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I only wrote one blog last year, pitiful really for someone who considers themselves a writer, but then again, I either haven't been wel...


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Friday, 11 November 2011

Getting on with it...

....life that is.

I've recently found out why my life has altered so much the past few years.

I catch every cold and flu bug going, and I take twice as long as the average person to fight this off.

I have a couple of months a year where I am very ill, for no good reason - not to mention an overwhelming feeling of fatigue all the time. (Fatigue is not to be confused with tiredness, I wish I was tired, because I could then quench that tiredness with sleep!)

This has affected my social life and general mental well-being.

I had a bad bout of the flu back in 2007, from which I never fully recovered. After many trips back and forth to the doctors, I had given up and nearly considered myself a closet hypochondriac. However, two years ago my ears started making a whooshing noise, and after many attempts by the doctor to clear the tubes in my ears, I was sent for an MRI scan. The MRI scan showed small lesions on my brain, so I was sent to a neurologist (after 5 months of waiting and worry).

The neurologist then sent me for another MRI scan and a spinal tap (the slightly more bearable name of a Lumbar Puncture - where Doctors obtain some spinal fluid with a large needle). After many more months of waiting, I was diagnosed.

My diagnosis? MS. Those two little letters have been causing so much frustration over the past four years, but as strange as it may sound, I am relieved to have a diagnosis.

At least I can now seek treatment and guidance on how to treat the condition. MS doesn't mean I will send up in a wheelchair - in fact, a very low percentage do.

Essentially my immune system has a defect whereby it attacks the central nervous system. Depending what nerves it attacks, depends on what parts of my body degenerate. If I catch a virus it will take me longer than the average person to recover, and can cause mini-relapses.

Now there are four types:

Benign MS - Some symptoms are shown, then there is complete remission for a long time, maybe forever, but it may return.

Relapsing-Remitting MS - The individual has a relapse with old or new symptoms, which then can go away completely or partially in remission.

Secondary-Progressive - Where remission stops happening and the individual degenerates progressively faster. Most people with RRMS end up with this type as the condition progresses.

Primary Progressive - A constantly progressing version of the disease, with no rest in between.

I have Relapsing-Remitting MS, and I have apparently averaged one proper relapse a year. I am meant to be getting my medication by January, which doesn't cure the disease, but can slow down the frequency and severity of relapses.

I'm not looking forward to jabbing myself with a needle every day to administer this, but it is a small price to pay if it can slow the disease down right?

As long as I don't get Secondary-Progressive MS in the next 5-10 years, there may be hope of Stem Cell Treatment (which can potentially reverse damage and reset my immune system).

I'm sorry for a long blog, but I figured not many people are following my blog anyway, and I just needed to get some of this written down.

I have told close family, friends and colleagues about this, this isn't the way I have chosen to announce it to them (how impersonal would that be!)

Optimism is the key and just getting on with life as best as I can!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Stuck in a rut with writers block.

No one can truly ever understand writers block unless you love writing. The desire to write, and write something well thought out and interesting, rather than just anything.

Since finishing my journalism course you would have thought that I would be working in some kind of publication by now (or be dying whilst trying), well that isn't the case.

When on my job hunt last year, I realised to have a shot at being a journalist I'd be expected to work for free for a year or so; if you happen to have enough money to fund two years off work, then maybe it would be possible. There is no guarantee that the 'work-experience' will land you a job at the end, what with the amount of wannabe journalists out there.
I decided to get a 'normal' job and write on the side, what happened was that working a 40 hour week sapped my energy, and my creative streak with it.

I have now changed jobs, to a 35 hour week, and I can already feel my energy and motivation levels moving up (and more importantly, my writers block is starting to shift).

This blog is being written to get some words flowing, as I need to get the practice in again.
I do have a few writing ideas up my sleeve:
I started writing a short novel back in December, which is still in its early stages (the first part was submitted into a writing competition, but didn't make it through), and I intend on finishing the creative writing course I have been slowly working at for a few years.
As I want to be a music journalist (how original), I do have a couple of ideas for articles, and I hope to get writing for a couple of free, online publications.

I want to find a niche for my blog too, but I think that's something that will come out of the blue some day, rather than me just trying to force it!
For me it would be something observational, maybe the House MD in me style blog...or would that be a little too cynical?

Sorry for such a boring blog, it feels like I have written a 'to-do' list to myself. I hope the next one will be better...