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My Life so far – NOT what I expected

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I save a lot of pics like this if I see them on twitter or somewhere – just because I like them.  Mainly funny, upbeat,  philosophical, inspiring,  motivating etc.
Something a friend said to me in a text message recently reminded me of this picture.
It certainly describes my life.

But I’m not OK with it – yet. That will take a while.

I’m 55 – and now have nothing.

The post from 7 Feb 2015 titled Battered, Bruised and Bankrupt explains.

When I say nothing – I mean nothing financially. And no security.

No money
No income
No savings
No ability to earn any income because of all the ME symptoms severely affecting my life. (Certainly not just now.)
No state benefits – I am not well enough to deal with the process. Nowhere near well enough.
No GP ( or as good as no GP).
I do own 50% of this flat I now live in with my husband – but at the moment this is 50% of nothing (financially). As it has a large mortgage on it and there is no equity in it.
And we now have nothing to pay off the interest-only mortgage with in 8 years time. We did have various mortgage Endowments – but they were taken from us by the Trustee In Bankruptcy and cashed in.

Worked hard since 17

With Commercial Union Assurance (now part of Aviva) for 19 years.
Then Prudential for almost a year.
Then NTL ( now Virgin Media) in telecoms for 4 years

Studied for professional qualifications in Insurance (Life and Pensions) and Financial Services (for Compliance work).
Obtained A.C.I.I ( ie. Associateship Of The Chartered Insurance Institute) in the Life & Pensions branch early 1980s .
Obtained MLIA {Dip) and FPC (Financial Planning Certificate} in early 1990s.
During the early 1980s I also worked in pub jobs for 3 (sometimes 4) nights a week – on top of my full time job. I did this over a period of a few years and think I worked in 5 different pubs.
The reason – to save up for my 1st flat. For the deposit, costs and fees, furniture, etc.

All these jobs/careers I had to give up and resign from due to my health. And all the symptoms of what I now know to be ME (or CFS as it was called at my diagnosis).
NB. I left all these jobs with nothing – even after 19 years in Commercial Union.
There was no help or support from my GP at all. And I just wasn’t well enough to be able to push for more help.

Finally got diagnosed with what was called CFS in 2003.
After more than 12 years of going back and forwards to GP – but feeling I was being treated like a time-waster each time. As if I was just being lazy.
Appalling treatment really.

By 2004 I had to accept I just couldn’t risk working for an employer again. Assuming anyone would have me . . .
Although I was feeling a bit better again after some rest time, I still had a lot of symptoms to cope with. I knew I could only work when I was able to. And would often need big rest and recovery periods.
No employer could be expected to cope with this.

So the only option left was to work for myself.

In 2004 I started up the Property stuff seriously.
Buying the 2nd flat to rent out (ironically the one we now live in and are very glad to have !).
By using savings and remortgaging our home I got started.
Then managed to build up to owning 15 flats by 2014.
Mainly by remortgaging them or using additional borrowing to raise funds for the deposit, fees and costs to buy the next flat. When the value of the property had increased enough to allow this.

The point of this was to get to a point where I would have been able to sell off a property every year. Or maybe every 2nd year.
And the profit would give me an annual income.
(It is very hard to make any real monthly income from the rent – there are so many expenses and things to deduct from it.)

Ironically, if I had done nothing at all we would now be much better off financially.

Hindsight again . . . . A totally useless thing.

Remortgaging our home was a calculated risk. But it was the obvious and only option to use. Neither of us have ever had any inheritances or lottery wins !
It had loads of equity in it at 2014.
Partly because of the increase in the property market. But also because we had bought it in 1998 with a very small mortgage. We put down a large deposit of 65% of the purchase price.
This was done partly by saving up very hard for a few years and going without most things. Really scrimping on everything.
And the reason for this – our future security . . . .

Now at July 2015 – Bankrupt.

Husband dragged down with me – as some properties were bought in joint names.
But he has been totally supportive and never blaming me. And I’m so grateful for this.
So, the loss of everything – apart from the flat we are living in.
Oh, and we were allowed to keep our beloved BMW. Because it is so ancient now ! (Think I mentioned this in a previous post.)

As I explained in previous post, the Bankruptcy was voluntary because of my health.
I couldn’t go on.
And this was the only way, as I understood it, to give away all control and responsibility for all the properties. And hand over all dealings with everyone to a Trustee In Bankruptcy. ie. All dealings with banks, letting agents, tenants, insurance companies, etc etc.

It hasn’t worked out quite like that . . . .

But that’s life isn’t it ?
You get told something but the reality turns out to be quite different.

But at some point all this horrible Bankruptcy stuff will come to an end. And I will be able to “relax” and have some peace of mind.
No idea when this will be – impossible to get any clear info in writing.
And I will have the energy (well, more than just now) to hopefully find a decent “ME friendly” GP.
Not really for treatment – not expecting miracles. But just for some symptom control and support.

At the moment I have none of this. Just nothing at all.

But I’m still here.
And there are many people out there with ME or CFS who are much much worse than me.

So I’m grateful that I’m not even worse than I am. And that I do have “mini bursts” of energy. And can do some things.

Even if the recovery time after it takes days . . . !

I Wish . . . .

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I WISH FOR :

To be walking on a beach, feeling the warm sand under my bare feet
To feel the sunshine on my face
To be near to water, looking out at a huge ocean, all the greeny blue water
To see the calmness of the hills, their stability
To swim in the sea, or even just walk in it and feel the water around my legs
To sit outdoors and lean against a big solid tree, eating a sandwich, looking up at the sky

To sit on a balcony early evening, looking out at a view of water and hills. And faraway houses.
Maybe with a nice glass of chilled wine
To feel the warm evening air flowing thru my loose hair
To eat a seafood salad in an outdoors cafe, perhaps looking onto a quiet beach
To be able to read a good book and just lose myself in the story
To listen to calming beautiful music

To be very far away from all worries, all insecurities, all fears about the future.
Just for a while . . . .
Not asking for a perfect life – but just for some things to get a little easier.

Bankruptcy for me has been absolutely no relief whatsoever. It has been brutal.

It has replaced some stresses with different stresses and worries which seem to be keeping me quite unwell. And I suspect the sheer trauma and impact of it all may have made some of my symptoms even worse,
eg, severe brain fog (aka cognitive dysfunction or brain dysfunction)
headaches, and hyper-sensitivity to things like noise, light, using laptop, mobile, watching TV, even listening to music

Hey Ho, nobody said life would be easy . . . .

I crave the company of people who are :

gentle
calm
kind
have empathy and compassion for others
understanding
non-judgemental
are willing to learn, to listen
have varied interests
have a good sense of humour
don’t have rigid black and white opinions
have had life experience which has given them an open mind

I need to avoid people who are :

ignorant and unwilling to learn
abrupt
sarcastic
(sarcasm when aimed unfairly at me is absolutely lethal for my ME, an instant trigger for all my symptoms escalating)
people who make fun of, or laugh at, others’ limitations, or problems
people who make jokes about things that are not at all funny
have rigid, unbending opinions
who get bored easily – there is so much in life to experience (how can people get bored . . . ?)

But I guess we would all like these things . . . !

Gratitude 6 : Red Roses

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A short post – as recovering from a rather bad week.
But I’m not going to write about that.

Instead, here is a photo of some lovely flowers from my neighbour. This was so thoughtful.
Aren’t they beautiful ?
Such a deep vivid shade of red.

How nice it was to water them this morning and take delight in how they have bloomed.
Isn’t nature amazing . . . . ?

Re-blogged : Hip Surgery and ME: Society Has It Wrong

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I had to reblog this post.
It is from Jeannette Burmeister’s blog which is called
http://www.thoughtsaboutme.com.
And it is written by her husband Ed Burmeister.
It is about one of the worst, most painful issues, encountered by people with ME

Thoughts About M.E.

I am proud to share a note that my husband, Ed Burmeister, wrote last week. He initially posted it on Facebook only where it received a lot of attention and was shared more than 250 times. It really resonated with the community.

Therefore, I talked him into allowing me to post it here as well. I am blessed to have such a supportive and loving spouse.

Last Wednesday, I had a complete hip replacement.  It was a short procedure (1-1/2hours). No general anesthesia required.  I was out of bed the day of surgery and home after two days.  On Monday, I started driving again and really could have done so on Saturday already. Yesterday, I returned to work. I was comfortably working away, largely free of pain.  I walk without a limp and with no assistance and am pretty much unrestricted in my activities. I never needed narcotic painkillers after…

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Gratitude 5 : Newlands Park

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Had a walk in a lovely park the other day. In Glasgow’s south-side.
Its called Newlands Park and is a lovely smallish park. With lots of interesting areas and plenty benches to sit on. It was quiet with just a few people walking their dogs.
It was just heaven – breathing in the fresh air, enjoying all the greenery and some flowers out, and listening to the birds tweeting.
Just heaven.
I need more of this for sure . . . .

Grareful to have such a nice park close to home.

Gratitude 4 : Bagels made by Hubby

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Grateful for – Bagels with cheese and ham, with some cucumber and baby tomatoes. Made by my husband.
And a cup of tea.

Had this for breakfast this morning. And really really enjoyed them, especially as I’d eaten nothing since yesterday afternoon.
Was starving . . . !

Reason for this was bad headaches resulted in me getting into bed early evening. With painkillers. And the plan (ie. hope) that a couple of hours lying down, comfy with eye patches on would do the trick.
It did – eventually.
But I was feeling exhausted after just printing 6 emails off in the afternoon. I find it too hard to read things some days unless its in print form. But just looking at the laptop screen for too long, plus the noisy printer triggered off the dammed headaches. Anyway I ended having to stay in bed right thru to this morning.
Hence no dinner last night.

But don’t want to dwell on that.

My point is that I’m always so grateful for my hubby making these bagels for me. (Although they’re meant for my lunch, not breakfast.)
He always makes them the night before while making his lunch rolls for work. He has been doing this for so long now he kindof does it on autopilot.
And I’m very grateful for it . . .

Gratitude 3 : Blueberries for breakfast

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Ok, another not very exciting photo I know.  But I’m doing my best – bear with me . . .
Today I’m grateful for enjoying a nice breakfast of blueberries with yoghurt.
Healthy and refreshing , and tastes lovely too. And easy to make, which is extremely important when energy is limited.
And they say blueberries are a superfood. Hoping for some super effects . . . !

Gratitude 2 : Tea

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A day of being in bed almost the whole day, after just a small amount of exertion in the morning. (Some texts then checking emails. And opening mail. Not much else.)
So frustrating . . .
But I’ve had worse days. Almost no headaches today – and I actually feel that I’ve had a lot of “good quality” sleep. And I’m grateful for that.

Now having a nice cup of tea made by my hubby.
And teacakes.
In this pretty mug which was a present.

Enjoying . . .
And tomorrow is another day.

Gratitude 1: Daffodils

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At last, 1st gratitude post and photo. Just as well I didn’t say I would do this every day . . .

Daffodils
Arrived in Asda order at weekend
Yellow – lovely and bright
Summary and uplifting

Short post as pretty exhausted today.  But wanted to get a cheerful post onto this blog.
Less is more sometimes

” Bullies ” comment and The Lancet

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There was a bit of a row on Twitter yesterday. And reading it (which I could not help) left me feeling angry and upset.
I will probably exhaust myself writing about it here – but it is too important not to.

It involved an editor from The Lancet making some astonishing comments to ME/CFS sufferers. Then actually blocking some people on twitter – so that they could no longer interact with her and The Lancet. Or be able to read anything she was writing about them, or any other health stuff.

The comment which jumped out at me involved an accusation of bullying. Followed up by a 2nd tweet showing she had no knowledge or understanding about ME/CFS at all.
If I have understood things right, her comments were initially in response to an ME sufferer pointing out inaccuracies in a piece that had been published in The Lancet. And commenting that another publication/magazine/journal had apologised for something – I,m assuming similar inaccuracies.

The 2 actual tweets were :

1st )
” What exactly would we be apologising for?? For having a view? Ridiculous.
You,re bullies ! ”

2nd )
” Chronic Fatigue = polarised field ! We,re entitled to our view as anyone else. Its an editorial !!
Write a letter if you,re that aggrieved ! ”

Gosh.
I mean, where do you start  . . . . ?

I could write so much, but simply don,t have enough energy. So I will just need to make my comments in shortish bullet points.

1) This Lancet editor has less than 1000 followers on twitter – but The Lancet itself has 164,000 twitter followers.

2) People with ME/CFS have a very serious, debilitating condition. In some cases people who have Very Severe ME have to be tube-fed as they are too weak  even to swallow.
Even the most mildly affected often struggle with simple daily activities. That the rest of the world take for granted.

3) We are hardly in a position to be bullies, are we ?
I thought bullying was about having power and control. In this situation – who has this ?
I don,t think it is an ME sufferer or the ME community.

4) Another ME sufferer tweeted :

” Jaw dropping response to chronically ill #MEcfs patients. Many cannot write an email ”

And there were many many other upset, outraged comments too.
Not surprisingly.

5) The ” write a letter . . ” comment really upset me too.

I have a multitude of symptoms to struggle with most days – just like thousands of other sufferers. The “brain fog” symptom has been pretty severe over the last few years in particular. Making writing an email or a letter a very difficult, time consuming and energy-draining task for me a lot of the time. It is difficult physically and also mentally.
I know I have written on this blog over the last few years about how much I was struggling with this. How an email that should take maybe 20 mins would take me 4 hours. And I would pay for it by being wiped out sometimes all the rest of that day. And the next day too sometimes.
etc etc etc . . . .
(A letter can be even harder if you don,t have somebody to post if for you.)
This was the reason I had accumulated such a huge backlog of work, and my business was spiralling out of control.
ie. That I couldn,t even manage to do simple admin tasks most of the time.

And the repercussions of this for me have hit me very hard.
Voluntary Bankruptcy, and the loss of almost everything – now in my 50,s.

So I did feel enraged at a health editor from a powerful health publication making such comments.

Over and out for now.

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