Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Vogue Magazine

Vogue Magazine’s Irresponisble Story on a Child’s Weight Loss Diet (7 years old)

     By Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD
Unbelievable. Disturbing. The April issue of Vogue magazine prominently features a cover story about a mother who puts her 7-year old child on a weight loss diet, triggered by the pediatrician classifying her as obese.
The mother acknowledges her own disordered eating issues, with 30 years of dieting, with self-described “dabbling with the occasional laxative or emetic”. She even admits, “I like that the word [obesity], carries a scary diagnostic tone.” And to fight this scary battle, the mother rigidly policed every morsel of food that enters her daughter’s mouth. For example:
  • When discovering that her daughter ate a high calorie lunch at school, the mother “reproachfully denies her dinner”.
  •  In the case of social settings, “I often derided her for not refusing an inappropriate snack”
  • “I dressed down the Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance…” (of the caloric content of a kids hot chocolate).
      Let me be clear, my criticism is aimed at Vogue magazine’s irresponsibility of publishing such an article. (This is also why I am not using the names of the mother and daughter provided in the story). Not a single expert or health authority was quoted as cautionary source, even though the mother expresses her doubt, worrying at one point, that she might be stunting her daughter’s growth or metabolism. The research is quite clear on this matter:
  • A large 3-year study on nearly 2,000 adolescents found that dieting is the most important predictor of new eating disorders (Patton et al 1999).
  • Eating disorders are deadly.
      Furthermore, dieting appears to be causally linked to both obesity and eating disorders (Haines & Neumark-Sztainer 2006). Dieting is associated with increased food preoccupation, binge eating, and eating in the absence of hunger. A recent study on 2,000 sets of twins ages 16-25, found that dieting itself, independent of genetics, is significantly associated with accelerated weight gain. Furthermore, the risk of becoming overweight increased with each dieting episode (Pietilaineet al, 2011). Similar results were found in a study on nearly 17,000 kids school-age kids, which found that dieting, itself, was a significant predictor of weight gain (Field et al 2003). The risk of binge eating increased 7-12-fold in these young dieters.
      It’s beyond ironic that a fashion magazine would publish a child’s weight loss story in the name of health, when in actuality, they describe how to increase the risk of getting an eating disorder—for which there is no doubt a direct cause of death. Vogue’s ‘war on obesity’ as described by a mother-in-the-trenches, has created a dieting causality for a child, whose photo and story is on public display. The concluding paragraph, the mother reports, “When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes.”
      With the ancient practice of Chinese foot binding, women really believed that if they didn't raise daughters with tiny feet, they wouldn't marry into the right family and they would have less status. Many of those girls were in extreme pain from the binding process, and 10% of them died. Today, we have modern day version—pursuit of weight loss, no matter the age, no matter the futility, no matter the danger.
Outraged? Want to take action?  Let Vogue magazine know how you feel about this article:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Happy memories and fun times...

In October 2011, we received the very sad news that Amberfield School would be closing - this is where I spent two exceptionally happy years. It was a very small, happy and fun-filled place. We all felt very shocked and lost at the thought that this wonderful school would no longer exist.

Someone has just alerted me to this YouTube video - showing some of the fun and mischief that occurred. Although I do have video footage of my year group's antics - I have not got the technical capabilities to put it on You Tube - this video is about 8 years old from some girls who left before I had even arrived!

The Amberfield community united to do all it could to keep the doors open but sadly nothing could be done - I am not sure whether there are still plans in the pipe line for the opening of a new school. It is the most beautiful building surrounded by delightful Suffolk countryside. 

I will never forget the motto - Valens sed Clemens - Strong But Gentle. It sums me up perfectly - and every other girl that walked through its doors. Notable past pupils include the artist Maggi Hambling and also Lady Madeline Lloyd-Webber (pictured below) - married to the world famous composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber

No amount of tweets or emails from me would persuade the Lloyd-Webber's to part with a small segment of their more than £700 million fortune which would certainly have helped save the school. Someone suggested they open a music academy?! 

I still often think about this magical place which touched so many people. The bank took the school away but it can never take away the fond memories and the many friendships that came from it. 

Lilah Clothing

I have just come across Lilah Clothing and I absolutely love it!

The Indian Prints are my favourite. 

And read more in this article too


Please sign this...

Please sign this important petition to help improve Road Safety and help SAVE LIVES -

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Miranda and Sport Relief

Last year - Miranda Hart made me absolutely scream with laughter for Sport Relief when she danced and rapped with JLS...

Part 1:

Part 2:

THIS YEAR she was even more hilarious causing havoc among VIPs playing tennis at the Royal Albert Hall

She made a poignant and emotional visit to Africa and cheered us up as she danced with David Walliams in her swim wear:

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Bike ride...

I have just been for the most beautiful bike ride around Richmond Park. I was within touching distance of lots of deer (definitely spotted Bambi in there somewhere) and I went wizzing past the Royal Ballet School which looks magnificent - I went about 5 miles in total.

I probably looked a bit like my other hero Miranda Hart in Call the Midwife - slightly wobbly and off balance and most definitely also out of control! I very nearly fell off because an ambulance drove up behind me and put its siren on - which I thought was very mean! I enjoyed biking around - it reminded me of happy Oxford days when we biked everywhere. So nice to get out of university for just an hour.

No sightings of Fenton - I am always on the look out!

The Legend that is Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax - one of my heros - features in the Daily Mail - I highly recommend you read it: 

Such a great idea...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Royalty in Ipswich...

I couldn't believe it when I found out that The Duchess of Cambridge went to Ipswich today - my home town - to visit one of her chosen charities - the East Anglian Children's Hospice. I always miss her - she keeps making sneaky appearances on Kensington High Street and now she's been to Ipswich and I missed her again!

I went wild in Oxford in November 2010 when we were sitting in an ICT and my teacher announced "Oh, he's finally done it!" Nobody but me knew what this meant - I guessed instantly that she could only mean that Prince William had asked Kate Middleton to marry her. I was so excited and had Royal Wedding fever from that moment...

So what do we think of HRH's first public speech?! It's been widely criticised for being too rehearsed, a bit like a wedding speech, too much looking at her notes... I do appreciate that she must have been nervous as this was covered by a lot of media and press.

Here is a link:

One of the other talking points was that she was wearing one of her mother's dresses:

I have to say - I love the fact that she is being "thrifty"...!

A trip down memory lane...

Oxford Media and Business School

I have had the most amazing day, and have been looking forward to it for a while. I was invited back to Oxford to visit the PA College that I went to last year. A few of us from my year group and previous years spoke to current students about life after the course and the jobs we do. I gave a slightly different slant on it as I chose not to start a full time job and hit London as a university student instead. But I was able to fill them in about temping and living in London - which many of them will end up doing.

I can totally imagine what the girls must be feeling like - scared, anxious but also excited about what is next to come. There is so much uncertainty that comes with anything new. A lot of them doubted that they would be able to do what we do - work as temps or in permanent jobs supporting CEOs, Directors or even working with celebrities. One girl worked for Bernie Ecclestone temporarily, another girl was based in Manchester and worked with Michael Owen and David Beckham, another girl is full time PA to Lily Allen. Others work in the property sector - handling multi-million pound deals in Kensington, Fulham and Knightsbridge to name just a few places.

But the overall message we put across was that - they can do it and they will! I said its like driving a car, you are supported through the learning but you actually don't believe and realise you can do it until you have passed your test and are on your own - with no driving instructor next to you. You learn far more at that point - when you are in the job and having to think on your feet.

It was the best course I have ever done - I have learnt skills for life that help me in so much that I do. I met some of the nicest people - both staff and pupils - who are good friends of mine. Its a passport to a successful career in almost any sector - with scope to do almost anything. Its the perfect university alternative - which is becoming increasingly expensive and degrees are actually not needed so much anymore - except of course for things like Medicine and Law.

My long university summer will not be spent wasting time doing nothing - instead I will temp in the city putting everything I learnt in Oxford into practice.

I encourage you to investigate it if you are looking to hire a PA or if you want to do a course that will give you valuable skills and knowledge for the future.

I did - and I haven't looked back.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mirtazapine - So long, farewell....

Friday night was very exciting - it was the last time I broke in half my 15 mg tablet of Mirtazapine - and took 7.5 mg before I went to bed. Last night I took the other half. And thats it. No more..I hope! Obviously, I did the sensible thing of going to the doctor and asking if I could reduce the dose. Some people take much more - 30 mg, 45 mg or even 60 mg a night. But I have never had more than 15 mg. It is renown for being incredibly hard to come off - but the reduction from 15 mg to 7.5 mg seemed to go ok so fingers crossed the next transition of 0 mg will be ok too. 

It is a drug given for the treatment of depression and anxiety - both of which I have carried with me for quite some time now (the two usually go hand in hand - how unfair is that?!). I feel stronger now and able to manage it without the help of the drug - I do appreciate that some people can't do this without taking some sort of medication. 

I never ever wanted to take medication and fought against the doctor's suggestion but gave in exactly this time two years ago when things weren't going so well. I also took Fluoxetine for a short time, as its typically given to people with anorexia and depression - and I was quite underweight at the time - but this neither made me feel better or worse - it just didn't do anything so I stuck to just Mirtazapine. It did help a lot. Two years ago, my mind just wouldn't slow down. I was on the go all time. I couldn't sleep, eat, sit still. It was awful. Now I can sit still for long enough to write this blog...!

Thanks to modern medicine, so many people with mental health issues have been saved. But, as I said in my guest blog post for Ruby Wax - here and here - we can do so much more to support ourselves as well as using the help of medication provided by the doctor. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A fascinating day...

I have had a very insightful and enjoyable day. I would never normally set my alarm for 6 am on a Saturday - or even during the week for that matter! But I did today. I was heading to the Eating Disorders International Conference in Russell Square, London. This is a three day event and I was very sad not to be able to make it for the first two days. I was there today in a voluntary capacity - working for the UK's leading Eating Disorder charity, Beat.

I arrived at 7:30 am to help prepare the bags for the Delegates containing all the information they would need for the day ahead.

There was a huge selection of plenary sessions and workshops to choose from. I felt honoured to be amongst such prestigious names in the Eating Disorder world. I heard Professor Andrew Hall from Leeds University Medical School discuss "What has food got to do with it?" in the keynote lecture. I think we all knew that he would conclude by saying that Yes, food has a lot to do with it - and he did!

I wasn't able to choose which workshop I heard next as I was stationed in the main lecture hall (a bit like a theatre) and was in charge of running up and down with a microphone for the audience to use for Q & A at the end. But up next it was an interesting one - hearing more about the work of Beat Mentors who support recovery and prevent relapse for sufferers through online support and telephone helplines amongst other key ways.

I was desperate to hear Prof. Ivan Eisler talk about his family interventions masterclass. Sadly, he was stationed elsewhere after a last minute room change.

All in all, it was a thoroughly interesting day and I am already looking forward to the F.E.A.S.T conference in Nottingham in November this year. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Totally inadequate care on every level

The post below was written by Charlotte Bevan - it is very distressing to read but situations like this need to stop happening so its important that stories like this are shared - in order that the right care can be found for these parents in order to save their child's life...

There is an URGENT need for the dissemination of CORRECT information and a need for clinicians and practitioners to unite and 'sing from the same song sheet'!!

I am going to tell you a story, that is not uncommon, about how not to treat an adolescent with an eating disorder.  Now this treatment story is not from the 1980's or 90's when research was based on Hilde Bruche's clinical observations and was all about finding the "cause" for somebody's anorexia nervosa (usually the family!) and leaving them to starve until they were "motivated" to "want to get better" or until they died.

This story starts in the summer of last year and takes place in London.  In June 2011, a 14 year old girl was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa by a local eating disorder unit.  Prior to that she had been loosing weight, had an over-exercise compulsion and extreme disordered eating since the previous November.  In April, the concerned parents were told by their GP to "back off from any pressure on the eating front" and come back in three weeks time.  More weight loss ensued. 

A referral to the local CAMHS unit and a cluster of clinicians for two months led nowhere except to more weight loss.  The end of the school term revealed that the patient had not been eating at school (surprise, surprise) and had been hiding food all over the house.  Once this discovery was made, the patient refused all food and retreated to under her bed.  The Psychiatrist gave the helpful advice that perhaps a holiday would "break the atmosphere", after the parents reported extreme physical violence, uncontrollable hysterical weeping and food throwing. 

At the beginning of August, the patient is moved to a general pediatric ward after food refusal for two days.  A week later, the patient was allowed to come home for two nights after finishing her food on the ward.  It is important to note the patient was not on a specialised eating disorder unit.  By the end of August, the patient's anxiety levels and fear were so high, she was being spoonfed every mouthful.  The mealplan on Week 4 of hospitalisation was 1,500 calories, about half of what is recommended here for an adolescent with anorexia.

The parents take it in turns to be with their daughter for every meal for the next six months, whether at home or in the hospital.

The patient's 15th birthday passed unnoticed and uncelebrated.  She was still on a general pediatric ward, with visits home.  In November, both parents ended up in A&E for treatment because of bites inflicted by the patient.  The meal plan had been raised to 1,900 calories per day.  Weight gain was inexorably slow (unsurprisingly) and the therapist had talked a lot about a BMI of 18.5 as being a recovered weight.

Christmas came and went in mess of conflicting emotions.

By the end of January, the patient's weight has not increased for two months, despite 6 months of hospitalisation.  The patient is doing two mornings a week at school and her OCD symptoms (more often than not a sign of extreme malnutrition in an anorexia nervosa patient) are increasing.   There follows a period of total food refusal and the parents appeal for specialist inpatient for their fragile, malnourished, extremely distressed child.  The local PCT refuse funding.

Two weeks later, the patient has lost 2 kilos.  The therapist refuses to acknowledge how ill the patient is and blames her behaviours on "being a teenager".  At the beginning of March, the patient hit her mother for the third time across the face so hard that the mother "saw stars".  The patient is insisting on standing all night.  Her weight is now the same as it was on diagnosis 9 months previously, despite 6 months of an Inpatient stay.  The parents are subjected to a daily punch, bite and kick.  The patient's mealplan has been raised to 2,100 calories per day.  The patient is now refusing to drink water.

This post from the forum this morning shows you how incredibly dangerously ill this child is.  This is happening NOW in London.  This child is so sick that she may very well die and yet there is no one in charge of her care that is prepared to do anything to save her life.  Her parents are being stalled at every turn and every brick wall is being slammed in their way.  The treatment she is receiving is abysmal, neglectful and thoroughly thoroughly dangerous. 

I want people to know that this treatment of parents and patients is not unusual.  It is going on all round the country, even as we speak.  It is going on in countries all over the world.  Please help me shame these providers and get the parents the help they so desperately need to save their child's life.

"D has been home for 6 weeks, back at school mornings only for the last four. Her anxiety levels and unhinged ocd behaviours are wearing us, and her, very thin. School are worried about her, called us in. She has been purging breakfast on arrival every morning and her behaviours around always taking the longest route around school to get anywhere and running up stairs at any opportunity are worrying her friends.

We told her, gently, that school had picked up on the purging and said that from this morning breakfast would be earlier so that she would be at home for longer before going to school and we could monitor post breakfast. She denied the purging. Refused to get out of bed at the earlier time so I told her there wouldn't be any school. She said ok, no school. She woke up at 7am in horrified distress as she had been lying down for an 'extra' half hour (usually up at 6.30 school days) and was LAZY. Had a total meltdown, head banging etc and has refused breakfast to 'make up for it.' This is just one of many, many examples of her state of mind - car windows have to be wound down, she strips off her uniform on the way back from school to bare legs and arms, stands ALL the time except for school and meals (argues fiercely over these), major fights getting her into bed at night.

Our new Team (for therapeutic side) will only refer to a residential Tier 4 IP if her weight loss is drastic. They are also considering her for their own general psychiatric unit even though they have no ed/refeeding expertise as they insist her anger issues are more complex than just ed. We had our first independent meeting with them this week. The psychiatrist present - whom we'd never met before - suggested that D should be given more 'responsibility' and perhaps she could have lunches at school, supervised by friends. It's so frustrating when these people appear so clueless. Social Services are sniffing around too, not sure why but am scared. I remember Red's encounters.

Certainly she is capable of awful angers. I get beaten up on a daily basis but then I'm more confrontational than H and am the only one to supervise her. She used to be remorseful after violence against. Not any more.

She is still being weighed and mealplan being monitored by the Hosp where she was partial IP. She has refused an increase in the mealplan and the Hosp believe that they have to 'work with' the patient and these things cannot be forced. Her weights are meaningless as we have found out she has been adding weights to her clothing, into underwear etc. and the Hosp have been weighing her fully clothed and not checking.

I just feel so impotent. Do we have to sit back and watch her weight fall to a sufficiently drastic level that she will be referred?

I feel so impotent and of course her an holds all the cards. She is a mess and 'hates her life.' Don't blame her. It stinks. So do ours. "

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Royal Mail

I had a bit of a rant on Twitter (@mirandasmurmurs) yesterday that I had had to pay 46 p for a First Class Stamp. It was for my Mother's Day card (which is this Sunday in the UK for anyone who has forgotten!)

I posted it last night (gave it to a postman doing his final collections at 5 pm) in Covent Garden. And guess what? I spoke to my mum earlier this evening and the card arrived at home this morning. I couldn't believe it. The card travelled 70 miles over night (London to Suffolk) and had more than exceeded my hope of it arriving in time for Mother's day.

Very impressive service, Royal Mail. If only you were that efficient all the time!

A new blog...

I have come across another blog which is so good that I thought I ought to share it with you....

The link is as follows:

Remarkably mature and sophisticated writing from someone who is still at school!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

All aboard the NHS Booze Bus

The wheels on the booze bus go round and round all night long..

I was truly shocked to come across this article the other day in the London Evening Standard newspaper.

There is now an ambulance/bus which goes round London at night picking up those who have had too much to drink. The staggering thing is that, from what I have read in this article, those who are picked up at the side of the road, slumped in the curb, aren't students/Freshers - they are people in their late twenties and early thirties who at their age (still) haven't managed to learn where their level of alcohol tolerance lies - or maybe they do but think they can push the boundaries? Some of them also have a desks they should be at at 9 am the next morning - this is one of the reasons why so many working days are lost each year. Or maybe they dont have jobs and so the only alternative is to drink and drink and drink....

Alcohol abuse costs the NHS £2.7 Billion a year. And A&E is so pushed to its limits that these drunk people will receive more/better attention aboard the Booze Bus than they would if they went to a hospital. Last year, the London Ambulance Service responded to more than 69,000 alcohol related calls. 69,000 calls. Thats 190 alcohol related calls a day in London alone.


Going on a Bear Hunt...

Last weekend I was in charge of my six year old sister as my parents were away. This always means a weekend full of  fun and games. I always ask her what she would like to do - in the past we have done little trips to Aldeburgh, Thorpeness, Jimmy's Farm... we call these trips "bear hunts" as I like to make her feel as though we are heading on an adventure.

Last weekend she announced that our "bear hunt" would literally be a Bear Hunt. She said "Randa, I want to Build a Bear". Pause. "Sorry?" I said. What on earth does she mean? I began to panic that her expectations wouldn't be met and she would head back to school on Monday morning with her "tail between her legs" because I hadn't managed to pull together a fun filled couple of days with her. I asked her to explain how we were meant to go about building a bear. She said "You know what I mean, I want to go to the Build a Bear Workshop." Aaahh. Right. Now I know exactly what she is talking about. Help.

Her wish was my command. I looked up where this "workshop"/shop was and off we went. I had never been into one of these shops before but I had seen them dotted around London. I felt this was more of an adventure for me than it was her. The shop was in a town which I dont really know, neither did I know where to park or how to get from the car park to the shop. The minute we hit the outskirts of Colchester, I began to think we had made a big mistake. Saturday shoppers were pouring in. A journey that should have taken us 25 minutes at the most turned into an hour very quickly.

But eventually we found the car park and then eventually found the shop too and she quickly set to work building a bear. And I have to admit - it was great fun. She already has one of these bears and I hoped that all she wanted was to choose some further outfits for her bear, named Rainbow, because as far as I could work out all Rainbow had to wear was a bikini. But not even I could resist the softest bunny rabbit that she picked out (named Amy). She looked at me and fluttered her eye lashes and before I could say yes, we were having it stuffed, given a heart and sewn up ready to dress. Amy was also given a Birth Certificate! Her other reason for wanting a new bear was that Rainbow needed a friend. Not even I could bare the thought of Rainbow being all alone with only Barbie to talk to..

We didn't just come out with clothes for Amy and Rainbow - we also bought sun glasses, a handbag and flip flops...! Toys like this just didn't exist when I was her age. It was a very successful bear hunt but I will think twice before heading to Colchester on a Saturday morning. It took me the rest of the weekend to recover....

Mission Accomplished

Friday, 9 March 2012

Teenagers Translated

I have great pleasure in publishing a guest post from Janey Downshire and Naella Grew - their thoughts on Eating Disorders:

"I am responding to your article on Supersize v Superskinny in which you mention sufferers tuning into this TV programme hoping to find helpful advice. 

Eating disorders are, as you say, biologically and brain based.  The brain has not developed the right wiring to manage emotions like fear and anxiety. The difficulty is that brain wiring, like a tree that puts down roots over a long period of time, is an intricate, tenacious and far reaching system.  What is good news for teenagers is that their brain wiring undergoes a massive refurbishment,  presenting an ideal time to make inroads, via improving brain circuitry, on psychological issues like anorexia. 

For me mainstream medicine's approach to recovery (of many psychological disorders) is missing a trick.  The focus, in the case of anorexia, is on diagnosing the symptoms, labelling disorders, assessment of food, calories, weight, body image and most treatment approaches encourage a rational "mind over matter" or medication approach.  CBT is a widely used psychological treatment, as is a draconian approach of having someone sit and monitor what you eat whilst in a clinic (they dont eat with you) at every mealtime.  I remain baffled as to how one feels anything other than a victim in an approach which is overly focused on weight and not the underlying emotional cause. 

People in the business of helping others should always have in their mind that The Problem is rarely The Problem.  

Therapy can end up being a frightening and painful process if there is an over-emphasis on fault and who is to blame, further compounding feelings of anxiety and guilt of the sufferer.  Parents must accept that they form a vital part in a child's life experiences and in how their child has developed an over anxious alarm system, it has everything to do with them but it is not helpful to look backwards and point fingers, now is the time to look forwards to solutions - together.  What is hard is that where emotions are running high, it is hard to engage rationally. 

But anorexia sufferers need to get back in the driving seat, feel empowerment and find a way to look positively to the journey ahead.  I believe that "knowledge is king" for all concerned and understanding how the brain works, building self-awareness, learning self management techniques are valuable tools which help people to re-gain control in order to start to feel able to cope with whatever life throws at them. Eating disorders, like their addictive companions alcohol, drugs and self harming, are coping strategies.  They have become the crutch with which people are dependent upon to calm their underlying emotional disease and they actually work - by re-balancing the body's biochemistry.  Anxiety/fear or rage are the emotions upon which eating disorders are based.  The body responds to daily experiences by producing biochemicals triggered by the body's stress response system.  Someone who cannot tolerate uncertainty or manage problems produces too much "bad" cortisol,  whereas starving the body of carbs gives the brain a rush of good chemicals and re-dresses the balance.  But we all need to learn healthy ways of managing our inner anxiety regulation dial, thereby controlling the flood gates.

We are incredibly fortunate to have access to work done by brain scientists, which has given anyone involved in psychological treatments, education or health a vital link in understanding how to help. 

Parents of children need to understand about stress and anxiety because children today are so vulnerable to disease.  Life for young people today is stressful and an inability to manage this leads to depression, eating disorders and other coping strategies.  Many normal parenting strategies have the capacity to make a child psychologically healthy, but on the flip side many well meaning parents are unwittingly causing long term damage to their child by not understanding how to handle simple things like tantrums and boundaries.

Everyone involved with children should, by law, have simple lessons in brain science, it would make a world of difference."

Please note: Eating disorders are caused by a number of biological factors - and certainly not by parents! Parents have an essential role to play in recovery. Please also see the F.E.A.S.T website for more information. 
Written by Janey Downshire who runs Teengers Translated with her colleague Naella Grew

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


This is crucial reading from Charlotte Bevan and adds to my fury about programmes like SS v SS. EDs are not a choice and is something that I dont think Dr Christian takes seriously enough. I will keep saying this until I am blue in the face.

*Sigh sigh sigh*.
If it were a choice, I don't think I'd have CHOSEN to spend the last 20 years battling and struggling to stay alive.
Nor would I have CHOSEN to cause such heartache and distress to my family and loved ones.
I wouldn't have CHOSEN to try and try again only to be defeated time and time again and wind up in a hospital bed, head bent in shame, humiliation, embarrassment and frustration.
I wouldn't have chosen to spend more time as an inpatient than an outpatient so far this year (and true of many years prior to this one).
I wouldn't choose now to see my parents aging before my eyes, and to feel such helplessness - in that I should be looking after THEM. I wouldn't choose for them to have their daughter be such a burden and a worry.
I didn't choose failing kidneys, a struggling heart, wonky ecgs, electrolyte imbalances that could stop my heart in a beat. I didn't choose to have my bowels fall out of my arse, or the humiliating round of investigative procedures and eventually removal of growths that followed (a buggered-up bowel is an inviting place for such lovelies). Nor did I choose to have crumbling and rotting teeth, thinning hair and skin so thin and dry that a mere touch and it flakes off; a slight knock and bruising appears.
I'd never choose the stigma, the looks, the sneers. I wish I could choose NOT to see the looks of pity and frustration from staff, as I leave inpatient treatment, again. And the same looks when I return weeks/months later because I have apparently CHOSEN not to look after myself and not to keep myself safe. What do I expect other than to wind up in hospital? Again.
This is not a "poor me" whine (well, maybe just a little..will pull myself together in a moment;)), but it is the truth.
Choice doesn't come into it. Either the gun's loaded, or it's not.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Up and coming

You will have to bare with me for a little while on the blog posts. As you may know, I am an undergraduate university student studying Nutrition. I am currently snowed under with a mountain of work. However, I am desperate to write for you so will do so very soon. Here is what is coming up on my blog:

  • Beat the Bully
  • Going on a Bear Hunt
  • The weekend of my disconnect
  • Stress and Illness
  • Steps
  • The Booze Bus
  • Rewriting my university lecture
and much more. Please dont go too far away...

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Huge apologies for not blogging over the last few days. I have had a busy weekend looking after my 6 year old sister and our internet connection at home was very on and off. I am now back and raring to go again. I have a lot up my sleeve to tell you about for the next few days so keep coming back and pass my blog on to everyone you know so they can enjoy it too!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Bring on the London 2012 Olympics

I have had a very exciting and interesting day. I travelled thirteen miles across London (lots of changes on bus/tube/train etc) to Hackney (Mere Street, London Fields) for my first full day of training as a London 2012 Olympics Games Maker. The Games Makers are all volunteers who will literally make the Games happen. There will be 70,000 of us dotted all over London and at different Olympic venues making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

I am going to be based at Heathrow Airport - which is the official entry and departure point for all Athletes/Teams/Media/Broadcasters from around the world. Royal Families and Foreign Officials will also arrive here from around the world to see their countries taking part. I was a bit apprehensive about being posted at Heathrow to begin with but I now believe its the BEST place to be - apart from the main Olympic Village that is...because I will get to see all the VIPs and participants come and go.

A friend of mine has already asked me to try and get Usain Bolt's autograph for her - but I said he will probably be too quick and gone in a flash - get it?!

DO NOT travel on holiday from or arrive back at Heathrow on 13/14/15 August 2012. It is estimated that on 13 August this year 218,000 bags will be circulating Heathrow baggage reclaim/departure gates - this is the day after the closing ceremony of the Olympics so most teams that are not competing in the Para-olympics will be leaving on this day. The most bags they have ever handled in one day at Heathrow is 160,000 - thats still a lot but nothing like the volume we will see there this August.

On 6 July 2005 - it was announced that London had won the bid to host the 2012 Games - where were you? Do you remember? Other Games Makers today were getting really emotional when they spoke about where they were when they heard this news:

Here are some interesting facts which I picked up today that I wanted to share with you:
  • 6 Billion people will tune in to watch the Games - particularly the Opening and Closing ceremonies.
  • 9 Million tickets have been sold.
  • 15,000 athletes are taking part.
  • 1 Million pieces of equipment will be used in the Games (most of which will be shipped as part of the visiting athletes "luggage".
  • 200,000 people in total have worked towards this years Olympics and Para-olympic games.
  • 120 Royal Families will come to see the Games.
  • 450 Games Makers (like me) will be at Heathrow this summer welcoming VIPs for the Olympic and Para-olympic games
  • 10 million people in the UK have some sort of disability - only 500,000 of these people pass through the airport each year.
I am so so excited about the Olympics this summer and am so proud to have been chosen to represent the country as a Games Maker. I am one of the first people the athletes will meet when they arrive and the last person they see before they depart. No pressure Miranda B but First Impressions will be key. No silly Miranda Hart moments...

Note to self: Keep Calm at all times