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Friday, 28 December 2012

A short end of the year post.

There hasn't been much to get excited about this year, but I've made it through so something had to be going right. I started the year in a very bad place mentally. I had just accepted that I was dropping out of uni, and after 4.5 years of fighting my various problems that was a huge blow. I tried so hard to keep going to uni the last couple of months but things were just getting worse and worse. It seemed the more I did to try and strengthen my back the more I made it worse. I was hitting my head against a wall with the NHS whose answer was very much a we don't know, we don't care to know and we won't try to help you attitude. My dr was lovely, the people he sent me to see just had nothing to offer. The final straw was developing IBS. It meant I was left with only codeine as a painkiller, something which meant that I couldn't always leave the house and was the last nail in the coffin for my hopes of a degree.
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So fast forward a couple of months living in the house in stoke, visiting my best friend when I could and enjoying the company of my housemates, one of whom was also home most of the time due to chrones. There were a few tense weeks when Cleo ended up in hospital. I was very concerned for her, but she was fine after her op. It hurt a lot to go to the hospital everyday, but an acute illness in a friend feels far more important than a chronic one in myself.
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During that time, Ainsley and I joined a group of Europeans forming a competitive minecraft team. The original idea was for a group of us to train together for competitions on champions of the map servers. These are a series of challenges where you are fighting through dungeons and at the same time fighting the opposing team with a bow and arrow. Both teams have a symmetrical "lane" which is surrounded on all sides by a void, so if you get knocked off your lane you die losing everything you held. The idea is to collect a number of blocks from the dungeons and place them all on a victory monument before the other team. Due to my ill health and my computer having a terrible habit of crashing I had to stop training to be on a team, though I do join sometimes to help the practising of our main teams. One of our members set up a normal server for us all to create a minecraft community on. The tesseract server is great fun, we have many community projects, as well as all having our own section of the world where we can create everything we can dream up. There is no limit to how much of the world we use, so long as we don't try to build through someone else's project. If we want more space for a new idea it's simply a case of running out to a new area of land. I'll make a post of the server soon. We recently started a minecraft feed the beast server, another member of the group is hosting it for us. This is a heavily modded version of minecraft with many amazing new things to craft and interact with that causes your creativity to go in entirely different directions.
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So I've come to the summer, my tenancy ran out and not having any income as the benefits system is a joke I had no choice but to move home. I have no major problem with being home. I wish my sister wasn't also back home, though if she would just accept that and adapt to it for now we'd be much better. I've gone from being able to have 3 people cooking together in a tiny galley kitchen to having a much larger kitchen where if she's in there I can't even go get a glass of water. It has been very tough here, at first my best friend was a couple of hundred miles away and the distance was horrid, now it's even worse as she's only around 20 but it might as well be a hundred for my ability to travel it. Part of the problem has been that my scooter's engine blew so it's not been up to the journey, but i'm also not up to it. If I go over, I have to pack for several days so that i'm not sitting in the car for the trip twice in one day. In many ways it's worse being so close yet still unable to see each other much.
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Sometimes I make it out the house on a saturday to meet up with a group of friends, we get together to play magic the gathering and, dungeons and dragons. This has been great when I can do it, though the pain is almost not worth it. It hurts like hell on the night and for several nights after.
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Christmas was nice in as much as being a few days to chill with mum and dad when I could manage to sit downstairs, but rather meh. I'm feeling so depressed all the time now and it's a real struggle. I tried to go out for a ride to clear my head just now, but my scooter is refusing to start. So I'm sat writing this blog entry instead. Hopefully sometime soon I get accepted onto ESA and can at least then afford more than just my groceries. I recently started a new exclusion diet called FODMAPs which will hopefully help with my IBS. If we can get it under control I hope to start losing this weight I've been putting on all year.  I should soon be hearing from a living with pain course which gives coping strategies for chronic pain. My future right now just feels rather bleak and I can't see anything changing anytime soon. Fingers crossed for the upcoming year.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Dungeons and Dragons

Saturday was great. Had my MRI, which hurt to lay on my back for but was fine. Just waiting on the results. I went without my binder, which certainly confused a couple of staff. This was decided to increase my chances of making it out saturday evening.

Well, I made it out. :D

So I joined the guys and we started up a game of D&D. I have a little experience of the game from uni, but that was played with experienced players who could tell me exactly what to do with dice and setting up my character, so all I had to do was role play it. Now, it's the four of us where I'm the only one to have ever played before.

It was brilliant fun. We entered our first dungeon, and almost immediately ended up visiting a dragon. This encounter required a lot of role playing, as we had to negotiate with the dragon to avoid getting into a fight. Alas, we failed and it attacked. Fortunately the two of us with stealthy characters managed to steal its' treasure while it was distracted and convinced it to stop in exchange for its' treasure back.

Afterwards our characters took a short break to heal and decided to try entering the dungeon a different way. This got us into a battle with a couple of enemies which was ok until they called for 2 much stronger reinforcements. We survived, but the two encounters had taken so long that we ran out of time. We'll have to venture further into the dungeon next week. Hopefully I make it, if not I'll have to play over skype.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hmm

Well, I had my appointments. Got my referral back to charing cross sent off. Just waiting to hear from that. It was a slow process the first time so I'm not concerned at the moment.

Rheumatology appointment was a little less successful. He decided he didn't think it was hypermobility but gave me a diagnosis of fibromyalgia instead. I'm not happy with this as it doesn't fit. He assured me that I'd read up on it (he gave me a leaflet) and things would click and i'd relate to it. Claimed it would explain most of my problems "even the gastric ones".

LIES!

Fibromyalgia doesn't explain a thing. IBS is common with it, but my bowel issues were caused by medication and in terms of things, is a recent problem. My stomach problems aren't covered by it. Fibro's main symptom is muscular pain, and tendon pain with it. My pain isn't muscular, it's right in my joints where the leaflet states it won't be.

The main test for fibro is pressing on a variety of areas on the body to check if they are tender, as all fibro patients have this symptom even though nothing is physically wrong. Well he checked several, not one was tender. So how, upon failing the main diagnostic criteria did he end up at this conclusion?

Personally it feels like it's just a label for "we don't know but acknowledge you feel the pain", a label which says don't bother looking for an answer, we sure won't.

The only good outcome was that he's sending me for an MRI on my back to rule out any physical problems there. Frustratingly it's on saturday. While I'm very happy it's come through so quickly, I haven't been to one of my friends' weekly gaming nights for ages and am trying to not do anything to upset my back so that I can go out saturday evening.

Fingers crossed I'll be ok.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Musings

Today I have the appointment which should get me my referral back to the charing cross gender identity clinic. After which I will hopefully be able to get funding for my mastectomy, which will allow me to have a much better quality of life.

However I'm finding it hard to be enthusiastic as every movement hurts like hell, and I'm not even wearing my binder yet.

It's frustrating that, while still rather sedentary, I'm doing more now than I was up in stoke. I'm upright more of the time, using my core muscles more, yet my back is getting worse and worse. My lower back might be improving, or my upper back is so painful I'm not feeling it as much. My physio has me working my core from the bottom up, so I should see improvement in my lower back first anyway, I just hope it is improving.



It's a week until I have my appointment with the rhuematologist. I'm very nervous about it. I'm really terrified that he's going to tell me that we've got it wrong and hypermobility is the wrong diagnosis, or that it's correct but there's nothing to be done. It's like having all my eggs in one basket, my hopes are pinned on this appointment. On finally having an answer for a life of problems.



I've been watching the paralympics this week, I love it. I just wish channel four was broadcasting it better. We're seeing such a limited selection of events. I'd love to have seen the boccia or the equestrian, the long jump, or even the club throw. We've seen the odd clip of all of them, so there are definitely cameras at every event. Instead we just have day after day of track, swimming, and a court event (basketball, football, tennis. etc). They have four channels of the event but only three sports get represented.

People often say they are inspired by watching the olympics and paralympics to take up a sport and try to get to the olympics themselves. There are several sports I'd love to get into, but I learnt years ago that trans people can't compete at most major sporting events. So I can't find the inspiration to apply that much dedication to a sport.
There are sports however that I enjoy in a non-competative way. I've always loved swimming just for the sensation of being in the water, I hated the focus on speed that was always placed on it. I love badminton, as just a jolly game between friends, rather than as a fast paced competition. I need to get that mastectomy before I can use a public pool again though, and fix my back before I can do racket sports.
I'd love to take up kyaking, or canoeing. I've loved the sensation of gliding over the water from the experiences of it I've had. I really hope that my body gets to the point where I can take it up. There's a local club on the canal which I could look into joining if I could reliably attend.

It's something to aim for. :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Friends

Yesterday I was feeling rough from the day out for my birthday, but decided not to cancel my friends coming to visit as I missed them so much. We had a lovely evening catching up, but the night was rough and today I'm struggling.

My best friend whom I met in Stoke is originally from the south like I am, and in fact lives just 30 minutes away by car. When I left stoke I had no idea how long it would be before I saw her again, and shortly after it was looking like it would be a good year before she could come down. Things were getting too much for her though and two weeks ago she suddenly got a friend to help her move down as she just couldn't deal with stoke any more.

Last night was the first chance I've had to catch up with her and I wasn't going to cancel for anything.

Sometimes I feel bad complaining about my situation as much as I do. Especially when I have a friend who is much worse off than I am. While situations are subjective, and he doesn't have the all encompassing pain I have, he does have an all encompassing illness which keeps sending him to hospital.

My friend has chrones, a horrid condition which causes inflammation and ulceration of the intestines and bowels. He goes for days unable to eat a thing, and is very sick from a variety of complications it causes. Much like how I often can't leave the house due to pain, he often can't leave because he is simply too ill to go anywhere, and needs quick access to a toilet at all times.

He's in hospital right now, with the possibility of major surgery hanging over his head. Yet you will never hear a word of complaint out of him. Somehow he always manages to be there for everyone who knows him when he himself should be the focus of our attention.

He's an inspiration, and the nicest gentleman you could ever wish to meet.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Happy Birthday to me

In case you decided to skip the title, It's my birthday!

Woo.

Well, minor woo, but I'm trying to be cheery.

Didn't get any presents but did get taken to afternoon tea with my parents at a really nice expensive hotel, which cost as much as a present. Got some lovely cards, and I'm told there is a present from a friend on its way. ~\(^_^)/~

Only downside to afternoon tea is the food hates me. Stomach is all painful now, but it's totally worth it. The lovely waitress gave us 3 servings of sandwiches, which was very unexpected. Then we had 2 huge scones each, and a large selection of cakes, several of which are in the fridge for tomorrow. If you get the opportunity to have afternoon tea somewhere I really recommend doing it. It's such a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. We are surrounded by stately homes in the south so we are really lucky to have many gorgeous places to visit.

I hurt like hell tonight though. I took lots of painkillers before we left the house and sat with a cushion supporting my back while we were out, which helped me get through it. It's a shame my back is so bad though as it would have been lovely to go for a walk through the grounds. My knees also got annoyed at me, but they've done that forever.

My right knee was terrible on Sunday. I went to bed with a funny hip Saturday and woke with my hip and knee out Sunday. Couldn't really get them back in so spent the day propped up trying to keep the other hip in. I managed to see the Olympic closing ceremony, from my position propped up on the floor. Pain was managed okish until i tried to go to sleep. The change in position was so painful, I was awake for hours just praying for it to get better. Finally managed to sleep and woke up with everything back in place, just very sore. It's happening more and more often, which sort of scares me.

I was having a bad day yesterday, feeling rough and things were getting to me. Ended up shouting at my mum for something which was totally out of her control, well ish but I won't get into that as most of the problem is mine and not dealing with it really is the better option as bitter as it makes me. Fortunately my scooter is now fixed, thank you dad! :D , so I took myself out on it to clear my head, after spending half an hour calming down a little so i didn't drive recklessly. Was lovely to be back on my wheels after 2 months away from them due to the engine failing. My poor back didn't appreciate that either, but it was totally worth it. When I got home I went and apologised to mum.

Got to stop abusing my back and give it some rest, but my best friend wants to visit tomorrow and I'm too lonely to say no. I've made sure I know what time she's coming so I can time my painkillers around it, and give my back a good rest until she comes.

Then a couple of days rest me-thinks. All this pain is making me crabby and I can't go yelling at mum again.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Hypermobility Syndrome II

So as promised, today's post is about ways in which my problems affect me daily. At the end of each explanation I'm going to give a pain rating out of 10. I know this is long, but please take the time to read it. I'm not after pity, but am trying to get the message out that this is a serious condition, and we sufferers are not just lazy, we are fighting constantly to do anything. Every action has to be considered to see if it will take too much out of me to do the rest of the day's tasks. A great explanation can be found here,The spoon theory

When walking I am at constant risk of my ankle popping out of place. This movement as it pops is horrid to feel and the pain is incrdible. Trying to put the foot down before I've managed to pop it back into place is excruciating. 9/10 while popped, 7/10 for next few hours.

While doing anything involving my hands the knuckles often dislocate. This hurts at a 6 or 7, and the first few times a day doesn't hurt too much when fixed, but over the day builds to a constant 6 or 7.
My thumbs are more painful, popping at an 8/10 and staying that painful. This means I have to be careful lifting a drink, carrying my dinner to the table, braking too hard when riding.

Similarly many actions involving the hands bend the joints backwards. If I'm exerting pressure through the joint which flips backwards it's very painful, this is a pain which builds quickly and dissipates slowly. Combined with the dislocations its a large part of why I struggle to knit/crochet these days, and why I prefer chopsticks over a knife and fork. 7/10

Due to the lax ligaments, I have what is known as knock knees. This means that if my thighs are parallel, my calves are pointing away from each other slightly. This causes my patella to skip out of the groove it's supposed to slide in. The actual popping out of the groove isn't very painful, maybe only a 3. The problem comes when I bend my knee while it's out, as it cant slide it sits still until the ligaments reach their maximum length causing it to jerk back into the groove, that's a 6-9 depending on how strained it got before jerking into place.

Moving my arms at all is a problem, as my shoulders are regularly out of place. Often as I lift something it pops out, or if it was out pops in. The strain on the structures of the joints is causing damage. The longer it goes on the higher the pain, it's a constant 5 minimum, often a 9, with pain which radiates through my entire arm. When the shoulder subluxes it puts pressure on the bones of the upper arm, which pressurises the elbow, twisting the bones of the forearm, until it starts to cause problems in the wrist. 9/10

Sneezing is incredibly painful. It causes my spine to pop and crack against itself and the ribs, and often damages the cartilige holding those ribs in place. 10/10

Simply breathing is also a problem for the same reasons. The joints holding my ribs in place are damaged as the cartilage isn't up to its job. The ribs therefore move where they shouldn't and the muscles get damaged trying to take up the strain. 4-8.

As a general problem, my ability to move too much causes the facet joints of my spine to compress and slide against each other a lot more than is normal. I am in permanent back pain from the combination of inflammations in my vertibrae, ribs, and the connective tissues/muscles jointing them. this varies from 6/10 the moment I wake to 10/10 when I 'm in bed crying.

Laying down to sleep is a real problem, by laying i'm putting pressures on my shoulders and ribs, if not situated properly a subluxed shoulder being laid on is extremely painful, so I have to work all my joints into place as best as I can everytime I want to lay down. The ribs exert pressures on my spine, which feels like it is being ripped open and bent at funny angles, though i'm pretty sure nothing like that is happening, it just hurts like it is. It also exerts pressure on the sternum, which cant flex with it like the spine, so the ribs tear at their cartilage and the muscles over it instead. Laying down to sleep is always an 8-10, and is the time of day I take most painkillers. I will often take codeine, wait an hour for it to kick in, get 1-2 hours sleep, then wait 1-2 hours to be able to take another dose, and manage another couple of hours of sleep. So to get a good sleep i'm in bed for far longer than is normal. If I have to be up everyday, like i did in uni, I have to exist on a maximum of 2-4 hours a night.

There's also the problem of chronic fatigue. Even before the pain got so bad I can't make it more than a couple of hours asleep at a time, I was exhausted. This kicked in 7 years ago, in which time there have been 3 mornings I've woken up feeling good. Everything is a battle when you wake up feeling like you haven't slept.

An interesting problem we bendies have is that we tend to have odd reactions to painkillers. It may take 6 injections of anaesthetic at the dentist to work for example. Personally I have a problem that I don't get a great deal of pain releif from tablets, but I do get the high to an extreme. I take codeine to manage my pain, 15mgs to take the edge off most pains but leave me lucid enough to get on with tasks. 30mgs will knock an 8 to a 6 but leave me very high, and somewhat struggling to function. If I'm at a 10 and trying to sleep I will take 45mgs. It's not so much that it deals with the pain, it only sees to knock it down to an 8, but it makes me so high I don't really care. This was the problem I had when I was taking tramadol. I got no pain releif from it, but even the lowest dose of it made me totally whacked. I couldn't focus, I was giggling at the ceiling as time just flew by unnoticed. I was useless, but at least I wasn't feeling the pain. I stuck it out for a couple of months while I got used to being in pain all the time, then stopped taking it. I made the decision to accept being in pain over being stupidly high all the time. A lot of days go by where I don't take any codeine, it's not to say that I'm not in pain, i'm often crying with it, it's just that I need my brain for something. Those days consist of being in bed all day though, no way I can get up and move around without being sent into too much pain. I hate being relient on painkillers, i especially hate how they take my brain from me. However it looks like this pain is here to stay. So I should probably just take that 15mgs every 6 hours and accept that it's now a part of my life.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hypermobility Syndrome

Wow it's been a long time since i posted. This will hopefully explain things better than my previous post.

Lots of things have happened. I've moved back into my parents home, changed drs and actually started getting somewhere with my ilness. I've also come to terms with the fact that even if in the future I will be well enough to return to university, it wont be for several years.

I'm very close to finally having a diagnoses. I first noticed I was really getting ill when I was 15. I came down with chronic fatigue, and all over joint pain. I ended up taking a month off school.

While I learnt to cope, this never actually improved. It looks like I may finally have the diagnosis though. My new physio has said the same thing the muskuloskeletal specialist did. That I am hypermobile. However, instead of then continuing with "so there's nothing we can do" she has started me on a long course of treatment which will hopefully over the coming year improve my quality of life. I also hope to get this as a diagnosis on paper.

One of the biggest problems with not having a diagnosis is that I am constantly told off for making up excuses for everything. I don't make excuses, but without a name for my problems I have to explain in terms of what is causing me the problems on a specific day.

My range of problems inclues:
* Migraines
* Subluxing ribs
* subluxing shoulders
* subluxing hips
* dislocating ankles
* dislocating knee caps
* dislocating fingers and toes
* chronic fatigue
* chronic back pain
* Locking elbows and knees

Together these cause a range of problems. Everyday when I wake up I have to put all my joints back in their sockets. So I may one day have missed uni because I woke with my hip dislocated and it was all I could do to walk to the bathroom. The next couple I might have been stuck in bed with a migraine, which comes with the added fun of worsening my visual issues so I can't actually tell where the floor is or what way up it is. The following day I might dislocate my thumb so I can't hold a pen. To my lecturers it seems like I always had an excuse.

This is why I hope to get an official diagnoses. How great it will be to be able to just write, Hypermobility syndrome, as my reason for ilness. There's a very large chance that I will get diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic form of hypermobility (which nearly all hypermobile people fit into, just not all get correctly diagnosed, or arent affected enough to have a problem). I very much so match the criteria for the diagnosis, it just needs to be confirmed via tests such as a genetic blood test.

There are many forms of Ehlers-Danlos (EDS). The main varieties are types 1 to 4. Types 1 and 2 are known as classic EDS. These often present with less pain than types 3 and 4, and are characterised by the skin involvement. Their skin can stretch a lot further than in a normal person, while all forms of EDS have some minor skin involvement classic patients have distinctly different skin. The skin is described as velvety and smooth, and stretches far when pulled. Type 3 is the hypermobility type, Much like how classic types have an exaggerated form of skin involvement, hypermobile types have extremely flexible joints. This is a painful type to have, though along with types 1 and 2, is generally not life threatening. Type 4 is vascular. This type is dangerous, even more so if undiagnosed. Vasular sufferers are at risk of sudden rupturing of blood vessels, especially arteries, and many encounter heart problems as the structures of the heart stretch and rupture.

Personally I think I have type 3. My skin is stretchy, but not to the extreme. My joints are all very lose though. I score a 9 on the 9 point beighton scale which is a measure of hypermobility. The average person scores a 0, up to a 4 can occur in some people without EDS, but 4/5 and higher is a cause to get looked into. The points are as follows:

* 1 point for each pinky finger which can bend past 90 degreees.
* 1 point for each thumb which can be bent down onto the wrist.
* 1 point if you can place your hands flat on the floor whilst standing with knees straight.
* 1 point for each elbow which can hyperextend
* 1 point for each knee which can hyperextend.

There are also distincive featres such as extremely flexible ears, which can be bent and folded up on themselves with no discomfort or resistance. The joints of the fingers and toes tend to bend backwards, which is really painful when writing or using a knife and fork.

I'll be seing my dr on wednesday and hope to get referred to someone who can give me a firm diagnosis. I'll write another post tomorrow covering some of the daily things which being hypermobile causes me issues with. Right now I'm hurting too much to type anymore.

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Hypermobility

At a recent appointment it was mentioned that my joints are hypermobile in an offhand comment. Well, it was phrased as there's nothing we can do for your pain because your joints are hypermobile.

A while before that appointment I had already come to the conclusion that I probably hadhypermobility. The general test for it is a checklist of 9 items,

Placing flat hands on the floor with straight legs
Yup, even at my size, no problems doing this.

Left knee bending backward
Right knee bending backward
I've always been told off by physio for over extending my knees.

Left elbow bending backward
Right elbow bending backward
I wasn't aware I did this as I rarely have my arms out straight, but it was pointed out at a recent appointment.

Left thumb touching the forearm
Right thumb touching the forearm
Always have been able to, still as easy as it ever was.

Left little finger bending backward past 90 degrees
Right little finger bending backward past 90 degrees
They're the least flexible of my fingers, but they do bend easily beyond the 90 degree mark.

So, that's a maximum score of 9,of which I score 9. But of course, there's nothing wrong with me and all my problems are in my head. (please note the sarcasm there)

I'm really fed up of being told there is nothing wrong with me. Or that I'm too young to have chronic pain issues, or that the problems I have can't happen even though there are hundreds of people I've managed to find cases of with the same problems as me.

It seems that there needs to be much more awareness of this problem. Hypermobility can be, and is, debilitating. It needs to be carefully managed with painkillers and physio. Now I can't take ibuprofen any more, as it made me ill, so half of my pain management is gone. The only physio I've managed to see (referred for my back) has assumed that I just have the typical student bad back so doesn't care that the exercises she gave me make the problem worse not better. I've not even had an examination of my back. Just a line of doctors making assumptions.

I guess the silver lining here is that I'm moving house soon. I'm moving back to my parents as I need to get away from my NHS PCT, and the PCT back with them has a proven track record. So fingers crossed, I can register back down south and get referred to someone who can help.

Until then, I guess I get to spend my days in agony, living on painkillers and boredom. Woo.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Free gifts from Celeena Cree creations



Right now, if you pop over to Celeena Cree Creations on etsy you can get a free pattern with every purchase.
To claim a free pattern just message Celeena with your selection once you've purchased and item and it will be emailed straight to you.

There's also a free pattern on offer for anyone who blogs about the offer. ^_^

Be sure to pop over any time from now until the end of april if you don't want to miss out on this great offer.

Celeena Cree Creations

The store contains all sorts of great items; knitting, crochet, and cross stitch patterns, Jewellery, charms, etc.
You can even request a custom made item.

My tablet's home page

This is just a quick update with an image of my main page with it's awesome background. It is a stunning picture my housemate helped me to find on a site called wallbase.cc.
I currently have my apps spread over three pages ( home, general, and games) and a fourth page dedicated to system management.

When I started writing just now I discovered i can type just by swiping between the keys I want rather than having to type each letter. It's a much quicker way to type and the predictive options mean I can misspell or skip punctuation and then just select the exact word I'm after. I know it's not new technology but it's the first device I've owned with the option. ^-^





Edit: Uploaded a better quality image.

Monday, 19 March 2012

such a long time since i posted anything.

I last posted quite a while ago because just as i was getting an idea of what i wanted to write, my best friend got admitted to hospital. That was an odd fortnight. I visited nearly every day and was just too tired and in pain to be blogging when I was online in the evenings.
Having spent a week with her helping her to recuperate after surgery I came home but just never got round to blogging, mainly because the past few weeks have caught up with my back.

I received a new toy today. I am now the proud owner of an Asus eee pad transformer prime.
It's sort of a replacement for my laptop which is on its last legs because the current generation of CPUs has priced me out of getting a laptop powerful enough or my needs.
This tablet is remarkably powerful for its tiny size. I've installed games on it which cause my laptop to throw a fit and crash, and they run beautifully. I purchase every humble bundle which gets released and there have now been 2 which contain games for android so my little tablet's game collection is a lovely size now.
The humble bundle is a great system where you pay what you like, even as little as a penny, though i disapprove of such, to receive several indie games. You get to choose how much of your money goes to charity, the developers and the people hosting the bundle.
I'm writing this blog in the android blogger app, and it's going very well. The keyboard dock for my tablet makes typing very easy, which is really helpful if browsing the internet. That's not to say the onscreen keyboard is bad, but i prefer the tactile feedback of real keys.

I'll see if I can get some images to add to this post tomorrow. Right now I'm still just having fun learning all about my new toy.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Slow days and yarn bowls

This week has been rather boring, not had a lot to blog about.

Though this morning was interesting, but i'll get to that later.


A couple of weeks ago I ordered a yarn bowl from etsy. It was hand made, just for me.
It arrived a couple of days ago and I love it. Here's a picture taken by the crafter as mine just don't do it justice.



I love it. The hook is really well carved, doesn't snag the yarn at all. It glides out beautifully while preventing my yarn from escaping me. I've got it on the table next to my bed, and have been using it loads. I love not having to chase my yarn down everytime I stop working. Due to my recent joint problems, I find that I have to put my work down after only a few rows, and having to chase the ball down to put away my project after every short burst was getting really frustrating. Now, I can just fold the project up and put it down knowing my yarn is where it started.

It's a lovely colour and the hook is so cute. There's a range of colours and hooks available, so I chose my favourites and just love the bowl. I'm not quite sure how i've managed all these years without one.

Yarn bowls are a little costly as no company makes them, so they're all hand made by individuals. Most of the ones I've seen are either way too expensive, or have had so much decorative carving done to them that the shape of the bowl is distorted by the weakened clay. Generally they're also pre-made by the seller so you don't get to customise them. The seller I used lets you choose colour and hook, and can even add a message to the base. If you're looking for a yarn bowl i'd rally recommend checking her out. (littlewrenpottery.etsy.com)


I've been trying to find more blogs to follow since my previous post, but have been struggling to find ones which fit the feel of those I already follow. I love to read blogs which cover more than just their crafts and which cover a variety of crafts. If anyone can recommend some to me I'd be grateful. ^_^


So, as promised, This morning's tale...
Over night a very light rain created a layer of ice on our street. Our street, being a very steep hill, is really dangerous when icy.
So around 6am I head a loud bang, look out the window and there's a van up on the pavement opposite. A couple of minutes later, a 4x4 trying to drive up the street spins and crashes into the van.
Well, the 4x4 managed to move enough to park next to the van, and within half an hour two more cars have crashed into it.
Luckily all bar the initial crash were very low speed, only mild damage to the cars. Initial crash totalled the neighbour's garden wall though.

I'm getting a little sick of being stuck at home all week. Can't make it up and down the street safely to get out. I really can't wait for the weather to warm up, I miss being out and about on my scooter. I also need the weather to improve enough that I can safely get out to my drs to pick up a prescription. I've run out of meds and am really feeling it, but can't safely go get the script.


You may have noticed, I'm playing with the formatting of this post. I've added bold text and spacing to the start of each section, to help make it obvious that the topic has changed. Not sure I like it but I'm also not sure how else to do it as I don't want to break the flow of the post with headers for each section.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Award and cushion

As promised, here is today's post.

I received an award ^_^



It seems that there are some rules to awards, so here they are:

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6, Inform each one of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

I was very surpised to discover I had been chosen to receive it.
I was given this aware by Joan, who has a blog just full of wonderful crochet projects. I especially love her recent armadillo, it's so cute.

Now, 7 random things about me.
First I guess would be that I'm a technique crafter, rather than someone who works to finished projects. I love making swatches of different styles with their individual textures. There's just something about playing with a stitch with no pressure to finish the item.

I'm also a terrible hoarder. It's part of my OCD. Unfortunately it means I will hoard anything, and often need help getting rid of all the random things cluttering my room.

Third interesting fact, I nearly always have a fan on. It can be the middle of winter and freezing cold out and not much warmer in, and my fan will be on. Often i'll be snuggled in bed with just my head out and my fan on. I just need to feel the air moving.

I'm slowly becoming bike mad. Just over a year ago I got a scooter and I'm in love with it. Riding with my visor open so I can feel the wind on my face is great, if terrible for my skin.

Ok, lets try to write the last 3 with less waffle.
I love rainbows. I know all the science behind them but still like to call them magic. I hope the wonder will never fade.

I don't belive there is an indigo stripe in the rainbow. I will argue this anyday. Whenever I craft a rainbow it will only have 6 colours.

Lastly, I would love to ride a horse over open hills. I think the sense of freedom and the beauty around would be amazing.

Right, now I have to give the award on to 15 bloggers. The only problem is that I don't currently follow 15 blogs. With the stress of uni work I never found the time to follow a lot of blogs before. It's something I hope to do now.
So, for now I will award those I can and will add to the list soon as I discover more of the wonderful blogs out there.

1. The random ramblings of celeena cree.
2. EssHaych.
3. The Garden Bell.
4. Fuzzy Thoughts.
5. Just Joan.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.


Onto cushions.

Here's a photo of my project so far,



It's a quarter of the finished piece. I have 5 more pattern repeats to finish this panel, then I have to make a second one and sew them together. It's made using the basketweave stitch. Good luck finding a set of instructions which actually make sense. When you know what you're doing it's so simple, but the written pattern is terrible.

Just a quick hello, and a ramble about cushions.

I'm trying to make blogging a regular activity so although i'm about to pop to bed I though I'd write a quick post, and then do the big post I need to write in the morning (Which probably means tomorrow afternoon, by standard definitions, 6am being my current bed time.)

My knee is still very painful at the moment but seems to be easing off. Hopefully it will be a bit better tomorrow so that I can go buy the beads I need to finish my project. I'm having to be so careful not to knock it and send beads everywhere as it would not only take forever to clean up, but forever to put back together.

Tomorrow i'll post a picture of my current crochet project. It's going to be a cushion when done. When I made my first cushion, which i'm so proud of I'm sure I'll take new photos and post here sometime, I planned to make a second one just like it. However that never happened and, as much as I love order and symmetry, I decided that I would hold off until another pattern inspired me.
The one i'm working on has a lovely texture. It's blue like the other one is but in a single solid shade while the other is stripes of many. I've made my mind up that the house of a crafter should not contain multiple cushions of one design but many showing different techniques and each having an individual texture.

Of course, that means that as some point I need to visit abakhan to buy a new insert as I gave away the other to a friend when I decided to abandon the second cushion plan. I think the best thing beside the textures of homemade cushions is the fact that I can have feather inserts. I adore them. The weight of a feather cushion and the fact that if it's getting flat you just fluff it up are two wonderful qualities all cushions should have.

Well, that's it for now. Special post planned for tomorrow. ^_^ see you then.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Pain and beading

I get the feeling the two are related.

All day I've barely been able to move my right leg due to the pain in the knee. Feels like some of the cartilage is caught and pulling when i try to move it. It's possibly a result of sitting cross legged for 30 mins last night.

I was aware that I was uncomfortable but at the same time, I was sooo close to finishing sorting my beads and my OCD was more powerful than the pain. I had a tub of 10,000 which needed sorting into 10 tubs. It felt great when I finished and could see them all sat in their individual colours.

I'm working on a design which contains 2809 beads. I think i need more of one type though so if my knee's up to it I'm off to hobby craft tomorrow. Hopefully when done, during the day you will be able to see the rainbow colours while the light is charging the glow in the dark beads so that at night you can still see the pattern but it will be in black.

Here's a picture of it currently. The yellow didn't come out very well using my iPod camera in this lighting, but it follows the same pattern as the rest.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Internet woes

My house has virgin media Internet, and we hate it. There are always problems with the connection.

Today we've been trying to upload a couple of files to YouTube.
My file got 8 hours in and was a whole 3% uploaded with a quote of 8 days remaining. So I gave up. My housemate loading a smaller file was still getting quoted 26 hours to upload it.

We ran the test of our upload at speedtest.net and have been getting an average of 0.06Mb/s when we should get up to 1Mb/s. We checked with our neighbours who also have virgin and their speed test comes up at 0.97Mb/s. So there has to be something wrong with our cable. We've checked the cables we can access and have even swapped out the one between the outside and our modem. We're hoping to get a response from virgin soon reference this.

So for now, no YouTube uploads :'(

Never again will I go with virgin. If we had another choice I'd swap out for a new company but the only line our house has is the virgin cable. Hopefully i'll have a better connection when I move later this year.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Another evening on Minecraft

Tonight a group of friends and I continued our play through of a map called Spellbound Caves.
The map contains a series of dungeons which are full or traps and monsters. The aim to to travel through these dungeons collecting coloured wool blocks and placing them on a monument. There are 16 wool blocks plus 3 other blocks to be placed to complete the map.

It was great fun, it appears the map designer (who has made lots of these maps) has been learning to use some new types of trap. I'm not 100% certain but, by the way things kept blowing up on us, I think he's included traps which sense when a player is near and cause explosions.

Afterwards I was watching a video from another person who plays minecraft. They have a well established world is which they have build a really cool base. I noticed he had put a download of the map in the link so I decided to have a run around in his world. Well my OCD really came out to play. I have spent most of the last hour running around squaring off everything. He's built his base in a natural cave system and has mostly left the natural walls intact. I can't stand to see so many blocks out of place! Still, it's sort of fun to 'fix'.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Something I enjoy

After the last post I decided to write about something I enjoy. That thing is minecraft.

It's a brilliant game, likened to lego and an OCD simulator. I can spend many hours playing it, building new constructs, circuitry, traps etc. Or, I can spend hours fighting off creatures of the darkness while exploring huge cave networks. Or I can combine both! ^_^

Last night my housemate and I spent the evening playing competitive team maps with a group of people from across western Europe. We were playing a type of map where two teams compete to be the first to collect three wool blocks from dungeons and place them in a monument.

The first map we played was one my housemate and I have been building. It went really well, just a few more tweaks and it should be ready for release :D
The second map was one which has been used in a recent reddit tournament. It meant that people knew exactly what needed to be done and so we could see how different people played. Our plan is to form 2/3 teams who train together to enter upcoming competitions.

One of my current projects is a huge mansion, I'm building it 'organically' which means I play for short periods of time, building what ever i get a sudden idea for.
Here's a couple of photos of what I've been up to.





A little about what's up at the moment. (Warning: This is a long ramble)

Hi,

Those who know me will know that I've spent the past few years fighting with some problems while trying to get a degree. The course material has been great, life however has been less so.

About 2 years ago now I injured my back. We're not quite sure how but a couple of my ribs popped out of place. I spent a lot of money getting it treated by a chiropractor and for a while things were good. Unfortunately, when a bus i was travelling on did an emergency stop I hit the seat in front of me and felt my ribs pop out again.

It's slowly been getting worse and now I'm unable to continue with my studies due to the pain. I was barely coping by taking ibuprofen in lectures and codeine while at home, but the ibuprofen caused me to get ill and I had to stop taking it. Now I'm stuck with the only effective painkiller I have being codeine, which leaves me feeling very fuzzy.

This leaves me unable to study or work. If I'm sat for more than an hour I'm in extreme agony. The only way I manage to visit friends is to take a lot of codeine and sit in a lot of pain. I try not to let it show when I'm with people but the pain is unreal. I feel like i need to leave the room and find somewhere quiet to cry it hurts so much.

So now, my life is in a sort of limbo. I have no reason to get up each day and often find myself in tears i'm in so much pain. I don't seem to have anything to fill my days with. There are several activities I like, but many reasons why I can't while away the hours doing them.

I love to read, however between the codeine and my dyslexia I find that I can't focus on the words very well.
I also love to knit, but I have developed problems with my knuckles which pop out of place as I work causing a lot of pain and making it hard to grip the needles.
Crochet isn't so bad, it puts less strain on my knuckles so I can do it for longer stretches. However, on days when my back is really playing up, my ribs press on my shoulder which puts it out of place and causes inflammation to flare up down my arm so I can barely use my right hand some days.

It's hard to find words which explain just how painful it can be, my back hurts constantly and spikes with every breath. My shoulders are always a slowly building pain which then explodes when the joint cracks before calming down to begin the process anew. On the worst days it doesn't calm with the crack and just gets worse and worse. The pain radiates down my arm, I get a deep pain in the middle of my upper arm, which any movement or pressure really exacerbates. My elbow feels like the bones are coated in sandpaper as I move it and my wrist feels like someone has injected acid into it. It feels so swollen and the pain burns. These days are getting more common and they are lasting longer.

I hate taking codeine because of the way it makes my head feel. I don't take it everyday, I can't stand the stronger drugs so I'm trying to just develop a higher pain tolerance so that the codeine is more effective on bad days. I find that I take more codeine at night than any other time as laying on my back is unbelievably painful. Laying on my front is the least painful position, but also one which is impossible to sleep in. Every other position fills me with pain.

So yeah, I'm struggling quite a bit at the moment. Just got to wait and see what happens, hopefully I'll have housing benefit and ESA soon to help me live while I hope to get better and get back into life.

I just wish the NHS didn't treat me like a statistic. Either telling me "At your age it's unlikely your ribs have problems" or "it's because you're a student so 'obviously' have bad posture causing the problem" without even examining me to find out what's going on. I spent long enough getting someone to believe me I had problems with my knees. After having both operated on I still get medical people telling me that people my age don't have knee problems. I'm not a damn number on a computer and I can only hope that some day soon I'll find someone who doesn't treat me like one.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Same name - new blog

My life has taken a bit of an unexpected turn recently, so i decided to start a fresh blog.Of course, every name i could think of was already taken. So I decided to delete every post on here and start anew.

It's 6am so I'm not going to get into things right now, but tomorrow I plan to get started with blogging.

(Tomorrow of course meaning- A] after I've slept and/or B] after the sun has risen.)