Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Posting for the 3rd day in a row - can you tell I'm having a few quiet evenings in?!

A few months ago I, madly, decided to sign up for a charity bike ride which takes place in September. It's 60 miles, from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Wonderful, I hear everyone say! What a great way to raise some money AND get fit.

So here is the problem - I am NOT fit and never have been. When arthritis joined in the party I gave all exercise up for a while because I felt awfully sorry for myself, didn't have a clue what was going on with my body and it was the start of a very long and snowy winter. I replaced the bike with chocolate - hello 6 pound weight gain!!

However, as Spring sprung, the days got longer and my joints settled down I decided to get back on my bike. I also started going to yoga and swimming. I was feeling pretty good but the last few weeks I've been slacking off (read that as 'spending every weekend out socialising drunk as a skunk').

I went cycling for the first time in ages last night and OH MY GOD. I didn't even go up any hills, just did a couple of laps around the park and I was exhausted. Did the same tonight and it was still pretty tough on my poor weak muscles.

As much as I am grateful for ANY day I am fit enough to go biking (and I am very very grateful), I need to step up my game. How will I be able to cycle 60 miles in 2 and a half months?! Just need to focus on my goal - half the money I raise is going to a cancer charity and half to Arthritis Care, so it'll be worth it in the end.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I don't think I've mentioned before in my blog, but I work as a photographer/videographer for the website of a popular UK fashion footwear retailer. So I spend my days looking at, photographing, videoing and editing SHOES.

Awesome, some may say. It is, but it's also a bit of a bummer when your feet are a bit crap. I've never been into high heels because I'm 5'8 and have been since the age of about 12, but I do like nice shoes. I also have a generous discount which needs to be used.

Ok so today I bought these:

Toms - light, summery, on trend and totally awesome because for every pair bought, they give a pair to someone in a 3rd world country. And also they're flat and should be super comfy with a supportive sole. BUT... my stupid feet are different sizes. So the right foot is pretty tight on, and the right foot just happens to be the foot with the arthritis. I sense doom, but I bought them anyway!!

I also really really really want to get these:

Tried them on today and they fit really nicely on my different sized feet and the heel isn't high at all so no pressure on the ball of my foot. BUT... the stupid bit over the toe turns in too far and rubs the top of my big toe like crazy.

I just know they'll give me blisters or worse.. Ugh.. but I want them! Sick of wearing my oh-so-comfy 'Granny Sandals' and trainers.

What's a girl to do?!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dr Who

I love Dr Who!!
So obsessed with it right now. I never watched it before but since Matt Smith became the new doctor I thought I'd try and get into it - after all it's a British institution! Season 5 just finished, can't wait for more.. Might have to go back and watch all the David Tennant ones now.

Bit of a pointless post.. but that's about the only excitement I've had today. I think I'm still trying to recover from a very very drunken night out dancing on saturday. When did I start to have 2 day hangovers? I remember being 18, staying out all night, having 4 hours sleep and feeling fit as a fiddle. Now I'm a 24 year old arthritic. Marvellous folks, just marvellous!

I'll go back to Dr Who now and leave you with this wonderful picture.. just remember - bow ties are cool!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

I LOVE my doctor

I just have to say how amazing my doc is. I don't mean my consultant, as I've only met her once (she's lovely too). My other doctor is the one who did my ultrasound and has been taking all my bloods at the hospital. She's a bit weird, granted.. she's about 40 but has long hair speckled with grey, used to do charity medical work in Africa and I think she's generally a bit of a secret hippy. I've always liked her - she remembers everything I tell her about my life, always asks for details and when she did my ultrasound she spent about 2-3 hours with me which was awesome. But today she totally surprised me. We British like to moan about the 'crappy' NHS, so I thought I should share this. I had to go in for bloods this morning as my white cell count dropped a few points on sulfa and we had to stop it for 2 weeks and see if it went up again. She did my bloods and said she was going on holiday the next day and that she'd ask someone to call me or send me a letter next week telling me what the results were and what I should do with the meds.

So I went back to work and maybe 4-5 hours later my phone rings and it's my doctor saying that she really wanted to get my bloods through before she left for her holidays so she marked it urgent and she wanted to speak to me herself. Not because there was anything wrong, I just think she knows how upset and worried I get. I was so pleasantly surprised, as I know she probably had a million things to do today but she found the time to do this for me and ring me herself.

Dr A rocks!! I actually have had brilliant care at the hospital so far and I know not everyone's experience is the same as I read on message boards about doctors rushing them or being rude so I guess I've lucked out.

On the bloods side of things, white cell count's back to normal. We'll try the sulfa again for a few days before I get the next bloods in 2 weeks. If it drops again then it's definitely the sulfa and they want to try me on hydroxy. Stupid white blood cells, who needs them anyway? ;)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Just another Monday..

Not a brillant start to the week so far. I had a fun weekend away, went up to the Highlands camping with a friend and the weather was gorgeous - blue skies all the way.

Alas it seems the good times can't just keep on rolling, the arthritis has piped up and my right hand pointer finger's swollen up. Tomorrow would've been 2 months without swelling - it's as if it knew! Oh well, I don't know how this one's gonna go.. hopefully it'll be a mini flare and not spread to too many other joints. So hard to explain to people how incredibly frustrating it is to even have one useless finger, let alone more.

I am seeing the doc on Thursday for bloods - 2 weeks since I stopped the sulfa. I don't know if this flare up's related to that or not.. I don't know anything anymore, my body makes up its own rules.

To keep my spirits up I'm going to watch Dr Who, chill out and think about a friend of mine who had a lot of health problems as a teen. She had to have open heart surgery to remove a gland which was affecting her facial nerves. This was when we were about 18 and I remember she was on steroids for over a year prior to the surgery and has a massive scar all the way down her chest. BUT.. she's been in the news this week for winning a Scottish fashion award for young talent, beating off competition from thousands of graduates. Such an amazing achievement. And ok, I know it was a different condition and I don't know the ins and outs of it and if it still affects her but I know she had a rough time. I also remember how positive and cool she was during that time and what a driven young woman she's obviously become. I'm very pleased for her and quite inspired! I need to remember that life might look brighter in the future and I could still achieve things that I want to do. Even on a crappy day like today.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bad news

Ugh well I spoke to my doctor this morning, the blood tests they did the other day have come back showing a change in my white blood count. She said not to worry but to stop taking the sulfasalazine for 2 weeks and then we'll repeat the blood test.

She said sometimes people's bloods are just weird and it might not be the drug but they have to be sure.

I'm quite gutted, I thought it was going so well. No external side effects that I could see, but I guess my insides are telling a different story.

I'm still feeling pretty well, although I'm very anxious today - I feel like I'm back to square one.

I really really really really don't want to have to take methotrexate. I know it's silly and part of my denial but the thought of such a serious drug just reminds me of how serious this disease can get. Too scary :(. Also I know it's silly and trivial but I love going out and having a drink, I don't want to feel even more different from my friends than I do already. I guess we'll cross that bridge once the second blood test comes back. UGH. I hate this game.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


I got back on Sunday night but have been uber busy and not had time to sort through my pictures. Until today - yipieee!!

We had an amazing time, it's a cool place - a bit dodgy, gotta watch your bag for pickpockets and your purse strings in general as it's very expensive in the touristy areas.

Really gorgeous architecture, obviously, with Gaudi's magnificent and final work La Sagrada Familia towering over the heart of the city:

The city is also host to one of the world's finest and biggest examples of Gothic architecture in the Gothic Quarter, just off La Rambla:

I also loved the magical Park Guell, another of Gaudi's masterpieces. The odd tower-like structures almost look like fairy tale gingerbread houses and the wonderfully coloured broken tiles have become a symbol of Barcelona. The green space and sculptures in park Guell used to be the grounds of Gaudi's residence and are now a public park with gorgeous views over the city:

We also spent a lot of time wandering about, chilling out and drinking a few sangrias - on the beach and everywhere we could really!

We went to a music festival the last few days which was cool. We saw the Pixies, Broken Social Scene, the Pet Shop Boys (lol) and lots of good smaller bands.

The weather also stayed sunny and just the right amount of hot. Overall, excellent. If you are lucky enough to be in the position to travel I thoroughly recommend this city.

On the arthritis side of things, feeling really good. Had no problems on holiday at all even though I drank loads and was a bit worried about the sulfa. I'm not drinking this week though so hopefully my liver will forgive me, got my first meds blood test next tuesday - ugh. There was a wonderful moment maybe Wednesday night, where we got home and I realised I hadn't thought about arthritis for at least a few hours. That's a long time for me, it usually crosses my mind a couple of times an hour. I had a sore lower back the last couple of days which was a bit unpleasant but I don't know if that was the arthritis or just the aftermath of lots of walking and sleeping in a different bed. Who knows.. My yoga instructor focused on the thighs and back yesterday so I gave it a good stretch and it seems almost back to normal.

So, back to work now. Joy joy joy. No holidays for a while now as I'm BROKE!! But really really thankful that all went to plan, and long may it continue. (I've probably just jinxed myself by saying that...).

Oh on a side note - just been catching up on all the TV I missed and OH MY GOD. How awful was the Lost finale?? This whole season I've been losing interest in it but that was beyond terrible.

Ok, that's it. Sorry for the long post but hope you enjoyed the pics.