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    A mindful 2019 - Jan 1st, 2019
    As is tradition, a new year means a new resolution. Generally, my resolutions are set as a way to focus on self-improvement in realistic terms. Although they are also a bit vague and are rarely measurable (with the exception of my running goals). And this year is no different! [more...]

    Half a Marcothon - Dec 18th, 2018
    And with that, my Marcothon days are over. Yes, I have failed in my attempt to run every day throughout December. But at least my attempt means that I ran more days in December than I ordinarily would have. [more...]

    My Marcothon madness - Dec 1st, 2018
    I ran today. And I will run tomorrow. And the next day. And, if all goes well, I will be running every day in December. Yes, I have signed up for Marcothon 2018 and all of the madness that entails. [more...]

    Bloodscape: An adventure - Nov 18th, 2018
    I took part in a fun, blood-themed scavenger hunt yesterday. The event, Bloodscape, was designed to explore changing blood trends as part of the 2018 Being Human Festival. As someone who has a rare blood disease, and who loves geeky learning adventures, I was thrilled to be able to participate! [more...]

    November down - Nov 15th, 2018
    Remember when I talked about the frustrations of the chronically ill? Well, my failed plans for an active November are a part of that frustration! Yes, I am half-way through my planned super-productive, super-active, and super-plugged-in November, and I've accomplished nothing. There's nothing like a bit of chronic illness to remind you that you're not actually in charge of your own health! [more...]

    Frustrations of the chronically ill - Jul 17th, 2018
    I have been thinking about illness a lot lately. Especially about the frustrations of being chronically ill. Even more about the frustrations of being chronically ill, yet also being relatively healthy. And, of course, I have been thinking about how being ill and healthy at (almost) the same time is, at times, soul-destroying. [more...]

    No, that’s not breast cancer either - Jun 27th, 2018
    It was nearly five years ago that I first felt a lump in my breast and panicked about the possibility of cancer. At that time, a quick trip to my doctor’s office laid my fears to rest. But then I found another lump; a larger one that was very different from anything I’d felt before. [more...]

    My 2018 running goal: Met and re-set - May 22nd, 2018
    At the start of the year, I set myself a gentle running goal: A simple sub-30 5K. I chose the goal because I knew it was manageable with a bit of work—but not so much work that I was pushing myself too hard to meet the goal. After all, I only needed to shave 2-2.5 minutes from my slow times. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: A one-year review - May 14th, 2018
    This past weekend marked one year since I started taking tolvaptan. In that year, I have learned quite a bit about how to manage the medication as I go about my day-to-day life. This post is intended to share my experiences for my own personal reflections, but I hope that it will serve as an information starting point for others. However, please remember that your experiences may vary. [more...]

    My PKD liver (or PKD-associated PLD) - Mar 12th, 2018
    Regular readers will know that I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD). What they might not know is that I also have PKD-associated PLD (that’s polycystic liver disease). In fact, 75-90% of people with PKD also have PKD-associated PLD. [more...]

    Walking around Caerketton - Feb 27th, 2018
    I took the weekend off from my PhD studies to re-focus my brain with some healthy fresh air. On Saturday, I did that by exploring St Anthony’s Chapel and climbing Arthur’s Seat. And yesterday, I climbed Caerketton Hill to further my weekend of self-caer. [more...]

    PKD information and support day: A recap - Feb 15th, 2018
    Last weekend, I attended the ADPKD Information & Support Conference in Edinburgh. The event was hosted by Professor Neil Turner and the PKD Charity UK, supported by the Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation Renal Endowment Fund. The event marked the 10th year since the first information day was held in Edinburgh. The post to follow is a recap of my experiences and learnings from the day. (With links to further information, should you be interested.) [more...]

    2017: Undone, indeed - Dec 31st, 2017
    2017 is over. It was meant to be my “year of doing” but, alas, it would seem that it was a year undone. Undone, indeed*. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: A four-month reflection - Sep 16th, 2017
    It has been about four months since I started taking tolvaptan, which is a great opportunity for an update. As with the post I shared about my experiences in the first month, the information shared here is meant as an information starting point. It is not medical advice; it is simply one woman’s experiences. Your own experiences may vary. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: The beginning - Jun 10th, 2017
    Last month I shared that I was getting ready to start a new medication called tolvaptan. The drug is meant to slow the progression of my kidney disease (polycystic kidney disease, or PKD) which is the best I can hope for as there is no cure for it (yet). I struggled to find any good, in-depth reviews before starting the drug, so I decided to share my experiences here. [more...]

    Talkin’ tolvaptan - May 11th, 2017
    Tomorrow morning, I will start taking a new drug called tolvaptan, which is meant to slow the progression of my kidney disease. When I was first recommended for the drug, I went in search of some user experiences online. But my search didn’t bring up any blog posts or laypersons’ stories and testimonials. So I’ve decided I would get my experiences out there for the next person Googling about tolvaptan and PKD! I will try to share a couple (maybe a few) progress updates, too. All posts related to my experience with tolvaptan will be tagged as such, in addition to my general PKD tag. [more...]

    Mental Health Awareness week: Knowing my limits - May 8th, 2017
    It is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so I thought I’d share a bit about my recent efforts to keep my mental health in check. As someone who does not live with mental illness, keeping things in check is a bit easier for me. But as someone who lives a largely isolated and lonely life, I am aware that if I do not make concerted efforts to maintain my mental health, I could well end up with mental illness. [more...]

    Tilted eyes - Apr 17th, 2017
    When I went to see an optometrist last November, I did so expecting to be told that my eyes had deteriorated slightly, as would be expected with age. (The fact that my last eye exam was six years prior made this expectation even greater.) And in fact, I was told that they had deteriorated. Slightly. Ever so slightly. In fact, a lot more “slightly” than would be expected over the course of six years for a woman of [cough, cough] my age. [more...]

    Broken ankle update: Broken running - Mar 14th, 2017
    There seems to be a bit of interest in my on-going ankle recovery, specifically around running. So, I thought I’d give a wee update for those who’ve already asked—and for those who’ve not asked but might care! This post will also serve as a general “my experiences running after a break” post, to address those specific questions. [more...]

    Just a wee half - Jan 8th, 2017
    Oops, I’ve done it again. After declaring that I would not be running any half (or full) marathons this year, to ease back into post-broken ankle running, I have officially signed up for the 2017 Scottish Half Marathon. I didn’t intend to do it, but my running partner has convinced me to do it. (He didn’t have to work hard for that. At all.) [more...]

    Dating disclosures - Jan 2nd, 2017
    Since (a few failed attempts at) re-entering the dating world post-widowhood, I have learned that there are many struggles to dating in the modern era. From the drama of online dating to the drama of just dating at all, I have learned a lot about how to navigate the dating world as a “young widow”. But I am realising that there are still things I have yet to figure out. (And maybe I’ll never figure them out!) [more...]

    2017: The year of doing - Jan 1st, 2017
    Welcome to 2017. This is the year. This is the year that so very many very wonderful things are going to happen. This is the year of greatness. This is the year of doing; of getting things done; of success and joy and everything else wonderful. [more...]

    Revamped running resolutions: Realised! - Dec 29th, 2016
    Thanks to this summer’s broken ankle, I had to make some changes to my 2016 resolutions. Today, those revamped running resolutions were realised! (Yay!) [more...]

    The goal that wasn’t meant to be - Dec 26th, 2016
    I started 2016 with the high hopes of meeting (and exceeding!) one simple running goal: To run a sub-2:00:00 half marathon. I knew it would be a challenge, but I also felt quite confident that I would manage it. However, it was a goal that wasn’t meant to be. [more...]

    Preparing for cosy - Dec 4th, 2016
    Winter is sneaking up upon us and that means cosy nights in front of a crackling fire. But in order to enjoy those cosy evenings, I need fuel for the fire. So today, I combined my much-needed daily exercise with gathering fire-starters. (Also known as pinecones.) [more...]

    Ran a mile in my shoes - Nov 12th, 2016
    (Nearly) sixteen weeks ago, I broke my ankle. And that means I haven’t broken any running goals in nearly four months. In fact, I haven’t been running at all. Until today. And then, I ran a mile. A whole mile. Yay, me! [more...]

    Broken ankle, Phase III: Getting back to normal - Oct 17th, 2016
    It has now been 12 weeks since I broke my ankle, and I’m pleased to say that I am well on the road to recovery. Though, sadly, I am not back to normal. Yet. However, I am now into the next phase of the healing process, so I expect to get back to normal… eventually. (Eventually, but not soon enough for my impatient nature. [more...]

    Twelve weeks broken - Oct 16th, 2016
    Twelve weeks ago, I broke my ankle whilst walking home from the shops. Twelve long, long weeks ago! And twelve is the magic number because that’s the number of weeks I was told it would take to go through the first bits of the healing process. And that means that today is the last day of Phase II: Learning to walk again. It also means that I am allowed to attempt running tomorrow. (Don’t worry, I’ll be careful!) [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    Weir walking - Oct 7th, 2016
    I’ve been staying at Serenity Lodge since last week where I am house- and pet-sitting for a while. I am using the time to catch up on my PhD, but I’m also taking some time for my ankle’s rehabilitation work. And what better way to do that than a bit of weir walking? [more...]

    Ten weeks broken - Oct 2nd, 2016
    Wow! I cannot believe that it has been ten weeks since I broke my ankle. It seems like only yesterday, but at the same time it feels like my fateful fall was a lifetime ago. Maybe that’s because it takes a very long time to walk anywhere these days! [more...]

    Eight weeks broken - Sep 18th, 2016
    It has now been eight weeks since I broke my ankle whilst on my way home from the shops. And two weeks since I entered Phase II of the healing process. And that means I only have four weeks to go until I’m allowed to try running again. (Yay!!) [more...]

    No spleen to vent - Sep 10th, 2016
    Regular Just Frances readers will know that I have a rare bleeding disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP). But what they may not know is that I don’t have a spleen as a result of it. Not because there was something wrong with my spleen, but rather because (sometimes) a splenectomy is seen as a viable treatment for ITP. [more...]

    Broken ankle, Phase II: Learning to walk again - Sep 6th, 2016
    I broke my ankle a little over six weeks ago. At first, there was a bit of novelty to my first-ever broken bone. After a couple of days, I was becoming very unhappy with the lack of mobility—and the pain! However, there was very little I could do at the time other than let nature take its healing course. But now I’m ready for Phase II: Learning to walk again! [more...]

    Six weeks broken - Sep 4th, 2016
    It has now been six weeks since I broke by ankle, meaning I am about half-way through the initial recovery phase. It also means that tomorrow, I will take my fist steps without the walking boot. I expect it to be a bit sore, but after two weeks of flexibility exercises, at least my ankle shouldn’t be too stiff. [more...]

    Getting less thin - Aug 21st, 2016
    I need to start this post by saying that I know I am not overweight and I don’t think that I am fat by any means. However, I am getting less and less thin. And whilst some of that is just the normal process of ageing and inevitable metabolic changes, most of it is 2016. Yes, I blame 2016 for the fact that I am getting less thin. [more...]

    Four weeks broken - Aug 21st, 2016
    It has now been four weeks since my fateful journey out for some salty snacks; a journey that left me with a broken ankle. I am now on the journey to recovery, but it’s a slow and unenjoyable process! [more...]

    Two weeks broken - Aug 7th, 2016
    Two weeks ago, I slipped on a kerb and broke my ankle. It’s my first-ever broken bone and has really been a learning experience! [more...]

    Will walk for whisky - Aug 6th, 2016
    Yesterday was my first proper outing since breaking my ankle nearly two weeks ago. I admit that I probably shouldn’t have gone out, and that I probably shouldn’t have done as much walking when I did, but it was a much-needed day away. After all, it included free whisky! [more...]

    I am broken - Jul 25th, 2016
    It is official: I have my first-ever broken bone. It's a wee avulsion fracture on my left ankle and it hurts like holy heck! And it’s all because I love salty snacks. [more...]

    Thesis summer - Jul 1st, 2016
    This summer is Thesis Summer for me. It’s the summer when I must, without excuses, get my head down and write, write, write! Luckily, July and August are two months devoid of conferences, training events, seminars, and other activities that take me away from my focus. So I’ve decided that I will devote them to my thesis; I will devote them to my PhD dreams. [more...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    An Edinburgh non-starter - Apr 24th, 2016
    With five weeks to go until the Edinburgh Half Marathon, I’ve realised that it’s time for me to be honest about my ability to participate. And, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think it would be wise for me to attempt it… even though there’s a stubborn voice in my head telling me to risk it. [more...]

    Normal kidneys - Apr 9th, 2016
    I had my annual kidney check-up a couple of days ago to see how Bob and Dave are coping with their inherited polycystic kidney disease. And I am very pleased to say that my kidneys are working well. As I’ve said before, I am always a bit nervous when I go for these check-ups because I know that it won’t be like this forever; I know that one day I will be told Bob and Dave are too unwell to keep the rest of me well. [more...]

    The road to recovery - Apr 4th, 2016
    It’s been more than three weeks since I was first stricken with a nasty little virus, and I am still on the road to recovery. I expect it will be a long road, but I’m hoping it’s not too long! After all, I have too many lovely spring-time plans to be laid up half-dead for much longer! [more...]

    An Easter return - Mar 27th, 2016
    Wow! What a madcap, crazy month it’s been! But I’m back now; I have returned! And on Easter, no less. Not that my return is as wonderful and worthy of my Saviour’s return … but I’m not one to let a funny (inappropriately funny?) link go un-joked about. [more...]

    Dilapidated beauty - Feb 17th, 2016
    With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful. [more...]

    Starting 2016 - Jan 1st, 2016
    I woke up this morning ready to start the New Year with hope and faith for a good 2016. Not with the naive notion that this will be the best year I’ve ever had, nor with the belief that it will be a year of nothing but joy and happiness. No, I don’t dream of a perfect year, as I know perfection is a myth. Instead, I simply dream of a year where I am more happy than sad; more healthy than ill; more productive than lazy; more optimistic than bleak. I pray for a year that starts and ends with laughter and friendship. [more...]

    Saving the best for last! - Sep 28th, 2015
    I ran my last Loch Ness Marathon yesterday. (Maybe.) And I accomplished a PB whilst doing it—which was totally unexpected. Even better, I am nowhere near as sore as I was the day after my first (and slowest) Loch Ness back in 2011. [more...]

    Training month - Aug 1st, 2015
    As September is a month of races, I’ve decided that I should probably make August a month of training for races. And so, I’ve started the month off with a seven mile run and I’m looking forward to increasing my mileage throughout the month. [more...]

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