Oh happy day!

I am beyond tired. I haven’t stayed in one place for more than five nights in the past month and in the past 24 hours I’ve been to three cities crossed a dozen counties and (been) driven over 500 miles with about five hours sleep….YAWN! A pretty epic journey when I think back to this time last year when I couldn’t walk!

I wanted to write a note today to mark it as this is the day that I have completed the 100 Happy Days Challenge which I have been working on via the wonders of instagram. It was a fantastic experience and I feel pretty-damn-awesome that I have managed to find the happiness in one hundred consecutive days in my life. That is a truly fantastic thing to say you have done. With that in mind here’s a list of the top five things I got out of this project;

  1. I learnt that even on the grimmest day; Days when I felt so ill I could barely roll over, days I had seizures, days that I heard loved ones were dying. THERE WAS STILL BEAUTY. There was still a cup-of-tea, a new green shoot, tiny things which when focused on where happy-making-things. Things I was grateful for.
  2. I learnt the Happiness is a verb. To be Happy. Happying. We forget that. Finding happiness is work. Once we learn to be on the look out for it. We see it all around.
  3. I learnt to Look. Look More. At the start of the project it was hard to remember to take pictures. Harder still to find something, but by the end there where SO many things I wanted to include. We just need to train ourselves. the HAPPIEST things are often the smallest things. Life is so busy we rush through it not noticing the way a sunbeam falls across our path is radiant.
  4. I learnt that I have control over some of the many labels put on me; Disabled, Epileptic, Patient….. and Happy. It is within my power to be labelled as a happy person! What a joyous thing!
  5. Finally I learnt, that when you see happy making things in your life, it is very difficult to understand when others talk of changing their lives ‘to-live-the-dream’ (whatever that might be usually less work, more play) as I realise now. I’m already living my dream. This is the best it could be. It is what there is and I have so much I am happy about in it I cannot begin to express that.

If you haven’t done it, I’d really recommend it, there’s nothing to loose and everything to gain! I’m a bit sad now it’s ended, it’s so positive to do my daily-happy-hunt that I’m going to keep doing it. Now I’ve done 100 days who’s to say I can’t do 500!


photo credit: Olivier Follmi

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Searching for Silver Linings

Today, I want to try and find a way to pull something positive out of my dealings with Doctors recently. It is quite a challenge, I think that the answer lies in first acknowledging exactly what the difficulties are.

It seems that the recurring issues I encounter, right across the classically trained western (NHS) medical spectrum, from Nurses to GPs to Consultants & Surgeons are often that they:

  1. Patronise me, assume I am ignorant of all medical terms or go the other way and speak in Latin
  2. Don’t listen to me or take my concerns seriously
  3. Make me feel like a time waster and try to rush me out the door
  4. Eye contact, reassurance and  simple KINDNESS are nearly always absent.
  5. Close their minds to the suggestion that other methods, treatments, Doctors might work better than them. If you are brave enough to openly discuss one with a Doctor a likely response I have discovered is basically a threat ‘well…do so at your own risk…’etc

The fact that these are such simple things to rectify makes my heart ache! I do appreciate that being a Doctor must be a tough job and some, like my Neurologist and Paramedics I’ve encountered are real-life heroes, but the reality is that most are not. I can see that showing the same level of compassion to someone with a runny nose and a child with terminal cancer is a challenge. But as Doctors, I believe they should be trained to do this. It should be a priority. A Doctor’s first and foremost responsibility is to DO NO HARM. By doing these things, the Doctors are failing to meet their first aim. By doing these things to me they cause great harm and ultimately make recovery slower.


My thoughts on this have arisen from many encounters but most recently an incident with a GP I went to see today. I went, concerned about the side affects of long-term NSAIDs use, to ask for advice on how to slowly stop taking them and to ask if a GP might know of any local Homeopaths or perhaps any GPs also practicing Homeopathy. I left about 5 minutes after I entered the room, my questions went un-answered, my mention of a homeopath was met with a smirk and ‘everyone I know is very skeptical about the point of those type of things‘ and an even more toxic-looking prescription thrust into my hands, (unexplained and un asked for) accompanied by another sick-note signing me off for 3 more months without any explanation whatsoever….

Some more of 'Doctors' wisdom...

Some more of ‘Doctors’ wisdom…

I am a well educated, intelligent (if I do say so myself!!) young woman, who is immensely lucky to have a stable, close and loving family supporting her. However, I am ill, I need more help and information than they alone can provide. I feel desperately for those in similar situation to me but without family like mine. Where can I/others turn if not to their Doctors?

This could be me!

This could be me!

With that in mind, I suppose that yet again my experiences are showing me that, as ever, the silver lining, the positivity, the hope is to been seen in the way being in this situation, encountering these medical road-blocks is highlighting my blessings. One of which is that through their behaviour Doctors are forcing me to educate myself further, to open medical text books for myself, to take control of my own life and my own health. Today I discovered The British Homeopathic Association and saw that you can even get NHS referrals to them!

By far my greatest blessing, highlighted to me today though, is my family, my husband and my friends. They are omnipresent in all my challenges, I can feel them with me in the Doctors waiting rooms and in those stuffy offices. Even if they can’t physically always be with me, I know they are there. Whatever happens, knowing they are here is empowering and freeing. As long as we stand together and keep choosing love then I believe any obstacle is removable. One Love.


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Happy Making things

Following yesterday’s ‘good-day’, today is not nearly so good, infact it’s rather a bad morning, probably induced by an hour spent crawling around in the garden in a tensed-up-blind-panic after my wedding ring fell off my finger…I found the ring. It has never fallen off before…perhaps I am loosing weight in my fingers?? Skinny-finger syndrome…? Can that happen?! Anyway, today instead of dwelling on, lets be honest what is a totally shitty and I am going to swear… F******G FRUSTRATING AND TERRIFYING AS HELL. Yes, I am very scared… body that I am currently dealing with I have cringed my way around our small abode and collected some pics of things which we have that everytime I see them bring a smile to my face and lighten my heart. Thank God it’s sunny today, someone knew today was going to be a hard one!

Looking at it like that helps, even if I can’t work out how to flip the pictures vertically and even though they are crap quality! There are LOTS of happy-making things there. A friend is coming for lunch. It is sunny. Today can only get better! One Love x


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Return to Glory

Following on from my blog on Deforestation for my soul I decided that enough was enough. To truly be well I need to take all possible steps to achieve this. At the moment it is a fact that I am not able to walk far enough to go to a beauty salon, neither am I well/strong enough to bend over and shave/wax my own legs. Amazing friends and lovers have offered to help me, for which I feel immensely blessed. However, taking care of my body is something I have always done myself, something, which ultimately I do for myself so I felt that it was important that I maintain independence and dignity.

love hair

If I have learnt one thing by being forced onto this journey-to-health, it is that giving up, staying in my PJ’s, crying, not washing, fearfully monitoring every single brain wave, scared by every spasm, staying in the house, watching TV and blindly ‘following Doctor’s advice’ is not the way I want to go. All that I will find on that path is more pain, less confidence and depression, affecting not only myself but the people I love. I think that when you love someone, you are really happy when they are happy. Therefore to make the people I love happy, my confidence and happiness are essential. Health and Happiness are intrinsically linked and it is my mission to achieve both, come what may! YEAH! UP YOURS SPINAL INJURY & EPILEPSY!


With this in mind, I set about searching for beauticians who might be able to come to my house rather than me going to them. I figured it was probably going to be expensive, but I came to the conclusion that a beauty therapy session would be as valuable to me a Physiotherapy, so it would be worth it. Google provided a host of interesting possibilities, some rather less savoury sounding than others! I felt rather naive and innocent as my searches brought up dozens of ‘specialist, private massages…’ hmmm…. anyway! I eventually found a couple which I thought looked a) real b) had trained beauticians and c) where less likely to stab me and burgle the house!

So having made the decision that I was actually going to do this and I was going to pay for it! I rang the first one, I was so disappointed when a grumpy sounding woman told me she couldn’t possibly come to our house for less than 3 hours and I would have to have at least FIVE treatments…charmed. The next one I tried told me they were so busy they couldn’t come to see me for a month! I then came across a service with a fantastic name: Return To Glory! (although the name sounds a little religious-cult-esq!) I thought that’s exactly what I am trying to do! I want to return to glory… man!

On further inspection I discovered that Return To Glory, are a well established mobile beauty service started in 2007, initially aimed at new-mums wanting beauty therapies but unable to leave their new babes. Return To Glory therapists now work all over London, have featured in Vogue, are in partnership with Neals Yard and interestingly for me, also work with the NHS and as if all of this wasn’t enough, to top it off their latest blog is entitled Hands on treatments: they’re real medicine in which they discuss scientific reasons why incorporating beauty therapies into daily life should be seen as a necessity and not a luxury!  Return To Glory, you are SOLD to one (easily) excited Mrs Baena!

Return to Glory

So I rang them up and they were friendly as could be, they explained how it all works and answered all my questions about their different services and were totally un-flustered when I mentioned my medical conditions and amazingly arranged for a therapist to come to see me the next day. They take payment online or via phone prior to the therapist coming, which would normally alarm me, but actually I think in this instance it was safer and then when the therapist comes you don’t have to worry that a stranger knows you have cash in the house and about all the negativity around money, you can just enjoy your treatment. I also thought they are very well priced considering everything, it was only £9 more expensive than super-posh salon down my road, so that rocked my world too!

The beautician who turned up on my doorstep was called Pam she radiated calm and kindness. A quality often so undervalued. Pam was very professional and relaxed, as well as waxing Pam also did some of the best threading on my eyebrows I’ve ever had, the world honestly looks brighter. Pam seemed to intuitively know when I wanted to chat and when I wanted to be quiet, she was accommodating and never made me feel rushed, she listened to me, let me move when my back ached and gave me time.

I had to fill in a ‘health questionaire’ as you always do, I wish I’d kept a copy actually as this one was one of the most lovely I’ve ever seen. These questionaires often put a knot in my stomach after once being refused a treatment after ticking ‘yes’ to epilepsy, but  after the first question, this one didn’t at all. It was also more than just tick boxes and asked questions like ‘How do you hope to feel after your treatment: relaxed, happy, beautiful, energetic?’

In summary and with thanks to Pam, I truly feel that today has been a massive step forward on my return to glory. I felt so much better that I even walked to the pond ON MY OWN today, something I haven’t dared to do for at least a month. Proof, if you need any more that beauty therapies are as valuable as medical treatments and should be seen as such. One Love to all especially Holistic Beauty Therapists!

I love puddles





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