2016 in Review and 2017 Plans

2016

Right from when I first found out I was pregnant I knew that the first year after the baby was born would essentially be a year of tending to the basics of survival and not much else.  A newborn has a way of consuming the hours in the day without you ever really knowing where they go. However, despite that, and despite Baby F barely leaving my arms for the first four months, I still managed to achieve a handful of things:

A New Book

I’m working on a new book and have written 47,000 words so far. I’m about halfway through and I’ve had a complete break over Christmas, ready to pick up again in the New Year.

A New Business

I launched my new digital media company, Five Pixels, at the end of October. That sounds far grander than it is – it was a very low key affair! I booked a series of clients and I have a lot of work on for the first quarter of 2017. All very exciting.

A Growing Baby

Baby F is saying Mama and Dada, and babbling lots of other sounds. She is knee-walking and cruising, but yet to take her first steps. She is a climber and an explorer, but she’s still very much a Mummy’s girl. I reached one year of breastfeeding with flying colours and I was so, so pleased that we had made it that far. After Christmas I swiftly weaned her off of the night feeds as she was still feeding up to four times a night and one year on I was literally a broken mess from the lack of sleep. It was affecting my mood and my health and I knew it was time for me to stop. We did a complete cold turkey between the hours of ~10/11pm and 7am and she did brilliantly. Honestly – I was so worried it would be nights of screaming, but aside from a few minutes of wailing, she settled back to sleep and last night, our seventh night, she slept from 10:30pm (her last feed), to 7am without a peep. She was obviously just as ready as I was 🙂

Osteoarthritis

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the second half of the year. After doing some running over the summer I had to stop completely due to the increasing pain in my toes. I have something called hallux rigidus and I can no longer bend my right big toe upwards properly. I can’t stand on tiptoes and I can’t do yoga or lunges or any other exercises that requires toe-flexibility. I have really struggled with accepting this and have had a few evenings where I have felt really sorry for myself. Running is one of my ‘things’ and to not be able to do it, when I have waited so long to get back into it, is quite a blow. Worse, is the fact that I am now getting pain in my knees, hips, elbows, wrists and thumbs too. My GP said that the chronic lack of sleep I’ve suffered will probably be contributing to my joint pain, so weaning baby F off the night feeds will hopefully help provide some much needed time for my joints to rest and repair.

2017

 

Health

I have one overriding, overarching goal for 2017 that takes priority over everything else, and that is my health and fitness. I have a little bit of post-baby weight to lose (maybe 4kg), but mostly I want my energy back, my fitness back and my strength back. This is my BIG theme for the year.

OmniFocus

I am currently working through a training video on using omnifocus so that I can get everything from work and personal projects into a decent digital task/project manager. I really want to find a system that works for me this year.

Work

I want to streamline my business processes and get a decent portfolio up on my website. I am totally open to how business pans out – I am enjoying all of it at the moment, so I’m just going with the flow.

The Book

My goal is to finish first draft, revise, and then send out to an agent.

Photography

As much as possible I want to work on my photography skills. It’s just something I love to do.

I’m looking forward to a healthy and productive 2017 🙂

Osteoarthritis And Hallux Rigidus

hallux rigidus

Almost three months ago, at the end of September, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I’d been suffering pain in my big toe joint on my right foot for several years, but since having baby F, it had rapidly gotten much worse, and I was also starting to get pain in my left foot. My right foot by this point had gotten so bad, I kept it tucked away from everything (especially the children lest they brushed against my foot), and sometimes I couldn’t put weight on the front of my foot at all.

The consultant told me that if they were to put a camera in and take a look at the joint, “it wouldn’t look very nice at all.”

He told me I have three osteophytes, which are small bony protrusions that grow from existing bone to protect the joint by limiting movement. And limited movement is exactly what I have. I can no longer stand on my tiptoes for yoga poses, perform a correct lunge, or bend my toe upwards like I used to be able to. Osteoarthritis in this specific joint, the big toe joint, is very common and the reduced range of movement is called hallux rigidus.

I can no longer run, and sometimes, when the pain is bad, I walk with a limp just to keep the toe from bending.

My options are, firstly, cortisone injections to reduce pain and inflammation. After a year or two, I’ll be facing a chielectomy, which is an operation to remove the osteophytes. This helps some people, but not others. After that, I’m looking at fusion of the two bones either side of the joint.

Yeah, well I pretty much ran away from the hospital after he said that.

The thing is, over the last couple of months, my joint pain has gotten a whole lot worse. I now have aching and stiffness in my thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, base of spine, hips, knees, and of course, my big toes. Sometimes at the end of the day if we watch TV for an hour or two, standing back up again is a something I have to do slowly and carefully. My whole body feels worn out and stuck together. My joints crack and click in a way they’ve never done before. My hands have lost their strength and I feel weak and fragile. It is the pain in my spine that worries me the most.

Arthritis runs in every line of my family, which perhaps explains why I have it so young. I am not sharing this for pity or sympathy, but as a record of where I stand right now. I’ve been through what I guess was a grieving period, where I felt totally miserable and fed up. Now I am looking for answers. I am currently in the process of researching dietary approaches and supplements that may help. I use Voltarol gel when it gets really bad, but I won’t resort to cortisone injections yet – where will I be in ten years otherwise?

When I’ve come up with a plan (because hell-yeah I love a good plan!), I will share it and keep you updated. At the moment I feel as though I am inhabiting a 70 year old body, and I do not like it at all.

A Writing Break

I’m taking a break from my daily writing until the New Year. The school holidays are coming and Steve has two weeks off work also, so there will be less time for me to sit and write in the day. Sometimes I write when the children are all in bed, but I don’t do my best work at the end of the day, and I don’t like to constantly have the commitment of having to write at the end of the day hanging over my head. Also, I am lucky enough to have a huge amount of work on at Five Pixels, so any spare time I do get will likely be filled with trying to get ahead on the projects I have running.

I’m at about 47,000 words and I am a bit nervous about stopping as I’m worried I’ll lose momentum. I’ve paused my coaching with Jen and we’re picking up again in January, so at least I have someone I’m accountable to to make sure I get back to it. I still have so much to write – I’m probably around halfway through, if that, so this is looking to be my biggest work yet. Completing it and doing the second draft will definitely be on my goal list this year!

Portrait – Almost 13 Months

1 year portrait

Baby F is becoming more cheeky by the day. She’s into everything now and wants to do everything that her big brothers do. Something that has surprised me (as the boys never really did it), is how she is expressing an interest in the clothes that she wants to wear (i.e. she screams until we put her in her halloween pumpkin top if she sees it). She has been absolutely fascinated by all the Christmas lights. She’s got four teeth and will sometimes stand unaided, but I think walking is still a way off.