"Hi my name is Lisa,
I am 29 years old, it's taken me a bit of time to summon up the courage to start writing this blog so here we go.
My problems started in 2003. I had just got out a nice hot bath and I'd come down to the living room. My sister was visiting. The last thing I really remember is sitting down on the foot stall and I just passed out and ever since then i have been in pain.
My parents took me to the hospital where I spent a few days. They couldn't find a cause for what had happened and said it could go as quick as it had come. That would have been really nice!
From then on I was in and out of hospital. I had so many different tests from blood tests to MRI scans and CT scans. For one test I had to be sent to a different hospital as the one I was in didn't have the equipment needed to do it.
The doctors would come and see me and act like I was wasting their time. They didn't talk to me; they talked over me to their students. In 2007 one of my doctor's at the surgey I go to ordered another ultrasound scan and that showed I had gallstones and that I needed my gallbladder removed. For a while everything was great. I went to college and started university to train as a nurse. Sadly the renewed health didn't last long and by the end of 2007 I was in hospital again with pain down the right side of my abdomen. It was like starting all over again. I was then readmitted to hospital in March of 2008 but by being in hospital I missed a maths exam.
Soon after I recieved a letter from the university saying that they were removing me from the course and that I could appeal against the decision. I did appeal but two weeks later I received a letter saying that I was being removed from the course due to my health. I don't think I cried so hard in my life. Even now as I write this I am crying for the loss of the career I loved.
I got sent an outpatients appointment to see a surgeon. I was ushered into his room and as he wasn't there yet I carried on the conversation I was having with my mum. He overheard the words “ADHD”. After he heard that word he decided that all the pain was in my head so he was sending me to see a psychiatrist. The one I saw was lovely and said that the pain was not in my head and he referred me back to my doctor. A week later I recieved a letter from the surgeon saying that the reason I was saying that I was in pain is that I have ADHD. The next time I saw my doctor I showed him the letter , explained what had happened and it was removed from my records.
In the last two years the pain has got increasingly worse. On top of that I was finding everyday tasks really exhausting and even though I was getting some sleep I still felt tired. When this started happening I went to my doctor and said to him do you think I might have ME? At that time he dismissed it and said it could be anything. So after he told me that I thought I was going mad. Here I was, in all this pain and also permentaly exhausted. By the end of 2009 I was finding things like washing my hair own hair really difficult. It is hard for two reasons; the first was because of the amount of pain I was in; and, the second was my arms would become so tired that I couldn't hold above my head. In fact I still find washing my own hair difficult.
By the middle of 2010 I went back to my Doctor and explained what had been happening. He finally said it sounds like you might have ME and he referred me to a specialist. It was March of this year I went to a group presentation on ME and it was so nice being in a room with people like me and also people who understood how I felt and everything just clicked into place. At the end of the presentation we were given the choice to stay on the waiting list to see a specialist or say no further action needed. Those who decided to stay on the waiting list were warned that it would be a long wait.
It was four months ago I had to go back to my Doctor as I had got to the stage were I could not walk for longer then 5-10 minutes because of the pain. Also I was exhausted and no matter how hard I tried to push myself I couldn't get much further. So I asked my Doctor if I could use the wheelchair that was in my shed from a previous accident so I could go out. At the same time I asked if it would be possible to have a chair that I could power myself. He was ok with the one that needed someone else to push it and said he would write to occupational therapy for the self powered chair. The reason I asked him about a self powered chair is because being 29 I wanted the independence to go out on my own. Also both my parents are over 65 years old and they find pushing the chair a struggle. Just over a week later I got a phone call from an occupational therapist and it turned out that he had said “no” to the self powered wheelchair because of my age. But he did ask them to help me out with bits in the house to make life a bit easier for me. Not long after he had said “no” I went to see some disability advisors and explained what had happened. They could not understand his reason for saying “no”. The advisors were really helpful and they suggested that I get a mobility scooter. I got this just over three weeks ago.
Even though I have this scooter I still try and walk as much as I can. Having the scooter has enabled me to go see friends, go into town on my own an it has been great.
I also suffer with migraines which is down to the Fibromyalgia. One migraine I had was so bad it landed me in hospital for three days. The medicines I take at the moment are oramorph for the pain,amitriptyline for the headaches,gaviscon and lansoprazole for the hiatus hernia. Just recently I was put on some new anti-depressants. It was the day my Doctor phoned me because the pain had got real bad. He said to me that because I had Fibromyaglia and ME I would have periods when the pain did get worse it was a huge relief . Finally I knew what was wrong and as silly as it may sound it was a huge weight off my shoulders. Finally when people asked I could say its Fibromyaglia and ME instead of saying not sure what is wrong, we still havent found out yet.
All this leads up to where I am now. I'm still in lots of pain and I'm still exhausted but I am determined to make the most out of life and along the way I will write about about the good days I have and also the bad days."
A big thank you for that quite harrowing blog Leigh!
I think it is great that people can write their experiences, their treatment, thier whole process and life perspective. Now you all know why I am so passionate about people with this awful confiton. Imagine being ignore or fobbed off by not just the medical profession but also your own friends and family. Ignorance is not bliss..it's a real pain in the proverbial if you suffer with Fibromyalgia.
FibroDuck is travelling the world raising awareness for Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, while making you smile along the way. He is also my partner in crime, so to speak! This is who I dress up as to spread the word about fibromyalgia! Fibroduck.com is not tied to any charity, and does not raise money for any charities.
He is happy to support all charities working for Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS sufferers
People with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS were almost always hard-working and fiercely independent people. Now that they are ill, their pain and fatigue prevents them from living the lives they had before. Tasks that used to be easy are now very difficult, and many people cannot do the things they once took pride in. They often have to rely on others, and often stress about what goes undone.
A duck was picked to represent people with fibromyalgia/ME/CFS because having these conditions makes them feel as though they are operating in an unfamiliar world – like ducks out of water. A duck on land can still get about and do things, but not as quickly and fluidly as it would in the water.
The dots on the duck represent the painful muscles and joints experienced by people with fibromyalgia.
So, the challenge is to draw attention to fibromyalgia by sending in pictures showing the duck in places a duck wouldn’t usually go, and doing things a duck wouldn’t normally do.
Fibroduck.com ais strictly a non-profit-making, doing-it-for-fun awareness campaign. They do not raise money for any charities, and do not make a profit. Any money that goes to them is spent on ducks, Paypal charges (which are exorbitant), and web site costs (and they still subsidise the site, as receipts do not wholly cover our costs, so donations are always welcome, and sponsorship banners on the site can always be arranged).
Can you or anyone you know help Fibroduck travel around the world?
If you would like to take part, please order your duck from their shop
. The duck is always free, you only pay postage costs.
If you have problems ordering please email
Have you checked out Fibroduck's shop
? There are a few fun items there!Check out the Celebrities who can't get enough of the little guy! Let's get a million ducks out there, and post your photos onto the website. He is also on twitter and facebook!
The prognosis for people with Fibro today is better than ever.Huge strides have been made in understanding of the condition in recent years and research continues to be carried out to push this understanding forward further and develop more and more effective treatments for the condition.The top Fibro experts consider that Fibro is "eminently treatable" (Daniel Clauw MD, August 2008).With effective treatment, patients with Fibro can improve, sometimes significantly. Even those patients who have multiple health conditions can find that effective treatment of their Fibro makes a huge difference to their lives.Many patients, in the UK especially, struggle to get a timely diagnosis and effective treatment. However, this does not mean that effective treatments do not exist and FibroAction is working to improve access to these treatments.Getting Fibro under some kind of control can take a lot of work and some time, but with a good healthcare team, a supportive network of family and/or friends and a positive, proactive attitude, it is possible.
This has been extracted from the Fibroaction
website. But there is still so much more that must be done! This is an encouraging blog to remind Fibromyalgia sufferers that you aren't alone and there is a collective constant force driving the medical profession to do more and not be complacent.
Another fantastic source of information comes from UK Fibromyalgia.com
, and they write -
Do not let your medical provider suggest that fibromyalgia is "all in your mind",fibromyalgia has an ICD-9 CM code, is defined by authoritative medical references, and has FDA-approved medications with labeled indications for treatment of the disease.
If your doctor tells you this, quote from the 2008, 1,319 page, 4th edition of RAJ'S PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT OF PAIN, devoting a fifteen page section on FM.
From the first two paragraphs in the subsection, Pathogenesis, we find, "The cause of FM is still unknown. Theories regarding its cause have undergone a gradual transition from a psychiatric process, as some still view it, to a muscle disorder, as currently classified in the Medline Index, to a genetically determined central nervous system disorder of chronic widespread allodynia, neuro-endocrine function, and cytokine participation, as it should now be considered. The situation with FMS has changed dramatically in just a few years of concentrated research. Where FMS patients were often viewed as healthy complainers, without any real abnormalities, or considered to be depressed somatizers, the psychiatric model is no longer adequate. Abnormalities in neuro-chemical mediators of central nervous system nociceptive function are clearly present in ways consistent with the patterns of symptoms
There is a lot of fantastic information and support for fibromyalgia on the internet. I use it as a constant source of information when I have to speak or write on anything related to Fibromyalgia. I am not a sufferer, so I can't rely on first hand experience. But it is advisable to read a lot of extracts to get a holistic view of all the treatments, experiences, research advances, for example.It is important to have these support groups.
Use their information. Promote their services and information. Make informed choices and decisions based on your readings from a variety of well informed support groups and charities.
Just another reason why its important to support my efforts high profiling Fibromyalgia
- It's for instant relief for newly diagnosed sufferers. You know you aren't alone.
- A universal library of information for anyone needing more knowledge of this illness as a sufferer or some one wanting to understand more, like me.
- Plus of course there is the collective force and drive forward for more medical research from the charities and support groups.
A few of the more observant will have noticed my recent campaign on Twitter to help the Berkshire Search and Rescue Dog group get a new Head Quarters. Their website carries the poster and news so please do have a read.Not only is there a current huge campaign to help with this urgent appeal, but they are always fund raising, as all equipment, rent, etc has to be bought, maintained and
replaced. The group is run 24/7 by unpaid volunteers.People assume that dog rescue groups are just for the mountains. Wrong! Berkshire's group is part of the Lowlands Search and rescue group, and who help the police with the locating of missing or lost
vulnerable people within Berkshire and surrounding areas. Berkshire SAR Dogs
became a registered charity in the UK in March 2004 and is entirely reliant on sponsorship and donations to exist and carry out its work. The Team is made up entirely of volunteers who (together with their dogs) undergo constant training and must meet rigorous standards in order to obtain operational status. Dog handlers and support staff have to fit this in around having full time occupations also. Berkshire SAR Dogs
currently has approximately 30 human and 20 K9 volunteers as full time members of the Team. All types of dog breeds are considered on their merits but not all are suitable. They currently have several operational Border Collies as well as a selection of training Labradors, Springer Spaniels and other breeds and cross breeds.
Lowland Search Dogs was formed in November 2002 as an organisation to set the standards, and give a unified approach, for search dog teams based away from mountainous areas. This enabled a training standard to be agreed and set amongst the member teams, and afforded national representation and recognition among the SAR community. The setting up of LS Dog was initiated by the Association of Lowland Search & Rescue (ALSAR)
Berkshire SAR Dogs was initially formed in 2002, in the wake of the creation of LS Dogs. Initially with very few members and dogs and known as “Lowland Search Dogs – Thames Valley” due to the necessity for clarity, the team was re-named Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs in 2004. The main aim of the team still remains the same today; to assist the police to locate lost or missing vulnerable people, in essence:Now here comes the Duck and Dog bit. I am always game for a challenge. When I am moved into action to support something I passionately believe in
my grey matter smokes with the flurry of ideas to help.I have a young saluki lurcher, Penny aka Duckpooch, who is full of energy. I am new to running and it would be brilliant to have her run with me as a companion but also to help release some of her energy so I get some sleep at night! I will now teach her to run on her lead, by my side, to participate in some races, as a fundraiser for Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs
. I will be in my Fibroduck suit as always raising the profile of fibromyalgia but Penny can wear the orange vest with the Berkshire Search & Rescue logo printed on it. I couldn't dedicate the time to be a part of the Berkshire SAR, and Penny certainly wasn't of the right calibre to be a SAR dog. She was more of a Search and Bolt dog. This is how we can help, using our own distinct talent.Team Duck n Dog has evolved!I shall be researching and reviewing the website Cani-x
who organise races for owners and their dogs- canine cross country running! There are rules and regulations so I have got some night time reading. Plus there are specialist running harnesses and leads for the comfort and safety of the running dog. My wallet may need to come out of the safe!It appeals to me to involve Penny and enter in the Cani-x races with her as we both love being off-trail
and in the mud. The best way to fund raise, and for such an excellent cause! hopefully there are a few of you out there who would like to give Canicross a try too, and for the berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.Watch my Events page grow!!!
Hello Quacks from an overweight perfectly sane 46 year old Mum!”
Yes that’s my introduction line when I begin a motivational speech to explain why I dress as a Duck. I am also usually wearing my Duck suit. So the reference to my sanity is imperative before some one shouts out for the straight-jacket!
I do my talks to a variety of people – school children, international police officers, Fibromyalgia sufferers, dancers, teachers, pensioners, active service men and women, disabled people. My talk is often a digression from the main theme of motivating oneself to do something out of your comfort zone. To focus on achieving anything. To be a true and honest character passionate about what you believe in.
Seven years ago I was very overweight. My children were at primary school and taking part in horse riding, dancing plus a variety of after school sport activities. I would watch them, jealously. Watch them as they energetically bounced, ran, jumped everywhere with huge amounts of energy and massive smile! Why was I jealous, as they are just being children? It’s because I didn’t have that energy, or zest for life.
Before being parents, my husband I would spend many weekends away with friends kayaking, mountain biking and living a fantastic energetic life. We were quite self indulgent in just enjoying ourselves. We didn’t save money just lived for the moment having fun. Why did it all stop and change?
It does take a lot of energy and money to raise children so our priorities changed. I couldn’t and wouldn’t work full time so money wasn’t as free flowing as it used to be. Plus, whilst pregnant I didn’t keep up the kayaking and mountain biking, just the eating and slothing. I was also still quite a selfish person only doing things for my family and I. I had only time for my family and me. We were a unit and I closed my mind to everything else.
During my first pregnancy I was signed off work early with preclampsia. I had to stay calm and inactive, well that was my understanding of the doctor’s advice. I took it quite literally for the next seven years though!
On my 39th birthday I thought “Oh my! I am going to be fat and forty on my next birthday”! So with that, I gave up smoking and slothing and got active! In that year I lost nearly seven stone through sensible eating and walking. That was a vanity deed. I didn’t want to look fat and forty! At least I had the choice to change something.
With the new fit body came a confidence that I could actually do something to benefit others with a challenge and fund raising event. Goodness! How selfless of me! I signed up for the breast cancer walk, the MoonWalk. I now had the pressure of continuing with my walking for fitness and weight loss to raise money for a good cause. Ok, so there was an ulterior motive to do something good for others, as it meant I had to keep up the hard work of training and lifestyle or I would look stupid amongst friends and family if I couldn’t take part in the event.
In May 2007 I did my first Moonwalk “marathon, as it was 26.2 miles, in my decorated bra, at midnight around London in just over eight hours. Hmm.. I had been training hard for a much faster time. So I signed up again for the following year! In 2008 I did it in just under seven hours! But I knew I could do it faster! So, in 2009 I did it in five hours! Still a selfish attitude to have, to want to do the same event to get better at it, not just raise more money or awareness.
And so I began my love-hate relationship with myself to find harder challenges to train for, plus raise money and awareness for a different charity. When I took stock of what I had just realised and understand that my fund raising was going to have an impact on others then I knew how lucky I was to be healthy and to have the choice to continue to stay fit and healthy. I had a “gift” or “tool” that could be used for others! My mindset and attitude could help those less fortunate. The mindset and focus would help my body train to get fitter, so I could continue helping others. I don’t have the brain to help in eloquent speeches or being in the medical profession, just the brawn, the body power and legs to do the work and shout the message.
I am not a natural born athlete. I have to constantly train and watch what I eat. I had a sloth year from the middle of 2009. I had continued with my love of walking and pursued my favourite past time of wild-camping, backpacking and endurance walks, all for pure selfish pleasure. I got large again, as I didn’t have to worry about my food, as I wasn’t in training for an event! But to be honest, I hadn’t been inspired for anything. I was a bit bored of just walking, and I certainly didn’t want to do running! Oh no, that would kill my knees and humour! Also, I wanted to help so many charities; how do you choose one and be driven with passion for the cause! I hadn’t really been affected by anything, despite losing a Grandmother to cancer, have a sister suffer with Crohns, a Mother who had angina.. how selfish of me! I wasn’t affected by anything, but they were! Why couldn’t I get passionate about what had affected their lives?
In January 2010 I went to a talk about the Polar Challenge with a friend. We were both smitten by the very idea of taking part in an extreme event that was pitched as being quite achievable, with training, by ordinary people, like us. We chose our charities based on what had been a significant impact on our lives – Help for Heroes, Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia, Marie Curie for cancer and Brookfields Special Needs school (my work connection).
My life suddenly took on a new meaning in so many ways. I had to really launch myself into my training. With Darren at revive, the gym that was prepared to invest time and membership in my training, I had to push myself mentally and physically. I was driven by the need to be fit for the challenge but also to promote the charities. The focus and inspiration was the motivation and drive.
Sadly there were a few changes to the team and my life in October and I lost my drive and motivation. The challenge also became unachievable, as I couldn’t raise my entry fee of £25,000. Therefore part of my drive to train became lost. But, the faith in me by others, helped me rebuild my resolve, take a new course of direction and focus and so The Rambling Duck was born.
I am just an ordinary Mum, who has to clean, cook, and shop for the family. I have a very demanding job working with special needs children, plus I work some additional hours for free helping friends with their Stage College business. I still find the time and energy to train for a variety of events, as well as promoting the charities I am raising the profile and funds for, as well as encourage other people to take on board a challenge. I am passionate that everywhere should spare some time to help a good cause; dedicate time and energy to something where there is no financial reward just payment in kind for the heart and soul for helping others. I am not financially wealthy but I am extremely rich in good friends, good will and soul which makes me smile, a lot.
I learned a lot about Fibromyalgia last year when I started doing events as Fibroduck. It is my mission to continue fundraising for all those that suffer with Fibromyalgia; for more research and awareness. I can only slightly tap into their daily pain and tiredness by pushing myself through challenging events. But as I get fit and stronger, then I am not in as much discomfort. For a Fibromyalgia sufferer, that pain and tiredness is constant, until the medical world finds a cure or positive relief. Each sufferer is slightly different and should be treated as such, not just as a blanket concern, and fobbed off with symptomatic medication. Treat each person individually and holistically for his or her own pains and experience. Therefore I have chosen to suppot some Fibromyalgia support groups and Fibroduck
So for 2011 I did a few long distance walks, Quackathons, and from October I will start doing some marathons. My ultimate challenge is the Forces March
in May 2012, which is to run 5 marathons in 5 days. I am also hoping to do the Iconic London Marathon. Not bad for someone professes to hate running! That’s what getting passionate about a good cause does to you. When you learn to see the world through the eyes of a person who wants to do good for others, not just yourself. Have a peek at the events
page to see all my challenges; and all dressed as Fibroduck!
This is why I am The Rambling Duck. Added bonus is I do get to have fun in my Fibroduck suit and meet all of you.
You can read more about me at www.theramblingduck.com I blog weekly as the Duck’s Ramblings, and I love to quack a lot on twitter and facebook
Chances are you could be reacting to some additives in just British flour.
For the last few years I have been suffering with IBS type symptons. I have been tired, feeling bloated, and getting very thirsty. I do a lot of training - walking,running,swimming,zumba. I make sure I drink at least 2 litres of water a day, sleep well, and eat sensible foods. So why should I be tired and thirsty?
I went to my GP who straight away tested me for being coeliac and diabetes.
Thankfully I was tested negative but then the Doctor was foxed as to why I kept suffering. I tried a variety things such as being wheat-free and dairy free.
The dairy-free and wheat-free life made me feel fantastic! But it was hard being a Mum/wife/carer/domestic goddess trying to cater for the whole family, plus the special needs children I work with. Cooking was becoming my enemy. I always had to cook from scratch. I didn't want to have to cook lots of different meals to sort al the fads and allergies! No one else would do any of the cooking, either. I couldn't rely on restaurant meals, take aways or convenience foods. Again that didn’t have to be a hardship if I organised myself, batch baked.. but Hello, real world!
I started eating a few things such as yoghurt, cheese and no adverse affect. I then went back to normal milk, butter.. oh such luxuries I had missed. Better still, the symptons didn’t come back so I ruled out I had a dairy intolerance.
I relapsed back to pasta dinners, sandwiches, cakes.. it made holidays and day trips out much easier and less hassle. I could just nip into a shop and have an instant picnic! Or stop in a fast food place. And so some of the symptons came back
..but not every day, oddily enough.Was it wheat? was it gluten? was it one of the other protein enzymes in bread?
I figured if I had cereals in the morning then I couldn’t have pasta or bread for the day. So I reduced what wheat based products I had. That worked.. for awhile.
Earlier this year I had some blood tests done and was asked to come of all wheat products – all cereals, grass related produce – so no buckwheat flour, maize, cornflakes. Plus I was asked to not have yeast. Or my faithful breakfast staple of porridge!
The request changed weekly as to what I had to exclude. I assume the Doctor and professionals were having fun trying to figure out what my body was reacting to. I am 46 so I was also getting the suggestion/advice that my body will be/is going through the menopause so this could be why I am suffering. Erm, I have this issue for at least 20 years!
I woe-betided my lot on Twitter and Joy McCarthy (@wordright)
twittered straight back, "get off British wheat"! She used to work in a Mill and help with the process of making flour. She explained how British Flour has some extra things added to it to keep it soft and fresh forever. The same additives do not go into french or italian flour. How odd! She shared some more of her knowledge, and I did some internet research.
is very informative and there is a book on the matter – below is a plagurised extract..'Andrew Whitley, founder of the celebrated Village Bakery in Melmerby, is a uniquely experienced organic baker, and this is his foolproof guide to baking real, nutritious bread at home.From simple loaves to wheat-free and gluten-free cooking, Andrew explains the baking process, demystifies the science and shares the practical craft he teaches on his popular baking courses.Delving into the deplorable state of modern British baking, Bread Matters reveals how commercial bread is made from wheat selected with little regard for its nutritional value, laced with hidden additives and in some cases, frozen and reheated then sold as fresh.Exposing the madness behind the adulteration of our most basic food – the staff of life – Andrew Whitley shows why and how to make real bread at home, guiding and inspiring beginners and seasoned bakers alike.'From Chapter 1British consumers, without their knowledge, have been taking part in a flawed experiment. Back in the early 1960s, the national loaf was fundamentally re-designed. The flour and yeast were changed and a combination of intense energy and additives completely displaced time in the maturing of dough. Almost all our bread has been made this way for nearly half a century. It is white and light and stays soft for days. It is made largely with home-grown wheat and it is cheap. For increasing numbers of people, however, it is inedible.As technology finds ever more ingenious ways to adulterate our bread, so science is revealing the havoc this may be causing to public health. Recent research suggests that we urgently need to re-think the way we make bread.
That’s not all I found out about bread either! Did you know not all bread is vegetarian? Some use ground duck’s feathers or pig bristles to improve the flour. Look for an ingredient known as L-cysteine or just plain Cystine. If it's there, you are probably eating either duck feathers or maybe even human hair. For some unknown reason it is used as a conditioner for the dough. It helps make it develop a better consistency, which makes it look better to the consumer. Who would want to eat slightly lopsided bread or bagels when they can have perfectly uniform ones that contain duck feathers? A chemical based Cysteine is available and used in some bread products, but feathers and hair are less expensive, so that is what is commonly used.
I now either make my own bread or just trust Warburton’s – their bread states it is for vegetarians! It doesn’t make me bloated, tired or thirsty. Hmm..wonder if all the secret ingredients are missing as explained above!
I use a multitude of different flours to make cakes, biscuits, pastry, etc, such as buckwheat, farina, spelt. I haven’t been able to trust any british ones, not even the organic ones. I can eat baguettes, bagels, pitta bread, wraps without problems as they predominantly don’t use the brisiths flour. I stick to using pasta made by Italian companies – farina. They are graded with numbers, which are shown on the packaging. Another clue its italian. A lot of american bread is made with italian flour too. This website
helps to explain.
So now, to a degree, I can enjoy the freedom of buying ready made food and dried food so long as I watch and read the labels. It has helped my poor ol body a lot. I am only just about to try some organic rolled oats for breakfast – I have so missed my porridge but I couldn't have that until I knew I was not reacting to gluten in any way.Food for thought!
The Rambling Duck is all about aspiring to a challenge for personal health and fitness, plus helping a charity benefit with donations and raising its profile and awareness.Through Twitter, Facebook and life in general I come into contact with a variety of people who have stumbled across this website, and have enjoyed that simple message, and told me so. The website, and my Ramblings have either encouraged and motivated them to aspire to just that, such as Team Dogface, or it's helped some one who has already done that and I endorse their reasons and needs to actually rise to a challenge; especially to benefit others.
Some catch me unaware and address an issue I don't often speak out about, such as eating disorders, something I suffer from.I think it is wonderful that people take the time to acknowledge this. It is like a testomonial that I am doing something right and makes the whole reason for pouring my heart and soul into something I am so passionate about, so necessary, so real
, so needed.I will share with you All the initial contact I had recently from Imogen, and then a subsequent follow up at my request, to share her story.Hi there, I just wanted to drop you a line or two after I stumbled upon your website via the nakd wholefoods facebook page. I was really inspired to see how passionate you are about training, pushing your body (or rather doing what it was made to do) and raising money for such good causes. Currently I'm in the midst of preparing for a 254 mile walk home (from Nottingham to Devon) because I'm raising money for b-eat; a charity which I am very passionate about following my own struggle with an eating disorder. Looking through your website has really encouraged me and given me a little more self belief that I'll be able to complete the walk/trek that I'm about to embark on with my boyfriend. So thank you :) and good luck with your future adventures! the warmest wishes of happiness to you and yours, Imogen Imogen's story touched me. She is just an ordinary person, like me, overcoming a few personal dilemas, turning it all into a positive action to make life more beautifu fo rher and othersl. She is being totally honest with herself, and therefore at peace. She is also being a shining light to others who may be experiencinga similar dark spot, and making them realise they are not alone.In response to my asking for more details about her herself, her cause, her event and
how she has come through a difficult time, she writes - Hi Janine,thanks for the lovely and swift response! I wouldn't mind at all if you added my message to your website - I think that's a great idea to create a space for other like minded people to share their story. I've been fundraising on www.justgiving.com/imogen-curtis and have also written an article for my college magazine about what I'm doing.I haven't really done anything like this before - to be honest the last few years of my life I've been consumed in bulimia and depression, I never really thought I could or would ever do anything great. But after a long recovery I've gained enough confidence to be able to say out loud that it's not okay. Lots of people struggle with eating disorders, and it's a taboo subject yet people need to talk about it. As well as raising money for b-eat I also just wanted to shout about eating disorders - I think the more people voice their own experiences of them, the more other people in that situation will be likely to get help, as well as breaking many of the prejudices against people with eating disorders which make it equally hard to get support and recover. I'm sure you'll understand exactly where I'm coming from, having struggled with eating disorders in the past. It's very difficult to come to a place in your mind where you can mentally relax around food and exercise, but I believe you need to relinquish that 'power' that you let food and body image have over your life, in order to listen to what your body really whats and needs, and hence look after your body in a more productive way, that can also be a long-term solution. I am so happy to hear that you've overcome your issues with food, and that it's not impossible to be at peace with who you are physically (it seems these days that everyone has body issues, and is eternally trying to lose weight, or gain muscle, and fit an unrealistic mold of how a person should look). I've been training at the gym since March to improve my cardio and blood circulation as it isn't great... although I hate training indoors, but I live in the city center and it's not much fun running outside with so many people and cars around. Also have been doing tons of walking over the last few months, I think I need to build up more motivation rather than anything else to be able to keep walking day in day out. But thankfully my very optimistic and cheery boyfriend Toby will be walking with me. We leave two weeks today! (21st June) and we're stopping off along the way at campsites, hopefully aiming to do it in 13 days with a day break somewhere in the middle to rest out tired feet! I'll most certainly let you know how we get on.Please show your support for Imogen and Toby, and b-eat. Go to her just giving page and make a donation. Even send a few words of support. She and I share something quite common - but we have been able to up front and frank about eating disorders, and honest with ourselves. That takes courage and ownership there is a problem!
As a few of you will know I have been searching for THE CHALLENGE to supersede the Polar Challenge. It had to have a low cost entrance fee, a reasonable and achievable fundraising amount, good event support, and ooze appeal for others to want to do it with me as well as have the “Oh My God”! factor to blow your socks off.
I think I have just had my socks blown off. Five Quackathons in Five days?
Last year Dean Grimshawe of Team Warriors
asked me if I would like to be a part of his team doing the Forces March
for 2011. I declined, as I needed all my fundraising and training effort to be totally focused on the 2012 Polar Challenge. That particular challenge has now very much been drop kicked out of orbit. I can not raise the £25,000 entrance fee, let alone raise anything extra for the charities. I don’t have a network of friends and family who can dedicate their time; effort and enthusiasm to fund raising to allow me to just get on with the training.
Dean and Team Warrior completed the Forces March at the end of May. He quickly put out a twitter request asking if any one would like to be a part of a team for 2012. Wow, he must have really enjoyed the pain he endured for the challenge! Why? So I had to ring him and ask a whole lot of questions. My curiosity had been piqued! And you all know what that this Duck is like with her nosy beak! I had followed the twitters during their challenge and often saw the words “hurt”, Achilles heel gone”, “blisters”, “knackered”, “tent with no pegs”… what has made him want to go back for more?
The Forces March is billed as one of the UK’s top challenge events. Participants complete five stages in five days. 132.5 miles from Ilfracombe to Bulford. Each stage is at least 26 miles in length – 5 marathons in 5 days! The undulating all-road route begins in Ilfracombe, North Devon and passes through Exmoor, the Quantock Hills, rural Somerset and much of Salisbury Plain before finishing just outside of Bulford Camp, the UK’s biggest Army Garrison. “The Forces March is not a race. It is not a competition. It is a journey, an adventure, a life-changing experience.” Oh, that’s my clincher! Part of the entry requirement is to raise a minimum of £1000 (per team member) for The Veterans Charity. ALL funds raised as a result of participation in The Forces March must be for The Veterans CharityThe Veterans Charity
, and was founded in 2008 to provide support for the Veterans of the UK armed forces. Their focus is to support ALL Veterans and to ensure that their needs are met as quickly as possible.
The Forces March is based on a legendary march taken by men of the newly formed 6th Airborne Division during early training for D-Day in the summer of 1942. Following weeks of intensive PT the men were told they could stand down and head back to Bulford Camp where they were based at the time. However, one last task was assigned; to WALK back to Bulford. A distance of approximately 130 miles! The men not only walked back to Bulford but they completed the arduous route in 5 days dressed in FULL KIT each carrying up to 80lbs in weight!
The phone call to Dean only whetted my appetite. He assured me that everyone mingled running with walking. The Die-hards who tried to run it at speed for the first two legs did themselves a mischief. There was nothing he didn’t say, even when he honestly spoke about some of the painful moments, that I thought “Eek, no!” I want something to push me beyond my boundary and out of my comfort zone.
I am not Super Duck, just one with a passion to achieve more out of life for me and others. There was also a fantastic support crew who made life comfortable and went beyond the call of duty with motivation and enthusiastic support, keeping up morale and humour.
I whizzed down to my gym, Revive
, to see Darren (Manager and best-ever instructor) to let him know what mischief this Duck is up to… he smiled and after a cautionary word or two, has declared “Game On”!
All emotional baggage dumped at the door and the focus is back on to spend the next year getting me strong for the Great South Run, the Reading half marathon, the London Marathon (I hope) and Five marathons in Five Days! Oh, did I mention I don’t run? YET!!!!
Oh and of course I will be doing this dressed as Fibroduck still raising awareness for FibromyalgiaDean wrote a blog for Veterans Charity in lieu of doing the Forces March 2011 - have a read
I have been doing a few tests with a variety of “power foods” and "power drinks".
There are a lot of ready made protein bars, energy bars, gels, drinks, must-have shakes.
But how do they all compare with being fuel-efficient cost effective or tasty?
Have we been sucked up into a world that we must use these commercial products for improved performance and recovery?
What ever did we do before there was just a glass of milk, porridge, scrambled eggs and steaks?
A month a go I started “running”. I have decided to chase my dream to be able to do long distance running, with a view of completing an iconic marathon. I have applied to do the Virgin 2012 London marathon. But the dream isn’t to just do that one, but to be able to actually run, preferably off trail, for pleasure. However, I need to pressure of a public commitment to actually get into the focus and discipline of running, or doing anything that great demands such dedicated training regime and programme. Competing in a publicised event for a publicised cause actually gets me on track and moving! I can not ever
do anything just for me. Hence my stating I will do the London Marathon, dressed as Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia UK.
I started reading a couple of magazines dedicated to running, Runners World and Women’s Running, for advice, motivation and general information. I also subscribe to www.fetcheveryone.com for the same support and advice, but its just an online magazine, or e-zine. There is a subtle difference between the magazines and the e-zine is that one has a lot of adverts for lots of different clothes, shoes, energy foods & drinks, the other doesn’t.
I like the fun banter, common sense from Fetcheveryone. People share their successes and failures in a positive way, and that includes their own experiences with all the different “Power foods” and “power drinks”. I feel these are more genuine as they are not involved with generating revenue for a glossy magazine. Although, I still enjoy reading about all the variety of gizmos, clothing, foodstuffs that are available out in Commercial World. It brings them to my doorstep and I get to read the "science" behind them all.
But, and I am slowly getting to my point, why does there have to be a science? For me it complicates what should be a pleasurable experience. When I go for a run, or power walk I want to switch off from formulas and reasons pitted against all these different foods and drinks as to why they will make me perform better, longer and out of pocket. Just relax with natural foods and enjoy the pleasure of eating sensible food choices to enhance performance and recovery.
I am not the only one who thinks like this but often can't articulate what my dilemma and issue is. This was put into perspective by a chap, Mark Cooper (@runwithmark), who wrote a brilliant and simple blog
on nutrition for his 40 mile training run. He also had that as a feature thread on his facebook. Nutella spread on bread, jacket potato and steak, glass of milk, chocolate milkshakes, cup of coffee, water, etc, all featured in what people have as their training and recovery foods. He also shares a few favourites as me such as the 9-bar
full of seeds and filling yuminess. Ideal gluten free food with natural sources of minerals,vitamins, omegas 3-6-9…ooo science again!
Now don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for a lot of these commercial power foods and drinks. They are conveniently packaged so you can enjoy them on the go, especially if you are participating in an event. But, I have noticed a lot of people choose to have them as a regular daily dietary requirement. They are now like a glamorous "must have" each day. The “caviar and champagne” of the “athletes”. To be seen buying them, and including them as part of a daily diet, is perhaps one’s way of stating “I am an athlete” as I have these special foods. Great! If that is what helps with your motivation and mind-set. But I am suggesting that there are cheaper, nicer and fresher ways of getting those benefits. I, however, can’t afford all those commercial brands. I am also often poorly after the gels! The adverts encourage you to have them as part of your daily diet, and people have now got out of the habit of using Mother Nature’s resources. Successful advertising campaign and promotions by the magazines, plus top athlete endorsements, will always sell you a vision – my mind’s eye will have me think I am an elite athlete if I eat and drink all those commercial products. Hehe, I know better! So, now I have aggravated a few, but the point I am trying make is, just remember good old fashion real food and drinks.
I do have a favourite 'commercial' brand. My truly own favourite is the uncomplicated power food Nakd
bars. These are raw food bars. I eat natural foods such as nuts, seeds, bananas, milk, etc. Nakd bars are ideal little bundles of "energy food" and "comfort food" in a small wrapper that doesn’t give me sticky fingers, or make me thirsty when I am out running, power walking, or back packing. Easy to unwrap and nibble at when on the go, specially if running. I favour the Gluten free range when running as these bars are very moist and don’t need water to help wash them down.The Trek bars are higher in protein so aid s recovery and re-energises me when trianing and doing a Quackathon or two. The Nakd bars are great comfort food bars, and the little bars help me if I am having a sweet tooth moment. They also count towards my fruit and vegetable "one a day" quota. Uncomplicated raw food to power me forward further, and help with recovery.
These are all I take when I am OUT and about. They compliment my training and events.
Otherwise, when I am at home I eat real food
.Conclusion? - I don't think much to all the different commercial brands.
Still love my Nakd bars and trying new recipes for lots of different meals and menus. Have a look at Melanie Ryding
's ( @nuuutymel ) website for lots of menu ideas. She is a teacher and triathlete, always training hard and conscious about gaining weight. She knows a thing or two about combining sensible food options with keeping body fueled, refueled and able to recover well from all her events and hard training.
I use Twitter as place to network. Not to just gain donations and followers, but because I learn so much from a large variety of people. What a random and eclectic group of "friends" I have from all around the world, and from the touch of a button! I learn so much from so many, and am truly thankful for all of them sharing their knowledge and being very supportive. Even today I “made a new friend” who has trained hard in the last year to run her first marathon. Thankyou @JoSmith ! Thankyou @runwithmark , @WayoftheWarrior, @MattWang83, @fatboychef, @nuuutymel, @rungeordierun, @IronmanTD2011, @Rubbish_Runner … oh so many! You are my true power foods for energy! Inspiring me and motivating me all the time!