Monday, 3 June 2019

It only takes one ...

Last week I had surgery. I was cared for by some wonderful people. Its a ward I have been on multiple times and had multiple surgeries. The housekeeper remembers I don't take milk, the nurses ask me how my course is going and the HCAs joke that theres a bed with my name on it. Its a busy unit, but 99% of the staff on there are absolutely fantastic. They uphold all the values of my trust and are a credit to the profession. So what is it, 10 days later at nearly midnight I find myself crying about how I was treated by one member of staff? 

I remember as a HCA years ago being upset that after everything we had done for a patient, the letter we got from the family was one of complaint. Most of the complaint was directed at a couple of members of staff, but still it stung. Now though, as a patient myself I can see how your mind becomes consumed with the feelings of dissatisfaction toward one member of staff. The incident happened in front of my husband, which I am really glad of as actually with my anxiety if I had been alone I would have convinced myself that I was in the wrong.

It was less than 24 hours since my surgery and the nurses were pretty run off their feet. The HCA, lets call her Brenda, was asked to come and ask me if I wanted help with a wash. I heard her huffing about it outside the bay which didn't set a good impression to start with! i didn't actually want help with a wash, I was pretty embarrassed to be fair, and with a PCA Line, a catheter, a drip and a drain I wasn't really in a position to do much for myself. 

I asked my husband if he could help me, and asked Brenda to get me a bowl of water and a clean gown. She again huffed and said "Aren't you wearing your own clothes" which, I had planned to, but with the catheter and the drain still in (last time I had no drain and my catheter came out the next morning) there was no way I could get my Pjs on! 

I then put my hand on the drip stand to move it out of the way for me to stand up and she snapped "Don't hold on to that!" I felt like a child being told off. Not once did she show any warmth, and I was feeling very vulnerable. It was such a horrible situation to be in, and I am so glad that Tom was there. It has really given me a massive appreciation to how scared patients must feel, especially if this is their first time in hospital. 

I don't think that I have ever been as cold as Brenda was to me that morning, however I am sure that at times I have not taken into account how something that is an everyday task to me could be something that could make a patient feel so out of their comfort zone. I shared this feedback on the wards comment cards and I hope that Brenda takes it on board.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope that it either affirms that you are taking as many steps as possible to ensure your patients feel safe and cared for, or just reminds you what its like to be on the other side.

Charlotte Lucy

Monday, 27 May 2019

So i had surgery ...


Well, this was unexpected. 

on Monday 13th May I went to my GP with increasing abdominal pain.

on Friday 17th May I was admitted to the Gynae Assesment Unit in pain and with cyst that had grown to 12x12x10cm (which for reference is the size of this plant pot)

on Friday 24th May I had surgery. A laporotomy to remove the cyst. 

Im now home, 3 days post surgery and its going to be a long few weeks.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Intentional Spending Goals ...

I am a sucker for a bargain. One of my biggest talents is convincing myself that I need something. Another talent of mine is that I can find the best bargains in charity shops. Recently though I have been buying more and more and I think that this is because I have been feeling low. My cyst has come back and I have been struggling with my PMDD diagnosis. Today I sat watching a programme about shopaholics and everything just seemed to fall into place. I am not working at the moment and so my income isn't very good. I have tried all out spending bans and they don't seem to work as I just end up binging on a spend and so I have to come up with an alternative plan. 

Petite pear style has some intentions that I am going to be sticking with. Her two intentions are to reduce her expenses and also to declutter and reduce the amount of things that she is bringing into her house. This isn't going to be an all out spending ban, those don't work, I am going to let myself buy things but I am going to just try and stop impulse buying. So here are my intentions: 

1. Clothing must only be bought to replace staple items, or be off my allowed list.

I love charity shopping it goes without saying but over the last few years I managed to amass a collection of things that either didn't fit perfectly (but they were cheap) or just weren't suitable for my lifestyle. As a student nurse on placement at the moment I spend the majority of my time in uniform or pyjamas and so I am just not getting through my clothes as much as I would like to and yet I still find myself drawn to dresses and dresses and more dresses. I have recently sent a lot of bags off to charity shops and so the allowed list for clothing/shoes is:

A warm but waterproof coat (like this)
A gold dress for an event in June (this is my inspo)
Some sparkly flat sandals 
Lindy bop dresses
Cath kidston
Doc Martens (a girl can dream right) 
A colourful faux leather jacket
A colourful denim jacket
A perfectly fitting little black dress
Sweat wicking workout tops
Anything from seasalt
Anything from boden
Anything from joules

It might seem like a long list but most of those things are things that are missing from my wardrobe, or just holy grail products (like the lindy bop dresses) that I find very very rarely and wouldn't want to pass up the opportunity. 

2. Toiletries can only be bought to replace an empty product, and only if its essential.

I recently decluttered my toiletries stash along with my make up collection. I am really loving how my bathroom cabinet looks now, its all very neat and organised. I am a rubbish beauty girl, I barely use anything! I have realised over the past few years I convinced myself that I needed all these products when actually I can get away with very few products. I am going to continue using up my stash and only replacing things when they need it and I am going to work on having a very small curated collection of products that I love. I am a bit of a hoarder and so when a product such as toothpaste is half empty I can buy the next one.

I definitely don't need to buy any nail varnish so that is a no no item, as are lipsticks. 

3. Books and Stationery ... A sore subject.

Right now I have more books than I am getting through and yet I cannot resist buying them. I know full well if i were to completely ban books I would end up binge buying books. So I am going to make a list of allowed books a bit like clothes I can still enjoy the thrill of the shopping but I can only buy the specified books. So the allowed list:

A series of unfortunate events books
Donna Douglas series
Ally Conde Reached
Anna Jones cookbooks
The roasting tin cookbook
The Isabel Sanchez Vegara books
Goodnight stories for rebel girls 

So those are the ones I am allowed to hunt for. As for stationery, again if i completely run out of anything I will buy it but for now I am definitely set for notebooks etc. 

4. Home wear.

No. Thats all i need to say here really. If there is anything I feel i need I will add it to a list but at the moment I cannot think of a single thing we need. 

5. Food and Eating Out.

I have been doing so well on not wasting food and cooking more at home and this is something I want to continue. My biggest downfall seems to be buying snacks and drinks when we go to the cinema or I am just in town. I am going to try where possible to reduce this and I am also going to stick with meal planning and track everything I spend on food and drink.

WILDCARD - each month I am allowed ONE wildcard purchase. Obviously if i use this up on day one its gone, but it can roll over to the next month :)

To keep myself accountable I am going to try and do a weekly spending diary here, I will be tracking from today and will publish that next wednesday! I am also thinking of doing more what i eat posts, empties etc. 

What are your money goals? If you want to follow me on instagram I will be talking about this more in my stories :D 

Charlotte Lucy

Saturday, 11 May 2019

A Rebirth of Discovering Charlotte ...


Welcome if you are new and welcome back if you have been here before. 

Over the last year and a bit A LOT has happened. I have had a fifth surgery which left me minus one ovary, I shaved all my hair off for the little princess trust live on instagram, I have started a nursing degree ... just to name a few things! I have felt a little lost recently. Angry at circumstances beyond my control and constantly bogged down by all the rubbish thats going on in the world. 

So that brings me to here, now today! I asked on instagram if people would like me to return to blogging and I got an overwhelming reply of YES! So here I am, and im going to be writing a no holds barred, warts and all, blog about the realities of living with IBS, PMDD and anxiety while working out who I am and hopefully bringing a little bit of joy to the communities that I am part of. 

I am going to aim to post twice a week, with Fridays being reserved for the Friday five, a list of 5 things that have made me smile or made me grateful. Interspersed with things I have been trying to manage my symptoms (I am a big believer in complementary therapies) 


Charlotte Lucy 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


I am honestly not sure how to start this post, or even where it is going but bear with me here I have some things I need to get off my chest.

I am lost.

A year ago I stopped posting on my blog because I didn't want to focus on my health any more. What I meant by that is that I felt like I was labelling myself as the girl who had IBS, Depression, Anxiety and PCOS and naively I wanted to break free of those labels and just be me. These past few years I have made some big mistakes. I have been trying to be the person I thought I should be without really looking at the person I want to be.

I started a nursing degree in March and I know that is where I meant to be with my life. I cant explain how privileged I feel to be in a position of care like that. I currently work as a health care assistant and having had surgery myself 5 times now I know how much of a difference a Nurse can make. However my anxiety gets the better of me. I am constantly living with imposter syndrome. Thinking I am not good enough, not clever enough to get where I want to be. It means again I often hide away.

Its not been helped by the fact that in September, on the day I should have been sitting my anatomy and physiology exam (which I had revised really hard for) I was myself once again a patient. After 3 previous laporoscopies to remove cysts (In June 2012, October 2016 and October 2017) this time it was decided that as the cyst was so big they would have to perform an open surgery and remove my ovary and Fallopian tube as well.

My recovery has been slow and I had to take an interruption from uni which has bought with it all these feelings of guilt. I know I have to look after my body and yet its so hard when I feel like I am at constant war with it. I don't have the energy to keep on this way and know I need to practise more self care and this is where I feel like I am walking along a tightrope.

I want to exercise more but I cant go in all guns blazing as I am only 9 weeks post a pretty big abdominal surgery. So I have started with swimming and walking and we will up it from there.

I want to introduce gentle nutrition but I am constantly fighting my IBS and a lot of what is deemed healthy upsets my digestive system.

I want to be back working full time so I don't have to worry about money because I have been spending recently like its going out of fashion. I don't have solutions to any of these problems but I know I cant just keep going on the way I am.

For now I am just taking each day one step at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where I end up.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gifts that Give Back

Today I wanted to talk to you about a few gifts that help. I enjoy giving and receiving presents but I sometimes feel that Christmas has got a bit out of hand. I feel that in some cases gifts are bought and money spent just for the sake of it. I know I am guilty of this, but today I wanted to share a few gifts that will help someone in need this Christmas time. 

After losing her mother to cancer Caroline decided to embark on a mission to raise funds for the charity her mother had supported volunteering in their charity shop, Cancer Research UK. Throughout 2015 she styled herself in 365 outfits all from cancer research uk shops and posted them to her instagram account. I followed everyday waiting to see what she would style next (If you don't know I have my own similar instagram account where I try and share my charity shop finds) and when the book finally came out I couldnt wait to get my hands on it! I love going through it and getting outfit inspiration all the while knowing that my money has gone to a good cause! 

A charity closer to home for me is the Rainbows children hospice. Opened in 1994 this hospice supports children and young people and their families during there short lives. The Beauty Kitchen are selling this duo via Holland and Barrett with 100% of the profits going directly to the charity. I think this is absolutely amazing as one of my biggest bug bears is when brands try and sell consumers a £50 tshirt with the guise of oh the proceeds go to charity when actually only a teeny percentage actually make it to the charity! 

Charity Shop Goods

Ok, I know some people dont like buying second hand and wouldn't dream of giving a second hand gift (You are missing out on a trick here as over the years I have bought my husband some amazing things) but a lot of charity shops sell brand new goods! I know in Leicester alone LOROS sell a range of homewares, Oxfam sell a huge range of products including divine chocolates and beer bread making kits and British heart foundation have a range of jewellry and accesories so go and have a look!

A monthly donation to support a charity

I currently have three monthly direct debits that go to charity. Loros, RSPCA and Battersea dogs and cats. I am never going to dictate which charities I think people should support but find a cause thats close to you. My donation to each of the charities is around £5 so out of my budget thats pretty much the equivalent of one lunch out.

Do you have anything you could add to the list?