Friday, August 22, 2008

Facing the scary stuff...

By now, you know I'm an optimist... But sometimes even Eternal Optimists with the Optimism Gene™ firmly in place get scared sometimes.

Now is one of those times.

My health has been a bit odd for the past three months and this week I finally decided to do something about it. Whilst my doctor wasn't overly concerned by my seemingly unrelated smorgasbord of symptoms (dizzyness, heightened emotions, overheating hands, pulsing in my arms and legs and a frustratingly big weight gain in a short period - despite watching what I eat and excercising more) he said he suspected I may have an underactive thyroid.

That in itself is fine - if the blood test results next week confirm this then I know there are pills that can treat it relatively easily - but one thing that's really troubling me is the effect it's currently having on my voice.

As you know, I'm a singer-songwriter and, just recently, I've started to have some success for my songs. MTV have optioned one of my songs - The Man Behind The Smile for their next raft of programming and I just heard today that I'm being considered for the International Award at the National MusicOz Awards in Austrailia (how mad is that?!) Without sounding too showbizzy, singing is incredibly important to me - it's how I interpret my world and whenever I lose my voice I feel like I've had a vital organ disabled.

My voice has been stuggling in its upper register for the past three months. I just assumed it was a flu thing that wouldn't leave me alone. But Bob's mum told me yesterday that a croaky voice is one of the indicators of a thyroid problem. My speaking voice has dropped a semitone and is constantly husky (not a good thing, contrary to popular opinion!) - I'm struggling to sing and it feels horrible. Plus I can't record any of my new songs and I have some wedding gigs fast approaching that I might struggle with.

Though I know this may all be academic when I get my test results next Wednesday, I have to admit that I'm scared. Money problems you can deal with; relationship problems are terribly painful but you can recover; but when it comes to your health it's so important and so beyond your control. If I'm completely honest, I'm petrified that I won't get my voice back. For years I've taken it for granted that I could sing; now I'm scared it's going to disappear for good.

I'm trying to stay positive and I'm sure it will be OK - but facing the scary stuff is the biggest test for even the most hopeless optimist...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cats, Coffee and Cafés...

We've been adopted by a cat.

Well, to be exact, my boyfriend Bob and his housemate Leanne have been adopted by a cat, so I've been adopted by proxy...

Magic (or Madge) turned up in Bob's back garden about two weeks ago, very timid but curious and seemingly never away from the garden for longer than a few minutes. Gradually, she dared to come nearer to us and, by the weekend, was sitting happily on Leanne's lap when she was out in the garden. Of course, Bob and Leanne were adamant that they weren't going to get attached to the moggie and that they were only being friendly. Of course she wasn't going to become a pet, they said.

The first indication of a sea change in their thinking was on Saturday, when a large bag of Kit-e-Kat cat food appeared in the kitchen. Shortly followed by a couple of tins of Whiskas. And 'the cat's bowls', which appeared outside the back door...

By Monday, Bob was taping plastic round the space underneath the barbecue to create a weatherproof hideaway 'in case it rained' and last night we just gave up resisting the inevitability of the situation and Madge officially moved in.

Someone once said that you don't choose a cat; the cat chooses you - and I'm beginning to agree. Madge is quite happy sleeping on anyone who sits down for longer than five seconds and is particularly fond of tummy rubs. It's amazing that, in such a short time, she has established herself as part of the family. We don't know where she came from, or how long she's going to grace us with her presence, but I have to say her arrival has been a pleasant surprise and she has managed to win everyone's hearts already.

**UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, we discovered that Madge was actually a 'he' - so the name was changed to 'Maj' (as in 'His Majesty'). When Bob was worried that the cat's weight might mean a pregnancy, the vet's reply went something along the lines of this:

VET: Well, the good news is that 'she' isn't pregnant. The bad news is that 'she' is a 'he'...

It's taken a while to see the Majster as a boy and we still end up correcting ourselves. Maj, meanwhile, appears to be singularly unfazed by the whole thing. He's enjoying the 'guilt-treats' bestowed on him whenever we accidentally allude to his femininity!

In other areas of life, September's, my short story blog, is doing really well - there are now four stories (Nessa, Blanche, Daniel and PC Minshull) and I've been really thrilled at the response so far. If you haven't popped in for a coffee yet, why not head over there now?

If you like what you read, leave a comment to let me know what you think!
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