DIY Subway

For the past two weeks I’ve been making my own lunches for at least 3 out of the 5 working days. For the other 2 days, I’ve been buying Subway salad boxes. Silly me buying them when they’re so easy to make.

Subway Tuna Salad Box

Yesterday I bought the ingredients for the selection of Subway salad that I usually get. The only things I couldn’t get were the jalapeños (I wrote that word and my phone autocorrected it to ‘hale penis’) and crispy onion. I decided to try out my own for lunch today in the sun. Now I have 5 days worth of lunches for the price of approximately £10 rather than £4approx a go.

My own.

Now I know it’s just a salad but it’s amazing how much more fresh this was. Not only that – but I’ve saved one the plastic too. Hopefully this will help save me a few pennies as we go along!

Keep safe all,

S x

A Week of Walks

The slight ease of the lockdown here in England has seen us go on a variety of walks to new local places along with one or two of our favourite ones over the past week. From flat 3 milers to rather un-flat milers.

It has felt so good to be back in nature and doing the thing I love most – walking. I must admit, I have been pretty mardy some of the days at myself for not being able to do some of the climbs as easy as before. I have to remember that this rehab for my lungs and entire body is going to take a long time. Never the less, our walks ranging from 3-9miles were certainly a great starting point.

Here are some snaps from the past week:

Canals: The nicest area near us is a long stretch of canal that goes past our town through Warrington and towards Liverpool. The wildlife is so lovely down there. Lots of baby ducks, swans, coots along with so many other birds. I’ve been going on a few 3mile walks on my lunches down there and also been lucky to meet so many lovely dogs. Flat but very pretty and can rake up the miles if needed down there.

Dovestones: Our favourite place. A walk down past the 2nd and 3rd reservoirs and up the hill towards the waterfall. A scramble up the boulders of the waterfall then a ‘hands and knees’ climb up the steep slope on the other side to make it to the top of the moorland. Then came the views which we enjoyed as we walked along the top of the moors for a few miles. I couldn’t manage our usual 16mile route so we cut back down to the second reservoir and then did a final circle of the 1st main reservoir then back up the hill to the car.

Mam Tor: We decided to climb the steeper rout to the top of Mam Tor to avoid the crowds of people. This meant ascending as soon as you parked to even get to the mountain. I struggled a lot here with my breathing. I took a few puffs of my inhaler which helped a lot but then it was my general unfitness that got me. It was slow but we still made it to the top. We then went along the ridge of Shivering Mountain but cut the route short because of the amount of people. We didn’t mind though, the downward path let us meet some friendly cows, lambs and chickens on the way down to Castleton. Then a long trudge back up the hill to the car.

Rivington Pike: Somewhere new where we have never been. I would say we went the wrong way but there seemed to be so many different paths that you could take to get there that I don’t think we did. Either way, we climbed up through the woodland, up through the farmers hilly fields (full of sheep and lambs) then up the paths and round to the stairway up to the monument. As you can tell it was very UP! I wasn’t expecting the climb to be as hard as it was but it was definitely worth it. Stunning views across the north west Merseyside. The wind was crazy so we didn’t stay too long at the top as it was hard to stand upright so we headed down past a cute tower house places and down through some more woodland. We didn’t have a route planned we just knew what direction the car was in. Along the way we say some cute little buildings but unfortunately not the famous bridges. Maybe next time.

The Scales Can Sometimes Lie, Mirrors Don’t.

Today, whilst at work I weighed myself. I haven’t weighed myself in months. Possibly even since before Christmas.

What I know is that the last time I weighed myself, I was heavier than I had been in a while. Just under 16st. Looking down at the scales today I was given a huge shock – a crash landing back to Earth. 115kg … 18stone!! What the actual fuck?! I don’t think I’ve been that heavy in my life. I knew I’d put some on but didn’t think it was that much.

This was quite possibly the kick in the teeth that I need. As you know, I’ve started going walking where I can again and eating better. But I could do more. This is where that happens.

A few years ago I posted my start pics. Today I shall post them again, I’m pretty much back to that point or even beyond it to be honest. I hope to then post an updated pic of my progress every month from then on. It may spur me on when things start getting tough and I feel like caving in and eating my weight in crap. The prospect of the hard work to come is daunting and, honestly, upsetting. It took months and months and months of blood sweat and tears last time. Torture to start with until I finally started to enjoy it. However, it’s my own fault and I just have to suck it up and focus on my health. After all, if we didn’t know already, these strange times have certainly reminded us that health is everything.

So, without further or do, here are my current pics. 18stone! My goodness. No wonder my back and knees hurt. Let’s see how things go from here.

Keep safe all,

S

First Walk Post Poorlyness

Friday saw my first stroll post Covid and my goodness it was so good to be out and about back with nature again. Managed just under 5 miles in the evening down the canal path and loved seeing the local wildlife including my first ever Kingfisher! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to capture it on my camera. My legs did ache on the way back and I was glad to be home but enjoyed every minute of it.

We enjoyed yesterday’s walk so much that we even got up at 6am this morning to go to the countryside for one of our favourite routes. However, unfortunately this was shut due to the restrictions. When we got back we decided to check out a local country park which wasn’t quite as scenic so didn’t take any pics. Today’s walk was a bit tougher as my legs and back aches from the day before and so only managed 3 miles. I’m not quite sure why but my back feels like it’s going to snap at the moment. I can’t decide if it’s to do with my weight gain, lack of exercise or me sleeping funny – maybe all three. Nevertheless, will try and do another 3 miles tomorrow!

Stay safe all!

S.

Roll on being able and fit enough for big hikes again!

Cupboard Carbonara

Thought I’d just share this quick whipped up recipe for a take on spaghetti carbonara using items you may have left in your cupboards/fridges. A really simple and quick recipe taking about 15-20 mins.

What I found that I wanted to use for this was:

  • Linguine pasta
  • 2 eggs
  • Pack of un-smoked bacon
  • 2 x Sausages (needed to use them up)
  • Spinach
  • Garlic or garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Ground peppercorns
  • Olive oil

I don’t like cheese but if you have some add it too!

1) Start by boiling your pasta.

2) Cut your bacon and sausages into small pieces.

3) Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and add a lot of garlic/garlic powder, salt and pepper.

4) Add the cut up sausages and bacon to the pan and cook through stirring occasionally.

5) Ensure pasta is cooked and drain suitably.

6) Crack two eggs into a jar and stir with a fork.

7) Add the pasta into the on with the bacon and sausages and also add the spinach. Lower the heat. Stir until ingredients are evenly spread.

8) Add the egg into the pan sporadically whilst stirring.

9) Add in extra garlic and pepper and keep mixing in the until the egg has cooked.

10) Serve into a bowl add sprinkle a few raw spinach leaves on top.

Enjoy!

Because PCOS

I haven’t spoken about my PCOS for a while – even when I was actively writing. In hindsight, I think that was because my symptoms were less prominent in my life due to the weight loss. Now obviously everyone with PCOS experiences different variations of the symptoms but for me, having put back on all that I had lost, my symptoms are back with a vengence.

WARNING! Detailed content ahead. If you are easily offended by the natural workings and malfunctions of the human body then I advise you to not continue reading this post.

Lets start with the obvious and then make our way to the lesser.

Weight

I am not blaming my gaining of weight purely on my condition. That would be delusional and irresponsible. I am however, blaming it for the sheer rate of the weight gain. My diet hasn’t been the best for nearly a year now so going up on the scales was going to expected. However, when placed next to someone eating pretty much the same and doing as little exercise you would expect sort of the same rate of gain wouldn’t you? As I said before everyone is different but I have balooned at a colossal rate with the majority of fat piling up on my mid drift and hips, making my stomach bulge over any item of clothing tight or loose. My head has a perminant stand to which to sit at the back and now the front to aid my neck.

HAIR

As a woman, this has to be the biggest bane of my life since having PCOS. I have had excess hair growth on my upper lip, beard, tummy, armpits and inner thighs for a long time. It seems to have been a losing battle. Not only is it embarrasing it makes me feel extremely self concious and un-attractive. Embrace your natural hair I hear feminists say to me. I try but when you have so much it is hard!

When I lost weight, the hair growth seemed to plateux and I could manage with the trimming and shaving less frequently. Now it is back ten fold. Even if I wax – to which everyone says ” this is going to be brilliant for you, you wont have to wax again for up to 6 months” hair starts to come back within 2 weeks. If I shave, forget 5 o’clock shadow, it’s ‘give it an hour after shaving’ shadow. I even paid for laser treatement for my moustache and beard last year. I followed the rules to the book, applied suncream every day and only shaved just before going to my next session. Once my 6 months had finished I was advised I wouldn’t need to come back for maybe another 6 months to which I was estatic. I had notice how my hair was lighter and thinner in those areas and didn’t grow back as quick. The ones that did, I could simply wipe off of my face. A month after I had finished, hello new, completed random, sideways long hairs growing out of my throat. Ones that I had never had before.

Today, as well as these new horizontal strips of protein filaments, my facial hair is getting back thicker and more prominent as well as trying to join my face to my head – you know in the style of those Victorian/Edwardian older men (look up Ambrose Burnside and you will understand what I mean). There doesn’t seem to be many areas on my body that I don’t need to perform any barber skills on anymore.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Otherwise known as dark patches of skin. Patches are getting dark! I don’t mean a nice, natural skin brown colour or tan type of darkening I mean an un-clean looking colour. I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I love the heat and the sunshine but dread having to wear anything without sleeves that cover my armpits. Even if I have just shaved so that I don’t need to worry about my armpit hair for half an hour, my armpits look almost mouldy, like I haven’t washed for weeks.

Down below it’s the same. In the bedroom I am so self conscious of my foof/noonoo/vagina etc as it looks a lovely shade of unclean. Not attractive in the slightest.

Now I have even started noticing it more around my neck and betwen my breasts. I scrub and I scrub daily to no prevail, it’s just that good ol Acanthosis Nigricans. My main concern is people looking at me and thinking that I am un-clean especially as I am a healthcare professional.

Periods

Yes I did just make the sub-heading red. As with most other sufferers of PCOS, my periods are still irregular. I can’t complain though, there was a time in my life when I didn’t have one for over a year. They are more or less every month, never on the same dat and sometimes I skip a month. I get very bad PMS now days. Two weeks before I ‘come on’ I start to feel run down and ill. A few days before, I get frustrated and angry. The day before/the day I ‘come on’ I cry at anything (literally anything) aswel as feel extremely… amourous. Once I start, it’s pain all the way. No lite bleeding either. Not the three teaspoons a day what our teachers told us about during the 1 lesson we had on periods at school. Sometimes I get worried with the amount along with the clots that come out of me and wonder if I’m anemic after.

Hair Loss

But wait, haven’t I just complained about too much hair? Yes I have. But that was about the hair that I didn’t want. The hair I actually want on my head has decided to thin down like an old shag pile rug. I wash my hair and handfulls come out. It doesn’t grow in length. I even have the start of a bald patch.

So – What Can Help?

I stopped taking the contraceptive pill that was prescribed for me after being diagnosed as it made me gain weight in an instant. Since then, I have not been to a Dr to see what alternative pills I could take. To be honest, my GP has only just retired and I stopped going to him for various reasons due to him not being helpful in the slightest. Going forward, once this pandemic is over and time has been given for the resultant strains on the health service have died down a bit, I shall seek advice for medication from my Dr. Not only for my periods but for my hair growth too

In the meantime, I shall try and be healthier and once my pneumonia has cleared up, I shall exercise once again. Afterall, they are the only two aspects which help those with PCOS and no pill can cure obesity. Hence me re-starting this blog, writing posts a few years ago whilst I was actively being healthy helped me keep going. I intend to do the same again. Not only that but those with PCOS are at a higher risk of becoming diabteic – something which I have been EXTREMELY lucky not to already have. I want to take back some control from my hormones.

Useful advice/sources

For any of you reading this think that you may have PCOS please see your Dr to get tested so that you can receive the right treatment if necessary for you. You can find more information on these websites:

https://www.pcosaa.org/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/

For those of you reading this who have already been diagnosed, there are so many other blogs on WordPress that discuss living with PCOS and helpful tips along with many other blog sites. There are also useful podcasts on Spotify and other platforms that you can listen to.

Please leave a comment for any tips you may have or sites/blogs/podcasts/books you know for advice for anyone with PCOS.

My Experience of Covid-19

A little different time my other posts, but I thought I’d share with you my experience of having Coronavirus.

My pussy cat Bellatrix keeping me company.

March 2020. I am an NHS professional and even though the pandemic was confirmed in China and spreading across the world, we were still seeing a lot of people, taking no measures to keep our distance from one another even if they told us they’d just returned from abroad etc.

March 13th. Me and my partner had annual leave booked for our anniversary and decided to go for a hike in the Lakes. We walked up the first 100m of a steep incline and my partner was ridiculously breathless and feeling as though she was going to pass out. I was alright but decided to leave the hike as she was never like this.

March 16th. My partner had a constant cough, breathless and feeling generally under the weather. I start having a cough too and notice a strange feeling of breathlessness. For example I would get up to go to the toilet and be huffing and puffing. Walking up the stairs was exhausting. I didn’t feel too bad though in myself. The rest of this week carried on the same. I felt like I had flu symptoms but extremely mild.

Week 2. This week I started to develop a fever and felt crap. My breathlessness got worse. I developed a sore throat like none before. It started on my right side and felt like a knife. I couldn’t talk as it hurt so much. Even the air during breathing irritated it. As the week went on my glands swelled up in my neck, armpits and groin. They were aching constantly and my legs hurt so much. I start taking a lot of paracetamol, hot drinks constantly, put vicks on my chest, suck on throat sweets. My partner was starting to get better and still relaxing.

Week 3. This was the worst week of my symptoms. My chest hurt to a new level. Anyone who knows me knows that I constantly get chest infections but this was on a different level. My legs hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep or get comfortable. Because of the two, I kept going in a hot bath for hours to try and relieve the pain. This helped to some extent. My breathing was at its worst and even laying down I was huffing and puffing. I spent days and days in bed. My sore throat had gone but my cough was constant which got worse when talking. I didn’t cough up any phlegm. Only very occasional small amounts of white phlegm My partner was more or less better and back at work but decided I should call 111 as it had been three weeks and I was getting worse. They just advised to stay off of work another 7 days. No point going hospital as they wouldn’t be able to do anything and no point me getting tested as by the symptoms, I do have it.

Week 4. My chest was still hurting. My cough was starting to get a tad better but I still couldn’t talk much without coughing constantly. In myself I felt better and started doing things around the house and garden along with going for very small walks around the block. The body aches were going down. Started getting very painful occasional stomach ache and pain over my liver.

April 14th. First day back at work. Chest still hurting and still a bit breathless when going up stairs but feeling good and ready to get back into work. Half way through my shift I am there chatting to my colleagues when I can’t concentrate on what they are saying, I feel light headed. I go to my manager to tell her that maybe I’m not as well as I thought when she talks to me and I can’t understand what she’s saying, feeling even more faint. I had to just interrupt her and say I need to sit. Whilst sitting down I nearly faint twice and go completely white. I remember seeing my hands and they were white/blue. Every one comments how white I am. Once I felt a bit better I went home and called the GP who told me to just ride it out and he will send me a sick note.

That evening my legs start aching again and my breathing gets rapid and shallow and I feel almost as bad as I was in week three. My chest was so achey around the back and sides and if I took a deep breath it hurt in the front too. I kept feeling like I needed to yawn to get oxygen. My mum called as I said I was sent home from work and commented that I wasn’t making much sense. Later, my partner got home from work and commented on how white and crap I looked. She also said that I wasn’t making much sense. In bed, I didn’t feel right at all, I was disinterested with anything and my breathing was rubbish along with body aches and my bad chest. I decided to call 111 who said I needed to go to hospital. Another person rang me and said as he couldn’t hear my heavy breathing I didn’t need to go in so he will get a Dr to call me. During this time I went to the toilet and went to close the lid but instead swiped and smashed a candle off of the top. I also went to drink some water but poured it over the bed. My partner was very concerned. I was just very confused and spaced out and EXTREMELY cold. The Dr called and decided she would come and see me. At 1am she came around, assessed me and although my sats were ok she decided I should go A&E and was going to call an Ambulance. My partner said she would take me as it would be quicker. So off we went.

In A&E I didn’t wait at all and was taken through. They checked my obs and took some arterial blood to check the oxygen. I was spaced out and breathing heavily. My obs and oxygen were fine so they were confused as to why I was like I was. The Dr came over and assessed me and advised that this was most likely a secondary infection probably pneumonia due to me defo having COVID by my previous symptoms. She said there was no point having a test as this wasn’t COVID anymore as I didn’t have a temperature. There was no point getting a chest X-ray as it would not alter her giving my antibiotics for the infection. And as my obs were ok she didn’t think I should be admitted, I should go rest at home.

April 16th. No longer delirious. Chest is very achey and painful around the back, my breathing is better but get huffy still when I do anything. Starting to get stuffy again and phlegmy which makes me thing these antibiotics are already working (taking 8 a day). My legs are still very achey and my nodes are raised again in my armpits so at least my body is taking on this second lot of infection. Yesterday I spent the day in bed but today I’m downstairs on the sofa. I went to sit in the sun for 5mins but got to tired and so came back in to lie down and now I am writing this.

So here I am, just taking my tablets and resting for another two weeks to recover from this pneumonia. If feeling ok, I need to go back to work after these two weeks on phase return. After following the advice of just constantly staying home and resting I would suggest anyone feeling as bad as I did in week three to call 111 and speak to someone about it. I genuinely feel that if they had actually sent a Dr to me then, I would have been admitted. I thought I was going to die – genuinely. The time that I went to hospital I didn’t feel quite as bad but obviously it was a good thing so I could get the antibiotics. I think if I had gone to hospital with the Covid I may have been treated and not got this secondary infection. Who knows though. We didn’t have that much info back in March so no one knew what to suggest other than stay at home. Luckily now, they have a touch more info which is why I’m writing this so you can see that sometimes it does last over the 14days. Not once did I lose my taste or smell. The symptoms seem to be anything you can think of….. Covid gives it you!! I may have forgotten to add things as I want to tell you so much but can’t think of everything right now. So feel free to ask my anything.

Please do stay safe everyone. Look after yourselves and follow your governments rules. I only wish our government hadn’t left it so long to impose the lockdown, our death rate wouldn’t be so high. And that’s only hospital deaths. I know our confirmed cases would be sky high if they had bothered testing us. But anyway, that’s a rant that I shall have when feeling fully better and back with my colleagues. You know it’s bad when you are excited to go back to work!! Lets all hope this lifts soon and we change as a society to appreciate what matters more in life.