"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Friday, October 29, 2010

Best Buys Of The Week

This weeks best buys come from fashion addict an online store which sells cheap nail polish, cosmetics (mainly consisting of the brand 'BYS'), skincare products and jewellery and such.

Here's what I got.....

BYS Glam Glitter- holographic glitter in blue, green and gold. I like the blue one the best. So excited to have these, holographic glitter polishes are my absolute favourite!

BYS cracked nail polish kit in red. The concept of nail polish having a cracked effect sounds interesting, I cannot wait to try it out!

BYS nail art lacquer in white. It has the perfect brush for those intricate nail art designs.

Boots botanics enriching milk bath (this stuff smells divine!) and BYS evening primrose oil face mask.

Overall I am extremely happy with my purchases, and I am very impressed with the fast postage- I placed my order on Saturday night and received my goodies on Tuesday morning! I will definitely be purchasing from this site again, so happy :)

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Climbing Mountains

When dealing with chronic illness, there are many mountains that seem impossible to climb. For me personally, one of the biggest mountains has been getting my drivers licence. I got my learners permit when I was sixteen but didn't get much driving practice done. I had the odd few lessons here and there but I was more focused on my school work, so I was determined to get all my driving lessons after I finished school and then go for my licence. I managed to have quite a few lessons after finishing school and my driving instructor at the time said that I would be ready to go for my driving test within four months but disaster struck and that four months has turned into a long four years. Living with chronic fatigue makes driving extremely difficult and when I do find that I'm feeling alert enough to drive I can only manage short periods which is really frustrating. It is really tough when people question why I still haven't yet got my licence, no it's not because I don't enjoy driving or because I'm lazy, it's because I live with a crippling fatigue that you cannot understand unless you have it. I have been asked this question so many times that I had to come up with a clever answer to "You're 22 and you still don't have your licence?!" And my response? Fatigue kills. Simple as that. If I feel too tired- be it mentally or physically, I will not risk putting anyone's life at risk.
"When molehills become mountains you think you cannot climb, remember Everest was conquered one step at a time"- Author unknown


Lately though, I've been able to manage the fatigue a little better so I've been busy climbing this mountain (which accounts and will account for my lack of blogging) that seems impossible to climb and I'm almost there! I had my first driving lesson since my last one a couple of years ago two weeks ago now and I'm preparing for my driving test around fatigue flare-ups. My driving instructor seemed surprised that I hadn't already booked my test as I am well and truly ready- I've had my L's for six years now! Where the heck did time go?! It really looks silly me driving on L-plates. I am totally ready for P-plates and freedom! In my first lesson with my new instructor I mastered the dreaded reverse parallel park! YAY! Go me! Something funny too (although it wasn't funny at the time) - I had just finished doing a three point turn in a quite street and I go to drive off and I see this man standing in the middle of the road! My driving instructor told me to just keep driving and so I did only to have to slam on the break two seconds later as the man started walking towards the car! Get off the road, you can see I'm on L-plates, do you want me to run you over you moron! Once I braked he came to my window knocking on it yelling at me to do a burnout! What the hell is this idiot thinking, seriously. So I drive off and I hear him yell out "oi, you bitch". Classy, mate. Classy. He was clearly on drugs- and I thought I had problems! Ha! I was officially welcomed to the crazy world of driving and wacky pedestrians!

I've got a double lesson next week when I'll be learning the routes I could be driving in my test and then I've only got one more lesson before I go for my P's. Hooray! The end is in site. For the test you have to sit a hazards perception test before you can attempt the actual drive test but instead of doing it all in the one day which would be silly with chronic fatigue, I've chosen to do it on separate days with a huge gap in between to make sure I'm well rested enough to pass. I had my hazards test booked for last Friday and I was really nervous about it because I had heard that the driving scenarios are hard to work out on a computer screen and they were! One scenario I got the screen was totally black and I couldn't see anything that was going on, a little unfair I thought- but I passed!! Woohoo! I'm half way there! Now I just have to go for my driving test and I'm hopeful that I will be well enough to manage it and guess what? My driving test is booked! I officially have a date and a time that I am going for my P's! I'm so excited! I'm not telling when it is though because I don't want the humiliation of telling people that I failed it, not that I will- I'm pretty confident I will pass but that is a pressure I can do without, so no one other than my family knows when I am going for my test. Ha!

Well it's been a long road (oh gosh I make myself laugh sometimes!) and I can see the light! Getting your licence with chronic fatigue is a challenge but it isn't impossible. It just takes a lot of time and patience and believe me, patience really pays off.

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I'm possible!" - Audrey Hepburn


Friday, October 22, 2010

Best Buys Of The Week

I've been able to get out and do a bit of shopping lately and I haven't been able to manage that in quite a few months so I'm very happy! Here are my favourite buys of the week.....

 From left to right: Desert Pea rosalina toner, Burt's Bees peach & willowbark deep pore scrub, The Body Shop blue corn 3-in-1 deep cleansing mask and green apple bath & shower gel.

I've been wanting to try these products for quite a while and now I have them! Product reviews coming soon!

Passion Flower walnut body scrub

Colourful hair clips

Purple butterfly hair clip. My favourite colour YAY!

Pink butterfly hair clip. This one is my favourite. If you don't know already, I adore butterflies. Anything that has a butterfly on it is pretty much sold!

Bow hair clip. Pretty.

Last of all- nail polish, of course! Gold and silver glitter, I'm in love with glitter polishes right now but oh boy are they are pain to remove! I'm really enjoying nail art so I can't wait to try these. Lots of pictures of my nail art coming soon!

I hope you all have a great weekend!!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living Young With Arthritis- A Celebration Of Strength

I'm a young woman living with arthritis. If you were to ask me to sum arthritis up in one word I would say- strength. Not pain, not fatigue but strength. Today is World Arthritis Day and so I've decided to make this post a celebration of strength. Physically speaking, strong is the last thing I feel. At times it hurts to open jars, doors and hold a hair brush. It hurts to walk, drive, hang washing out to dry- all the things that I used to take for granted are now a miserable mission some days. When I was diagnosed with arthritis a little over three years ago, I had little knowledge of the strength that is required to live with such a disease, both mentally and emotionally.

When I first heard the words "I think you have arthritis" I couldn't comprehend how arthritis could suddenly cripple a perfectly healthy and happy eighteen going on nineteen year old who had her whole life ahead of her. I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it. In fact, I laughed. 'Who does this doctor think they are, telling me I have arthritis?'. I knew that arthritis could affect people of any age but it wasn't something that I thought would affect me, it was something I was expecting to grapple with in old age. One of the most common misconceptions about arthritis is exactly that- it is something which a middle aged or older person contends with but unfortunately, that is not the case. Arthritis is not just an old persons disease, it affects young people and children too- and I'm one of the many young adults afflicted. As much as I didn't want it to be true, as I hobbled out of the doctor's office in immense pain from having my joints jerked this way and that; his words echoed. "Your arthritis isn't from wear and tear, it originates from an inflammatory source and you need treatment".... I knew that I was facing a monster which required fierce strength.

When people hear the word "arthritis" mentioned, I can bet you that the average healthy person would immediately associate it with just a few aching joints but there are over two hundred different types of arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions all having different symptoms and varying degrees to which it affects a sufferers life. I am blessed to only have a very mild form of rheumatoid arthritis, showing early signs, but unfortunately the arthritis is the cause for my daily struggle with fibromyalgia (a chronic pain syndrome) which means that my life is severely hindered by a daily fight against aches and fatigue. I am not just fighting sore joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is so much more than just aching and stiff joints, it's not just plain ole arthritis- it is a disease. It is classified as an auto-immune disease, which means my body is attacking itself. If only I had a dollar for every time someone responded "oh my grandma has arthritis too!". Sometimes I have to force back the burning desire to scream "my arthritis isn't the same as your grandma's! I'm not old!"

In an E-Book by Lisa Copen- Chronic Illness Tips: 263 Ways to do More Than Just Get By, Sammy shares " I just wish my friends and family could live one day with my illness. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, but I do wish that they could have the pain and experience for even 24 hours so they would have an understanding of how hard it is and how much I fight to keep a positive attitude. I'm 26 and have finally finished college. I wanted a career, but there are days I can't get out of bed. While my friends have their careers or are starting families, because of this stupid disease I am starting over again. And I'm wondering if anyone will ever marry me? Will I even be able to have kids? And, if I do, will I be able to take care of them? Everything is so out of my control." This is a perfect example of how I feel at times. I'm 22, I've had to give up studying early childhood- the career of my dreams, my job and my social life has severely suffered all because of a stupid illness. Most of my friends are finishing university, looking forward to careers, getting married and starting a family. I just feel that my life has been halted to a stop, I feel like my life is going no where. I try to be strong but really I'm scared about my future.... I desire to get married and start a family but who wants to marry chronic pain? How the heck will I cope looking after children when I struggle to get out of bed and make breakfast some mornings!

It takes immense strength to live young with arthritis and we don't always give ourselves enough credit, I know I don't. I've had so many people say "you are so strong" and I just palm it off- well I don't have a choice in the matter, it was forced upon me and as true as that is, some people would be a crumbled mess if they walked in my shoes. It takes someone special to deal with chronic pain, it takes someone courageous to reach out and minister to the hurting. We need to recognise this more often and celebrate it.

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."- Kahlil Gibran

It takes strength to believe that somehow everything is going to be a-okay, it takes strength not to let a disease define your life and who you are as an individual. It takes strength to have a positive attitude. It takes strength to get out of bed in the morning when you're stiff, sore and overwhelmed by fatigue. It takes strength to say " this disease may have defeated me today, but I will try again tomorrow". It takes strength to smile when everything hurts, strength to endure horrible medication side effects- strength to take that weekly chemo drug dose when you would rather not spend a whole day feeling as throw you wanted to throw up every inch of your intestines. Strength to believe that somehow, someday things will get better. It takes strength to stand and say "I am content and I know I am blessed". It takes strength to count your losses as gains. It takes strength to say "I'm going to become a better person because of this experience". It takes the up most strength to believe that although you have limitations and restrictions....the possibilities are endless- to choose to stand firm and believe that you have limitless potential and no disease can take that away.

Living young with arthritis has been challenging to say the least but I wouldn't have my life any other way. This experience has taught me and is still teaching me things that I couldn't possibly relay in a paragraph, but in short; it has taught me things about myself that I never knew existed. I have discovered talents which otherwise would have lain dormant. I have dreamed dreams that I otherwise would never have dreamt- and I wouldn't change that for anything. Above all else, I've discovered a strength that I didn't know I had. I am damn proud to hold my head up high and say-"I'm a writer and I'm a fighter. I am a truly strong survivor."

© Emily Ruth 2010


Lisa Copen's Chronic Illness Tips- 263 Ways To Do More Than Just Get By is a free e-book available to download when you sign up for daily updates. Visit www.invisibleillness.com


Monday, October 11, 2010

Spreading The Sticky Note Love Part 2- You Are Good Enough

Following on from my last post Spreading The Sticky Note Love, I really felt that it was necessary to write an encouraging post and leave a sticky note on this blog as well, in the hope that whoever needs to read it will find it and be encouraged. So here it goes.

During Invisible Illness Awareness Week I was listening to one of the virtual conference workshops over at invisibleillness.com. Georgia Shaffer, an author and psychologist whose books include- Taking Out Your Emotional Trash, How Not to Date A Loser and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss, was speaking on the topic "Living With Chronic Illness: Why It Hurts, How To Cope"; along side other guest speakers. One thing that she said hit me hard- "your good enough is good enough." At that point in time I had been feeling the exact opposite, that my good enough was just not good enough. The previous week I was informed that after nine months of supposedly living in remission, that my fibromyalgia in fact never left. I had been feeling as though I was just surviving each day, I wasn't thriving like my friends, family and doctors expected me to. I have felt like I am not trying hard enough, not fighting hard enough, that I am not a good enough daughter, sister and friend, that I'm not strong enough, not a good enough writer, that I don't read my bible enough, pray enough or attend church enough- generally just feeling not enough. After four years the weight on my shoulders that I wasn't "good enough" was becoming too heavy to carry and with the simple and yet profound truth of those words, something in me broke and I realised for the first time that my "good enough" is in fact "good enough".

It was in that moment that God revealed to me why I had been thinking that I wasn't "good enough". I was viewing my life from the human view point rather than submitting to looking at life from God's viewpoint. I was constantly comparing my life to what it used to be, to what I used to be able to do. I used to be able to study, work and maintain a social life and now some days are just a miracle if I get out of bed and get dressed! I used to be healthy, where did I go wrong? I have been focusing on the things that I used to be able to do and therefore the things that I am no longer able to do now and it was dragging me down. I was placing limitations on myself that didn't need to be there. I was also comparing my life to that of a healthy person, silly I know, but when you are listening to a young energetic person babbling on about all the things that they have done, are doing and are going to do and the inevitable question "what do you do?" comes up, "oh just a bit of craft every now and then when I can" *long look of confusion*- it's understandable that I and many others living with chronic pain feel that we just don't measure up. In mid conversation, I've had to literally bite my tongue to prevent my tear ducts from exploding with a catastrophic flood because all I do is focus on getting out of bed and surviving another day and to some people that just doesn't seem good enough.

From the human view point my life sucks- I'm a twenty two year old woman disabled by chronic pain who has been since the age of eighteen. I've had to give up my university studies, my job, my social life and according to the world I have very little that is good in my life BUT I do! I have God in my life. I have joy, hope, perfect peace and contentment. I know that He is in control and that He has a plan and purpose for my pain- a plan that is more than "good enough". God defines who I am. My current circumstances do NOT define who I am. I am so much more. Who I am goes way beyond what I can and cannot do. Sure, I have limitations but God sees that I have limitless potential. In the eyes of the world we may not measure up, but we are not called to be of the world, we are called to be children of God! We need to start seeing ourselves as He sees us- in His eyes we measure up! If all you can do is manage to wash the dishes, or put on a load of washing that is okay, "your good enough is good enough". Celebrate it.

A huge part of why we people with chronic pain view ourselves as not "good enough" could be attributed to a lack of encouragement. As I was listening to the broadcast a listener called in. She brought me to tears. She too was feeling like she just wasn't "good enough" because she couldn't hold down a job, she couldn't be involved in her church like she desired and was feeling so discouraged. Never so much have I yearned to hug a complete stranger. I wanted to cry with her because I knew her pain and she knew mine. Most of all I wanted to encourage her. I wanted to tell her that she was doing a great job. The sheer need and desperation for encouragement amongst the chronically ill is astounding and that is why I am so passionate about raising awareness and encouraging those living with invisible chronic pain. I have never forgotten the time when I heard the sweet spoken words "I really admire you, I think you are doing a great job". No one had ever said that to be before and those words have had such an impact on my life some what two years later. So, to you- yes you, who aches from head to toe, you who finds it hard to sleep at night, to you who struggles to get out of bed in the morning, yes you who cannot work because of profound pain and unrelenting fatigue; and to those of you who feel like you are not a good enough mother, father, daughter, son, wife or husband...whatever- I want you to know that you are doing a great job. You don't hear it often enough- you are good enough. You may think that you are not making much of a difference, that you possibly can't with how your life is now but "it is during adversity when one can make a big difference but making a big difference is not about being a big hero. It is simply about leaving the bathroom a little cleaner going out than when you came in"- author unknown (oh how my mum is going to use this against me!). So if cleaning the bathroom is all you can do for one day- that is okay, "your good enough is good enough"; you are making a difference- it may not feel like it but you are. Live in that truth.

God cares about the details of your life, no matter how small. "We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good"-Romans 8:28. Know that you are God's child, adored by Him. He has chosen YOU. Following God's will isn't always easy but God doesn't make mistakes- He picked YOU for this task because He knew YOU could handle it. He knows what you are capable of. He sees limitless potential and He wants to use it for His glory. He thinks you are wonderfully special. You are precious in His sight. He thinks you are "good enough" and He doesn't just think it, He knows it.

© Emily Ruth 2010


You can find all five free conference workshops at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/invisibleillnessconf

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spreading The Sticky Note Love

To recap Invisible Illness Awareness Week the theme was 'each one can reach one'. The aim was to anonymously encourage and reach out to those living with invisible chronic pain by leaving an uplifting sticky note in a place where it could be found by another. This post is late, I know, and unfortunately I didn't get to leave any sticky notes anywhere during the week in September- that is what happens when you live with chronic fatigue, you can't always do things when you want to, you have to learn to live spontaneously and go with the flow. That said though, I have been leaving them where I have felt to leave them this month, mainly in places such as bathrooms- on mirrors, doors and hand dryers. I will continue to leave them behind in my travels throughout this month when I am able to get out more and leave them in some more creative places.

Here are some of the notes that I have left behind so far. I am praying that the right person who needs to read the notes finds them and feels encouraged and not so alone.

Each one can reach one but I am going for more. Where did you leave a note? Leave a comment!

The highlight of the week for me personally was logging onto facebook Monday morning to find that Invisible Illness Awareness Week fan page had posted a link to one of my blog posts! Lisa Copen found my post Beyond Casseroles left a comment and posted a link to it on facebook and twitter!

As most of you would know I spent the week blogging, which accounts for my lack of blogging recently...I'm still recovering! I also listened to the free virtual 5 day conference which was amazing- I feel so encouraged and uplifted! It was just such an awesome week to be involved in.


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