Breaking point aka -2• in your living room

Ridiculously cold temperatures and snowy stormy weather affect everybody but in particular;

1. People with any form of Arthritis and other joint pains

2. People with slipped / herniated discs and scoliosis/kyphosis

3. People who suffer cramping back muscles through stress and reductions in temperature

4. People with current undiagnosed loss of feeling and intense pain in their hands and are currently waiting on further neurology tests and hand physio

5. Migraine sufferers

6. Psoriasis sufferers where your skin comes out almost instantly in red blotches all over

7. All the poor bastards who suffer all of the above. AKA muggins over here.

The Beast from the East / Snow Storm Emma is in full force here in the UK, and I thought I was doing pretty well… until the boiler in our flat broke last night! I meannnn I’m often one to exaggerate slightly I’ll admit. But I’ve NEVER woken up from brain freeze at 3am and had to sleep in a ridiculous amount of layers! Even the electric blanket was barely doing its job. There was a full on breeze in our bathroom.

So with no heating and no hot water in the flat, Wayne left for work and I managed to escape to the lovely Dalhousie coffee shop in Crystal Palace (after skidding my way up the icy hill) and got a few hours’ work done. But I was in absolute agony with my joints, especially my hands, so I had to give up mid afternoon and make my way home. I also had no idea that that’s where all of south London’s babies seem to meet for their mid-morning cry-fest. Not ideal for conference calls (sorry again team!)

Sadly, we were supposed be heading down to Devon for the weekend to celebrate my Aunt’s birthday as a surprise, but with more snow forecast and the UK on red alert, it was never going to happen. So, Wayne and I have packed up our things and are heading to my Dad’s to seek some refuge and enjoy some central heating which I will never take for granted again!

Stay warm everyone!



Sunday night karma?

There’s nothing better than a weekend of little to no plans. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s sheer BLISS.

Though it’s a real shame my body doesn’t always agree.

I had plans on Friday night with the girls, but it was dinner at mine so none of the usual required late night trekking across London to get home after a day at work (sorry girls, just you!) which is exhausting enough most of the time.

For the remainder of this weekend, I have just tried to relax; so I’ve been doing a bit of life admin, a bit of work from the comfort of my sofa and I even treated myself to a manicure today for the first time in years. Oh yes and a few hours spent catching up on the latest Grey’s Anatomy and a whole week’s worth of Survival of the Fittest (which is totally filling the Love Island hole in my life right now so I’m not even sorry 😉 ).

But unfortunately, it’s now Sunday night and I have been in agony all day, with the oh so recognisable effects of Sciatica setting in.  I get really frustrated that I can no longer spend a few hours on the sofa trying to relax my mind from everything going on because I just get punished with the most painful back ache. I’m now struggling to stand straight and I’m hobbling around like no-ones business.

I’ve not yet found a way to deal with my frustrations that come as a result of this disease, and having my back problems make it 1,000% worse on bad days. So this evening I’m just taking it out on my keyboard writing this and hoping that an evening on the mat with the dumbbells helps ease the stiffness and pray that I get a good nights’ sleep so that I’m back and better for the start of another week.

In other news I’ve got another apt with my Rheumatology nurses tomorrow – I can’t wait to tell them that I’m now off all of my painkillers (which is probably why the pain today is a shock to the system – I must have been getting cocky). But I have been having some side effects from all the biologicals and the chemo so we’ll be discussing those and seeing what we can do to reduce them. But I think I’ll save that for another post!

Have a lovely and peaceful Sunday evening, everyone.

Joey x x x


My secret weapon

My Secret Weapon

I’ll give you three clues:

1. It comes from a plant
2. It’s something you drink
3. It has amazing healing powers

It’s Aloe Vera!


Who knew it could be so amazing? Well, as it turns out, quite a few people!

I recently finished the Clean 9 – a nine-day cleanse based on drinking lots of Aloe vera in order to clear your body of all the nasty toxins, and kick-start healthy eating habits. It’s full of vitamins and minerals and balances your immune system.  It’s the perfect post-christmas detox and I’ve done it a few times with huge success.

I won’t lie, the aloe can be hard to swallow – it doesn’t taste the nicest! But the benefits are just so so worth it. Over the course of days 1 and 2 you’ll have lots of it (around 8 shots a day) morning, lunch, early evening and before you go to bed.  And then from days 3 to 9 it’s just two shots a day, first thing in the morning.  Paired with nine days of clean eating, shakes, regular exercise and cutting out alcohol or caffeine, et voila – you have your cleanse.

Aloe’s known for it’s internal healing, cleansing and nutritional repair – so seeing as I have an Auto-immune disease, what harm could it do! Here’s what I managed to accomplish in nine days:
1 stone weight loss and a total of 26cm (from various body parts of course)
My hair is shiny and really starting to grow (and that’s not the hair extensions!)
My nails always chip and break – apparently that’s down to the Psoaritic Arthitis that’s in my fingers – but my nails have grown so much in the last week. 
I’ve had a few outbreaks on my face over the last week, but that’s just the toxins leaving your body. My skin is now clear and glowing  
I have been waking up with lots more energy in the morning, and I’m also finding I get a lot more tired in the evenings towards bedtime (I think that’s the lack of caffeine interferring with my bodyclock) so I’m sleeping like a baby
Despite these rediculously cold temperatures, I’m actually getting less and less joint pain which is SUCH a good feeling and a release from the constant pain


I think it was day 7 of the cleanse, and for the first time in over a year and a half – I woke up with ZERO pain!! I couldn’t believe it, I almost cried! That nagging morning stiffness and having to get up half an hour earlier than I needed to, just so I could take my painkillers so that I could leave the house in as little pain as possible – it had vanished!
Don’t get me wrong I still get it now on and off, but I’ve never noticed as much progress as I have these past few days.
As a result, and after being on my meds for over 18 months I’ve:
Halved my codeine dosage (I’ve genuinely forgotten to take it a couple of times!)
Stopped taking Naproxen completely

Just the other day I was clearing out some of my stuff (a typical January new-year-new-organised-you situation!) and I came across a notebook which I’d used to write down all of my medication and what I had to take each day. It was getting to the point where I would lose track of what I had to take and when, let alone keep up with all the doctors, specialists, physio and rehab appointments. I’ve been on all of these meds for over a year now – and it doesn’t even include the Humira injections which I started back in September.


Luckily, at the moment, I don’t recognise this and I’m glad to just be focussing on taking the Humira and the Methotrexate.

I’m planning on carrying on taking the Aloe Vera each morning and the clean eating lifestlye for as long as possible.

I must say, actually, I wasn’t doing it on my own this time around – I managed to persuade Wayne to do it with me too :-). He did struggle a little bit, but all in all had a great experience and it was fab to do it together. It made evening meals a lot easier too! Wayne also lost around 10lbs and is sleeping better with more energy.


My mentor throughout the cleanse, Rebecca, has been brilliant. When you sign up to take part, you’re also signing up to join online support groups with thousands of other people reaping the benefits too. It makes a world of difference knowing that you’re not on your own. You can get in touch with her on Facebook for info and support – give her a message here.

I am in love with the aloe so much that I’m now getting involved with Forever Living. So if you’d like more information on the Clean 9 or even just the aloe gel – take a look at my Forever Living site or get in touch with any questions.

aloe gel

Fail-safe planning?

The winter months can be pretty daunting for those of us with Psoriasis and with PSA. With the chilly temperatures we’re much more prone to flare ups and Psoriasis breakouts. Going from hot to cold, the early morning chills, having the stuffy heating on at home; all things which can be troublesome.

With the Psoriatic Arthirits, I’m finding the frozen temperatures affect you even more; I’m having to get up earlier to get my joints moving and give my painkillers more of a chance to kick in, and I find I’m walking slower as I brave the coldness and joint pain at once.

December also usually means a huge spike in social activities; catching up with friends to celebrate and organising and attending work parties. It’s also the busiest time of year for birthdays with my friends and family; and as most of my friends are turning 30 this year, it’s definitely a time for partying! I also have to work out where in the country I am over the Christmas holidays – with separated parents at each end of the country, and finding time to co-ordinating seeing Wayne (either in Leeds or London) who also has his own plans in London can be stressful.  For the rest of the month I probably have maybe two nights in a week where I don’t have any plans at all. An easy task to anyone else I imagine, but I do have to just be that bit more careful.

Sounds like a really tough problem, right ;-). Ordinarily, no, but add in the anxiety, PSA and generally just not knowing how I’ll wake up feeling on each day… yeah you get the picture.

I’ve had a really really good last few weeks, with a 100% hit rate for attendance! So, for my own sake more than anything else I wanted to list my highlights since I last blogged…

  • Lasted the whole night at my Christmas party. Party organising is my absolute favourite; so there was no way I was going to have a bad night there. I was determined – and ultimately managed the whole night, without sitting at all, right until ‘lights up’. Yes I may have swapped to wearing pumps from about 11ish onwards, but who cares!
  • Spent a weekend in Paris with some of my oldest friends. We had a brilliant weekend and I was seriously worried about f*cking up the plans, especially after my last episode of anxiety in Birmingham. In your face PSA – we walked over 12k each day all around the city in the freezing cold. I couldn’t walk quite as fast as everyone else but it really didn’t matter and we had the best time.
    Screenshot-2017-12-11 Alex ( alex_c_mcewan) • Instagram photos and videos
  • The weekend just gone I was in Birmingham again for my friend’s 30th; this time around was a completely different story to said last experience. Again, another kick in the balls to PSA. Even getting snowed in didn’t stop us from having a fab weekend, and we made it back in one piece with not a single hangover between us ;-).

What helps me with my anxiety is the ability to be planned. I’m also having to take a few Mondays off of work in order to recover. Luckily I have a fair bit of holiday to be able to do that with this month. And it’s exactly what I’ve been doing today… heaven!

In other news, I’ve been able to lower my Methotrexate dosage by a quarter, which feels so good. I’ve also decided to take it as a weekly injection rather than orally. Mtx comes with so many side affects and I was constantly feeling so so nauseous and would have dizzy episodes now and again too.

So I’m now injecting myself weekly for the Mtx and fortnightly with the Humira.  My doctor is happy for me to start scaling back on my painkillers which I’m desperate to do. Though I might need to just wait for the Christmas period to pass and I can focus on that in January. Bring it on!


x x x

The good sort of pain…

With all of my back problems (my slipped discs, my scoliosis) and of course the Psoriatic Arthritis in my pelvis and feet (did I mention that already) 😉 I haven’t been able to work out properly for the last couple of years without being in immense pain. I’ve been doing Physio and Pilates which helps for sure, but cardio in particular has been a no-no for me especially anything where I have to be stood up on my feet.

My two main disabilities really work against each other sometimes. They tell me the best thing for keeping your spine mobile is exercise; yet I can’t excercise because I’m in so much pain with my arthritis – especially with it being in my feet/toes. Sometimes, when the PSA pain is so bad, I can barely move without being in agony, which results in my back pain escalating because I’m not able to be as mobile as I should be to keep my spine in check. So ridiculous.

BUT… I got the all clear a couple of weeks ago to be able to go back to the gym – yaassss! I am still limited to what I can do – I can use the cross trainer and recumbent bike for cardio, and lots of the weights. A benefit of all my core work from rehab physio is that my posture is SO much better than it used to be, which also helps get the best out of my workouts. To top it off my local gym has got a huge space for mat work on the floor with all the foam rollers, weights and bosu balls I could dream of.

I’ve been really poorly for the last three weeks with a nasty chesty cough infection which just won’t go away. I’ve been trying to ignore it and hope it’ll piss off but it’s going nowhere fast; so this week I gave in to it and have taken time off work for the rest of the week. It’s easy to forget I have next to no immune system! So any sign of the smallest infection from someone and I’m taken down almost immediately (I can thank the mtx and humira for that!). If I don’t take time out to really rest and do what my body needs me to do, I won’t get better.  I also have plans with different friends/family for the next four days in a row – and unlike my ‘normal’, ‘healthy’ friends, I have to plan for that and make sure to take things easy in advance.

Having been locked up in the flat all day by myself and not uttering a word out loud to anyone, I was starting to go a bit crazy. So I decided that, despite feeling shitty, a workout would do me good.  I dusted off the gym kit and met Wayne after work and we headed over to the gym to get inducted and stay for our first session.

I genuinely never thought I’d be excited about going to the gym… I had forgotten how good it feels when you leave after a successful workout. And you know what, I genuinely am really looking forward to that good kinda pain and soreness you get the next day when you wake up…

Bring it on!



The eye of the storm

It’s a funny one, anxiety – it can come at you in many different ways and often catches you completely off guard. I suffered my most recent bout of it just this weekend – and it sure loves to try and ruin you whether you like it or not.

We’re all different. It can affect you in many different aspects of your life – I find it picks at your insecurities. It’s nasty like that.

Anxiety isn’t just about giving you that nervous anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. For me, I can often feel it coming on. Think of it like a swirling storm brewing in the distance, and you can see it getting closer and closer but you can’t run away from it. You can run for cover for a short while – find some shelter and shut it out – but eventually it brings down the walls and you hit the brunt of it. I have suffered from depression in the past – and I’m so proud of myself for saying ‘no’ to the doctor when she offered me anti-depressants – and the fight or flight feeling you get with that is very similar. Once you get it you just have to ride the storm and fight to come out the other side.

For chronic pain sufferers, anxiety seems to make everything seem 100x more painful too. Every ache and pain, every movement.

It also makes you imagine the worst scenarios in everything. I hate being any form of centre of attention – and sometimes the anxiety can be so bad I genuinely get glued to my seat I can’t even walk across a room, worried that people will be looking at me. Sounds stupid I know.

I spent the weekend with my my closest friends celebrating one of them gettting engaged. With a whole long exciting weekend planned, filled with celebrations and spending the weekend all together, It got to yesterday afternoon and that’s when I hit the eye of my storm. I suddenly felt so so overwhelmed and my back and joint pain increased by what felt like a million percent. I started scenario planning and playing out the worst case scenarios in my head – for no apparent reason to the average person. What if my joints inflame even more and I have to spend the next few days bedbound? What if my spine locks and I can’t walk?

We’d been out since midday and it had got to about 5pm and the night was still to come, with everyone planning on staying out for at least another few hours. My ability to focus on just having a normal conversation was flailing and all I wanted to do was hide away, curl up and have a cry. Again for – what seemed to everyone else – no reason. Eventually, I physically couldn’t hold the tears back anymore and had a bit of a breakdown between walking from one bar to the next. At that point I had to call it quits and give in. Wayne took me back to our AirBnB place in a cab and we made a quick exit. I was truly embarrassed and felt an absolute failure. All I could feel was pain and humiliation. What a drama queen. How rude for just leaving without saying bye to everyone. All I kept worrying about was what everyone would think and I was just getting more and more upset. I’m bloody thirty for God’s sake… who just loses it out of nowhere?! Time for home – for peace and quiet, a cup of tea, a cry and a hug and everything started to feel a little better. Wayne just knows what to do when I get low like this. Just being there, giving me a cuddle or a knowing look is sometimes all you need to feel more calm, more safe and secure and less lonely in it all.

A few hours later everyone else came home and we had a great evening – very chilled with some crappy tv, pizza and silly games. I soon forgot for a little while how shit I had been feeling.

It really one of the most draining feelings, and all I can do is write about it here and keep positive; build back up my walls and wait for the storm to pass – because it absolutely will.



The difficult fourth post

So last week I finally had the guts to share this blog. Honestly, I was really scared. Most people I know already know the headlines of what I’ve been going through recently with the PSA. It’s not quite the same though as writing everything down into actual sentences. Actual facts. All out in the open for all to see.

I was really touched to read all of the comments from people – I’m not embarrased to say that I cried at almost each and every one of them! I’m a softie I know. But just knowing you’re not alone is so lovely. So thank you.

This week has been full of positives –

Firstly – my Humira injections came through! Halle-bloody-lujah. This Friday I’m off to the Rheumatology dept at Guy’s Hospital to get taught how to do the injections myself. I’ve been told by many people not get my hopes up – there are a few different types of biologicals and I might not be lucky with the first one. But I’m not one to be pessimistic about these things – if I was I’d have given up long ago. I’ll keep you posted on how Friday goes.

Secondly – I did something for me this week. I’ve wanted proper hair extensions for years now. Having good hair is the ultimate confidence booster. And boy do I need one of those where I can get one! With the Chemo, my hair is really weak and it just isn’t growing at the moment. I finally decided to splurge and get a full head from my lovely hairdresser, Steph. I booked a day off work and had a full on pamper afternoon on Monday with Steph. And hey presto I have hair down to my waist (well, almost!) .

When life gives you lemons, flick your hair in it’s face…