Horrah! It’s my absolute favourite time of the year — also my busiest — and I’m so excited to get out the blankets and candles & other cosy autumnal inspired home comforts. So far, it’s been quite the year for myself and my family. As Brand Me Beautiful grew, things at home took a bit of a rough ride. I’ve always been very open with my clients and online friends about my health issues but in truth, they never really have an impact on how I run the business. Sadly, this year decided to test my strength & I spent majority of it extremely unwell, in and out of hospital. Summer was a disaster and I ended up having to take a kind of hiatus from the business during June & July (thank God for understanding clients!). We still don’t have clear answers as to why I became so poorly, but I was at one point facing the reality of my mortality, something no 29 year old mother should ever have to experience. I went from a healthy 9 stone down to just 6 in a matter of weeks due to issues with my stomach and digestion. The anorexia was what was so critical at this point & with a BMI of only 15, my Doctors were extremely concerned. The pain was unreal too and there were even trips to hospital via ambulance. I have camera tests coming up soon and my lovely Gastro Doc strongly believes it to be Crohn’s Disease. I hope that it’s not (I already have too many diseases!), but no answers at all would be worse.
I try not to be defined by my bad health, but the truth is, it does have a huge impact on my life. There isn’t a day go by that I don’t suffer to some degree because of it. Every day my joints are so inflamed they are disfiguring. I have the most boring, bland, basic diet known to man because that’s all I can eat. I have headaches every single day. My rheumatoid disease is slowly attacking my organs and just recently I had to have a lung function test because I haven’t recovered from Pneumonia (which I typically caught just after I started to feel better again end of July!) I feel like I’m decades older than I actually am. But all of these things I force into the background because I won’t give in. I won’t let it win.
I don’t fight these things alone though. My family are unreal! Like little angels sent from God. My children, Madi & Seb, are constantly checking in on me, making me tea, getting my heat packs and helping me around the house. Madi takes care of the pets and her brother and together (with their Daddy too), we survive the effects of chronic illness. Their help enables me to be able to sit at the computer and work a 10 hour day. Their laughter and high-spirits keep me smiling whilst my back and hips ache from sitting at the desk for so long. My husband has even taken on an administration role for Brand Me Beautiful, (so you may be hearing from him if you reach out to me by email — he’s lovely!) to help me stay on top of things whilst I’m still recovering.
Years ago, before I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease, I used to be a wedding photographer. I sold all of my equipment when I got so poorly (so poorly that I was wheelchair reliant) and thought I’d never be able to use a camera again. After this second batch of completely debilitating health earlier this year, I decided upon recovery that I needed to buy a DSLR again. That I’d find a way to take the photos despite my crippling, weak hands. Because next to creating gorgeous brand designs, my other favourite thing to do in this world is take photos. I never want to be without a camera again because capturing my children is too important to me.
We celebrated the start of this new season (and my almost-better-again health) with a mini photo session. I wanted to share just a few of the pictures with you because these children are a huge reason for me being able to continue running Brand Me Beautiful. They really inspire me to keep on going (cliche, I know, but it’s true!) and to keep fighting for a better life. And they keep me smiling too!