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Living With Endometriosis On A Day To Day Basis


Living with a chronic disease means that we have to take control of how we live with it daily.  Endometriosis is a condition that affects up to 10% of the female population and can cause chronic pain, infertility and heavy periods.

Endometriosis is a very personal journey.  Life with endometriosis, which is a chronic (long-term) disease, is different for each person who suffers from this painful condition.  When I was diagnosed with it, I had no idea what it was or how it would continue to affect my daily life.

The NHS describes endometriosis as:

“a common condition in which small pieces of the womb lining (the endometrium) are found outside the womb. This could be in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, bowel, vagina or rectum.”

In simple terms, tissue from the womb plants itself outside the womb and often adhers to other organs. These deposits of tissue act like miniature wombs, grow with our monthly cycles and then bleed, but there is nowhere for the expanded tissue or blood to go.  It causes pain and inflammation in our abdomens and can then increase the deposits outside our wombs.

I’ve suffered from endometriosis for almost two decades and although my ovaries failed early with repeated surgeries to remove endometrial cysts, I still suffer from cycles of symptoms.  My pain levels are much reduced with the early menopause but it still affects my daily life.  I still use the same management strategies I developed at the height of my cyclical pain.

Managing endometriosis can be difficult if the pain is severe.  One of the most important things is to find a sympathetic GP who believes in the condition.  I wish I had not been embarrassed by my symptoms and had shared them much earlier than I did.

Endometriosis is usually classed in stages of severity.

  • Stage 1 – Minimal
  • Stage 2 – Mild
  • Stage 3 – Moderate
  • Stage 4 – Severe

I was diagnosed with Stage 5.  I thought they were kidding at first, but I soon realised that the severity of the disease in my abdomen had affected both my fertility and my organ functions.  My symptoms included very long, painful and heavy periods, back pain, pain that radiated down my legs and a frozen pelvis where my organs were glued together and didn’t move around as they should.  I was eventually diagnosed by laparoscopy and learned that as well as surgery, there were other ways for me to help myself manage the symptoms.

I went through several surgeries, both open laparotomy with a massive scar and the less invasive laparoscopic keyhole surgery to remove endometriosis and the blood filled chocolate cysts that had formed on my ovaries.  Thankfully, I was referred to an excision specialist that took the disease off the organs it was eating into.  My bowel was affected but I was lucky enough that my endo was peeled off and had not eaten into my bowel.   I know others are not so lucky with bowel involvement, although I am barred from further operations without the real possibility of a colostomy bag afterwards as my bowel loops are now stuck to my other organs and right behind my belly button.  Any operation on my abdomen now has a high chance of cutting into it.

I take offence at people who think this doesn’t exist or is all in our heads.  I’ve seen the images and the damage that this disease can cause.  Yes, some women will have it mildly with almost no symptoms, but they are by no means the rule.  This can be a very painful and life limiting disease.   I also find it hard to deal with women who say things like “Oh, I have period pain and I just take a painkiller and get on with it.”

A consultant told me to explain it to sceptical women like this: “imagine a problematic and prolonged labour and giving birth month after month after month with no end in sight, no painkillers and nothing to look forward to at the end of it.”

And I read that it should be explained to sceptical men like this: “imagine trying to go about your daily business with your male anatomy squished together tightly by rubber bands and the package sewn tightly to your stomach over your belly button.”

My surgeries put me into early menopause which thankfully reduced the vast majority of my symptoms, but not all of them.  I still need to keep on top of it although I no longer have to run my life around how badly the pain is day to day.

1 – Use Pain Medications

As well as treating the disease with stronger medications such as zoladex and buserelin treatments to put us into temporary menopause, or the pill to stop a lining forming, plain old pain medications can help with the cramps and radiating pain.  We don’t always want or get offered surgical intervention and I needed to give up with over the counter medications.  My doctor gave me stronger pain killers which helped to alleviate some of the symptoms.  I had reasonable success with dihydrocodeine and strong ibuprofen taken at the same time, and although I can manage on plain old paracetamol and ibuprofen now, I used to need much much more just to be able to stand up.

2 – Heat

I learned that applying heat through using a heat pad or hot water bottle on my abdomen and lower back helped to relieve the cramps.  Regular warm to hot baths helped with my lower back and leg pain.

3 – Tens Machine

I had a lot of success at work where it was not practical to use a heat pad, by having a small tens machine on my abdomen to help alleviate some cramps.  It was not at all helpful in a full blown pain attack, but helped me live with the daily less painful aches.

4 – Keep a Pain and Food Diary

A pain diary would have made it much easier for my doctor to see the developing pattern and link it to endometriosis as a possible cause.

Keeping a food diary helped me to find out the common factors, timings and levels of pain that I had experienced and relate that to what I ate. By writing it down, I was able to see patterns that emerged monthly, weekly and daily in my life. It allowed me to begin to make better choices for my health.

5 – Diet and Environmental Factors

A bloated stomach with pain on eating some foods became more obvious the longer I lived with the condition. In extreme pain cycles, I learned to stay away from yeasty and spicy foods, caffeine and gluten. I ate more fruit and vegetables. I removed overly bleached products that could increase my exposure to dioxin such as sanitary towels and tampons.  I haven’t needed these products for over a decade, so I have no idea if they have evolved to be dioxin friendly, but it is an area worth looking at.  I avoid eating or drinking from polystyrene or plastic containers as often as I can as I read those can leach oestrogen into the food or fluid inside.  I want to stay away from oestrogen as much as I can as it brings back my endometriosis symptoms, but it’s often too tempting to enjoy a take away coffee and I think I would be reaching the stages of paranoia if I refused everything that came in plastic.

6 – Support

I’d never heard of anyone else with endometriosis when I was diagnosed. Finding other people in the same situation was important for the sharing of knowledge and knowing I was not alone. Endometriosis UK is a charity which has message boards for sufferers. I wish it had been available when I was first diagnosed.

7 – Exercise

Before my condition worsened, I used to exercise daily, frequently and very hard. When my endometriosis pain increased, I realised that my exercise levels were unrealistic and that a simple walk was the equivalent of climbing a mountain. I found in very severe pain bouts, that exercising by using rocking motions on a birthing ball and short walks helped my body to cope, as did using breathing exercises taught to expectant mums when I couldn’t stand up.   I’ve never managed to get back to my pre-endometriosis fitness levels and find myself with both food issues and fibromyalgia post endometriosis.  It’s a long ongoing process for me to find both time and inclination to exercise.  I’m hopeful for the future, but it won’t stop me living my life just because I’m not where I want to be fitness wise.


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5 Myths of Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol 2Because I post so often about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, people seem to think I am anti-alcohol all the time which simply isn’t true.

Anyone who wants to knock their livers into insensibility by drinking more than the average hippo could put away in a year only had themselves to blame if they’re not affecting anyone else, however everything in moderation as long as you’re not pregnant and I’m fine.

There are lots of myths about alcohol and although yes, it can lead to horrendously embarassing tweets and pictures on Facebook, it seems to be the drug of choice for many adults in our first world list of things to enjoy.

So – the myths:

1 – Drinking Coffee Will Sober You Up

I don’t know who invented this old chestnut.  I remember having the saying repeatedly drummed into my head as a late teen with a heavy hangover, but it just isn’t true at all. You can’t sober up any faster than it take for alcohol to leave your system.  You may feel more alert with the caffeine infusion, but you’ll still have to wait.

According to the NHS, it take approximately one hour for each unit of alcohol to leave your bloodstream but that can depends on things like weight, age, food eaten, liver function etc etc.

2 – You Sober Up Faster If You Are Sick

A well meaning friend once told me this as I hunched with my head over a toilet bowl in a nightclub.  “Put your fingers down your throat, you’ll feel better,”  Never able to achieve the magic formula that equals self induced vomiting, I carried on hugging the loo bowl while retching and watching the floor spin around faster than than a centrifuge on fast.

Again, you can’t sober up any faster than it takes for alcohol to leave your system.  Is this getting a little boring?  Yes, you might manage to lose a little of the liquid still in your stomach, but generally, it’s really not going to help at all if you try this as a cure all.

3 – Light Coloured Alcohol Keeps You More Sober Than Dark Coloured Alcohol

I have to laugh at this one.   Yes alcohol contents differ on the bottles when we check them, but it doesn’t mean that vodka could be any less hangover inducing than rum.  In this case, the lighter the colour doesn’t mean the less hardened drinker.

4 – Don’t Mix Wine, Spirits and Beer

I had this thrown at me by friends several times that mixing drinks makes you get more drunk, more quickly.  While I’ve not found any research statistics to back this one up, it stands to reason that it’s the alcohol content in each drink that makes the resulting hangover better or worse than you expected.  I’ve never drunk beer as just one sip has the effect of making me gag so I never had the opportunity to test this one out, but mixing wine and spirits is not going to make any difference if the alcohol content is the same.

5 – Lining Your Stomach With Food Will Stop You Getting Drunk So Quickly

Now this one I tended to believe as it was a good excuse to go for a meal before going for a night out.  It’s only recently that I realised it was a complete myth and totally untrue.   Yes, drinking on a full stomach might very well mean that it takes alcohol a little longer to be absorbed into our bloodstream, but it will still be absorbed.   It might be a good idea to have a meal inside you before drinking but it isn’t going to stop you getting drunk.

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Are Artificial Food Colourings REALLY Bad?

Food Colouring

Looking at the ingredients labels on bottles tins and cans when my kids were little would have me literally scream inside and look around carefully for the bad mother halo replacement to be plonked on my head if I chose to feed them something with horrific artificial content.

I’d plonk the offending food items back on the shelves and carry on sanctimoniously with my shopping.

Food additives seemed almost impossible to avoid unless we made everything from scratch.

All of my boys suffer from ADHD along with the other things they live with daily.  I’d spent a lot of time and effort researching what is good and what isn’t for them, and still I got it wrong.

Giving the boys a Fruit Shoot would have them bouncing off the walls and heading for the roof.

At one time, Haribos being fed to my boys would see me looking for the nearest bolt hole to sit out the impending devastation that someone else’s mother has wreaked on my home in the aftermath of their feeding my kids things I’d asked them not to.

I really didn’t give a monkeys about sugar.  A sugar rush was NOTHING in comparison to some of the effects of other foods their bodies seemed to send them begging on their hands and knees for.

Additives have to be assessed for safety before they can be used in our food and drink, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all ok for every person.   Due to EU laws, all food must be labelled clearly in the ingredients section, but here too, I found it difficult to tell the difference when there are several terms that can be used for the same thing.

I quickly learned that there were ingredients to avoid, and others that didn’t matter too much.

The Food Standards Agency has also said that consumption of mixes of some artificial colourings with the preservative called sodium benzoate could also lead to an increase in hyperactivity in some children.

The artificial colours they identified were:

  • sunset yellow FCF (E110)
  • quinoline yellow (E104)
  • carmoisine (E122)
  • allura red (E129)
  • tartrazine (E102)
  • ponceau 4R (E124)

The FSA states

“A European Union-wide mandatory warning must be put on any food and drink (except drinks with more than 1.2% alcohol) that contains any of the six colours. The label must carry the warning ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’.”

As a family, we’ve noticed a big difference with sunset yellow and sodium benzoate.  It rules out a lot of orangey / yellow coloured drinks, but the kids are glad now that some of the things they used to be banned from, they can now eat.

  • Eating smarties – or rather not eating them was a major upset when my boys were little, but now they can.
  • I believe Fruit Shoots have made their drinks more child friendly, but as we’ve not used them for years, I have no idea how much better they actually are.
  • Haribos seem to have new labels on their sweets too, but I’ve not checked closely enough to see just how many additives they’ve removed.

I’ve a lot of respect for the companies actually making the effort to provide good substitutes for artificial colorings in food.  I wish more would do the same, and consider doing away with monosodium glutimate too as that gives me a headache.

Research was also undertaken by Southampton University which suggested eating or drinking some artificial food colourings could be linked to a negative effect on childrens’ behaviour.

The FSA has amended their advice to state:

” If a child shows signs of hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eliminating the colours considered in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects on their behaviour.”

Nobody knows more about the effects of some additives and foods on our individual children, but if you need to find out more about the research, it’s available on the FSA website.

Chronic and acute effects of artificial colourings and preservatives on children’s behaviour


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Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) / or Wibbly Wobbly Joints As We Know It

Two of my boys have hypermobile joints.  You know the ones that can turn their elbows inside out, or stick out their shoulder blades at completely stomach churning angles.  One of mine can do that.

Littlest can turn his feet to direct opposites of each other.


In simple terms, hypermobility is the ability to move our joints further than the normally expected range of movement.  It can range from very mobile to some of us with almost no mobility at all (like me).

Many hypermobile jointed people are described as “double jointed.”

The different levels can made a big difference to quality of life.  My boys are lucky enough that theirs is easily spotted, yet allows them to still lead an active and quality life.   They can do things like stick their shoulder blades out at wierd angles that make me cringe, to folding their thumbs back so that they they are in line with their arms.

How common is it? 

It’s fairly common at some level in our population.   For some people, it might just be elbows and fingers and for others it may just be fingers that make it difficult to hold a pencil.  Yet more people might find it difficult to do some everyday things, and for others it might even be a benefit.  Imagine if you are an athlete whose edge could be that your hip joints give you that little more flexibility for each step and propels you further forward.

I watched a TV programme that Cheryl Cole was on where she demonstrated her hypermobile elbows, so it can affect anyone.

Quite often children seem to “grow out” of HMS as it can often seem to reduce as they get older.


My youngest has learned that it doesn’t take much to dislocate his thumb.  It folds back on itself, right to his arm, but a knock easily dislocates it.  That is incredibly painful for him and although it pops back in place easily, it takes a good couple of weeks for the pain to subside.  I suspect that occurs as although his joint over extends easily and he doesn’t really realise that it can go too far.  I’m grateful his healed up fine, as HMS injuries can be difficult to recover from.

He struggles to hold his pencils or pens correctly and although there are pens and pencils for people with HMS, in reality, it’s difficult for them to keep hold of.  Other children tend to want to try them or they are easily broken.  Children often don’t want to be different from their peers and might just not use them anyway.

We’ve got round that for lengthy writing exercises by having a laptop available for him to use, but again, he has to be told to use it or he’ll just potter on with struggling to hold his pencil and not manage to write very much.  It takes so much effort to just put pen and pencil to paper, that the quality and quantity of output can be quite poor and the condition unrecognised as an issue by teachers.


Some HMS affected people can experience pain from their joints, and it can be to the extent that it is misdiagnosed or interfere with daily living.  Thankfully we have not got to that point and hopefully we never will, but it is always good to know what the future potential can be.


It does pay to have HMS diagnosed.  I hadn’t realised what it was until my eldest had a thumb injury and the physiotherapist told me he had it, and she watched my youngest writing and told me he also suffered from it in his fingers and thumbs.

Without the diagnosis, youngest wouldn’t have his school laptop and we wouldn’t know to watch out for hand injuries.

If they had less obvious symptoms I wouldn’t have bothered.  I just thought eldest and his shoulder blades were a bit like a party trick.    Diagnosis also helps to pinpoint later on if there are some more serious effects and it helped us to understand that it wasn’t much of a blow that dislocated both eldest and littlests thumbs on different occasions.

There is a scoring system, the “Beighton Score” which grades the body to identify possible hypermobility in some parts of the body, but it is usually best diagnosed by a doctors examination and they can help suggest things to help if it is causing problems in life.

Where do I get help?

Find out more about HMS by visiting the following:



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Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – Why would women put their daughters off having the vaccine?

Cervical Cancer Prevention week is: 20 – 26 January 2013

I really had to get involved with this one. I really had no right to let it go past.

I’m not going to go in detail with the symptoms of cervical cancer as this is prevention week, but if you want to find out more about what could indicate cervical cancer, please head on over to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

Twenty years ago (yes, I am that old) I finally went for my first smear. I’d put it off as I had severe endometriosis and pain was often so incredible that I couldn’t touch my stomach from the outside, let alone have something shoved up my inside. I watched a programme which put the fear of death into me and decided I’d have a try.

Two nurses, a doctor, and yes, a lot of pain later, they finally got my smear. With the endometriosis damaging my cervix, they couldn’t even see it.

It came back with severe abnormal cells – Cin 3.

Another year and I probably wouldn’t have been here today. I was lucky.

After a few weeks nervous wait to see if it was confirmed, it was on to the laser treatment, which was not as bad as I thought it would be, but then again, I think they inject enough freeze into the cervix to stun an elephant. The injection to freeze is a little like the dentist freezing the roof of your mouth, but just a bit more stingy. Thankfully, after that, there was no pain. The burning smell is not too clever though, and does make you realise that they really are burning off the bad cells.

I really want to take the mothers who persuade their kids not to have the vaccination and shake their shoulders. How stupidly silly can they be? A simple vaccination and their daughters are protected.

Do they really want their daughters to go through the nightmare of results, re-smear, laser treatment and then the constant smears afterwards to make sure it hasn’t crept back?

Do they really want their daughters to risk cervical cancer?

Why are they not persuading their daughters to do it?

There’s nothing “seedy” about it.

I just don’t understand it.

Most cervical cancers are caused by a common virus – (HPV) human papilloma virus. Some women are susceptible to it, and others are not. Changes can show as abnormalities of the cells of the cervix and when they become severe, they can develop into cancer.

Jo's cervical cancer trust

Cervical screening detects early changes in cells, and although the vaccination for HPV can only prevent infection from two of the 20 highest risk strains, to me, it’s not worth the risk of not taking it.

Far too many girls and women are not getting screened when they are at the age to be screened. I wish they would screen every girl from the year she begins to become sexually active, but sadly, that is never going to be the case.

The UK scheme offers girls the vaccination programme from age 12 – 18. If I had girls, I’d be beating down the door of anywhere that they could get the vaccination done.

The choice for me would be simple – an injection into the arm to reduce the potential of having the stress of tests or nether regions burned by a laser, or even worse – living and fighting cervical cancer.

Vaccines are given by injection into the muscle, usually the upper arm. Three separate doses are needed. The second does is given one or two months and six months after the first dose. It’s not a guarantee, but it removes a high factor of the risk.

A lovely and very young lady who used to be on Twitter had advanced cervical cancer. She was pilloried, given a hard time and abused to the point of having to leave. Those of us who used to chat to her, miss her. She was hounded and treated like rubbish by other women. There is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of in having pre-cancerous cells or cervical cancer. The time between smears, and the age of screening means that at times, it may be too far advanced before abnormal cells get picked up, even if women have had all their smears.

Get your smears on time and get the vaccination if you are eligible for it. Your life may just depend on it.

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Did you drink alcohol when you were pregnant? Do your kids misbehave? Read on..

Pregnant and Alcohol

Ok, the Daily Mail isn’t my favourite newspaper and this is one topic that will always be close to my heart (and the blog).   That aside, a friend showed me an article from today on page 15.

In a nutshell, it is talking about the prevalence of children in our society who are affected at varying degrees by Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder which is milder but still affects day-to-day living. They estimate about 1% of our children suffer from Foetal Alcohol to some extent, but that it really is the tip of the iceberg.  It’s a fairly responsible article and explains how drinking alcohol is pregnancy can have far more lasting effects than smoking.

Lets have a look at what to watch out for with some basic signs and symptoms in your kids if you drank at all while you were pregnant:

FAS or Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is the biggest cause of mental health problems and retardation in kids today.  Not all children with FAS will develop retardation, and many may show up as behavioural problems.  Those with the associated issues that are outside of the main FAS diagnosis tend to be missed or diagnosed with something else.

Some signs to look out for:

– Disruptive behaviour.

– Difficulty in understanding concepts.  May learn to read & write easily, but struggle with comprehension of what it is all about.

– Generalisations, ie thinking of things in terms of black and white and often taking what is said literally.

– Shot term memory problems, ie ability to learn, but forgets very quickly and has to keep being reminded how to do things.

– Schools may think these children are just being lazy.

– Sugar cravings.  Many parents of FASD children have noticed that their children seem to be addicted to sugary sweet foods.

– Conscience could be underdeveloped so may steal and lie without fear or consequence.

– Finds difficulty coping with new situations.

– May over-react to small changes in a daily routine.

– Seems more immature than their age in years.

– ADHD and ODD type behaviours which may not respond to traditional ADHD methods of management.

There’s nothing to be ashamed about in recognising what a child’s difficulties may have been caused by, so if you suspect it, get it checked.

It’s not easy to get diagnosed locally, and there are places to help.

Mencap NoFASUK – National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK

FAS Aware UK – Foetal Alcohol in Pregnancy & Forums

FASD Trust – For Parents and  Carers – Information

To finish, all I can say is, that for the sake of your future children, if you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or think you might be, don’t drink alcohol – AT ALL.

It’s the only sure-fire way to ensure your children can have the best mental health start that they can, without the possibility of any Alcohol related brain damage.

Foetal Alcohol destroys lives.  Don’t let it get into your family.

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Guest Post from Cancer Research Uk: Tips for Surviving the Flu Season

Autumn is officially upon us now – we’ve dug our winter coats out, turned up the heating and said goodbye to our sunnies for a while. And with the new season, it is inevitable that soon enough we shall all be under threat from colds and flu. But how can we prepare for this and start battling off the symptoms of runny noses, sneezing and sore throats? Take a look at our top tips for surviving the flu season and then sit smugly as you watch everyone else succumb to illness.

Image CC via Flickr

1. Stay Indoors

Okay, so obviously we don’t mean that you have lock yourself away from the outside world, but why not consider switching your mad Friday night drinking session for a cosy night in front of the TV? We all know that alcohol isn’t great for us, but cutting down around this time of year can significantly improve our chances of avoiding the flu as it weakens your immune system, giving nasty viruses the opportunity to take advantage. Plus, clubs and bars are an absolute haven for viruses. Anyway, with weather like this, a nice hot chocolate and a bad film sounds somewhat more appealing that a chilled glass of Pinot!

2. Stay Hygienic

Again, let’s not get over the top with this one. There is no need to freak out everytime somebody with a slightly red looking nose comes near you, but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to take a few extra precautions around this time of year. Try keeping a small travel sized bottle of antibacterial gel in your bag, and make sure you’re using it at times when you come potentially pick up a bug, for example after you’ve been on a train with lots of people, or if you have been eating in a communal area. Just try to find the right balance between squalor and germophobia!

3. Know Your Vitamins

Understanding the correct vitamins to take can significantly boost your immune system and improve your chances of resisting illness as long as you remember to keep taking them. To avoid colds and flu, try vitamin C or the lesser known Echinacea, which helps strengthen your immune system. You can get it in both drops and tablets, depending on your preference, from all good health stores.

CC via Flickr

4. Sleep, sleep, sleep

This may sound like simple advice, but it is amazing how many people fail to get enough sleep on a regular basis. Of course a lack of sleep can make you feel run down as it is, but recent studies have also shown a link between sleep and the production of disease-fighting white blood cells. So, next time you feel bad about having too much of a lie in, just remember that it’s for the sake of your health!

5. Avoid the Gym

Okay, so most of us don’t need an excuse to skip a visit to the gym, but the fact is that, if you’re not feeling great, it’s a place to avoid. To start with, it’s a pretty close environment and there’s a real risk of either picking up a bug from someone else. If you’re already feeling rough, there might be a temptation to exercise through it, in the hope that it’ll speed up the healing process. Truth is, you’ll just risk infecting other people and making yourself feel worse. Listen to what your body is telling you: if you’re ill, rest is the fastest way to recovery.

6. Wrap up Warm

There’s a persistent myth that colds and flu can actually be caused by being too cold. In reality, both are caused by a virus that you can only pick up from someone who already has it, or from coming into contact with something they’ve been using. If you’re already ill, though, nothing will make you feel worse like being cold, and you’ll soon see your symptoms exacerbated.

This was a post from the health bloggers at Cancer Research UK, providing information and support to those suffering with breast cancer and those who know someone who is.

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Why is Baby Food so popular?

Baby food seems to be an emotive subject.  I stated my opinion on it on twitter, and I was rapidly unfollowed by 4 mum bloggers.  Who knew that baby food mums took it so seriously.    Nobody said anything in defence of baby food which was surprising, but there were plenty of us who think that jars (and the ready-made tubs ) of baby food for older children are just not needed.  I can see the snacks being useful, but the need for the meals confuse me.

Image: Sharron Goodyear /

My youngest came to me at 9 months old.  I was told that he had been fed on cow’s milk, and he didn’t like pot noodles, so I decided to take it from there.  I didn’t know any better, and with my mothers yada yada yada in my ear, I really never thought there was any other way of feeding a child, other than making something for them to eat.   From day 1 in my home, he began eating the kiddie sized portion of what we grown ups and his older brothers had for meals.

Saying all that, before I get struck down with some bug from a curse from the mothers rights brigade, it is every mums’ choice of what to feed their child.  The fact that their childrens’ taste buds might suffer eating bland gunk for so long in their lives is their choice.

What does annoy me is having to stand in a supermarket trailing my three hyperactive kids, who have little skills for waiting in line, to have to listen to a mummy righter blagging on about the baby food tub she had just bought in the shop – and wanted it heating up.  On and on she went about how was she going to feed her baby now.  The man behind the counter remained as calm as could be, although it was obvious he was dying to tell her exactly where to go.

She started off trying to persuade him to use the kitchens microwave to heat it up, but he explained that he couldn’t use industrial microwaves, then she tried to get him to let her go into the kitchen and heat it up herself.   He explained that it was against company policy to allow that.   I don’t know how often he said it, but eventually she paid for her food and walked away from the counter.

I had some sympathy for her, and stayed behind her in the queue without saying a word, as I could see that she was obviously getting stressed out about how to feed her baby.  When she asked what she was going to do now to feed her baby, I almost felt like joining in and championing her cause.

When I had my childrens’ food paid for and got seated, I found myself facing straight towards where she sat with her friend and her “baby”.  I felt a little jar of shock when I realised that this “baby” was well over a year old and possibly two or more.    The kids menu had several choices of things that would have suited that child perfectly well.  In the end, the mum mashed up some of her food, and spoon fed the little one.

My shock was at the fact that not only was she wanting baby food for such a big toddler, but that the toddler was getting it all mashed up, and not allowed to use a spoon or anything to eat it for herself.   Far from being unable to feed herself through some disability or special need, I spied the “baby’s” dexterity with toys and the ability to be able to potentially eat for herself was evident.

It’s the mum that seems to want to keep her baby as a baby, and not let her grow up.  Either that, or total laziness in feeding her child, so that the only thing she will eat is blah, blah, blah.   I have tasted the jars and tubs of baby food, and they are completely disgusting.  I suspect most children would turn away from them once they had “normal” not processed food to eat regularly.

I am not adverse to sticking on the odd packet of chicken nuggets, or pizza when I don’t have time to cook from scratch, but surely feeding toddlers that big on baby food is just silly.

If you want to unfollow me for that feel free, but I’d rather you debated the reasons for using it for older children with me.

I’d love to know the rationale and why baby food is so popular.  Feel free to comment below.

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Thinking Slimmer and the Future of Suggestion Therapy

I think it is about time that I updated my Thinking Slimmer #slimpod journey.

I am now coming up to 5 weeks on the programme.  Many of you will have heard a lot about Thinking Slimmer by now, and all about the bloggers who are trialling the mp3 pods that give us the power of suggestions to help us change our attitudes to food.

I have spent my entire life thinking about food, obsessing about food, wishing for food, wishing to be thin, obsessing about my weight, and being paraniod about it.  When I was thin, obsessing about everying I ate, how much, and when.  There is NOTHING worse as an adult female in company, than to look around the room, and realise that you are the fattest person there.  It’s humiliating, it’s awful, and it stinks.  It made me feel disgusting and not worthy.      That’s maybe not how I looked, but it’s how it made me FEEL.    How we FEEL about ourselves is the important thing.  Yes, some people are happy fat.  I have never been a happy fatty.  I have turned down many many invitations to events and nights out because I could not face going fat.  Life is so short, that it is completely the wrong attitude to have, but it’s the one that I had.

At my heaviest, I had to buy size 20 / 22 tops and if I am honest, they were probably a little bit neat.  I had lost a couple of stone last year, but I couldn’t get down any lower.  I was convinced that the only way was to starve myself into my self imposed rules for society’s acceptance.

After just weeks of listening to this little file on my phone every night, I am feeling human again.  As an emotional and stress eater, I really thought that the power of the #slimpod would wear off, and I would struggle as the stress took over.   I find the opposite to be true.  I also find that with the emotional aspect involved, that I sometimes need to listen to the #slimpod during the day at difficult times when the stress makes me move toward the kitchen cupboard.  A set of headphones on low, the file on, and I get control again until the next big stress moment.  I have a very challenging special needs child so stressful days are very often, as are very stressful moments within a day.

I am finding the increasing confidence that I am beginning to have, is taking me back to the days before I lost my way.  My food choices are becoming very different.   I have always been a carb girl.  Put a bowl of crisps in front of me (as long as they are not plain) and I will happily finish the bowl, while my body will crave the bowl to be filled up again, just for me.

Even friends buy me crisps for when I go round, knowing that I will eat them (ALL).  I am the perfect guest who will stuff her face silly with crisps and dip.  Let me rephrase, that.  I USED to be the perfect guest.   I am now confident enough to be able to ask the host/ess not to have them out.  If everyone can cope with that, then it will be fantastic.  I suspect it is difficult for everyone as crisps and dips are a quick, cheap and easy way to feed guests.

I am losing weight weekly.  I have absolutely no idea what  my current weight it and I have no intention of weighing myself to find out as I am going to rigidly stay with my no weighing policy.  It is working fantastically so far, and I have NO scales weight hangups in an up week, or in any week where I only lose half a pound and then get paranoid about it.

I am in the van so have limited clothes to try on to see what fits and have had to buy some Tesco things to see me through.    I AM into my size 14 Tesco jeans – go me.  My size 16’s are all too big now.    OK, they are all BIG size 16’s, but still.    I have a few cheap size 16 Sainsburys T-Shirts I keep in the van and they are all lovely and loose, and getting a little too big as well.  I usually wear a top that is about two sizes bigger than my jeans to fit my boobs into.   They are shrinking.

I am eating more than I used to eat when I was a huge carb girl.   I am getting most of my carbs from strawberries, tangerines and melons.  I am eating shedloads of cherry tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, sweetcorn, mushrooms, onions and cucumber.  Tesco light caesar dressing is fab as soo low in calories to sprinkle over it all with some  chicken.   Add that to the tubs of Alpro Plain Soy Yogurt that I am now addicted to, and my life is changing.

My energy is huge in comparison to before.  I am managing to keep up with the kids out on their bikes.  I have NEVER been able to keep up with the kids before.   Ok, my fibromyalgia is still there, my feet still hurt daily, but I am managing to feel better about it, and without the daily carb coma effect, I feel lots better than I did.

I have bad days – I am no saint.  I don’t worry about them.  If I have overeaten, then I go to town on the day that I do it.  I am coping better that way.  I throw away my wishlist, and I just have what I crave.  I am not beating myself with the never ending stick that I used to carry on my back, weighing me down with every calorie that I put into my mouth.  I get up the next morning, and I get on with my day, as if the bad day had never happened.

I have the positive feeling, that this time, I can do it.  This time it is a life choice, rather than a lucky year where I have managed to lose lots of weight by starving myself, only  to put it all back on again a few years later.

How it affects us, I really don’t know.  I do know that the power of relaxation must have something in it.   I am in the van with the kids, and hub and grandma tootle back and fro, so on the nights that it is just the kids and I, I have been putting on the #slimpod aloud instead of through my headphones.   My youngest who struggles to sleep is now asking if I can put on the “old mans” voice (sorry Trevor) to help him sleep.  He prefers it to low music.  He is 9 years old.

I wonder if a similar podcast for children who struggle with their self-esteem would be a sensible way to go and put it on at nights for them.  I wish there was something out there off the shelf for it.  I see huge benefits in the power of safe, sensible suggestion therapy where we feel totally in control.

Thank you Sandra and Trevor.




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Thinking Slimmer – 1st Week In the Trial

I’ve decided to update my Thinking Slimmer post  to let you know how I am going with it.  I have even give it a category all of its’ own.  At the moment, I am not terribly sure how well it is going.  It is still early days in the scheme of the programme.   The programme states that it takes about three weeks for it to become a new habit.  I am ok with that.

How am I doing so far?

In the first few days, I was not sure if the programme was working, or if the fact that I was on the programme was the incentive in itself.  Even, by the nature of posting the results, and reviewing the programme, it can have a placebo type effect.  That’s what I told myself anyway.

Now getting to the first week in, I am noticing small changes, as the programme tells me.  I am making better food choices already.  I am not eating so much, and my confidence is improving.  There is nothing like keeping on hearing it, to help you believe in yourself.

We should try this on the kids when they are dropping off to sleep.  “You will be quiet and respect your mother in the supermarket.”  Joking aside, I am feeling much more positive than I did a week ago.   Is it coincidence, or is it as a result of the programme?  I don’t know, and only time will tell how it works for me.

I have decided not to weigh.  I become obsessed with numbers when I step on the scale, and I want to free myself of that particular reason to shake my confidence.   I am going to do this differently from how Thinking Slimmer is judging results so far.   As a stress eater, taking the stress out of the equation is the best option for me.

I am going to judge my losses and how it works by my clothes and how comfortable I feel, and how positive my outlook becomes.    I don’t want to look at the scales and see how many pounds I have dropped.  I want to know how good I feel wearing whatever sized clothes I am putting on, and how I feel when I look in the mirror.

Roll on week 2.   I began quite sceptical and I have been pleasantly surprised so far.    There is still a long way to go, but  am positive about it rather than feeling like I am being deprived on a diet 24/7.

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Thinking Slimmer – A New Challenge

Thinking Slimmer contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out one of the podcasts that they have to help people to lose weight without dieting.  As a blogger, I was aware of the original mum bloggers who trialled the system and I have keenly watched their progress. 

The programme consists of podcasts that you play for 10 minutes a day, and which is intended to help train our chain of thoughts, and  help us change our attitudes, perceptions and relationship to food.

Thinking Slimmer has been working with mummy bloggers for a while now, and I am lucky enough to have been chosen for the next phase of the trial. 

As I am a fibromyalgia sufferer, they felt that it might be a good case study for someone to use the programme who has a bad relationship with food.    I certainly do have that kind of relationship with my carbs.  I have never understood the people who say that they cannot eat when they are stressed.  The slightest sign of stress and I am likely to head for the nearest packet of crisps.  Then, sadly, once I begin eating carbs, the guilt cycle begins.

I have chosen to trial the Drop Two Sizes or More Podcast.  

Wish me luck.

Scottish Mum xx

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What age is appropriate for pierced ears ?

Many of you won’t have come across this issue yet.    It is one that has many parents from all walks of life debating on the rights and wrongs, or the reasons for and against.

I am against and I also have pierced ears. 

So why, oh why did I agree to boyo here getting an ear pierced when he was 10 years old ?

Lets look at it this way.  Boyo spends a lot of his life missing out on things that he should be able to take part in as he has a brother with a disability.    He spends his life defending his brother on one hand, while also feeling resentful and upset at what he misses out on.

He really, really wanted his ear pierced, and because I say no to so many things that he asks to do, I had to think hard.  I skirted around the subject for a couple of weeks, saying neither yes, or no.  I exaggerated how painful it was to get done and regaled him of tales of festering, pain and misery.   One day I looked at his face, animated as it was while he was asking for this one thing from me.  I realised that it  is not an issue at all.   This was one thing that I could say yes to, and make him happy.

Some people may not like it, and I certainly don’t.   It did however give him a massive boost to his confidence and his face has beamed with pride wearing his ear-ring since the day it was done.   For his confidence, it was worth every second of disapproving looks that come our way.  If he needs to, he can take it out for jobs and interviews as he grows older, and he may decide on his own to remove it. 

He knows it will be the one ear-ring and I am not going to agree to multiple piercings.  Having the ear done has certainly done away with any talk of future piercings in other bodily places.

Was it the right thing to do?  Yes it was.  It’s a non-issue. 

A twitter pal said to me that she couldn’t argue with her daughters request for pierced ears with just the reason that mum didn”t like it.  I agree with that.  There are soo many other battles that need to be won in the parenting department, that are actually important. 

Then it comes down to the appropriate age. 

  • I am glad the issue didn’t come up pre 10.
  • I am glad my other two don’t want an ear pierced.
  • I am glad I don’t face the girl child debate for both ears done pre-school.    

I will never forget my mums words as I grew up pleading for my ears to be pierced. 
“If you were meant to have holes in your body, then you’d have been born with them.”

Well lets see.  If we were meant to wear make up.  If we were meant to dye our hair.  If we were meant to wear high heels.  If we were meant to be free of underarm hair.  If we were meant to have a tan.   Where does it start and where does it stop?

What do you think?  Where do you sit on the piercing debate?

I certainly don’t know what the “right” age to have a piercing is.  I don’t think there is one.