PMA or curl up and die?

This post’s a bit different, dealing with the ‘other’ side of my life. I started it a little while back but, as the last couple of days have been a bit ‘challenging’ it seemed like a good time to finish it.

Positive Mental Attitude, are you a glass half full or half empty person? Fortunately I’m a half full one. Good job really, let me explain.

I’ve already told you that I’m a carer. Ray had a very serious (don’t know if you can have an un-serious one but you know what I mean) brain haemorrhage in 1988, four days after his 38th birthday. I’ve been caring (if you can call it that) for him since then. His right arm’s paralysed, his walking and balance are not good and he has a lot of problems with speech and language. He’s also a type 1 diabetic therefore insulin dependent.

I’ve got Multiple Sclerosis. I was initially diagnosed with the relapse and remitting type. With that you can be perfectly OK and then, all of a sudden bits of you decide not to work. I’ve had left sided weakness so that I look very drunk when I try to walk and I’ve had periods when my eyes won’t talk to me or each other and amble about independently – horrible! Oh, and I was also exceptionally fat!!!


Five years ago the situation got so bad that I was unable to stand without holding on to something, or somebody! As a teacher the kid I was telling off would have to stand still because if I let go of them I’d have fallen over! They were very good about it 🙂

Anyway, I had walking sticks, a ‘blue badge’, the works and the prognosis for my MS was that it had moved into the secondary progressive phase. I had to take (very) early retirement on medical grounds.

The journey from there to here is for a different post, but back to the half full glass.

It may appear that my life now is completely normal with no health concerns. Good, because that’s how I look on it and how I want the rest of the world to as well.

However, if I’m totally honest, that isn’t quite true.

I still have some residual damage e.g. my balance isn’t great (and I got a bike????) I go through phases where bits of me still play up and bring on the fear of another attack. And I still have times when fatigue strikes.

To say fatigue is like tiredness is to say that flu is like a slight head cold. When it gets you, you know! I sleep for England when it gets me, 3 hours yesterday afternoon, 8 hours last night and I’m back off to bed soon.

But, when I’m not asleep, bring it on! I made myself train today. It wasn’t one of my best sessions but I did it and I’m proud of myself for doing so.

We’re a long time dead so why waste time practicing before we have to! I truly believe that Positive Mental Attitude has helped me get to where I am now. And yes, I will wear purple!

Night, night.

20 responses to “PMA or curl up and die?”

  1. Hi Gill,

    I can identify with some of this, after my stroke my balance sometimes seems to have gone AWOL.

    I would not dare attempt a bike again so sold mine and I seem to have forgotton how to swim (almost drowned as I didn’t know I could no longer swim and set off as you do…) balance and coordination seem to have left home for some things.

    But the worst thing is the tiredness. Dr described it as stroke fatigue syndrome… it just creeps up on me as tho someone has thrown a VERY heavy blanket over me and all I can do is sleep – I just have to put my head down and sleep until it has passed. Fortunately it doesn’t happen to often to me.

    Phil suffers with it all the time since his strokes, he can sleep 12 hours I get him up and dressed and then he sleeps again…….. There is never a day goes by that he is not affected by it. Does Ray suffer the same?

    I am with you, I am a glass half full person, this is life and we have to live every day as tho it is our last as one day we will be right 😉 As far as I know this is not the rehearsal, I don’t know anyone who has come back for a second go 🙂

    I don’t understand people who put off things until they retire or don’t want to go somewhere because it interferes with the diet….

    One Life – Live it

    Keep the updates coming

    Val xx

    • Oh Val, we are so alike! I know you’d love extreme exercise too if you tried it!

      Yes and yes to the fatigue. Ray’s the same, sleeps for hours, especially after a drink! I can sleep for England when it catches up with me but it’s so nice when you come out the other side. I should have seen the warning signs a week ago but I ignored them!


      • I will leave the extreme exercise to you 😉 I am too busy eating cake and drinking wine! xx

  2. Such an inspiring post Gill and one that I sincerely thank you for sharing. I have no experience of your illness or indeed Ray’s but I am so grateful that you have been part of my weight loss journey and been allowed to have a small glimpse into your life. Thank you xxxx

  3. Your sheer determination is what has got you this far & will keep getting you to whatever you set your mind too. xxxx

  4. Beautifully written as always and such a positive post. Thank you for sharing, Gill. Thirty Eight is very young to suffer such lasting damage. You could have seen it all with doom and gloom, as I’m sure many do – but not that lovely optimistic attitude shines through. Sal

  5. Thank you for sharing. My sister was diagnosed with MS 3 years ago at the age of 42, she also said she feels like she has slept for weeks even after just waking up, she is so positive though and just keeps going. You are doing fabulous Gill,

  6. Well Gill-I do recall you saying that you had MS, but you live your life with your glass full…if not brimming over! Your achievements are awe inspiring, I can’t believe what I’m seeing and hearing , and the sheer hard work you always put into what you do…..and without moaning and groaning. What a great sense of humour you have, and the ability to laugh at yourself. Thank you so much for all of your interesing posts.
    Has a personal trainer been your driving force, or is it all coming from your own personal drive and willpower plus perhaps a very competetive spirit? At least your body find its own way of making sure you rest and recharge your batteries. I wish you all the very best for a very long time……you certainly know how to ‘live’ life.


    • Thanks!

      My bloody mindedness is me but Darryl (my trainer) has a huge responsibility for my success. I will, and do, work hard but I need to be channelled, focused and, sometimes, reined in!

      Started to write more but realised
      It was turning into another episode of the blog so it will have to wait!

  7. You have an amazing attitude towards life Gill, and I’m with you all the way on the PMA. I’m a half glass full girl and whilst I have been fortunate enough to never have suffered a serious illness, I firmly belive that you get one crack at this living bit and have to make the most of it. Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us.

    Susan (aka Flowergirl) XX

  8. Said it before and I will say it again you are an amazing inspiration. You and Val are faced with so much but your PMA gets you both through and puts me to shame.

    I suffered a complete mental breakdown while trying to care for my mum who had dementia. (12 years ago today actually) and when I recovered I was a transformed glass half full type of person but lately I have been slipping the other way. It has a lot to do with confidence. Now though I have given myself the proverbial shake and know how lucky I am.

    So take care of yourself and keep that inspiration coming. Can’t wait for the next installment.

    Maggi x

  9. PMA makes such a difference, and you KNOW it! You’re right about confidence, if you believe in yourself so will others. And I bet your caring made you an inspiration to others! x

  10. PMA or Bloody Mindedness – all that matters is that it works!
    Like you and Val I am sooooooo glass half full.
    My “thing” is ME and 98% of the time I forget that I am a “sufferer” but that 2% when it hits and my body goes “No – not playing today”- OMG – like you said the fatigue!!!
    Keeping positive, optimistic and healthy must be the very best way to deal with it all.
    Having said that – just reading your blogs makes me tired! lol
    You are an inspiration to us all.X

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