Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Let's talk about my health scare

Over the last few weeks I've faded into the black on even my own facebook page, I stepped away and didn't work for pretty much 3 weeks other than my existing calendar commitments.

The truth is that I've had one of those health scares which I think a large proportion of people have at some time or other but it doesn't stop it throwing your life into turmoil.  I'd been feeling unwell for ages, mostly complete exhaustion coupled with some other dodgy symptoms which we're still trying to get to the bottom of but when I was told I had to have a scan on a lump, well, your mind goes to some pretty dark places and suddenly my world came to a halt.

Here's the thing, if it had been the big C, I honestly have no idea what I would have done, I have business interruption insurance and I have people around me in my business who would have looked after my clients but for me personally, I have the kids, I have a handful of close friends but for someone going through a serious health crisis, I would have had little to no support.  I made plans for work because when you run your own companies that's essential but I didn't really make any plans for me except to take some time off and think it out, and whilst I couldn't concentrate on many things in life I just poured my heart and soul into my garden and making sure I had a haven where I could feel safe and calm.

After 2 weeks and 6 days I finally had a scan on Thursday to be told that I have a cyst and whilst it's a big inconvenience, that's all it is, it's a sebaceous cyst just like the ones I have on my head or have had removed.  I've learnt some people are lumpy and some people are not.  To say I breathed the biggest sigh of relief is an understatement but it lead me to think, for every one who breathes that sigh of relief there are also those who face the real challenges that follow and I can't think how hard that must be.

It's looking more likely that I have CFS, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also sometimes known as ME, it's not perfect but let me say this now, I work at weekends and whilst it may take me a week to recover with migraines and neck pain almost every day, it won't stop me working.  I have my calendar down to me just working on weekends and Wednesdays now and at weekends I mostly only work for 1 day and sometimes it's just for a couple of hours, it's not brilliant but it's manageable and more than that, it's not cancer and so for me, I'll just have to be careful of the flare ups and it's really something which has probably been underlying for a long time, there are maternal genetic factors that made it 8 times more likely that I would end up with it or the sister syndrome, fibromyalgia, at this point though, it's more likely CFS.  I do have brain fog but I've been straight up, if I get my words mixed up, just laugh at me, it's what the kids do.

I also think since this current flare up I'm actually way better than I was, I'm not getting so mixed up and I'm back to my regular 10 hours of sleep a night and after working on Saturday I didn't even need a nap afterwards, when it was at it's worst I had to have a nap after a half hour photo shoot.

I attribute my improving health 100% to my garden, the ability to be in a calm place outdoors for 10 or so hours a day has aided my recovery tenfold. I already take a whole raft of vitamins including a high strength vitamin D3 but there really is nothing like the real thing, nothing like pure sunshine to make you feel stronger, better and healthier in yourself.

I sat in my garden yesterday afternoon after a day spent pottering around the garden and wandering around a local garden centre with Holly Bobbins and Harriet, I was happy in my heart that I've escaped a crisis, getting old is crappy but at least now I know with some changes to my diet and the continuation of garden therapy I should hopefully live for at least another 50 years if I'm lucky!

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