Monday, 11 March 2019

The road to recovery has taken a left turn & the end is nowhere to be seen!

At the end of 2017 I wrote about how things have been with my legs & lifestyle changes (End of 2017 & looks like I have more lifestyle changes to come in 2018), well unfortunately not everything has gone to plan as nothing has changed with work/life balance & legs continue to get worse & back onto my stick & unfortunately it has also had a knock on effect in everything else in my life especially cycling.

So at the end of 2018, I finally got to have my long awaited MRI scan after Christmas & in January I got a letter a week after the scan & it was an eye opener & scary too.


A bit of a shock is an understatement, I sure hell did not expect this to be honest. Just expected the same as what was said 30yrs ago with my left leg.

Well I went to see the specialist today, what I was shown has simply put my life in a spin!

Firstly I was shown these images taken from the MRI scan which I took photos of & highlighted the spinal cord.



As you can see the spinal cord has been severely compressed & likely has been for many years. As for the cause, well it turns out to be a shit storm of reasons! Firstly I have narrow channels for the nerves to feed from the spinal cord, thick bone structure but what I was not expecting to be told was the spinal cord is being pressed by the hip socket due to onset of osteoarthritis.

So the prognosis is simple, leave it be & eventually I will loose the use of my legs & possibly more in that area from the waist down as already having symptoms it is not just the legs being affected. Or as highly recommended have an operation to decompress the spinal cord. This will help relieve the pressure on the cord but as made quite clear, it will not undo any damage already been done & could actually do some damage during the procedure. There are risks like all operations but to be honest other than death there is nothing that won't happen anyway if I don't do anything about it.

So within the next 4 to 6 months time I will be having the operation & honestly it is freaking me out a bit but there is not really any other choice. But it's after the operation that's gonna be the test for me, the 2 days in hospital I am fine with, as well as having someone look after me at home for 1-2 weeks. It's the time I have to take off work that is gonna be difficult, I have been told I am to stay off work & take it easy for around 3 months & that includes no cycling & after that period I need to return to work gradually & same goes with cycling.

I have been told after the operation, don't expect the legs to improve, maybe slightly worse but should not be in pain any more. With this & now know I have osteoarthritis, it is clear I will likely not be stick free anymore, tho make a damn good try in being stick free. What it does mean is I have now a constant battle to keep walking & cycling & no end in sight to win this battle.

Make me quite glad I finally got my Wet Room when finished this week as gonna need it but I do know now, the new eBike is needed more than ever!!

Friday, 22 December 2017

End of 2017 & looks like I have more lifestyle changes to come in 2018

25yrs ago this very month I had an operation that had changed my life for good & I became disabled. The operation was to fix a problem with my left leg & had a 50:50 chance of working so I took the chance. It did not pay off & my life changed in ways I couldn't imagine & for the first 5yrs it was a dark period in my life fueled with pain & high levels of painkillers, but I pushed on & I would not let it beat me & at times it was close to doing so. I had lost so much in loosing the simple task of being active, walk & cycle.


So when I had the chance to walk stick free again after an operation in 2008 & got to a level 5yrs ago, I took it but it is a constant battle.



Unfortunately the years of inactivity as well as the right leg now following the same path as my left leg did 30yrs ago means walking stick free is getting more difficult & have already made changes to my lifestyle to not aggravate them & that includes cycling.

 

But as time goes on & I get older too, so does the condition keep changing & I have to try keep ahead of it as I have done for the past 3 decades. But today I got a letter to pass onto the Buss Pass Dept as evidence of my conditions & reading it has hit home to me as it is in black & white in writing & was not expecting it as was just expecting proof of my disability.


It has hit home & to be honest I have to face reality considering this week I am back on my stick due to my knee giving grief for not following the lifestyle rules at the weekend I had set & aggravated it. But don't worry I am not gonna give up on this, not in my nature but in the new year I need to think long & hard on changes to help improve my condition & I am already have the new ebike building project started with the purchase of the new bike to build into the new ebike.


But for now I am going to enjoy Christmas, spoil my lil Ellie & gonna enjoy plenty of Jack Daniels during the festive period. For 2018 is going to be a new year, new plans & ideas & plenty more to do to get the home, work & transportation made better for my disability...

Until then have a great Christmas & bloody well enjoy it!!! I sure am!!!


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pain, pain is not my friend...

For more than 1/2 of my life pain has lived with me but pain isn't my friend. It wakes me in the middle of the night when it feels like it, it drains me when I have to fight it, creeps up on me when I think I'm doing okay, tries to control me when I want to have a normal life.

 


But pain isn't my enemy, it doesn't control me, it fuels me, it's makes me fight, it gives me the fire to push the boundaries & determination to battle on.



People can see pain as a bad thing, I see pain like a companion that annoys & angers me but also encourages me to push harder, to beat it at its game. Pain has changed my life in ways I would never thought possible, changed me in ways as years gone on & will continue to do so for the rest of my life.


But pain has made me a better person, a better understanding of others around me. Pain is not my friend but it won't destroy me & no matter how tired it makes me, it will make me stronger the more it pushes me & hand me more challenges to overcome.

 



Saturday, 4 March 2017

Creating a versatile bookcase suitable for any room.

Now before you read any further I best let you know I ain't any experienced carpenter who can make fancy furniture (tho wish I could), I am just someone who ain't afraid to try my hands at anything DIY to make my home a better place. But if you have read my IKEA hack blogs, you probably know this already. ;-)

I had posted a few pics on my bookcase online with The BookCase Project with some positive responses & a lot of questions about it, especially the photos of the hall bookcase which will be shown later in the blog. But I'll start at the beginning as to how it all started.

Now I love my books but also love DVDs & both need somewhere to store them, I aint one for eBooks or streaming movies. I so prefer owning them physically & that means I need to find ways to utilise the limited space in my flat. But I found conventional melamine bookcases limited in utilising space & often waste the space needed & fall apart all too soon.

So I decided it was time to build my own, use planks of wood cut to length & screwed together. Nothing fancy or complex, just screws holding it all together as nothing heavy to go in each shelf but goes from floor to ceiling with as many shelves as possible & that's what I did for my first one.


And it worked well, so well I did some more for the bedroom & use some dead space behind the door.


And was going to add more but I then moved to a smaller flat with lower ceiling heights & new storage problems I had to overcome. This meant a complete rethink on how I was going to do the shelving & where. The answer was to utilise the wide space of the hall in the flat & fill one side of the hall with bookcases, problem was it was L shaped so the bookcases I had had to be reconfigured for a lower height & fit around a corner. So out came the designer in me & did some drawings...


So over a period of time I slowly built it like I had before in sections starting with the ones I already had whilst decorating whole of the flat too.


And needed to get flooring redone before the shelving was completed which involved in sealing the concrete & laying laminate flooring.

 

And slowly over months it came together...



You can see it slowly taking shape as was the rest of the flat...


Then it was time to paint it all. That was fun in a small flat...

 

 

It was slow to do but this is the final result that looked fantastic with the rest of the hall...



So now they have been completed, I was pleased with how they went & these are the photos I posted to The Bookcase Project with some amazing feedback for such a simple design. Like I said, just some planks screwed together. lol

Well the following year I had moved again which now posed a new challenge to show how versatile the wooden shelving is. I had a whole wall in the livingroom to use.


So I started again in re-configuring & adapting the existing shelving to go along the wall.


Not much else has been done to it as yet, I do have plans but I have been busy doing the rest of the livingroom 1st that needed more done & the shelving doing well as it is atm tho filled up fast & looking to do some more shelving in another room...

 


And others have been impressed in my shelving & I have helped build them some too, this one was a fun one to do as it was a Zig Zag design to fit in a very small box room for a young teenager.


A simple design made from planks, but so versatile in how to use them. :)