Saturday, 2 January 2021

Welcoming in 2021

Dear Readers,

All across the world we welcomed in a new year, the year 2021. But what can I say about 2020?! It definitely hasn't been the year that we had all expected.. the year the world closed down due to a pandemic, the Covid-19 pandemic!

As we went into 2020 we were hearing bits and pieces about the Coronavirus and how it was affecting people in China, but here in the UK we were all going about our lives normally. We were celebrating birthdays, stag and hen dos and eating out in restaurants. Little did we know 3 months in, we'd be heading into a full on lockdown.

We were really fortunate that I managed to get our friends together for Terry's 30th and we had a great time celebrating over a meal. By the end of March all future events were cancelled and we were in a full lockdown. We were very sad for our friends who had their Weddings cancelled, especially as some were so close. All holidays were cancelled too, planes were grounded, shops, pubs and restaurants were closed and everything went quiet. Staying at home and having parties and quizzes over Zoom became the new normal.

The pandemic had struck and everyone except key and essential workers had to stay at home. Tragically as well as many lives being lost to Covid-19, many people lost their jobs too. Terry and I are very lucky that we still have our jobs. Terry's work closed for the first lockdown and I had to stop teaching in our home. Unfortunately, I lost many music students, but I was very thankful for the few who were able to continue online and I was so pleased I could teach them via FaceTime and Zoom. It was also exciting that music exams transitioned to online, so some of my students could show off their hard work throughout lockdown by achieving a music grade on their specialised instrument. I also raised money for the PHA UK, by giving online music lessons to those with PH and all monies given went straight to the charity.

I am extremely close to my Mum, so it was very difficult not seeing her throughout the first lockdown and when we could see people in their gardens, it was a huge relief to finally see her in person. Lockdown has been very difficult for everyone's mental health, especially if you are on your own. It was definitely the right decision to bring in “support bubbles” and from then on I saw my Mum as much as I could. For Terry and I it meant we had a lot of time together, more than we've ever had since living in our home and we loved it. 

As I came under clinically extremely vulnerable I had to stay at home as much as possible. We had our food delivered and we continued to walk Izzy morning and afternoon. I was super excited when we bought ourselves new bicycles. I got myself an e-bike, as I knew there was no way I could pedal a normal bike. I have not ridden a bicycle for many years, due to having PH, as I get so breathless.  I only cycle on days I'm feeling well and as soon as we're home, I rest up and get on my O2!

When lockdown lifted, tiers were put into place and we could start seeing people in groups of 6. We managed to get together with friends and Terry and I went out for a couple of meals, due to the "Eat Out to Help Out' scheme. I still continued to teach online, but Terry went back to work.

I definitely found it hard not socialising properly with people from outside our support bubble, but taking my music business online helped me a lot. Having Izzy meant I would see people out and about walking their dogs and having them to stop and talk to (at a distance) was great too.

Like many people, we had birthdays and celebration plans cancelled. We celebrated our 3rd Wedding Anniversary with a Chinese takeaway and celebrated my 30th birthday in the best way we could. I had a lovely day, receiving lots of messages from near and far. 

Turning 30 was a massive milestone for me and it was very emotional day. After being told at 17 I only had a few months to live and that people with PH don't live beyond 30 years old, I was determined to make this milestone and whatever happened before then was an added bonus. Well, I made it.. along with graduating twice, buying a house, marrying my soulmate, getting a puppy and gaining life-long friendships. It definitely hasn't been easy, but I've had the best support along the way and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Unfortunately just after my birthday I was struck down with a lung infection. Having only one lung along with the PH, it really wiped me out! I ended up in the Royal Brompton for a few weeks. Luckily it wasn't covid, as every test I had in the hospital came back negative. Phew! I definitely couldn't have asked for better care by my wonderful PH team and I knew they were going to get me back on my feet in time for Christmas. I ended up being on antibiotics for 5 weeks and I will continue to take steroids throughout the Winter to keep on the safe side.

Boris cancelled Christmas plans last minute, but for us it made no difference. We had a wonderful Christmas, but it definitely didn't feel like Christmas time. It was very hard to get into the Christmas spirit what with everything happening around us and our key workers having to continue to work hard throughout this time. As for New Year's Eve, it was very different for us this year as we usually celebrate NYE with our friends. We had a lovely evening and welcomed in the New Year with my Mum.

If I'm honest, as hard as 2020 has been for everyone, it hasn't been too bad for me. I know things could have been a hell of a lot worse. We kept in touch with friends and family throughout via Zoom, Terry and I loved spending lots of time together, along with my Mum and our dogs, we took up new hobbies and did some DIY. Our holidays and celebrations may have been cancelled, but we are so grateful for what we have and the amazing people who make our lives whole.

The Don't Rush Challenge video I created during lockdown featuring my PHriends

At the moment, this year is sounding much the same at the moment, areas are still in tiers, shops, pubs and restaurants are still shut, but there is hope for a better future. With 3 types of vaccines out now, I hope this brings positivity and the start of some kind of normality. I am on the list of getting this vaccine and I cannot wait. I am excited to start welcoming people back into our home for my music business and having friends and family visit again. When this will happen I don't know, but fingers crossed it will be real soon.

What do I hope from this year?! 

- As always, I hope that each new year will be the year of finding a cure for PH. It's not happened yet, but it will not stop my hopes of getting one.

- I hope we won't forget the finer things in life that 2020 has shown us. 

- I hope we will continue to make time for our loved ones and remember how important it is to spend time with them. 

- I hope this year will be a good health year for my loved ones and that I can keep as stable as possible, but I know that I have an amazing medical team to support me.

- I hope we can be reunited with our family and friends and attend celebrations.

And finally, a huge thank you to all our key and essential workers who have and continue to work so hard throughout. I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Thanks for reading, keep safe and well!

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