The truth behind the gram…

For sometime now there is something I have been holding back from you, probably because I don’t want it to happen. Actually, maybe not so much that, but more I don’t want it interrupting my life. And one big and important part of my life includes my blogging, Instagram life and connecting with other like minded people like you.

So, whats up? Well if you have read my ‘Power of Pink’ post you will know that earlier this year I was diagnosed with a brain malformation called Chiari and a Syrinx on my spinal cord. At the time of the post I was left with a choice; whether or whether not to have decompression surgery. Well a lot has happened since then that I have kept from you.

I went back to my neurosurgeon in late August as some more strange symptoms had appeared. The most distressing was losing some control over my bowel and I skimmed over some pins and needles I had been experiencing (that btw I didn’t think a lot of). Well the mood in the room changed as soon as I mentioned the pins and needles. It turns out the Syrinx on my spinal cord was now causing nerve damage and the pins and needles in my limbs was the start of a degeneration that could lead me to life in a wheelchair. It was a shock to say the least, I no longer have a choice, I now have to have the decompression surgery. Again, if you want to know more please go and read my ‘Power of Pink’ post.

He told me it would be in the next few weeks and at the longest a couple of months. It has now been six weeks since that appointment. And last week on the Friday I finally got the call, and I was booked in for the Wednesday coming. I went into overdrive to organise everything in just a few days. Childcare for my young babes, a date night for me and Dan before a long recovery and money planning as I was going to be off work for sometime. I also asked Dan if we could go pumpkin picking. A little early I know, but it is something we do as a family and with friends every year, and this October half term it was looking very likely I would be in hospital. So we went, in September!

Dress @zara @hot4thespot
Location @pickwellfarm

We squeezed a lot in that weekend. Then Tuesday morning, the day before, I got a call to say my op had been cancelled. My neurosurgeon is also the paediatric neurosurgeon and an emergency had came in and they needed my spot. Now, I’m a mother and my first thoughts were thinking about that poor family. But then as it sunk in I felt frustrated too. Everyday my pain gets worse, I get more dizziness and the world often feels like its spinning. As I said earlier I hate that this condition has come and interrupted my life! I was in denial for a long time and I kept working up until a week and a half ago but then my body just couldn’t do it anymore.

Dress @zara @hot4thespot
Location @pickwellfarm

This condition has put my life and my families on hold and it has meant missing out on some of my friends most important life moments. As I write this I should be on a hen weekend with one of my best friends celebrating her last few days of singledom, but I’m not, I’m too sick. Her wedding is also in just over two weeks and she had asked me to be a bridesmaid. It is looking very likely now that I won’t be there to walk down the isle with her and support her at her wedding, and its killing me. If you’re reading this I’m sorry and I love you!

Dress @zara @hot4thespot
Location @pickwellfarm

In the spirit of pretending is not happening, I’ve carried on posting beautiful pictures on here. But what you don’t see, or what I don’t tell you, is that I am in pain, I cant walk around for very long without needing help, I rely on a lot of help from friends and family to help with my kids, I feel sick, dizzy and constantly tired. My husband behind the camera and my mum are looking after me, the house and the children.

Dress @zara @hot4thespot
Wellies @tuclothing
Location @pickwellfarm

So its Sunday, I am actually going to get myself dressed and made up and go the last part of the hen do today, an afternoon tea, and get my husband to take some more beautiful pictures of me. Because these are the things that make me feel good. I’m going to continue playing with my children right up until I go in, and cuddle on the sofa with my husband until the long recovery begins. Hopefully I will be on the surgery list for this week, watch this space. I’ve spoken about ‘behind the gram’. What I have been posting is not what I have been living and I think we all need to consider this when we look at each others picture perfect feeds. We need to be kind to each other as we don’t really know whats going on. Some of you openly talk about your struggles with health, which is so important, I think you support those who might feel alone with their own conditions, like myself. It was in the news this week about a new phenomena about ‘sadfishing’, i don’t think its about that at all. Its about sharing your/our experiences to support, educate and connect with like minded people. Two of you I have even confided in, and thank you for listening, or should I say reading. My goal for recovery is to get myself to the @curvefashionfestival and hopefully I will see some of you there! It was that event that kick started my whole SELF LOVE journey and I want to come meet all you lovelies in person.

Dress @zara @hot4thespot
Location @pickwellfarm

For more information on Chairi malformation and Syrinx check out these websites. The Brain & Spine Foundation and Ann Conroy Trust have been amazing and I have phoned them when I have needed support and advice. And if you have any of the symptoms like; severe headaches when laughing, shouting, coughing or bending over check out the NHS page.

https://www.brainandspine.org.uk/our-publications/booklets/chiari-malformation/ https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chiari-malformation/ https://www.annconroytrust.org/

And for more information on the surgery I’m having please read this NHS document.

#secondhandseptember

This September I am truly challenging myself. Late Friday night I got a message from one of my oldest friends asking me if I had heard about @oxfam second hand 30 day challenge. I replied with “oooo00oo, tell me more” and within 30 minutes we had both signed the pledge.

#secondhandseptember @oxfam

So why me, why did she message me out of everyone? I can answer that, because I have a serious shopping addiction, an addiction that in the past has even put me into serious debt. I have always loved shopping, I even have memories of a 13 year old me buying pieces from my local New Look in Alton and just holding the bag full of goodies made me feel great. Then when I got home I would lay it on my bed or hang it up somewhere I could admire it, these was the days before I could take a photograph and share it with the world. I literally got a rush of endorphins. Even when the majority of shopping moved online, receiving them via the front door was just as exhilarating. And I still have a space in my room where I hang newly bought pieces to admire, much to the nuisance of my husband, as sometimes it may stop the ability for him to open his wardrobe.

One of the areas in my room I hang new purchases to admire them…

Then came the internet, it wasn’t till I finished uni that I came across my first plus size fashion bloggers @gabifresh and @beckybarnesblog and they changed my outlook. I got to see women with a similar body to be looking amazing and buying fashion that wasn’t available to plus size women for the large majority of my life. Back then before Instagram I would save or screenshot their images straight from their blogs and then hunt online to find similar pieces, and a lot of the time I would find them as second hand pieces on @ebayuk

Pictures from my old blog…where I mainly bought second hand.

Then Instagram came into my life, now I could simply bookmark looks that I loved and instead of scouring the net for hours I could simply click, swipe up or comment to find out where I could get my hands on the clothing I adored. That partnered with easily available credit, low stock notifications and discount emails my addiction grew. It is only recently when I have had some issues with my health that I have started to take note of what I have been doing. I spoke about money with my mum and friends, and my mum described me as a ‘spender’. Now, and only recently am I on top of my budget, so when the Oxfam pledge came along it could not have come at a better time.

So these are my motives but what are the aims of Oxfam? They are not collecting any monies, they are simply asking you to pledge to BUY NO NEW clothing for the 30 days of September. Their goal is to actually raise awareness of the environmental impact of fast fashion. Fast fashion are words we are hearing a lot at the moment, but what does it mean? Fast Fashion (noun) ‘inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends’. So why is this causing an environmental issue? Every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill. Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – it’s unsustainable. Another buzzword that we keep hearing ‘sustainable fashion’, but reading the headlines on the Oxfam page it needs to be taken seriously.

So, this pledge is not only going to be beneficial to my wallet but to our planet! Nicola Tallett, the charity’s director of engagement, was quoted saying in a Guardian article that “its long enough to force you to create new habits, but not so long that it feels daunting”.

I am so on board with the pledge I am not only NOT buying new clothes for myself but for my whole family, I am equally as guilty of overspending on my two young children.

The plan is to document my 30 day pledge here and on Instagram to keep you updated with how I get on and I will be completely honest with you. Let me know if you are going to join me in the comments below.