Reflecting on 2015 the highs and lows.

2015 has been a rollercoaster of a year with lots of highs and lows. Im going to get the lows out the way and then can focus on all the old things that 2015 has brought.

Normally my asthma is the biggest shadow which casts over me making my year a bit more tricky which it has but up until  9th September there was an even bigger issue I found myself having to face each day. I never thought a co-worker could be so mean and horrible making not only work life a living hell but also plagued me at home. Thankful thus person has left and I hope she is not inflicting the same pain on any one else that she did to me. Little over a year I had to work with her and it was horrible. I don’t think words can describe it and some of the things she did I will never forgive. I even went to my manager (was forced to by one of my good friends) to discuss her bullying me but even then she turned it around to say it was my attitude, I was literally terrified of her. If it was only 2 of us in the office I would leave and find something else to do. She even then reported that patients complained about me and also got staff members to complain about me which funnily enough seems to have all disappeared since she left. It was all manipulated and in the end I was left accepting that maybe it was because I was taking so much prednisilone and couldn’t control how I was acting. I was mortified at accepting this as have been on prednisilone for over a decade so pretty sure this issue would have come up before now but I just wanted it all to go away. It was so bad I had my resignation letter written, I had a letter written to my lion rep about what to do and even a formal complaint letter to the NMC because of her behaviour. I was at a loss as what to do. The relief that swept over me when I heard she was leaving was staggering, the days leading up to her departure was long as I ticked the days off in my calendar. I have never hated someone so much and never been treated by someone in such a way. She is a Myra Hindley reincarnation. But now a line is drawn under it. A new year is coming and I can move on and forget about all the misery she has caused me.

(literally drew a line forgetting the bad and reflecting on the good now!)

Asthma wise I am still finding it really hard and it is sometimes a real struggle to get up, take all my medication and know that today is just not going to be a good breathing day but working with my team I have been able to have more relaxed rules at home meaning I can do more neb treatments before having to go to hospital which has meant I have avoided going to hospital a lot more than previously. This has almost given me freedom in a strange way. I don’t need to worry that I only have 3 nebs before Im off. I can sit out attacks longer which eases so much stress an anxiety about the whole experience of going to hospital including missing more work, letting my family know, more needlesticks than I care to think about, being hooked up to a wall and not being allowed anywhere without someone with me. Sitting on my couch or sofa with my neb enjoying the freedom and not worrying that Im down to my last before going into hospital. This has been a big change and meant I have not had to miss so much work like I have in previous years. I haven’t got the exercise tolerance that I wanted to get to but I can’t be greedy and be happy with what I have.

I had hoped by the end of this year I would potentially be looking at going back to work full time but this has not happened. Both my boss and my consultant feel that I really can’t increase my hours. It is disappointing but here is hoping that 2016 I may finish the year out increasing my hours a wee bit. Fingers crossed!!! I still love my job now though and thats the main thing!

Golf has always been a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember but over the year I have really not enjoyed my golf as much as I have done in previous seasons. I thought long and hard about it, looked at my season and compared with the previous seasons where I would hand in upwards of 20-30 cards this year I only handed in 3 cards and I really can’t say I enjoyed those rounds. I found the rounds were such hard work even when playing really well. I would feel exhausted by the end of it and not be able to enjoy it. The main thing for me was when I had to make the decision to pull out of the Highland Open in Pitlochry. I have played it in over the past three years and enjoyed it so much but this year I was going to play but had to pull out. The strange thing was I really was not upset by it. It didnt bother much. This was when I saw my passion for golf dwindling. I decided that I would have a season off to get myself fitter, feeling better and find my golf mojo again.

As one door closes (temporarily) another opens and this is has happened unexpectedly. I have found myself on the lacrosse field again. Not out field but in the crease infront of the cage as goalie. I love being back part of the team again. It is so much fun and being able to attend training weekends and Scotland trials. I doubt anything much will come of it but just being able to trial is amazing and I never thought with my asthma that I would be able to, so after 2 seasons not playing lacrosse I am again and really enjoying.

2015 has been full of other great things though.

End of July beginning of September Edinburgh hosted the U19 World Lacrosse Championships which I volunteered for. It was great fun. I got to sit pitch side and do the stats, I also got to try commentating but that was not so great. I think I will stick to calling the stats rather than commentating on the games!

In August my golf club captain and golf club held a charity day to raise money for Asthma UK. The day was a huge success and despite the bad weather everyone was so generous and we raised a whopping £10k. It was astonishing and I still can’t believe it. I am so grateful for all who contributed. Lisa Summers from the BBC was able to help us put a video together to say thank you to all who took part!

This year has been great with stuff I am doing with the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research. I was asked onto the centre management committee which I accepted. Nothing much has changed in what I do other than go to a few more meetings. The children and young peoples group is in full swing and we have had a few meetings, designed a group logo and helped out in some great research projects. I went to Manchester for the annual scientific meeting which was great as we had a big PPI group there. The next one is going to be Edinburgh which will be exciting!

Also this year I got an article published in the British Medical Journal for a series called “What your patient is thinking”. My article focused on acute asthma and presenting to A and E. You can find the article here:

2015 has been a good year. It had its lows but it also its highs. I don’t want to set any goals or targets for 2016. I seem to do this every year and come the end of the year I have not fulfilled anything I set out to. So 2016 I will see what happens and where I get to. I wish for good health and to do all the things I want to do but will see where the year takes me.


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