Friday, 25 March 2011

Mailing List!

I've been messaged by serveral regular readers who don't always remember to check the blog for new posts and it's been suggested that I start a mailing list to notify you guys every time there's an update - or indeed another competition!

So if you'd like to go on my mailing list please e-mail me at

L x

Nicole Hemmenway - No, its NOT in my head!

Any regular readers are well aware that I’ve been in relapse for the past 10 months with RSDS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome). I’m not generally one to dwell, I just become frustrated with my limitations – mostly attributed to my lack of sleep via my pain levels.

One evening last October, feeling rather sorry for myself I started browsing through RSD support groups online. I’m a member of various networks and came across a conversation about people who inspire others despite this pain.

I read in messages about a girl called Nicole Hemmenway from San Francisco, who after a long battle with RSD in her teens and early twenties was now a motivational speaker, an advocate for patient rights and a marathon runner!

After looking through Nicole’s website ( I found that she had written a book detailing her journey to recovery called “No, It’s NOT in my head." I e-mailed Nicole herself and we chatted briefly about each other’s experiences. Two weeks later her book arrived on my doorstep with a note inside saying...

Lynsey – Thank you for being a strong empowering voice to others living with pain. Continue to live life while holding onto hope. Always believe in the unimaginable and how you are an inspiration. Believe in miracles, Nicole. – A lovely message I thought!

Although knowing there could be an end to my own RSD I put off reading the book, I think I knew reading Nicole’s story would ignite old and purposely forgotten memories.

I took the book to Australia and began reading it in my second week there, after looking at it several times, flicking through the chapter titles – putting it off a little longer each time.

One morning I sat out in the sun, feeling its warm benefits and began to read what almost felt like my own story.

The book documents how Nicole developed the condition (would you believe a miss judged high five gone wrong!) which would leave her unable to use either of her hands, forcing her to leaving school, try and then withdraw from University.

I found myself reading with tears constantly stinging the back of my eyes, things only made easier by the fact that every couple of chapters she wrote about her thoughts during her first marathon – realistic yet positive, worrying yet reassuring.

Like myself Ms Hemmenway had been accused of faking her symptoms, that it was all in her head and that she was causing all of this drama to get attention – whether it good or bad! And my own story reflected all the mishaps, medical wrong doings and metaphorical doors slammed in her face.

I’m aware that there are some people who would indeed fake illness and crave attention, but why would Nicole? - A young, gorgeous, confident, A+ student who loved sport, and spent her free time attending football games and formal dances.

Tired with conventional medical treatments and medications Nicole started to explore alternative therapies like Reiki, meditation, colour and crystal therapy, yoga classes and many more. This has now made me wonder should I do the same? I gave up on the NHS curing me when I was 18, after seeing a doctor who suggested with complete seriousness that I should consider having my leg amputated. Since then I’ve just continued with daily physiotherapy, pain killers and muscle relaxants and luckily a very good relationship with my GP.

Apart from being horrified at the thought of amputation I wanted to be rid of appointments, tests and brainstorming sessions in my pain therapy clinic – I wanted a life. To an extent I have achieved a fair amount in the years since, but had I tried alternative therapies would I have done more?

So while I contemplate new therapies and treatments I would definitely recommend Nicole’s book. It’s a harrowing story that leaves you wondering who hands out these doctors qualifications and approves these practices of treatment. But over all seeing a frank and honest journey that has led Nicola to a healthy almost pain free life can only be an inspiration to anyone!

L x

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Back with a Bump!

For once this year I’m not writing from far flung Australia or a cosy cabin in Suffolk. It seems I’m back in Southend with a bit of a bump. Back to reality – sadly! No more free holidays – and I have to get some aspects of my life back in order.

As you can imagine my finances have taken an almighty hit, all worth it of course, my memories are priceless but now I’m truly poor – so I apologise now to my nearest and dearest, if I say no to a lot off coffees, clubs and shopping sprees; I’m preserving what’s left of my overdraft!

Apart from shameless plugs for my google ad words, I’ve started writing and submitting work to paying publications; something I’ve not attempted in a decade, I’m hoping I have more wisdom and wit than my 16 year old self!

Secondly I am the fattest I have ever been, now when I ask myself “Does my bum look big in this?” I can accurately and honestly say “Yes!” coupled with a sigh that only pushes my stomach out further!

Coming back from OZ I could no longer wear my faithful New Look Jeans. That should have been the unequivocal evidence that I was getting tubby, but last week my 6 year old niece, looked at me with all the excitement of Christmas day and asked the question that all larger women dread “Auntie Lynsey.... are you having a baby?” – I could have fainted, nay died on the spot.

I know I’ve let things slide, annoyingly I was doing so well before my relapse started 10 months ago, I had the energy and lesser pain levels that meant I could exercise to a degree, but lack of mobility and not adjusting my slightly over generous portion sizes haven’t done me any good.

So I went looking for a work out DVD for elderly people or even a pregnancy one. I came across Leanne’s Chair workout. Leanne Grose is a 30 year old writer, motivational speaker, radio presenter, who unfortunately had to have her leg amputated due to tumours. Leanne found she gaining weight due to the lack of cardio exercise she could do from crutches and a wheelchair. So Leanne funded an exercise DVD project especially tailored for disabled people.

I ordered the DVD (I know shouldn’t be buying, but my figures at stake here!) it arrived yesterday and I did get a bloody good sweat on from my chair! Fingers crossed my motivation keeps up!

L x

Monday, 7 March 2011

Suffolk Blog 2

Days 3 and 4 where absolutely freezing in Suffolk! Thankfully I spent most of Wednesday in the onsite pool! A lovely, heated and clean pool at that! I invested in an underwater camera to take photos of my friends kids learning to swim and see my friend Danyka get her butt stuck more than once on the rapids. I’m currently patiently waiting for the GoGo to charge so that I can go pick up the photo’s that I put in within an hour of getting home to Southend.

Wednesday evening Danyka and I went to the parks spa, luckily they have a mobility service to take customers to events and activities outside of scooter and wheelchair range. We paid £26 for a taster evening where you can try out all the different steam and meditation rooms. My favourite was the Aqua medication and Japanese steam rooms. It was fairly busy so you sometimes had to go back on yourself to try rooms when they were less crowded. We just kept an eye on how many robes were hung outside, although at one point ours were pinched lol!

Team GoGo Danyka and I
Feeling all Zen and relaxed about 2hours in our 3 hour session, I decided to try out an Experience Shower, which basically means that it’ll soak you from various directions, I tried a few of the settings without a hitch but then I pressed the Rain button and it was bloody freezing, I jumped to the side and slid. Before I knew it I was on the floor! I had let go of Dan’s hand and my walking stick to have a few moments of freedom only to end up with a swollen foot and hand plus a bruised butt not to mention a deflated ego! Zen – gone!

I hobbled around for the following 20 minutes before giving in going back to the cabin, by which time we were laughing about the sight of me with my legs akimbo!

Thursday I woke up so sore and swollen, there would be no pool for me! The Mummies and their kids went to a soft play date in the main complex and the rest of us met with them after for a drink (or two) in the Sports Cafe.

Thursday evening was our last there so we decided to go out to dinner to the American Bar and grill called Husks. I opted for a farewell Long Island Iced tea, my only drink that evening since my meds had been bumped up after the accident. Anyone who knows me is well aware I am a foodie, it’s an Ellard thing! I wanted a starter, main and pudding, but I was happy to see that if you wanted to half your main size (and price) they would do you a smaller potion so that you could enjoy more courses. I had artichoke and spinach dip to start and an American beef main both were gorgeous and thankfully for my bank account and waist size I was too full for pudding!

Again the mummies went off to take the kids to an under 8’s disco with Dan’s so Elaine and baby Tyler and I went back to the cabin for a film and a gossip, a lovely chilled way to end my time in (not so) sunny Suffolk!

Our cabin in a rare sunny moment!
L x

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Suffolk days 1 & 2

Let your friends know about my competition posted below!!

So it turns out, I have internet at Center Parcs! I didn’t think it would work amongst the trees. I’m in Suffolk with some friends and ironically the person with the iphone is the only one without signal, now logically I know that’s her network not so much the phone, but it still carries on my dislike of Apple Products lol!

Anyway, I’m here for 5 days and on day two I’m impressed! We got here Monday afternoon, after loving the park but hating the old accommodation my friends booked Center Parcs new build cabins. From the outside they look plain and uninteresting but inside there is a large living area with a big brown and orange sofa and furnishings (not in a 70’s brown and orange fashion) large flat screen television, dining table for 8 people and a contemporary kitchen, stocked with all the essentials to stay in and cook.

We have a party of 5 adults, two toddlers and a new baby, so luckily there’s 4 bedrooms here (two doubles and two single rooms with two beds in each) and a full bathroom with bath and shower, another shower room plus another loo! I am lucky/cheeky enough to have my own room; so on one bed is all my crap, and I sleep on the other – when it’s not being attacked by the two year olds!
The two year old attack!
Yesterday night we ventured into the communal entertainment and shopping complex. Complex is exactly what it is, there is so much to do here, and I believe just about everyone is catered for. There are numerous kids clubs, entertainment and play areas from 3 months old and upwards – adorably named the Bumblebee’s, Crickets and Dragonflies.
One of many kids clubs
There is a full spa with 15 experience rooms ranging from an ice fountain, a Japanese Salt Steam bath and a Turkish Hammam. Tomorrow evening I’ll be visiting the spa for a taster evening within these rooms, although there are many treatments available to refresh, revitalise and renew. Had I had the funds (I lost them all in OZ) I would have opted for a Elemis Modern Skin Facial, a Skin and body detox finished off with a Swedish Body massage – something for next time I feel!

There’s an onsite supermarket and various other clothing, souvenir and sporting shops although I would highly recommend bringing all the food and equipment you can, it’s so expensive that even the three aisled sweet shop prices made me wince!

As it is famed for, Center Parcs has tons of sporting activities and entertainment, there’s huge pool with designated children’s areas with slides, water shutes, and a wave pool. We spent today’s afternoon in the pool, which the kids loved, and fell asleep soon after. Even now as I type; 5 hours later I have yet to recover – agony!

Wicked pool!
Also on offer are dancing lessons, aerobics, zip wires, quad biking, paintballing, woodland tours, cycling, archery, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, tennis courts just to name a few of many!

Once you’ve worked up your appetite and you’re too tired to even bother to cook there are loads of restaurants that serve at various times a day, there’s a gastro pub, an Indian, an Italian, a pancake house and even a Starbucks amongst others, so you won’t starve or find lack of choice a problem.

Referring back to the park catering for all there’s wheelchair and Scooter hire service (I bought my GoGo) babysitting, hair dressers, gym, a medical centre and onsite security so you literally do not have to leave the place until your home time!

Tomorrow I don’t plan on doing much more than floating in the pool and visiting the steam rooms, I am too spoilt sometimes I know! My luck will surely run out very soon, I promise to get back to the real world next week!

L x