Monday 23 January 2012

The year so far in pictures - March 2011

Hi again, okay, so I've not done too well in updating you with what happened last year!

But anyway, here's another month of memories and pictures for you, this time from March 2011.

Tuesday 1st - Appointment with ankle surgeon
During the weekend I was rotating my foot when I heard a 'crack' followed by quite a sharp pain so I called the London Foot & Ankle Centre and arranged to go and see someone. My usual surgeon was on holiday so I saw another in his place. He couldn't find anything immediately wrong with it and was concerned that I was still using crutches so told me to try and wean myself off them and walk about a bit more.

Friday 4th - Birthday Fail
I had been invited to a 45th birthday of a lovely lady from my running club. I'd been to her 40th which was an absolute blast so was really looking forward to this.

I decided to wear a skirt and some long boots I have. Unfortunately the boots have a very slight heel, less than an inch, but this was enough to put my ankle in an awkward position and by the time I'd walked to my nearest train station my ankle had seized up and I couldn't walk any further. I had to call my son and get him to meet me at a bus stop with my crutches and trainers so I could hobble back. That was the end of my night. Gutted :-(

Wednesday 9th - First Aid training
I was chosen to be a first aider at work and so went on a 3 day course with the British Red Cross

The course was fantastic and covered so many emergency situations. I felt, and still feel, confident that I could deal with most things thrown at me if necessary.

The people on the course were really nice too, aside from an arrogant twit who had been on the course before and was only there because it had been a good few years since he did and therefore needed to re-train. He really thought he knew everything and even refused to participate in some group activities!

He came unstuck right at the end though which made me giggle. We all were tested individually and assessed on how we coped in fake emergency situations. One of us was a 'victim' and the other was the first aider. I ended up being the 'victim' for Mr Know-it-all... who forgot *so* much, even basic stuff, despite his confidence/arrogance. He passed in the end, we all did, but I think he might have learned a few lessons from that. Then again...

Also on that day, by a massive coincidence/twist of fate, my son managed to go over on his ankle while playing football and as good as break it! Luckily Joe was able to go meet him at hospital as if I'd left the course I'd have failed it... rubbish timing! I say 'good as break it' because as his bones are still strong and young it tore but didn't snap. He was very lucky in that respect but it still meant it needed to be treated like a break and so he had his leg in plaster and was non-weight bearing as a result. Guess who inherited my crutches?!

Thursday 17th - St Patrick's Day party at our Local
No pictures from this, probably just as well hehe...

Friday 18th - Drinks with friends/arm-wrestling madness
One of Joe's school friends moved to Canada in 2010 with work and was over visiting for a week so we all went for drinks at LVPO Bar. I'm not actually sure why we picked that bar, I think we had a table and drinks promised to us.

The night started off civilly enough, but somehow we got onto the subject of arm wrestling and it all went downhill from there.

I arm-wrestled the ladies... and won (phew!), couldn't beat the blokes though... oh the shame ;-)

We had a winner amongst the boys... amazingly... my very own boyfriend! Don't get me wrong, I know he's pretty strong but he's also quite lean and a lot smaller than some of the other blokes so I didn't expect him to beat all of them!

Go Joe! ;-)

I also took a few pictures of myself that night before coming out as I liked how my shoulders were looking :-)

Saturday 19th - British Grand Prix @ Excel

I took Joe along with me to the IFBB British Grand Prix and Fitness Expo. It was a lot smaller than the Bodypower Expo I'd been to the year before but it was still worth a visit.

we were amused to discover *more* arm-wrestling to be seen!

I met one of my fitness heroes, Carly Thornton :-)

And also bumped into the lovely Frankie Boers on the Udo's stand.

I also met up with a couple of friends Faye and Christina

and obviously had ample opportunity to perv on hunky men (while Joe was looking elsewhere of course! ;-) )

Wednesday 23rd - Donating Blood

On Wednesday Joe and I went to give blood and I was presented with this rather lovely cupcake!

(I was still eating wheat at the time so enjoyed it with gusto!)

Saturday 26th - Jen's surprise 30th

My friend's 30th was approaching and her boyfriend had organised a surprise bash for her.

He did really well keeping it a secret from her, we all hid out in a bar restaurant near where she'd been eating a meal and then surprised her as she walked through the door, she had no idea what was going on!

Well done Tom :-)

The night started off respectively enough...

Here's the birthday girl herself :-)

unfortunately somebody thought Jager Bombs would be a good idea....

and it all went rapidly downhill from there!

cue much silliness ;-)

Fun night :-)

Sunday 27th - Bell's Palsy

The day after Jen's 30th we were travelling home with Joe's parents (we stayed at theirs as the party was in Essex which is where they live) when my son called me.

He was on the bus travelling back from the friend whose house he'd stay at the night before.

I'd spoken to him several times the night before, and also that morning before we set off to come home and he'd not let on that anything was wrong. When he called from the bus though he said "Mum, there's something wrong with my face" and then went on to describe how he couldn't close his eye or mouth properly.

Obviously my first fear was that he'd had a stroke, but from what I'd heard/read about Bell's Palsy in the past I realised it was more likely to be that.

When I got home and saw him my heart leapt into my throat, I don't know how I managed to not burst into tears in front of him.

His face was frozen on one side, it was as if he'd had botox on one side of his face!

He said he thought it happened the day before as he was on his way to the bus stop to go to his friend's. He said he remembered looking up at the sun and not being able to blink properly against it, but didn't think much of it. He said it got worse as the night went on.

Obviously I was really annoyed at him for not telling me straight away, but also angry at his friend's parents for not alerting us too - they must have seen that half of his face didn't work?!

Anyway, we took him to A&E, I think we were in there for about 7 hours, they needed to confirm that it hadn't been a Stroke... or Brain Attack I should say, 'Stroke' is really a bad word to use as it implies something innocuous - you 'stroke' a cat! It was quite clear that this was an issue with his facial muscle though as his forehead was frozen and he couldn't raise his eyebrow or wrinkle it - with a Brain Attack apparently it doesn't affect your forehead.

This was all my son needed, he was on crutches as it was because of almost breaking his ankle a few weeks before so this really was the icing on the cake :-(

Unfortunately there's nothing much that Doctors can really do for Bell's Palsy and there is generally no reason why it would have happened in the first place!

I think it might have been stress-related. My son was finding it hard using crutches to travel all the way to school (we live a very long way from his school) and was also having to attend rehearsals after school for the play he was in.

We don't know though.

We also didn't know how long it would take for him to recover, or if he would.

I did an awful lot of online research, even discovered that George Clooney had had Bell's Palsy himself when he was around the same age as my son.

Unfortunately for George his lasted for quite a few months and make him the subject of ridicule amongst his peers. He has said that it made him stronger and you can imagine how those twits who teased him about it feel now!!

My son was put on a course of steroids and given eye-drops and gel. The latter two were very important as he couldn't blink at all and we we were concerned that his eye could get damaged if he dried out. The gel he put on just as he was going to sleep to provide a protective film over his eyes while he slept.

I also did a bit of research and learned that circulation can affect the recovery of the cranial nerve so I put him on a course of high strength vitamin B, fish oils and Ginkgo Biloba.

Thankfully my son's condition cleared up within about four weeks. I took pictures of him every week during this time so we could compare how far his recovery had come.

here's him smiling:

and here is him attempting to wrinkle his forehead:

By week four he was totally symmetrical again :-)

Also in March...

I started designing how our tiny garden might end up and looking for a gardener:

That's all that I have in pictures for March.

Til next time...



  1. Hi Tara, just read your post and enjoyed it. Great photos taken with Frankie and Carly... and the , err... hunks, of course. Keep posting :)

  2. Hi Tara,

    Just read your blog from start to end (its taken me a few days!). Some great info and its good to see how your training and nutrition has developed.

    I hope your ankle is ok!

    Jim (MT member JimRat)

  3. ps MT =

  4. Thanks for all your comments :-)

    Kim - thanks, I'm very snap-happy, I really need to start updating again but I'm going to have to write-off last year until I have more time to sort out pics!

    Jim - can't find you on MT, can you PM me? I can't believe you've read the whole blog, that's awesome, thanks!

    David, have emailed you :-)