The colour pink is the colour of universal love of oneself and of others. Pink represents friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability.https://www.bourncreative.com
These words, are the words in black & white, up above the dressing table in my bedroom in my Southampton home, on a peg board I got for Christmas from my hubby. But why were they unobtainable?
January had come around and after an amazing end to 2018 I was full of enthusiasm and confidence. In that last quarter I had set up my new blog name on Instagram, begun talking to other plus size babes who were like me, and making some real connections with them, and attended the @curvefashionfes, which has literally changed my life.
Just before New Year I had the attention of 300 followers and celebrated with a typically Instagram pic. If you would like to see how cliche it is go check out my Instagram feed and whilst your there show me some love and share me with your friends. See, my blogs are equally as predictable with self serving plugs, lol.
What I didn’t know was to come, was an unexpected diagnosis. As soon as the New Year had begun I had cold like symptoms but had not long started a new job, in an interview I worked really hard for, I genuinely was loving my new job and colleagues and so didn’t want to be off sick and let them down. I’m a secondary school teacher and pushed my way through that half term until finally in the February holiday I couldn’t keep going. The cold symptoms had got worse and I was suffering extremely painful headaches. A telephone consultation with my GP sent to me A&E. I actually went late Wednesday evening with my neighbour, who just so happens to be one of my best friends too, the symptoms had got so bad I was unable to drive without feeling dizzy and my husband had to stay at home with our two babes under 4. We went, we saw, we waited and waited and then we left. I told her I was feeling better, which I was a little, but mainly left because I couldn’t bear to wait in there any longer. The next morning came round and the headaches had gotten worse again, I rang the GP again, who was a little cross I didn’t sit it out the night before and insisted I went back to the hospital.
I was seen quickly, they were pretty sure I had the flu but as a precaution the consultant on duty arranged for me to have a CT scan. I got back from this scan and was diagnosed with Sinusitis, I was happy with the diagnosis and the at home care advice they had given me and so waited patiently for the discharge papers to leave. I was on my own, it was Thursday morning, and Dan, my husband, had to stay at home with the kids, I had got a taxi to the hospital that morning. Then the Dr reappeared and instead of passing me the discharge paper work she said the Radiographer had spotted something on my CT and wanted a Neurologist to have a look over it. What….!?! Nothing else was said and I was left waiting for sometime, in that time my mum came home to look after the children and Dan met me at the hospital.
And then some hours later came the Neurologist, a tall and dark man who asked if he had met me before. I hadn’t, told him so and we agreed I must have one of those faces! Unless of course he follows plus size blogs, eh? Anyway back to the matter in hand. He asked me lots of questions about my medical history, including that bariatric surgery I had had, if you want to know more read the blog post from before this one. He asked me about my sight, which turned out not to be a coincidence, earlier in the year I went for an eye test, was given a prescription and blamed this for my headaches. He made me walk in a straight line, which I was unable to do, but I have never been able to do. I told him all about how my family nicknamed me ‘St Johns Ambulance’ as I was accident prone and always falling over, when I was little I broke my nose multiple times! After some thought he told me the radiographer had spotted by brain sitting low in my CT scan and he could also confirm this. It had a name too, Chiari Malformation, turns out I would have had it since I was born. Basically the opening between the skull and the spinal cord is too small and my cerebellum and brain stem, the lowest parts of the brain had fallen through the spinal cord and caused pressure in my skull because the fluid surrounding the brain cannot flow to and from it. This leads to an abnormal amount of pressure surrounding the brain, the cause of my headaches. The flu like symptoms had brought it on more recently as all the coughing had pulled the brain further down my spinal cord. In fact, not just coughing could do this; but sneezing, laughing, bending over and even shouting. I have memories of cheering on my students across the field at my previous school on Sports Day and having the most awful headaches but just thinking it was a mixture of the heat and exhaustion.
I left hospital that day with a diagnosis, a follow up MRI and minus a driving license. The MRI just a week later confirmed my diagnosis and because of limited NHS resources I was unable to get a Neurosurgeon appointment until May. And here we are now. He showed me my MRI images and said it was not the worst Chiari Malformation he had seen, but the pressure building in my skull had also caused a cyst like pocket of fluid in my spinal cord which explained the twitches and feelings of hot, cold and someone touching me on my arms and legs when there was nothing there. If I laugh too hard with my friends, bend over to pick up toys for my children or just get a harmless cold I am in pain. In some episodes I get dizziness that will last for days and clicking noises inside my head that drive me to madness. I find it hard to concentrate, my spoken language can become confused, motor skills worsen and I feel endlessly tired. So whats next? The Neurosurgeon talked me through decompression surgery. They remove part of the base of the skull and the top of the spine in the aim to relieve the pressure, he described a long and hard recovery that would see me off work for months and may not even relieve my symptoms. And he left me with a choice, one I don’t really know the answer to. Do I have the surgery or not? I’ve joined some online support groups, re-emailed my surgeon, been put on the surgery waiting list and have an appointment with occupational health in the next week but still don’t fully know my own answer.
So what brought me here, the pink suit, the gifted suit from @navabifashion and @bethany_rutter, a blogger I had been following since my Instagram journey had begun. P.S. I was a little late to the party. Out of the blue I was sent an email from Bethany saying that she loved my feed, what little there was, I had been on hiatus now since February, so was surprised, and she asked if there is anything I would like from Navabi as a gift. Er, yes, yes there was! I have even been featured on their website, check me out here; http://www.plusize.co.uk/5-underrated-babes-of-instagram/
The pink suit, this beautiful pink suit has done more for me than it knows. NO, I haven’t done a blog post a month, NO I haven’t posted a picture at least once a week and NO I hadn’t loved myself everyday. But this suit reminded me how fucking fabulous I am! My husband took these pictures, the full time photographer after getting a new job this year, in the garden of my house ducking and weaving around my healthy, happy children playing around us. No, I couldn’t drive to some fancy Instagram’able’ location, I didn’t get this post up within a week of being sent the suit, but I could still get pictures that are hot and show how happy I am when surrounded by those I love. SO, thank you pink suit, thank you Beth, thank you Navabi, thank you to the power of pink and thank you to my family and friends. So, come on, give yourself a hug…
For more information on Chiari Malformation check out;https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chiari-malformation/ https://www.brainandspine.org.uk/our-publications/booklets/chiari-malformation/
And for links to the suit:https://www.navabi.co.uk/product/cropped-crepe-trousers-59536/?colorcode=3800 https://www.navabi.co.uk/product/crepe-double-breasted-blazer-59002/?colorcode=3800