Tag Archives: work

Weekend & Confidence boosting.

Well last week I was on the verge of breaking down, this week I hope things are on the up. My weekend started Friday when I had an appointment with my Dr about my ECG and the probability of me going on the new pills… Well Due to the ECG and the “unlicensed” meds The answer was a No – However he will prescribe them if my London consultant says yes. I have an appointment with him on  22nd. Fingers crossed once again. 
For now Im stuck with the situation im in. Medication making me tired and sleepy if I take it – having seizures and being in pain if I dont. Its a conflicting situation. I have no choice with the seizure meds but I try and hold off on the pain killers as long as I can. The likes of Codeine, ibuprofen, Diclofenac and some other injection that I cant spell and morphine are not nice meds to take.

After the recent events Ive been really like a recluse an not wanted to go out much for fear of seizures as they have been quite bad… except the drs of course. 


However This weekend My weekend started friday. 

1) My Grandad is out of hospital. Its a long story but he went in for a knee replacement last year which went teribly wrong. His leg had to be straightened, a year later and the work they had done had broken and crumbled and so he needed another op to repair his crumbling bone. He is now out of hospital with a straightened leg and two rods and bolts through it and in plaster however it is fab to have him out as he normally ends up really poorly in hospital with infection…this time, so far so good all is ok. This also means mum and i do not have to live up there to be with nan. Not that I mind but it is one less hassle of taking all the necessary things up there. And they are both happier now they are back together. 

2) My Camera arrived. Ive been asked to do alot of blogs and vlogs recently and my video camera I previously had (the Flip HD) was not up to the job, plus its hard to video yourself when you cant see what your video’ing. Now I hate videoing myself, moving picture is fine but if I have to talk im not so happy however I do it for Epilepsy awareness so Im trying to get over my fear and improve my self confidence by doing this. Also I need it for the next piece of good news. 

3) Friday I got the news that I am reviewing things for this new company IWBYE which stands for “I will beat you epilepsy”. I am honoured in being the first person ever to receive one of their tshirts designed by them and I will be doing reviews of their products via this blog and my youtube channel (tiggerifficjem) please go take a look at my channel and subscribe. It is totally free to do so and you will get a email when I upload a new video. Also the more subscriptions I receive the more knowledge gets out there and the more I will be doing. 


You can visit them at this address

Click here for IWBYE

4) This weekend was Sci-Fi weekend. Saturday Lara came over and we chilled out, she visited me at studio Tigz  (my little craft and relaxation room) and we had a good time. I re sealed her dreadlocks and we done nail art In preparation of sci fi day. I may look into making some dreadlocks as apparently Lara thinks I would be able to do it and there are few people to get them from. So I will be looking into that when I get back off holidays. Ive got too much to do until I get back.

5) SCI-FI DAY: Yes today Is sunday. I am sitting on the sofa, in my pj’s totally exhausted. I have been here since 2 o’clock this afternoon! Today was the first time I’d been out properly since being poorly again. I wasn’t feeling my best when we left but I took meds and felt I could do it. With Lara by my side I always feel happier. She is one of my true best friends who Ive known for many years and It doesn’t matter where in the world/country we are we will always make time for each other  Anyway so Im exhausted but it was all worth it. Lara came over early and we got ready, Hair and last touches of make up – not that mine was anything spectacular but we both felt better – I wore the Superman (girl) tshirt that lara had brought me and we were off. We arrived at 11am and had a look round, From the outset we could see many characters and costumes and stalls and music and people – there were hundreds of people ! We handed over our tickets in exchange for a hand stamp

The Giant Ghost buster marsh mellow was hard to miss, There were lots of lovely people there including those that helped organise and set this extravaganza of sci- fi up. We walked around the first few stalls and then came to the Activity box stall. It was really good to see Abi and Barbs as I’d not seen them for so long. Lots of hugs all round and I felt happy to be out. My confidence was growing. I left my oxygen behind the stall as It is really heavy. We looked round a few more stalls until my legs couldnt carry me anymore so we went back to the activity box tent for a reset and chat. It was great to introduce lara to other people in my life. I like it when everyone knows everyone – I guess thats the country person (as my grandad would say) coming out in me. I went to another stall on the next look round that done face painting/temorary tattoos’ I chose a nemo design an had it on my cheek. I love the Finding Nemo film – especially the quote “just keep swimming” i really believe that if i just keep swimming in life I will get through this. 
 The day went on and we took lots of photos and video (i tried to do a scilent VLOG for my first one to get my confidence up so I will be sorting and editing that in the next few days and it  will be up on you tube. 
My head started to get worse and at 1:15 I called mum to come and get lara and I . Lara had to go home to Essex too so she had a long trip ahead. I came home and apart from editing a little video and photos I have been resting. I face timed with my other bestie Linda which was fun… I love facetime. We are both getting really excited now about me going up to visit soon. I cant wait. Lots ot do and fun to be had… Of course I will be bloggin! 
Nite Nite for now and Thank you to all those people who made today possible and to those who made me feel more “normal” 
XXX

Looking fine on the outside

Sometimes I wish you could see epilepsy on the outside. The trouble I have when I get asked things like, What job do you do or where do you work….. well at the moment my answer has to be I don’t….. Everyone because of that thinks im one of these lazy bums who live off the state and don’t deserve to breathe or be part of the same airspace. They look at me as if im dirty, a scumbag who should be out earning a wage. 

Well Its not for lack of trying.  For 3 years I fought to get back to work. I went through assessment after assessment after assessment. I went to interviews with the hospital for work (i was a nurse) I went to assessments at the benefits place as I was told to go there by my dr…. whereas other people were there to try and get signed off for work and get benefit, I wanted them to tell me I could go back to work that I had made my life for the past 6 years including training ! It didn’t work. I did however get a little benefit… not much to live on especially compared to what I was receiving working but It was a conciliation and helped me with transport costs and things like the things I could do. To get to this point though there were forms and forms and forms. How anyone gets away with the benefit fraud that you see on TV astounds me.

Now things have changed (for the worse) with my health since the beginning I dont apply for jobs anymore… not until I can get a Drs letter saying I can work. I have tried to volunteer at charity shops (thrift stores for you USA readers) and places such like yet they wont allow it as they are worried Id sue them if i fell and hit my head on something in their shop. The world has gone mad. As Im at the point where I have been told I shouldnt be on my own at all I guess work in most places is out of the question but doesn’t stop me wanting it. My dream job would be somewhere I would be helping others. Probably something craft wise now Im really into craft. I wish I could work somewhere like the craft box… Crafting all day and all that it comes with doesnt bother me. To see peoples happy face when they create something is amazing and lovely. 

Just today I had my cousin round and I set her up and taught her how to bling her own phone case…. the outcome is amazing which I will post when its dry ! 



So anyway looking  “normal” on the outside can be difficult 

Just the other day someone said to me “your looks don’t give you any sympathy” meaning well you look fine! I just stood there…. In my head I was saying “if you could see my insides, the pain I have and the struggles I’m going through I would be the ugliest thing you have ever seen, if seizures had a physical form what would they look like? if the pain and joints could speak what would they say?” I will never know those answers.

.. Lots of people out there think of epilepsy as having a seizure and getting back up and that’s it. Well it is and it isn’t… My seizure count last week was 12 and that’s just the big ones…. It’s difficult to count the small ones as sometimes I don’t know about them but the ones I know about ….. The count is about 80. I’ve gone through 1 portable cylinder and one large cylinder of oxygen and about 185 tablets.

I’m sitting here and my back hurts alot, I can feel twinges of pain on my ankles and my wrists. In fact if I move my wrist.. It cracks. My neck is sore and I’m tired. This is because the seizures really do take a toll on my joints, my muscles and me.
When i have a seizure i do try to just get up and start again sometimes i can sometimes i cant…. its not as easy as it may sound or look. tiredness is like a black heavy blanket that covers me and sometimes I can and sometimes I cant fight it. Now Seizures and epilepsy… There is no fighting with the Beast of epilepsy. – once a seizure decides its going to happen , that spark from one neuron missing the other one and landing somewhere it shouldn’t well that I can’t fight, I cant stop it, that is it. Sometimes I know its on its way and it gives me signs and sometimes it creeps up from behind and I have no idea until I wake up on the floor or in some hospital somewhere, friends sometimes strangers peering over me.
Just think of living life knowing that any second your body could be taken over and the next thing you know you could be in a hospital bed somewhere. Im NOT over exaggerating. on 19th July 2009 I came home from work and went to lay on the bed…. the next thing i knew it was a week later and I was in intensive care. That is the not knowing- the uncertaintuy of epilepsy.
I take a photo every day to remind me of that day….. why? because I don’t want to forget. – Epilepsy takes memory sometimes too. I lost a couple of weeks here and there and I don’t want that to happen again. My photos are my “insurance policy” so next time you tell me I take to many photos….. just think that I can’t rely on my brain to remember the good times like you can.

I’ve been fighting this fight for 22 coming up to 23 years in July. Not because I want to, or because I can, but because I don’t have a choice. Im not unhappy with my life though in fact I feel stronger for still being here today. 

USA and the downward spiral

I was welcomed to America by brilliant sunshine, palm trees and the swamps of the Florida Everglades as we landed. When we got off the plane the Tarmac was hot to the feet and radiated up the body. It’s the first time I’d felt foreign sunshine.

The plane ride was surprisingly quick…. Fair enough I slept most of it all but the meal and half a inflight movie and a little sightseeing on the little screen and out the windows. I watched as we made our way down from 33 thousand feet and then waited to get off the plane. It was all push and shove an my muscles were aching… probably something to do with the seizure I had 2 hours into the journey. Anyway i was happy. I was in america ! 
When we got though the scary process of photographs and finger prints then getting our luggage we got a taxi to the pop centuary complex. It was basic in facilities but huge and it was Disney so even basic was 5 star to me! I was in my element of the wildest dreams i’d had yet I was tired. I longed for a sleep and then be ready for the next day… Gav had other plans. We went to the hotel to book in and dump our bags…. the bed looked so inviting yet we were out as quick as it took me to look around the one bedroom en-suite room.  Gav took me to the Magick kingdom… You see a ride he wanted to go on was going to be closing that night,, tonight was the only time to ride it while we were in America.
We got there and I was amazed at how big everything was compared to Disneyland Paris. Yet everything still the Disney way, perfection at every glance, not a blade of grass out of place. the music and happiness of everyone filled the air and a glance at the castle made my knees shake, i was here, i was in Disney i was happy!
We rushed to space mountain and Gavin stopped…. The ride looked dark and the adjoining gift shop looked quiet. the ride was shut. On talking to staff it had closed 3 days prior due to a technical fult that made it unsafe. With this news Gavin was not defeated and started leading me into rides. Reluctantly yet still happy and buzzing from being in disney, being in america and being thousands of miles away from home I went….. I was enjoying every minute yet had in my thought that I knew it wasn’t right and I needed to stop, anyway we went on a couple of rides then went onto buzz light years lazer blast. This was a toy story ride where you shoot the aliens with lasers,  It was also a big mistake. 1/4 of the way into the ride I saw all the lights blur and go into bold block colours with a angel like rim around them. The next think I knew I was back stage! Although back stage of disney may sound great it’s not the way that I wanted to see it. Id already made plans of how i would one day see disney back stage by being a reporter for the disney blog or being a cast member for a year…. this was not in my plans.  

Disney back stage is just as a wow factor and disneyfied as the rest of Disney, there is cast land and costume land! I’m not joking it’s amazing. I just wish I saw more of where I was… I drifted off and woke up in our hotel room. 
The rest of the holiday was great. I went on rides, saw characters and i was with the love of my life. yet some things just felt wrong, but i didn’t know how. I put it down to being home sick… although i had travelled without mum before this was the furthest i’d been. I’d backpacked around france, belgium and been to amsterdam yet this seemed more scary! yet I was protected in a disney bubble.
In america disney is like a little country. It has its own  free police force, ambulance service, medical centres, life guards, fire department and a whole host of other normal paying services. if you had the money disney also offers hair dressers, laundrettes, spas, nail parlours, insurance, andd shopping all in its resort. These are all very pricey but if you were a millionaire and loved disney as much as i do America disney is the place to spend your millions.

The only thing I didn’t like was the water parks they were too scary for me… I was quite happy floating round the perimeter on the rubber rings though.,. I did enjoy the bit where you put on a life jacket and let the current take you round the outskirts of the park like your white water swimming. That was fun! but the fast wirling speed down a ramp on a water thing rides are not me. the thought of being up that high and needed to get down and the only option being a water flume scared the pants off me… it did happen once and i went down the flume which made my mind up that never again would i submit myself to the experience !

I really love Disney. I had not been on many roller coasters in my life and id never visited a theme park other than margate dreamland and disney for a day however I’d fallen in love with rock and roller coaster staring aerosmith. While I was at Disney I promised myself I would do everything….but especially go on r&r! i did.  And I did do a lot more ! I’m so proud as I even went on tower of terror which is a elevator that goes up and drops you from the 13th floor…. Now that’s fine but I had a fear of normal elevators so this was crazy for me to even think of going on it… Yet I did!


I went on all the rides had to offer.. Some were ok others I had to go round again! But I struggled through. I saw backstage of rock and roller coaster after watching the 3,2,1 light sign while in the cue and then having a seizure but I kept on going. How I dont know.

We split our holiday with a week and a half at Disney and a week at the royal pacific hotel next to universal studios. I was so so tired at the end of the holiday.. I wasn’t Eating much as It was so hot and I don’t do well in English heat let alone this new american heat. The heat here was severe, the mid day sun hovered over your head and your shaddow disappeared from 11am till 3pm. The combination of not eating, lots and lots of walking, and the seizures meant I lost 3 stone in 2 weeks. I knew i was feeling weak but i didn’t realise it was so bad but when I got home it shocked people. especially mum. I was skin and bone. I found things hard when I got home… I was weak, tired, still having seizures and still not able to eat much. I couldn’t get an appointment with my dr for a week so I went back to work and continued studying. I didn’t want to loose my dream of being a nurse.

My studying finished and my portfolio handed in I was working full time on the ward loving every second of patient care, i was learning something new everyday and had applied for 4 jobs with a promise of a placement in the radiology theatres, the other applications were just a process you went through, the radiology position was my dream and i couldn’t believe i was going straight into it. I continued to work hard. I was finding it difficult and I wasn’t strong enough, and I knew it yet I struggled and struggled not letting it show.
One night I finished work, I knew I needed to go home…. Gavin was working a all night shift so we met and had coffee then i went home with mum. She picked me up and I got home in my bed and slept.
I had a bad night as far as seizures went and the next day was so bad mum had to phone In sick to my work. I was basically out of it. Throughout the day I had 15 -20 seizures though i was recovering in between and slept. by 9 o’clock when Gavin came over  i was getting worse when i had had 4 seizures in a row without recovery he phoned straight through to margate hospital and then put me in the car and took me to margate A & E. Life was about to change. 

Nursing the nation?

June and i had my acceptance letter arrive from University. Id applied for the nursing course as i needed to get out of physiotherapy. It wasn’t just my supervisor… i expected to have trouble in the future employment after this anyway it was i wanted to help more that i could as a physio.
September 2006 my new life started.
I met my new friends, my colleagues and work mates. My best friend was made here and our bond will be life long.
I flew through year 1. I found the work easy and i was in my element. I loved the physical work just as much as the university course work.
year 2 was not as easy but i still loved every minute. Even the all nighters! I also found love. in the form of another nurse . I was not expecting it and i would have never looked for it where i found it but a simple gesture of lending him and pen and then him returning it (very rare in nursing world…. pens normally find themselves lost forever) brought us tougher.
in my first semester i moved in with him. despite being a hour and a half journey away it was not that difficult as we both worked in canterbury so travelled together and life was good. I loved making home and even liked all the bits that went with that. I still had the odd seizure and they became worse if ill or that time of the month. In the may things took off and i ended up in hospital myself. Things were not easy but i got out of hospital and continued my course and caught up pretty well.
year 3. the start of Year 3 went so quick. in may MY new love and i went on holiday to America. It was my first holiday to a sunny climate. i was happy and excited yet scared as it was far from everything i knew.
I boarded the plane and my stomach sank…. was i doing the right thing?


It came tumbling down

I had just got the ok to take my driving test and it was booked for a week thursday. I was ecstatic. work was great life was great. Yet i had a niggling feeling. I hadn’t been feeling well the last few days. I was tired It was the wrong time of the month and my headaches becoming unbearable again…. i had a odd feeling but couldn’t describe it to myself so talking to a dr i thought was useless.
I was working at the main hospital and the local one so id my own patient groups in both and flitted easily too and throw by bus yet i craved the car for the ease.
I got to work at 8:30 and sat in the office doing a few bits of paperwork before heading off to the ward. It was a hot summer day and the hospital was stuffy… i gulped down some pills and a glass of water and grabbed my list hoping the pills would kick in quick.
I done a few patients on my own and then met my friend and colleague to do a double patient. our supervisor was there and wanted to check on the patient too as it had been a while since she was there… i took a step back and let her take over .
the room went blurry and i woke up on the floor attached to a sats and bp monitor. I had had a fit.
The world ended again
I lay on the floor and when my fellow work colleagues stopped to talk i explained that i was ok i will be ok i just need to rest. I went home and when i returned to work the next day i was told i was not to be working with my supervisor anymore. This was because of the seizure and she disagreed with me working there at all. I fought for 3 months and finally won over and had my job back and a apology the stress was not needed though my seizures were again controlled and i had my job but i was so close to my dark days it scared me… I made in my head promise to be happy and to think of disney and sparkles for future.

Prom, Ignorance & new beginnings

Or not……..
Prom was great. I had a long dress, a shawl and 2 men one on each arm a stretched limo and friends … i was a lucky girl. The night was great and i danced for an hour until the atmosphere changed…. I started to feel dizzy and hot and I went and stood outside the hall by the office door…. The disco was too much and i had nearly been captured by the beast again. My prom night ruined for me. I dozed on the big comfy chairs for an hour  in my ball gown determined not to go home or to worry mum by calling her out. I woke and went back to the party. When the prom finished a group of us were due to go to an after party…. We climbed over the school gates as they were closed at the end of the school we wanted to leave and i struggled back to a friends house. Here we stayed up for a while (everyone else drinking, me not as i knew it wouldn’t end well) and had a laugh. I still felt i had a good eve. I went home at 1 am and didn’t wake up till11 the next morning.



********************

6th form was difficult. My work was suffering as i was still having problems  in class due to the absence seizures… if i concentrated at the board for too long i would have a grand mall as the flickering light was send me into oblivion!


I ended 6th form with my languages (english, french and the spanish id been doing at night school) and my sciences. I dropped history as i just couldn’t fill my brain with all the dates anymore. sad but resigned to the fact i would go back to night school and do it there. The second year i went to my first class. As i walked in the new drama teacher who was also head of year pulled me over. She said “now you don’t have any seizures in my class, I don’t have time for it” I was astonished. what was she on about… how ? what?  i was stunned. I took a deep breath and said in no certain terms “if i could turn a switch mrs James, don’t you think i would choose not to have these at all?, She looked. I turned and walked out… i didn’t look back and never went back to school again. I felt discusted and betrayed but it may have been the best thing of my life to happen. 

As soon as i left i started to panic. Tears streamed down my face as i walked home ( i wasn’t supoeesto be out on my own but i needed to breathe and i knew mum was at work) it was a long way and took 3 hours but by th time i got home mum was there and i had cleared my mind. I told her what happened and she freaked. She wanted to go to the school immediately but i stopped her and said i would work it out for myself.
That i did.
That eve i searched the web and ploughed the job sites. Id filled in so many forms i couldn’t remember what for.
but i felt relaxed that night as i went to bed. knowing i had a new life to start seemed quite calming. Despite not having a clue where that new life would take me, or when it would start.

The next morning i woke to the phone ringing. i reached out to the phone and a lady spoke “is that Joanne *******”
oh no i thought its the school with more issues! yes i said… reservedly. She continued to speak but i couldn’t tell you now what she said. at the end of the call she said she would call me back. I put the phone down and stood back in amazement. mum came in to see who it was…. Ive just got a job i said.
i sat down with mum and told her about the phone call……. i had just been enrolled onto a NHS apprenticeship in Physiotherapy. I would go to college 2 days a week while working at the local hospital. WOW i was happy.
I didn’t know much about physiotherapy so i googled it and found the basics… looks good i though plus i will probably get fit at the same time!
my first day was scary. i went to canterbury college and was enrolled. i filled out forms showed certificates and yes got questioned about my epilepsy which at the moment was behaving itself a little better… i’d not had a seizure in a month. i had a occupational health assessment and it was cleared as long as i didn’t work nights. this was fine as nights were not required at a cottage hospital.
I was into the job  a whole year and id only had seizures while asleep. the medication was great. I applied for my driving licence and when it came through the post it was like my life had changed again. Freedom was on the horizon.