ME Awareness 2017

Imagine one day you wake up and you can barely move from your bed. You try to lift your head but it feels too heavy, almost like you are trying to lift up a heavy rock.

Your cat is lying beside you and senses you are waking, he walks up along your body. Ow! You didn’t realise he was that heavy. His tiny paws digging into your body are so painful. As you try to pull yourself out of bed, you feel stiff, heavy and achy and your joints are sore. Your body feels like it has aged decades to your eighty’s.

As you rise you feel your head spin and your body struggle to hold its self-upright. A million thoughts start to overwhelm your head and you start to wonder why am I feeling so awful? You barely make it from the bedroom to the lounge. Your body feels like it has just run a marathon.

Maybe you’re coming down with something, like the actual flu….. Or maybe today is just an off day. But then the next day feels much the same, days then turn into weeks, then months then years.

Just like that you have gone from be a young, fit, healthy and capable human being into a weak, venerable, confused and incapable human being. You can barely leave the house, let alone look after yourself and your loved one has turned into your carer.

Your doctor and other doctors can’t explain it, won’t acknowledge it, or know about it but can’t help. Leaving you at a loss as to where and how it all went so wrong……

Wow that sounds horrible and depressing! That my friends is a small taste of what life with ME/CFS aka Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is like.

Today is ME/CFS awareness day! As a yearly ritual I like to get on board and help promote awareness on our intentional day of May 12th (read previous posts for 2014, 2015 , 2016 here).

Sadly there are millions of people world wide that are currently suffering with this illness. Many sufferers are left house bound, some are even bed bound. The recovery with this illness can take years, even decades. Unfortunately there is still a lot to be learned and research to be done about ME/CFS. Some health professionals still believe it is all in the sufferers mind, as there is still a lot unknown about the illness. Crazy right!?

I suffered with this illness back in 2013 and become completely bed/house bound for years. It was a very isolating and debilitating experience to go through. Thankfully my health is in a much better place now.

For more information about ME/CFS or to find out how you can help check out the Australia ME/CFS website emerge.org.au.

I am extremely excited to be completing in City2surf this year and fundraising for ME/CFS. Funds donated are going to emerge, they are a wonderful advocate for ME/CFS sufferers. If you want to get behind me or share some love and support click here for my everyday hero page.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Much Love,
Lennae xxx

 

 

Photo credit: a.m_banks- Instagram

 

ME Awareness, Symptoms with ME

Photo credit: Photos_by_ambanks-  Instagram

Photo credit: Photos_by_ambanks- Instagram

It’s ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome) awareness day. As a yearly ritual I wanted to get on board and help raise awareness about the illness (see previous years posts here ME Awareness 2015 & ME Awareness 2014). As most of my readers know I have been living with this illness for the past few years. It is a debilitating illness that still needs a lot of research. The cause of the illness is still unknown. There is also no treatment plan for this illness and some sufferers take many years to recover. Unfortunately some sufferers do not recover.

I’ve decided to write about some of the crazy symptoms, that I have experienced with ME/CFS. I hope this helps you understand that this illness is more than one symptom and is never straight forward for any sufferer. In fact most sufferers experience a number of different symptoms and each persons experience with the illness is different.

Are you ready, here we go………

Food intolerance/ Sensitive stomach/ Digestive issues 

When your stomach decides to pack a tantrum and tell you that it does not like eating the food you like any more. What? How? Signalling back to you with stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, aches and pains or just sending it straight out! Nasty business this, I personally had it that bad that I went and had a food intolerance test done. Turns out I learnt I had a mild intolerance to two foods I causally ate, but not the rest!!! What the hell!!!

Anxiety

Oh yes that horrible feeling when your heart starts beating rapidly, you feel a hot and cold sweat breaking out and your mind races into a crazy panic state. Your breath feels shallow and is this even real or am I dreaming?  I mean where the hell did this come from!!! Fear of things that never consumed my mind before, I mean why are these thoughts clogging up my brain!!! Where has this all come from? Oh Hi Anxiety, you can go now!

Brain fog

When your brain feels like it has a thick layer of fog over it. Yep sounds strange but it is a real thing. Causes confusion, self-doubt, lack of focus or concentration and makes you do and say strange things. Strange things that your dog would appreciate, like being fed twice for breakfast. Or when you start repeating yourself and asking the same things over and over, because you don’t remember asking them just a minute ago. Oh dear!!!

Muscle aches and joint pain

Yep that’s right! When your body feels like you just ran a marathon, but all you did was walk 20 steps.  Muscle and joint pain from moving too much, as well as from not moving enough!  What!?  I know it blows my mind too, but it is a real thing. If you try and push yourself a little with any type of extra activity, it can result in extreme muscle or joint pain and then it’s back to bed for days. Making you feel like you physically got hit by a bus. If you don’t move your body enough your body ceases up and becomes stiff resulting in muscle and joint pain. Even the weather can influence this symptom. Aches and pains in the cooler weather as well as in the humid weather.

Extreme sensitivity

A really weird symptom that can cause extreme sensitivity to all types of things like noise, people and their energy, smells, sunlight, cleaning products, cosmetics, skin care products. How this works is when you may feel like you are having a reaction to it. You might feel instant fatigue, feel itchy or heavy. Smells may irritate you, you can’t even be in the same room with someone if they’re wearing perfume. Even cosmetics or skin care can feel heavy and irritate the skin.

 

I could go on with the list of crazy symptoms, here’s a few more just so you get the idea; fever, memory loss, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, dizziness, headaches/ migraines, insomnia. They all come and go with this illness, but there is honestly too many to list and everybody that suffers with this illness suffers very differently.

I hope this has helped you learn a bit more about ME/CFS and has given you a little more insight of  some of the symptom struggles sufferers go through.

Unfortunately there is still a lot to be learned and research to be done about ME/CFS. Some health professionals still believe it is all in the sufferers mind, as there is still a lot unknown about the illness.  For more information about ME/CFS or to find out how you can help check out the Australia ME/CFS website emerge.org.au.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Much Love,
Lennae xxx

Photo credit: Photos_by_ambanks-  Instagram

Photo credit: Photos_by_ambanks- Instagram

Taking time for self- care!

Photo credit Adam Banks

Photo credit Adam Banks

A few weeks ago I hit a little bump in the road, immediately I hit the brakes and thought crap…..bodies throwing a tantrum! Reality was I was just having a down week, like everyone has once in a while.

I started feeling overwhelmed with my daily routine. I decided it was a good idea to re-shuffle my priorities and make self-care my number one goal. That meant finishing up my studies early for the end of year, chilling out on the exercise routine, pacing my working hours and not running around as much trying to keep up with my ongoing list of errands.

I wanted to prioritise and work on doing things that I love and enjoy. Things that I have put off in order to be busy, rather than for enjoyment. I wanted to take a little time out and enjoy catching up with friends over coffee, having skype dates with overseas friends, attending yoga classes, getting pampered, hitting the kitchen to make some delicious raw treats and just a bit of all round self-care.

It’s important to give ourselves a bit of self-love and care and make it a priority. Often we put ourselves last, instead of first. It becomes easy to do with the busy lifestyles that we live, crazy routines we keep and the hype that is set by society.

If you need a little help in the self-care area, here are a few of my top tips that I try to practice for a bit of self-care;

Turning off technology! And yes that means NO SOCIAL MEDIA! The noise, the distractions and chaos, it all overloads onto our screens and gets thrown into our faces. It can get a bit too much at times, sometimes it’s good to switch it all off and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Sit outside and enjoy the serenity, lay down and take some long and deep breaths. Breathe in…… Breathe out….. You will be surprised at how refreshing it feels. The mind goes clear and the sky is actually quite beautiful when you stop and look at it for a while.

Stretch that body out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Stretching is so good for the body and it’s good to stretch all those kinks out. I personally love yoga, I find it eases the mind and teaches you to breathe and focus your energy on the present moment.

Go and get pampered; hair, nails, body, whatever you want! Massage is my favourite, all those knots and trigger points need a good work out from time to time. Getting pampered is always nice and makes you feel good and refreshed.

Focus on one thing at a time. I like to think I’m talented and can multi-task, sometimes taking on too many tasks can get a little overwhelming. If you have a lot going on, try focusing one thing at a time. It can end up being a lot quicker than doing all your activities all at once.

Catch up with a friend over coffee, ditching your to do list to meet up with a friend can make you feel a lot happier. The list of things won’t get done, but the time spent in company with a good friend is priceless.

Nourish yourself with healthy food, you will feel the goodness straight away! Get creative and make your own healthy treats, the bonus is you know what’s in them! 😉

Go for a walk, enjoy the fresh air and inhale that sweet goodness.

Treat yourself, it doesn’t have to be on an expensive pair of shoes. It could be on a nice new body wash or hand cream. Whatever it may be it’s always nice to have a little treat for yourself.

Boost your confidence and push yourself. Why don’t you try something that you have been wanting to do for a while. It doesn’t have to be something big, it can be something small. It just has to be something new and different, I can tell you right now it will be worth it!

Self mantras. If you keep telling yourself something over and over you will start to believe it. Make sure it’s positive!!!

Most importantly put your self-first!

I hope you have enjoyed my tips and find them of some use. What activities do you like to practice when you’re taking time to yourself for self-care? I would love to hear your ideas, you can never have too many self- care practices.

Much love,

Lennae xxx

Some of my self-care essentials.

Some of my self-care essentials.

Keep Trying!

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on how I’m travelling and to be honest it’s been a bit of a bumpy past 6 weeks with my ME/CFS. I guess it should to be expected though, you should never under estimate the power of your chronic illness (especially when you don’t listen to your body). So here’s an update on my happenings.

I had been increasing my hours at work and I managed to get up to working 8 hours over 2 days a week. Excitement overload! I was working 4 hours a day, that’s half a day!

Being able to work again felt great, but working only 8 hours was starting to not be good enough. In my mind I wanted to be able to work more. My mind was racing well ahead to what I wanted to be doing, rather than what I should be doing. All I wanted to do was keep pushing and eventually I would be at my current goal of working 15 hours a week. In theory it sounded easy enough. I wanted to keep pushing myself to my limit and that meant that I wasn’t taking notice of the fact that I was going to push a little too hard and crash.

Well that happened, straight after I realised maybe I should just calm it down a bit. After pushing through a day at work, I struggled to recover back from it. I thought I would need one week off to rest, but that turned into five!

All I can say is lesson is learnt! It’s all well and good to push yourself, but sometimes you need to take a step back and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

After 5 weeks off with lots of rest and time to reflect here’s what I learnt;

Patience. You will get to where you want to be eventually, it just takes time.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Be kind to yourself. We are our biggest critic of ourselves, how about giving yourself a kind compliment instead of beating yourself up all the time.

Listen to your body. Yes it does communicate with you, make sure you listen to it!

Don’t give up. No matter how much this situation may feel like it is dragging on, it won’t last forever so keep trying, you will get there!

On that note I went back to work last week and managed a couple of hours, it felt great to be back at it again. I’m back at the start but that’s ok, I know I will get to where I want to be eventually. It might not be today or tomorrow but it will happen.

Much love,

Lennae xxx

photo credit: Hope via photopin (license)

photo credit: Hope via photopin (license)

photo credit: quote #63 via photopin (license)

photo credit: quote #63 via photopin (license)

ME Awareness

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Hello my beautiful readers!

Today I wanted to share with you a bit of awareness about my illness. This week is ME Awareness Week and today is International ME Awareness Day, what a good time to share and educate you all.

Your probably wondering what ME is? And what it actually stands for. Let me explain, don’t worry I’ll keep it simple!
ME stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, it is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS).

If you break down the meaning of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis this is what you get; MYA– Muscle
ALGIC– Painful
ENCOPHALO– Brain
MYEL– Nerve
ITIS– Inflammation

Quite literally that is how ME affects the body, then add on the fatigue! Sounds unpleasant right?

I could describe it as almost like having the flu 24/7, but then I don’t know if that would be giving you a full extent of what ME can actually do.ME is extremely debilitating and can take years, even decades to recover from.

It is believed that Florence Nightingale suffered from this illness back in 1857. In honour of Florence Nightingale aka “lady of the lamp”, her birthday 12th May has become International ME Awareness day.

ME has been around for a long time. However it is an invisible illness and that can make it quite hard to understand. Frankly a lot of the sufferers don’t look sick! There are no tests that can be done to show that there is something wrong, nor is there any specific medications to help. More research and understanding needs to go into this illness. Research needs to go into finding out how to prevent this illness, recovery treatments or a cure if possible.

If you would like to get involved and help raise awareness for ME, feel free to wear something blue, start the conversation with someone and help us educate one another, search the #meawareness #mecfs hash-tags on social media and read about sufferers and their stories with ME and how it affects their everyday lives, or even donate to your local ME charity!

For more information about ME or if you wish to get involved or donate click here. This is the Australian ME page known as Emerge Australia. Thank you for taking the time to read my post beautiful readers, Happy International ME Awareness day!!! Lennae xxx

Wearing a bit of blue for ME Awareness.

Wearing a bit of blue for ME Awareness.

Hello Health & Hello 2015!

Hello lovelies! I hope your all well and enjoying this fabulous year of 2015 that is now upon us!
It has been a while since I have posted any updates… brace yourselves, here it all is.

It’s been pretty smooth sailing for me, Ive actually turned up a gear since November and I keep on going up at the moment.
Which is fantastic!
I have had a bit on as well and have managed it all quite well!

Whoohoo!

Much of November I spent buckled down studying hard for my exams. I had started attending Yoga classes which was really exciting and managed over half of the class! Snow bear has been getting regular walks by me and not 10 minute walks either I’m talking 20 – 40 minute walks! I completed and passed all of my assignments, but I had a lot of study to catch up on. A plan was also set and put into place for me to return back to work in January. I know scary stuff right?

Exams were over by the beginning of December and unfortunately I didn’t pass them. I was a bit upset but reminded myself that I had done really well considering my situation. The day of my last exam my lovely in-laws arrived over from New Zealand. It was 10 days of being out and about with them! We stayed up in Sydney and hit the shopping malls, my step counter was getting a real workout! I can’t believe it but I smashed out over 13,000 steps in one day! I had a few rest days in between going out, shopping and being out and about. I was able to re-sit my exams in-between my in-laws leaving and going down the coast on holiday with the family. I successfully passed my exams! Whoohoo, time to relax!

Our holiday with the family down the South Coast was lovely. Christmas was spent down there and it couldn’t have been any more relaxing. Most of our time was spent swimming, walking the dogs, kayaking, paddle boarding, a tad of shopping and relaxing. After our holiday I had a well-rested week back at home, with a few day trips as well as spending some down time at the beach. I bought the New year in with my good friend Laura & darling husband Cameron. We spent it down at the beach watching the fireworks! I must admit that I was pretty excited to bring in the New Year. I’m excited to see what lies ahead in the year for me, it can only keep on getting better!

I have re-enrolled to study and am currently enjoying my holiday from it. I’ve got lots of excitement in the next few weeks ahead, I’m starting back at work, heading up to Byron bay on a plane!! Whoohoo! As well as celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary, plus Cameron & I both have our birthdays coming up!

So there’s lots to celebrate and look forward in Lennae’s world! I have lots of exciting plans and goals for the year ahead. I hope you all have a fantastic year and are excited about 2015 as much as I am!

Lennae
xxx

Mollymook Beach, Christmas Night.

Mollymook Beach, Christmas Night.

Cameron & I , Paddle boarding selfie. Narrawallee Inlet

Cameron & I , Paddle board selfie. Narrawallee Inlet.

Garie Beach, Royal National Park, Sydney.

Garie Beach, Royal National Park, Sydney.

Ulladulla Harbour.

Ulladulla Harbour.

Studying with ME/CFS

Hello beautiful people! I apologize for being a bit absent lately. I have been extremely busy being a student. I thought I might share with you all how studying is going for me so far.

As some of you know I am studying a diploma in Nutritional Medicine. I am currently half way through the first semester and have started my first set of exams and assessments for each subject, it’s a bit scary. For the term I’m studying four subjects, which isn’t too bad considering some days I may not be well enough to study. I got a shock when I realised two of the subjects I had to study where “Biochemistry” and “Anatomy & physiology”! Ah science and I do not go well! Of course I had panic attack, but I’m up for the challenge!

Three weeks in and I was struggling to get a routine going. I’m not proud but there were tantrums thrown. My brain was not handling the information overload from biochemistry and anatomy & physiology, who knew you needed to know all of this information. I called my special assistance adviser at the college. I was allocated a go too person for extra support if I need it because of my illness. I told her I was struggling with those subjects. She assured me not to worry, she teaches those subjects herself and the majority of students struggle with these subjects. I felt reassured after our chat.

The past few weeks have been challenging, but it is also challenge for other students as well. Being an online student we have weekly forums, this is how the students and teachers communicate. I have posted on the forums with questions about things I’m not sure about or if I’m not quite understanding parts. Other students have commented explaining they feel the same way, which is good to know that I’m not the only one.

I have now managed to get a bit of a routine going and have come up with some tips that will definitely help anybody else who is studying with an illness.

Work at a desk. My first week of study was on the couch, my back seized up and it was off to the chiropractor to get clicked. A good desk and chair will definitely help.

30 Minute stretch breaks. Every 30 minutes I get up and stretch. I found stretches online that people do when they are sitting at a desk all day. It’s a good idea to get movement and to get out of your chair. It’s also a good break if you have a short attention span.

Routine. Find a routine that works for you.

Ask for help.
If you are having trouble understanding something ask someone for help. It can be anyone, a loved one, family member, a friend, your teacher, or a fellow student. They may know your answer or are willing to help you find the answer.

Spread your study out. I was trying to cram my study all in, I struggled to take in all the information and was left feeling exhausted. I quickly realised I have all week to spread it out and do what I can, when I can.

Plan. Plan your study out, mark down all the important dates that you have assignments and exams due. It helps especially if you need time to prepare for them.

You can do it! Yes you can! Keep trying and don’t give into self-doubt.

It is too early to say how I’m going with this term, I will have a good idea once I have completed the mid-term exams and assessments. I sat my first exam over the weekend and passed! WHOOOHOOO! I’m extremely proud of this result. I have found it challenging trying to balance studying as well as my daily routine on top of ME/CFS. This positive result was just what I needed!

Are you thinking about studying? or are currently studying? What are some of your study tips that help you? I would love to hear about them.

Bye for now

Lennae xxx

My text books

My text books