Scoliosis Awareness Month

Hello all,

Sorry for the delay in posting something. I have had a very busy few weeks.

Seen as it is Scoliosis Awareness Month I thought I’d better talk about this. If you have checked out other pages on my blog or you are following me on Instagram/Twitter you will know I have a curved Spine, otherwise known as Scoliosis. 

I was diagnosed with Scoliosis when I was 13. At the time we were told it is pretty mild and I wouldn’t need to wear a brace. When I got to 16 we were told there was no need to have surgery to correct my spine so I went onto sixth form. The same thing happened when I was 18, I went onto university. We decided this as we were advised it wouldn’t get any worse. Obviously things can change and there are multiple factors involved.

Unfortunately as I got older the pain I was in got worse. Over the past few years I have been getting sport massages, alongside my physio. Thankfully the combination of Sport massages and physio, along with pain killers, has enabled me to reduce the amount of pain which I am in. Although it does not stop it all together. Everyday I am in some form of pain because of my back and it will be like this forever. 

I do low impact exercise, for example my cycling. 

If you suspect you or someone you know has a curve in their spine I would urge you to go to the doctors to get it checked out. If they are able to spot it early then you can have treatment to help. It’s also really important to work on your posture. For example, when I’m at work I try not to lean against the tables. It might feel comfortable in the short term. In the long term it is not. Right now while I am writing this I am having to remember to sit as straight as possible. As I try to do this it feels uncomfortable. It is the right thing to do for my posture. 

Back pain is more common than people realise. Be kind to yourself and take regular breaks to sit down, or have a walk around. Remember that it is not easy living with back pain and everyone is different. There are no quick fixes. The amount of pain someone is in takes its toll on your physical and mental health. So be kind and don’t tell someone with back pain ‘oh you should just….’ because they’ve probably already heard it. 

It has been months since I last went for a sports massage. I have messaged my physio and asked if they can fit me in. I have an appointment. The pain in my back is more prominent lately, I can feel it all down the right hand side. It is also in my neck. As well as the pain I also loose strength in my right shoulder. So opening doors is very tricky. I basically have to put my whole weight against the door to open it.

Really looking forward to my sorts massage. It will be a long time coming. The image below is one I drew a while ago, but did not wish to share. However, I now feel I want to. It was drawn on Procreate.

A hand drawn picture of a back to show a person with a curved Spine.

Thank you. 

While you’re here please check out my post on my fundraising, I am trying to raise £3k for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

On Twitter: @PhilippapB

On Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

April Update

Hello again, 

How are you?

I am dropping in to tell you about the last few weeks. 

It’s been quite difficult in some ways as I had a piece in the news paper about my fundraising. Talking about being born with Congenital Heart Disease is very difficult. It was hard to articulate my emotions around it and my feelings now I am going to be turning 30. Having my story shared in the paper was a good thing overall as it hopefully has allowed me to make other people feel less alone. 

One thing I have aimed to do with this fundraising is to share my story as it may help others feel less alone. When you are going through something as horrible as my family did, you are feeling alone. You don’t know what do. So by me sharing my story I hope to also make other people feel like there can be hope. Hope that their child can have a future. 

As well as raising the £3000 for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, I also want to encourage people to think about the long term impacts of Heart Disease. For myself it was just the beginning. If you have read any of my other blogs you will know I am also Visually Impaired. This has a massive impact on my life. Heart Disease is not just about your heart, it is everything else which goes with it. 

But this blog is not a woe is me, it’s a look what I am doing with the problems I have. I am aiming to raise awareness in the hope that others know that they are not on their own. That no matter what happens I hope they can find the support they need to live their lives as much as possible. I know I am very lucky. Even with all my other health problems. It’s about what you make of what you’ve got. 

Please do not assume that I am happy all the time, everyone has days where they feel down. Emotions are a part of life. If you need help I hope you can find someone to help. That help can even be in the form of just reading this blog to know you are not alone and someone out there understands a bit of how you’re feeling.

I have found it so moving hearing from people who they have in their lives who has a heart condition. It makes me feel connected to them in some way. It makes me really want to keep pushing on and raise this money. 

Me on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post. Headline 'I will be forever greatful'
Yorkshire Evening Post

In the past few days my fundraising has reached £1347!!! I have to reach £3k. That will be £1500 for each charity. If you can donate please follow this link. If you can share my page please do. Thank you so much for your kind donations in helping me to raise this money. It really means a lot to me.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you want to follow me on instagram it’s @VisuallyImpairedPip

or my fundraising Twitter @PhilippaB 

What am I looking forward too?

Hello all, 

Since lockdown is now easing a little more I’ve been thinking about what I am looking forward too. 

In the past few months I have not been able to go for a sports massage which has been difficult as the weather has been cold and this causes me more pain in my back. The cycling I have been doing has been helpful though as it is low impact exercise which is good for me. It has also been good for my circulation as I have been moving around a lot less than normal. So the cycling has balanced this out. 

The other thing I am looking forward to is hopefully seeing my friends for an outside coffee catch up. I hope the weather gets a bit nicer, well it should, we’re coming into spring, so I can meet up with people. Socially Distanced and out side of course. Seeing people over a video call and normally phone calls is not the same as having a coffee and a cake with a friend. I think we can all agree we’re looking forward to being able to socially distance with a friend. 

It will be nice to also try get back to some level of normality. The issue I am concerned about as a Visually mpaired person is using public transport. Over the past year public transport has been much nicer for me to use, it’s been less crowded. This allowed me to safely, on most occasions, navigate a train carriage and find a seat. It has also been much nicer when travelling through train stations because the main one I use on my into work has implemented a one way system. Yes it does take a little longer, but the upside is I don’t have to navigate people walking towards me. Which is great. So much easier. 

What are you looking forward to as we go into the next few stages of easing out of lock down? 

While you’re here if you can help me out? I’m fund-raising for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. If you can donate to my walking and cycling challenge I would love it! Please follow this link https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1

A Quick Update

Hello, 

This week I have been taking some time away from Twitter. That’s why my blog didn’t go up on Monday as it normally should do. 

Part of the reason for taking time away is the need to reduce screen time. Working from home is nice and I like it in some ways. Not having to deal with public transport. Not having to put up with people staring at me as use my cane, yes I’m Visually Impaired, I can see stuff- just not as much as I’d like. 

It has been nice not being on Twitter, putting my phone on silent and just spending time away from my devices. I’ve also had 4 days off in a row as I booked in some holiday. So this was the perfect time to take time away from my devices as well. 

Over the past two weeks I have found myself busy with work, which is another reason for me to have some much needed screen time. I get quite involved with areas which I am passionate about and then I tend to use up a lot of energy in doing so. Maybe this was a bit of burn out? Who knows. 

The other thing I have noticed is that I need to be kinder to myself with my cycling challenge. I feel as though I need to push myself more to get the miles done. Which I do, but I also need to remember that this is a challenge for myself to raise the money. I have been quite open about my Scoliosis and how it effects my cycling challenge. I am pleased with myself, I have raised £1087 without gift aid. The charity’s which I am supporting are The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and The British Heart Foundation. I aim to raise £3000 before August 2021. Here is a link to my ‘What’s virtually happening page’. 

A yellow daffodil

So that is me for this week. Just a quick update. Be kind to yourself. Remember Spring is coming, so we’ll be able to play outside more soon.

I’m on Twitter: @PhilippaB

I’m on Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

Fundraising

Hello, 

Some of you maybe aware that I am currently in the process of fund-raising for two amazing charities; The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. I wanted to give you all an update on whats going on so far. 

I have been counting my daily steps and cycling on the exercise bike in the garage to build up my miles. First of all I did the distance from Bradford to Newcastle, we’re now doing Newcastle to Liverpool. From there we are going to do the distance to Bristol and from Bristol we are doing the distance down to Lands End. In total I am doing 660 miles. I aim to have this done by March 20th!!

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1 

A red heart with stitching up the middle holding it together. There is a needle and thread sat underneath.

A heart stitched back together.

Some of you are probably thinking this post is a little different to my usual blog post about Disability and you are right, it is different. 

However, what I need to tell you all is that I was born with Congenital Heart Disease. Who knows, this might have been the cause of all my Disabilities. We will never know.

One of the reasons why this challenge is hard for me is my curved spine. I have Scoliosis. The top half of my spine curves outwards and almost touches my shoulder blade. It leaves me in pain and means I have to take tablets on a daily basis. Once a month I go for a sport massage to help my back muscles as they get quite tight and very uncomfortable. 

This challenge is something I am doing for my 30th Birthday. I want to give back to these charities. The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was partly founded by one of the Surgeons who is responsible for saving my life. I want to raise awareness for this fabulous charity based in the Leeds General Infirmary. They offer support to families and their children as they go through the journey from diagnosis of a heart condition right the way through all of their follow up appointments. They are there to support staff to support their patients to make their stay in hospital as good as it can be. They provide a place to stay for parents who’s child is poorly. They offer emotional support. This charity is truly wonderful and does so much to help the patients at the LGI. 

I am supporting The British Heart Foundation because they are working to Beat Heartbreak Forever. They are funding research into areas such as Circulatory Disease and Vascular Dementia. Their 750 stores go along way to help sell your old items and maybe they could be where you pick up your next outfit? 

If you want to see Heart and Circulatory Disease in Context then click here. These numbers will show you why I am doing my bit to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation. 

I will be posting more about my fundraising as we go into the next few months. It might not be disability related directly, but as I mentioned previously my Disabilities could have been caused by my Congenital heart Disease. 

If you can spare £5 thats £2.50 to each charity you will be doing something wonderful. Thank you very much. 

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1