Ankylosing Spondylitis – The Journey

I have tried to write this article a few times before but never quite get the angle right. I want to share a journey with you. One that started when I was in my early 20s. I started to get injuries, yet I could never quite recall actually hurting myself. My flare ups were few and far between enough to justify them in some way at the time.

These attacks became more frequent and more severe as the years went on. The only way I can describe these attacks is that it is like spraining a joint really badly or braking a bone in my body, the pain lasts about 3 days or so, goes away and then comes up in another joint or bone somewhere else. This pain can get really crippling. Literally crippling. And most of the time, excruciating. There have been times where my husband has had to dress me, carry me from one place to another or nurse me with hot packs and ice packs. Over years of investigations I have heard: “it’s all in your head”, ” take these anti-depressants”, “it must be Rheumatoid Arthritis”, “you just need to exercise more”, “you just need to rest more” etc.

After 9 years of going back and forth, between I don’t know how many doctors, I was eventually diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. An autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself. Yay for my over enthusiastic immune system. I’m sure there are many people out there who would still offer up suggestions on why I don’t have it and it’s still all in my head, people can be so helpful at times, but they mean well and comment from a place of concern, I get that. However, all I can actually write about is MY truth and MY experience.

For the first 18 months post diagnosis I was prescribed Humira, an immunosuppressant, bi-weekly injection which was literally life changing for me. For the first time in years I felt like I could move again and be the mother my kids deserved. An active, physically able mother.  No more trying to explain to my small children why mommy’s hands (or knees, or feet, or back) aren’t working. I could wear shoes other than sneakers, I could even play squash again. This didn’t last though and my flare ups started to come back. After trying every diet under the sun, my last resort was to try a vegan diet. I had read the book, The China Study, and this was enough to convince me to at least give it a try before combining Humira with even more serious medications. I had nothing to lose.

Within 2 weeks my symptoms had disappeared again. And this time they weren’t coming back. And by the end of the first month the change was enough to convince me that I could never go back to my previous lifestyle. It wasn’t particularly difficult to make the change and as for all the foods I thought I couldn’t possibly give up, turns out I could. My kids and my family were all the incentive I needed to make this change.

I have been vegan now for 4 1/2 years, I have been off all my meds since April 2019. I still have the odd flare up every now and then but it’s completely manageable and not as frequent.  I would love to be able to share some of my journey with you on here which is why I wanted to give you a bit of background into my physical journey to health. I would also really like to share some of my favorite recipes on here from time to time. I know I’m not the perfect vegan or the best cook but hopefully, over time, I can get better and better and stronger and stronger.

Stay safe

la

Kuwait Safaris – The Martyrs House

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So, what do you do when the safest place for you and your family is at home and isolated, however, you and the kids are desperately itching to get out the house? You go on a Kuwait Safari of course.

What better way to show the kids around Kuwait and keep them safe within the 4 wheels of your car, than to take them on a Kuwait Safari.

First stop – The Martyrs House. I few years back I wrote and article on this piece of Kuwait history and I got to walk through and photograph this memorial. Martyrs House – a suburban pocket of war. This past weekend we took the kids there and shared the story and history with them. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to venture out while still staying safe ‘indoors’. My kids loved this little (and I mean little, it’s not very far from anything really) road trip and they’re already asking me when the next one is.

Next stop – Kuwaiti Water Towers.

Stay safe,

la

Quarantine wine time!

For those of you who don’t know, Kuwait is a dry country. This means alcohol is strictly forbidden by law. I’m not typically a big drinker, but I do really enjoy a good glass of red wine.

Now, given where I live most of the year, I really haven’t ever had the chance to learn much about wine. I also have no desire to ‘keep up with the Capetonians’ as far as good wine conversation goes but I really would like to be a bit more knowledgeable on the subject.

A friend sent me this link to a YouTube channel, Kwarantynwyn in die Tuin (Translated: Quarantine wine in the town) last week and I am so excited to learn more.

If you, like me, love wine and want to learn more, I highly recommend subscribing to their channel. If you’re ever in the region, plan a visit to Tokara Wine Farm and enjoy this piece of heaven on earth in person.

Cheers!

la

Thank You! Dad is Mobile.

Do you remember this little campaign we put together to Get Brian Mobile again?

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Well, we did it! In fact we did it in the beginning of the year and I had a post all ready to go to shout it to the world in January and then I had a baby and then the world shut down. But now, as I find myself slowly getting life in some sort of resemblance of order again, I am just so pleased to share this amazing news with you all and above all to thank each and everyone one of you who made a donation or offered up your prayers. Together and ONLY together, we did it.

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With a very thankful heart,

la

What does our lock-down look like?

To anybody out there who is still reading this delightful blog, I’m sorry we have been rather quiet. To say there has been a lot going on is an extreme understatement.

In January our gorgeous little girl was born, the Coronavirus took over and the world changed. Kuwait went into level 4 lock-down from March, April and in May went to level 5 for 3 weeks. We have since dropped back to level 4 for 3 weeks now and are eagerly awaiting the further drop to level 3 and for things to open up a little more.

So, what has your lock-down looked like?

Ours looks a little like this:

 – Husband working from make shift office at home

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– lots of e-learning

– complete lack of structure and zero bed time

– garden time

– pool time

– baby, baby and more baby

– Coronavirus news overload

– constant cooking and baking

– constant cleaning and eating

– clothes that don’t fit anymore (anyone else have kids in clothing 2 sizes too small at the moment?)

– puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles

– afternoon movies and night swimming

I would love to hear from you all, what are you doing these days to make the most of this challenging situation? As things open up in your countries, what are the first things you’re going to be doing? When Kuwait moved to level 4, 3 weeks ago, and the drive by Starbucks opened up, the queues were miles long for days on end. Today I joined one of them and had my first latte in 4 months.

Now don’t laugh, but other than painting, I actually ordered coloured felt and thread to make the kids little felt craft creations over the summer. Right now, I’m in the stage of looking up cute creations and expecting them to magically create themselves. I can’t sew you see, why on earth did I choose a sewing craft when I can’t sew? Oh, to learn a new skill apparently! Ha!

Side note: I have actually really been very thankful for this down time. We have been one of the lucky ones in all this. We have food on our table, a roof over our heads and my husband still has his wonderful, stable job. We are healthy and happy and above all, we are together. We have had more family time now than ever before. My heart and prayers go up to those who are not safe at home but rather trapped at home in abusive households and to those who have lost income and livelihoods. The overwhelming number of those starving and depressed is beyond anything I can actually comprehend and it breaks my heart. So lets be thankful and collectively look around us with open eyes to see where and how we can make a difference, no matter how big or small.

la

Welcome to this colourful world.

My dear sweet baby girl.

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You were born into a very complicated world my sweetheart. At a very challenging time. In January 2020 you fought your way into this world, bruised eye and all, and in January a little thing called the Coronavirus (Covid-19) started to spread around the world. Now, I’m not going to dive into this too much as I’m sure one day you will learn about it in history, science, biology and most likely health classes.

I do want to tell you a little about you though. I had a vegan pregnancy with you. My only vegan pregnancy out of the 4 kids. Don’t worry, I took all my vitamins and was regularly checked up by a doctor who was happy with my blood work and your progression throughout the 37 weeks, 5 days that you stayed inside baking. I put on about 14kg in total and you weighed in at a very healthy, 3.86kg. You were born with an almighty black eye my girl. You were lying right up against my left hip bone which, I think, must have been painful you as much as it was for me. I’m sorry.

You are the last (yes, the last) of 4 kiddos. You have 2 older sisters who are obsessed with you, and an older brother who is obsessed with making you smile. And a mom and dad who feel so very lucky to have been Blessed with you. You have been such a gift during this time. You have no idea what’s going on around you and with all this social distancing going on, you are completely (and blissfully) unaware that there is a world out there beyond the walls of our home. But there is, and it’s a beautiful one, and it is a terrifying one.

My prayer for you precious child:

Heavenly Father, you have blessed our lives with this sweet baby girl whose innocent face and daily laughter remind us of your good intentions for us. May her life be filled with your blessings and grace that will always light up her face. Lead her to you oh Lord, and may she dwell in your place forever. Amen.

la

COVID-19 Photo Challenge

Hi Friends,

We want to express our sympathies and offer prayers for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. We know that these tumultuous times are taking a toll on everyone and we could all use a little more beauty and fun in our worlds. So, thanks to the inspiration of one of our lovely community members, we have created a COVID-19 PHOTO CHALLENGE! We hope this will bring a little creativity to your quarantined days and make you smile as we share our lives with our virtual community!

Post to Instagram or Facebook and tag us @itsacolourfulworld and use #IACWcovidchallenge so we can see your corner of this colourful {crazy} world!

Stay healthy & safe,

LA & KDG

IACW covid challenge

Melody Mitchell – Being Her Authentic Self

1DSC_3659 copyI first met Melody when she came to one of our photography walkabouts here in Kuwait. At the time, she stood out to me because of her warm friendly smile and open personality. In that moment, I had no idea of who she was, only that something inside me made me want to get to know her better. Fast forward a few years and this beautiful soul has truly left her mark on many woman in Kuwait and abroad, including myself.

groupShe is a true leader in her field and one of the most decent and inspiring individuals I have ever met.

Melody has been in the US military, specifically the air force, for 19 years already, and her heart has been in Middle East relations for most of that. As a woman in the air force she has had to fly against the wind (excuse the pun) for most of that journey trying to carve out her own path in a very male dominant industry. She has been remarkable in further supporting other women in military, both US and Kuwaiti. Melody started the Lean In initiative in Kuwait which has been literally life changing for women in business in the Middle East. It is a network of women who come together to uplift and support one another in a safe, open circle.

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Image provided by Melody

Through her work with both the US and Kuwaiti women in service she has been able to debunk some preconceived ideas that many people have about woman in the region. She shines a light on how strong and respected women really are. Granted it hasn’t always been that way, but she highlights and builds on these positive changes in today’s society.

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Image provided by Melody

We had the most wonderful conversation around us as women learning how to be our true authentic selves and, more specifically, what it means. Men help each other out, they lift each other up automatically, and women need to do the same! Both Katie and I have this deep desire to do just that – lift one another up. And thankfully this blog has given us a platform to highlight remarkable women in business and in life, remarkable women like Melody!

Bridging the gap between men and women in business, her main piece of advice for women is, “don’t try to simulate the way a man would do business, we are not little men, we are women and we come with our own unique, highly valuable qualities and need to be appreciated for who we are. – Man I love this chick!

This incredibly strong, talented lady was asked to participate in the TEDx talk at AUK in Kuwait and I encourage you to take a listen to the link below. It’s so worth the time. Well done Melody and so well spoken too!

I’m excited to see where this amazing individual ends up next, the itsacolourfulworld team wishes her all the best – rise and shine!

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Cheers,

la

 

The mission – get dad mobile again.

My dad, Brian McCrindle, is not only my personal hero, but also a hero and father figure to many others.

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My wedding, 10 years ago. Photographer : Dror Eyal

My dad was always the first person that someone would call on when they needed help, he would always be there for someone in need at the drop of a hat. Dad is the eldest of four boys and the true patriarch of our family. He was a man who always looked after his health, ate right and exercised all throughout his life, the picture of perfect health. He was an Iron Man athlete, a veteran Comrades Marathon (89km) runner, an avid cyclist, a swimmer and an all round sportsman.

On 24 June, 2018, dad had a bicycle accident and broke his neck. Dad is now a quadriplegic. During his months in ICU where he fought for his life, his true athletic spirit really came to the foreground. Through desperate prayers, a fantastic medical team and around-the-clock care from his devoted and loving wife, Anne, dad has now reached a point where he is able to breathe by himself during the day while making use of breathing support during the night. He is still paralyzed from the shoulders down but is going for extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation every other day, with rest days in between when his lungs need it. The most amazing thing about this human being has been his sense of humor through it all and his truly heroic, admirable spirit. Dad has the most amazing mental strength. Not once has he felt sorry for himself, not once has he asked “why me?” Not once!

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Anne has been a God send. I will never have enough thanks in me to give her for the love and care she gives my dad.

Her precious life with my father changed in a split second, but she too has not once wavered from her love and devotion to him. The life they once shared together was filled with weekly adventures and new experiences. Their days look a little different now, but side by side they remain.

My father was in ICU for almost a year. Needless to say, his medical treatments do not come cheap and private medical insurance can only take you so far. All of the ongoing monthly medical expenses pose a real challenge, as one would expect for an injury as severe as dad’s. With him needing a wheelchair for everything, everyday, their little yellow Honda Jazz isn’t quite sufficient enough to get them around very comfortably anymore.

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That above said, aside from monthly medical costs that dad still needs to cover, it is my goal to try and raise enough money to buy a wheelchair friendly vehicle for him by this coming Christmas so as to give him a bit more comfort and ease with his mobility challenges. What an amazing gift that would be. The goal is to buy a pre-owned Fiat Doblo panel van vehicle which has been kitted out with a wheel chair conversion kit which will cost R345 000 / $22 697.

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Beanie buddies and granddaughter cuddles

If you find that it is within your means to help raise this money to get Brian mobile again after everything he has been through, and constantly goes through each day, then please do consider supporting this initiative, and please help spread the word.

Simply click on the link below:

https://clickndonate.com/get-brian-mobile-again-goal-r-345-000/

Please select the PayFast option for the simplest means of transfer.

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Note: The maximum limit per single PayFast payment is R10,000

From the bottom of my heart – thank you!

Lindy-Ann

An open letter to my readers, and a little surprise on the side.

I know very well that over the last year I have been quiet online. Those of you who know me well, will know why.

When I write, I write from the heart, and when my heart is open, that becomes easy, but when it is broken, then it becomes a lot harder.

Over the next few posts I will tell you the stories of what has kept me from opening up and why things are turning around. I will cover the family tragedy briefly and I will tell you all about the disease I live with and how I do my best to manage it. But one lovely little treat I can leave you with is the main reason for my heart opening up again –

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No, this is not simply additional holiday weight (although there’s a fair share of that in there too), our family has been gifted baby number four. Thankfully, the shock is abating now and I’m starting to enjoy this crazy, magical ride, one last time.

Cheers

la