Bella Beat health and fitness tracker

I’ve been trying out the BellaBeat fitness and health tracker for the past few months, you can watch my review on my YouTube channel.

Find Bellabeat on their website for more information or to buy your own.

 

I wasn’t paid for this review but I was gifted the products by the company. I am free to give an honest review and Bellabeat have had no say on how i shared my thoughts or what my review said.

I occasionally work with companies to review products, I only work with companies I trust and who I think have products that you guys would be interested in and I will always let you know if this is the case.

✌🏽 & ❤️

Sam xx

Flu jabs and chronic illness

Just a friendly reminder for anyone with a chronic illness or vulnerable people that it is flu jab time!

Flu jab chronic illness

 

The NHS says:

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.

Chronic illness flu jab NHS

Ive had flu once and ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks, it was horrific! I’ve never felt so ill in my life. People say all the time “oh I’ve got flu!” The chances are they don’t!

The doctor told me it’s the £10 note test, if you have flu and someone told you there was a tenner on the floor outside your house, you wouldn’t have the energy or inclination to move. Not sure quite how true that is but when I had flu it felt like even my hair hurt. I couldn’t move and even breathing hurt.

I had to call my GP to get on the list as Id been missed off, but now I get an annual letter to go in. It takes a couple of minutes and it’s all done.

If you are unsure whether you should have it or not, get in touch with your GP for more advice.

✌🏽 & ❤️

Sam xx

 

Two shows, one day!

At the beginning of the year I got tickets for Eli and myself to go see Hamilton. And then for my birthday Eli surprised me with tickets for Les Miserables for the matinee on the same day!

Hamilton is their fave show and they know every single word and Les Mis is my go to show, I think I’ve seen the film 30 times but I haven’t ever been to the West End and so yesterday was such a treat.

I have been worried about this day since June and my last surgery, since then I’m in pain every day, I’m taking pain killers all the time and my stomach is agony. Also the fatigue has stepped up (probably because I struggle to sleep much at night). And I have been panicking about whether I would be able to make it.

Les Mis London Chronic Illness

What if I had to let my kid down yet again? What if I couldn’t make it or even worse what if I came and then was too ill to get out to the show? What if I embarrassed them by leaking in the theatre or falling asleep because I’m necking codiene? What if I was the reason they didn’t get to see the thing they’ve been most excited for?!

Mum guilt and panic stepped in and I spent so long worrying, planning on who I could ask to step in my place and take Eli so they didn’t miss out. But I managed to pull myself together and away we went!

Les Miserables is the longest running show in the world and though I’ve seen the film tons of times, seeing it on stage was a whole other experience!! It was amazing, so beautiful and the actors were incredible, we went to the matinee show and I cried, laughed and had the best time! Eli really enjoyed it too and I was so grateful that they’d bought me the tickets, what a brilliant child I have!

Next we headed across London to the Victoria Palace for our second show of the day, Hamilton. And oh my gosh, it was ridiculously amazing! As its Eli’s favourite, they were so excited and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a brilliant story and again the cast were just wonderful!

Hamilton London

One of the things people don’t understand about chronic illness is the amount of balancing and planning that life takes. Getting the balance of pain medication right so that I wasn’t in so much pain that I couldn’t concentrate but not so much medication that I’d be dozy and sleepy. Figuring out what I could eat and drink so that my bag wouldn’t be filling so I’d have to leave the theatre but making sure I didn’t get dehydrated.

Packing a bag for the day that had everything for an ostomy bag change and a change of clothes if I had a leak was tough as I didn’t want a heavy bag I couldn’t carry and also I knew my bags would be checked at the theatre.

The other thing is being aware that a day out like this would completely exhaust me for days afterwards. It’s been a week since we went but I’m still recovering and have had to work from bed all week. One days fun equals a week of exhaustion, pain and fatigue.

But sometimes you have to accept this in order to do the things that make you happy. And I couldn’t have been happier to spend the day with one of my amazing kids. Anyone with more than one child knows that it’s hard to get one on one time with your kids and so having a full day doing something we both love was so special. Eli isn’t having the easiest time but they are such brilliant company and hanging out with such a wonderful, kind, clever, cool and awesome person made the weekend so special!

West End shows aren’t cheap as we all know and I feel very privileged to have been able to go to two shows, but it was such a fantastic experience and I’m so glad we did it. We have already started saving for our next show next year!

If you’d like to know more about accessible theatre, check out Life of Pippa, a brilliant blog you can find here.

✌🏽 & ❤️

Sam xx

Reiki

Reiki is a form of complementary medicine developed in 1922 by Mikao Usui. Since originating in Japan, reiki has been adapted into varying cultural traditions across the world. Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a “universal healing” is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.

Pat Hayward from Angelic Healing got in touch with me a few months ago, we’d met a few years ago on a course and stayed in touch through the power of social media. Pat had been reading about my surgeries and the struggles I was having with anxiety and offered to come and see me to give me a reiki session.

I’ll be honest in saying that I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of reiki but thought if nothing else then it would be a relaxing experience and so I took her up on her offer.

She came to see me at home and we had a little chat about what was going on and how I was feeling. Pat is a very calming and open person and I felt immediately at ease with her, I found I could open up to her in a way I wouldn’t usually be comfortable with.

She brought a massage table and some crystals and played soothing music as I lay on my back and closed my eyes. She explained that she’d be moving around my body and to relax, and that if I felt uncomfortable to let her know.

As I lay back my mind starting wandering to worries and things I needed to do. I often struggle with massages as I can’t switch off but very quickly I began to relax and my mind cleared.

With my eyes closed I began to see swirling colours coming in and out of view, my body let go and I found myself in a really deep state of relaxation. I watched the colours moving around and wondered to myself why I’d never noticed that the lights in my living room did this with my eyes closed!

Around an hour later, Pat touched me on my arm and told me she had finished, she suggested I take my time in getting up and got me some water.

I felt as if I’d woken from a deep peaceful sleep even though I’d been awake the whole time. As I relaxed back I closed my eyes again expecting to see the lights again but they were gone! No matter how much I tried I couldn’t see the beautiful swirls and that freaked me out a little!!

Pat told me to try and relax for the rest of the day and to drink plenty of water. I couldn’t thank her enough, I can’t remember the last time I felt so at ease, so calm and so rested. She suggested I spent some time with my shoes off and grounding myself by being outdoors with my feet on natural ground.

After thanking her and saying goodbye I went up to the allotment, I took off my sandals and stood with the sun on my face. All of a sudden my stomach gurgled and my ostomy bag completely filled up! It felt like my body expelling everything in one go, not painful at all but almost like I was letting go.

As I said, I wasn’t sure about reiki before hand, I can’t explain any of these feelings or the things I saw. But I can say it was one of the most peaceful and relaxing experiences of my life. I would definitely do it again!

If you are feeling stressed out and wound up, I would recommend trying reiki, it may not be for everyone but for me it felt like a really healing and beautiful experience.

You can get in touch with Pat through her Facebook page to find out more or if you’re not around Sheffield then search for a reputable reiki healer near you.

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam

 

I wasn’t paid for this review, but Pat gave me the session for free. She did not request a review or expect anything in return but it was such a great experience for me that I wanted to share.

I’m on the Disability Power 100 List!

I can’t explain how honoured I feel to be recognised on the Shaw Trust Power 100 list 2018. You can read more here http://www.disabilitypower100.com

The Shaw Trust Power List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Since its inception four years ago, the publication has gone from strength to strength. Over the years it has allowed Shaw Trust to encourage businesses, employers and other organisations to reflect on opportunities available for disabled people. The list plays a vital role in providing much needed encouragement to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to see that aspiration and ambition can be fulfilled regardless of disability or impairment.

I don’t do any of the blogging, speaking or activism for recognition but to help others. I remember how isolating and lonely it was when I was diagnosed and going through surgeries and treatment and all I ever wanted was to help anyone else feeling like this.

During my darkest times, blogging has helped me to find some light, knowing that I could use my experiences to help others got me through and I am so proud to have been able to support so many people over the past five years.

Disability power list 100 2018

Thank you to every person who has taken the time to read my blog, share it or reach out to me, it’s genuinely an honour and a blessing to be a part of your lives.

A very wise woman once told me that every person has a story and if you are privileged to hear those stories then be grateful and humble that you have that opportunity. And that’s how I feel every time I get a message from a reader.

Life can be short, scary and sometimes it sucks but count your blessings and try to use your time to bring goodness and kindness into the lives of the people around you.

Money, fame, accolade, they’re nice but what is important is love, caring and kindness. It’s what holds the world together.

Thank you so much for being part of my journey.

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xxx

To Sam, Sorry I punched you…

I know people have been wondering what has been going on with me for the past few days and I couldn’t say too much whilst the police were dealing with it all. But after a pretty useless and dismal response from the police I thought I may as well share.

On Friday night, I went out for a meal for a family members 18th birthday, it was a lovely night and at the end, the hosts asked if we were happy to split the bill per head, we were fine with that and paid. When all the money was gathered, there was a shortfall. My husband told the host that he would throw in some extra money.

They were bantering between them with the host refusing to take it and my husband insisting, all light hearted and a bit funny to see them throwing money back and forth.

Then another member of the party who was sat on a different table turned around and asked if there was a problem. Timm said no but she carried on saying she’d been listening to him slag her off for the past 10 minutes. We were very confused, I asked her what she thought she’d heard and she said “I’m not fucking talking to you”. This carried on for another 5 minutes with Timm trying to figure out what on Earth she was talking about.

She was extremely aggressive so I asked her husband what she thought Timm had said, again she turned to me and said “don’t fucking talk to him like I’m not here”. So I asked her what has he said? She replied that she couldn’t remember, but knew he was being funny with her.

I laughed and shook my head asking her why on Earth she was starting an argument that she had no idea what it was even about. Others on our table were trying to tell her that Timm hadn’t said anything about her.

She continued to scream in my face, she was stood up and I was sat at the table, she came right into my face and was pointing and shouting, so much so that her spit was landing on my face.

I thought she was going to attack me and so I stood up and pushed her away.

She then punched me in the face twice.

As restaurant staff took me into the kitchen to put ice on my face she stood in the middle of the restaurant screaming at me to come outside and “finish it”. I ignored her and the waitress told me she had drunk a lot of wine and was probably embarrassed for not wanting to share the bill.

My three kids were there, my youngest was hiding in his shirt terrified by this woman, he was hysterical at seeing me punched.

My middle child had a panic attack, they couldn’t breathe and were in a terrible state. I was just devastated, it was horrific.

On Saturday she sent a long rambling message where she said:

Just wanted to message to say Im sorry things escalated to what it did last night. I reacted to something in hindsight I should have just ignored but I felt strongly that we were being accused somewhat for not paying our bill right even if our opinions differ on that. My reactions to being pushed are uncontrollable as lashing out is a normal response from anyone having hands on them but I never meant to hurt you, I just can’t control reaction in a hostile environment. I do wish the whole situation didn’t happen in the first place. It was crazy and not an event I make a habit of being a part of. Neither of us need to be sorry for sticking up for ourselves or raising objection to what was said, that’s just normal when someone feels aggrieved but I wanted to let you know my thoughts on reflection. I never intended for the whole thing to happen, we actually spoke to each other at the start of the night which I appreciated as that hasn’t happened in a while. Please pass my thoughts onto Tim also. Hopefully we can put it all behind us as our paths will inevitably cross again in the future. X

I do not see this as an apology and found most worrying that she says she can’t control herself as she is a secondary school teacher!

I reported the incident to the police and they phoned me asking how I wanted to deal with it, I could go down the route of restorative justice where she would have to admit responsibility and that she was wrong and apologise to me, my husband and my kids. The second option was to press charges and go to court, he said if she was charged and found guilty she would lose her job.

As upset as I was, I don’t want to see someone end their career so I agreed to look at reparative justice and he said he would speak to her.

He came back saying that she says she’d gone straight to a solicitor and if I press charges then she will press charges on me as I pushed her first and so all her actions were self defence.

This is the restorative justice apology that I received.

To Sam,

I am sorry I punched you.

 

 

After crying at the sheer emotion placed in this heartfelt apology, I could only laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

I have a black eye, swollen cheek and bruised face, my kids are still in shock and are scared she is going to come back.

Yet if I press charges, I will end up as a suspect too.

You know what, I believe this person is a bully, she thought I was an easy target and that’s why she started on me, she knew I’d had multiple surgeries and am unwell and still chose to punch me twice and then try to continue it by asking me to go outside and fight her.

I think she is still trying to bully me now with that pathetic apology, she knows I’m too unwell to face a court case.

Im done in, this year has been a nightmare. Two surgeries, months of treatment, recovery and physio, at least one more operation is needed and I’m dealing with a large cyst on my ovary that needs examining for cancer after my tumour markers came back raised.

I’m sick and tired, the fatigue is smashing me at the minute, I take pain killers every single day, I’ve had to reduce my work hours because I can’t cope and spend most of my time in bed. I’ve had enough of everything. So to be punched and bullied by a school teacher is just too far, it’s just too much.

I’ve been in tears since I spoke to the police, it just doesn’t seem fair that someone can scream in your face, poking their finger at you in front of your kids and you have to just sit there, you can’t push them away without being accused of assault.

Ive has enough of everything. I spend my life trying to be good, to be positive, to help and support people and I am fed up of being shit on, of people treating me like crap, of my life being one trauma after another. I’ve had enough.

 

So there you go, that’s what is going on this week, I’ve had a lot of messages and so thought screw it, why not be honest and say what’s happened.

Everything is shit and I’m done in. I don’t know when I’ll blog or be on social media again, I’m just so jaded with the world right now and to be honest, I’ve got nothing positive to say.

Thank you for all the messages of love and support, it means a lot.

Sam xx

 

 

Thee and Me

Twenty years ago today I met my best friend, my husband, my soul mate.

Its been a rollercoaster, there have been the most amazing highs and the most devastating lows, but we are still here and I’m the luckiest woman alive to have this boy as my partner in life.

Sam and Timm Cleasby

Sam and Timm Cleasby

family photo shoot with teenagers in Sheffield urban kelham island

timm and sam cleasby wedding

rock n roll wedding

sam and timm cleasby pioneer town us

Sam and Timm Cleasby

sam and timm cleasby

Pete McKee thee and me

Thank you for always being my best friend and for my gorgeous Pete McKee present!

 

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

The C word

No, not Cotton Headed ninny muggins.  Or C**t. But Cancer. Today I’m writing about cancer.

Before it feels too click baity, first up, I don’t have cancer, so no panicking!!! But I’m in the middle of a bit of a scare, so here goes…

A few weeks ago I had a CT scan to take a closer look at my hernia and then a couple of days later I ended up seeing my GP as I was having terrible acid reflux along with lots of stomach pain. I’d assumed it was all linked to the hernia.

The GP pulled up my CT scan results and told me that it had been noted that I had a very pronounced ovary. He started asking more questions about periods, pain levels, weight etc and then told me he’d like to do some blood tests. He explained that it was probably nothing but he wanted to check my CA125 tumour markers, that this marker looked at ovarian cancer and he just wanted to rule it out.

He explained that I could get an abnormal result simply as I’ve had abdominal surgery this year but he wanted to look.

I usually have regular (if very heavy) periods, but the past few months have been off kilter, being up to 3 weeks late which never happens! I’ve been having trouble eating as I’m getting heartburn and indigestion and a lot of bloating along with peeing a lot and lots of stomach pain but I’d put this all down to my usual problems.

A week later he called to tell me that they had come back high (a normal result is 0-35, mine was 68). He explained that this number can go into the thousands and so though mine were above normal range, they still weren’t sky high and still could be explained by other things but it was concerning him and he wanted to book me in for an urgent ultrasound.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Though I’ve tried to not get worried it’s hard to not let your mind run away with yourself and panic.

I started thinking about how I take painkillers every single day, how I’ve used a hot water bottle daily for months to ease the pain, how the pain in my stomach is often so bad that I can’t stand. I thought about how I’d put all this down to post surgery pain and the hernia and I’ve been scared that perhaps I’ve missed something bad.

Today I had the scan, I cried a lot in the morning, thinking that this could change everything, I was shaking and scared. I was hoping they’d see nothing and I could go back to just worrying about my stoma and chronic illness!!!

They found a large cyst on my left ovary, it’s about six and a half centimetres which apparently is quite big and so it is a concern.

The GP called me this evening and said that it could be just a normal benign cyst, but due to the size and the high blood tests, he wants it checked and so has put me through for an urgent referral to the gynae clinic.

Their course of action could be:

Rescan and more bloods

More scans/MRI

Surgery to remove it

But we’ll have to wait and see. There’s still a good chance this is a run of the mill cyst that will cause no more trouble but he had to warn me that it could be cancerous.

But the good thing is that due to catching it accidentally on the CT scan means it can all be diagnosed and treated early and I’m staying positive that whatever the little bugger is, I’m in good hands.

The past few weeks have been worrying and scary, even though I KNOW you should never google symptoms, I have done and it’s scared the pants off me.

Im just so fed up, my health has been one shitty thing after another and this year has been pants! Two surgeries this year alone and now the possibility of not just one more to deal with the hernia but potentially two more! I’m done in.

I am weepy, impatient and frazzled. I really must have done something bad in a past life!!! I’m scared. I know I need to think positively but it’s hard to not think the worst when it comes to people mentioning the big C.

But I must shake it off and keep my game face on because whatever the results, I will smash it!

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

 

Northern Blog Awards – I won!!

Last weekend Timm and I went to Manchester as I had been nominated and shortlisted for the Disability and Chronic Illness best blog. I was totally honoured and really pleased to be shortlisted for the second year running and though I didn’t expect to win, we went along to hang out with some amazing bloggers and have a night out!

And so it was a total shock to actually win!!! 

Northern blog awards disability chronic illness

It was a wonderful night and the first award I have ever won so it is so hugely appreciated and I was a little overwhelmed.

Northern blog awards

Take a look at a little video of the evening here 

Huge thanks to everyone who voted and to the Northern Blog Awards.

✌🏽&❤️

Sam x

Nowt So Strange As Folk – BBC Sheffield

So I am a few weeks into my new role as radio presenter on BBC Radio Sheffield, have you heard the show yet?

You can find us at Nowt So Strange As Folk – a modern family life show where we talk about everything from parenting to dating, local community groups to disability and so much more with myself and the lovely Leesh, my amazing co-host.  It’s all about relaxed laid back chat, lots of laughs, amazing guests and a sprinkling of music to fill your evening.

You can hear us between 7 and 9pm every Wednesday (apart from the odd week when football is on) and I would love to hear what you think!

 

Sam Cleasby and Leesh Desouzay Nowt so strange as folk on bbc radio sheffield

I am absolutely LOVING it, I have been a guest on radio shows for years now, so I knew I could chat on air but presenting is a whole different ball game! I was nervous about the technical side as well as the skills of presenting live on air, interviewing guests, getting in and out of links etc but BBC Sheffield have totally take us under their wing and given us so much support, training and encouragement.  Our amazing producer Chloe has looked after us and guided us into having the confidence to be ourselves, she is awesome, and producer David has been a rock!

Sam and Leesh bbc radio sheffield

I think it’s really brave of BBC Sheffield to try something so new, each evening we have new talent, presenters who have been given an opportunity to do something different. Monday nights is Monday Night Social – group chat with some brilliant presenters and guests including our wonderful Lord Mayor Magid Magid.  Tuesday is New Traditions with Gregg Russell – a new look at folk music from around the world. Throwback Thursday with Christian Carlisle is next sharing brilliant music and talking to musicians and artists. And then Hello Friday welcomes in the weekend with music and fun.

Sam Cleasby bbc radio presenter

You can find Nowt So Strange As Folk on twitter and instagram – do get in touch and let us know what you think of the show, we love hearing your messages and will read out as many as possible!

Find all our show on the iplayer here and listen live Wednesdays 7-9pm!

 

Sam x