Best Buy ever… and talk about poo…

Now then. I’m going to talk about something that, if you are chronically ill, can be a huge part of your life. Pooing. Yes…. poo. Lots of people don’t like to talk about it but it is one thing that needs to be talked about.

Taking a poo is something that healthy people don’t think about. It’s a normal, everyday function and you just get on and do it whenever you have to.

However, when your health starts to change and your body becomes affected by chronic illness, that can change dramatically. It can change as a result of your illness or as a result of your medication. If you are especially unlucky it can be as a result of both.

I have severe IBS but my Fibromyalgia also affects my bowel function. I am either hugely constipated or permanently on the toilet because of almost torrential diarrhoea. The other thing that affects me is my medication. As I have a number of illnesses that require strong pain medication, I am even more constipated than I usually get. When I do go, it’s like pooing pebbles. Rock hard and hugely painful.

Then I watched a review of something called the “Squatty Potty” by a lady called Antonella the Uncensored Reviewer. The woman is fabulous but very blunt and NSFW or not safe around young children. She does product reviews of all kinds of stuff, but it was the Squatty Potty that caught my attention due to my issues.

I hunted around to find out a few more facts about how it actually works.

The idea of squatting to poo is nothing remarkably new, and many cultures across the world have public restrooms with squatter instead of toilets. It’s hard to deny that it’s a cleaner way to go as far as sharing a toilet with someone, but there are also several key benefits to squatting vs. sitting that just make sense.

It’s also easy to see that this is the way that our species was designed to relieve ourselves, and that the only reason we stopped going that way is because the use of a sitting toilet became widespread in the west. Aboriginal people all over the world go in this manner, and unless you train a young one to use a sitting toilet their natural inclination will be to squat.

In the squatting position, gravity does most of the work. The weight of the torso presses against the thighs and naturally compresses the colon. Gentle pressure from the diaphragm supplements the force of gravity.

Squatting relaxes the puborectalis muscle, allowing the anorectal angle to straighten and the bowel to empty completely.

Squatting lifts the sigmoid colon to unlock the “kink” at the entrance to the rectum. This kink also helps prevent incontinence, by taking some of the pressure off the puborectalis muscle.

The colon is equipped with an inlet valve (the ileocecal valve) and an outlet valve (the puborectalis muscle). Squatting simultaneously closes the inlet valve, to keep the small intestine clean, and opens the outlet valve, to allow wastes to pass freely. The sitting position defeats the purpose of both valves, making elimination difficult and incomplete, and soiling the small intestine.

Sure, the first time that I mounted the royal throne and sat with my knees up around my ears I felt very bloody odd. I can’t lie either. It did put my lower back in a painful position. But I was willing to suck that up in order to potentially have a proper poo. Which I did!!! Woohoo!!! Yay for me I was so happy!

Do you buy the squatty potty? Shop around on Amazon. I found one that was much cheaper than the original squatty potty and it does exactly the same job. Also, if you go for the squatty potty, you have to do measuring of the toilet. None of that involved with the one that I chose. It was a damn sight cheaper than the squatty potty as well.

Should you think about this? Absolutely! Once you get over the weird way you are sitting, you “go” much more comfortably and no angry thrutching and groaning is needed. A highly recommended product! 10/10!

Be kind to each other!x


How to feel fresh when your pain is so bad you could scream…

If you are a Spoonie, otherwise known as a sufferer of an invisible, chronic illness then what I’m about to say will make an awful lot of sense to you. If you are a relative/carer of somebody with an invisible or chronic illness then this may well make an awful lot of sense to you too.

There are days (like today for me) where clothes become an intolerable pressure on your skin and the friction is just too much to bear. I just can’t stand the feeling. I have hyperaesthesia which basically means extreme sensitivity of the skin. On days when it is really bad, I can’t stand to wear clothes at all. Most days I’m able to tolerate light cotton but nothing heavy, fleecy or woolly. Yet days like today? Nekkid is all I can tolerate.

The inability to wear clothes some days is amplified when my pain is bad. On those days, even my bedding is too much and I can’t stand it. So on cold days I have to go without blankets or sheets. Luckily for me, I love the cold weather so being cold really does not bother me at all.

There is one big problem when you feel this ill. There are some days where you simply do not even have the strength to stand at the sink for longer than 2-3 minutes. This makes maintaining your own hygiene very difficult indeed. I need help anyway. I am unable to lift my arms to brush my hair and I’m unable to reach from side to side of my body to wash properly, hence why I need a carer. Yet there are some days when (like today) I can’t even tolerate the feel of a flannel on my skin. It’s just too much.

If you have similar problems to mine, then I have a few suggestions that might help to make your day a little bit nicer. After all, hygiene is a vital part of feeling good about yourself so the more that can be done to help you the better. If your pain and general symptoms really are making you feel that shitty, then hopefully these suggestions will help you.

The first thing that I used to do in the morning, when I was able to maintain my own hygiene, and was working, was to wash my face. This product still allows me to do that. They are called Wake Up Wipes. They are brilliant value at just £1 a pack and really do make your face feel refreshed and bright to face the day. They contain cucumber extract and feel great on your skin. They can be found here:

Next up comes your mouth. There is nothing worse than morning dog breath and when you cannot make it to the sink to stand and brush your own teeth, it really does not make you feel very nice about yourself at all. I’ve discovered these little disposable toothbrushes on days when standing at the bathroom sink is not an option. They are called Colgate Wisp Max Fresh single use toothbrushes. They are really handy. Of cosier, brush your teeth when you can, but these little buggers are awesome on days that you just can’t. You can also use listerine strips which are great breath fresheners…

Then there is the issue of maintaining your personal hygiene which can be a huge issue. If you are unable to wash, you feel smelly and generally very low. Being able to give yourself a quick wash, even if it is with wipes, it really does lift your mood. There are several brands of bed bath wipes. Shop around as you can find them quite cheaply if you try.

There is also the issue of feminine hygiene. I use Femfresh wipes for that. They can be found anywhere and are probably cheaper online if you look.

Lush’s Silky Underwear dusting powder helps absorb sweat and smooth your skin while the essential oils and herbs work to knock out the effects of bacteria. The Silky Underwear powder has a light jasmine fragrance and contains grated cocoa butter to help it melt onto your skin, creating a silky sensation. I love it!

If you can’t wash at at, a little surgical spirit on a cotton wool pad will remove body odour before you put on deodorant.

Witch hazel is a great way to cleanse your skin and it helps to cool the skin when overheated.

I also buy all my skin care from Lush, but since I discovered and fell in love with the marvellous Antonella The uncensored reviewer : (Just one of her many awesome videos. BE WARNED: NSFW and definitely NOT FIT FOR CHILDREN!)

I will most definitely be trialling some of the skin care that she recommends.

There are other things like dry shampoo – I use the Batiste tropical one, but because my hair goes all the way down to my ass, one can doesn’t last me long!

Well I hope that this blog piece helps you, even if it is just to give advice to a relative. That’s all for now.

Be kind to each other.x

Fibro… It f**cking hurts… think about it!

Fibromyalgia is becoming more prevalent and we see more and more people diagnosed with the condition every single day. Before I continue on with this piece, I need to point out – so f**king what if a person happens to be famous? It doesn’t change the fact life is going to be utterly shit for a long time for them now. Perhaps for the rest of their life. There’s not a single day where we can’t think, “Oh poor Lady Gaga has got fibro.” because the press tell us that’s how we have to think. Well I couldn’t give a shit. I’m too busy thinking about myself and the other thousands of spoonies (to be explained later) around the world. People bang on about how brave Lady Gaga is for moving with all that pain. Well fucking bully for her. What about me and the thousands like me who can barely move. Because we are not favoured by a screen career or we are not singers our heroic efforts really do become nothing. We become nothing and our struggles are nothing.

Then comes the fact that we achieve things and they are not even acknowledged by our significant others. That, for me really does sting. Then he wonders why he gets a short, sharp fuck off when he develops spaghetti arms later that same day.

Our loved ones can try to be as caring and understanding as possible and they can either crack being understanding and wonderful or they can do nothing but blunder heard first into an enormous pile of caca with all the style, grace and tact of a fucking woolly mammoth. It’s true, it really is!

Should you, like me, enjoy trying to flog a dead horse, you can of course try to bring some semblance of knowledge to said almost dead horse in a vain attempt to make these people gain a little more understanding and to not speak to you with all the tact and decorum of a 20 pound lump hammer!

Seriously the way that I’ve been spoken to by both friends and complete strangers in the past? They have been experiences that I can liken to being slapped across the face with a three week old mouldy kipper.

Now many people that decide that their infinite wisdom presents them with a plethora of little nuggets of wisdom all of which they can and will bestow upon us with monotonous regularity.

Some of those nuggets can be found in the article below.

What not to say to someone with Fibro…

Y’know guys, the next person to say that they are going to pray for me is heading for a swift kick between the legs – male or female, it gets the point across nicely.

There are so many comments that are so downright hurtful but people don’t even realise that they are hurting you. They honestly think that they are being kind and supportive. Well guess what buddy? You’re not.

People don’t understand just how draining having a chronic illness like Fibro is. The energy that even just brushing your teeth can drain from you. A lovely lady called Christine Miserandino devised something called the spoon theory, which helped to explain to significant others/family/friends just how debilitating it can be. You can read about it here:

The Spoon Theory

It’s such a simple way to describe what we go through every single day, but my gosh does it ever get the point across. This explains my use of the word “Spoonies” before. This is what many chronic illness warriors will call each other. It’s who we are.

But people need to understand that there are days, many of them in fact, where I cannot remain stood for more than 30 seconds to a minute without dropping to my knees in pain. Days like this mean standing in the bathroom and caring for my basic hygiene impossible. Even on a good day, I cannot brush my own hair as my shoulders won’t go up that high. Nor can I wash myself or put on my own clothes without help. It’s soul destroying to not be able to do that it really is.

May 12th is international Fibro day, and I will be writing more posts about it before then. I’m so sorry if the tone of this post has come across as hostile or aggressive at all. All I’m aiming to do is promote an awareness of the disease and help explain the things that make make a Spoonie a little bit cranky.

Thank you for reading.

Be kind to each other.x

Tiptoeing around chronic physical/mental health issues and pain…

Seriously. Enough already! People need to stop tiptoeing around these issues. I am quite open about the fact that I have severe physical health issues and also mental health issues. I’m very lucky to have a small, close knit group of friends who understand what I am going through because they, like me, have seen the film and got the t-shirt. They really help to keep me from losing it.

I can talk to them. Every single day we can talk about what ails us. We can talk about our pain safe in the knowledge that someone is going to be there to hold us up and give us the love and support that we need at any given time. With our mental health issues too. We can talk about our bogeymen and our demons without anyone judging or laughing at us.

Yet if we talk about any of those things outside of our group, then eyes get rolled and people tut. We are accused of moaning and complaining. We are told that we should suck it up and suffer in silence. People who do not understand will tiptoe around these issues and expect us to bury our complaints and tiptoe around the illness and it’s symptoms. Well hell no!!!

Enough already. People can bitch to the world that they have a cold and how ill they feel. Yet we must suffer in silence and on top of that, also sugar coat what we say so that it’s palatable for other people to swallow.

Enough. We should not have to hide how we suffer just to make other people feel better. Like now. I’ll tell you that it feels like all my muscles are wrapped in barbed wire and each and every one of my nerves feels like they have been dipped in acid. To cap it off it feels like little men with crowbars are trying to prise open my joints and I have a pride of lions chewing in my lumbar spine. That’s pretty much every day for me.

Oh, lets talk about the elephant in the room – mental health. I have just about clawed my way back from being on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I’m thinking about things and I feel so physically sick that my mind is fractured and shattered into thousands of tiny pieces. Paranoia haunts me. I feel like I’m a useless fat lump. I hate myself. PTSD from a lifetime of abuse from the two men who should have loved and protected me more than any others. That rages in my mind. Bipolar type 1 also rules me. But I have to fight as hard as I can. They will not beat me. Those men took my innocence but they will not take my life.

So anyone with chronic health issues, hear me. Be loud and proud. You don’t have to sugar coat how you feel to make other people feel better!

Chronic illness, panic and exhaustion…

I’m seriously exhausted. My eyes keep on closing of their own volition and my mind aches with tiredness.

I’m also caught in the middle of being the most worried that I have ever been. Someone that I love with all my heart and soul is suddenly ill and I’m terrified. This person is my soulmate and my world. The thought that there may be something wrong with them is filling my soul with dark, sick anxiety that is destroying me from the inside. I wish it was me and not them.

My pain has been really bad today and my kneecap dislocated this morning so I have roboleg (my leg brace) on. I don’t care about my pain today. I only care about the one I love being OK.

Please, let them be OK.

Just don’t move…

I’m exhausted. I’ve had about two hours of broken sleep. Fuck you pain for keeping me awake like this, what have I ever done to you to deserve this?

I’ve lain awake feeling like every single nerve ending has been dipped in acid. Everything burns and the pain is mind blowing. It really is. Even my ritual waiting until the kids have set off for school and screaming fuck, fuck, fuuuuuuuuuuck at the top of my voice has not helped.

My painkillers I take four times a day. I have to, otherwise I don’t function. The downside of this is that between 9pm and 7am I have no pain relief. Nothing. Nada. Zip. So painsomnia is a huge part of why I don’t sleep.

I’m so fed up of this. Right now I feel like one giant, raw nerve ending that is on fire. The slightest movement sets everything off and I feel myself ripping over the edge and free falling through a world of fire and agony.

I’ve begged my doctor for help and been made to feel like a junkie for asking. People with chronic severe pain are not junkies. We are just desperate for some relief from this hell we live in.

So Im lying here feeling like hell and gritting my teeth. I’m OK as long as I just don’t move.

To shave or not to shave: That is the question…

Most, if not all of the women I know are slaves to Venus razors, Immac cream or waxing strips. The second even the slightest bit of hair has the audacity to poke it’s head above the skin horizon, women dive screaming for their weapons of choice in the war on hair removal.

The whole attitude towards body hair really does piss me off. Women who chose not to remove their body hair are described as dirty and disgusting. Mainly by men, but women also join in on the abuse caravan. Why is this? Who made the rules? Who set it in stone that it was an obligatory part of a woman’s routine to shear every possible follicle of body hair from their bodies?

Extensive poking around has lead me to discover that the routine of body hair removal is not a new thing. It has been around for thousands of years.

Removing hair from the head and face of men was originally not for vanity purposes but for survival. It is known that not only cavemen did this but ancient Egyptians as well. There have been speculations that for safety, scraping off the beard and hair on the head would take away the advantage of an adversary having anything to grab onto. For cavemen it was possibly known that those with less hair had less mites, hence scraping the hair from the face.
They didn’t have Gillette or Bic back in the day…They would take sharp rocks, sea shells or flint blades and literally scrape the hair from their faces. I’m sure not only hair came away…um…OW!!!
The ancient Egyptians were known to have better forms of razors made of flint or bronze. They also used a method of depilatory called sugaring. A sticky paste (bees wax was sometimes used) would be applied to the skin, kind of like waxing. Then a strip of cloth was pressed onto the paste and yanked off, removing the hair.
There is a rumor going around that women have only been removing hair from their legs for the last hundred years or so. Well that is true for American and European women. The fact that removal of body hair for Europeans wasn’t popular gives sense to the fact that American women didn’t shave, because most of the immigrants were European. However in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Middle Eastern countries, removing body hair was important. In fact these women removed most of their body hair, except for t the eyebrows. Egyptian women removed their head hair. Having hair down under was considered uncivilized. Now any men reading this should know the women were not the only ones to remove their pubic hair…
It was also considered uncivilized for men to have hair on their face. Having a scruffy face meant you were a slave or servant, definitely of lower class. Is that why corporate guys and politicians always have clean shaven faces? Do we associate a clean shaven face with someone powerful?
In the ancient Roman Empire, hair removal was often seen as an identifier of class. The wealthy women would remove their body hair with pumice stones, razors, tweezers and depilatory creams.
There was also another technique used called threading. The women would take some string or yarn and lace it through the fingers of both hands, then vigorously rub it on the area therefore tugging, ripping, pulling the unwanted hair away…
We do know European women did not engage in body hair removal during the middle ages. In fact it wasn’t until Elizabethan times that Euro women began the practice of hair removal…except they didn’t remove leg, armpit or pubic hair…they removed their eyebrows and the hair from their foreheads to give themselves a longer brow.
This look was so fashionable that it is said, mothers would often rub walnut oil on their children’s foreheads to prevent hair growth. They were also said to use bandages covered with vinegar and cat’s poo. Gross!
The Perret razor was invented in the 1760’s by French barber, Jean Jacques Perret. It is an L-shaped wooden guard that holds the razor and is supposed to reduce the damage done to skin (ex: cuts!) when shaving.

However it wasn’t until the 1880’s that a much safer razor came along. Meet King Camp Gillette. He wasn’t a king, that was just his name. He was an American businessman, and in case you didn’t recognize his last name, he was the inventor of the Gillette razor. 
In 1915, the first women’s razor came out. It was in this same year that an edition of Harpers Bazaar magazine came out with an issue featuring a model wearing a sleeveless dress and *gasp* no hair in the armpits! Thus started the ritual we have today of shaving away unwanted hair.

I’ll freely admit that I do not shave my legs or under my arms. I do not smell and bathe every day. So those who cry that having underarm hair makes you stink? You’re talking utter crap. Why don’t I shave? I have a number of physical conditions that cause severe chronic pain. Not only can I not lift up my shoulders to shave my armpits or bend down to shave my legs, the additional pain of a razor scraping away on my skin feels like somebody is slowly pouring acid on to my skin. I’m sorry, but I’d rather have body hair than that any day of the week. It’s sheer hell.

When a guy shouts out to a girl who does not shave her body hair, he is body shaming her in an unacceptable way. When a woman does it to another woman? It’s even worse! We should be respecting eachother’s choices, not belittling them! I mean when famous women dare to display armpit hair, such utterly vile things are said in the press it makes you wonder whether these women have flashed their pit hair or butchered a box of puppies! It’s only hair! Please get a grip can we people???

I remember when…

I’ve been having some very down days recently. The kind of days where my self hatred has been slithering up and around my body like vines around a column. But the vines are toxic. They leech their poison into me and my mood becomes blacker and blacker. I can feel it happen.

Ever since I became ill seven years ago, I’ve had to face up to the fact that my life has changed dramatically. I’ve gone from being a happy, active woman to being a broken, unhappy cripple who cannot even lift her shoulders up to brush her hair. The joints either dislocate or stop me through the level of pain. I was a nurse for 15 years. Every day of my working life was dedicated to helping people and never once did I think that I would be on the other side of the fence. It hurts. A lot.

That makes it even more difficult for me to cope with the changes that have happened to my body. I miss my job so much. I miss being able to soothe someone’s pain. To make a difference. I was damned good at my job and not being able to do it any more really does hurt like hell.

I remember when I could go on long walks with my children. Before my physical and mental health turned me into a crippled agoraphobic. I used to chase the boys playing tig and we would laugh and squeal. I miss that so much.

My toxic thoughts are telling me that I am letting them down because I cannot do that for them any more. That I’m not even half the person I used to be. I remember when I didn’t feel like that. But it was so long ago, it feels like a dream.

Chronic tiredness…

If you suffer from a chronic illness, the chances are that you will know all about Christine Miserandino and her spoon theory. If you are the partner/carer of someone with a chronic illness, chances are that you will know about the spoon theory. However, those of you that don’t are probably scratching their heads and thing what the hell is the crazy woman talking about? Allow me to elaborate…

The spoon theory is the brainchild of a woman with a condition called Lupus (or SLE). Her name is Christine Miserandino. She was trying to explain to a friend of hers just how it felt to deal with chronic illness and tiredness.

You start your day with twelve spoons. Each action you do costs you at least one, and sometimes more spoons. Imagine in the morning – you can use four spoons before you leave the house (that’s is you can leave the house). By the time lunchtime has been and gone, you are down to four spoons. It’s hell. I’m enclosing a link so you can read about it should you wish to…

The Spoon Theory
I’m laying here in my bed and it is 10.10am. Already, a bone crushing weariness consumes me. The tiredness is caressing every nerve ending and making me feel as though my body is weighted down by lumps of concrete.

I want so desperately to close my eyes and drift blissfully info the realm of sleep. I already feel like I’m running on a negative spoon equity for the day. That will affect my tiredness for some days to come. But I have to keep going. I must.

Until I come to the point where I can physically go no further. My legs turn leaden and I come to a sudden halt. I slide down a wall into a puddle of tears, simply unable to move.

That’s how chronic tiredness feels. It’s horrible.

The human sinus and other issues…

That is seriously how I feel right now. See, I have a problem (one of many). Every single night, when I lay down to go to sleep, my nose blocks off and I have to breathe through my mouth. The really weird thing is that I can spend all day laid down and my nose won’t block. Then at night time… wham, it’s blocked again. Why?

It’s now 8.35am and my nose is only just starting to clear. As I breathe in my nose whistles and whines like a boiling kettle. It seriously drives me crazy. 

As I slept last night, I rolled over and my knee decided to dislocate. This is becoming tedious now. After I had popped it back in, I was in so much pain that getting back to sleep was not an option. Consequently I have been awake since 3.30am and have all the energy of a flat battery.

I did think about having a sleep while the kids were at school, but my brain just (as always) laughed at me for that! You must be joking woman says my brain! I’m just going to keep you flat out exhausted but not let you sleep. I have letters to write today. I need to focus. Fat chance.

Well, I’m going to roll my snuffling sinuses and swollen knee over to the table, finish my cup of tea and try to finish my letter. However I’m now in so much pain that the only thing I can think about is how long I have to wait until my next painkillers are due, which is not until 12.30pm. Screw you EDS.