Thursday, 31 December 2015

Highlights of 2015




Hi everyone! Firstly apologies things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently. But don't worry it's not due to being too ill to do so. In fact I've just been enjoying squeezing as much as possible out of life recently. Focusing on Christmas, family and friends. And I've been feeling very grateful lately and full of hope and positivity, which just feels amazing in itself.

Positivity and gratitude have been things I've really worked on in recent years and although at times it can be difficult to do, especially with a chronic illness, there are plenty of ways and means to at least try. Trying in itself is a great thing. Of course there have been plenty of times this year where I have felt down, alone and left out but trying to be as positive as possible has been a highlight this year, for sure. Whilst I'm on this topic, I want to mention the wonderful Meg Says' blogpost on how she keeps positive living with a chronic illness, which you can read here. It is a thoroughly recommended read by such a ray of sunshine.

Continuing the positivity theme, today's post is my highlights of 2015. "Wow! What a year!" Also where on earth did the time go?


Back in February my Mum and I went on a long weekend to Brussels to visit family, and to eat waffles and chocolate of course. I had not been on a city break since I'd been ill and had my fears about doing so but I coped really well and in the process had a lot of fun. You can read more about my trip here.





In April I managed to meet up with one of my dearest friends, Ali and her family for a weekend. We have met up a couple of times before, having originally got to know eachother online through the chonic illness community and finding we shared much more than an illness. We speak every day but spending time with her in person is extra special, especially as it takes a lot for both of us. But time spent with this sparkley princess is well worth it and I am very thankful to have her and her beautiful daughter in my life. We both did a blogpost about our weekend as part of ME awareness week, which you can read here




On May 12th ME awareness day myself and several other wonderful ladies and one equally wonderful man dressed up as Princesses (or a Queen in my case) to raise awareness as we took part in another The Princesses and ME event. This year I am so proud of the fact that Team Princess fundraised for every single ME charity in the UK and one in Australia. I really wanted to expand the event this year and to be sure we were championing the cause as a whole, from the charities that raise money for research, to those that offer invalueable support for sufferers and their families. Together we raised £6288 and in the 2 years this event has been running we have raised over £10,000. I am so grateful to all that take part each year, who give it their all even though what they have to give might not seem a lot. They're true princesses. You can read more about The Princesses and M.E event here.






I feel incredibley lucky to have received a Smile for ME gift this year. Smile for ME is actually a small charity that we helped during our Princesses and M.E event. They send gifts to people with ME or their carers that might be in need of a smile and a pick me up when things get particularly tough. I am in awe of the work that Gracey and Alice, the charity's founders, put in to this despite suffering with ME themselves. Their wish to make others happy is so simple yet so important. Kindness often gets overlooked in this world yet it is one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone. You can find out more about this charity at www.smileforme.org.uk


Also in May I was back in the theatre to watch Pasha Kovalev, from Strictly Come Dancing in his own dance show. It was a great show and made me feel so positive and humble. I also got to meet him and the other dancers in the show afterwards, which left me literally speechless even though I have met him before. He is just so handsome and such a gentleman. I'm gradually reintroducing myself to the theatre. As I used to work in theatre it's been something that I have avoided for more emotional reasons as well as the physical ones. Dance shows have been an easy reintroduction as they are a bit more distant to what I would be doing and of course Pasha helps. I look forward though to hopefully enjoying more theatre in 2016.





In July I went on holiday to Zante. As many of you will know I've been on holiday a few times since getting ill but this again felt like a challenge. Going away is always a challenge, however another big factor here was that we travelled to somewhere new. I achieved a lot on this holiday and was made up with the amount of walking I managed. Needing a wheelchair at times got me down whilst in Zante, more than it has before, mainly because of accessibility and being limited. As well as at times feeling like you are known more as the lady in the wheelchair rather than just Sian. But overall I am really glad we tried somewhere new and got to see a bit more of the world. I am still trying my best to give myself as much life experience as possible, despite my condition. You can read a bit more about my holiday here.





This could well be the highlight of my year, or actually much longer than that. I was incredibley lucky to win tickets to be in the audience of Strictly Come Dancing, back in September. I still can't quite believe it happened, it's very surreal but I had the most wonderful time. I love Strictly and getting to see it filmed live was just incredible. Honestly I struggle to find the words to describe the experience, I did blog about my Strictly adventure though where I try to put it into words, which you can read here and here. Also I can confirm that Gleb is just as hot in real life.


On the day of my birthday I was fairly unwell and completely bedbound but I wasn't going to let that get me down. I had had a lovely weekend seeing family and was boosted full of happiness by lots of lovely birthday messages from friends. The postman had been kept very busy bringing cards and parcels, which I managed to open a few of in the evening after the sugar rush from my amazing birthday cake from Sponge. When you have a cake like that it's bound to turn a frown upside down. I felt very blessed to recieve such wonderful gifts and have such gems for friends.






Christmas this year was full of loveliness spent with family. Being surrounded by those you love most and who support you unconditionally is the best. I was spoilt with lovely gifts and cards from friends and family. For me Christmas is a time of giving and I loved planning the gifts I got for people. I will speak a bit more about some of the gifts in my next post. When you hear that they have evoked such emotion and happiness it's heart warming. There is no greater feeling than that of boosting others up and making them feel happy. The star on top of my Christmas was the fact that my health held up really well and allowed me to achieve more than I ever could have hoped for. And so of course I made the most of that wonderful silver lining.

One thing that I am particularly proud of this year is the way in which I have 'made a stand' and said I am not going to put up with feeling neglected (medically speaking) anymore. That it was ridiculous to be suffering so much and not even going to see my doctor. They can't even try to help if they don't know how badly you are suffering. So I am so glad that I took my health into my own hands in a way. 2016 promises a lot on the medical front, which will be tough but this is one of the most important 'projects' I will ever undertake and by gum is it worth it.




The best thing about this year though has not been an event or something physical but the people that I have shared my year with. I know that's so soppy. But I feel very blessed to have family and friends to share these moments with. Who physically care for me and make all the events possible or even just considerable. Who hold my hand through the bad times and clap their hands through the good times. They celebrate my achievements without judgement and with genuine compassion. Most of all they make this world less lonely and fill it with smiles and laughter. They make me happy and they make me feel safe. There are not enough words for how much I love them. Thank you everyone, you're my heroes.

So far his blogpost has included some of my biggest highlights scale wise and when I wee them all put together it really makes me feel quite staggered and amazed by what I have achieved this year. For many it may even look like I'm not all that unwell. Non of it has been easy by any means and my health has deteriorated even more but I refuse to let it win. I refuse to not be happy and not at least try to live as much of a life as I can, within my capabilities.

There have been many other highlights that may be considered smaller but to me they are still very big achievements and have a definite space in my heart. And I couldn't write a highlights post without including them.

* Having my first stand up shower in 3 years
* Managing to walk from the car to inside a restaurant
* Making Rocky Roads and actually going to the shop to get ingredients
* Managing a 6 hour road trip
* Being able to wrap Christmas presents
* Each meal I have managed to have out
* The visits to family
* Every single laugh and smile (cheesey I know)

And there is probably many more. 2016 will bring plenty of new challenges and I will need to dig deep and give as much grit and determination as I can give. But I can do that. I have to do that. Because there is the promise of better days and happiness.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope it is full of beautiful moments that you cherish, smiles and laughter. Hold on to each one and give it a space in your heart then you'll always have so much to be thankful for. Remember, you've got this! 

Sian 
xx