The Final Countdown

Things are getting serious. Settlement for our unit should be just after Easter and with any luck we will be moved into the new place by the end of April. I don’t have a moving date yet. To stop everyone moving into the new building at once we have to reserve a time window for the lifts. I have to find a moving company first and speak to them before I can book the time slot. I’m going to wait until settlement but in the mean time it is pack and toss like crazy. I have 2 free council clean ups booked for this month as I refuse to be the neighbour who moves out and fills everyone bins with rubbish. If you have ever lived in a situation with multiple units or apartments you’ve had neighbours that have done that.

I have box stacks in the study and the spare room. Soon I will take over the loungeroom too. Anything lite enough for me to place on upper shelves I am. I’m in the process of thinking where to stack empty bookcases so I can use the floor space for more box stacks. I refuse to have moving boxes in the bedroom until just before the move as I need one room in the house that I can go into and not be reminded of moving.

I’m getting creative with fabric to wrap some items that can’t be put in boxes. My simplicity cutting board is one item that has been fabric wrapped with safety pins to secure it. All my rolls of interfacing and pdf patterns are in giant fabric parcels.

I’m in the process of writing a heap of blog posts ready to go so I can schedule them for the various Tuesdays. In the coming weeks you will see projects that I have finished just recently or perhaps earlier this year that. I’m in the process of finishing a crocheted poncho and I have 1 knitting project on my needles. Most of my craft items are now packed away. It is a bit sad as when I’m down to packing my sewing machines and knitting needles means we are moving soon. I’m excited about the new place but sad to leave our current place. In near 11 years of living here I have lots of memories both good and bad.

Yesterday I got to see the new place for the first time. It is a bit smaller than I thought but I am used to living in huge 3 bedroom unit. I already have plans for one area. This girl needs a fabric vault!

Cassiy

 

All Clear

Just a quick post to say my test came back negative as expected and I am back at work tomorrow. Once again I urge you if you can stay at home please do. As one community we can work together and fight this. Your individual actions of avoiding unnecessary contact can stop the spread and help save lives.

Take care xx
Cassiy 

Fitness Junkie

I may not look it but I am a bit of a fitness and gym junkie. I am more comfortable at the gym then in a shopping centre. I would pick going for a walk over going to the movies. Fitness and sport is something I have always been interested in. I mentioned previously I played netball as a kid. As a kid you’re not thinking of it as fitness you are just thinking it is fun. After I had my surgery for many years I didn’t really do anything fitness wise and I missed it. Netball was fun as you interreacted with others but I enjoyed the training side.

Wedding present for my trainer

In 2005 when I got my arthritis diagnosis I decided to get back into fitness, I signed up to a gym and got a personal trainer who had experience training people with disabilities. I couldn’t stop the arthritis but I wanted to feel like I had control over it. 14 years later I still have the same personal trainer Mr L. I get on really well with my trainer, he is one of the few people who can read my mood without me even saying a word. I train with him once a week. He has a general plan for each of my training sessions but adapts them to what my needs are on the day. I might text him before the session and say I’m tired so we will more stretching that day which is very helpful for me or I might turn up angry and he will get out the boxing gloves. I joke that he is more than just my trainer but also my psychiatrist as he listens if I need to get stuff out of my head, my physiotherapist and my nutritionist.

The gym is “my happy place” I know everything I do it at benefits me. The hard work I put in there helps me in my every day life. My trainer isn’t one of those who yells at his clients to push them or motivate them, he knows if he yelled at me I would yell back. I briefly worked with a trainer like that when Mr L was overseas for a few weeks and I hated it. I push myself hard at the gym and I don’t need anyone else to do that. I’ll be the one who says the weights are too lite or pushes the speed up on the treadmill. You wouldn’t think it but I actually like running. I find it easier than walking. During one training session I just randomly started jogging instead of walking and from there Mr L has incorporated it into my training sessions when I am up to it. As a kid I hated running but now I love it.

My biggest fitness achievement was in 2017 when I completed the City to Surf. It is a 14km fun run / walk in Sydney. I trained for nearly 2 years to work up to it and I managed to do it in less than 3hrs! I was so surprised at the time. I did it with my best friend B and it was the best day even though I did have major issues such as cramping through it and stopping at one stage in it to be physically ill (too much water and not enough sugar in my body) I’m not sure if I will get to do another City to Surf but at least I can say I have done it and I ran parts of it.

All these years my fitness goal has been to become stronger and not focus on weight loss. Strength and movement is what my body needs and any weight loss is a bonus. In 2019 I was told I actually need to lose some weight due to my bad sleep apnoea so I have started to look at my nutrition changing some areas of my diet. My main focus is still on strength and gaining more movements in my joints that are still restricted. Long term that is what my body needs. Earlier this year I had more scans and sadly yes the arthritis has caused further degeneration of my hip but I know the hard work I have put in over the last 14 years has slowed the progress. I still see my old surgeon and he is surprised I still have my original hip as it was not expected to last this long. I can only put it down to my training.

When I’m not at the gym I still like to exercise like walking or if me and B get the chance to hang out we literally do. Exercise doesn’t have to be completely serious. You can have fun with it and that’s what I like to do. Once again it is one of those things if I’m not having fun then I’m not going to want to do it. I’m a big believer in incidental exercise which is all those little things you do like walking up the stairs or a ramp instead of taking a lift or even dare I say housework. Your body is moving and you are working your muscles without even knowing it. Every bit helps.

So what I am doing on the last day of the year? Since I don’t have to work today I’m hitting the gym. I haven’t been to the gym since before Christmas and I really need a workout as I miss it. My trainer won’t be there but that won’t stop me, I can happily train on my own. My favourite equipment at the gym is the TRX. Unless you have been to a gym in the last few years that has this you may not of heard of it. It is suspension training where you use straps that are anchored to a point (the roof at my gym) Using the straps you can do a rang of exercises such as push ups, squats, rows, bicep curls the list you goes on. You use your own body’s weight as your resistance. When my trainer first introduced me to TRX I feel in love with it. Out of all his clients he has taught me the most exercises on it plus I have learnt a heap of others from seeing them on Instagram. For me TRX is fun, I don’t have to worry about adjusting weights it is just me and the straps. I can switch from working my arms to working my legs without having to change equipment. Next year my trainer is switching gyms and the first thing I asked was “do they have TRX?” They do so I am happy.

Happy New Year everyone.

Cassiy

Disabled And Proud

This is the hardest post I have ever written and the most honest. It is something I think I needed to write. It will help explain a few things if I casually refer to them later on but it is also a post I needed to write for me.

I have been disabled my pretty much entire life but for a long long time I never really identified as being disabled. It was just there and it was my normal. I was born with a condition that used to be known as “clicky hips” which is Hip Dysplasia but it wasn’t picked up until after I started walking when my mum saw me walking in front of her and thought I didn’t walk right. I spent months in hospital in traction having my tendons lengthened. Whilst most kids first word is “mum or dad” my first word was “hurt” which I said as mum was carrying me home from hospital on the train after my tendon lengthening. She was excited that I was talking than realised I was in pain. I later had surgery on both hips to correct the dysplasia (open reduction on left hip, closed reduction on right hip) and I spent months in a hip spica. A hip spica is a torso to ankle plaster. I used to crawl in my hip spica and there still might be marks on a doorway at my parents house where I rubbed away the paint and plaster as I was going into the kitchen. Clever me even learnt to stand up in my hip spica which freaked mum out. I also then spent time in a brace after my spica. Thankfully Hip Dysplasia is now picked up at birth for babies born with it and treated straight away to try to prevent further hip complications.

In my hip spica with my guardian by my side

My childhood years were just like every other kid except I knew couldn’t run as fast as the others or do things like cartwheels, touch my toes or ride a bike (I never got off my training wheels) as my balance wasn’t the best. I played netball for 9 years, goal keeper and shooter were my favourite positions where I didn’t have to run as much (to this day I still shoot things into bins) I had a hip scar that the other kids didn’t have and I limped a fair bit (more if I was tired) but it was my normal and I didn’t think any differently. Every few years I would go and have hip x-rays but that was it. I did dislocate my knee during netball training when I was 13 but I went back and played netball the following season so that didn’t stop me.

My hippo that I got at 16 ahead of my surgery which I named after my surgeon

When I was about 16 I was in a fair bit of pain and after some tests it was discovered my right hip was bone on bone rubbing it away it. I was faced with the option of surgery or being in a wheelchair by the age of 20, it was that bad. I didn’t want the surgery explained to me in full otherwise there was no way was my surgeon going to be able to get me on the operating table. At the time all I knew was my hip was going to be cut in 3 places, spun around and couple of pins put in it. I later discovered the official operation was a triple pelvic osteotomy, which is a hip reconstruction. The surgery took longer than expected as my surgeon just wasn’t happy with it. Months later the pins that were put in to hold in it in place shifted deeper inside my hip but as I was use to so much hip pain I didn’t really take much notice of it. After the osteotomy I was on regular crutches for a few months then went off them until the pins were removed. I was limping a lot but I was use to it. When it came time to remove the pins they couldn’t be located as the bone had grown over them and again the surgery took longer than expected as they had to find them.  When the pins were removed I was on regular crutches again for a short time but I continued to limp badly without them and I was in pain. I think I spent about 2 weeks off them before it was decided I needed to keep using one so I started using a canadian crutch or forearm crutch and I have been on it ever since. If you need to use a singular crutch canadian crutches are much more comfortable and easier. Bonus is you can hang stuff off them whilst you’re standng waiting at places. There was a couple of nights when I was 18 that I went out without it but I was in so much pain it wasn’t worth it. My surgery at 16 changed my life forever. I elected to repeat a year 11 as I had spent so much time off school that year due to my surgery. I had to change my career path because childcare was no longer an option. I’m ok now with what happened but for many years I wasn’t. There was days where I hated using the crutch and I have kicked it and thrown it many times in anger. At 24 I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis. It was something that I knew was always going to develop but it pissed me off for a long time as in my mind I wanted to make it to 25 before I got it and I didn’t.

Injury caused by hypermobile fingers stuffing a toy

Roll foreword to more recent years. I have grown to accept I have a disability and embrace it. I’m hypermobile. Most of my joints bend back further than they should, I get minor subluxations which means my joints move out of place at times and I have to move the joint around to try and get things back into place, sometimes I can do it straight away other times several hours. Not all joints are flexible (still can’t touch my toes) but hypermobility isn’t necessarily in every joint for every person. All my joints click and often I need to crack them to relieve the pain. I was cracking my knees one morning so much a work colleague thought she was hearing rain hitting the window outside, I did crack up laughing at that.

 

Last year I discovered a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome  (EDS) I was honestly in tears reading about it. Hypermobility falls under the syndrome. Suddenly all these unrelated symptoms or conditions I have all made sense. Aside from the hypermobility issues I have anxiety, depression, digestive issues, pain, fatigue, random bruises, insomnia, sleep apnoea, brain fog the list goes on. Many health professionals I have spoken to do believe I have it, some without me even mentioning it first. I’m in the process of trying to get an official diagnosis of it which I am desperate for. It is hard to put it into words why I am desperate for a diagnosis. Part of me wants an easy answer to tell someone if I choose to tell them why I am disabled. I say if because my disability isn’t something that I should have to explain to complete strangers in random situations unless I want to (believe me that happens a lot) I hate referring to it as a condition that I had when I was a baby when that is coming up to nearly 40 years ago. Part of me want confirmation of EDS so that I know I’m not making this stuff up in my head that I go through everyday.

A few years ago I started using #disabledandproud on some of my Instagram photos. Not to big-note myself and say look I’m special but to just to be comfortable and connect my with my disability which is a major part of my life. I’m not ashamed of walking with a crutch in fact I love it. I know if I didn’t use I wouldn’t make it out of the house each day. Mobility aids no matter what they are shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. I don’t need to use it at home or around my general area at work (unless I’m having a bad pain day) The crutch I is something I use that allows me to get on with life.

In some ways I am not a confident person (anxiety and introvert part of me) but I’m not afraid to speak up when it comes to things like asking for a seat on public transport for myself or others. I do question or point out issues in terms of disability access when I see them. I don’t generally make a big deal about my disability as it just part of my everyday life but it is a very big part of my life that I have come to accept. Currently I still get a lot of pain, some days more than others but not the same level I had at 16. I am very stubborn person and want to do everything on my own but sometimes I do need help and often it is hard for me to admit that. In my mind it is like admitting defeat and I don’t like to lose. Like a lot people with disabilities I have twisted sense of humour. My favourite song lyrics ever “No one should take themselves so seriously” come from the blink-182 song What’s my age again? I can make fun of myself and call myself a cripple, so can my close friends or others I meet who are disabled but no one else can joke about it. As I mentioned earlier a lot complete strangers think it is ok to comment about my disability, joke about it or make assumptions about me. This is not something new I’ve been dealing with comments and jokes from strangers for over 20 years. The best one was when I got in a lift once on a railway station platform and an older lady said she should stand near lift exit first as it would be quicker for her to get out than me. Red rag to a bull!! That was it the race was on and instead of taking the 2nd lift to exit the concourse area I took the stairs and I stood there smiling as she got out of the 2nd lift. As I said I don’t like to lose. I’m now sick of the comments I get from strangers. I don’t understand why people think it is acceptable to joke or comment but they do. I don’t quiz people as to why they are ignorant morons but I am now thinking I should.

If you have made it this far thank you for reading my ramblings 🙂 In previous posts I have mentioned my disability before but I hope this has given you a more of an understanding about me, not that I have to explain myself to anyone but I’m choosing to discuss it on this blog. It took me years to say it but I am Disabled and Proud!!

Cassiy

Change Of Direction

I have been thinking a lot about my blog lately and have decided to change direction a little and have added a new category “The Other Side of StitchNSew”

What does that mean?
This blog will still remain predominantly craft focused but from time to time in this new category I can blog about other aspects of my life that aren’t necessarily craft related. There is a lot more to my interests other than just yarn and fabric and in this new category I can share them.

Why the change?
The main reason is that now that I’m no longer making so many gifts I won’t have each week a finished project to blog about. I’m still crafting but things are taking longer to finish or I am finishing items but not getting the chance to photograph them quick enough to blog about them. If you follow me on Instagram @stitchnsew you will see on that I already share other parts of my life there so this is really just an extension of that.

What will I blog about?
I will might share books I’ve read or adventures I’ve gone which are non craft related. I’m frugal in many ways so I might share things in relation to that. Years ago I tried to start a second blog which was non craft related but I soon realised I couldn’t maintain 2 blogs so I stopped the second one. I’m not going to focus on any topic directly. It will just be a mixture of whatever is on my mind or going on in my life. I’m just going to relax and have fun. As I mentioned it won’t be every week I’ll blog in this new category but just whenever I feel like it.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I hope you continue to read it and get to see another side of me 🙂

Cassiy