Tag Archives: Health

Smear Campaign

TW: Vaginas and speculums, oh my!

I’ve seen a couple of people I follow on social media talking about this and I wanted to get involved. So today, friends, we’re talking about smear tests.

As you’re aware I said goodbye to my thirties a while back. I’m now 41 and therefore so together in life that you can be sure I’m completely on top of my cervical smear appointments. NOT. The last test I had, according to my lovely nurse from this morning, was in 2010. This is totally unacceptable and I know that. But life gets in the way so I can’t beat myself up about it too much.

I have been getting lectured heavily by my husband recently though and he was part of the reason I finally booked the appointment. Along with a lot of press about how the number of women attending them has diminished over the years. I know this isn’t good but I’ve done it now and it was so unobtrusive that I thought it was worth sharing my experience. Reading other women’s stories helped me to be less nervous about everything so why not, eh?

My appointment by the way took just ten minutes. That’s ten minutes of my day to get a potentially life-saving procedure. My nurse, Natalie, was reassuring and professional – and although I say I wasn’t thay nervous, that’s a bit of a lie. The first thing I told her as I entered her room was how scared I was feeling. She asked me what I was most worried about – my responses: having to get my bits out, the pain, the results – weren’t very helpful. But she still addressed each one of them.

“I’ve seen it all before.”
“It can be uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. Tell me straight away if it does.”
“Whatever happens, we will deal with it.”

And then I was lying bottomless on the bed with my feet together and my legs angled like a frog’s. Not the most glamourous of positions and no stirrups in sight but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It’s a little bit odd when the spectulum slips in (after it’s been generously lubed up, thank you very much) but not painful. We talked about veganism, work and Jade Goody while she rummaged around.

In the end, I has to have an extra long speculum which made me laugh (and then wonder if I should be worried) but according to Natalie – and many of the articles I have read recently – “One size does not fit all”.

Did I mention I was in and out within ten minutes, with no pain, not much discomfort and a huge sense of pride? Like, I’ve ticked something off my “Sensible Woman” list for another three years. The results will be posted to me in 4-6 weeks and hopefully, that will be that.

So if, like me you’re several tests behind and putting things off, don’t. You’ll be okay.

Get those flaps out for your friendly neighbourhood nurse.

Enjoy the Silence

I’m a big fan of the PMA meme. I choose to believe that a fair bit of being able to get through life is to maintain a positive attitude (where possible, obvs). I don’t really like to thrive on negativity or be around bad energy – the odd bitch about a colleague is one thing but I don’t enjoy being dragged into drama, my own or someone else’s.

What I’m trying to say is that here on the blog I might have a gentle moan but most of how I’m feeling is filed away in the “being handled” cabinet, and that is that. But that’s not always realistic and sometimes I just get very, very tired with everything. Not in a sinister way, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s more about getting fed up with slapping a happy face on and going about my day all the time.

Of course most of us are doing that – it’s life – we’re fighting the good fight but sometimes all the relentless positivity, all the Go girl/You got this memes, the very memes I subscribe so heavily to, start to annoy me. What if I don’t got this? What if I can’t pick myself up and dust myself off? Obviously I can and I will eventually but what if the effort of this is too much because sometimes it is. Sometimes I feel so numb I don’t feel anything. Of course there’s always love for my husband, family and friends – it’s not that, it’s something else this numbness. It’s a bone tiredness that sucks the joy of life and the excitement out of the future.

On the other hand sometimes, when I let my meds slip (which isn’t often), I might go the other way. My brain literally buzzes and it feels as though all the nerve endings inside this head of mine are live wires. I feel overwhelmed and out of control. That’s the worst feeling in the world and almost worse than the depression.

I don’t reveal all this because I’m special or that I want to be treated differently, I share it because it’s true and a part now of who I am. We’re told all the time it’s important to talk about these things and it is, we shouldn’t be scared by fact and by the so-called negative things that make us human. I wouldn’t change this about myself, I believe honestly that it makes me a better person somehow, that my anxiety and depression attunes me to others and I can spot a person struggling and act accordingly. I will never shy away again from being sensitive, even over-sensitive – this is me.

I just think it’s important to acknowledge that the fight is tiring and that sometimes I want to give up. Genuinely, I think often of getting on a bus and disappearing, starting a new gentler life somewhere alone. My reclusive nature goes into overdrive and it seems so appealing. Imagine not having to speak to anyone for as long as I wanted! Sounds like bliss. In reality it would be lonely and isolating and it would make me feel so much worse.

I’m not going to do that. I have everything I could ever possibly need right here but sometimes, just sometimes I need to allow myself to feel these things. Then I’ll pick myself up and get on with it.

How are you?

Sad Happy

I’m so sick. Again.tumblr_ndwzxopc701r5gmiko1_500

Just as I was weaning myself off liquid centered throat sweets (cherry, natch), I caught another cold and this one’s a doozy. I feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has taken up twerking in my brain.

I’ve had a shower, I’ve watched a film Mr B would hate whilst shoveling Chocolate Orange segments into my face (he’s gone bowling). I have tea; and I’ve talked to my mum on the phone.

I’ve done all my comfort bits and even though my eyes and nose are still leaking, I feel okay.

My grandfather passed away last weekend. It was to be expected for a 98 and a half-year old but the truth about life is that you are never that prepared. Expecting things to come almost adds a new level of panic to the event when it does arrive, like you’ve had too much time to think about how you will feel and how you will react.

We’re all pretty sad. I’m sadder than I thought I would be. He’s been such a huge part of all our lives forever, in good and bad ways. And now he’s gone and that’s a big thing. I’ve talked about him before. I was truthful but not very kind.

And now he’s gone, it doesn’t feel that good. It’s sad. Sad for him, mostly.

When people die it’s normal to think hard about your own mortality. This makes me think about my legacy. Who will I be when I’m old? Will I still be a decent person? Will I be missed?

I hope nobody says I am better off gone. I hope when I do toddle off this mortal coil people will at least say that I was funny. Or sweet.

Nice is a bit boring, but if that’s what my legacy is destined to be then so be it. I can live with nice.

But don’t think I’m sitting home crying into my comforter. Well, I am crying into my comforter but it’s because of my cold, not sorrow.

My Pal My Fitness Pal and Other Stories

tumblr_n6ioniUYbf1smffw1o1_500I am the Queen of “I’ll get back on track Monday”.

I am the Queen of being focused for four days of the week and then falling face first off the wagon into a plate of Party Rings as soon as Friday arrives.

I am the Stop-Start Queen of the World.

The thing is: I want to be better, feel better and look better but I like food and ‘bad things’. I like sugar and chips. I love savoury snacking over a film.

I like living life with tasty things in it; and in my mouth.

I don’t hate my body by any stretch. If anything I’m happy as I am, until I have to buy clothing or catch a glimpse of myself in an unposed photograph. It’s then that I get the feelings of inadequacy and I start being really horrible to myself.

This post is not about dieting, it is about the seemingly simple act of putting less shit into my body and moving it more. In those terms I feel I can do this and I can do this with the help of my friend My Fitness Pal.

Have you met MFP? It’s an app on your phone (and/or computer) that allows you to track what you’re putting into yourself, food and exercise wise. It’s calorie counting basically and, depressing as that sounds, it works. For me at least.

There’s something very satisfying about logging everything that passes your lips. There’s definitely something about racking up a healthy exercise deficit, knowing that the two walks you took yesterday meant you could have something delicious to eat.

It’s good to know that essentially there are no bad foods, so long as you moderate; AMAZING to know that there are only 55 calories in a single Vodka and Diet Coke, which means you can have four and not wander off your chosen path.

All that sounds incredibly boring doesn’t it, now that I have read it back? I guess the concept of cutting back on the things you love is boring in itself. It’s not very rock n’ roll to say “No thanks” to excess but then I’m no snake hipped Juliette Lewis type and never have been.

I want to love myself and this leads me to the second part of this post. With this plan to take better care oftumblr_mo051uB3Uo1qz6f9yo1_1280 my body must come kindness. I’ve talked about Self Love before and that’s another thing; it’s easy to say you’re going to practice it and quite another to actually do it.

I am going to do it and this is how; these are the new rules:

  • Get out everyday at least once to clear the mind. Anything I am working though that needs addressing I can wrestle with while I’m outside, moving.
  • A friend once told a group of us that the only response to a compliment is “Thank you”. Years later I completely agree. Sometimes you have to stop yourself mid-“oh it’s all make-up…” but it has to be done. Just say thank you.
  • Self-deprecation is an endearing quality but it can go too far. Before putting yourself down to gain a laugh from someone else, think about it.
  • Wear what you like. Experiment. Just go for it. None of us are getting any younger, who wants to look back and think of all the cool stuff you could have ROCKED THE SHIT OUT OF but were too scared to.
  • #selfie if you want to. Obviously there are people who are against the #selfie phenomenon but I see it as a way to feel comfortable in your own skin. I see it as an important part of loving yourself and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

So there it is, the new rules for a more loving life. Less crap, more movement and radical Self Love, in no particular order.

Run, Fat Girl, Run

I should have included this on the last update but forgot. Again, it probably falls under the category of “Who else, besides me actually cares?” but it’s my blog and I’ll be tedious if I want to!

Running. Yeah, I’m still not doing very well. Between you and me *leans in* I haven’t even attempted to run for two weeks.

Bad. Bad. Bassy.

I know I will never get better if I don’t Just Do It (aah?) but I haven’t been. I haven’t given up per se, I just haven’t been trying. The thought of running still appeals – it’s something I want to be good at – to me it’s more than just about the health benefits.

I can just see myself running in the middle distance, one of those bottles you can hold in your hand in my hand – cute running gear and a sweaty face. I can visualise this and see myself being good at it.

I think my downfall is that I keep thinking that as soon as I lose weight there’ll be less of me to carry around. I’ll be lighter and therefore more aerodynamic! But this makes no actual sense, you don’t lose weight if you ain’t moving, right?

I do feel better. I know I am getting there. It’s not like I’m not moving at all – all the good I am doing should make running easier eventually. I’m going to just start.

What have I got to lose? Except flab, obviously!

*Please note: Photo is not mine – but damn, I want those sneaks!

Wellness & Wonder

1969397_10153971044655018_1247624656365560236_nI don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but all the exercise and eating well and singing lessons have been part of a bigger picture for me.

I’m calling it ‘Project Me’ but I’ll work on the name,obviously, as part of the whole wellness thing.It’s pretty lame, I know.

Project Me is about making myself better in small ways.

The diet and exercise is a no-brainer: I’m looking to, if not become Miranda Kerr by the Summer then at least be a more toned, confident version of who I am already.

I’m truly not that interested in being smaller, although it would be nice. I’m just looking to whittle my waist back in and not feel like a stranger is walking too close to me only to realise it’s my own bottom behind me. True story.

I like the idea of being a fit fatty (saw it on somebody’s Twitter bio) but this will only work if I can ensure I’m healthy and right now – newsflash! – I’m not as healthy as I could be.Don’t get me wrong I don’t have any health issues, I’m just thinking of the evil BMI, etc (I know it’s a guideline).1610070_10153971065235018_654938086982862426_n

The running has been a huge part of the project, and it hasn’t being going that well. The thing is, I know I get better the more I do it, but I don’t do it as much as I can. And although I have been public about my desire to be a runner, and I want to succeed, I’m still not pushing myself enough.

But this is not just about the physical. I’m working on my inner strengths and mental health too. Hence the singing lessons.

I’m still terrible and although I’m getting more confident as we go along, I still suck. I love it though and my teacher is great.People keep asking me if I’m planning on performing. Erm, no never.

It’s not about anything like that for me, it’s just about doing something I’ve always wanted to.

So, Project Me is about treating my body like a temple (you take cake into temples sometimes, right?), moving as much as possible and trying to enjoy it; and being more positive.

It’s a work in progress.