Friday, 6 March 2009

It's been a while

The last time I blogged, it was about autumn. Now, it is spring and as the snowdrops are fading away, the crocuses and daffodils have taken over. Christmas has been and gone; already a hazy memory and, as the days start to get ever longer, the birds are beginning to build their nests and the promise of new life beckons.

We have had snow here, like many places this winter but, apart from that, winter has been a long one for me. Scleroderma has chosen not to be kind to me lately and I have suffered from digital ulcers like never before. My only pain relief has been morphine and I have been numbed down and out of it for a few months now. I don’t think I suffer from depression, but I have been down with zero energy and vast amounts of lethargy. When this happens, all I want to do is sleep or gaze out of the window at the trees.

Ever since I can remember, I have had a fascination of trees. I marvel at their ability to live so long, when we are here for just a fraction of time in comparison. I love the different varieties; their colours, sizes, blossoms, fruits and texture of bark. We are fortunate here that from every single window of our cottage, we can see trees: trees of all descriptions – oak, perry pear, hazel, silver birch, elder, ash, copper beech, apple and plum trees, plus a huge eucalyptus tree right at the bottom of the garden, with its amazing peeling bark. When my nephew and niece come to stay, we write secret messages on the bark and lay a treasure trail around the garden. We have had magical moments doing this, but they grow all too quickly and will soon rather sunbathe, listening to their IPods instead.

My “therapy” is my tree gazing. I have long since learnt to listen to my body when it is not firing on all cylinders, and so our trees have listened to my misery and pain and ever so gently, kicked me up the bum and nudged me back on course. They have turned a blind eye to my attire (I have been unable to do zips and buttons for over 2 months) as I have slobbed around in pull up trousers and sweatshirts. And now they are teasing me to want to go outside and do some gardening, but it has turned too cold for me again and I have to content myself with making plans and drawing up planting maps for my raised vegetable beds.

At least now I can type again! I am VERY slow and my fingers are clumsy, but I get there in the end. I am healing daily as the spring advances and there is a hint of warmth to the sun (not today, though!). I will never be fully “well” or cured, but I always get my equilibrium back – this winter has been harder to get through but I received good news that my funding has been granted for the drug “Bosentan” last month. I was in hospital having my Iloprost infusion (to try and kick start the healing of my ulcer) when my letter came and that was the icing on the cake. I participated in the drug trial for Bosentan and afterwards was given the drug for a 12 month period, free of charge by the drug company. This was 2 years ago and for the last year without the drug, my ulcers have been very spiteful. Bosentan doesn’t stop the ulcers coming completely, but makes them heal much faster. It is also used by sufferers of pulmonary hypertension but, fortunately, my “type” of Scleroderma means I am less likely to have this. So, enough! I have my little pills once more, my ulcer is shrinking slowly and I am feeling stacks better. Life is pretty darned good and I am back in the frame of mind to realise it.

It is growing dusk now and I am off to put the chickens to bed. Our ex battery hens have settled in wonderfully and are keeping us in more eggs than we can eat. Neighbours and friends are enjoying the eggs too and come to see them grubbing around in the dirt. They are such characters and so friendly – you only have to walk towards their gate and they come running to see what presents they have. Their favourite is mash potato, but they love rice, bread, veg peelings, chips (!), grapes, apples, strawberries and pasta. They love being picked up and stroked and the kids love to go and fetch the eggs when they come to stay. It couldn’t have worked out better – they give us so much amusement and we give them love and a safe environment.

So, until another time (not so long, I hope) – wellies, body warmer and gloves are to be donned before I venture into the cold air to close that pop hole! xx


Suffolkmum said...

Dear Woozle, lovely to see you back again. Sorry you've had such a rough time of it, God it sounds agonising. Trees are fabulous for healing aren't they - one of the reasons I fell in love with this cottage was that we could see so many trees around us, the dearth of woods in Suffolk being something I found difficult at first. It's been a long hard winter all right - so lovely to see the sun back, and I hope you continue to get better. Good news about the drug. My chickens love mash too - or cold baked potato always goes down well!

toady said...

Yeh Woozley, lovely to see you back blogging and that you are healing even if it is a bit slow.
Take Care

ChrisH said...

Hellooo! Gosh you've been through the wringer, haven't you? I'm so glad the rocket fuel is working for you and the ulcer is responding - and you sound so cheerful! I'd be moaning like a drain after all that. Here's to more sun on your face.

lampworkbeader said...

From one tree gazer to another, it is great to see you back on form again.

mountainear said...

Lovely to have you back - just take care of yourself and don't make those fingers do too much. Best, best wishes, Fx

Arosebyanyothername said...

Glad to hear that you are getting better. We healthy folk have no idea sometimes what it is like for others who don't share our good fortune. However, you certainly have a positive attitude.
I share your love of trees and can see quite a bunch from where I sit here but long for the time when we are at our Mill in France in the middle of a forest.

LittleBrownDog said...

So lovely to hear from you, Woozle - you describe the nature all around you so beautifully and with so much love. I'm so sorry to hear you've been suffering - it sounds as though you've really been through the mill. Now, take care - and please look after yourself. Will be looking forward to hearing good news of your recovery in due course, but only when you feel up to it.


Frances said...

Woozle, what a delight to have you back. You are a star to have let those fragile fingers tap away at the keys to give us this catch-up.

I very much love what you write about how trees can give you much to see, absorb, take you out of yourself. I absolutely love looking at trees, all types, all seasons, they have always lifted my soul. Natural sculptures, decorated during the year by leaves, berries, fruits, nuts ... well, you've been watching them too!

How I hope that as spring arrives, you will be able to spend more time with us. Please look through the window, and listen to the chats, even if you don't feel well enough to but your very own oar in.


CAMILLA said...

Lovely to see you back dear Woozle, please take care. Look forward to hearing of your continual recovery back here soon when you feel up to it.

Love and Hugs to you.


pinkfairygran said...

Hello Woozle,

I have never met you before, this was the first blog of yours I had read, and I have to admit to being totally ignorant about your particular disease - I think that like a lot of people with health issues of their own, they are wised up of their own particular problems more so than other. I had not even heard of yours, so looked it up. It sounds dreadfully painful, debilitating, and hardly surprising that there are times you want to just sit and stare at trees. When we are going through problems times with illnesses, it's easy to get introspective, down, even depressed, but we know that usually, given time, treatment and rest, it will improve and we will be back to 'normal' again... never fully the person we were once, but so glad we are the person we are now really, faults and all. I have three stomach ulcers connected with the treatments I am on for other things, so if you have those as well, (since your disease can affect the gastrointestinal tract maybe it causes stomach ulcers too?)then I really empathise with you.
I learnt a long time ago to listen to my body, to what my inner voice/gut instinct told me, and rarely am I let down. Your body knows what it needs, but not everyone heeds it.
I love your dogs, I take it they are yours.. are they mixed breed.. I particularly love the little one on the right, a bit like Rick Stein's CHALKY, who I thought adorable.
Take care, loved the blog... I am new to this, relatively speaking, and have a couple I write about twice a month, when time, interest, and inspiration hit. I shall be back to look at yours...

Pondside said...

It was lovely to read that you'd blogged, Woozle. I'm sorry to hear that it's been such a terrible winter. I know, from experience, that when these flareups come there is only one thing to do - wait it out. Finding something on which to focus is the best - and your trees sound just right.
Good to hear about the drug therapy. It makes me angry that something so helpful can be taken away for a time and then restored (seemingly) on a whim.
I hope that the warmth of spring and the renewal of everything around you will seep into your fingers and let you enjoy all the things you're planning to do.

Ziongirl said...

I share your love of trees! They are healing and yet magical at the same time. Bringing new life to me when I hear the wind whisper through the pines. Waiting and watching for the visitors they bring.

"Each New Day Is A Blessing"

Anonymous said...

Hi Woozle, lovely to read a blog from you. You've had a tough time but it seems lighter days are ahead. We too have hens and sell our surplus eggs. Problem is we can only sell so many due to Defra regulations! Paperwork and rules and such which we are trying to avoid.

Take care of yourself and don't do too much too soon. But you don't need me to tell you that I am sure.

Love CJ xx

muddyboots said...

it' is SO good to hear from you again. I was told by someone, a french man l seem to recall, saying that everyone who lived near to the forest of dean was a 'tree person', l think he meant that we are well different?

Exmoorjane said...

Wow, your house looks so gorgeous in the was worth it all, wasn't it?
Sorry though to hear that you've been having such a tough time of don't overdo those poor fingers with too much blogging, will you? (though just enough to keep us happy and up to date!)