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Friday, 21 October 2016

It has not exactly been 'restful'!

Hello!

Foggy is enjoying his well-earned break in Foggy HQ and while he is snoring I thought I'd write this blog to tell you how I have been health-wise to since the last campaign ended.

My 'vertigo' lasted 3 and a half months before it was finally diagnosed as chronic migraines. Which is EXACTLY what happened at the start of my M.E experience. So, after a few weeks of beta-blockers, my symptoms eased and I was able to get back to living my life. However, my body had different plans!

One week after my dizziness stopped, I travelled to Surrey for a much needed catch up/girl's
weekend. I had paced myself to make sure I was fit and well (ha!) for the drive and arrived there excited for the weekend ahead. We had a glass of wine while we were getting ready to go out on the town, ordered a taxi and headed down the stairs. Da da dahhhhhhh, I fell down the last 3 steps and landed on all fours on HARD laminated flooring. My friend, who is a nurse, was concerned and asked if I was ok, I assured her that I was. Purely because it had been so long since my last night out (probably about 9 months), I was determined to go out come hell or high water. At that point, my legs/feet had gone numb and I wasn't in pain. I was wearing heels..... we ventured out to local pubs. My mentality was to grit my teeth, hobble and get on with having a good time. Unfortunately for me, a couple of pubs had wooden floors and my, now very unstable ankles, didn't want to keep me upright. I slipped at least 3 times. As the drinks flowed more and more I started to find my clumsiness funny....I didn't laugh for long!

We ended up dancing in a club at about 11pm. I kept attempting to dance and lost count of the number of times I slipped. Thank goodness for low-level sofas breaking my fall as I toppled backwards! Luckily (?), the alcohol was acting as a kind of anaesthetic and the pain, at that point, wasn't overwhelming. However, one last stop at the bar to buy drinks put an end to the evening's frivolity. Someone had spilled drink on the floor and I slipped AGAIN, this time my, already weakened, ankle was wrenched sideways. My friend realised that I had reached my limit and bundled me outside.

Some of her medical friends saw us sitting outside the club (think '24 hours at A&E' and you can
imagine what we looked like!) and checked my foot over. A consultant friend said he would drive us to A&E to be checked over. So off we went.... 6 hours later.....
I was told I had a badly sprained ankle that would take 6 weeks to heal. However, subsequent consultants have said I chipped 3 pieces of bone off the top of my foot. I am 100% sure that I have internal broken bones but as the treatment would be the same it makes no odds now.

Anyway, I wanted to use this blog to show how M.E affects the healing process. I had my accident at the end of July and am still healing. I saw a physio consultant a month ago and I mentioned that I do M.E advocacy and asked her if me having M.E is the reason healing was taking so long. She said probably, but that there was no specific research to draw on. She said that using common sense and knowing a bit about the condition would lead her to say that it was the reason it was taking so long. Purely because M.E slows everything down and so something that would usually heal in 6 weeks could take up to 3 times longer in an M.E patient. I am currently doing hydrotherapy to try and build my muscle strength and balance but, as I didn't have good balance before the accident, I am not sure how they will gauge my progress!

While all this has been going on I have also been experiencing double vision. Now, this could 'just' be a symptom of M.E. but I went to the opticians to get it checked. they sent me for an emergency eye appointment. After a Saturday afternoon full of eye tests, the consultant said he believed my beta-blockers, which I was taking for my Migraines, were weakening the muscles in my eyes, making focusing my eyes more difficult and slower. He believed that drug sensitivity (a M.E symptom) was the cause.  He said 'what would you rather have? Migraines or very temporary double vision?'. Oooh, I get to choose?! I have decided to come off the beta-blockers as I don't like flooding my body with drugs. So, now it's a case of wait and see. I'll have to decide what action to take if the dizziness/migraines return...if they ever do.

I had planned on taking time out from Foggy to de-stress and sort my own life out but my efforts have been massively limited due to being on crutches for 10 weeks (VERY TIRING!). I still can't drive or walk far. As I type this I have an ice-pack on my foot as walking today has made my foot swell up again.

M.E affects all systems and aspects of bodies and our bodies don't stick to the medical profession's timetable. I think it's also evident that medication for M.E symptoms can lead to other problems that can also be confused with M.E symptoms.

The biggest drawback? I had to wear flat shoes to my 40th birthday party! #badtiming!


Happy birthday to me :)

Love,

Sally xxx

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Clarity

Hi!

I just feel the need to clear up some confusion. Foggy's campaigning finished yesterday. However, his 'Wrap Party', otherwise known as Canada Day was last night. Due to the time difference, photos haven't been received yet. I should get some really good photos of festivities later today.

Foggy's Fund is remaining open until Monday 4th July.

So, if you love the 'Wrap Party' photos and want to donate you are able to do so. Foggy's hard work over the past 5 months can be seen in all of his social media streams (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram - account names are either ME Foggy Dog OR Sally Callow). Please take a look at what he has got up to and if you appreciate his efforts please donate via mefoggydog.org.

I am anticipating more funds to be donated and so I won't know the final total until Monday. I'll let you all know what the grand total is asap.

Thank you so much to the 39 people who donated. Your support is greatly appreciated. The need for research funding is so great Foggy is hoping that the fundraising baton will be picked up by lots more people during his absence.

As I have already said, I am giving myself a complete break from Foggy for a year. I was told by a counsellor yesterday that I need to learn about Pacing....ha!! I know all about Pacing, I'm just not very good at holding my enthusiasm in check! My body has started to react to the additional brain power needed to run this global campaign and so I need to take a step back to take care of myself. That said, I may not be visible on social media but am still contactable by email if you need support, advice or have a Foggy related query. Email me via the website mefoggydog,org OR direct using mefoggydog@gmail.com.

I hope you enjoy looking at Foggy's party photos! I can't wait to see what he got up to!

Take care of yourselves.

Love,

Sally xxxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Ouch

Hi,

Throughout Foggy's life I have made a point of saying I am lucky enough to not suffer from M.E chronic pain. However, things have started to change over the past 3 months. I am currently undergoing tests and physio to try to deal with an extremely painful right arm. RSI, Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis have been ruled out and the physio believes it to be a nerve issue. I know this doesn't 100% mean that it is yet another M.E symptom to deal with but the odds are quite high! Obviously, having Hypermobility Syndrome confuses things even further when added to the mix!

I am writing this blog today because my initial physio assessment yesterday 
was quite amusing. He ran through a list of questions to rule out possibilities. However, I answered every question with 'I have that every day with my M.E so I don't know if this problem is adding to that!'. So then we moved on to 'No, my arm issue does not make that symptom any worse than usual'. A few of
the questions were as follows:


- Do you experience dizziness?
- Do you experience balance issues?
- Do you experience nausea?
- Do you experience blurred vision?....

It was a long list so I won't go through all of it, I'm sure you get the idea!

It struck me that I could have an underlying illness, not connected to M.E. but we (combination of doctors and myself) wouldn't be able to tell as M.E overlaps EVERYTHING! So much health stuff can be found under the umbrella of M.E it is difficult to estimate where M.E stops and something else takes over.

At the moment, my right arm hurts from my hand up to my armpit. Most of the pain is in the crook of my elbow though and so any time I bend my arm - typing on my mobile phone is EXCRUCIATING -  I am in pain. I have decided that once Foggy finishes on Friday I am going to remove social media from my phone. The combination of less mobile use and less laptop work for Foggy will hopefully help the problem. It won't fix it though.

It is slightly worrying that my M.E is changing/getting worse but I am altering my lifestyle to adapt to the changes. My GP has said the best approach is physio and painkillers. I am not keen to start on more medication but sometimes the pain takes my breath away so it's a case of needs must. I am hopeful that a year long break from Foggy will allow my body the chance to settle down and rest properly. My current situation is not helping my severity level either. Being unemployed and actively looking for work is stressful....stress and M.E do not work well together!

Love,

Sally xx

p.s. There are 2 days left! Please donate if you haven't done so already! Donate via mefoggydog.org. Thank you xx

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Plea

Hello,

There are now just 3 days to go until Foggy's Wrap Party (AKA Canada Day).

Foggy is very upset that only around £30 has been raised in the past month (excluding the donation from his Canadian sitters). He has done so much fun sporty stuff in that time in the hope that humans might be inspired to donate towards M.E medical research. He's done Ice Hockey (been interviewed!), watched an American Football game, tried Longboarding and been Cycling. A few photos and videos are below to show you how hard Foggy has been working.

Foggy at the Stanley Cup Playoff Final! Click to watch the short videos.
Longboarding!

*Foggy* Go Penguins!

Foggy loved watching American Football....in Canada
*Foggy* Let's go!

Foggy's PA would like to thank Kathryn, 'D' and Chris for all of their efforts in helping Foggy raise awareness and money for the ME Association. They have exceeded what was anticipated and for that Sally will be eternally grateful xxx Click here to see all of Foggy's Americas photos

Sally knows it is a problem many charities face. Followers/audiences engage with the fun stuff that is done to raise money for a cause but are reluctant to donate. Foggy has DONE sport for the past 6 months (What Foggy has done so far!) and feels his Foggy's Fund should be a little bigger than it is at present. His balance stands at £508 plus gift aid. His tiny Foggy brain doesn't think that number matches the amount of work Team Foggy has put into this campaign. The average cost of an M.E research study is £30,000.....

Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to donate so far, you have helped in the quest for research funding.

This is a plea to everyone who has enjoyed Foggy's exploits - please donate and help to make Foggy's dream of funding research come true. Donate whatever you can afford, in whatever currency you use. This is a global campaign because M.E is a global illness.

Donate via mefoggydog.org

17 million people around the globe say thank you.

Love

Sally xxx


Sunday, 26 June 2016

'Foggy DOES Sport' Photograph Competition!

Hi,

It's that time of the campaign again.

As with 'Foggy's World Tour', I have chosen my favourite photographs for you to choose the best overall winner from. I haven't stuck to one per continent but simply chosen the ones that made me laugh out loud. There have been so many great photos from all over the globe - thank you to all of Foggy's 'sitters' for their efforts for a great cause.
Please take part in the survey below. Simply take a look at the photographs, Choose your favourite and add your vote to the survey. The winning photograph will be announced on July 1st. It's just for fun!

1

2

3
  
4

5

Click to vote for your favourite photograph.

It's not too late to donate. Foggy DOES Sport ends at the end of this week. Please donate via mefoggydog.org. Thank you xx

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Raising Awareness

Hello,

I have been pondering why M.E doesn't have celebrity advocates like other illnesses do. Every charity has ambassadors that do their utmost to raise the profile of the charity at every given opportunity. I remember when I was doing the last campaign I asked the ME Association if we had one, with the hope they could make an appearance at my awareness talk. I was given a few names but there wasn't anyone with a suitably high profile. In the UK, everyone knows that Martine McCutcheon had M.E. She was a soap star/West End actress before M.E hit. She had to take a few years out due to ill health but is now working hard to resurrect her career. I can understand why she doesn't do lots and lots of M.E publicity events. 1. She probably wants to be known as more than 'the actress that had M.E' and 2. It would involve a lot of extra time and energy which, with a new baby, she just won't have.

As I have repeatedly stated in previous blogs. M.E is a common illness. I simply do not believe that an A or B list celeb hasn't either been struck down with the illness OR that a celeb doesn't have a close relationship with an M.E patient. With this being the case, I wish they would come forward and help us to raise M.E's profile globally. Someone with the pulling power equal to Beyonce, Ellen Degeneres or Rhianna would be perfect. So many people follow them during their careers, M.E would be brought to the attention to a huge mass of people.

Shameful confession time. Anytime I hear of a celeb being 'mysteriously unwell' for a split second I wonder if they have M.E and whether it could be a good thing for our cause. Let me be clear, I wouldn't wish M.E on my worse enemy and wouldn't be rubbing my hands with glee if they got an M.E diagnosis. However, I think this will be the only way that we will ever crack the raising awareness problem. Fans care about their idols....we could use that to our advantage. Cynical and horrible I know...sorry. Whenever a celeb has a cancer diagnosis there is a ripple of sympathy and an increase in donations to cancer charities, the same with Parkinson's Disease (Michael J Fox) and Alzheimers Disease (Billy Connolly). We need that.

There have been many unconfirmed rumours about A lists celebs that may or may not have had M.E. Robbie Williams (from Take That for non-UK people) is supposed to have had it when he took a step back from the limelight. He has never confirmed or denied it. M.E has a stigma and so I think it is completely understandable for him to keep it private if he'd had M.E. He is known as an
energetic, globetrotting showman...doesn't really fit with the image of M.E.

Wouldn't it be great if an A list singer held an awareness concert for thousands of people. OK, sufferers wouldn't be able to attend but family and friends could go and show support. Imagine how much money could be raised in one night? If it is good enough for Elton John and the AIDS charities then it is good enough for us!

Foggy being on stage was on his bucket list. I included it in the hope that someone somewhere would hold a concert in his honour to raise funds. I was dreaming, it didn't happen. Foggy is going to be around for years to come though so maybe...just maybe...it will happen one day!

Love

Sally xxx

There are 8 days left of Foggy DOES Sport. Please donate if you haven't done so already. Donate via mefoggydog.org. Thank you xx

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Building a family

Hi, 

This blog will hopefully address the issue of M.E sufferers bearing children. Let me begin by saying that I consider myself to be exceptionally lucky; I have never had a maternal bone in my body and so having M.E is not a deciding factor in whether I have children or not. I have never cooed over a baby in my life and parenthood is not something I have ever aspired to. However, I think it is a sensitive topic that needs to be addressed. So, let me pretend that I have the desire to have 2.4 children and a 'complete family unit'.

I know there are people that are diagnosed with M.E and still go on to have the children they yearn for with mixed results. Some go through pregnancy problem free, others don't. However, I would make the conscious choice to not have them. Because of the lack of research, there are too many ifs, buts and maybes about what a future life with children would involve. I have 3 strong opinions:


1. I am not prepared to take the risk that my body would not cope with physical changes that occur during pregnancy or prepared to keep my fingers crossed that my symptoms severity would not worsen. Why have children if the process of giving birth leaves you unable to care for them as you would like to? My body reacts badly to hormonal changes during my time of the month. Hormonal fluctuations cause every single symptom to flare. Pregnancy is the ultimate hormonal shift, I am guessing that my body would react to it 10 times worse than it does every month.

2. I barely have enough energy to look after myself and live my own life. Constant demands on my time would worsen my M.E experience. Some may consider that to be selfish, that is why I do not want to put myself into that situation. 

3.IF and I mean IF, M.E is hereditary, I would not want to take the risk of passing this absolutely life destroying illness on to those who I love the most.

I do feel sad that my parents will not get any grandchildren from me but they accept my decision and acknowledge my reasons for remaining childless. Maybe that is why I have such a strong bond with Patch...he is my 'baby' and fills any emotional needs that I have.

Love,

Sally
xx