About Me

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Hi, I'm Lyndsey. I'm a 36 year old Mum from Wales. I have a Masters Degree in Marketing Communications and Public Relations and put it to good use in my work as a freelance Marketing & PR consultant. I also work part time as a fundraising coordinator for a Welsh charity which I absolutely love!! With two jobs, two children, two cats and a handsome man, lets just say I'm a busy lady. 
From 2006-2008, I wrote a column for the Denbighshire Free Press. I was so proud of the feedback I got for this, even the one angry ‘You Suck’ letter to the editor cheered me up no end; it showed that people took notice of what little ol’ me had to say. It’s good to know that people give a rat’s ass either way! So, succumbing to requests from my former fan club (ok, overstating there – readers who had nothing better to do on a Thursday afternoon) under the March 2014 archive you will find a selection of my early Free Press articles. I’d love to hear what you think on any of the subjects raised…you know, rat’s ass either way feedback ;-)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cystitis - Myths, Medications & Me

 
"Its like peeing razor blades"!  That's the response people get from me when they are stupid enough to ask me "What does the pain feel like"?  The wincing look on their faces, post-inquisition, pees me off too!  As I sink a dollop of bicarbonate of soda into a ice cold glass of water, their faces immediately change to horror "You are NOT going to drink that are you"?  Through watery eyes I give them eye-daggers, down the vile potion, grab a magazine, a tub of salt and a two litre bottle of water and make my way to the bathroom; as quickly as is possible with my legs crossed. 

Works immediately but beware, too much & its an evil laxative!
Since the age of two, I have suffered with chronic cystitis.  I have a clear memory of being on the toilet, too small for my feet to even touch the floor, clutching the seat as the burning had me sobbing in agony and the look of helplessness on my Mum's face as she tried to comfort me.

At the age of 14, my doctor finally informed me that, after an average of 8 water infections each subsequent year, this was not normal.  Ya think?? He referred me to a Urology Consultant for further investigations.

At the age of 19, I finally got to see said Urology Consultant.  His miraculous treatment? Zilch. His theory on the cause of infections? Sex (hmm... I should have known better at the age of 2!!) His advice on preventative measures? Hop on one leg.  Yes, that's right peoples, I waited 5 years for this pillock to tell me to hop on one leg!  Apparently this will help me empty my bladder.  I left his office in tears.  I had been desperate for his help and was devastated to be fobbed off.  My partner complained to the hospital administration on my behalf and the letter we received back simply stated that I was unhappy to be discharged because I had WANTED to have something wrong with me.  Nope, what I had wanted dude was to give you a huge slap...still do when I think about it!

As it happened, that same day, Company Magazine invited their readers to apply for alternative medicine trials for persistent health problems.  In utter desperation, I wrote to them and was amazed when I received a call a few days later from their features writer.   It was arranged for me to try homeopathy with a practitioner from Cardiff, and a writer & photographer would join me for the appointment.  I had nothing else left to try so I agreed.

The medicine the herbalist woman gave me tasted like....imagine dunking bran-flakes into floor polish then using them to wipe your bum before eating them....in short. bloody disgusting! She informed me that she believed me to be intolerant of dairy and should cut this from my diet.  I didn't believe her.  I ignored.  A decade later, allergy testing at the Royal Liverpool Hospital proved her correct.  Wish I'd listened earlier!

I've now cut out all dairy and live quite happily on soya produce; yes, that surprised me too!  I have no idea whether the dairy stuff irritates my bladder or my IBS but as long as I cut it out, then I don't need to bother either way. 

If stress is the cause then I will add it to the list of other stress-related issues such as belly bloating & big fat zits but since I wasn't stressed throughout my childhood, I don't put much credibility into this theory either.


After speaking with a number of Gynae, Urology, Dermatology and Gastro Consultants over the years who have all tried to pinpoint the issue down to everything from washing powder irritants, bath products, diet, IBS, allergies, stress, immune deficiencies, hormones and lack of hopping on one leg, I'm resigned to my current Consultant's theory which is "Lyndsey is just simply prone to it".

As for the Urology pillock, there was a miniscule of merit in his 'uber-crap' diagnosis. Sex.  While it was ludicrous to say that this was the cause of my infections from toddler age, it is fair to say that it impacts in my adulthood.  So these days, before nookie commences I drink a glass of water, when nookie finishes, I pee (and yes, I know the female wiping rule so no, that's not the cause either). I then take two antibiotics and hope that they don't cause thrush (which was a bi-monthly occurrence until recently too). 

Four months into this routine and so far, so good.  Maybe its working or maybe its luck, but right now I am happy, my man is smiling almost daily and I have not had a two hour salt water bath or water flushing frenzy.  Long may it continue...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

University Admission for the A Level'less

There has been lots of talk on the news over the last few days about A-Level and University education. Changes to the system are seeing the caps lifted for entrance into university and more students are able to access the courses of their choice, even if they have not achieved the required A Level results which were previously essential.


The Picture I Thought I Would Never Have
Some people are criticising the changes; nothing new there as change always meets with criticism no matter how big or insignificant a change can be.  I know from first hand experience however that flexibility in admissions is crucial to some, and no, it doesn't mean lowering university standards in any way.
Back in 2012, I was newly divorced and had lost my home, most possessions and all financial security. A merger at work had seen me forced into a job which was wholly unsuitable and no amount of talks with management made a difference, despite informing them prior, during and post interview that I was not suitable for the intended role. Of course within six months, despite my best efforts, my colleagues and I were in agreement that I was not good in that role and the nastiness they felt necessary to get me removed began.


So at this point, I was on the brink of bankruptcy and being homeless for the second time in two years.  I literally had nothing left to lose and there was only way I could possibly see a future...Qualifications. I figured I could keep my fingers crossed and hope for a white knight or I could trip the detonator myself so that I could have at least some control over the blast...and that's what I did.


I applied for, and unsurprisingly was granted, voluntary redundancy.  I took my payoff cheque and blagged my way into an interview at Chester University.  I had 5 poop grade GCSEs and no A-Levels but I did have lots of work experience and higher education business technology & screen-writing qualifications. I knew my strengths were in writing, press and communications and so I convinced the Professor to interview me for a Marketing Communications & Public Relations degree; which turned out to be a Masters degree. My eggs were all in this basket and felt any chance of making a better life for my children & I would be blown if I failed to impress at the interview.

I turned up for the interview feeling like Erin Brockovich in Legally Blonde clothing. I felt a phoney and terrified I would be 'pity laughed' out of the building. The other students lurching around looked nothing like the sorority chicks in Legally Blonde; which I had watched on repeat for months as motivation / inspiration. I felt like mutton dressed as lamb in my suit shorts and pretty blouse and completely conspicuous next to the hoodie and jeans clad, decade younger, students.



Me & My Wonderful Family
To my overwhelming relief, the Professor agreed to take a chance on me. Ok, I didn't have the academic qualifications that were considered essential. I didn't even have A-Levels let alone a first degree but here I was, about to embark on a Masters degree.  What I did have to offer, was six years of industry experience and a 'come hell or high water' attitude to getting this degree.




I started the course in September 2012 as a 'Mature Student' with knocking knees but by the end of the first day, I realised that while I didn't have the academic study skills of my 'born in the 1990s' classmates, I had a huge head-start on the practical, working elements of the course and was soon looked to for advice and collaboration on projects and assignments.  Instead of being the fraud of the group, I will give myself dues and say that I was bloody good! Yes, I was at a disadvantage initially with not knowing about referencing and other 'say a whole hell of a lot of waffley crap about shag all to make an insignificant point about something that could have been summed up with common sense in a third of the sentences' ...but I soon got the hang of it.


Fast forward to March 2014. I graduated. As I sat in the graduation congregation with the four other girls who managed to stay the course, I could feel the waves of pride from my family hugging me tight. My new partner, two children and parents had been there for me every step of the way, from panic freak outs over presentations and 2am exam cramming through to "Woo Hoo" shrieks of OMG distinction results.  Sat there in my cap and gown waiting to receive my scroll, I knew that, had not my Professor been able to accept me on account of my initial lack of academic qualifications, I would not have been sat with my classmates and most definitely, a bleak future for myself and my children would have lay ahead.



We Did It!!!!!
Now, as a Master of Science, I have letters after my name. My children and I have a lovely home, I have a career that I love and, as of yesterday, my financial turmoil is at an end.  I could not be more grateful to the currently criticised changes in university admissions. I believe that if a person is determined enough, then they deserve an education to as higher level as they are prepared to work for, whether that means they begin university at 18 with A-Levels or 80 with life experience.  There is no A Level that competes with dogged determination.