Sunday, March 31, 2013


 I am not always accepting and stoic with regard to my disease as I am sure the intelligent amongst real will have realised. I am just not a moaner, at least not always!

 In truth I spend a lot of time battling against my disease and not accepting its limitations. It is not always easy to know when it is right to push myself and when it is not pushing myself but lack of acceptance.

I swim. I love to swim. In the water I am free. I am not completely pain free but I am very mobile, I swim very well, and I just love it. I force myself to swim even when I do not feel like it. This is the good kind of tenacity because swimming is good for my body and my disease. It keeps me mobile, keeps my weight down, list my mood, and probably delays the progression of my disease.

 There are other times when my battle is pointless. It is me refusing to accept that I cannot do something and thus causing myself more grief in the process.

Today I was meant to be going to a breed club open show. I was all packed and ready to go. The two dogs I was taking were bathed. 

However, I was still awake 1 o'clock. I was awake at 3 o'clock. My gut was not good and twice I had to go to the bathroom. By the time the alarm went off at 6 AM, which was really 5 AM as far as my body was concerned as our clocks went forward last night, I had just under three hours sleep and that was fitful and not deep. I still insisted that I would attend the show. I left. Common sense ruled and I turned round and came back home and went back to bed feeling very sorry for myself.

I am very disappointed that I was unable to attend. I am particularly upset because I really wanted to support the young man whose first breed club appointment this was. I believe this man has talent for judging as is evidenced by the fact that so many of his winners at open shows have gone on to be placed in the puppy and adult groups at the same shows.

It is times like this when I know that the only sensible thing for me to do is accept  that my disease will not allow me to do something. 

Had today just been an ordinary show I don't think I would've got into such a tiz about it but I had agreed to support the judge and I felt really bad for not fulfilling that. I have to say that at the time I made the agreement I did not know that the show was three hours away from me and even when I did find out I pretended it would not matter. It would not have mattered had I had my sleeping drugs.

It still amazes me that there are people that consider me able bodied just because I am not paralysed!  Never mind what I have described above in the way of preparing to just go to a bloody dog show that I have left out the difficulty in getting dressed and the inordinate amount of time it takes! No, no able-bodied person goes through this just to appear normal! (I was about to say how many people do you know who put an overcoat on over their pyjamas to go to the supermarket because they cannot get dressed that day and then I remembered all those photographs I get sent via email about Walmart shoppers!)

Only yesterday I was talking with a friend about driving to Poland  because I would like to visit Warsaw.  I was talking as if I was perfectly able to do this. The days of me being able to drive long distances like that are over. Yet every year I still make plans to drive to cities over 1000 miles away only to  petulantly accept that I am unable to drive that far.  Oh, I can drive that far but in three days not overnight like I used to.  So it would take me three days to drive there,  I would need at least five days there the first two of which would be recovery days, and then I would need another three days at least to drive back. This is unreasonable and although I am not happy I accept that this is unreasonable and so I do not do it.

The most obvious thing that people say to me is well why don't you fly. The simple reason being I have to take far too much stuff with me including my electric wheelchair that flying is completely impractical.

Normally I take sleeping pills the night before the show.  the sleeping pills are not kept in the house, John keeps them in London. No not because he is afraid I will overdose on them. I asked him to keep them for me because it would be too easy for me to take them when I'm having difficult nights which are frequent. My dog shows are extremely important to me and without sleeping pills I would not be able to go to them. To me therefore it is imperative that I only use them for that purpose. It is too tempting to have them at my fingertips. they used to sit in my drugs draw And I only ever used them for dog shows. However, as my disease has progressed and painful disturbed nights have become much more frequent, I found I went to my drawer and got my pills even when I had no dog show the following day. I knew then that I had to not have my drugs at home.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dogs 23 03 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dogs 21 03 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This is the alpaca sweater i am knitting for my self in a simple knit/purl check. I am using two ends of Drops alpaca on 4mm needles. I am using Lantern Moon Ebony Circulars.

This is John's aran sweater. I am using 5mm Lantern Moon Ebony circulars. The yarn is Cascade 200 and the design is my own.

This is another pair of socks for me. I am using Karbonz in 2.25mm size. the yarn is by Wendy and it just caught my eye. I am going to knit this a s a tube sock.

I am pretty sick at the moment and have been since Cruft's back on the 8th. I expected to feel really bad the two days after the show but that feeling didn't lift and I gradually got worse and worse until finally I developed a fever (tho now I think I had one a lot sooner than i realised) and difficulty breathing. I had been taking more and more pain killers because my joints were on fire and I was hurting much more. Anyway, I finally went to the Dr today and I had a temp of 38c and a chest infection for which I now have anti-biotics. I should have gone last week of course but didn't want to make a fuss!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I thought I was okay when I woke up, having slept well. As the hours have passed, I have become aware that I don't feel okay at all. I feel afraid today. What of I am not sure. The future? How my disease is progressing?

The last few weeks have been emotionally charged. The build up to Cruft's which I dreaded attending and then really enjoyed. Mary-Grace did very well too. The recovery from it. Trying to make peace within myself with regard to someone who hurt me deeply. Not sure I can. Yet I hate discord with people. If I were not going to see them again it wouldn't matter I suppose but I am likely to and it is preferable for me that I feel okay about it. I made a move in that direction which seems to have had a positive result but I find my feelings toward them are not resolved. In time they will be. There is a part of me that doesn't want to give the impression I have forgotten and all is well. There will never be trust there. It isn't about dislike or ill feeling. It's about trust. I don't trust them and never will. Can I live with that and still be friendly?

We are still in the process of getting the house sorted out. I think we have come to accept that we will never be clutter free. Given that, there is still stuff to be done. A tonne of rubbish to be removed to the tip. This is when I get frustrated. I can't do any of this on my own. It only gets done during the four days John is here and there is a limit to what he can manage too.

I still struggle with misplaced guilt. Feeling guilty that we are in such a fortunate position now. Enjoying what we have and our financial freedom. The difference is that I know it is misplaced or more to the point, is unnecessary as misplaced suggests I should be feeling guilty about something else. I was brought up to feel guilty. I was programmed, deliberately, to feel guilty. I have come a long long way from those dark days but as I have written and said a hundred times, more probably, the remnants of those days still haunt one. There is no 100% recovery. There is so end point, no destination, only a progression, a growing toward, no arrival. If I think about that, it is really obvious. An end point? A time when growth stops? No more learning? That sounds like stagnation to me. Death even. 

Perhaps I can grow beyond feeling guilt and shame when I am in a dip and just accept it is part of life, part of our learning, part of the process of knowing. I have more or less stopped feeling guilt and shame with regard to my physical problems. Juts the mere fact of being in pain made me feel ashamed and thus I went untreated and unknowing for so many years. Even since my diagnosis back in '04, and my accepting pain medication in 07, I have had strong feelings of both not just about the pain itself about the medications. Guilt because I must have done something to cause this and guilt over using drugs to help me. Shame for being weak and not good enough to overcome this myself. (Guilt is about what we do and shame is about who we are.)

My stomach has settled somewhat since I started to write. I never know what I shall write until I start to write. I note how frequently I express fear, guilt and shame. This is not surprising. All abuse survivors will know these feelings intimately. A moment here to explain that there was a time I did not know these feelings because i had locked them all away. When people spoke to me about them, I had no idea what they meant. In self help groups people would talk about their feelings. Some would show their feelings and I would be horrified and feel such a fraud because I did not feel like that. in fact there were those who indeed thought I was a fraud too because I did not share these feelings. What I did not know, and what these people did not know, was that I was numb. I was so terrified of my feelings, of experiencing what had been done to me, I had disassociated completely. Thus I was able to relate a horror that had been done to me with no emotion. this is the danger of self help groups. there will always be people in them who think they 'know' and they are a danger to the weak and vulnerable, like me. Inevitably they come across someone like me and I am outside their 'knowing' so they dismiss those like me as frauds or 'too sick to help'. I guess this attitude is part of their damage too. I only know that for me, it heaped more damaged upon me and had me barking up the wrong tree for the recovery I was so desperate to achieve.

I received the best compliment I could have received recently. My long time friend, longer even than John, said to me that she did not know anyone, not one person, who had wanted recovery more than i did, who had fought for it harder than I did, and who had succeeded as much as I have. See, she knew me back when I was 20. She has also known many many damaged people throughout her life and so I took her words as the compliment they are. I often wish I wish I could show those who read me, who are still struggling deeply, the frightened very damaged boy i sued to be. i cannot do that. I can only share with you my life today and my memories and my thoughts and I hope I do it honestly enough that it gives hope.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


We have just spent 90 minutes watching a woman called Jeanne Robertson, a 'humourist' from North carolina. She was very funny. Gentle humour without any rude bits at all. I love the accent. I have no problem with rude humour but I really like this woman too. 

I am knackered. I am off to bed. I had a good physio session today. I was a good boy and didn't just swim, I did what the hospital told me to do and did these weird exercises involving my legs and groin which when I was first shown I thought to myself 'are they taking the piss or what? These are really easy. I not a cripple for goodness sake (well actually it was for f*cks sake).' It turns out they knew what they were talking about after all which i suppose since they have medical degrees and I have no education past 15 is not too surprising. These exercises are bloody hard to do and thank goodness I get to do them in the water and not on land cos if they were on land, i'd fall over on the concrete and that would really not be good. Quick thinking, Batman. I suppose a medical degree is useful after all. I have no idea if the physio works or not but it hurts. That either means it is working or that they don't like me. 

Well, early in the morning a man is coming around to fill my hole. I have been meaning to have it filled ever since we moved in here, 14 years ago. Now finally, I found the right man to do it. I had asked Ernie the builder but I guess Ernie the builder didn't care very much for filling my hole as he never did get around to doing it. Well, it has to be done because on windy days the wind comes right through and it is really noisy. It can be quite scary and even the dogs move away from it and turn and stare at it. So finally, my hole is being filled and this should not just stop the wind problem but also prevent the heat escaping too. The coal and then the natural gas fire that used to fill my hole is no longer there, hence the hole. It really isn't necessary for it to be there and when I think about it, 14 years with it unfilled is just,well, unthinkably unthinkable. So tomorrow a man named Howard is going to fill it and we shall leave him to do it in private because of the next paragraph.

I feel like going out tomorrow so we shall. We will our usual exciting trip to John Lewis where the staff know us so well it's a wonder they haven't stuck 'sale' stickers on us. As odd as it may seem, i find it de-stressing to just wheel around the mall and looking at stuff. i look at stuff I am never going to buy. I am always taken aback, every time, at just how big some bras are. Blimey! I had no idea boobs came in that size. I see some very nice hand bags which I ponder upon but decide I like my balls and I really am not going to get rid of them just because I love that orange hand-bag. Women are so lucky with the variety of stuff they 
can wear. 

I am trying to persuade Joh to have swap our 40" for a 46". I have told him that now we have an electric bed, we can have the 40" on the wall opposite the bed. We can watch DVDs in bed and be situated just right to do so. You see, we replaced a very expensive Blu-Ray player for another very expensive Blu-Ray player (both 3D too). We have one very expensive BD player under the settee. I have told him that really is a waste of a very expensive BD player and wouldn't it make more sense to buy another very expensive tv, this 46" one, to put on the wall in the lounge and move the 40" one that is presently there, upstairs to the bedroom where we can then use to watch the very expensive BD player that is going to waste under the settee? Doesn't that make sense to you? It does to me.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


I went to Crufts yesterday. On the Wednesday I was absolutely dreading going and I really thought that I might not. I just could not face the idea of having to put on the show persona that I do in order to make the shows doable.

 Yet after my swim on Thursday morning I came home and within about 10 minutes I had come up with my outfit for the show. This enabled me to contemplate actually attending.

I showed Mary-Grace. It was a very difficult decision even to enter Crufts in the first place. If I did not enter I would have hurt a dear friend and I would have given in to the nasty aspect of the dog came. Yet by entering, if Mary Grace did well, then this nasty element would be thrilled to bits to have something they can bitch about and make themselves feel happier by putting both me and the judge down.

When Mary-Grace one limit bitch I was completely shocked. In fact I did not realise that I had one I thought that the judge had just picked out the first cut. It was the steward who told me that Mary Grace had been placed first. So if you were at the show and you are reading this now you know why my face look the way it did and why I did not have a big grin on my face!

The open bitch winner was absolutely gorgeous and in full bloom and I knew that Mary-Grace would not win the bitch ticket. In fact I was not expecting anything else at all. So when Mrs Cain  came up to me to present Mary-Grace with the reserve bitch ticket I was once again shocked. Of course I was absolutely delighted.

It was an incredibly long day. I think I did not get into the ring until 4 PM and I had been up since 2 AM and at the shows since 6 AM.

It was lovely to meet so many people and have so many people come up and introduce themselves to me because they are friends on Facebook or just because they had heard of me and they wanted to wish me well. It was also a delight to have the owners of one of the boys out of my present litter watch me in the ring and of course see me win.

 I got home about 8 PM in absolutely vile foggy weather. I went to bed soon after and I got up at midday and of course I feel as though I have been run over by a truck. I got through yesterday with much more medication than I would normally take, which is allowed by my doctor because she knows that dog shows are an integral part of my quality-of-life. Today will probably be just an ordinary day as regards the amount of medication.

I have deliberately not named any of the friends that I met some of whom I have not seen for a long time. I will not mention any people by name because I'm bound to leave some out and I do not wish to hurt anybody's feelings.  You know what my memory is like!

Mary-Grace is for me the ideal Lhasa Apso.  She is feminine yet sturdy. She is very well angulated without exaggeration.   She covers the ground effortlessly and with the economy of movement needed in their natural   environment of the Himalayan mountains.  Her skull is moderately narrow rather than the moderately broad that many seem to prefer and her nose is half the  length of her skull. Meaning that her nose is one third of the length from the tip of nose to the occiput.  Now that covers her qualities as a show dog but she surpasses all of that with her most delightful personality. She is incredibly affectionate and she is very smart. She is not the easiest of dogs when it comes to other dogs and she does not back down easily once she decides that she will dominate another! Some puppies she adores and other puppies she does not and we have absolutely no idea what makes the difference! She is very typically weird as all Lhasa Apso are!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


I have the puppies to vaccinate today at 4pm. I am lucky that I have a vet who is a personal friend, Cere Vidal. She is lovely. Dumbo here did not realise that when she left the local practice she had moved to an independent surgery just 20m away. I only found this out when we spent the day together recently and had lunch in the place we had our wedding dinner. So now she is who I go to. She is Spanish. It is one of those occasions I really wish my mum had brought us up bi-lingual. Cere speaks excellent English it just reminds me that i missed out on another language. I have no aptitude for languages as an adult. I've tried.

I fell asleep last night right here in my computer chair. My balance was terrible last night too. It seems okay this morning.

The sun is shining and I have plenty to do today. Nothing I have to do except go to the vet. So I think I shall design and set up DAK8 on the new PC. I have to say that I really quite impressed with W8. I have had no trouble with it. the Samsung PC is easy to use. It is touch screen and mouse controlled. Easy to find stuff.

I am not going to lie and say I feel on top form today. I don't. It is just these days though that the mental work I have done, the positivity, comes into play. In the past days like to day would have been spent miserable and in bed or raiding the fridge. Instead, I accept today is not my best, do what i can do, like play with the PC and knit. Keeping in mind that this will not last and that there are those far worse off.

This isn't mental gymnastics. Nor is it denial or whistling in the dark. it's true. YOU decide what to dwell upon. What you dwell upon tends to grow. So if I dwell on my body and how unfair it is that I have this damn disease the result will be misery and a person not fun to bea around. So instead I dwell upon the truth: I have a wonderful husband, my dogs, good friends, the ability to use my mind, my creativity-I can hand paint yarn when i physically can-I can knit, I can read. i have so many interests and not enough hours each day. (I could dwell upon how I can't do all I want to do). 

So you see, it isn't lying to one's self nor is it a mental game or trickery. It's the truth. you can decide what to dwell upon. the negative of the positive. It isn't what soem New Age guru's cruelly teach people-that they can cure their disease by thought and either overtly or covertly blame people for their diseases. no. This is dealing with what actually is and deciding which of the two choices-negative or positive-we will choose at any given time. Choosing the positive will make your life easier. it won;t make you rich and it won't cure you of all your ills. It will just make you happy despite the crap. (I know a person who always thinks on the negative. She always moans and it is always her so hard done by and nothing is ever her fault, always others. Well, within a year of being diagnosed with the same disease, she is permanently in a wheelchair and totally dependent and still blaming everyone and still moaning. Perhaps a change in attitude would have made no difference to the progression of her disease but it most certainly would have made her and those around her happier.)