Monday, 29 April 2019

31 DAYS IN MAY

Bonjour, 

Although I do awareness raising for M.E. all year long through my blogs and my poetry, in May I try to do something a little more and a bit different.  

This year I'm pleased to announce the publication of my new book of short poems. It's entitled 31 days in May

In my new book there is one poem for each day in May, a total of 31.

These short poems express simply and clearly the reality of what it's like to live with a chronic illness like M.E. 

They express how I feel and reflect the feelings of so many in the M.E. community. 

Some of my poems could also apply to other chronic illnesses. 

Some of my poems you may have seen before but the majority I have written in the last year. 

Some are a little longer. 

Some have a link to Star Trek (my life long love and passion). 

Some you may find upsetting but there is no point in pretending that all is ok. 

I will also be sharing one of these poems each day to coincide with awareness month. You are welcome to share this blog as well as any of my poems.  

Finally and importantly I have decided to donate all proceeds from the sales of this book to the charity Invest in ME Research, not just in May but at any time. I am also very grateful that Kathleen McCall, the chairman of the charity, agreed to write the foreword for my book. 

I have set up a Just Giving page where all donations can be made.  

I don't write and publish my poetry to make a living but rather to increase awareness and understanding and to help others who suffer like myself. 

It takes a great deal of time and effort and there is always payback on my health. 

My book is available in both paperback and kindle versions on amazon in many countries throughout the world. 

Here are links to some of these. 

Amazon UK paperback version 

Amazon kindle version 

Amazon France paperback version 

Amazon France kindle version 

Amazon.com paperback version 

Amazon.com kindle version 





I hope my collection of poems convey a strong and simple message. I want better understanding and support. I want the suffering to end.

Please support me and Invest in ME Research.

Thank you 

À bientôt

from the French Femme
xxx

Thursday, 28 March 2019

YEARN

Bonjour,

This time I want to talk about another emotion that I feel. 

Sometimes I yearn to escape, to get away, to go outside, to leave the four walls that surround me, to have a change of scenery, to do something spontaneous without any payback, to be able to go out with friends or family, to go for a long walk, to rediscover that carefree person I once used to be.   

To yearn is an emotion when we long, hanker or pine for something. 

It can be a very powerful emotion. 

We may go through physical or emotional suffering as a result of real or apparent hopelessness.   

With a chronic illness like M.E. we often yearn to feel better, to feel normal, to recover and to have a normal life.  

We yearn to have our lives back and do all the things that we miss.  

However, it's something that can not be easily obtained - if ever again. 

Do you feel the same?

Is there something that you yearn for? 



Yearn

I yearn to
Be healthy
And to
Have some fun
Go outside
To breathe the
Fresh air
In the sun

I yearn to
Be healthy
And to
Have some fun
Meet my friends
To drink, chat
Laugh, joke
Walk or run

I yearn to
Be healthy
And to
Have some fun
However
because of
 illness
it can't be done 





So how can we cope with this overwhelming emotion? 

I have a few suggestions
  • share how you feel
  • talk to someone about how you feel
  • find acceptance 
  • acknowledge that it's natural and ok to have these feelings
  • try to appreciate what you have inside those four walls
  • try to find little occupations that distract your thoughts

What helps you? I would love to hear from you and if you have any tips. 

Thank you. 

À bientôt
from the French Femme
xxx

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

FEELING JEALOUS

Bonjour, 

Today I want to explore another emotion that I sometimes experience. I sometimes feel jealous of others who are well and healthy. 

Last week I had a visit from a friend who is a little older than myself. She was telling me about her very active life. She goes hiking twice a week, goes swimming, sings in a choir, goes to a needlework group once a week and often  visits and stays with her family. 

As she talked it reminded me of all the things that I used to do and have lost because of this chronic illness M.E. 

I used to love walking and especially hiking. I used to love to swim. I used to love playing tennis. I used to love cycling. I used to belong to many evening classes and groups. I used to work full time. I would visit and go out with family and friends. I used to have a full and active life. 

Now I'm mostly confined to my home. Any trips out are rare and usually make me feel worse and it takes a long while to recover.    

So yes it does make me feel jealous. But what can I do with this jealousy? It only eats me up and makes me feel worse. 

I can't spend my life wishing for what others have. Instead I must try and appreciate what I do have. 

I must stop trying to compare myself to others. 

I have to try and compensate and try to find other things to occupy my time and my mind. 

I should try and remind myself that many people in this world do not have the basic things I take for granted. 

Maybe I should understand that I have many things that other people would be jealous of. 

So instead of feeling jealous and sorry for myself I'm now going to write a list of at least twenty things that I have that other people would want - even as basic as having running water. 

Perhaps you might like to do the same.   




Jealous
Of those who can have a good time
Reminds me of a life once mine
Jealous
Of those who are healthy and fit
That was me until I lost it
Jealous
Of those who go to work each day
I never thought I`d feel that way
Jealous
Of those who can plan life ahead
Mine is wrecked and I stay in bed
Jealous
Of those who can fulfil their dreams
Now my life has ended it seems





À bientôt
from the French Femme
xxx


Monday, 11 February 2019

FEELING SAD

Bonjour, 

In my last blog I asked if we can be happy with a chronic illness. 

This time I want to explore another emotion which is common with a chronic illness - the emotion of feeling sad.  

Sometimes I may cry when feeling sad. I wrote about this in a previous blog
It's inevitable that we are going to feel sad at times when we live with a chronic illness like M.E. 

Some become depressed. 

I feel sad 

  • when I look back at the past
  • when I'm reminded of my life before becoming ill
  • by the loss of family and friends
  • when I'm unable to accept an invitation to go out
  • when I have to make a cancellation as I feel too ill
  • when I'm too unwell to travel and visit family or friends
  • when I think of how many have suffered   
  • when I think of those who are still suffering
  • when I think of those who have died and who I have lost to this illness
  • that our suffering has been ignored for so long
  • that so many of us have been pushed into treatments that are harmful
  • by how badly so many are still being treated
  • when I read about horrific stories of suffering
  • that so many young people lose the chance of a life because of this illness 
  • and crying from relief when we are believed 
  • and crying when we are heard
  • and crying when at last it feels like we are being recognised

What makes you feel sad? 







À bientôt
from the French Femme

xxx

Friday, 18 January 2019

CAN YOU FEEL HAPPY WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS?

Bonjour, 

As I write this blog I realise that it's been over 15 years since I first became ill. Through 2002 I gradually deteriorated. By the start of 2003 I completely collapsed and thought my life was over. I went through many emotions. I was frightened and confused. I was angry and frustrated. I became somewhat depressed. I could see my life slipping away. I contemplated suicide. I went into grieving. I thought that I would never be happy again. 

However with time there has come some acceptance and with this new ways to be happy. I have tried to turn the negative into the positive. I've tried to rebuild a life, a life with a chronic illness. 

I believe that how we deal with chronic illness depends on how we deal with other things in life. We are all different and some cope better than others. If we are ill for a long period of time it's not helpful to be always miserable and moaning about our lot. Of course we are bound to have days and moments when we feel down and feel the huge sense of loss. 

One of my friends recently wrote " Loss of independence, job, social life, ability to drive, work, go on holiday, go out on my own again - something I have not done since 2004. How can you be both happy, and ill? I have been asked this. Well, 14+ years would be a bloody long time to spend moaning about it. Oh, I have my moments!" 

And I do as well! There are times when I still feel angry, frustrated and even have a good cry. BUT life is too short. We need to be grateful for life despite having a chronic illness. 

I consider myself, like my friend, a person who is naturally happy, optimistic and positive. Although I totally understand for some people depression comes along with chronic illness and they find it hard to be happy. 

For those who find it difficult to cope here are a few tips
  1. Accept that you need to slow down and know your limits. 
  2. Look after yourself and be selfish. What do you and your body need?
  3. Try to find something good in every day, no matter how small. 
  4. Remember that chronic illness is only one part of your life. You may still be able to enjoy other aspects of your life. 
  5. Try to find a purpose in your life. It will no doubt have changed with chronic illness but you still may find new pleasures and challenges. 
  6. Connect with people who make you happy and with whom you may share your feelings.   
Feeling happy may also depend on your circumstances and feeling that you have love and support from family and friends. Not everyone has that. 

In March 2003 my circumstances unexpectedly changed. I was lucky when I  found love and someone to care for me. For a while this brought some happiness into my life. 

A lot of my happiness and sense of purpose has arisen from my poetry and my writing.   

Happiness has also come from the wonderful friends that I have found in the ME community. Many of these friends I have never met but their kindness and support has helped me enormously. 

Happiness sometimes comes from simple things - 
  • the sun on my face
  • listening to a bird sing
  • listening to a good audiobook 
  • being able to read a book
  • listening to my favourite music
  • finding something that makes me laugh
  • having a shower
  • a good night's sleep
  • a nice cup of tea or coffee
  • a piece of chocolate or a biscuit
  • having a cuddle with my cat
  • a kind word or compliment
  • being able to talk to a friend   
  • helping others


Happy

I used to be happy
Look forward to each day
Then M.E. came along
And took it all away!

My happiness was gone
Replaced by a grieving
Anger and frustration
And numb kind of feeling.

I thought life had ended
And chance for happiness
With all my days now filled
By this chronic illness

Yet slowly there has been
Acceptance within me
Adjustment of my life
New ways to be happy. 




What makes you happy? 

I look forward to hearing from you. 



À bientôt
from the French Femme
xxx



Tuesday, 8 January 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Bonjour, 

I want to start my first blog of 2019 on a positive note. So I send all best wishes to those suffering with a chronic illness and hope that this year will be a better and healthier one. We need to hold on to hope. 





I had started to write my blog last week but on reflection felt it was all too depressing and too negative. So I have amended it a little. Yet I can't pretend that all has been well. It's been a difficult time for me over the christmas period.   

As you may know my recent blogs have been about the emotions that we often go through with a chronic illness like M.E.

The emotion that I've been experiencing recently is that of feeling miserable. This is as a result of continuous severe pain, exhaustion, poor sleep, loneliness, estranged from some family, other family and friends at a distance, cold and damp weather, dark days and reminders all around me of christmas in happier and healthier times. 

At times like this it's hard to keep fighting, hard to keep hoping, hard to be happy, hard to pretend, hard to keep on living   




Miserable

Miserable with no ending in sight
I no longer want to keep up the fight

Now my life has lost all of its meaning
And with it my hope for plans I`m dreaming

How can I go on yet another day?
If I had faith perhaps then I could pray

Nothing seems to have changed with the years past
And I feel my life is declining fast

Miserable and sorry for myself
As if the world has left me on a shelf

Miserable with no ending in sight
But perhaps tomorrow I`ll feel alright!




I have previously written about pain in another of my blogs ' What is your pain level today?'.  This time my pain was at the back of my head, my shoulders and going down both arms. It's a common and reoccurring pain problem for me. I do suffer from other pain issues but this is by far the worst. Pain is one of the many symptoms of M.E.  



Pain

Pain in my head
Face or eyes
Throat and glands
Enlarged in size 
Pain in my neck
And shoulder
That makes me
Feel much older 
Pain in my ribs
And my thighs
That takes me
By some surprise 
Pain in my wrists
And each hand
Hard to grasp
Or understand 
Pain in my legs
And in my knees
New to me
How to relieve? 
Pain in my feet
And my toes
Even down
To both my soles! 
Pain in my bones
All way through
It`s so hard

What can I do? 




Fortunately the pain has eased after a week of intensive treatment and rest. I'm starting to feel a bit more positive again. 

One of my good M.E. friends has recently written an excellent blog 'Resolution time and appreciation' which reminded me that I should appreciate what I have  and be grateful for the simple things in life; to be thankful that I'm still alive and able to get up out of bed each day; thankful that I can still see and hear; thankful that I have a comfortable home; thankful that I have some wonderful friends; thankful for the love of my cat Florence. 

So tomorrow is another day and it's time to stop feeling sorry for myself - well for the time being at least! 

A bientôt
From the French Femme
xxx

       


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

INVEST IN ME RESEARCH

Bonjour, 

In 2018 I have lost more friends in 
the M.E. community. It's so sad and makes it hard to keep going and to keep fighting. 

Of course it's hard when we live alone, have little, if any, help or support, face a lack of understanding, face a lack of recognition and always having to fight for benefits.   

Do you find it hard to explain your illness and how you feel? 

 Explain

How do I explain
My illness and its name?
How can I explain
My suffering and pain?
How can I explain
This feeling in my brain?
How can I explain
That nothing is the same?
How can I explain
Again, again and again? 


Through my poetry and my blogs I try to explain how I and others feel living with a chronic illness like M.E.  

I aim to increase awareness and understanding as well as raising funds for the charity Invest in ME Research.

A percentage of all of sales of my books is donated to Invest in ME Research and I have set up Just Giving pages. 

Exceptionally I'm proposing that in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas 2018 all proceeds of the sales of any or all of my books will be donated to Invest in ME Research 

My books are available in paperback and kindle editions on Amazon. 

The following is a summary of my books so far and I give the links to Amazon UK but they can be found worldwide. 

My first book of poems is entitled 'My A- Z of M.E.' 

This book is a collection of poems about M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). They have been written from personal experience of living with M.E. for over ten years and also inspired by others suffering the same. This book is a must read for those living with M.E. or anyone facing the challenge of living with a chronic and invisible illness. It can also be used to help friends, family and anyone wanting to understand M.E. I hope this book will make a difference to the understanding of M.E. and help others to no longer feel alone with their illness.

My second book of poems is entitled 'So many symptoms' 

This is my second collection of poems about M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). These poems have been written from my own personal experience of living with M.E. for over 15 years. They are also inspired by and reflect the feelings of so many others who suffer the same as myself. My poems may also relate to those who suffer with a different long term chronic illness. This book is a must read for those living with M.E. or anyone else facing the challenges of a chronic and invisible illness. These poems may also help friends, family and anyone else wanting to better understand M.E.  I hope this book will make a difference to the understanding and perception of M.E.


My third book of poems is entitled 'Life, love, loss and a whole lot more' 

This is my third collection of poems and is about my life, the love in my life, the influences in my life, the loss of love, the loss of friends and family, the loss of good health, places and moments in time and a whole lot more besides. Whilst I have enjoyed reading poetry for most of my life it has only been in recent years that I have taken to writing my own poetry. Since becoming ill in 2003 I've had more time to think and reflect on my life. Many of the poems are personal to me. This book, which includes photos, will give you a glimpse into the world of 'The French Femme'.     

My fourth book is entitled 'Life, love, loss and a little more'  

This is the same collection of poems as my third book but without the photos so is more affordable for those with limited resources.   






So please consider ordering one of my books in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

They may help others to better understand and help you to explain how you feel.  

Any one of my books could be a present for one of your friends or family or perhaps you would like to have one of these books as a present for yourself. 

Join me in this fight. 

Merci beaucoup
et au revoir 

The French Femme xxx