WYASO 2017

It’s that time of year again, it’s 1st May and Walk Your AS Off has started. This means that you can expect to hear me bleating on about Ankylosing Spondylitis a bit more regularly than usual, as well as keeping tally of my Steps to add to my team’s total.

 

Walk Your AS Off is an annual event for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although the official AS Awareness Month is April, I mostly conflate WYASO and AS Awareness, rather than stretching it into two months. As well as raising awareness we compete in teams, against teams all over the world. It’s a friendly competition, but still, it’s there.

And as if that wasn’t enough – we also try to raise funds. I’m a member of a group called the Orange Apples who raise money for NASS (the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society). So, if at any point this month you’re feeling a bit flush and you want to help out a small charity that’s doing a shed load of good work, feel free to go to the JustGiving page or straight to the NASS Shop and make a purchase or donation. Continue reading “WYASO 2017”

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An Open Email.

Earlier this week I wrote about the situation in Chechnya. Even considering the fact that there has been more information coming to light, the government has still failed to respond. Hillary Clinton has roundly condemned President Trump for failing to comment, and yet there has not been a response or any sort of recognition from the UK Government.

So I wrote this email and sent it to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Equalities Minister. I copied in Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron as well as my own MP. PinkNews also has suggestions for people who also want to know how we can all help.

Ramzan-Kadyrov-Chechnya-concentration-camps

Subject: Government silence on the torture of homosexuals in Chechnya.

Mrs May, Mr Johnson, Ms Greening,

As I am sure you will have heard, reports are coming from Chechnya about the existence of “concentration camps” for Gay people. The stories speak of torture reminiscent of 1930s Germany. This isn’t liberal hyperbole. People are being tortured, beaten, and raped.

Continue reading “An Open Email.”

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Wreaths Of Poppies On A British 2nd World War MemorialThe Holocaust was one of the most disgusting and evil things to happen in the history of mankind. I think that it’s probably the most horrendous thing to happen in the 20th Century. We hold Remembrance Day services and have 2 minutes silence every year. The key phrase that’s used is “Never Forget”.

But we have forgotten. When we remember, we think about the soldiers who gave their lives. Not just in the World Wars, but in wars that have been, and are being, fought before and since. They sacrificed their lives to save others, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

But what about the others? When we speak of the Nazi Holocaust, we think of the Jews. Millions of Jews were murdered in cold blood, experimented on and used as slave labour. It was truly awful. But the Nazis didn’t just stop at the Jews. They wanted a Master Race. Continue reading “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Good Christian Values 

The other day I wrote about the upcoming snap election. I’m now going to start nailing my colours to the mast. Your vote is your own personal choice, and what you do in the polling booth is between you and the ballot paper.

conservative-party-hard workingI would however like you to look at the party that’s currently in government. The Conservative Party touts itself as the party that represents “traditional British values”. They claim to be the party that represents the “hard working” families. They believe that the government interferes with business and should back off. They talk about balancing the budget and how much the Labour party screw the economy.

So far, so good. Do you know what? If I didn’t watch their actions, but just listened to their words, I might vote for them myself. But their actions belie the words. There’s a reason why the demographic for the Conservative Party is generally older people. I discussed a bit about this last year when I wrote about the generation gap in the referendum. As a generalisation, the Baby Boomer generation is (in my opinion) the most selfish and entitled currently alive. Continue reading “Good Christian Values “

General Disaster

I usually avoid Party Politics, not because I’m indifferent, but because I’m a liberal. I think the best of people and believe that they look at the whole picture and make the best decision for themselves and the country.

Referendum BusUnfortunately, recent political events have made me rethink my position and I’m more of the belief that many of my fellow voters cast their ballot based on rhetoric. After reading many of the comments on Facebook and elsewhere around the Internet it also seems that people don’t understand what they’re even voting for.

So, let’s get the first thing clear. Unless you live in a Party Leader’s constituency, you don’t vote for the Prime Minister.

I’ll just repeat that. You. Don’t. Vote. For. The. Prime. Minister.

Continue reading “General Disaster”

Shaken, Not Stirred

Man covering his earsI’m currently suffering from an ear infection. It’s rather painful (it feels like I’ve been bashed on the side of my head by a cricket bat). Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. But when I first had it checked I was told it was viral. Acetic acid and Paracetamol should clear it.

Having visited my own GP when it didn’t clear, it turns out that it was bacterial and I was given antibiotics. I don’t begrudge the original diagnosis, with the over-prescribing of antibiotics and the risk of super bugs it makes sense. Nor is this a “poor me” post. Today I wanted to talk about drug cocktails, contraindications and interactions.

I’ve already discussed my Humira Hangover, but at the moment I’m rather achy (the weather changes really aren’t helping), so I’m taking my anti inflammatory, PPI, nerve inhibitor, and painkillers. (Yes, fellow Ankylosaurs and other Spoonies will probably recognise the list!) But I’ve had to add a couple of new tablets – the antibiotics and paracetamol. Continue reading “Shaken, Not Stirred”

All in the mind. 

I know, it’s been a long time since I posted. I’m sorry, but I’ve covered most of the big points around AS elsewhere in this blog, I haven’t had much to say.

Cracked skin man in poseBut recently I’ve noticed an upswing in people who I care about going through emotional and/or mental difficulties. Alongside this I’ve found that more people with whom I work have stress/anxiety/depression and related illnesses. It got me thinking about chronic illness and mental health.

An estimated 28% of the UK population will experience a mental health issue each year. People with chronic physical illnesses are up to 7 times more likely to experience one than people without one. LGBT people come off slightly better with an increase of just 3 times (source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics) Continue reading “All in the mind. “

Hyperbole? 

trumpOK, Brexit and Trump have shown me something. There are millions more racists, misogynists, homophobes, religiophobes and general bigots in this world than I ever imagined.

Yes, it’s scary that Farage and Johnson won with the campaign aimed at the lowest common denominator. It’s terrifying that Trump’s going to be in control of a superpower on the same type of platform, the same bombastic, superior and hateful attitude to the different.

But do you know what terrifies me more? What makes me sick to the very pit of my stomach? That the millions of people who voted for that are out there. And who knows, might even be reading this.

Let me make this clear. If you support these people and their ilk then, whether you’re bigoted or not, you are supporting bigotry. And you’re helping to create a world where the rest of us live in fear. (A more detailed argument is elsewhere on my blog.) Continue reading “Hyperbole? “

Flares and Scares

Something that you’ll read a lot about in the websites and text books, and you’ll hear from your rheumatology team and other Ankylosaurs is the word flare. That’s not flair (which is how we live our lives anyway), and neither does it mean that you set off fireworks (although on days like today I feel that we deserve a parade)! No, it’s when one or more of your symptoms flares up and reminds you that your immune system is a big mean meanie.

The symptoms of a flare up varies between Ankylosaurs. Actually, it varies between flares as well. Sometimes it’s more back pain (when the normal dosages don’t work). Sometimes it’s pain down one or both legs, particularly in the buttocks. It could be an increase in fatigue, uveitis, or neck pain. One thing’s for sure – you’ll know it when you get it! Continue reading “Flares and Scares”