health

Thank You — I’m Sorry

Feels difficult to be writing about our problems and fundraising successes when such horrific things are being experienced all around the world.

It also feels difficult to be saying thank you to one particular person or group, when so many people have offered their help to us.

I want you to know you are all appreciated. Every single person who has shared our fundraiser or our fb page or donated, is being held eternally in my heart. Seriously, I actually have a massive jar that I am filling with the names of people who have helped us in any way, and I will never be throwing that jar away. I don’t ever want to forget who, and how many people, helped us.

There are very few silver linings I have been able to find in the horrific situation I have had to experience. I think the most powerful silver lining I’ve found, though, is the surprising (to me) uprising of compassion and kindness that exists in people, both nearby and widespread, that is ignited when needed.

It’s an amazing blessing to watch individuals, groups and communities come together and give the kindness, compassion and generosity that we’ve seen and received.

I write this with the knowledge that whilst I am receiving love and compassion, on the other side of the world (and all over the world for that matter), there are parents having to plan their children’s funerals (amongst other tragedies) – and just nothing about that makes any sense to me.

I suppose I’m writing this because, whilst tragedy is happening in many parts of the world, I don’t want to stop thanking the people who are helping us reach our fundraising goal. Because I need to give recognition and love back to those who have given it to me and my family.

I also rarely have a good enough day to write a post myself so I wanted to take the opportunity while I can…

So, here I am, thanking everyone who has helped us in any way with our fundraising campaign. I want you to know, your compassion gives me the strength to keep fighting.

So to those helping us, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And to those suffering tragedies, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

All my love,

Zoe

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Where Stuff’s At …

Wow, I love the memory of being such an active blogger.

Unfortunately my health has continued to decline and writing has become very difficult for me. I’m learning the speak to text strategy but it’s not the same. I seem to think while I’m typing, so trying to think while speaking feels much more like being put on the spot.

Anyway, I’ve also been extremely unwell over the warmer months, with my health just seeming to get worse and worse. So I just haven’t had the energy to write OR speak a post during this difficult time.

I hate to sound soppy and self-pitying, but I’m not sure this post can come across as anything but?

I really got a bit sad that I wasn’t getting any of my thoughts out there or discussing things with the interesting people I know follow this blog. And I wanted to firstly, start my blogging back up again, and secondly, fill you all in with where I’m at.

So … let the soppy begin …

As I said above, my health has deteriorated. But to be clear, it has deteriorated intensely.

I now have paramedics out every few days, sometimes every second day. I do this when I am extremely syncopal (passing out) and need IV fluids to fill my blood volume again, to prevent the syncopes.

I’ve also had a lot of hospital trips when the paramedics couldn’t stabilise me at home.

And there’s been the occasional admission to hospital for migraines and severe pressure headaches that are un manageable with my medications and also go on for several days.

At the same time, we’ve had a billion other things we’ve been trying to tend to.

One of the things we’ve done that has proven pretty fruitful, is to keep researching the conditions I have. We realised that one of the conditions I have, that has to do with mast cells, is linked, or mirrors (if that makes more sense) someone who is allergic to a huge amount of stuff and whose allergic threshold lowers to the point that they begin having allergic reactions to things they have never reacted to before. So this particular allergic threshold spirals further and further down, creating more and more restrictions in foods, household items like soaps etc., medicines or medical equipment (like the tape they use on cannulas etc.) and environmental factors such as pollens, chemicals, grasses, trees, weeds — all of which I am surrounded by.

From the outside, it basically looks like my body is shutting down on itself.

No. Not a very nice thing for the witnesses to watch or me to be experiencing.

But at least we figured out, through a variety of methods, that a better climate, where the environmental allergens are much less impactful on my body, is what I need — quite urgently.

Every doctor that we speak to urges us to move to a high, dry and cold environment — every. single. doctor.

I have to admit, that was a bit of a shock at first, but the more we researched and talked with doctors and the more we looked back on my life and remembered the times I have been very sick while living in an environment full of things I was allergic or sensitive to, and then we moved to a better environment for me and my health improved dramatically — the more everything began to make more sense.

When you’re trying to explain it to people for the first time it’s really difficult, so hopefully I haven’t just confused the crap out of y’all. 😉😂

But now that that’s done, I feel like it might be easier to just get on with blogging or vlogging without quite so much confusion around why my body is as unwell as it is.

I have had so many posts I’ve wanted to write or videos I’ve wanted to record, about things like the silver linings to being so disablingly unwell, our amazing paramedics, watching how families can bond tighter in these situations as well as all my ballet stuff … which, to be honest, isn’t very much but it’s still my favourite passion and I still want to talk about it.

I’m proud of myself for continuing my exercise regime and my ballet-physio every day (most days.) Even though I only do a tiny amount now, I am holding hope in my heart and determination in my mind, that one day I will be able to do so much more.

Boy, do I have plans, for when I get my health back.

Anyway, we have started a fundraiser for us to hopefully be able to afford to buy a caravan and then we’ll just move into the caravan, in the better environment that we know my body responds well to.

So the fundraiser is at the link: Zoe’s Fundraiser

If you feel you’re in a position to donate to our fundraiser then that’s fantastic. If you can’t donate, you can help just by sharing the fundraising page.

Alternatively you can also like our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/helpzoegetherlifeback and share the page or posts you like.

Ok. That’s it for now, guys. If you read to the bottom, thank you. You’re a gem. If you didn’t, I just hope you read enough to understand where I’m at, because I won’t be explaining it over and over again.

Much love to you all. I hope you have a wonderful day/night/moment today.

Love,

Zoe xxx

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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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Above and Beyond…

Paramedics were called out again this afternoon. Not great.

HOWEVER…

While here, they told me about the headway they’ve been making in getting our little rural hospital to give me regular, preemptive special IV therapy.

The idea being that this IV therapy would hopefully reduce the amount of times I need emergency calls to ambulance services, helping me to not get as severely sick as regularly as I am at the moment and not clog up their services when someone else could be doing it. It’s not a perfect system but it’s better than anything we’ve got going now.

We’ve been trying to get doctors and community nurses to make this happen for a long time now, without any luck.

So one of our amazing paramedics decided to march up to the community nurses and the hospital and see what they could do to get it happening for me.

And today, one of these amazing paramedics said he’d convinced the hospital and nurses to give it a try and see if it helps — probably just over summer, as that’s when I tend to need this treatment the most.

It just blows my mind when I see someone go above and beyond, to help others.

Thank you Mr. Paramedic. You rock.

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Ballet-Physio Update

A few supine leg stretches. Feels great to be moving again.

Hope everyone is treating themselves fairly, cause you know, unfair treatment of yourself will likely lead you to a place you don’t want to visit.

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This Time Around

This time round on my ballet journey, I have the power of knowledge alongside me. I am aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s funny because, although this time round I have many many more challenges, I am choosing to see those challenges as opportunities to do things the right way for me, and therefor achieve more of my dreams and goals.

Last time, I had hopes and dreams but was continuously failing. I was continuously feeling my body crumble when it didn’t seem like it should.

I was being told my body was perfect for ballet and “should” be able to make all these perfect ballet shapes if I tried hard enough.

I also had a strange fear of movement. I began to get over that fear while I was at the barre — in fact, Iearned to adore the feeling of movement at the barre, and I even started feeling a little more confident with some pirouettes.

But move me away from the barre and I completely froze up.

I remember during my first private class my teacher tried to teach me a very simply pas de bourree with a simple relaxed pirouette on the end.

But it was the strangest thing. It felt like I was learning to walk again. Like everything was foreign to me. Like I didn’t even know my left from my right. Like I didn’t even know my own name anymore.

I used to walk away from centre time feeling so deflated. I didn’t understand why my body felt so weak in the centre and I didn’t feel like it would ever end.

(I do have to add that my in-class teachers were wonderful. They would always say, ‘Just give it a try!’ They could see I was really struggling and didn’t make me feel worse for it. And I am incredibly grateful for that!)

Now, after having experienced such a massive physical breakdown, and doctors finally being forced to pay attention — and that attention leading to the right diagnoses’ and now treatment, has meant that I actually know now why my body was not ‘failing’ but struggling with certain elements and why I felt so awkward doing centre work. Yes, there are actual physiological reasons for it!

So many things make sense to me now.

I remember during my hardest days a few months ago, I would lie there, unable to speak properly, unable to stand up, unable to wash myself, pain searing through my body, and I would try to think of the good things in my life. I found them in my children and my hopes for better times some day. But it was bloody hard to find them. Some days I was too consumed by my suffering to find them and I just wished for the day to end. 

But I never thought I would one day look back at that time and see it as a vital part of my future success.

And that is what it is. (I am not ignorantly suggesting that this is how it is for all chronic illness sufferers. We all have our own journeys.)

There will be many ups and downs ahead. And my daily grind is still a pretty heavy grind.

But now I am armed with knowledge and am moving forward in an achievable way, giving my body all the support and understanding it needs, to get me where I want to go.

And understanding makes ALL the difference. I’m no longer confused. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel more confident that I can achieve my dreams than I have ever felt before — because I have adjusted my dreams and the ways I intend on achieving them.

I may have health issues that are making me see things in this new light, but I think it’s relatable to everyone who may start to feel that pressured feeling about what they’re trying to achieve.

I suggest we all stop comparing ourselves to others and start learning about our own bodies, how we work and don’t work and start working WITH ourselves rather than against ourselves. As that is how I see the greatest growth happening.

Zoe xxx

P.S remember, if you like it… share it! 🙂

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When You Can't Be A Ballerina

A common grief among adult ballet dancers is the loss of ever being able to be a ballerina — of ever being able to truly live the life of a ballerina, the whole 24/7 package.

I’m sure there are many parts of that lifestyle that we don’t fully understand. I’m sure all the blisters, injuries, pain, pressure and rejection are things we cannot fully wrap our tantalised minds around. But the great sense of injustice at finding ballet so late in our lives, that many of us feel, usually overshadows those real-life ballerina issues. Most of the time.

So then, what do you do, how do you fill the ballerina gap, when you can’t be a ballerina?

Well, you can start by celebrating the fact that you don’t have all that pressure on you. You don’t HAVE to keep dancing on that injury or risk losing your employment. You don’t HAVE to do anything in ballet.

For adult ballet dancers, it is all about what we WANT to do.

Sure, sometimes (often) in class our teachers might make us feel that we should be focusing on a million things that feel impossible, but that’s only what the teacher wants — again, we don’t HAVE to do anything we don’t WANT to do.

So, we can set our sights on almost anything! 

Triple pirouettes

Jetes

Stronger feet

Feeling the music

Feeling like a ballerina

Laughing with friends

Fondues

Port de bras

Anything. ANYthing! ANY THING! 

(Well, aside from the pro-ballerina thing)

Remember to believe in yourself. 

You are allowed to set goals, dream and achieve. 

You are allowed to want more. 

You are allowed to strive for the best you can be.

You are allowed to strike a fabulous ballet pose, and feel as proud of yourself as if you were that professional ballerina that you feel is inside you. 

Tiny tots starting their first ballet class, girls graduating senior ballet, boys navigating a seemingly feminine world of ballet, professional ballerinas, adult beginner ballet students, ballet teachers, advanced adult ballet students and audiences who love watching ballets on stage — we’re all part of the same thing. We’re all part of ballet.

So what can you do when you can’t be a pro ballerina?

Whatever the fuck else you can imagine. Whatever else you can dream up.

Go forth and conquer the moment. Your moment. 

Enjoy it. Revel in it. Own it.

And always remember…

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx