Thursday, 31 July 2014

Lucky

Happy anniversary to my amazing superhero husband - this poem only touches the surface of how awesome you have been during my illness. Here's hoping we have many more much healthier years together. 


Lucky

It's been three years since I became
Entitled to use your last name,
But no-one knew how life would change
So soon after the vows we made.
In sickness and in health we said,
But neither of us could have known
I'd have to spend my life in bed:
A prisoner in my own home.

Without you in my life
I wouldn't be here,
That is clear.
If I were not your wife
I would be lost,
I'd drown in fear.
You have cared for me
and shared with me
More than I thought
I'd ever need.

I could not have made it through
Without support and love from you.
So for those last three years I say
My thanks for each and every day.
For you have never once complained,
never grumbled, never moaned.
You never made me feel a burden,
Never let me feel alone.
You never once held me to blame,
Just dried my tears and eased my pain.
You made me laugh time and again
To keep me smiling through each day.

I'm proud to have you by my side.
You've proved you're worth your weight in gold.
I love you so much, Mr Green -
The truest love I've ever known.



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Taste of Honey

Something momentous happened on Saturday night.

I left the house, was driven approximately three miles across town and spent an hour in the company of my friends before being driven back. I sat in someone else's house and I drank a glass of Prosecco and for a whole hour I felt almost normal. That is, normal aside from the blurred vision, the sweating buckets and feeling like I was in a dream but then that's pretty standard these days.
Me and the mister socialising together!
It may not sound like much to Healthies, but to me, my loved ones and my fellow ME sufferers, it was epic. Let me put this into perspective for you. I have been ill for almost three years. I have not been able to work for that amount of time. For the last year I have been housebound apart from the occasional trip to hospital or the doctors for yet another pointless blood test. At my worst, only a few months ago (although it seems like a lifetime) I could not manage to watch TV, listen to music, talk on the phone, cope with sunlight, or pretty much do anything. On the rare occasions I was well enough for visitors, I could manage about twenty minutes before my symptoms became too painful and even then I would spent at least a day in agony recovering from the exertion. I had to spend 20 hours a day in bed, either resting or asleep in complete silence, with the blinds closed or my eyes covered. As a result of this, until Saturday night, I had not seen some of my friends for well over a year. I had not seen my best friend Claire's son since he was two (he's almost four now) and I had not been to her house for just as long. In fact, the last time I went to any house other than my own was in September. That's 10 months ago. Almost a year. 

So yes, momentous. Stupendous even. Absolutely amazing. A little scary too if I'm honest. And like all things in my life now, it had to be meticulously planned to the last detail to maximise what little energy I have and minimise the stress to both my brain and my body. I knew the plan was to order a takeaway but that was a non-starter for me. I'm avoiding so many things in my diet that my options for takeaways are extremely limited plus realistically, the amount of time it would take to choose a dish, order it, wait for it to arrive, then eat it would way exceed the hour I'd planned for my first trip out of the house. This meant I had to get my dinner sorted beforehand. It also meant I had a small window of opportunity for my visit to make sure I didn't interfere with my husband's takeaway because he would have to bring me home and get back to Claire's house before their food arrived. According to plan, my husband cooked my food and I ate it early enough to allow me an hour to rest before going out. In the end, I was too excited to rest well. The thought of being able to go out and socialise, even if only for an hour, was too much! The only downside was the fact that I would be arriving after Wilf's bedtime and so wouldn't get to see him. That would have to wait til next time. 

Me and my  bezzie mate Claire.
At ten to eight, we left. In order to cope with the car journey, I wore my ear defenders and sunglasses, set the passenger seat back so I could lie as flat as possible and I spent the journey breathing deeply with my eyes closed, trying to remain as calm as possible. Anything to preserve my precious energy and allow me a few more minutes with my friends. My husband dropped me off at the door whilst he went to park and I did something I haven't done in such a very long time. I rang a doorbell. Such a small and simple thing - the sort of thing you do all the time without thinking, but to me, it was like a rite of passage. Claire answered the door in record time and she looked as excited and dazed as me. We laughed and hugged in shared disbelief. I had made it!

The Wilfmeister. He likes trains.

An hour doesn't seem like a long time but what an hour it was. It was a celebration for many reasons. Between those of us gathered there on Saturday, we had a birthday, a house move, a pregnancy, then me with my first taste of freedom. I was so overjoyed to have made it out, to be part of my friends' lives again. The hardest aspect of chronic illness is missing the big events - the weddings, birthdays etc. How nice of my friends to combine it all into the one short hour I was able to be with them. I jest of course. It was all coincidental but to me it felt serendipitous. The planets had aligned to make my outing as joyful and eventful as possible. I even got to see little Wilf. He couldn't sleep and came down to say hello for a bit. I held it together at the time, as I was in too much of a whirl of excitement, but as I write this I am welling up. I hate the fact that I have missed out on half his life and that he probably didn't quite remember who I was. I know it can't be helped but these are the things that hurt the most, losing the moments that can never be relived. 

All in all, it's been emotional for me, processing all the events of that hour. Tears of joy and relief alongside the sadness mixed with hope at what I might be able to achieve as I slowly recover. The outpouring of love and support from my fellow Twitter spoonies has also filled my heart to bursting. It was like having my own team of cheerleaders willing me on to success, celebrating every step I made towards achieving my goal. I am already planning my next social engagement and can't wait for more adventures. My tiny taste of freedom has left me eager for more. I don't even mind the inevitable payback. My whole body aches, my head hurts, my vision is blurred and noise sensitivity has returned to make every whisper seem like a shout but I don't care. I know now I just have to rest and stay calm until my body recovers. As always, my wonderful Twitter friends are there to help me through the rough patches and it may take a day, it may take more but it will pass. I will smile through the pain because I did it. I did it and it was so, so worth it.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mrs Crimble's Macaroons


 

The food of the gods.



 I have been a huge fan of Mrs Crimble's chocolate macaroons for years. It's only since discovering my wheat intolerance that the penny dropped and I realised they were gluten free. Hurrah! They are absolutely delicious. Crusty on the outside, moist and chewy coconut on the inside, and covered in lovely dark chocolate that goes all melty on your fingers. 

Unlike the macaroons I remember eating at my Granny's when I were a lass, they don't have rice paper on the bottom. That's because chocolate always trumps rice paper, at least it does in my opinion and a thick layer of dark chocolate is much better even if it is a fair bit messier. The drawback here is that my husband (who doesn't have a wheat intolerance) loves them as much as me. I keep telling him to keep his hands off my GF Crimbles but it never works.

Mrs Crimble's make lots of other GF products. You can find details of these and where to buy them, as well as place orders online, at their website www.mrscrimbles.com. The website has its own blog and a section for GF recipes so is definitely worth checking out.

You can also find @mrscrimbles on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Batch #5 Bread

I'm starting off locally with my first Gluten Free goodie. A few weeks ago I discovered Batch #5, a new company based in Bath that make lots of delicious treats and supply them to various local outlets. As luck would have it, one of these outlets happens to be near to my house so my husband was sent there one Saturday with instructions to get me ANYTHING!

Sliced Burly Brown Loaf

One of the items he bought for me was this beautiful thing - their Burly Brown Loaf. It comes both unsliced or sliced and is utterly delicious. I've had both and the only difference is that the sliced doesn't stay quite as fresh for as long as the unsliced, which is perfectly understandable from a sciencey perspective.

Two perfectly sliced bits of bread from my
unsliced loaf. Unheard of!

The loaf itself is, like all GF bread I have sampled so far, quite small in size and fairly dense in texture. Normally with mass-produced GF loaves this means the bread is heavy and dry but this was not the case for my lovely burly loaf. It was light, squidgy and fabulous! My usual tip to get round dry bread is to toast it but for the first time since I found out about my wheat intolerance, I was able to make a sandwich with fresh, untoasted bread. It was epic. No, really! In fact, the denseness turned out to be another plus point as it meant I was able to slice the loaf easily. No mutant wedge-shaped slices or piles of crumbs for me!

I could find no negatives to this product. it was equally delicious after a go in the toaster and a slathering of butter and marmite. Even the smallness of the loaf wasn't an issue, merely a good excuse to eat two rounds. All in all it's a huge thumbs up from me.   

You can find @Batch5Bakery on Twitter or visit their website www.batch5.co.uk for details of their products and where to buy them.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

We Share the Sky

Written late last night whilst thinking of all my virtual friends. I hope that one day I will be well enough to meet you all, as your support and love is invaluable. Until then, I will think of you all under the same sky as me, with the same stars shining down upon us.



We share the sky

We share the same sky

And look upon the same stars.

We are united, you and I, 

Forget how far apart we are.

We see the same,

We feel the same, 

Cut us and we bleed the same.

No matter we rule separate spheres,

The stars still shine and crush our fears

And one day, should our paths align

Together we will watch them shine.


© Charlotte Green

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Going Gluten Free

My pain levels have reduced dramatically since I cut wheat from my diet. The few occasions where I have accidentally had something with gluten in have left me feeling terrible almost immediately after eating. It's quite a task working out what I can and can't eat. Some 'Gluten Free' products still contain small amounts of wheat which is fine for coeliacs but not for people like me with a wheat intolerance. There are also plenty of products not marketed as Gluten Free that supposedly don't contain wheat whereas others have wheat hidden in the guise of malt, barley, malt vinegar or even in ingredients you wouldn't expect to find wheat, like Soy Sauce. There has been a lot of trial and error involved in this process and it's an ongoing experiment to find things I can eat that taste nice and won't make me feel rubbish. I thought I would share my findings here so you lot can join me on my voyage through the wheat-free world of culinary delights!

I'll be posting photos, reviewing quality and taste etc so keep an eye on my 'Gluten Free Goodies' page as all GF posts are linked to automatically show up there to save you trawling through all my other nonsense. Aren't I kind? A lot of the food will be ready-made as I'm not well enough yet for making more than a sandwich. I'm also not the most inspiring chef at the best of times so if it's recipes you're after then this probably isn't the blog for you. Yet. Who knows - as my health improves, so too might my cooking skills.

So........ watch this space as I share my experiences as often as my limited energy allows!