Friday, 12 May 2017

International ME Day 2017

TL;DR: it's International ME day, I've written stuff about it:
It's International ME day today, 12th May 2017, so it's time for my annual post about living with ME.
I've had ME since 17th August 2005; almost 12 years now. It is an illness that has turned my life upside down, changed it beyond measure, but it has its blessings as well.
I'm writing this laid on my sofa after about 5 hours sleep last night - a relatively normal amount of sleep for me. Yesterday, I did too much, ferrying my mum around to do the things she needed to do. She forgets I can't do the same as she can (she's 81!), and that I'll pay for such a high (for me) level of activity.
This year, though, I want to tell you about the blessings ME has brought into my life. Sounds strange, but there are quite a few.
I've had to slow down. Smell the flowers, watch the bees, take pleasure in slower paced things.

Because of this (sorry, Miss Ganley, I shouldn't start a sentence with a preposition, but I can't remember why!), I have more time to do things, and have learnt to prioritise what's and who is important, and cut out the business.

I've learnt to appreciate being able to do simple things.

I have definitely learnt to appreciate the wonderful friends I have. If you're reading this on FB, you're definitely one of them!

I value the time people take to spend with me, whether irl, on the phone, or on line. Even a short message can change how I perceive myself and impact how I'm feeling.

I already knew how wonderful my husband and children were before I became ill; I see their compassion, thoughtfulness and love on a daily basis and truly value the support they give me. 

I really understand the value of support, both practical and emotional, and it's impact on people. Receiving support is as big a blessing as giving support - to both the giver and receiver equally, each are blessed. 

I truly understand how much God loves me, and how His plans for my life are so much better than mine. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse I have held onto when things have been hard. 

I paint now, and my paintings go all over the world, blessing the receiver and the people that Oxfam support. If you're reading this on canvasandpaints you can see what I've achieved since having ME. If you're not, have a look anyway, you might be surprised!

Video games are fun! Geeks are awesome!!! Dr Who is awesomer (whoops, I already knew that, it just crept in unnoticed like Jaffa cakes do in my supermarket trolley!). 

False pride is dangerous, humility is better. I now use a mobility scooter to "walk" to my local town centre, rather than drive. It's getting me out into the fresh air, no one else cares, it was just in my head! It's quite good fun, as long as a) the battery doesn't run out again and b) it doesn't rain!

ME research is entering an exciting phase, with possible identification of cause just around the corner, next phase, maybe a cure!

My family are the best.

My friends are wonderful. I know I've said this already, but it can't be said too often. You are wonderful. You accept me for who I am, with my limitations, and love me. That is a precious gift. 

You don't have to be physically competent in order to have value. Being emotionally competent is just as valuable :)


There are many, many more blessings than these, I simply wanted to give you an idea about them. I'm not glad I have ME, but I am glad about the things I've learnt through having it. I long to be healed of this nasty, debilitating, painful illness, but until then, I'll carry on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Shirley

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The BBC made-over my back garden!!!

We moved house last year, to a bungalow, to help with my mobility problems. We had lived in a 4 storey Edwardian house, that was really impractical for me, so after a while of looking, we found our new house.

We needed to do some remodelling inside, which uncovered some structural problems which meant we couldn't move in for 5 months after we'd moved out of our old house!

The garden was a challenge too far for me, so I applied to a programme called "The Instant Gardener", and after a series of interviews and a recce, they chose my back garden as one of the gardens to do. 

I was taken out for the day, and returned to find a wonderful transformation - from a garden that I didn't know where to start, to a sci-fi themed garden.

They had created a portal (from the best ever videogame in the world) and painted my shed TARDIS blue!!

Here's a few pictures from before they started:








It was overgrown, I had no idea what things were, and more importantly, no energy to tackle it. I felt completely overwhelmed by the challenge!

Then, along came the BBC:



I have a Portal in my garden!!!!!













I utterly, utterly love what they did - with help from my husband and our good friend, Stuart. :) They completely transformed the garden, and gave us something I would never have dreamed of, made it completely manageable, and inspired us to take it further:

My mum had given me a chunk of money for my birthday, to buy a water feature; following my day out with the BBC, I knew exactly what I wanted, a pond!!

A couple of day's digging and sand laying by my husband, and we had a pond with a stream :) We carried on, with more help from Stuart, and from the money mum had given me, we finished the garden. When I say "we", I mean I made the drinks and the blokes did all the work!


Here's the pond, and you can see willow screening and cedar chippings behind it:



Looking from the TARDIS along the back of our garden:



 Next to the side of the house:



Looking towards the pond:





More of the Portal, plus a better view of the willow screening - we put that up to hide the tatty, but sound fence, and to give us and our neighbours a little more privacy:




 
 I absolutely LOVE our garden, and am so grateful to the BBC and The Instant Gardener team for the work they did in our garden. Kev and Stuart have worked their socks off, as well, and I now have a garden that I can enjoy, and the only work Kev has to do in it now is cut the grass and rake the leaves in the Autumn! I'm sure he'd like artificial grass soon :)




Friday, 15 April 2016

Lego Marvel Super Heroes almost done!

This has to be the longest it's ever taken me to finish a painting; Radiation has been so patient and understanding :)

I'm almost there now, just have to do the swooshes and outlining, then I'll be ready to post it off - I'll aim to do that over the weekend.

Here's where I'm up to:



I'm so sorry for the poor quality of the photo - it's using my iPad. I've found my camera now, but need to buy another SD card reader,, as I can't find my old one - downside of all my stuff being in storage from July - mid December during the protracted house move!

I'll go out now and buy one, so the finished pictures will be a better quality.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Lego Marvel Superheroes background finished

I'm quite tired today - had things to do over the last week or so that have left me without much energy, but I have painted. 

I've finished the background of @Radiation's painting, and just have the characters to finish, then the outlining left to do. I'm happy with how the background has turned out, and am thankful for the miniature brushes my BFF bought me a while ago, as they are so useful in this painting!

Here it is:



I'll do some more over the next few days :)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Lego Marvel Superheroes continued!

At last, I've done a little more painting! This must be the longest I've ever taken to complete something, but life and medication just keeps getting in the way :(

Radiation, who this is for, is an incredibly patient person thankfully. 

Anyway, here's a little more done - I've painted for a couple of hours this afternoon, concentrating on the right hand background, getting the buildings done. It doesn't seem much for a couple of hours painting, but it is quite detailed!



Here's a close-up of what I've done:






And here's the whole painting so far:




I'll be doing some more in a couple of days, I think.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Lego Marvel superheroes at last

It feels like I keep saying this: "I've not been well, I've been too tired to paint, I've finally paints a bit more".

Being medically retired from work has been harder to deal with than I first thought it would be. I'm still having investigations into the problems with my neck, left shoulder, hand and arm: tomorrow I go for nerve function tests, to confirm I have no median nerve in that arm, and to see if they can tell exactly what's going on.

I've been diagnosed with cervical stenosis at C5/6, on the left. That's why my left hand doesn't work properly any more, and it's just going to get worse. The neurosurgeon won't operate yet, as the risks are too high. I'll have to wait until I can't use my arm/hand/shoulder any more, or when the pain becomes unbearable.

That's why it's been tough, the last several months. I've been off work for 10 months now, and have tried several types of pain medication. Work are throwing me a retirement do - if you're based in the NW of England, and you need a job, try Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, they're a wonderful organisation to work for!

Enough of that; here's where I'm up to with the Lego painting:


The whole thing:




A close-up of the side that's almost finished:



Radiation is the most patient person - still waiting for this painting, without putting me under pressure to finish it quickly!

I'll update more, soon :)

Monday, 19 October 2015

Lego Marvel Superheroes sky done


This was fun! I like painting skies; there are so many shades and colours, even when it's just blue sky and a few clouds. Add storms moving in, and the colours are amazing!

Here's where I'm up to: