(Writing this with “Beautiful Birds” by Passenger in the background)
Today marks one whole year spent with you. One whole year of laughter and adventures, of making inside jokes and creating memories to last a lifetime. One whole year of having not only my boyfriend but my best friend and soulmate by my side. From our first date at The Grocers, to our unforgettable trip to Walt Disney World, to now. We’ve both been through a lot together this past year. We’ve both had knock backs from others, but we’ve always had each other to help pick ourselves up again. It sounds cliche but meeting you was one of the best things to ever happen to me. You helped me be comfortable in myself again, past relationships had shut the real me away and I never thought the old me was going to be able to be seen again, but you made me feel comfortable in who I am, fangirling included. You made me see that it was okay to cry because you were always there to wipe my tears away. You taught that people may judge you but as long as your happy that’s all that matters. I’ll now run down the street, or skip as you like to do sometimes, holding your hand and we’ll be in our own little bubble, people will look at us and some may think we’re weird but others will genuinely smile at our expressed happiness being in each other’s company. I’ll always remember the time when we were walking through Hyde Park, crossing over each other legs as we walked, in hysterics for some reason or another and an older man walked past and laughed with us. You have brought so many happy memories to me this past year and I can’t ever thank you enough for all you have taught and given me.
I believe that things happen for a reason sometimes. I’ve lost friendships this past year that I was expecting to have for a lifetime but looking back now, those friendships weren’t bringing me half an much happiness as you bring me in one day. You’ll be snoozing away in bed, you’re not a morning person and I’m an early riser so it happens most mornings, but I look over at you and just smile because of your presence.
I don’t think you realise how much you actually mean to me. We met 3 months after the biggest thing to happen in my life, my kidney transplant, yet that didn’t phase at all. It was actually our opening conversation. You weren’t frighten or put off that I had something wrong with me and that I wasn’t perfect, but were actually interested in it and have been by my side through this past year of recovery when anything could of happened. You have been to countless hospital appointments that are so dull and boring but never once have you complained. You’ve stuck by my side through it all. You have been my rock, not just health reasons but with university as well. BOY I got stressed with my uni deadline but you were always next to me or a simple phone call away to relieve my life of a few minutes of stress. You are my own little personal cheerleader in every aspect of my life.
I may only be 19 but I sure know what I want to achieve in my lifetime. For starters, I want a Jaguar XF, I also want to be my own boss and have my own graphic design company, I would love for this blog to take me somewhere. However, I don’t want any of these things to happen unless you are there to enjoy and experience it all with me. You may only be 21 and I might only be 19 but I’ve never been so sure on my feelings before. The day I met you, I knew deep down it was you I had been waiting for. So here’s to another amazing year and many more to come.
I love you to the moon and back and will always be by your side even if we are miles apart because at the end of the day, as soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen.
Welcome Back!!! And welcome to a very special edition of monthly moments. I know that it’s a bit clique to say but 2016 has truly been the best year of my life to date and I know I’ve been documenting my best moments each month for you guys…and for myself but I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and see why 2016 has been my best year yet. So grab yourself a drink, alcoholic if you prefer and a big a** bowl of popcorn because this is going to be one hell of a long blog post.
The only place to start is at the very beginning and I know I say 2016 has been my best year and it really has but as some say, you can only have the highs once you’ve experienced the lows. At the very end of 2015, my four year long relationship broke up, I had a massive fight with my best friend where we haven’t spoken since, my kidney transplant (read all about it here) had happened in October so therefore the beginning of 2016 meant hospital check ups once a week and even meant cancelled plans on New Years Eve due to my white bloods cells dropping so much and my immune system being so low I couldn’t be around anyone incase I caught anything and ended up back in hospital. But at the end of January, January 25th to be exact, I met Tom and that’s where 2016 gets good and mine and Tom’s adventures start.
One of the goals I set myself at the beginning of 2016 was to take more pictures as previously I always did things with family and friends and forgot to capture it to look back on in the future. I recently came across a quote which I’m now trying to live my life by as I think taking pictures is so important. Of course, you don’t want to be snapping pictures so often that you aren’t living in the moment but you need photos to look back on and remember how awesome and amazing you felt right then and there.
“Taking pictures is like a return ticket to moments otherwise gone”
So without further ado, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
Tom and I started going out. February 12th to be exact and I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already.
My mum and I went to go see Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour
My friend Becca and I went to see End of Longing starring Matthew Perry and seeing as we are both MASSIVE F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans we waited at the stage door to meet him and we did!!!!
I went to see Leona Lewis live in London with my parents as a treat for my dads birthday.
Tom and I went to go and see War Horse one final time because its’ one of my favourite West End show and it was coming to a close. Tom hadn’t seen it before so I wanted to take him so he could see it before it left the West End.
It was mine and Toms first road trip. We went to Ashdown Forest where A.A.Milne got the inspiration for Hundred Acre Wood.
Tom and I also went to see Wicked in the West End in March as well. One of my favourite things to do is go to the theatre so I’m forever grateful I’m only a train away from London where all the best shows are.
I started my internship at the most amazing company. I’m still there nine months on and I’m still as happy as I was went I started. My intern gave me my love of graphic design and I can’t thank them enough for all they have taught me and the opportunities they have given me.
April was the quietest month of 2016 for me but one super exciting thing happened that unfortunately I didn’t photograph but April was the month Tom officially agreed to come to Disneyworld in the summer with my family and I.
May 22nd 2016 was the day I posted my first ever blog post here on Sitting In The Clouds (click here to read it)
May is also the end of Spring and beginning of Summer which meant we had our first BBQ of the year.
Tom and I saw our favourite band in concert together…The Summer Set. It was hands down one of my favourite days of 2016 for me. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen, the weather was perfect, I think it hit 30+ degrees. We had a whole day in London, riding pedalos, eating ice-cream and going to our favourite cocktail bar.
Tom and I also went to see Magic of the Musicals. As I mentioned previously, I love a good musical so when I heard about Magic of Musicals, I had to get Tom and I tickets. It was a night full of the best London musicals performed with a live orchestra.
The biggest and probably most scariest thing I did this year was get my first ever tattoo. I’m so happy Tom was by my side the entire time as I couldn’t of done it without him.
The UK had a massive heatwave.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released and Tom and I went to go pick up our preordered copies.
In August I had the best two weeks of my life so far…I went to Walt Disney World (full blog post here). I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life and part of my life has meant lots of amazing trips to Disney. Each one as been wonderful but to experience the Disney magic with Tom was amazing and this trip was the best one I’ve ever been on.
Tom and I went to FriendsFest. We are both massive fans of the show so when they announced FriendsFest was coming back for another year but bigger and better than last year, I couldn’t not get tickets. It was an amazing day visiting all the different Friends sets and a perfect way to cope with the Disney withdrawal symptoms. (Full blog post here)
I celebrated a year since my kidney transplant (read about it here). It was a whole weekend of celebrating and I felt so grateful for all the love and support that weekend. My family, friends and Tom have supported me through this first year where anything could have gone wrong, nothing did but it was lovely to know everyone was there for me if anything did happen. Here’s to another fantastic year with a working kidney.
I started uni. Another scary yet exciting event to happen this year but writing this with so much uni work to do, it’s just stressful at the moment however, I know it will be worth it but it’s SO much work.
The Walking Dead came back into my life as Season 7 premiered. Tom and I stayed up until 2am to watch it with America and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. It was an amazing start to the new season.
I went on a Chelsea FC Stadium Tour with my dad. I got him tickets for Fathers Day and it was lovely spending time with just my dad.
Tom and I went to see King Lear at the Barbican Theatre performed by The Royal Shakespeare Company. Tom is an aspiring actor and wants to one day to perform on the West End. He’s currently auditioning for drama school and one of his monologues is from King Lear so I got him tickets so he could see it performed by the pros.
Tom in return got us tickets to Hogwarts in the Snow which is basically the Warner Bros. Studio Tour all Christmassy and it was a perfect way to get into the festive spirit. We are both major Harry Potter fans so although we have both done the tour before, we had never done it together, so it was lovely getting to experience it with each other.
I went to my first ever work Christmas party and it was INCREDIBLE!! I’m so blessed to work at such an amazing company, full of amazing people.
CHRISTMAS!!!!! My favourite time of year.
And that folks wraps up 2016 all in one post. I congratulate you if you got this far.
2016 has given me some amazing memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. However, with each moment this year they have enabled me to learn lots of different valuable lessons. Here are just a few:
Don’t give a f*** about what anyone else thinks about you
As long as it feels right, just go for it
You can always earn more money, have fun!!
You can never have too many cuddly toys, even if you are 19 years old.
2016 will go down in history as one of the best years of my life and I’m so sad to see it end. Politics, death and other things may have dampened the year for others but I have created memories I will never forget and for me that it more important than leaving the EU or anything else that’s happened this year. I’ve been happy and healthy for the first year in my life for a long time and I will forever be grateful for my dad for giving me a second chance at life and donating his kidney. He is the reason this year has been so fantastic for me and I’m incredibly sad to see this year end. But I know 2017 will be just as good or even better because Tom’s entered my life. Here’s to another amazing year.
Thank you for all your support this year, it means the world.
[tea talk – a new segment on my blog where I ramble about the goings on in my life while sometimes drinking my favourite drink…tea]
WARNING:This post isn’t my usual upbeat one.
Welcome Back!!! I knew this was going to happen but didn’t realise how quickly…yes, that’s right, I’m not drinking tea, I’m drinking water but at least I’m drinking something and to be honest tea is mainly water so I’m cheating too much. And as I now go to pick up cup and take a sip I realise there isn’t actually any water left…okay so now I’m cheating.
This is me….
Now I know I just bombard you with a dozen+ selfies and pictures but don’t worry I know exactly where I’m going with this blog post…I think, kind of, umm well not really. These pictures just show a glimpse into my life and some of my best memories but sometimes pictures don’t capture everything. I’m saying this because out of my 19 years on this wonderful earth, I’ve spent 12 of them years living with an invisible illness. No, I’m not talking about a mental illness, although those illnesses are horrible as well, to be honest all illness, invisible or not are cruel, but I’ve personally been living with Chronic Kidney Disease.
October last year, my dad donated his kidney so I could live a better life and since that day, my life has never been better. However, if he hadn’t of been so selfless, my life could be so very different.
Let me know if I’m wrong but I bet about 90% of the people reading this blog post won’t have a clue what Chronic Kidney Disease is…and from now on I’m calling it CKD because the full name is too long to write. Now I had to look this up so I didn’t write it the long winded way round and confuse everyone but basically CKD is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and if untreated could lead to death. And because it’s kidney related, it’s invisible to everyone unless you personally know me and I pluck up the courage to tell you…which I’m doing in this special #teatalk episode today. I’m not writing this blog post for sympathy, I’m doing it for awareness. All awareness for this illness is vital as in April last year 3,000 transplants took place but a further 5,000 were needed. I’d say the one plus side to CKD, and any kidney related illness, is the fact you can have living donations, meaning people who are alive, like my dad, can donate. Why? You ask….
Everyone has 2 kidneys but we can all survive with just one. Meaning everyone could donate a kidney and save thousands of lives. 300 people in need of a kidney die each year. That’s almost one a day! Now to me that’s crazy stats for something that is avoidable.
However, CKD is actually a lot more common than one may think. 1 in 10 people suffer with CKD in their lives. But, 1 in 50 young adults, that’s me, suffer with it. For a young adult, like myself, having CKD is not that common. I’m one of the lucky ones that was able to get a kidney from my dad, meaning I didn’t have to go on the donor waiting list or even have dialysis pre-transplant. What’s dialysis you ask?
Dialysis is, in simple terms, a machine that does what your kidneys are supposed to do but can’t. The machine filters your blood so it’s clear from toxins. Usually dialysis happens 3 times a week in hospital and it takes over your life.
I’m so grateful that my dad stepped up to donate his kidney because otherwise I’m not sure where I would be today. When I went for my transplant last October (2015) my kidney function was down to 5%. I was suffering from mostly all of the side effects, tiredness, and that’s not your “I’m so tired” when in fact it’s your own fault because you only got 3 hours of sleep because you stayed up watching Netflix, I was so tired I would sleep 12 hours at night and basically sleep all day, I was probably only awake for roughly 2-4 hours a day, I had no taste when eating, I suffered from itchy skin, major cramps and a lot more. My life wasn’t great. Now I could bore you with the history of how I came to get CKD but I don’t want this blog post to be hours long so I’ll make it short.
The town I used to live in diagnosed me wrong. When I was 3 my mum kept taking me to the GP with urine infections and the doctor kept giving me antibiotics and then sending me away, only for me to come back with another infection. The doctors didn’t pick up the reoccurring issue and only when we moved town and I got another urine infection, my mum taking me to the GP once again, did they realise that having this many infections wasn’t normal so they referred me to a specialistic. Eventually, I ended up in the care of the amazing team at Great Ormond Street Hospital until I was 18 (last June) so I moved hospitals and the hospital that I’m currently being treated at, was where I underwent my transplant.
At first, doctors said that I wouldn’t need a transplant until I was in my early twenties because although my kidney function was deteriorating, it was steady. However, at the end of 2014, beginning of 2015, my kidney function rapidly started to decrease, which is common in end stage kidney failure. That’s when both of my parents started undergoing tests to see if they were compatible. Luckily, my dad was.
So after months of tests and multiple transplant dates being set and moved and cancelled, the day of my transplant came. To be honest, I was more nervous for my dad on the day. This transplant was something I had to undergo for my own health. My dad on the other hand was going through this major operation out of pure love and selflessness. He is truly a remarkable man.
This picture was taken a few days after my transplant and after my side effects of the pain relief wore off, it was incredible how much of a difference I was feeling in myself already. Of course the pain was still there and I was still super tired because my body was busy healing but overall, I felt good and that’s something I hadn’t felt in a long time, without realising it. Some transplanted kidneys don’t work straight away and some don’t work at all. Luckily for me, my dads worked instantly and both mine and his recovery have been overall smooth. My dad has had some issues but he’s on the mend now and he says he wouldn’t change his decision for the world after seeing how much better I am.
Above is a picture of my dad and I only a month after transplant. People would come to visit me at home after I was discharged, I was out of hospital in 6 days, and say “I thought you would be attached to tubes and machines”. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be home as quickly as I was but I was young and they transplanted me before my kidney function was properly failed so I was able to recover quicker than most patients. My dad was out in 3 days. Unless a serious issue occurs, most donors are out within 5 days and recipients are usually out within 7-10 days.
It’s now been over a year since my transplant happened, which is something I still can’t fathom. This year has whizzed by and thanks to my dad, 2016 and truly been the best year of my life. With his kidney, a healthy, working, amazing kidney, I have been able to do and go on so many adventures with my partner in crime, Tom, who I met shortly after my transplant, in January. I will never have the words to thank him for changing my life and allowing me to become who I am today. But it wasn’t just my dad, my mum, who also put herself forward, but wasn’t able to donate because her kidney function wasn’t as high as the hospital wanted, was there each and everyday during my stay at hospital, helping me through and cheering me up. She took weeks of work to look after my dad and I after we were both home, becoming our rock in a time we needed her support the most. Without either of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I will never be able to show how much I love them both.
My dad and I on Christmas Day last year, 2 months post transplant.
You may be thinking now that the worst in over and that a transplant saved me. In some ways it did but Chronic Kidney Disease didn’t get its name for fun. Chronic means an illness persisting over time and constantly reoccurring. *touch wood* but my dads kidney could fail at any moment causing my health to deteairoate and repeat the cycle all over again. However, the second time round to be a lot worse. Anyone who undergoes a transplant will hear the doctors repeatedly tell you that transplantation is a treatment and not a cure. I will never be cured on my illness and I will always suffer from CKD. I’m just in a time of my life where I’m healthy and happy. I know that my dads kidney probably won’t last my lifetime as I’m so young so the chances of me needing a kidney again is high. But I know what my life is like now but also what it could be some time down the line so I’m enjoying every minute and learning to appreciate the little things.
It just goes to show that some people who look normal and healthy from the outside, may be suffering on the inside. I now have a warrior wound (my scar) and it’s a part of who I am. I wanted to write this blog post to increase awareness for not only CKD but all invisible illnesses out there. I was one of the lucky few to have such a smooth and great recovery, others may not be so fortunate. Please take care of one another and remind your loved ones how much they mean to you.
I realise this post wasn’t my usual happy post but I wanted to write it and tell my story to my readers. Just because you may have an illness, it doesn’t have to be become the only thing people know you for. Many people who know me personally, know my struggles and what I’ve been through but Chronic Kidney Disease isn’t the only thing their minds think of when my name is said. Don’t let your illness control who you are. Each and everyone one of us is unique and I’m proud of my scar and what I’ve been through and how strong I am now. I wish I didn’t have to go through what I did at such a young age but I did but it doesn’t define me. It’s part of who am I but it’s not the only thing I am.
Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments. I will be happy to answer any relating to the topic I just discussed with you all. Please remember it is a sensitive topic, not just for me but for others reading so be kind with your words.
Welcome Back!!! I absolutely adore writing monthly wrap ups and reflecting on the month just been so I’m back here for my September monthly moments. Of course the main thing to happen this month was being at Walt Disney World...it feels like months ago I came back, I can’t believe it was only just under 4 weeks. Although we started our holiday in August, we landed back in the UK on September 5th so I decided to include it in todays post.
It was the most surreal yet magical experience of my life so far. Being in the my favourite place in the world (Disney has a lot of meaning and sentimental value for me) with my favourite person was amazing. I’ve been on a lot of Disney holidays which I’m so grateful for but this one has to top the rest by miles. It was truly the ultimate Disney experience.
Reflecting back on the month as I sit at my desk writing this post, I really didn’t get up to much this month. I look at the month just gone and Disney is always the first thing that pops into my head. Going to Disney in August means my sister gets to celebrate a lot of her birthdays there, which I will always be jealous of. However, when we returned home, we had a little party for her and even though she’s 22, she still likes to have a theme. Pineapple and Flamingos it was.
My sister, my two younger cousins and I surrounded by yet another one of my mums master pieces.
Although September saw the beginning of Autumn/Fall, the weather is still on our side. You can tell it’s autumn, colder mornings with my car heater on full blast to warm myself up on the drive to work but the days are full of blue skies and sunshine. I’m trying to enjoy it while it lasts.
Then the time came to visit the sets of FRIENDS. Another great experience that I will treasure forever. I have a whole blog post on it full of pictures, take a closer look here.
But other than that, I just chilled at home, spent my days at work, reading and soaking up Netflixs and DisneyLife. Tom got me watching Star Wars after out trip to Disney, I have to say I loved the first one, we have yet to watch the next but I’m sure I’ll love it.
Snapchat filters are my life.
So that was my September. Not that exciting but enjoyable nevertheless. I can’t wait for October. I have some really exciting events to look forward to, for example THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 7 is back !!!!!!
I hope you all had a wonderful September and are enjoying every moment of life, whatever it may bring you. Bring on October for halloween and everything scary and spooky.
Welcome Back!!! I have recently surpassed 200 followers and I can’t thank you enough, it’s such a big milestone to hit in such a short amount of time and it feels amazing to have 200 people who want to read what I have to say because to be honest it’s not that interesting. So with all the new readers I thought it would be fun to share some facts about me in quite a unique way.
(I saw this post done first on Eleanor May, check out her blog post here)
A- ARISTOCATS I know I shouldn’t probably admit this but Aristocats is probably my least favourite disney film…EVER!! B- BOOHOO my go to clothes shop for anything and everything C- CAMERAS I have a “tiny” obsession with cameras, I love them and what they can do and I love collecting them…next camera to buy is a drone D- DASHER the surname of my favourite series, apart from Harry Potter E-EASTENDERS the only thing I watch on TV nowadays. Netflix, DisneyLife and reading keep me entertained otherwise F- FIFI my gorgeous fiat 500. I passed my driving test last April and got a fiat 500 shortly after and I love her to pieces G-GYMNASTICS I did gymnastics for about 2/3 years when I was younger and loved it but had some sort of mental block towards it which never allowed me to progress so I gave it up. And now, gymnastics is the only sport I follow and watch. H- HOME one of my favourite places to be (my second home is Disney World) I- INTROVERT I’d much rather stay at home, snuggle up and watch a movie or read a book than go out clubbing/partying J- JLS I used to be absolutely obsessed from 2008 (age 11) to 2012/13 (age 15/16). I still look up to each member has great role models but I look back and can’t believe I was that obsessed K- KIDNEYSI have 3, when they transplant a kidney, they don’t take out your native ones, so I have 3 kidneys L- LEGALLY BLONDE favourite show to see on the West End, unfortunately it’s no longer playing M- MAGNUMS the mint and raspberry ones to be exact, my favourite ice creams N-NEW ZEALAND the number one place I want to visit in this world O- OREOS – gimme them, I love them P- POPCORN I’m just obsessed but the funny thing is I used to hate it and now I can’t get enough of it Q- QUIET that’s how I come across if you don’t know me, I’m the complete opposite if I feel comfortable around you R-RACHEL that’s my name but there’s a funny story behind it. My mum always thought I was going to be a boy so thought up loads of boy names for me and when I was born a girl, they had no names so named me after the midwife…luckily she had a nice name. S- STITCH one of my all time favourite disney characters (I also love Winnie the Pooh and Baymax) T-TRASHING THE CAMP this is probably my favourite disney song, of course I love them all but there’s something about the song that I don’t think I will never get bored of. U- UNIVERSITY I will be starting this October to study Graphic Design and I’m looking forward to it and also extremely nervous at the same time. I have been out of education now for 2 and 1/2 years and I don’t know how I’ll cope going back into it. V- VACATION the place I’ve been to most on “vacation”…aka holiday for us brits is Disney World, this trip will be my 13th time. W-WALT DISNEY my all time inspiration and the person I look up to most in this world X- XYLOPHONE because I couldn’t think of any other word beginning with X Y- YOYOS I just can’t get the hang of them Z- ZOO (what other words begin with Z?) I’ve been to Prague’s Zoo and it was awesome
I hope you enjoyed this different type of blog post. There were a couple of letters I had real trouble thinking up a fact for but at the same time it was super fun to do and I invite you to do it.