Monday, March 30

An Update of Epic Proportions!

Well hello loves. It's been a little while hasn't it? I thought it was about time I updated you on some things. Firstly, where have I been? Well, a few weekends ago we had a bit of a scary time. I won't go into much detail but Liam had a health scare. It was really horrible and I never ever want to go through it again. He's currently having some tests that will hopefully come back with the all clear. So, recently I lost my motivation for blogging and just wanted to spend my evenings doing a whole lot of nothing really (and it was perfect) with him so I just forgot about blogging. One night this week we sat and listened to a whole host of emo songs from our past, on Spotify and then I found I wanted to blog again and so here I am. Oh the power of emo, eh? Anyway, let's not dwell on that. I'm here to keep you up to speed on the happy haps of late.

I had a bit of a trim and added a touch of colour to my hair. I visited my bro last week. I fancied a teeny tiny trim to the ends of my hair and was feeling a splash of colour was needed too. He cut about 1 and a half inches off and dip dyed the ends for me. I'm really happy with it. I can't wait to try some exciting colours! I'm quite lucky to have a brother who cuts hair for a living.

I spent an evening laughing at old family photos. It's always so weird to me to look back through old photos and see the beginnings of my personality coming out. I visited my parents' house and we stuffed our faces with fish and chips before reminiscing over old family photos. We found some right crackers and it was so much fun watching our old holiday videos. 6 year old Leona was just as sassy, don't worry.

I treated myself to some pretty nails.  Becky and I visited the Harry Potter studios a few weeks ago - more on that later. 
Becky gets acrylics done regularly and I really fancied giving it a go so she booked me in at the same time as her. I decided on a Slytherin theme. They didn't have silver so I had to go for a sparkly colour instead. I'm loving them! Having long beautiful nails is great! 

I've bought myself a pretty new handbag. I treated myself to a nice new handbag with my birthday money. I searched Debenhams because they had a 20% off sale and I snapped this bad boy up for £22. It's gorgeous, super sturdy and it matches my shoes!

We watched Gone Girl. I've wanted to watch this film for quite a while now but it was ruined for us while we were out having some good one night. Some very lovely people on the table next to us blurted out the plot twist. Needless to say we were less excited about watching the film after that. We decided to give it a go though and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by it. Liam agreed that it felt like a bit of a "nothing" film. Have you seen it, what did uo think of it?

We played in the sun. The weather was so nice last week, I visited Sadie and M and we had so much fun playing in the garden. While I was busy drawing Mickey and Minnie Mouse in chalk on the pavement my parents joined us, M then sat happily with my dad stuffing her face with crisps, enjoying the sun. 

I partied with friends. It was my pal's birthday this weekend so we went to Arribas, a Mexican restaurant, to celebrate. The food was delicious and we had a whale of a time! 

I found a new favourite TV show. Oh my god guys I am in love with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This TV show is so awesome! I've watched it three times already. I can't get enough! Have any of you seen it? Kimmy is so sweet and Titus is just amazing. I wish I had him around in my life making everything 1,000 sassier!

What have you been up to while I've been away? 

Twitter :: Bloglovin :: Instagram

Wednesday, March 11

Wednesday Loves #99!

Jesus, these paper cut artworks are just incredible!

Derby was born with deformed front legs, His humans made some incredible "blade" style legs. 

Is it weird that I like these? I think they're incredibly adorable but I've got a feeling some might think their a little strange.

This Peter Rabbit wedding is a thing of dreams!

Look at these awesome grizzlies!

24 Reasons Why No One Should Own A Pit Bull. They really are awful...

These unreleased Harry Potter scenes are amazing.

These 3D works of art are just incredible! 

Other awesome links:
<3 We've all been through these awkward stages of book reading. Right?
<3 The Game of Thrones characters looking normal together will always be strange to me.
<3 I have never seen a more beautiful painting of an eye before!
<3 How do you invite asshole parents to a wedding? With a kick ass invite, that's how!
<3 I don't mean to make you cry but take a look at these beautiful dogs who've all survived cancer!
<3 Dogs trying to be humans is my favourite thing. 

Awesome people in blog land:

<3 I am in love with Becky's handbag!
<3 Jemma's list of awkward blogging moments is pretty spot on.
<3 Chelsea went to see Wicked and I am so jealous!!
<3 Us bloggers can be pretty annoying sometimes. If you disagree then read through Amber's list and you'll find yourself nodding along!
<3 Oh my god, Becky's Sooty top is incredible!!
<3 Stuck on what to buy your mum for Mother's Day? Kirstie's shared some great ideas!
<3 Amy's dress might be a knock-off but holy crap is it beautiful!!


Monday, March 9

Don't Fear The Smear :: Gemma's Experience With Colposcopies!

This is my Hey-you-go-and-get-that-smear-done-or-I'll-turn-this-car-around-face.

Oh boy, this week's guest post is an interesting one! Gemma has been through an awful lot after her initial smear test and I'm so thankful she's chosen to share her story with us. I had no clue about colposcopies before Danni and Gemma described their experience and although they sound very uncomfortable I'd be much more prepared before going into one now, so thank you ladies!

This is Gemma!

"Hi all,

So, the lovely Leona put a tweet out asking if people would lie to share their smear. Me, not being shy practically jumped at the chance. Not because I want to tell you all the intimate details of my life (that is a whole different blog), but because I believe that there is a weird stigma around smear tests and this is just rubbish! PLEASE don’t stop reading… I promise it’s not TOO gross!

When I turned 25, I was living in London, I had house hopped more times than I can remember and I don’t even think I HAD a doctor. This means I missed my smear. When I moved to Hereford in 2014 (aged 26) I registered with a new dr simply so I could get my hands on a new inhaler. Little did I know I had managed to register with the most efficient Dr in the WORLD! He made me 4 appointments, one of which was a smear which I have to be honest, at the time I kind of wished he hadn’t done!!

The day of my test I was TERRIFIED! I had heard all kind of horror stories about how it hurt and the kind of thing they use to take the smear. EEEEEEEEEEEK! I was super lucky and had a really nice nurse who put me at ease. She showed me the swab she was going to use and just calmed me down.
I chose to wear a loose skirt so I could keep it on throughout and not have to be totally naked from the waist down which we all know can be kind of embarrassing! Next comes the kind of gross bit!

The smear itself wasn’t painful, uncomfortable yes (a metal speculum keeping your vaginal walls open… that isn’t ever going to be a COMFORTABLE experience is it?!) From what I understand they have changed the instrument they use to take the swab, my mum always used to tell me that the nurse scraped away the cells (blergh) but she actually uses a soft brush type instrument to take a swab. It was over in about 5 minutes, you get some tissue to clean up the lube they use (what a delight!) and then send you away saying the results will come through soon.

Ok, for me this is where things got complicated. I was home alone (unemployed) when the letter came through. I knew before I even opened it that it was not good news. The envelope was too thick to be simply a letter saying “test results clear”, there were leaflets in there!

My results came back as having borderline changes and high risk HPV. Queue freak out.

I was told an appointment for a colposcopy would come through soon, my poor but loving boyfriend had to handle a freaking out Gemma for AGES as the Colposcopy didn’t get booked until DECEMBER (my results came in OCTOBER!) But he was amazing, he came to the appointment with me, I honestly don’t think I would have gone without him (mainly because he drove me from Gloucester to Hereford but still!)

The Colposcopy was NOT a nice experience, I had a male Dr, I was his last patient of the day (Chris & I sat there for an hour before I was seen), he also didn’t seem to know anything. I asked a question about my medical history & if this could have been a cause…his reply “oh, I am no sure, I don’t think so”…really reassuring when his guy is going to be examining my cervix!

Ok this procedure involves a speculum (yep, no examination is complete without one of those!), some acetic acid (sounds worse than it is!) and a colposcope. Oh and some stirrups…yay! You basically sit on the very edge of a bed, feet in stirrups, legs spread whilst the Dr pops a bit of the acid on your cervix and looks at it through the colposcope!

This time round the “lovely” dr didn’t need to do anything other than take a look. I was sent home with instructions to have another smear in 12 months’ time.

Fast forward 12 months.
Appointment for a smear comes through.
Lovely nurse takes said smear.
2 ish weeks later: Thick envelope comes through the door.

This time my letter said I didn’t have any changes (YAY) but still had HPV (booo) so I needed another colposcopy and possibly a punch biopsy. Oh yay, lucky me.

This time round I took a friend with me, had one of the 1st appointments of the day and was at Gloucester hospital. Seriously, ALWAYS take someone with you to a follow up appointment, they help keep you calm.

I had a WONDERFUL doctor, and nurse who were super reassuring, answered all my questions and guided me through the process. Unfortunately the dr found some changes in my cells and she took away what is called a punch biopsy. This is a REALLY small sample of cells they take away to test.

The Dr told me to take a deep breath and cough when she said to, this really made the biopsy painless, I felt a tiny pinch and that was it. I did have what felt like period pains for the rest of the day but nothing serious!

I was then told I had a 4 week wait for the results but that “it didn’t look like cancer” which was actually weirdly reassuring.

Just over 3 weeks later, another thick envelope arrived on my doormat. My instant reaction…FFS not again!!! This time the letter was telling me I had CIN2 cells which needed to be removed. I think I cried a little, rang my mum and then calmed down and thought about it properly. CIN2 is only moderate changes, it’s not severe and it’s NOT cancer. I was booked in for what is called a LLETZ Treatment (which conveniently was booked for the 2nd week of my student placement…perfect timing as always NHS)

The day of the LLETZ, I was taken to the hospital by the same friend who took me for the 2nd colposcopy. I had an early ish appointment and the same Dr as last time. She was amazing, again. She could tell I was freaking out (I was about to have “pre cancerous”cells removed from my cervix…who wouldn’t be freaking out?) but she gave me all the info I needed, told me what she had found in the biopsy she took, informed me that a LLETZ COULD lead to a slightly premature birth of my future children (mum had warned me about this already, she also warned me about the possibility of not being able to give birth naturally) and she also explained in super simple terms what she was going to do.

I was becoming a pro at this now; legs in stirrups, bum on very edge of the bed, hips rotated upwards, speculum in. There were however 4 other people in the room this time, the Dr, the nurse, a student nurse and an SHO. LOVELY. I then had an injection of anaesthetic into my cervix (sorry ladies, this bit does hurt) I was told to cough again as she did it and that helped but yea, it still hurt! I had something stuck on my leg (apparently it makes the machine work!) and then the laser loop got to work. My Dr and the SHO could only see a little bit of “major change” which definitely didn’t look like cancer but they needed to remove it anyway. I didn’t feel a thing but did hear what sounded like an electric toothbrush which is totally normal! Once she had finished the Dr told me she had only had to take a little bit away and that it wouldn’t stop me giving birth naturally.

Until the anaesthetic wore off I didn’t feel a thing however, I was pretty unfortunate and didn’t cope well once it had worn off. I went back to work the next day but was in quite a lot of pain (I have ALWAYS suffered from severe period pain… I passed out at school once, that was fun!) and was told to go home 4 times, I ignored them but paid for it the next day when I had to take the day off!! I was

not a “normal” case. Usually women can go back to work the next day, but if you have to have this treatment don’t freak out if you feel crappy, you have had surgery after all!! You do have to wear pads for weeks afterwards, no tampons, no swimming, no heavy lifting, no vigorous exercise and NO SEX for up to 4 weeks.

That was 3 weeks ago. I am due the results of this one in the next week or so and I have to be honest, I am praying for a thin envelope but if it’s not, at least I know what to expect and at least they will have caught whatever it is early enough to treat! I know that thanks to a simple smear I don’t have to worry about the big C.

I hope this has helped ease any worry you have. I actually look at the tests I have been through and thank the NHS. Without them I would probably never have gone for the smear and the CIN2 could have progressed into something worse!

If you have any questions please give me a shout. I am @gemma_fox on twitter!"

I've got some great news to share with you too. Gemma emailed me again to let me know that her results finally came back as clear! Hooray! It's honestly such great news. Smears can be such nerve-racking things, getting the all clear is one of the best feelings.

You can find Gemma on her blog or as she mentioned earlier, her Twitter!

Thanks so much for sharing your story Gemma!

Other posts you might find interesting!

Gemma & Leona.

Saturday, March 7

Spotlight of Awesomeness :: Pajamas For Pitbulls.

Pajamas For Pitbulls are based in Calgery, Alberta. They "specialise in creating quality handmade pyjamas to keep your best friend warm both indoors and outdoors." Stephanie has sewn her whole life and after 25 years of working with Pit Bulls her creative juices began flowing when she tried to think of a way to demystify the "bad dog" image of them. 

"Since I own to pit bulls and live in canada... The weather here is not so short-hair dog friendly and noticed that my "pibbles" were constantly cold. I designed a onesie that covers them entirely, leaving openings in the belly and bum areas so that they are able to do their outside business with their pyjamas on.

"After making a few pairs, sharing pictures with friends on Facebook and with a local Pit Bull rescue... the orders started rolling in. "

I think we can all agree that Stephanie's idea is working. Look at how adorable these guys look! Of course, something as simple as a cute onesie isn't going to change the bad rep of this wonderful breed overnight but it's sure doing something. I absolutely love Pit Bulls. I've never met a bad tempered one and I love that this project might encourage people to give them a chance. 

Don't worry, the onesies aren't just for Pit Bulls! They come in all shapes and sizes for all breeds. If you have a short haired dog who suffers during the cold winter nights why not treat them to one in a cute Batman design? How about this amazing Care Bear one?

My goodness Rex would look so great in one of these!