It’s only theatre darling!

So, the Easter play is well underway, does anyone fancy being an old lady? the message board read. Hmm an old lady in a play….no too much to do…but back with some friends, myself and my best friend decided we could manage this. “Hi yes I will” i replied. This was it. Too stick or not to stick…..that was the question”

Jane: Mel: Shakers: I was up for a best actress award with m drama group, some fun group awards. Stick…..no stick….NO STICK!

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Back down on earth the phone rang… “Jane, it’s Dr Green” can we talk for a minute please?” “yes of course” I replied. “We’ve had all of the results back now, the attack of transverse myelitis, the eye sight loss, after looking at the scans, we think it’s 90-95% you do have NMO”. Silence. My heart beat pounded in my ears as time stood still and all I could hear was me breathing. ” Do you understand what I am saying?” “Yes” I replied. You will need to take immune suppressants for 5 years, continue on steroids until Isay, and weekly blood tests, I will write to you” “okay, yes I understand”.

The following week I received a letter, ‘residual signal change on your scan from January’, hold up….MRI?! I didn’t tell you about that did I?

“You are the dancing queen” blasted ABBA through my headphones. No girls aloud?! Gutted. Again…hmmm…..yeah i am a dancing queen I imagined “not much longer now Jane” came a voice “okay thanks” I replied. I should chuffin’ think so was only mean to have been in 20 minutes…1 hr 30 later…I emerged following a brain an spine scan complete with dye and a venflon sticking out my thumb….ughhh lovely. Great they were doing it..but…ughhhh.

As my wobbly legs stood me up and I grabbed my stick for dear life, I trotted out to meet my dad. As I munched on an apple, looking a bit glazed over, I wobbled out to meet my dad and lent up a wall…no spare seats….we went for coffee and cake…is anyone else spotting a pattern here? Hmmmm. Lol.

I was great to be back with friends, a sense of normality, although I was very aware of how I looked and also may appear, as the steps to the stage daunted me and my feet and legs still felt a bit odd, I accepted the helping hands that helped me on, and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was a familiar comforting feeling…of….’belonging’ and it felt great.

A dear friend of mine said to me the other week at a current rehearsal, as in real time now, the present, “yeah we knew bits of what had happened, but Facebook, snippets and bits that Sarah told us, but that was it” “yeah I suppose so actually” I replied. “Yeah you walked in and said ‘yeah I was paralysed waist down and had to learn to walk again”. Apparently just like me, dead breezy.

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It’s me, the moon…

Oh lord. My face. My face was now resembling a moon. The steroids had kicked in, and to be fair worked very well.

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During this time was James’ birthday, Christmas, my birthday and new year…with a moon face…A time of reflection, of pushing myself, wanting to move on and get back to ‘normal’.

As looked at my clothes that no longer fit, that belonged to someone I barely could recognize looking back at me, I had spent months in leggings, baggy tops and converse. My Jeans that haunted me and made me feel like the Michelin man when I tried them on, this person looking back at me, zapped off confidence, stripped of any sense of self and identity with thin hair, spots and a body that didn’t feel like mine.

Enough was enough. Time to revisit fashion….and Cath Kidston….I started dying my hair and began pairing converse with Cath Kidston skirts and bags, it still wasn’t looking like me but I liked the clothes I saw. This fashionista diva was starting to get her ‘quirkiness’ back. This was the start of a ‘journey’ (god I hate hate expression!) and re-self discovery. The appetite raged as I battled slimming world, constipation, juggling James and fatigue, once I felt I was able to look after him more- my own son?! We found a fabulous local nursery preschool, and has the rest they say, is history.

One day I trotted out of a charity shop, walking stick in tow (which I am pleased to say I was able leave my wheel chair behind over the winter, it was now spring) a lady stopped me and said ” I like your clothes,I’ve seen you before, you have got brilliant style”as I stood in a Cath Kidston skirt, converse and bleached hair “thank you” I smiled nervously “It’s Cath Kidston, I don’t like looking the ‘same'”.

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A bit more self confidence returned, I knew it was time, time to return too one of my loves, drama. Before I got “ill” I was ‘Mel’ in ‘Shakers’ with my drama group that I am in.

I was ready to tread those boards again. This was a massive step. ‘Moon face’ Jane was ready.

To quote the fabulous Pearl Jam: “Ooooh I am still alive, yeahhhh I….”