Will I ever get my old leg back?

January 19, 2013 § 10 Comments


susincarIf you have been reading this blog, you’ll know I’ve got a bit of a gammy leg.

My neurologist said he didn’t know about legs so I needed to see  a rheumatologist – so my GP had to set up an appointment and it took a few weeks (the wonders of the NHS). Yesterday I saw a rhuematologist at the ‘Freemans hospital’ in Newcasle upon Tyne.

In case you don’t know, my gammy leg swells up both in the front and the back of the knee and into the thigh. The back is most likely a Bakers Cyst. But the front, the doctor isn’t sure if it’s an independent problem, or connected to the cyst. The Bakers cyst isn’t that big a deal, to be honest, it’s stiff more than sore, but the front swelling, well that’s another thing altogether and affects my muscle above the knee right up the length of the thigh and that really hurts! All I’ll say is that analgesics don’t even touch it, but heat packs are great, they sooth it, thank god for heat packs.

The rheumatologist did an examination of my legs and came to the conclusion that something wasn’t right with my knee, but that she had never seen this in dermatomyositis before – she’s one of the north of England specialists in the disease, so I take her word for it. So, she offered me an MRI, or treatment and then an MRI if treatment didn’t work. I took the latter as I really wanted/hoped for relief. The ‘treatment’ involved inserting a rather large needle into my knee and injecting steroids in. It wasn’t too bad because my knee was anaesthetised (bit like getting a filing at the dentist).

I came home and within hours my knee had swollen up and the bakers cyst appeared (it sort of ‘pops’ out) and my leg was extremely painful. I had to resort to the heat packs again. I called the doctor and she said it was most likely a reaction to the steroids and it would settle down, which Im pleased to say, it has.

SO, the point of his post is really just to give you an update on the whole gammy leg episode and where I am at with it. To tell the truth, the whole thing depresses me, it stops me from building up my strength – if I do anything much, I end up with a very painful leg that I have to keep off for days. Dermatomyositis is an insidious disease that relentlessly attacks not just your muscles but your very being. I’ve not given up though, Im still fighting it and I’m determined to win. Fingers crossed this treatment works, then its onwards and upwards, no more gammy leg tales…

Oh and before I go, for your delight, here’s another ‘leg’ I found in the field next to our house (not sure who had been chomping on it):



Susan Susan, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

January 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Well it doesn’t at the minute, at least the vegetable patch that I used to love to tend doesn’t.

The pictures above were taken about 3 years ago  – a good harvest that year.

Around this time of the year (in the northern hemisphere anyway) thoughts wander to little green heads, poking out of their soil beds, preparing to become delicious vegetables to adorn my plate in a few months time.

Last year at this time, unlike my normal routine, I did not plant any tomatoes, or prepare for various other germinations to happen. I had a feeling things weren’t right. At that time I only really had a rash, but I did keep getting various infections, stomach, respiratory and urinary tract. Might be a coincidence and not be connected to the autoimmune condition, but I had a series of them and felt very unwell, on and off for months. If I hadn’t been suffering from them, I may have started to plant out my vegetable patch and by the time it was nearing harvest time, I’d have been unable to tend to my babies, or bring them in. By that time, I had serious muscle involvement with my dermatomyositis and could hardly walk, let alone did the earth. So the feeling I had to not plant out that year was very prophetic.

But this brings me to this year, 2013. I really want to get my vegetable patch going again. It’s good the ground has had a year break, but I so miss growing stuff.

It took me 7 years to learn how to grow vegetables and fruit. In those years I learnt when to best plant the seed, how to look after it and tend to its needs. Growing vegetables is a little like rearing children. They need love and care, you can’t neglect them at all.

One of the things I struggled with early on was attack of the butterflies. I learnt quite quickly that unless you net your Brassica, you may as well forget about having cauliflower cheese. But when I did learn to net them, it felt so mean to stop the lovely butterflies getting their lunch, that in the end I always left a few, un-netted ‘sacrificial’ Brassica’s for them – they made short shrift of them, laying their eggs all over them and the caterpillars scoffing the Brassica’s and growing fat.

This year, I don’t think I will be able to extend myself to Brassica, but I am planning on germinating some tomato seeds soon – around mid February is when I start the germination process and it’s usually been successful.

I’ll also put some cucumber seeds in too, I like the small yellow varieties, like this heirloom cucumber.

And I will put a few potatoes in (or tatties as we call them up north). I like the yellow flesh ones like Charlotte. I might put a couple of courgettes in too  (Zucchini) they are easy to grow.

And finally a few lettuce, so we can have lettuce, cucumber and tomato sandwiches.

So, dermatomysotistis, you may have cheated us out of our vegetables last year, but this year I will be eating freshly dug potatoes and having delicious salads.

Our Nominations for the Liebster award

January 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

The Liebster Award

As part of the Liebster Award, nominees are required to make nominations for the blogs they feel should be recognized. There are so many great blogs to choose from so……where do I begin? There are some bloggers that work diligently to make people think and reflect; I believe that is what bloggers are supposed to do. First, a little information about the award and some formalities.

About the Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”


  • Thank the person who nominated you.  Thank you   Artofstumbling
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

The following is a combined response from Suz and Sus:

Eleven random facts about us.

  1. I used to hate my curly hair but now I quite like it / I am a science addict
  2. I am a workaholic and ashamed of it / I was an amateur astronomer as a child and wanted to be taken away by aliens
  3. I used to be a competitive athlete when I was in my late teens / I am a pantheist
  4. I had a dog once that I called after a Charles Dickens character: Mr Micawber / I am an advocate of animal rights and believe all things in the universe are equal (ALL things)
  5. I have never had a broken bone – although have had some cracked ribs as a result of a bike accident / I was a vegetarian for 30 years until I got dermatomyositis and now I eat fish for the protein but im going back to being a vegetarian as soon as im well again as I HATE eating animals – it feels wrong
  6. I feel that I am getting old and I don’t like it
  7. I went to a catholic secondary college when I was a kid
  8. I am just about the only one of my school friends that has moved away from the state I was born in
  9. I feel frustrated with my own abilities  – enough is never good enough
  10. I am a half glass full person – most of the time
  11. I love burning candles around my house

Our answers to the questions posed to us 

1. What’s your favourite book?

  • JD Salinger. Catcher in the Rye
  •  Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

2. Your favourite film?

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Contact

3. Do you have any nicknames?

  • Suzzie
  • Boob

4. Do you play any musical instruments?

  • No – but I did start to learn the piano once in my 20s
  • No – Ive tried many and failed dismally

5. Have you ever had surgery?

  • Yes – had some cancerous stuff extracted
  • Yes – an arthoscopy on my knee

6. What’s your favourite food?

  •  Smoked Salmon  – with capers on fresh bread and with cream cheese !!!!!!
  • I don’t have one

7. What are you afraid of?

  • Heights, snakes, sharks – anything scary
  • Spiders and foolish humans

8. What’s your proudest moment?

  • Giving birth to my daughter – no question about it

9. Your favourite item of clothing?

  • A beautiful cream dress that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn

10. Your favourite song?

  • Moon River

11. Favorite TV Show?

  • Spooks

Our Nominations:








Our Questions

  1. What was the name of your first pet?
  2. What was the first album/CD you ever purchased?
  3. Would you rather eat out or have a home cooked meal at home?
  4. What’s your favorite flower?
  5. What house chore do you absolutely loathe doing?
  6. What is your favorite country to visit?
  7. What flavor ice-cream do you like the most?
  8. What is your idea of being decadent?
  9. Who is the person you admire most in your life?
  10. If you could choose a different job or career what would it be?
  11. What style of music do you like the most??

Full Stop. New Paragraph

January 1, 2013 § 3 Comments

Well today is the first day of 2013.  Another year has come and gone  – one with lots of challenges, a few tears, lost hopes and a few more endings.

I have decided to welcome the new year simply.  Reflecting on 2012 I have been very tempted to write it off as one to forget.  But when thinking about writing this blog – a few days ago – I concluded that rather than wipe the slate clean I would simply get it into perspective.   It is tough love sometimes and I guess I would put 2012 into that category.  It wasn’t just the cancer but a range of other very difficult personal and professional challenges that together made 2012 a year I was keen to draw to a close.   However, having always subscribed to the view that whatever comes our way is what makes us the people we are, I am resolved to reflect on 2012 as one of those years that in the journey of one’s life, was simply an energy sapping detour. So to 2012 I punctuate with a decisive full stop and poise the pen for the next paragraph of 2013.

Experience has taught me that luck and opportunity are things we make for ourselves.  While I am still grappling with a fussy brain,  poor memory and no hair I feel as determined as ever to make my own luck and opportunities count this year.   I remain positive that this next phase will be a good one – as I am sure many others in the world do.

2012-12-23 12.38.21



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