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Days out : Pensthorpe Natural Park

D has been working on the kitchen quite a lot recently which has meant we've not really had much time with him over the weekends and other than popping to the shops, we've not been out for the day for a while. Last weekend, we decided that we'd take the girls out for one of the days, leaving the other free for D, and giving them chance to get out with us both.  

After a little deliberation, we decided to head to Pensthorpe Natural Park, somewhere I have been wanting to go for quite a while. After showing the girls some photos, they were quite insistent that was were we should be going.  

Located just outside of Fakenham, Pensthorpe is set across 700 acres, with over 4 miles of trails and gardens to explore.  The area is covered in ponds and lakes and is home to many species of animal - we saw ducks, geese, flamingos, cranes, ibis, red squirrel, long horn cattle and sheep.

We did have the option of going on the Pensthorpe Explorer, which is a warden led tour but we decided against it as I just wasn't convinced that the girls would sit still and enjoy the hour long tour.

 The ducks and geese are all quite tame. And bold, when they realise there is the chance of food!  We were able to purchase bags of land or wet food from the shop when we arrived and the girls absolutely loved being able to feed them.

We enjoyed walking through the different trails and seeing how they were laid out.  For me, I loved the wildflower meadow, even though I didn't spot any actual flowers, it was so tranquil there.  Scattered throughout the park are lots of different sculptures which gave us all something else to look out for.

 If you were to ask the girls, I'm sure that they would say that their best part of the day was Wildrootz and Hootzhouse, the indoor and outdoor play areas, although they were a little disappointed that they were unable to splash in the steam (lack of planning on my part!)

There were a couple of things that I noticed about the park. Firstly just how friendly and helpful the staff were throughout, which makes a huge difference. And secondly, just how tidy and clean everywhere was. There were bins dotted throughout which I think makes a huge difference, it was lovely not to see any litter strewn about.

All in all, we had a great day out and I would happily visit again.  

Twinkly Tuesday | Featuring Morgan's Milieu

Good morning, its that time of the week again! Hope you've had a great start to the week and are ready to tackle anything the week throws at you.  

This week's Tuesday Twinkler comes from Morgan with a post about self care.  I make no apologies for sharing another self help/care post because recently I've been trying to make myself more of a priority by taking a few minutes and there. 10 minutes makes all the difference, even if its just sitting down with a hot drink - its 10 minutes just for you.  We need to learn to ignore the guilt or feeling that we should be doing something else because we re equally important. Pop on over to read the post and use it as a pep talk to yourself. 

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Gratitude Journal #42

Pain Clinic
Last week I had my first appointment at the pain clinic, which I shared here.

MiL's Hospital Appointment
My MiL had to have a bowel cancer screening last week. She was confident that all was well and luckily following the appointment, the hospital were able to confirm just that.

Extra pennies thanks to eBay 
I've been ruthless this week, clearing out clothes from my wardrobe that I've not worn for months and months. Years, some of them. My tastes - and size/shape - has changed so I decided to just have a good clear out. And I'm glad I have as a number of them have raised a decent amount of cash (an ASOS dress went for £22, a waterproof jacket for over £30!), which is always welcome.

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve
We had a trip out to Pensthorpe on Saturday. It was our first visit and we all really enjoyed ourselves and we were all shattered by the time we got home!  

Sports Day
Last week was E's sports day and we've started this week with T's. Having a couple under her belt, E just got on with it but T was a little anxious about it.  In the end, we did a pinky promise that if she did sports day I would let her take her toy dog to school and make her a hot chocolate when she got home. That seemed to swing it because she took part with a big grin on her face and lots of waving at me, as well as coming third in her first race!

The dreaded Dentist 
I had a check up last week and its always a relief to get it over and done with and I'm relieved I don't need to go for another 9 months, whoop whoop!

Relieved to have my hair cut, it was well over due as I'd had to cancel my previous appointment, which was when I had my op. It feels so much better now. 

T's bedroom
We brought a new (to us) set of drawers for T's bedroom. She had my old ones which were about 15-ish years old and falling apart. Her 'new' ones are old and a bit battered (which is right up my street, I like furniture with a bit of character) and were the perfect fit for her bedroom. 

Cooler weather
Ahhhh! Its been lovely having the weather a little cooler for the last few days.  I've felt able to function and much less tired.

Silent Sunday

An Appointment with the Pain Clinic

Recently I went to see my Doctor to discuss my laparoscopy and what the next steps would be.  

When I had my consultant appointment, I was told that if nothing was found during the laparoscopy that I would be referred to the pain clinic in the hope that they would be able to help me get my pain under control.  When I saw the Doctor, it transpired that she hadn't received anything from the consultant following the operation. She offered to write to him to see whether they would be referring me to the pain clinic but when I confided that I wasn't feeling particularly confident in him, she immediately offered to refer me to them direct.

A few days later, I received an appointment in the post for the middle of August. I was relieved it would eventually be happening but a little frustrated at the wait and I shared something to my instagram stories to this effect.  Shortly after sharing, one of the mums from school, L,  sent me a message to say that was the department she worked in and that she would see if she could get me seen sooner.  Obviously I thought it was kind of her but didn't hold out much hope, so you can imagine my utter surprise when she telephoned me the following morning to tell me she had an appointment available for me the following afternoon!  

When I got to the hospital, the mum was there working and stopped to have a chat with me and told me that the consultant didn't usually see patients on that day but had slotted me in. I can't tell you how grateful I was for that and told both her and the consultant, who was really nice and immediately put me at ease.  I came away feeling quite emotional that I had been listened to and that a rough plan of action was being put into place going forward.  She went through my abdominal pain symptoms and asked about any other symptoms, which we went through and she was in agreement that she thought I did have fibromyalgia (my Doctor was a bit more wishy washy in terms of saying it was highly likely).  

In terms of my pain, she surprised me by saying that she thought it was likely to stem from a a bulged disc in my spine causing the nerve irritation. I say surprised, but I have had problems with my back on and off since my early 20s when I was hit by a car at low impact and I've also fallen down the stairs a couple of times (what can I say, I've always been clumsy!). I have frequent spells of back pain, where I feel like I'm walking with a limp and I wake nightly with pain.  She examined me and did a couple of simple tests which ended with her saying that she would be extremely surprised if there wasn't something there.    

So the plan of action is for me to have an MRI scan of my thoracic and lumbar spine to see if that shows anything.  Having looked at my blood tests for the past year, she also wants me to have further blood tests to check a number of things:

  • B12
  • Vitamin D - I've previously been very low in this
  • Iron - my last test showed I was low, which doesn't really surprise me with how heavy my periods are.
  • Inflammatory markers - to see if there's anything else going on.
  • Thyroid function 
  • Diabetes - apparently the last time this was checked was over a year ago which showed I was pre-diabetic, although I've never been told this, and I should be having annual blood tests to keep an eye on it. 

Despite all the previous tests I've had done, no one's ever mentioned my back to me before, although I've seen the Doctor about it numerous times over the years.  I'm feeling hopeful that we might finally get some answers. Depending on what the scan and blood test results show depends on the next steps.  If it shows I have a bulged disc I was told it was highly unlikely that they would operate on it but it would be a case of managing the pain through medication and physiotherapy.  That's a little scary to think of but at least I would finally have some answers1.  And it has to be said that because I do get claustrophobic, the prospect of having an MRI is not one I relish but I have at least four weeks before the appointment is booked in.

As a side note, whilst we've chatted a bit at parties and been out with other mums from school, I don't actually know L all that well so I felt quite overwhelmed that she had arranged this for me.  I took her a bunch of flowers as a thank you to her on the school run, its nice to show your appreciation and I think she was pleased.