Passport

I applied to renew my passport this week.  It’s much easier now with online application; my son took my photo and I uploaded it.  Before I’d pressed the HM Passport Office send button I’m screaming fake. That sour faced, elderly, wrinkly is not me! But she is. She’s just so altered. Long gone are beautiful bright eyes and clear, even skin.  The me now looks exhumed. I could put it down to poor lighting and a straight face but it’s the two anterior dissections causing an expanse of chicken skin where my toned neck once was. My sparkly eyes are watery and sunken. It’s hard to swallow how much I’ve changed in ten years.

airplane blur close up desk
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

2009. I didn’t know it then but I already exhibited major symptoms of myelopathy; the black ops of degenerative disease. It’s so stealthy and gradual I never saw it coming.  Who knows how long it was that tell-tale signs were there; the doctors think my early thirties.  But I had limitations from conception; fused discs, a too narrow spinal canal.

2010. Following multiple mis-diagnosis I end up in A&E, spend considerable time in hospital, ending up with my first operation.

2011. My second operation

2014. My third – possibly my last – one lives in hope.

2019. I’m not living the life I imagined but I am living. I wake up each morning to uncertainty. I don’t know how much pain I’ll be in, how mobile I’ll be or what I might be able to achieve. But I’ve adapted.  I rely on my strengths: cheerfulness – which used to be fairly annoying but this is the toned down version, tenacity – I refuse to break, I do crack though and my love of music and literature.  I’m that determined not to be beaten I’ve written a book and it’s not one wallowing in myelopathy or self-pity.  It’s pure fiction: a thriller with romance, crushes, stalking, abduction.

man wearing denim jacket singing on stage
Photo by Eric Esma on Pexels.com

I’m blogging and vlogging. I’m learning how to edit clips. I’m finding a little social media family. My mind is buzzing away trying to find free ways of promoting Random Attachment. I’m editing The Rebirth of Henry Whittle. I’m trying to create a life for myself.  I’m not going to get better.  I need to work around my disability, not give up.

Sometimes I think how the f**k am I going to get through today.  Other days I’m so caught up in my new life I think where the f**k did  the time go?

I think my life is going to consist of contrast and contradictions. Realistically I will struggle with my mobility, mental health and general sense of well-being.  But life is a gift and adventures are ahead if I can keep mine.

So even though I’m a fifty-one year old disabled woman, I’m going to listen to hiphop and write Young Adult romantic thrillers until I can no longer type…then I’ll just listen to hiphop.

Live!

 

MY RANDOM VLOG

Us myelopathers live in a higgeldy piggeldy world. Nothing is straight forward, nothing is set in stone when it comes to our condition. It’s eight years ago this month that I had my first operation. When I think of the physical and mental battle I’ve had since then it’s amazing I’m still here never mind have written a book. I don’t say this lightly; my battle with myelopathy has been as exhausting mentally as it has physically.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve been on the edge of madness.  Connecting with others sufferers through http://www.myelopathy.org/support.html has helped me understand my condition as well as supported my mental health.  Any long term illness with chronic pain can lead to depression, acting out of character, gambling, drinking, debt – blogging is a way of letting off steam whilst connecting with the myelopathy community.

My husband and children have been total rocks. They understand the condition well because they live it with me. They’ve seen me on my hands and knees trying to get from the sofa to the kitchen to put the kettle on because I want to do it for myself.  They’ve seen me bent over double, breathing like I’m in labour because the pain is so acute it takes my breath away.  I’ve spent the last seven years stumbling, swaying, knocking into, tripping over, falling onto a world that seems to be erratically spinning around me.

I’ve always been a glass half full person. When I couldn’t work, walk, sleep I wrote.  I poured all my pain, frustration and despair into blogging and writing Young Adult romantic thrillers.

Two weeks ago I self published Random Attachment. For me this is a huge thing.  A massive achievement.  Also it’s my ray of hope.  I won’t bore you with what I’ve lost, with what my condition has stripped me of because I don’t feel sorry for myself. But writing has enabled me to reinvent myself, to be Gertrude T Kitty, author. It’s taken the spotlight off my condition and has given me back some self esteem.

I don’t imagine my book will make multi million sales or I’ll have royalties into the thousands but whatever I have once Amazon take their cut I hope will support my writing and help YMCA West London, Centrepoint and http://www.myelopathy.org/  Up to now I have written for myself, now I am writing for others.  I’ve worked this last fortnight on Twittering, Facebooking, vlogging, anything to get my book promoted. My husband has been photocopying and cutting up little adverts for Random Attachment. I’ve been very unwell and immobile during this time so have only left the house once but I did put it up in a newsagent and coffee shop in Pinner.  I am up and feeling well today so have my photocopies and pins in my bag ready to pin it up whereever I legally can.  I’m asking you, if you could print out the advert and pin it up on a board where you work, or where your children have clubs.

My lovely bookclubbers have bought my book. Thank you for supporting me. I’m dreading feedback because I know how high our expectations are when we critique some of the greats in literature…remember I’m a minnow.

So here I am before Christmas, with a book that is all the more precious to me because my daughters were so instrumental in supporting me during writing and getting it out there.

Yesterday I filmed my first vlog about my book.  It took me five attempts because I was so waffly and repeatedly said ‘you know’, ‘so’, ‘erm’.   But here is the link to it and the link to my Young Adult (unsuitable for under 14’s) romantic, thriller.  I would love if you’d follow me on Twitter @gertrudetkitty. If you buy my book that would be wonderful…if you read it that would be even better and your critique would be the icing on the cake…oh and sharing it. It’s a lot, I know, because it’s hitting your purses, wallets and your time. God I hope the book’s not terrible after all this.

 

 

Thank you.