). So I don’t want to discuss it with people. Even though I know they are being kind and they are concerned. It’s almost as if I am embarrassed about it.

But if I bottle things up I explode and so the answer, for me at least, is to write them down. Then I can organise my thoughts into some sort of order. Then, and only then, can I talk about things without running the risk of being hugely emotional.

So, I need to make a lot of changes in my life. My daughters only have one parent and that is me and so I need to look after myself better and that means having a good, hard look at my life and making changes where they are needed.

I had already decided that changes were needed and sort of half-heartedly started making them but I have had my wake up call now so it’s time to get serious. Gorgeous daughter number one would say I am being my usual over-dramatic self and she’s probably right lol.

I called this post Reasons to be cheerful, 1, 2, 3 and yet, it’s been mostly miserable and self-pitying  so far :)

But I do have some very good reasons to be cheerful.

Firstly, some people aren’t lucky enough to be given the warning signs that I have and to be, therefore, given the opportunity to do something about their medical issue before it either kills or seriously disables them. I have been given that opportunity.

Secondly, I haven’t had a cigarette now for 32 days 23 hours and 44 minutes and, according to the NHS smokefree app on my iPhone, this has saved me £252.78 to date.

Thirdly, I have some very beautiful flowers on my windowsill from some lovely colleagues.

Three reasons to be cheerful :)






I haven’t been around for a little while because I’ve been trying to break some habits and make some new ones.

And I am very pleased to say this is the result.

photoThis is the app on my phone that shows the amount of time since I stopped smoking and the amount of money it estimates I have saved since I stopped smoking.

I didn’t want anyone to know for the first few days because I knew the ‘how are you doing?’, ‘have you had one yet?’, ‘just think of all that money you’re saving’ would annoy me to the point that I would go and buy a packet of cigarettes out of pure spite.

I’m cantankerous like that.

Man has also stopped. In fact he stopped a couple of days before I did.

And now I’ve had a small brag, I’m not going to discuss it anymore :) (and I do not think I would enjoy giving regular updates on my non-smoking to well-meaning family members either so don’t bother asking).

So currently I am up at Man’s after a hideous journey up the M1 in the snow with a lot of idiots on the road on Friday.

The world is white and there is more expected over the next 24 hours. I must drive home tomorrow and I have a dentist appointment first thing Tuesday morning to fix a very painful tooth so it will be worth making the trek through the snow just to get my tooth fixed.

Thankfully I have found an NHS dentist under whom the five fillings and a crown that I need will only cost £209. I shudder to think how much that little lot would have cost if I had to pay private dental fees.

I also have a date for the operation to fix my umbilical hernia. I have to op on Saturday February 2. I am glad because it is very painful quite often now so it will be good to get that fixed. Then I can start on the fitness campaign.

Man and I went to Attenborough Nature Reserve in the snow yesterday for a walk. It was lovely and a lot quieter than when we visited on New Year’s Day :) when it was packed with fair-weather, new year’s resolutioners :)

It looks completely different covered in snow and a lot of the foliage was flat with the weight of the snow so you had lots of different views.

I was quite pleased with some of my small bird pictures. Man bought a bird feeder for his garden and a bird identification book and I bought a fungi identification book.

I then nicked Man’s book to identify the two types of tit, the dunnock and the reed bunting I had photographed (I recognised the robin).

Sadly I have some work to do today but then I want to get out with my camera again cos this snow makes fun photos.



Man singing in the rain

I have a gazebo in the garden.

Best of all, my gazebo was free.

Now I don’t need to stand in the rain with my umbrella in my dressing gown when I have a cigarette in the morning (yes, yes, I know I should give up smoking – it’s on the list of things to do).

This is a picture I took last year of Man with my umbrella in Brighton.

I had never been to Brighton and so I wanted to go. Man was sick with Man Flu, it was a freezing cold day in February, but we still went.

That’s the sort of selfish girlfriend I am (or the sort of selfless boyfriend Man is).

I was quite pleased with the photo anyway … and we did have a fun day.

Man brought the gazebo across London on the underground yesterday. Apparently he nearly took some woman’s eye out on the escalators! It was a free gift from a friend who didn’t need it any more. Free stuff is good.

Now, rain or shine, I can sit on my patio with my coffee and my computer as I love to do on mornings I’m not working.

It took us hours last night to figure out how it went together … but we put it up eventually and sat outside with candles on the table just chilling.

Today it is not raining as expected so we could have done the car boot sale, and I don’t really need a weather-proof gazebo, oh well.

Instead we are going to go along to the boot sale and see if we can find any bargainous purchases… and do a little bit of research on how much things sell for.

Ran into a few problems on eBay yesterday for the first time. PayPal had taken money from one of my buyers twice. She emailed me asking why. Well I didn’t know.

I had a little panic about what I was going to do about it and called customer services for eBay and PayPal before I managed to work it out. I’m pretty sure her money has gone back to her now. Well I hope so anyway, I don’t want any negative feedback.

I have just short of £40 in my PayPal account now and Man has about £20 … the pennies are starting to add up. We’ll make that £50,000 before the deadline.

Ooooh, and I found several interesting writing websites … fiction ones. More info to follow when I figure out what use they can be to me.

P.S. The Original Pranksters just keep on pranking in my house. Daughter number 2 found a picture of a random ginger-haired person in a magazine and took the huge picture apart that boyf of number 1 had installed and stuck it over his face.

This morning, random ginger person now appears to have pride of place over the face of daughter number 2 in a different photo.

I can see these shenanigans continuing for a long time.

This time management thing has been bothering me.


How to create a new career, while still maintaining the old one, and doing other things like relaxing and sleeping occasionally.

The aim shall be to spend the equivalent of two working days, around 15 hours a week, doing something constructive.

Today I have been gathering information and resources.

£1 each in the charity shop – bargainous!

So I suppose my journey to a better life (the title’s from a Keith Urban song by the way) can be roughly split into four parts.

Me – the physical me.

I am unfit, overweight, don’t eat properly, which is bizarre as I love cooking, and I smoke.

I’m not telling you how much I weigh because I’m embarrassed. Suffice to say I would like to weigh around four stone less (and I still won’t be slim and sylph-like then).

My father, bless him, is very fond of telling people that I am the most intelligent person he knows. He was a rocket scientist and, although he’s very-obviously biased, this fills me with pride. Sadly, he always counters this compliment with one of two follow-up statements. Either “however, she is a complete slob” or “but let’s face it, she’s never going to be slim”!

Hmmm, watch the increasing space around me daddy dearest.

Personal finances – not so good

They’ve been worse, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been taken to court for failing to pay my council tax on time – am currently completely up to date – and I earn a reasonably good amount of money (though I give blood, sweat and tears to get it).

But I have a loan and a credit card and the rent on a three-bedroom house costs me £1,000 per month. I need to cut my spending and improve my credit rating.

The future – where I want to be by the time I’m 50

I want to work for myself. I want to be able to live wherever I want and work from home. I want to buy a house of my own to share with Man. I want to be able to take a week off to play a new Xbox game or randomly go to the beach in the middle of February if I want. To do this I am going to need a cash sum of around £50,000 and Man and I need to generate a joint income of around £50,000 per year to enable me to quit my great-but-way-too-demanding current job.

Family – the important people in my life

Daughters one and two have been left a legacy by their father that equates to more than two years salary for each of them and is tax free. I want to see them settled and happy and independent.

Man’s son is currently looking for work and daughter is (when she can be bothered) at college. They need to be settled and happy too.

The Plan involves new home being populated by me and Man, and probably the three cats we have between us. Visitors will be welcome as long as they don’t stay permanently.

So, there it is. Life goals to be achieved by my 50th birthday.

Here we go.