Are You Grateful?

I’m feeling super happy about life at the moment.

I have a beautiful home, an amazing boyfriend, a supportive family, 2 great jobs, a brownie business, I’m fit and healthy, and I am capable of doing anything I want to do.

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31st July 2015 is kind of an important day for me, an anniversary. Christmas 2001, I woke up one day feeling absolutely rotten. Exhausted, weak, zero appetite. I ended up spending the whole of Christmas in bed. Concerned, my parent’s took me to the doctors to get checked. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with Hereditary Spherocytosis.

Hereditary Spherocytosis is a condition that affects red blood cells. People with this condition typically experience a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), and an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly). Me being me, I suffered from all of the issues stated above. But that wasn’t all, oh no. I was then diagnosed with having Gallstones. Gallstones are rare in 10 year old children, especially seeing as I was super sporty and very healthy.

I lived with the medical condition for 4 years before I ever had any issues. On the 31st July 2005, I woke up to see the sun was shining, it looked like it was going to be another beautiful day. First thing I did was got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I found myself staring at this yellow monster in the mirror. Not knowing what on earth was happening to me I called my mum and sister into the bathroom. Mum shouted, ‘get changed, we’re going to hospital’.

I started to deteriorate. I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker as we sat in A&E waiting to be seen. We seemed to be waiting for hours before someone saw me and told me I had to go to see my doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Mum drove as quick as she could, and when we arrived we had to sit in another waiting room before the specialist saw me. It felt like one of the longest days of my life.

Cut a long story short, I ended up being admitted into hospital and I spent the next month in Birmingham Children’s. I had blood taken twice/three times a day to keep an eye on my haemoglobin and iron levels, skin was becoming yellow-er every single day, whites of my eyes were going green, & I was losing a lot of weight because I wasn’t eating. My parents could see I was getting worse every single day and decided to act. After having a meeting with the doctor to decide what was best for me, they finally took me into surgery.

I went into theatre and the sun was shining. By the time I woke up, it was the middle of the night. I woke up petrified, with tubes down my throat and going into my stomach. I started having a panic attack and the first thing I did was start to rip the tubes out. This memory will always be so vivid.

The surgery took longer than expected but they found the cause. The gallstone had come out of the gallbladder and blocked the bile duct. When the bile ducts become blocked, bile builds up in the liver, and jaundice develops due to the increasing levels of bilirubin in the blood. They cleared out the gallstone and removed my gallbladder to prevent anything like this happening again.

I then started to make a slow recovery. I was put on a low fat diet, began to eat again, started to gain some strength, and I was even allowed to leave the ward for a couple of hours (my dad has fond memories of this). Next thing you know, I was discharged.

I started my fitness and gym obsession in January 2014. I was obsessed with wanting that perfect beach bod. Depriving myself of certain food types, training until exhaustion and not seeing any results. As you all know I have just purchased my first house. Due to the stress of everything I have been ill and suffering really badly with fatigue.

My priorities have changed. Instead of worrying about how I look, I now want to make sure my health is 110% because after all I still have my medical condition, my spleen is still enlarged and I have deficiencies in B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Potassium. So in the back of my mind, all I ever really think about now is am I looking after my body enough to make sure I don’t become ill again?

I have had a lot of time to look back and reflect on what I have done. I remember getting pissed off with myself because I didn’t lose 2 lbs one week or didn’t get a new PB on the squat. Looking back, why did I ever get so upset? I should’ve been grateful that I am able to get up and out of bed in the morning. I have to be grateful that I have a life that can be lived to its fullest instead of depriving myself.

I guess what i’m trying to say is, stop worrying about the little things in life, be proud of yourself and be grateful that you have a life that needs to be lived! So go out an live it, the way you want too!

Lots of love, Beki x

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