Hello and welcome back to nicolajogston.com. Today I am sharing Lynley if Top Lady Talks Q&A for The Shining The Spotlight Series.
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you?
Hi! My name is Lynley Gregory and I’m a 51 year old retired teacher.
Chronic illness(es)/disabilities I have?
I became disabled 4 years ago following a spontaneous Sacral spinal fracture and subsequent nerve damage. This left me with chronic pain and weakness in my left hip and leg and I now use crutches and an electric powerchair to mobilise. After the fracture, we found out that I had severe osteoporosis and it was this that had caused the spontaneous fracture.
My symptoms/condition began?
It all started during lesson 5 on a Thursday! I can remember an enormous pain and felt like I’d been shot, managed to hobble over to a desk, dismissed the class and then went to my GP.
My diagnosis process was?
I was firstly diagnosed with Sciatica so was precise painkillers and physio. After a few weeks with worsening pain, I asked for an MRI scan which showed up the fracture. I was then on bed rest for 4 weeks and on crutches afterwards. Whilst the fracture was healing, my pain levels weren’t improving and I was referred to the Pain Management Consultant. It soon became obvious that my pain wouldn’t be going away and that I would have to manage it instead. I use a combination of meds, meditation, mindfulness and chair yoga.
The hardest part of living with my illness/disabilities is?
The hardest thing was the loss of my career. I had worked hard to become a Head of Department in a large secondary school and it was so hard when I had to take ill health retirement. I felt that I had lost my identity, my lifestyle and my future.
People assume that?
When you’re in a wheelchair, people assume that you are stupid and unable to speak for yourself. It has amazed me how people who once would’ve asked me things, now defer to my husband and ask him instead!
A typical day for me involves?
I have to pace myself these days in order to manage my pain levels so life is pretty quiet; my pain is worse in the morning so I take my painkillers and read the papers online, then get dressed with the help of my husband and then spend the day reading, writing my blog or watching tv. I love films so I’m always looking out for the next big blockbuster!
My blog is a very important part of my life too. I’ve always loved writing and decided to write a blog talking about how I’m adjusting to becoming disabled in later life. It has been a difficult journey for me so I wanted to share it in case there was someone else out there in the same difficulties. My blog is called TopladyTalks and I really enjoy writing it.
The one thing I cannot live without is?
I think the one thing I couldn’t live without is my husband (if he’ll excuse me calling him a thing!) He is my best friend and my carer, he helps me with all my personal needs and drives me around so I can do all my yoga/meditation sessions. He really is one in a million and I love him to bits!
Being ill/disabled has taught me?
Being disabled has taught me firstly is that people will help you but you need to tell them what you need, they’re not mind readers, secondly that a job really is just a job, you will be replaced the moment you leave so don’t make it your life and lastly that you really do have more strength than you ever thought.
What advice would I give someone recently diagnosed?
Being diagnosed with Osteoporosis is quite daunting at first; knowing that you could spontaneously fracture is a very unpleasant feeling. I would advise them to contact their local National Osteoporosis Society and get some advice from their helpline, I found them very supportive indeed. With chronic pain, I would advise that the investigate every avenue, Pain Management, yoga, acupuncture, counselling and anything else that you can get to as there’s no one thing that will help on its own but a combination will.
My support system is?
My husband and my family especially my two children. Unfortunately many of my friends have not been supportive, not because they don’t care but they just aren’t around. On the upside, the ones who do are worth the world.
If I had one day symptom/disability free I would?
I would get out and run, I would take an aerobics class, anything to do with exercise! I miss being able to move without pain.
One positive of having a chronic illness/disability is?
One positive aspect of my disability is that it has deepened my relationships with my loved ones. It has amazed me how much they have helped, how supportive they have been and I am so very grateful.
The spoonie/disability community has been?
In one word, amazing! I didn’t even know that the ‘disability community’ even existed but every one that I have contacted has been so supportive. I have had messages from lots of total strangers and it has really helped me make the transition from my old life into my ‘new life’ as a disabled person.
Thank you so much to Lynley for sharing your story and helping me raise awareness of disability and chronic illness. Be sure to check out Lynley’s blog Top Lady Talks
If you’ve missed any of the previous Shining The Spotlight posts, you can find them here. If you would like to take part and share your own chronic illness or disability, please feel free drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be more than happy to feature you.
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