Very Busy Week Last Week! Went back to the gym, had 2 hospital appointments (Neurology at Queens & my year follow up from rehab at RNOH) and went on a date day to Thorpe Park and discovered their Ride Access Pass. I also went shopping with my beautiful friend Eva (check out her amazing fashion blog here) and did a mini haul for you even though I definitely wasn’t meant to be buying anything!
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.
Change usually ends up being a positive thing, after all, I always say that everything happens for a reason. But as I started talking about the last 12 months of my life in my year follow up appointment from the RNOH pain management rehab programme, the pain of the great and sudden change of the last few months hit me like a double-decker bus.
I don’t know why this wave of emotion was so unexpected. If you’re anything like me, change will mostly fill you with fear. Some of this fear is reasonable, but mostly it’s proven to be totally pointless. For example, I was terrified to go back to university after having been away from it for almost 2 years, living & working with new people who had no idea about my conditions. Of course, my pal anxiety was proven completely wrong and I’ve had 2 of the best years of my life with the very people who terrified me before I’d even met them. So why now, as I have to reflect on some of the more difficult stuff from the last year, does it bring back the same dread about what’s to come?
Plus this isn’t even the first time this week I’ve broken down in tears to a health professional I’ve never met before. On Wednesday, I went to a Neurology Clinic only to have the Occupational Therapist tell me how high my pain and anxiety levels were from the forms they’d given me to fill in. She was lovely and has booked me in to see her in a few months. I wasn’t worried about that, thinking I might get some problem-solving help from today’s appointment, but that wasn’t the case, and now I wish these appointments were sooner.
The realisation that I’m not going back to Norwich has hit me hard. I’d finally built up a beautiful safe, supportive environment which I called home and suddenly it’s all gone. With what’s felt like barely anytime to process that strange sense of loss. Of course, my friends are still amazing, but it’s so much harder when they are dotted around the country and the world. So I think that being discharged from rehab today was another blow to my ongoing support, even if the door isn’t firmly closed.
So now I’m on my own to find the changes I need for my health and for myself. I have to make change, within the change. A messy situation. Making change is fairly easy, especially when I was in rehab. For 3 weeks, away from work, in a nice hotel with maids and cooks and a team of health professionals, it’s quite easy to focus on all the things you can do to manage your pain. This is not to say that the programme was easy; I had my fair share of flares but at least you didn’t have to think about writing an essay or cooking dinner afterward. So the first 3 steps of change are achieved pretty quickly: Contemplation (i.e ‘I think I’ll take up running’), Preparation (i.e Planning on a day and time to run) and Action (going for a run).
It’s maintaining change (which feels like an oxymoron to me) that’s difficult. I’ve had so many lapses in the positive changes I made; mostly through stress and the competing demands of life in the ‘real world’. I kept my gym and eating goals up for a good month or so then it was back to uni and a very stressful first semester of third year and, BAM, it was suddenly February before I managed to get back on the wagon. Chest infections, flare-ups and Easter break and, before I knew it, another 2 months out of the gym. 6 more weeks of my amazing class in Norwich and then it’s another 2 months which have disappeared in a blur and I’m back home, having barely unpacked, with a much smaller support system, starting from scratch again. I spent last night in screaming agony as the muscles in my legs are confused by a few supported squats which my old trainer would be so disappointed in. But this is where we have to start again. You can’t go in expecting to be right back where you were, you have to go back to baselines and not get frustrated at what we perceive as backwards steps. Maintaining change takes motivation, whether that’s through goals or rewards or the support from/ accountability to friends, family and followers. Having set goals on my new gym app and getting my boyfriend to take me to the gym on the way to work means I can’t get away with staying in bed. It’s not easy to make change but we’ve done it before, so we know that, even if it takes times, we can do it again.
And having finally calmed down after the neverending waterfall of tears (mostly because I’d called my mum), I realised that although I might not have achieved the goals I’d set 3 weeks before a major crisis point in my degree, I have made progress. And I strive for progress, not perfection. I’ve recognised things earlier and taken a back seat when I can. I’m pacing better, exercising much more and trying to communicate better, educate, advocate and be assertive. So, the moral of my story is, It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and scared when things are changing around you, but you’ve also probably made way more positive change than you think.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world
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Progress Not Perfection Tank Top from JustStrong.com Use Code JENNIPETT10 for 10% off.
So, It’s been a while! But now I’m home from uni I want to go back to the roots of this blog and post more regularly. I will still be uploading weekly vlogs on my Youtube channel but I want to make more videos, more Instagram content and try and put something out on the blog every week whether that’s a recipe or a simple Friday thoughts. I’ve got a couple of ideas in the pipeline but I’d love to know what kind of content you’d like to see going forward be it about Chronic Illness, Gluten Free Vegan Food or life in general please let me know in the comments.
Anyway, this is what you came here for:
Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free Strawberry & Banana Pancakes
Makes 15 American style pancakes
Allergens: Cashew Nuts, Strawberry
You will need:
If you prefer crepe style pancakes use 50g less flour and no bicarbonate of soda.
Using a ladle isn’t necessary but it will help you easily create the same size pancakes for the perfect stack.
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Sorry, It’s been a while since I last stretched my blogging muscles but I wanted to tell you all about this new posture shirt which I was kindly gifted by Active Posture for the Purposes of Review.
Their clothing is the only posture correcting clothing which is registered by the FDA and claims to reduce neck, back and shoulder pain, stimulate muscles and improve blood flow. It works on similar technology to KT tape which I love but it very difficult to put on yourself and often causes irritation for those in the EDS community so I was very excited to try it.
I had a slight sizing issue to start with. You are sized based on your weight and chest size but since I’ve always been a lot heavier than my frame suggests it wasn’t quite right. I ordered a medium and it felt too roomy. It wasn’t sitting flat and after wearing it for an hour or so (the time it takes to test it out) I wasn’t feeling anything. So I returned it and got a small which was a very simple process.
I ordered the zipper version. This is recommended for anyone with shoulder injuries as it is easier to put on and I think for anyone with EDS that is prone to shoulder dislocations or subluxations it’s the only option. I was a little gutted about the colour range for the zipper option versus the normal and, for reasons I’ll talk about later, I would choose the standard option if my shoulders had allowed me the choice.
I put it to the test at the gym, whilst away on an activity weekend for my boyfriend’s birthday and whilst at home. You can watch my video review to see the shirt in action.
I like to get bad things out the way so I’ll start with the not so positive parts:
Overall, I’m really surprised and impressed with the shirt and how it’s performing and I’m sure I’ll keep you posted in my vlogs with how it might be improving my posture long term. They also have a range of bras and leggings which I’d definitely be interested in trying in the future.
Please also check out my video review for some more info and to see the shirt in action and feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
Active posture have also been kind enough to give all of you 10% off using discount code Jenni10 if you’d like to give the shirt or any of their other products a try for yourself.
Head over to my Youtube Channel to catch up on my weekly vlogs including my 3 week pain management rehabilitation programme under RNOH at Stanmore. I will be putting together a video about everything I learned there very soon so make sure you’re subscribed so you get the updates first.
Also, if you’ve ever wondered what a gluten, lactose and refined sugar intolerant vegetarian actually eats check out my new post over on Chronic Illness Bloggers here!
Sorry I’ve been so quiet on here everyone. In the new year I launched a new vlog series for 2018 called Chronic Illness Weekly following me and my chronic illnesses, EDS & POTS. Make sure to head to my youtube channel to check out all the other videos you’ve been missing.