Friday, 5 February 2016

Having Fun with a Mini Weekend Box

In the RaisieBay household we love The Weekend Box Club, we reviewed our first box here way back in 2014. You can see the fun we had for the Chinese New Year last year here.

Now, we are really excited to bring to you the all new Mini Weekend Box. After finding that many customers were finding it difficult to fit in all five activities provided in the regular Weekend Box it was decided to produce a smaller box with only two activities. It's also a smaller price at only £4.95.

Weekend Boxes are full of creative activities but still fit through your letterbox. They can be themed around topical events like Mother's Day or Easter, or exploratory topics like countries or insects. The one we received was themed on the rain forest.

Weekend boxes are always a joy to receive, addressed to your child the box is inviting and colourful. On opening you are presented with coloured envelopes which contain most of the things you need to do the activity described on the same colour card. For example, the green envelope in our box contained what we needed to do the rainforest activity on the green card. We also had a blue envelope with contained what we needed to do on the blue activity card which was to make a parrot make. All we had to provide were scissors and a plastic bottle for the rainforest.

My girls were keen to get started. Boo chose the parrot mask activity and found the instructions clear and easy to follow and got on with the activity mostly by herself. All I had to do was help her cut out the eyes and attach the elastic. I think she did a really good job and she was happy with her mask.

My older daughter, Star needed a little help with her rainforest activity. I had to cut the bottle for her, make a hole in the lid and feed the string through. She read through the instructions herself and managed to rehydrate the soil, plant the seeds and put the bottle together as instructed. She also really enjoyed the activity and is (im)patiently waiting for the seeds to grow.

I think the Mini Weekend Box offers great value and for busy parents it allows you to do activities with your children that you wouldn't normally think of or have the time or resources for.

If you are interested in joining the Weekend Box Club then you can get your first box for free by quoting ANNE58.
Further boxes will be charged at £4.95 for the Mini Weekend Box and £7.50 for the Bumper Box (5 activites) You can pause or cancel boxes at any time.

What are you waiting for? You could be enjoying activities with your kids like this next weekend for free!

Disclosure: I was sent this Mini Weekend Box for free in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Positively February

When you have such a rubbish start to the year as I have the beginning of a new month is always welcomed. Goodbye rubbish January, hello positive February.

That doesn't mean that things have miraculously got better overnight, it just means I'm approaching the rest of the year with a positive attitude. It's so easy to feel down about all that has happened, the loss of my partners Father, my debilitating illness and then the loss of my car, but things can't get much worse, they have to start getting better.

I'm staying positive in that I will make a really good recovery from this Tranverse Myelitis. I know it can take a long time to heal but I will get there. I've read tons of stories now and everyone seems to be different, different levels of the illness and different levels of recovery. I know that I've been trying to gauge how long it will take me to recover against other's stories, but I've now realised that it's just not possible. I will recover in my own time, but I will never stop hoping and doing all I can to get well again. I may even start a little diary so I can see the little changes which can often be missed when you're looking for big things. I'll start with the little change I felt last night when my right foot was itching.

We are still grieving which is hard because we have not yet laid my partners Dad to rest. It will be soon now though and I know from experience that although it will be a difficult day, it can also be the day that healing begins. I feel so awful for my partner and his mum, it's hard losing a loved one. I'm also finding it so difficult as he passed away while I was taking him for an appointment, and I can't forget the whole horrid experience and sitting with him for so long afterwards waiting for his family to arrive. We all have to go sometime but I hope and pray I pass away gently in my sleep, don't we all!

Then there is my car. It was a mobility car that I had for my daughter who has problems walking any distance. I've had it for 18 months from new and paid nearly £3,500 towards it. I knew that it wouldn't be mine in the end but I would get a new replacement after three years. It seemed like a good deal. However, my daughter has now lost her mobility allowance as apparently they have deemed her well again, and I have to give the car back and will be left with nothing! It doesn't seem like such a good deal now! I'm appealing the decision made about my daughter, it's obvious they have not read through my re-application and they did not contact any of the seven professionals I provided for back up. I know this because they made the decision the same day they received my 43 page form, with two extra page of hand written informations and several hospital letters. However, I've changed my mind about having a car again. At least if I spend £3,500 on a car in the future I will have something to show for it.

So, there we go, the three worst things that happened to me in January and how I'm working on them positively,

I hope my readers have had a better start to the year, and I'd like to wish you all a Happy new New Year. There is so much to  look forward to, Spring time, Easter (my favourite holiday) and lighter days!
Binky Linky

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Sunday Photo 24th January

I guess with all my recent posts about my illness I had to choose this photo this Sunday. It's me in hospital on the ward all alone as beds 8 and 9 had gone for surgery and bed 11 was unoccupied for ten minutes. This was my home for twelve days, the longest I've ever spent in hospital. 


Check out One Dad 3 Girls for some more Sunday Photos.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Transverse Myelitis

Last year I had no idea what Transverse Myelitis was. This year it has taken over my life.

What is transverse myelitis?

Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. The term myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord; transverse simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.

Symptoms of transverse myelitis include a loss of spinal cord function over several hours to several weeks. What usually begins as a sudden onset of lower back pain, muscle weakness, or abnormal sensations in the toes and feet can rapidly progress to more severe symptoms, including paralysis, urinary retention, and loss of bowel control. Although some patients recover from transverse myelitis with minor or no residual problems, others suffer permanent impairments that affect their ability to perform ordinary tasks of daily living. Most patients will have only one episode of transverse myelitis; a small percentage may have a recurrence.

The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. Nerves in the cervical (neck) region control signals to the neck, arms, hands, and muscles of breathing (the diaphragm). Nerves in the thoracic (upper back) region relay signals to the torso and some parts of the arms. Nerves at the lumbar (mid-back) level control signals to the hips and legs. Finally, sacral nerves, located within the lowest segment of the spinal cord, relay signals to the groin, toes, and some parts of the legs. Damage at one segment will affect function at that segment and segments below it. In patients with transverse myelitis, demyelination usually occurs at the thoracic level, causing problems with leg movement and bowel and bladder control, which require signals from the lower segments of the spinal cord.

What I have is Idiopathic Transverse Myelitis, my doctors have not yet pinpointed a cause of the inflammation, although I do have some test results outstanding. I was considered an unusual case as I had no symptoms before the attack. I had lesions, or inflammation in the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meaning that I was paralysed in both my arms and legs. Fortunately the inflammation was not severe and my arms were back to full strength within a couple of days. my legs took a little longer and it was day ten before I started to regain strength in my left leg. My strength is almost back to normal now although this doesn't mean I am recovered from the attack.

I am still unable to function normally because my hips are not yet recovered and my nerves are still damaged. I still have the pins and needles that warned me of the attack. Severe numbing pins and needles from the waist down, and less severe in my arms. Nothing feels 'right', I am hypersensitive to touch, heat and cold.

When my attack began and I had pins and needles I tried everything to get rid of them, even pulling my ear lobes...honestly there is a You Tube video explaining how to do it! If you had told me then that I would still have pins and needles three weeks later I probably would have cried. Now, I find that I am used to them. The sensation is horrible but it's become a part of me now. Of course I still hope that it will stop someday, and I'm taking medication that is supposed to help. I can increase the medication every fortnight until I reach the maximum dose. I still have a way to go so I'm hopeful they will work eventually.

The weirdest feeling...when I lie down in bed it feels like my legs are floating!

I hate the way my hands feel. I'm happy that they are working now, but still everything feels strange. It's difficult to explain but I don't feel like I'm in my own skin.

I can stand and walk with support. The hardest thing is not being able to feel the floor beneath my feet properly. At first I had to concentrate really hard to get my feet and legs to move when I wanted them to. It's coming back now and I don't have to concentrate as hard, but they are not working properly. The consultant at the hospital referred to my walking as a spastic gait. I think it has a lot to do with my hips not working properly.

All respect to toddlers! Learning to walk is not easy.

I have pain, lots of it. I get shooting pain in my back, pain in my neck and arms, pain in my legs. The only way I can describe my feet is they are like I'm wearing really tight shoes. I'm sure we've all felt it, you've been on your feet all day and your feet feel like they are going to break out of your shoes by themselves if you don't take them off soon. It's such a relief to kick those shoes off at the end of the day...only, I'm not wearing shoes.

I get tired. Everything is an effort. I can take myself to the toilet or have a shower, dress myself even, but it all takes twice as long as before and when I'm done I'm exhausted. I can help in the kitchen for a while, I have a trolley walker for carrying things around and a chair I can rest on. It's still too much for me most days. I just don't seem to have any energy.

The worst thing is not knowing when I will recover, or even if I will recover. I'm optimistic, I always have been, I'm sure I can beat this and be me again. I just wish I could put a timescale on it. The recovery times are so varied, no two people who get TM are the same. Some stay paralysed forever, some recover with minor ailments, some have relapses, some recover really well. I just don't know which one will be me and that is frustrating.

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

How to Help Your Autistic Spectrum Child - Review

Anyone who has a child with autism will have experienced that inexplicable feeling of confusion when they receive their child's diagnosis. There will be relief that there is an answer, a reason for their child's differences, combined with a sense of feeling lost as to what to do next.

When I first heard that diagnosis many years ago I began to read. I went to the library and read anything and everything I could find on Autism. To be honest a lot of it didn't really feel as though it was written about my child and it really didn't help.Things have changed a lot since then and now you can find a lot of information on the internet. You can also find other parents in the same situation to talk to which helps immensely.

I was recently sent a copy of How to Help Your Autistic Spectrum Child by Jackie Brealy and Beverly Davies to look at. It's been a long while since I read an actual book on the subject of autism but it's so good to have it to hand to dip into whenever I had the time and refer to whenever I needed to.

The subheading of the book is 'Practical ways to make family life run more smoothly.' Now, if you do have an autistic child at home you will appreciate any help at all to make life run smoothly. Life with autism can be anything but smooth running.

The book begins by outlining the key features of an autism spectrum disorder and how you can spot if your child has one. It then goes on to offer help and advice in all sorts of areas such as communication, behaviour and obsessions.

The book talks about schools, how to choose the best type of school for your child and how to help your child to cope with school life. It outlines the pros and cons of choosing a mainstream school or a special school or whether home schooling would be best for your child. It also gives some advice on what to do when problems arise at school such as bullying.

There are also chapters on treatments and therapies and getting help from professionals. The book also goes into teenage and young adult life for someone on the autistic spectrum.

Unlike many books on autism I like how this book has a very personal feel. The authors know what it's like to be the parent of an autistic child and the book is interspersed with little personal stories. The book is also a journey from infancy to adulthood and tells you how you can cope with everything that happens in between. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and would suit all kinds of parents.

To conclude, I would recommend this book for any parent of an autistic child, no matter where they are on their journey. You can read from beginning to end or just dip and in and find useful information that you need at the time. It's not a huge book, the information is concise and practically presented.

You can buy How to Help your Autistic Spectrum Child in paperback on Amazon for £12.99

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of How to Help you Autistic Spectrum Child to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.