277 Days to Antarctica - "Live It Up" Mental As Anything



Approximately 10minutes reading time


“We delight in the beauty of the Butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou


 I heard "Live It Up" on my drive home a little earlier and I remembered how much I love Australian Music. Listening to Greedy Smith singing this song made me realise that my sadness is lifting. Last week my sister told my brother-in-law that I looked broken. That is how I felt, although not completely. My friend came to see me and said that I looked great but sad. Another friend said "it's not your normal face". Another friend said that I looked tired. "Hey there you with the sad face, come up to my place and live it up" sang Greedy through the radio. That is who I have been lately but not who I am. I have been living it up although it might be time to turn the dial up higher again so that I do not stagnate. Thank you Mental As Anything. I remembered meeting Reg Mombassa, also of MAMBO fame at one of his Art Exhibitions at The National Trust (NSW) S.H. Erwin Gallery. I like his art. It was back when I was volunteering with The National Trust. I love Exhibitions, Galleries and Museums. I always seek them out wherever I am in the world. It is always a surprise, a joy and a delight.

Some good things happened this week. I went to see my Respiratory Specialist on Thursday and had my Lung Function Tests, my lungs are great. Also got good news about my liver function, it has improved and is back to normal. What a relief. It turns out the reason that I have been feeling so terrible the last couple of weeks was probably the flu shot that I had two Friday's ago. It was good to know that the flu shot was the cause of my malaise. I forgot about it until I asked my specialist about whether or not I am best to have or not to have the Covid-19 vaccine. The unanimous verdict was that due to my co-morbidities (how awful) being my Diabetes as my ANCA Vasculitis is in remission, I am best to have the vaccine. They said that I would qualify for the Pfizer because of my age. I am not convinced that I want to take that risk yet. There was a 49 year old woman on the Central Coast who had the vaccine, was type 1 Diabetic and died last week but the results were inconclusive as to whether the vaccine killed her. I will take my chances with Covid-19 over the vaccine. This is my informed decision. Anyway, I have rather bad bruises and a large lump on my arm from the Flu Vaccine but I had forgotten about it and never considered that it was making me unwell. Apparently the fact that I had been unwell was a good sign and that the flu vaccine is working. No problems. I don't need to see my Respiratory Specialist for six months, yippeee! Much as I like my Specialist and his Teams. I am returning in less than two months for my next benralizumab shot and he will come to see me and make sure that I am okay.

On Tuesday evening I got a call from my Rheumatologist. This is never a good sign when a doctor or specialist calls you out of the blue. I had taken my six weekly blood tests the previous Thursday, after having my Flu Vaccine the Friday before, so I knew that my specialist was calling about my blood tests. I was right. He told me that my liver function was now problematic and was a concern but not yet dangerous or too serious. He asked me if I had taken any new medications, which I have not. I had forgotten about the flu shot.The Methotrexate has been wreaking havoc with my hormones adding to my emotional tsunami and pushing me into what has felt like an emotional black hole. Anyway I was told that my Liver Function was compromised, potentially by the drugs that I was currently forced to take as part of my treatment. This had happened several times since my first hospitalization with the rare, smoke-induced double pneumonia last January. I had new blood tests on Thursday before my specialist appointment, as per my Rheumatologists request. The results were ready when I saw my Respiratory Specialist. My liver function has improved. I was thrilled. My compromised liver function was also contributing to how terrible I had been feeling over the last few weeks. This was great news for me. My Rheumatologist is calling me to discuss my results and how we proceed with my treatment, on Tuesday morning on a Telehealth call.

I cannot wait to come off these drugs. I would rather deal with any potential relapse of the ANCA Vasculitis if and when it arises. I don't want to stay on the drugs permanently as a safeguard against potential relapse. I never had Vasculitis before and I don't expect it to return. The hell that happened to me and the traumas that I have suffered were extenuating circumstances that had caused and created 'the perfect storm'. As soon as I am strong enough and have recovered, I will stop the drugs, except the benralizumab. Hopefully by the end of 2021 I will only be on the benralizumab but I want to stop that as well, possibly in another year, depending upon how strong I am and what happens to me.

Another week was wasted by the builders as I waited for my final electrical plan. I sent emails to two separate parties for four days and only on Thursday when I was in hospital and unable to action anything did I receive any replies. I have sent in the final corrections, Friday but the lady can't action them until Tuesday. The frustration is too much. As soon as this document is signed off, my house will finally go into the construction phase. I have decided that if my house isn't ready and I face homelessness, I will move in anyway. I have seen this done on Grand Designs. I love Grand Designs and have been watching it forever. I am a huge Kevin McCloud fan, I think he's great; funny, talented and his honesty is always refreshing. I have introduced my nephews and my niece to this show and they all love it as well. I love the creativity, courage and conviction of the people they feature on the show. I have always found it inspiring. I am not a fan of the Australian and New Zealand shows.

On Friday I went to see my fabulous Physiotherapist. I have been having increased nerve pain in my right arm and shoulder. My neck and shoulder muscles on both sides, have been knotted up and causing agony, resulting in a Migraine and terrible pain. My bursitis started flaring up again. I go on and don't allow any of these things to stop me. The massage helped tremendously and I must return on Monday, tomorrow to hopefully alleviate the pain. I continue with all my exercises. Everyone can see the improvement in my hands. There is still such a long way to go. I know that I will achieve my goals.

I have accepted that applying for Survivor was a dream that can no longer be realised because of my Type 1 diabetes. I had originally applied for the Pilot Episode of Survivor in the late 1990's and was interviewed at work in the lounge by Mark Burnett, the creator of Survivor. Back then I had no type 1 diabetes. I believe that the diabetes was triggered by a Walking Pneumonia and Whooping Cough that I had previously caught. In ICU the Doctors were telling each other, look at her, she's fit, strong and healthy. This is who I am and how I will remain. I had Walking Pneumonia several times over the years. Back in about 2006, before I was diabetic as I was diagnosed DKA in October 2007 with a blood sugar of 47.9 and am not supposed to be alive. This a tale for another time and book, it is a story better than fiction. I had mostly completed my current Survivor application a few weeks ago at the end of March, Christian non-Orthodox Easter. I knew that it would be incredibly hard and painful for me to be on Survivor but that I could survive it and win a million dollars. The million dollar prize would make it worthwhile. I am unbelievably tough both  mentally and emotionally as well as physically. I always compensate for lack of physical strength with brain power; brain over brawn. Anyway I'm automatically disqualified as a type 1 Diabetic. I was so disappointed, sad and angry upon discovering this fact. I completed "The Oxfam Trailwalker" back in about 2006 with my team. I had walking pneumonia and had been unable to train but had everything I needed to complete the hike through (100) one hundred kilometres of Bush through the National Park. I had been a Brownie as a child and our Motto was “Be Prepared” and so I am, always. My teammates were all super competitive and had trained for weeks. They all suffered injuries, all of them, every one and each pulled out at or before the fifty kilometre mark. I continued and completed (50) fifty kilometres without injury but did not want to continue walking in the dark on my own, so I too pulled out of the trek. We raised a substantial sum of money. Ultimately this is all that mattered.

Anyway on our bushwalk on Easter Day with friends I realised that I have become soft and am not as tough as I once had been and I did not fancy walking barefoot and almost naked in the jungle. I don't want to catch a disease that is avoidable. I hadn't exercised for two months and the walk was grueling for me so my hard-core adventure days are no more. There are still limitless challenging adventures for me to undertake and complete. Antarctica is one of these adventures. It's a different kind of hard-core. Schrodie missed a jump over a ravine that day, I don't know how as jumping is one of his Superpowers. I screamed, I thought he'd broken his shoulder as he fell and smashed into the boulder below with all his body weight behind him. He stopped, reassessed the situation and made the jump, waiting for me at the top, running around excitedly wagging his tail. I made it more easily, but not much more, with my advantage of longer legs. 

When I was out with my friend last week, we were talking and were propositioned by twenty something men. This was unexpected and hilarious. We ignored them. In no way is this of interest to me, in any of my parallel lives. If I were a different kind of woman I am sure that I'd have jumped at the chance, I am not that kind of woman. Over the years many young/younger men have pursued me and some have even managed to involve me in their lives in some way or other. I am not a cougar. I actually keep away as it makes me uncomfortable. I have now learned that they are not worth the risk. Luckily there are hot, smart, funny, interesting men everywhere.

Last night I went to watch my nephew in his first theatre production. It was a rather swanky affair. It was the first time I had been to an event like this since the bushfire. My struggle was with what to wear that was appropriate. Before I lost it, my extensive wardrobe was filled with all manner of beautiful clothes and accessories, shoes and boots of all kinds. My lifestyle was such that I had clothes for any event, party that might arise as they often did for me. Now, I had some good pieces that I had purchased last February and March, after my release from hospital. I didn't have anything that I really wanted to wear to the theatre but I did manage an appropriate ensemble that would also keep me warm. The experience of feeling like this about what to wear was not something that I had experienced since I was a teenager but even then I had options. I didn't like this experience or the way it made me feel, which was mostly sad and uncomfortable. Anyway it worked out and that is all that matters. The focus of the event and the evening was the theatre production. The boys, particularly my nephew were wonderful. The play of Charlie Pilgrim was great. The light show, the set, the costumes, the acting were really accomplished and splendid. I gave them a standing ovation, they deserved it for a wonderful, successful, fun production. The rest of the packed audience agreed. I attended with my entire family, as everyone was in town and we all had tremendous fun, the children as well, which is always very telling. I look forward to the next production and attending more events, not necessarily fancy. Again to "live it up" the way I used to and the way that I want to once again. I am happy going out for a meal with family, friends or a special man. The simple things are often the best. It is the company that matters to me most. The fun matters as well.

Johnny, my guitar and I are enjoying getting to know each other. My playing has improved. My hands and fingers are improving. I really enjoy my guitar lessons and practicing with Johnny.

My course work is feeling tedious as I don't really have the time to enjoy it. I'm glad that there are only two weeks left of this course. I've learned a few things which was my goal. I am doing well and am happy. There is so much to do every day and this workload will only increase. I am glad that I am feeling better and stronger once again. 

I'm making a huge pot of delicious lentil soup today. I love lentils, they are one of my favourite things to eat. They are easy to cook, healthy and nutritious, without any fat in the meal, and best of all, they are very tasty. It will be a hearty, warming meal today. Winter is upon us as in "Game of Thrones", Winter is coming. Actually in my case it arrived in late 2019. Lentils and legumes, pulses are cheap as chips to buy and make a meal. I don't eat them when I am out as they are usually poorly prepared and give me a stomach ache. There is a proper way to prepare them, all pulses and legumes to avoid indigestion and discomfort, pain after a meal. My lentil soup is almost ready.

I hope you have a great week. Take care, stay safe, have fun. Until next time.

Feel free to let me know if there's anything specific you would like to know about or leave a comment. 


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