Lyme disease: Where am I at?

Ten years have now passed since the initial onset of my Lyme disease symptoms, and I’ve been on a learning journey since I discovered its presence early last year. Lyme disease and the complications that have arisen from it have monopolised my entire twenties; a whole decade of my life. But I’m finally treating it now so there is light at the end of the tunnel – it just happens to be a very long tunnel.

Receiving the right treatment from the NHS has been difficult; they are working with outdated treatment guidelines and a serious lack of Lyme knowledge. My GPs have been helpful in making referrals and doing what they can within guidelines, but I’ve had a nightmare elsewhere with unreliable consultants and insufficient appointment systems.

I did make it as far as the Infectious Disease Clinic at Hammersmith Hospital though, and was offered a lumbar puncture to look for Lyme antibodies in my spinal fluid.

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Creative writing: what I’ve learnt so far.

This week was the last of term, which means no more Elements of Fiction. I stopped placing my short stories on the blog as I wasn’t sure which two I’d be submitting for coursework- and if your work is found on the Internet after you have submitted it, you can be ‘done’ for self-plagiarising!

So what did this module teach me?
No one is frowned upon for typos and this is important; creative writing isn’t about being meticulous with spelling and grammar. It’s great if you have an eagle eye for errors but these things aren’t as important as a well-told story.

If you are just starting out in the world of creative writing it is far more important to focus on character building and plot development than it is to make sure your apostrophes are in the right place. So don’t let being a perfectionist slow you down. There’s time for that later!

I have learnt the importance of:

  • Crafting characters
  • Good structure and pacing
  • Knowing your theme and how to portray it
  • Using symbolism
  • Being descriptive but unbiased – show, don’t tell
  • Provoking thoughts and emotions in your reader
  • Writing good dialogue

The Elements of Fiction module has allowed me to experiment with these things along with genre and finding my ‘style’. Each week we provide feedback on each other’s work and then use it to improve our next pieces.

If you are a keen writer and lacking good resources for feedback I encourage you to join a writers group – constructive criticism is vital for a writers development.

I’m going to miss writing a weekly short story for this module but next term I’ll be writing a feature article every week for the Feature Writing module. Our Paths to Publication module has also come to an end and will be replaced by Planning a Novel – the big one!

So what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and how does it work?

I have been attending the MS clinic in Aylesbury for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). An NHS approved treatment where you breathe 100% pure oxygen under an increased barometric pressure to improve oxygen saturation. In the oxygen chamber, once you are hitting the max, the air pressure is around 33 feet below sea level. In general, the air we breathe normally contains 21% oxygen and the pressure level around you is dependent how far above sea level your location is. So HBOT provides a dramatic difference.

What are the benefits?
By increasing the pressure around you, oxygen is more effectively carried into the cells of your body. The benefits can include: Continue reading “So what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and how does it work?”

The Little Room (assignment 3)

This week we read two novels with a heavy focus on location which has prompted the following assignment:

  • You are standing on a train platform. There is a board displaying trains. They are all going to different places. Each of those places is somewhere you have been, or lived, somewhere you remember.
  • List these places. And the people associated with them, that you remember. And the incidents.
  • Describe it from overhead, and from on the ground, in summary, across seasons until you reach the moment of time in which the story is set.
  • Asterix half a dozen. Write a page or two in response to each.

I wrote about a young woman called Rose who is visiting her grandmother’s house but has been asked to stay in the ‘creepy’ room that all elderly relatives have!

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Don’t Forget Me (assignment 2)

If you read my last post you’ll know that I’m studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Brunel. Each week for our Elements of Fiction module we are set a writing assignment.

Below is the brief we were given for week two:

Write a single paragraph that conveys the appearance and essential nature of a character.
Then…
Write a character sketch that includes a present day frame and flashback to five years before the action.  Anywhere between 1000-1200 words.

I wrote a piece of fiction about Jake, a young man with a longstanding health problem who receives a letter from his past self.

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Creative Writing: The Novel

As a part of my MA at Brunel University, we are required to produce a piece of creative writing each week for our module, Elements of Fiction.

Our first assignment was to write 1200 words on an open topic that was voiced by two or more characters who were connected to each other within the story. I decided to explore something within the roman-à-clef genre. This is where a story is based on real people or events but with a change of name or location.

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Untitled

August was a busy month, and it taught me a valuable lesson. As my doctor put it: my battery isn’t the same size as everybody else’s and it’s far less efficient.

low-battery

As per my previous blog post, I had visited Ireland for a wedding and put my best ‘healthy face’ on to enjoy the celebrations. I wasn’t well though and had to visit the pharmacy on the morning of the wedding. Later on in the day back pain arrived, and towards the end of the evening, a fever. But unless I had told you, you wouldn’t know. And this is because like most chronically ill people, I suck it up and keep going till I can’t go anymore.

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