Enter your email address here if you want to follow Foggy via email

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Land Rover BAR poster auction!!

Hi,

Many of you have seen my YouTube clip about this, but there will be lots of you who don't know that I received a generous donation of a signed poster from Land Rover BAR - Sir Ben Ainslie's Racing Team. I originally contacted them to see if Foggy could pose on one of their boats and have some photos taken (they are based in Portsmouth, Foggy's home city). They responded with the offer of the poster to auction for Foggy's fund.



I have now put the poster on eBay with a starting price of £10. The eBay page linkClick here I have no idea how much it is worth and so am hoping to be pleasantly surprised. If you know any sailing/America's Cup fans who would like to be the proud owner of this signed poster please direct them to eBay!

The poster has been signed by:
Sir Ben Ainslie
Nick Hutton
Freddie Carr
Paul Campbell-James
Bleddyn Mon
Andrew McLean

I have an email from Land Rover BAR confirming the poster's authentication and names of the people who signed it. I will send a copy of the email to the highest bidder along with the poster.




Hopefully, this signed poster will help to add funds to Foggy's fund and get Foggy closer to his £5k target!

Love,

Sally xx

Foggy is working hard to raise funds and awareness for the ME Association. Please donate and help fund desperately needed medical research. Please donate via www.mefoggydog.org

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Guest blog: Christina

Hello,

My name is Christina and I am a 26-year-old from the North East of England. I am also a M.E sufferer.

My journey started when I had just qualified as a teacher and I was in my first year, known as your NQT or ‘Newly Qualified Teacher’ year. I was working flat out and could regularly be found up and at my computer at midnight planning lessons and making sure that my resources were perfect. I was good at my job and I loved it. Just before the Easter holidays, I had started to feel really run down and weak. I even passed out in the middle of a year 11 lesson! This carried on for weeks and I was in and out of the doctors surgery being diagnosed with everything from stress to ‘just another virus’. The final nail in the coffin was a week before the holidays when the school received the OFSTED phone call. As you can imagine whether you are a teacher or not, everyone tripled the pace and I was no exception. On the final day of the inspection after running on adrenaline for 3 days, I was observed and got ‘Outstanding’, great! Except that I felt like a ghost looking down on myself and thinking “you can’t keep working like this”. I continued to get worse and eventually was diagnosed
Beautiful - Christina on her wedding day
with glandular fever. Throughout the next year, I contracted glandular fever four times as I didn’t allow my body the time that it needed to fully repair. By October 2014 I could barely get out of bed. I worked with a wonderful man and a dear friend called Tom who had suffered from ME for several years and I started to identify with many of his symptoms. Finally, I went to my GP and queried if this could be the cause and was referred to a local specialist. I was officially diagnosed in December 2014.

However, my illness had many layers. On the surface, I had M.E and clearly needed a long period of rest if I was ever to recover. However, there were issues deeper down that I have never spoken about until recently. I had suffered from an eating disorder since around the age of 16 and from this age had lived on a strict calorie controlled diet of 1,200 calories a day in addition to taking fat loss pills and often binging on prescription strength laxatives. My body was already exhausted and I was making it worse by not giving it the fuel it needed.

From being diagnosed and admitting these problems to my M.E consultant, life started to pick me. I finally knew what was wrong with me and I started to learn about my symptoms and more importantly how I could control them. There was one thing standing in my way: my job. So in August 2015, I made the huge decision to leave teaching. It was hard for me, but I realised that my health had to be more important than my job and I was living to work. I had just got married to the love of my life and I wanted to build a life with him and not have him on the side while trying to struggle with my job being the priority. I found a job which was still in education but removed the home workload and slowly I started to see an improvement. I had to give myself a good talking to and realise that just because I had to change careers didn’t mean I had failed at teaching.

The next stage was the food thing. Again, I sat myself down and thought “when I die, will people really remember me for how much I weighed?”. The answer is no. People will remember you for being a nice person, helping others, your achievements but certainly not what your body fat percentage is or the fact that you ate that cake last Tuesday. I started to eat properly and this also helped my symptoms as I had more fuel.

Although I like my new job, it is 30 miles away and I am now finding that I am struggling with the travel. But again, that’s ok. I have a job, I have supportive colleagues and managers and am also regularly submitting job applications closer to home. I know that if I’m patient, like I had to be with my illness, in time I will find something ideal for me.

I find with ME, you need to take the Rocky Balboa approach: one step, one punch, one round. Take your time, don’t let the relapses get you down, and most importantly never give up.

Love,

Chrissy xxx

Foggy is working hard to raise funds and awareness for the ME Association. Please donate and help fund desperately needed medical research. Please donate via www.mefoggydog.org

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hiiiii-Yah! Miss Piggy Styleeeeee

Hi,

Foggy is away for the next month or so. He's heading to Kerala at the end of next week. The first continent of this challenge, Asia = done! This afternoon, he is watching Portsmouth FC vs Oxford Utd with his *Uncle* Derek. While he is enjoying himself I am going to write a blog on how people with moderate/mild M.E. CAN participate in activities....but only to a point with restrictions.

I recently saw an advert in my local supermarket promoting a new self-defence class for ladies (http://www.ladiesthatpunch.co.uk/ ). It caught my interest. Without going into detail, I experienced a serious incident a few years ago and have always wanted to learn how to defend myself if a similar situation happened again. The first thought that came into my head was 'I wonder how physical the class is?'. I wasn't sure if it was
*Foggy* Give it some welly!
physical learning or information based. The advert said the class is suitable for all ages and abilities. So I emailed Pauline, the instructor, and told her my story. I asked if she could explain how skills were taught and if I would be able to not participate if I felt unable to. She was lovely, the classes are part information/part exercise based. She explained that if I felt something was too strenuous for me then I could sit out and watch. She said she would keep an eye on me and would check how I was throughout.

I was wary, I won't lie. But it is something I have been interested in for a while so thought I'd give it a go. I've been going through a period of exceptional stress (I'm going to take this opportunity to thank those Foggy Followers who have become close 'virtual' friends and have been supportive during this tough time). and thought it would be good to 'get out of my head' and focus on something new. 

I saw the first class as a bit of a test. I wanted to see how much I could do and see what the repercussions would be the following day. I LOVED the session. Let me stress it is NOT an exercise class. We were taught different holds and how to strike an attacker effectively. I lasted about 45 minutes before the cloak of vapour-ness (I know that's not a word) went over me and I felt as if I was going backwards. I finished the class and was enjoying that much-missed endorphin rush. When I got home my Mum said I looked 'alive' and perky for the first time in ages. 

The next day.....UGH. I couldn't feel my limbs, my body felt like vapour and I couldn't think straight. However, on balance, was it worth it? To 'get out of my head' for a short period of time? Abso-flaming-lutely! When you consider that I feel just as poorly after wandering around shops, this use of my limited energy had an uplifting mental impact and so it was a positive reason to have a flare-up.


*Foggy* EEEEK!!
I went this week and had to sit out quite a bit, my brain just wasn't 'getting it', I couldn't follow instruction. It was still good to be able to participate as much as I could. The sessions are empowering and well worth it. I will continue to go, I just have to be very careful with the physical stuff.

My point is, with M.E. you have to decide very carefully what activities are worth making yourself feel like death warmed up for. For some people that might be going out socially with friends (do you have ANY idea how much energy conversation uses up?!), looking after children, commuting to work or grocery shopping. Spontaneity is long forgotten and every activity is agonised over. I have always said that I am a mild sufferer. This class is something that I am able to do with restrictions. Many sufferers wouldn't be able to attend, let alone do the class. I feel very lucky to be able to give it a go, even if I can't fully participate. 

Love,

Sally xxx

Foggy is working hard to raise funds and awareness for the ME Association. Please donate and help fund desperately needed medical research. Please donate via www.mefoggydog.org


Friday, 15 January 2016

Open letter



Hello,

It's launch day! Foggy got overexcited yesterday and is snoring softly next to me at Foggy HQ. I have insomnia, a pain in the bum M.E. symptom (sleep disturbances), so am taking the opportunity to write this blog post.

I was contacted via social media this week by a female M.E. sufferer who is finding full-time employment a struggle. She asked me if I felt like a burden in my working life and asked if I knew of any jobs for people suffering from M.E. I was unable to give a comprehensive answer because of the word limit but I told her that flexibility and having a sit-down job were crucial. I asked her to email me so I could give her a longer answer but received no email. So, I am taking this opportunity to send her an open letter.

This subject is particularly relevant for me at the moment as I am in the process of looking for a new job. Job hunting is monotonous, self-esteem destroying and difficult for most people. Add to that the additional factor of having M.E and it's not a great place to be. I long to be someone who can do ANY job just to get some cash. Before M.E hit I did all sorts of low-grade jobs to pay for holidays, car problems, huge phone bills. However, M.E has hit and I can no longer be so spontaneous and carefree about who I work for.

There are similarities between you and me. We are both postgraduates and both work/worked for universities and we are/were both struggling. Personally, I believe working in a direct customer facing role for the past 9 years did not help my M.E. I was stuck to a rigid timetable with no breathing room. So, if I was having a bad day I couldn't moderate my activities. For example, instead of being on my feet facing the public, in a perfect world I would have been out the back doing admin work. I would still have been working, just not physically moving about wearing myself down to the point of exhaustion. I left that place of employment in September 2015. Its unyielding nature was one (small) reason for my departure. I don't know what role you work in at your university but if it is customer facing I suggest you think twice about its suitability. I loved mingling with a wide variety of people on a daily basis. I am a very good communicator. Unfortunately, it takes a huge amount of energy to be a point of contact that involves hundreds of conversations, often complex, each and every day.

Because of my love for social media, creativity, and communication skills, I am now looking for associated roles. I know I can contribute 100% to any organisation I work for. The only thing I ask in return is flexibility. Rest breaks are crucial if I am to be a fully effective employee. In a perfect world, every hour I would have a 5-minute break just to go and sit somewhere quiet and recharge. This time could then be taken away from my lunchtime or added to my leaving time. Whether I get that ....who knows. I know what works best for my body. It is something an employer should consider if they want me to be as productive as they need me to be. Those employees who take regular breaks to have cigarettes? Consider M.E my cigarette.

I am sure that the longer my job search goes on the more I will be tempted to accept whatever job I am offered. I hope that does not happen as it won't be long before my body starts to protest. M.E is a fluctuating illness that is affected by lots of different factors. Stress and change of routine are two of my biggest triggers. Both of these triggers would come into play when I start a new job. I am hoping pacing and generally taking things slowly will get me through the transition period.

In answer to whether I felt like a burden to my employer, I would say that I did during my early M.E years. I am a people pleaser. I hate that, on some days, I am unable to give 100%. However, over time, I realised that no-one gives 100% every day of their working life. Other people have health issues too. They may also have childcare issues, external stress etc that could affect their productivity. Do not feel guilty for having a disability. Just because ours is invisible does not make it any less significant. Disabled people have the right to work too. My M.E does not define me, I am still a creative, skilled and intelligent person. It's just some days my brain likes to play games!

Love,

Sally xx


Foggy is working hard to raise funds and awareness for the ME Association. Please donate and help fund desperately needed medical research. Please donate via www.mefoggydog.org

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Foggy's Bucket List!

Hello,

Sally has been working hard and we are nearly ready to get going again! She created a lovely picture of all of the dreams on my Bucket List but she has written the list out below.


Foggy's Bucket List
  • Go on a hot air balloon ride
  • Go trampolining
  • Foggy wants to be on stage
  • Surfing....dude!
  • Sumo wrestling
  • Foggy wants to climb a mountain
  • Foggy wants to meet Goofy his Foggy doggy idol!!
  • Ride a motorbike
  • Foggy wants his own song
  • Play rugby
  • Run a marathon
  • Ten pin bowling
  • Zip-lining!!! (Flying....kind of!)
  • Foggy wants to go on the telly
  • Scuba!
  • Foggy wants to meet the Eastenders cast and crew
  • Go on the Eurostar train.....choo choo!!
  • Go horseriding
  • Skateboarding
  • Foggy would love to go go-karting!
  • Karaoke!
  • Foggy wants to give Holly Willoughby a Foggy snog!!
This Bucket List will be running alongside the 5 Continents Challenge. If you can help with any of these please get in touch via mefoggydog.org.

The campaign starts on Saturday. Exciting times ahead!

Love Sally x