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This is it…

10 years since getting POTs, 7 years since graduating university, 4 years since first having this as a serious idea… I’ve finally been accepted to do a PGCE! (Post Graduate Certificate in Education).

This means that come Summer 2013 (a long way off yes I know) I will be a teacher.

That is a scaaaaary yet also very exciting thought!

Back in 2007 I wanted to do this, applied to York, got an interview but then chickened out. In 2008 I almost applied to do a GTP (Graduate Teacher Program) but again chickened out. The doubts got to me, other people who doubted my ability to achieve it got to me, FEAR got to me… and I gave up temporarily on the dream.

I’m not being idealistic calling it a dream because I know being a teacher is damned hard work, especially in this country lately, with the government sticking its great fat unwanted nose in at every opportunity. I know that although the working hours (at the moment!) are very agreeable, there is sooo much work put in after hours that teachers bloody NEED those long holidays other professionals shun them for to catch up on all the paperwork and recover from all the hard graft! I know what I’m letting myself in for and yet… I don’t know. I don’t know because I’ve never actually DONE it. Never actually got up at 7am been in work for 8am left at 4pm, marked and planned and done domestics until bed and starting the whole day over again. It’s very, very scary. It’s like throwing myself into the deep end of shark infested waters waving a red cape like a rag to a bull. Or something.

I want to do this because of a few things. I love kids. I love how I feel around kids. I love how rewarding helping kids is. I’m stubborn. I want to ‘show POTs’ and stick it in the corner where it belongs. Make it wear the dunces cap and stay in that corner while I bloody get on with MY LIFE!

I’ve also come a long way since first getting POTs. I don’t have to take afternoon ‘granny naps’ anymore. I can walk for miles and even run (as I discovered yesterday when running home to check my application status because my phone alerted me that it had changed). No need to mention that a 2 metre sprint had me shaking, almost passing out and wanting to throw up… I still did it! I’ve come a LONG way from the girl with the post viral fatigue (and unbeknownst to me, POTs) who would have to fight to stay awake on the bus travelling into uni. Who couldn’t drive. Who didn’t have a wonderful, supportive partner and amazingly fabulous fun friends around her. Who didn’t have a wonderful network of POTs friends and confidants who truly know and understand the struggle of every day with this disorder. I didn’t have the good doctors I now have, helping me. The medications. The KNOWLEDGE of what I have and how to help myself. Knowledge is POWER!

I know this will be hard. I’m all kinds of a little bit terrified. But it will also be wonderful. I will count my blessings that I’ve made it to this point where I feel on top of my illness just enough to do this! Even though it will be hard, even though it will take its toll… I’m already meeting new people on my course thanks to social media. The course itself looks loads of fun! Long hours, hard work, but I’m sure it will be rewarding. It might just be the best thing I’ve ever done, aside from meeting my partner and my trip to Peru.

It will also allow me to have a more ‘normal’ life. The life that POTs stole from me. Going to work, earning a living, achieving a dream. Plus it gives me a unique perspective. I will champion my class, each and every one, make them feel like they can reach for the stars, because the most important thing to take with you in life is self belief. With that, the impossible is merely that which has not yet been attempted. The impossible becomes achievable, becomes a reality. Never say never, get rid of “can’t”.

So, even though this is going to be probably the hardest challenge I’ve ever taken on… I CAN DO IT. I will be like the little train in the movie Dumbo, chugging up the steep, almost vertical hill saying ‘I can make it I can make it I can make it’ and then when I’ve done it and I’m at the top and the struggle is over I will let out that triumphant WOO WOOO! and steam away down the hill singing ‘I thought I could I thought I could I thought I could!’

Fear is like heavy carriages that the train could be dragging along, slowing its progress up the hill, even at times halting it or dragging it back down to the bottom, where it just looks up at the hill and thinks- I can’t get up there. No more of that for me now. I’m ditching those carriages of fear and chugging up that hill, slowly steadily and surely reaching my destination, shaping my life, taking control of my destiny.

 

I am back as a regular video maker and blogger with UK Potsies! Really pleased about that. I had to duck out when studying for the reflexology diploma and setting up the new business but I now have the time once again to spare so I’m back into being more involved with them. Such a lovely bunch of people too, it’s fantastic to have them as friends. 

I had my interview for the PGCE last week. Aside from the maths (which despite all my studying was horrible and sent me into a blind panic due to my mind going blank and refusing to compute) it went well so I’m just waiting to hear if I have a place. Mostly, I’ve been excited. I had a bad day Sunday with fatigue, brain fog and weakness and had massive doubts and the crazy fear monster of doom clawing at my heart and my will, telling me I’m a crazy person and shouldn’t even dream of doing it… but thankfully I’ve shut him up and I’m stubbornly setting my mind to the fact that I CAN do this and I WILL do this. 

Once I’ve been given a place, that is… still twiddling my thumbs and refreshing my emails waiting. It’s not even been a week since the interview so not expecting to hear anything yet, but still hoping I might get a nice surprise in my inbox!

I have a hospital appointment tomorrow with a bladder dysfunction specialist. I am also aiming to take a brisk walk every day before lunch, to improve my fitness. I’m going to start going swimming too. I’m trying to get myself ever fitter and improve my stamina ready for the hard work ahead! Good thing is I’ve got until September to get myself ready physically, emotionally and mentally. Need to do lots of sorting out, tidying, getting organised and that includes deleting unnecessary things off both computers to free up much needed space and create a speedier performance! My computers are both acting like they have POTs lately, so this is well overdue!

Well, that’s it for now, just a quick update- will be back soon hopefully to tell the good news that I’ve got a place for the PGCE September 2012/13…

 

I feel like I am having a relapse of the fatigue and something similar to the ‘original virus’ that gave me POTs. It’s not as bad as when I first got it because I’m still managing to do stuff, but that said I am very tired and run down at the same time.

My symptoms are worsened fatigue and a ‘funny throat thing’. It isn’t sore (which is more of a ‘normal throat thing’ for me) it just feels odd- like my glands are swollen and when I speak it’s hoarse- it’s hard to explain how it’s different from a usual sore throat thing. It just is- and weirdly so. Doesn’t hurt, just feels very dry, scratchy, swollen, tender. It’s almost like a muscular ache, when you’ve strained a muscle, rather than the red, raw feeling of a usual sore throat.

I’ve also got a very runny nose and keep sneezing. That’s what the original virus was like (except the throat thing was much worse and I got fever and muscle aches too). It’s like a cold but lingers longer and is more draining.

I’m still ‘carrying on regardless’ though. My boyfriend tells me my stubborn-ness is my worst trait but I actually quite like it. I see it as knowing my own mind and not being easily swayed- and it comes in useful with this illness because it means I do not give in to it. Probably, sometimes I should give in and rest more, but I think if I weren’t as stubborn AND determined, I’d have missed out on a lot and been no better off health wise. I’ve noticed that resting a lot doesn’t improve anything much as the fatigue is that constant and unrelenting. I think sometimes I don’t help my immune system out by being so stubborn and doing probably more than my body can reasonably take without getting a virus or some such thing, but then again I think I’d be getting them to some extent anyway, since last year was my most physically challenging Winter (3 weeks touring round Peru) and I didn’t get one virus- because I was away from this sodding country and all its germs!

I’m volunteering with kids so think I’ve got no chance of avoiding these viruses and they seem to send my ANS a little bit kaplooey again. My CFS gets worse, my bladder symptoms get worse (it goes all super sensitive and feels like- this sounds bizarre- but like I am peeing very thin and watery urine), I’m more dizzy and weak.

In fairness to myself, I’m not an idiot. I cancelled 6 social events in November, and I cut down on the length and difficulty of walks I do with my partner. But I’m not going to cancel EVERYTHING. Things I could have done or be doing without that I refuse to cancel were/are:

Clubbing with my good local friend- I fancied just sitting in the pub and chatting but she wanted to go the whole hog and I went along with it… had a fantastic time too, been knackered since though coz I’d just started with the virus then (couple of weeks ago).

Bryan Adams concert- I got an unexpected free ticket from a friend so went short notice (like the very next day) with her.

Lincoln Christmas Market- walking around in huge crowds of people, didn’t enjoy it at all but had paid 15.70 for a train ticket so wasn’t going to just not go!

Walking Group Christmas Party- Payed 13 for  a ticket and the buffet last year was gorgeous so I am not missing out.

I think I will cancel going out clubbing for my cousin’s 19th birthday though. Was looking forward to it but feeling so fatigued as I am now, I am not convinced I’d enjoy it and am feeling more inclined towards a cozy night in with the fella. I think, god can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I think I’d even prefer a night in revising my maths than going clubbing again! Plus it’s my last weekend at home before going away for Xmas so be nice to take it easy.

I’m actually really looking forward to having NOTHING TO DO. No social events, no work, no walks, nothing. Well, nothing but revising my maths in preparation for the PGCE interview that I don’t even know if I’ve got yet…

 

 

The cows have gone now 😦 They were in the field for about 3 or 4 weeks- loved it! It was so nice- they’d walk down to the bottom of the field in the morning, to the top of the field in the afternoon and to our fence at random times in between! 😀

Well, pots certainly slowed me down and caused me to ‘go around the houses’ with certain things (take the long way round) but it certainly hasn’t stopped me!

I passed my exam and qualified as a reflexologist this past Summer. Business has had a slow start-up but people seem to be finding me now and the more people do, the more word of mouth grows.

However, I made an exciting decision, something I’ve been toying with for years, that I almost made a go of twice, and that’s been in the back of my mind since about 2007.

I decided to do a post graduate certificate in education (PGCE). This qualification would enable me to be a teacher! It’s a VERY intensive course coz you’re pretty much learning what can be learnt in 3 years on an undergrad course, but because I have a degree already, I am eligible to take the intensive, shorter route. It doesn’t start until NEXT year in September and is very competitive to get on, so I don’t even know if I’ve been invited to interview for a place on the course, let alone if I have secured a place. It’s a nervous time!

It’s also nerve wracking to think of how I’ll manage it with pots- it’s a full time course and there are placements in schools too, which will be like working full time AND doing assignments. Let’s not forget I am also a therapist with clients to see! The reassuring thing is, a friend of mine who did a secondary PGCE at the same uni (I’m doing Early years, 3-7) said her friend who has M.E did the primary one and the university were very understanding and made special allowances for her. The main special allowance I’d require would be a school not too far a drive away, because driving affects my pots detrimentally, the 40 minute journey to my partner’s is well enough.

I just wish so much that my maths were better. I’ve always struggled with it and am so scared that I might not get a place on the course if they make us take a maths test at interview. It’s not just a lack of confidence this as many who know me assume (coz I excel in most other areas academically), it really is like I have something wrong – like people with dyslexia struggle with written text, I struggle with numbers. Even the simplest things. It’s like my brain just switches off and refuses to deal with it. I’m not doubting that I’d be able to teach it because I’m teaching the younger children and would find ways to help myself to teach/explain it better- in fact I think it would make me teach it BETTER because it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m just seriously worried that if they made us take a test and I failed it, I would lose the opportunity to get on the course next year and that would be another year of my life wasted and I’ve have to reapply for 2013!!! Nightmare.

I’m hoping against hope that coz it’s an early years course they WON’T make us do a maths test (I do have my maths GCSE and a good grade too, miraculously, I had a private tutor outside of school and got a B- he was great and explained things in a way that even I could understand, but then I forgot it all once I passed the school and I never practice, I use a calculator for EVERYTHING!) and will be content that we have it as a GCSE. When on the course we have to pass skills tests in Maths, English and Science but you get more than one attempt, so it’s not like if you bomb out first time it ruins your whole future… :/

The past couple of days have been interesting!

I had my final reflexology class. Weirdly, after that I always get a really bad headache/migraine. I don’t know whether it’s because sitting in the reclining chair, having someone practice a technique on my feet, then having to swap- means too much laying back, sitting up, standing up for my autonomic nervous system to handle. The weird thing is with these headaches I also get sinus pain. Maybe I’m also allergic to the room!

After class I came over to my bf’s and we had a nice meal which we ate outside on the patio, then chilled out listening to music.

The next day was pretty amazing for me! I walk every weekend with my bf and can manage some serious mileage even with pots, but I always feel like it’s a struggle every step. This day, it wasn’t so much a struggle, everything felt easier- and I even managed to walk up a number of fairly big hills (not so much all that steep but very long, gradual upwards slopes- which  find are sometimes worse than short, extra steep as you’re climbing up for longer). I was quietly ecstatic when we reached the top of the last hill and he was puffing/panting and showing signs of exertion too and I was keeping pace with him! 😀 It didn’t even phase me when we walked to our local pub after this walk (I was tired and achy by the point and sooo ready to eat) only to find they don’t serve food that day, so had to walk all the way back! (Only about a 15 minute walk but after all the hill walking of earlier, it seemed a lot!).

I couldn’t understand why I felt so much fitter, until it occurred to me that maybe it was because I’d had a bit of reflexology. We were being shown techniques that worked all the zones (of the body, through the foot) so I’d pretty much had my whole body worked on. I am now massively tempted to teach my bf how to do it so that every so often he can give me an energy boost, it only takes about 10 minutes to work all the zones in this way and if it was that which made me feel so much fitter, I want more! 🙂

The reason it dawned on me it could be that is that reflexology is reputed to be excellent for circulation. So it makes sense that if my blood was circulating freely and more of it was getting where it needs to be, my ANS wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep things in balance and so some of my ‘old’ natural fitness was able to shine through!

I didn’t even mind when we’d just walked up a long, continuous hill on a very narrow country lane when a tractor appeared on the brow of the hill. The lane was that  narrow we had to turn back and walk all the way down to the bottom again to where it widened, so it could pass! Then back up! Ordinarily, this would have made me lose all will and desire to get to the top of the hill, but I was feeling fit and determined and it was exciting- as me and my bf were exploring a hill we can see from our bungalow and trying to find a certain field we can also see (not easy as we overlook lots of fields, but this one is distinctive due to having a big green container in it!). The reason we wanted to find it is because we wanted to look back at where we live and see if we could pick out our bungalow! I did find our field and bungalows but it was too tricky to pick them out individually. However, now when I sit in the back garden and look across at the hill with the mobile phone masts on top of it, I now feel a real sense of accomplishment that I have climbed that! And when I look across at the houses behind the distinctive field, I feel proud that I have walked there from the hill!

I am tired out today from this and a little concerned that my ankles ache- they never used to after walks but have started to lately- but still, this doesn’t take away the sense of achievement I feel when I look over at that hill and think- I’ve climbed that! And not even a tractor making me have to turn back to let it pass could stop me! 🙂

Illeh!

I feel ill today and for once it’s nothing to do with POTS!

I think the reason is I undercooked my nan bread yesterday.. the consistency wasn’t right but I’d plonked it in my curry so it was too messy to put back into the oven, so I just ate it.

BIG mistake.

Last night (or maybe we could call it this morning) JUST as I was FINALLY getting to sleep (not been sleeping well lately, too much on my mind, too much unrest and turmoil) I was rudely awakened by these excruciating pains. There were a few times it crossed my mind to wonder if something really awful wasn’t about to happen involving having to call an ambulance, as it felt like something might be on the verge of rupturing… but I am never one to panic about physical symptoms and have had worse pain than that so I just waited it out.

It didn’t get any worse, so all I could do was just lay in bed hour after hour (it started at about 1.30am and lasted until dawn) and wait for it to subside.

At the same time as having these awful pains, I also had wicked heartburn and burps, so I started to wonder whether it was trapped wind in my intestines. It also felt like they were pressing on my intrauterine device so I felt like I was having what I’d imagine to feel like the beginnings of labour pains.

As the wind moved down it then began to press on my bladder, making for a number of uncomfortable trips to the toilet (uncomfortable because every time I even slightly moved, it would make the pain feel like it was about to tear through my insides!).

It all sounds quite dramatic, no? Only it wasn’t. It was a long, tiresome, painful and lonely experience.

My Mum went out to get me peppermint tea today as my intestines still feel sore, and I am still a bit burpy. Every time I eat, it feels more sore and just a ‘not quite right’ discomfort feeling.

I can be doing without this right now, I’m supposed to be studying HARD today as I lost yesterday to troubled thoughts of doom, gloom and upset, however after being awake all night and in pain, I’m exhausted and can hardly focus.

Fun times!