2017 – The Downs and Ups

31st December 2017
Frau Naish The downs and ups of 2017

Happy New Year everybody! I hope those of you who were able to take time off work had a good break. We had a pretty chilled Christmas, just what we all needed. Father Christmas was generous and we are very lucky to have had a positively uneventful time. Over the holidays, I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking about the year just gone.

So, how was 2017?

The Downs

On the surface, it was an awful year for me. A lot of stuff went a bit wrong. It started with losing my nan in January. She has been battling every illness under the sun ever since I can remember. There have been many times in the past when I worried about her. She was well over eighty which lightens the sadness somewhat. But nothing could prepare me for seeing my grandad so lost, with so much sadness and despair. It broke my heart. Suddenly, it dawned on me, that I could lose him too; and this is something that will happen sooner rather than later.

At the end of March, I finally began my Disease Modifying Therapy. It would be another six months before it would take “therapeutic effect”. Even now, I will not really know if it works as it won’t improve any existing symptoms. I will only know if or when I get another relapse. The therapy is supposed to reduce the number and the severity of them.

April saw my footdrop get quite bad. Footdrop is when you lose some control over your feet and they kind of drop when you walk. It affects my left foot only. Instead of placing my foot on the floor from heel to toe when walking, my foot sort of “slaps” down flat. This was combined with me being unable to move my toes or stand on my tiptoes. It was the strangest thing. If I didn’t look, I could have sworn I was doing it, but looking down, it just didn’t happen. I would trip up a lot, found it impossible to walk in the dark or on the beach, as I needed to use my eyes to place my foot. It’s incredible how much we rely on our feet adjusting to what’s below.

In May the inevitable happened. I tripped badly and fell. In the high street at 10 am! I joke now, that I wasn’t even drunk at the time 🙂 I sprained my ankle though, and that was no laughing matter. The pain was unbelievable. I was sure I’d broken it. Later I found out that breaking it would have actually been the simpler option. It took five months and physio to get better. I still notice it now and then, and I am still too scared to wear any kind of heel.

The Ups

Finally at the end of August after having a lot of pain in my left back and leg, as well as my right hip from constantly limping; I got my first MS pain prescription: a low dose of an antidepressant that helps with nerve pain, a pain untouched by normal painkillers. This improved things dramatically. Now I slept sooo much better. My mind was sharper. I noticed this, especially at work.

From then on, my year improved a lot. Gradually, my ankle improved, my toes moved again and in October I finally managed to stand on tiptoes again. Since then, I have felt pretty great. This leads me also to all the good stuff that happened. You see, it’s so easy to think about how bad my year has been, but when you really think about it, you suddenly remember the good bits. Our minds tend to linger on terrible things but if you make a list of all the positives, you will find many, that you nearly forgot about.

At the end of the Easter Holidays, I took Noodle to the British Wildlife Centre and we spent the whole day there. I love spending time with him this way. We have the best times. At the beginning of June, we spent a long weekend at Sumners Ponds in a tiny Sheperd’s Hut right by the lake. It was total bliss and at the end of a five-day horrid steroid treatment. The boys spent the day fishing whilst I sat in a chair, with my foot up, reading. We all returned home very chilled out and promised to do it again as soon as possible. June also marked our 30 Days Wild, where we do something wild every day. It was our second year doing this and involves activities as simple as watching the clouds to crafting with stuff found in the woods. Getting out is really important to us and the best month to do this is definitely June! Read more about our 30 Days Wild adventures.

In August, we went camping. We are camping virgins if you discount previous half-hearted trips as teenagers. A friend invited us to set up camp in an unused, tranquil part of a deer farm. There was a lot of mud, we had a proper open fire and a generator to boil a kettle. Noodle loved it and so did we. The kids spent most of the day in a small stream, watching the deer and stags and finishing the day with BBQs and toasted marshmallows; definitely to be repeated! (ahem, with a better mattress)

At the beginning of September, I got the amazing invite to review the incredible Beauty Cocktail Spa near Horsham, writing for Worthing Mums. I took my sisters in law and best mate on the first day back to school for a whole day of pampering where we had the spa all to ourselves. Through Worthing Mums, I am lucky to get a few opportunities like this, we went to a family festival in June and watched the cricket at Hove Cricket Ground in July.

I have left the best bit of 2017 to last

Photography. I have learned so much over the year, I’m always improving. I have been covering all the local Tot Rockin’ Beats events all year, and I’ve had amazing feedback from it. It is my favourite subject to photograph: kids having fun. I love taking candid shots when people least expect it and capturing all the fun they’re having.

My gorgeous nephew turned one in July and became a proper little poser at the end of his session.

I have also had some unexpected paid work. I did a photoshoot party, a Christening in September, photos for a local nursery and an 18th Birthday in December. Some of those were harder work than others but all of them were extremely fun. I really could get used to this!

Phew! The year really has been a roller coaster, but I can say that it ended a lot better than it started. I feel that my therapy really has started to work and with pain management, a healed ankle and discovering meditation as an easy, daily stress buster, I am in a really good place right now. Ready to face 2018 and review my goals for this year!

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