We’re moving to Yorkshire!

Beverley, to be precise.

It’s a delightful market town with a rich history and excellent transport links. Our new home is a three-bed semi-detached house with a big driveway out front and a beautiful back garden more than twice the size of what we currently have.

We’ve been renting our one-bed bungalow in High Wycombe for over decade…

And while we’ve been blessed to have a roof over our heads and such affordable rent, we outgrew the place a long time ago. Roy and I have been living in close-proximity since we met in 2008. We both lived in studio flats upon leaving home, he then got a transfer into the bungalow and I had a couple of student rooms before moving in with him permanently. We’re in our mid-30s now and craving a bigger space. A home where the bedroom is more than 10ft away from the front door and a place where we can use the bathroom without the other one knowing all about it! 😅

We’re also seeking the financially security that comes with owning your own home.

But where could we afford to buy our own home? Certainly not in High Wycombe where the majority of three-bed houses are on the market for between £350k and £600k. Even the two-bed houses are extortionately priced at anywhere between £280k and £500k. I wish the best of luck to any other first-buyers currently experiencing the struggle.

Even if we had the large deposit and were granted a mortgage to live in the area, in most cases it would mean paying out in excess of £1200 a month for the next 30 years of our lives. This might not be an issue for some, but as both Roy and I have health issues, the chances of us affording that in our late 50s and 60s are slim at best. Plus, it’s just not how we want to live.

We needed to look further north and where better than Yorkshire?

I have family in Hull so this is where we started our ‘proper’ search in late 2019.

I keep this property saved in my Rightmove app as a reminder of how ridiculous house prices are in South East England. Still out of our price range, but so dreamy compared to what that amount would get you in Bucks or Berkshire.

Beverley is about 20 minutes outside of Hull and has a much nicer reputation.

Beverley is to Hull, what Windsor is to Slough! It’s also a great area for investment so when this house came on the market earlier this year boasting a five-minute walk to town, we were keen to take a look.

At this point we’d been looking for about 18 months, we’d had two fruitless viewings, several covid delays and a major problem when the bank effed up and removed our deposit from my account and kept it for six weeks. To say we were eager to move at this point, would be an understatement!

We loved the house and lucky for us, a previous viewer had made a low offer and been turned down, and the two viewings booked in after us had cancelled! With a few other things that felt ‘just right’ we made an offer and were accepted a few hours later. That was at the start of May and the house buying process has thankfully been quite straightforward for us.

It’s a short walk to the train station, and not far from my family in Hull. It’s also a short drive from the clinic where I started my Lyme disease treatment, so I can meet up with people who have similar health issues which is a real bonus.

We’re excited for so many things, including the 25-minute drive to the nearest beach!

All that countryside, plus the coast AND the nearby cities of York and Leeds, it’s a great mix. We can pay our mortgage off within 20 years and will still have the time and money for a few adventures.

I have also been looking forward to spending more time with my 80-year-old nan (aka Nanny Hull). But sadly, Nan’s dementia has taken an unexpected turn for the worse in the last couple of weeks and we’re no longer able to enjoy each other’s company like we used to. Much love to all of those going through the same thing with their loved ones. ❤

Our families down south aren’t best pleased about us moving so far away, but they understand why we’re doing it and we’ve already planned several visits. In fact, I think what my sister and brother-in-law are most looking forward to, is dropping the kids off with us and heading into Leeds for the weekend!

We’ve had some dark times over the years, and are so ready for a fresh start. We’ve got several home projects lined up, and are eager to get started with this next chapter in our lives. Wish us luck! 😊

In the Face of Adversity

I usually enjoy writing an end of year blog post, but I found it difficult this year.

The last twelve months have been some of the most stressful, trying times of my life for reasons I can’t really share on my blog. (Although I am directly affected by the problem, it isn’t mine to discuss publicly). I will just say that ‘it’ has had a terrible impact and has soured almost every part of the year, which is partly why writing this felt difficult – because it seems dishonest to talk about all the good things whilst avoiding the metaphorical elephant in the room.

Regardless of the elephant, I have still managed to put myself out there and attempt to live my best life. And that is something worth sharing.

My 2019 calendar was filled with things to look forward to and enjoy, so despite the pitfalls that I can’t discuss, I still hold a real sense of accomplishment when thinking about the last twelve months.

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I have been to Paris, completed an escape room, seen three shows at the theatre, attended two weddings, visited Bournemouth for an evening out, enjoyed FOUR nostalgia-rich concerts and a local music festival, attended an LDUK conference with one the world’s top Lyme-treating physicians and the day after that conference I drove back into London to meet friends for lunch – that’s two trips to London in one weekend! Something I would never have done last year.

I had an absolute blast at London Film and Comic Con in July, and there was an abundance of time spent with family and friends throughout the year. We welcomed Rupert to the family in May and I cannot imagine my life without this cheeky and loving poochon pup.

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I spent a week in New Hampshire, which was both wonderful and a real test of strength… 💪

Other travel mishaps include an attempt to visit Prague, but I guess that trip just wasn’t meant to be.

My last big outing of the year was to Winter Wonderland with Royan and we managed to have a really great day out even if we did accidently walk the long way round to Hyde Park and then have zero sleep at a very expensive hotel!

So what else did I get up to?

I stepped down from managing LDUK’s public Facebook page, freeing up some much needed headspace and spare time. I finally swapped my car for an automatic to lessen the strain on my sciatica, and I completed a course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for OCD which reared its ugly head towards the end of 2018. I live with it daily of course, but sometimes it flares up and takes over. I’m pleased to say the CBT worked and the OCD is firmly back in its place. I own it, it does not own me.

If you’re in the Bucks area and struggling with mental health I highly recommend self-referring through Healthy Minds.

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I managed another term of choir, doing something good for my physical and mental health that I really enjoy. I wasn’t able to keep up with the last term of the year, but I do plan on going back in January.

I’ve spent countless hours reading, and watching film and TV. I signed up for a writer’s magazine subscription and I had a heavy edit of my novel-in-progress. I signed up to the Curable app to help manage symptoms and have found the science really interesting to listen to. If the idea that the mind can heal the body intrigues you then I recommend taking a look at the Curable app.

I made lots of progress at work and have never felt so professionally fulfilled.

On top of my normal duties, I have also taken on the role of leading the company’s Corporate and Social Responsibility Team which amongst other things, means planning lots of fundraising initiatives and organising activities for staff to take part in.

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The aforementioned elephant was the reason behind several health setbacks, and when coupled with the loss of Royan’s granddad in May and his dad in November, we’ve understandably had our work cut out for us. We have a handle on it now though and with a bit of luck, 2020 will be a smoother ride. We won’t be getting married next year as was the original plan, and we won’t be moving house anytime soon, but we can now address the elephant with the correct support and work out a way to move forward.

With everything going on, it’s not surprising that I wasn’t able to keep up with the gym, choir or actually writing my novel.

But that’s all in the plan for 2020.

Keeping active whilst living with the impact of late-stage Lyme disease is no easy feat. It takes a lot of meticulous planning and organising to ensure I’m pacing myself and keeping my head above water. Some things will slide, but prioritising is key. Learning when to say ‘no’ is also key.

I actually consider the fact that I am still managing a 30-hour work week to be a small miracle, so how I have also managed to enjoy so much of my spare time (whilst living with the elephant) is almost unfathomable. Especially when I think about how much time I have also spent in bed barely able to leave the house.

This year has taught me that I am capable of more than I thought.

It has made me believe in myself, it has opened my eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead and there’s no turning back now.

Lyme disease: Where am I at?

Ten years have now passed since the initial onset of my Lyme disease symptoms, and I’ve been on a learning journey since I discovered its presence early last year. Lyme disease and the complications that have arisen from it have monopolised my entire twenties; a whole decade of my life. But I’m finally treating it now so there is light at the end of the tunnel – it just happens to be a very long tunnel.

Receiving the right treatment from the NHS has been difficult; they are working with outdated treatment guidelines and a serious lack of Lyme knowledge. My GPs have been helpful in making referrals and doing what they can within guidelines, but I’ve had a nightmare elsewhere with unreliable consultants and insufficient appointment systems.

I did make it as far as the Infectious Disease Clinic at Hammersmith Hospital though, and was offered a lumbar puncture to look for Lyme antibodies in my spinal fluid.

Continue reading “Lyme disease: Where am I at?”

So what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and how does it work?

I have been attending the MS clinic in Aylesbury for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). An NHS approved treatment where you breathe 100% pure oxygen under an increased barometric pressure to improve oxygen saturation. In the oxygen chamber, once you are hitting the max, the air pressure is around 33 feet below sea level. In general, the air we breathe normally contains 21% oxygen and the pressure level around you is dependent how far above sea level your location is. So HBOT provides a dramatic difference.

What are the benefits?
By increasing the pressure around you, oxygen is more effectively carried into the cells of your body. The benefits can include: Continue reading “So what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and how does it work?”

Waiting for answers

My MRI was back in June. June 17th to be precise. I was in the machine for 45 minutes whilst my brain and c-spine were being imaged.

Four weeks later I still hadn’t heard anything – I called the neurology secretary but there was no answer. I left a message but no one called back. Eventually around week five I managed to speak with someone.

I was told that my neurologist, busy man that he is, wouldn’t be looking at my results until the first or perhaps second week of August.

I wasn’t to worry because anything troublesome would be flagged and I’d have been contacted immediately.

Here’s the thing: a seven week wait?! Seven weeks? Even after he’s reviewed them I’ll be left waiting for a letter and a follow up appointment.

I have four more scans in the pipeline, a referral to an infectious disease doc and a lumbar puncture on the horizon. If there’s this long a wait in between things it’ll be a good 18 months before I’m receiving any kind of treatment surely?

Continue reading “Waiting for answers”

Neurology appointment 1

This time last week I had just had my first neurology appointment. I’d booked the earliest slot available (three months in advance), had chosen my hospital wisely, and had even researched the listed Doctors to ensure I was giving myself the best shot!

I arrived at 8am, was greeted by two very friendly staff members and then had a short wait followed by a 15 minute appointment with the Neurologist who was super helpful and informative.

I listed my symptoms, gave him a brief run through of my medical history and presented him with my test results. He asked a few questions and tested a few of my reflexes. My tremor was active, which was pretty impressive timing and definitely helped state my case!

Continue reading “Neurology appointment 1”

Me and Lyme disease: the short story.

Back in February, I was exhausted, ill and all out of patience. The last GP I had presented my troubles to suggested I seek counselling. She wasn’t even willing to discuss the possibility that something physical was responsible for so many seemingly unrelated issues (from migraines to muscle spasms, and some things you won’t want to read about).

So I took to Google with one of my more embarrassing issues and up popped Lyme disease. My mother had mentioned it earlier in the week so I started reading about it. It was all there. Every single problem I’ve had over the last nine years could be put down to Lyme.

“You’ve not been right since you returned from America that second time.” Mum kept saying, and she was right. One morning, soon after returning from New Hampshire in 2007, I’d woken up feeling like I’d been hit with flu, my face covered in white pustules and a thick oily slime. I was retaining water everywhere and had rashes on my elbows and knees. I felt hideous!

Continue reading “Me and Lyme disease: the short story.”