Tag Archives: Jennifer Garner

“And All that David Copperfield Kind of Crap”

 

Someone once told me the best place to start a story was at the beginning – so here it goes.

 

In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth. He started sometime Monday morning, worked right through to Saturday night, had a few too many drinks to celebrate his newest creation and so had to take Sunday off to ‘rest’. Now this is a couple of thousand years before the start of the story I’m referring to, therefore, I’ll miss out the stuff about Adam, Eve, the Romans and how one shouldn’t covet thy neighbours house, wife, manservant, maidservant, ox or ass and jump straight ahead to Spring 2008.

 

If this was movie, the title sequence would start with the camera sweeping across a clear blue sky on a warm summers day, it would then pan down and the audience would be transported back to 2008. I would be driving Marty, my 11 year old Ford Fiesta (that due to a faulty exhaust, emitted a bang that sounded like a gun shot every time I drove over a bump) whilst listening to some Bruce Springsteen at top volume and singing along at a pitch only dogs could hear, ‘Cause baby we were born to run’ Unfortunately, this isn’t some big budget Hollywood production with a highly paid actress being cast in her greatest role to date.

 

I was 20 years of age and the girl who was most comfortable in skinny jeans, and a band t-shirt. I had just finished university with a degree in Politics, or as I prefer to call it, a colossal waste of three years studying a subject that commented on what changes should be made to make the world a better place, rather than actually doing something about it. The first signs of the recession where showing, Heath Ledger had been found dead in his New York apartment and Katy Perry was taking over the world and promoting Lesbianism with her hit song “I Kissed a Girl” and apparently she did like it. To celebrate never having to pretend to be interested in Social Contract theories ever again, my good friend Jennifer and I decided to spend our summer inter-railing around as many European cities that would could fit in with very little money, surviving on nothing but water, bread and on very special occasions, packets of tortilla chips that we would dip into some very questionable chocolate spread.

 

As Jennifer is likely to be mentioned as much as myself throughout this tale of the unexpected, I should probably tell you a bit about her. Jennifer and I met at 16 when we were both slaving away in the same clothes shop. Bonded over many shared interests for instance both of us enjoyed partying, going to see many a shit band that thought they were going to be the next big thing, and getting free drinks. With Jennifer you get something that is a rarity, complete and utter honesty, many have called it a harshness, but I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt.

 

After travelling around Europe and returning to Glasgow, like many graduates who finished university, I realised that throughout my time in the education system I along with many of my peers was lied to by authority figures who repeatedly told us that going through further education, working hard and getting a degree would practically guarantee us all a job (lied to or my teachers never realised the economic downturn that was around the corner). Instead I went full time job working in the clothes shop. Not only did this teach me that if you wear green and red together you will look like either an elf or a Christmas tree, I earned enough money to keep partying it up like I was still a student (I would like to take the time to point out, without the use of illegal drugs). Now this may seem like my life at this time was just all work and drinking, I am not going to lie that did take up the majority of my days, along with my hallway dancing, but I was also very outdoorsy and active. I ran for an hour every second day, regularly went hiking, camping and was ready to take on the world and all its challenges. The only health complaint I had was every now and then I would suffer from migraines and sickness which one Christmas did lead to me being sick over my friend’s room mate whilst ice skating. However, he wasn’t that pissed off with having to clean puke off his trousers and the sickness and migraines never usually lasted very long or happened frequently enough to cause me any concern.

 

One day in May, after working all week I decided to do my usual, head out with my friends, dance until my feet bled and shot tequila like the prohibition was about to start. It’s true what the song says; it really does make you happy (I would like to take this time to point out that under no circumstances do I recommend binge drinking, unless it’s a Saturday, then is practically the law). Now, I do not remember this weekend for the wild partying and the copious amounts of alcohol consumed, what I do remember was the morning after the night before. Instead of waking up with the usual dry fuzzy mouth, sore feet and memory lapses you get after a night of tequila, I awoke to find my mouth full of blisters. Needless to say not the kind of look I was going for. My first thoughts were not “OMG there is clearly something wrong as I have awoke to find that I have leprosy of the mouth”. It was actually “Oh shit I have now drank so much tequila that my brain thinks my mouth is a foreign entity and is trying to reject it”! I immediately got up, dressed and headed to pharmacy where I purchased any product that had the words throat and mouth on it, I didn’t care what the hell they were for, I just thought that if I sprayed enough of them in my mouth it would return to its previous non-diseased state. Over the course of the next few weeks no matter what I used nothing would shift what I had now became convinced was the result of an airborne toxin that had accidently been released from a secret underground lab. Concerned that the mouth leprosy may be getting worse, I decided it was time to see the doctor.

 

When I entered the GPs surgery I was surprised to see a young student doctor I had never met before behind the desk. Being a girl in the prime of her life I did what any normal girl would do when faced by a young, hot soon to be doctor, I tried to act cool and sophisticated, well as cool and sophisticated as one can be when they have a mouth full of boils. I never took in much of what this perfectly formed specimen in front of me was saying, as I was too busy trying to psychically convey how ethics and boundaries did not need to come into play in our doctor/patient relationship and it would be totally appropriate for him to ask me out on a date but the brief parts I did manage to catch were; it was probably nothing, I was just run down from all that hardcore working and partying I was doing, but just to be on the safe side he was going to send me for some blood tests. As I then got up to leave, trying still to impress the young hot doctor by smiling and giving him the eye, he asked “samantha is there something wrong with your eye”.

 

After my failed attempt at wooingmy health started to deteriorate, at first I thought it was just a by-product of the embarrassment I felt, but common sense kicked in when I was unable to get halfway through my shift without my body giving up and refusing to do anything. I was suffering from really sore heads, but not the usual spewing whilst ice-skating migraines that I was used to. I had that crappy feeling you get right before you get a severe case of flu or the shits, and was just generally exhausted. A week after my initial consultation with the hot doctor I received a phone call from the surgery asking me to make an appointment straight away with the head Doctor, Dr Gregory. The disappointment of not being able to redeem myself with the hot student doctor was displaced by the worry I felt about what was actually wrong with me.

 

When I returned Dr Gregory told me that overall my blood was a bit shit the general ingredient that make up your blood such as your Iron, Vitamin B12, ferritin etc were all alarmingly low. So to find out why that was, more tests were needed. I was tested for anything and everything that you can possibly be tested for: Coeliac Disease, Pernicious Anaemia, Diabetes, Crones Disease, Aids (now I don’t know if they actually did check for that last one but with the amount of tests they ran I wouldn’t be surprised). Throughout this time I started feeling worse, the exhaustion took over me completely, I awoke in the middle of the night with severe muscle cramps in my legs and no longer felt like I was about to get the flu, I now felt worse than I had with any flu or virus I’d ever experienced. After all the test results came back negative, I was referred to the hospital to meet with a lovely Gastroenterologist who was ever so kind as to stick a camera up my ass and down my throat (and no it was not the same camera), but yet again the same results – nothing wrong. After a few months of taking iron supplements and vitamin B12 injections I started to feel better and my blood count normalised. So thinking that this was all just some freak abnormality and that everything would be fine, I stopped going to see my doctor and went back to my normal daily routine. What I didn’t know was that this freak abnormality was actually one bastard of a virus and this would be the start of my relationship with M.E. I use the word relationship here as to me having this illness is like having a really crappy boyfriend. One of those guys who keeps fucking you over time and time again, but for some reason you just can’t seem to dump him.

 

Being a bit of a geek I refer to my pre M.E self as Anakin Skywalker, young and full of potential, and the post M.E me as Darth Vader, basically fucked. Over the course of the next year and a half, things started to change. I would go through phases of feeling just like my old Anakin Skywalker self again, ready to take on the evils of the universe. Whilst other times I would feel terrible, I had no energy left at all and would feel as if the dark side had literally consumed me, “Luke I am your father”. During these times I would go and see the Doctor again and get my blood checked, thinking that it had to be something to do with that, but each time they came back with the same result; all within perfect ranges. I grew to think I was just getting older because it’s perfectly normal to feel like that at 20!

 

After a while I started running again, but a few months into it I had to stop as instead of spending an hour running several miles I struggled to leave the borders of my small town housing estate. I stopped going out as much. I was no longer the Tequila loving Sam. Instead I was one Tequila, two Tequila, now someone has to pick Sam up off the floor and put her to bed as she has just passed out AGAIN! As time went on exhaustion took over, my friends would phone and make fun of the fact that I was in bed at half 6 having came home from an 8 hour shift at work, but it all happened so gradually that it took me a long time to notice the vast change in my energy levels or the fact that I never really felt well. Looking back, I think that maybe I didn’t want to have to admit to myself that something was wrong. After a while, feeling ill just felt normal.

 

Then came 2010…

 

*Please note that all names have been changed to a character or celebrity pseudonyms to protect identities.
* Title taken from “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger.
*All material on the Sam and M.E site and Blog is copyrighted. Unauthorised use of any material will be not tolerated.

“Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging”

Today we have a very special post. This post had been written by the wonderful Faith Evans and is the first in our M.E from the other side series  

 

When Sam, Hilary and I were 13 years old, we held (and indeed perpetuated) many teenage misconceptions:

• Oral sex meant phone sex

• Breaking your ‘VL’ was an essential rite of passage

• Dying in a fire was preferable to being seen in ‘Hi-tech’ trainers

During one of our many girly sleepovers, in between scoffing pizza and popcorn, we’d discuss what the future held for us. Hilary would inevitably go on to be a top model, given her flowing blonde locks and beautiful eye make-up. Me, being the home-bird, would do the whole ‘job, marriage, 2.4 children, retirement, death’ routine. Finally, Sam would travel the world for years, living like a nomad, enjoying amazing and colourful adventures. Little did we know, these musings were nothing more than adolescent fallacy.

 

For those of you who do not know Sam, she is an extremely unique person. She has 100,000 friends from many different places. She does not like to do anything that people would consider ‘normal’. She is obsessed with Superman. She loves tattoos. She is a dreadful car owner. She is the most loyal person I know. She is energetic and loves to keep fit. A few years ago, it was not uncommon spot Sam jogging past in her converse trainers, barely breaking a sweat. It sounds cliché, but she’s the last person on earth I could’ve imagined this happening to.

 

Sam’s birthday arrived in October 2010. Hilary and I headed down to her house, pressies in tow, to celebrate her 23rd year on this planet. My first thought was, ‘Who is this corpse and what has it done with my friend?’ No offense intended Sam, but you looked so incredibly ill. Everyone continued to make conversation, expertly ignoring the massive elephant in the room – Sam’s ailing health. We’ve all known her long enough to understand that she is a proud individual who does not like to draw negative attention to herself, so we quietly respected her unspoken wishes.

 

A few weeks later, I popped into Sam’s work for an impromptu visit. I was met by her good friend Jennifer Gardner who explained that Sam had been taken to hospital that afternoon after taking a bad turn. I wasn’t even surprised that I found out in this manner as – in typical Samantha fashion – she never burdens other people with her problems. I immediately called Hilary to let her know. We exchanged worried conversation and tried to call Samantha – no reply. Sam eventually got in touch saying that her legs ‘were feeling a bit rubbish’ (euphemism anyone?) and that she was being kept in for tests.

 

The next time I saw Samantha, she was using crutches. Crutches. My fun-loving, energetic, weird, adventurous friend could barely walk. I didn’t show how I was feeling that day, but if I’m honest, I felt sick. I wanted to cry. She could barely put one foot in front of the other. It took about 5 minutes to walk 20 metres. Helpless – the only word that sums up how it feels to watch your closest friend succumb to a chronic illness. No amount of fluffy slippers and ‘Get Well Soon’ cards can make any real difference. You feel like a moron when you let it slip that you’re feeling particularly ‘knackered’ that day. You can’t even bring delicious junk food or choccies to cheer your friend up because of their dietary needs (Demi Moore would go spare!)

 

So Sam, you’re not travelling the world, Hilary is not modelling and I’m moving away from Scotland. Clearly, life had different plans for us. But I ask you, is this necessarily a bad thing? We are all heading down extremely distinctive, exciting and daunting paths. M.E may have taken away your physical health, but it has not conquered your spirit and amazing personality. You have an incredible ability to transform negatives into positives. You’ve actually used your illness to offer support and encouragement to others. I could burst with pride when I think about your achievements. We’ve been by each other’s sides through thick and thin over the past 20 years, and I will always be there to offer you unwavering support. You’re currently facing a massive hurdle, but never forget that your friends are right behind you, waiting give you a leg up!

Love you a ridiculous amount.

Faith Evans.

 

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from the film “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging”
 All content listed through the site is copyrighted. Unauthorised use, duplication or republication may result in legal action

“The Long Walk…To Wagamamas”

What some people don’t realise is that with M.E, a relapse can be brought on by the smallest of things. At the end of June 2011, my relapse was brought on by Cyndi Lauper and a trip Wagamama’s.

 

I have loved Wagamama’s ever since the first time Jennifer Anniston took Jennifer Garner and me there when we were 17. I had a Katsu Curry and fell in love with the Japanese noodle bar and ever since then it has become our favourite place to eat. So when Jen Garner and I had tickets to go and see Cyndi Lauper at the Royal Concert Hall, I thought why not start off our date by filling up on Ramen and Chicken Chilli Men. When Jennifer came to meet me at the Royal Concert Hall she asked a question that I probably should have said yes to, “Will we get a Taxi to Waga’s?” But foolishly I said no. Why? Because in Glasgow not all black cab drivers are polite and willing to help, I didn’t want to get in a taxi and have to listen to the taxi driver moan about taking us 300 metres down the street and then charge us a small fortune for it. So instead I insisted that we walk. I hobbled down the street with Jen there to catch me if I fell and after what felt like a decade we finally reached our food heaven destination.  By this point I wasn’t feeling so bad, so when we had filled our stomachs and I was faced with the options of walking or taking a taxi, again I made the totally wrong decision. But hey, we learn from our mistakes don’t we?

 

After another jaunt we finally reached the Concert Hall and went in and took our seats. Once seated and finally giving my legs a rest, a strange man seated in front came to the attention of Jen and me. I don’t know if it was the fact he sat reading articles about Cyndi in various magazines, or that once he finished reading them, he then took out his digital camera to reveal pictures of himself at Cyndi Lauper concerts throughout the UK, or the fact the he had tickets for two seats but was alone, or his choice of Kappa track suit. Either way we both became slightly concerned for C’s well being. After all John Lennon was killed by a crazy fan, it wasn’t so hard to think that this guy could be Cyndi’s very own Mark Chapman? Concerned for the women’s safety Jen and I came up with a plan. When this man eventually made his move we would lift up one of my sticks each and strike him hard on the back of his head causing him to drop his knife, gun, grenade or whatever weapon he happened to have hidden underneath that navy kappa track suit. After he fell to the ground Jen and I would then perform a citizen’s arrest and keep him in our custody until the authorities came and took his ass to jail. Cyndi would have been so impressed and thankful for our efforts she would then allow us to do the dance from “Romy and Michelles’s High School Reunion” on stage while she sang “Time After Time”, as we did see Mark Chapman’s “True Colours”. It turns out that Mark may not have actually wanted to kill Cyndi. Marry, kidnap or perhaps touch inappropriately, but not kill. So Jen and my services were not needed that night and we were left to enjoy the show.

 

The next day M.E struck, and it struck hard. The headaches, more severe muscle aches and severe tiredness all severed as a reminder to me that I am sick and no matter how positive a person you are, to wish things to get better just doesn’t work. You have to listen to your body and when it says “yes I am hungry and would love a Wagamamas but I don’t think I can walk all that way” then you don’t walk. You have to work with it instead of working against it. I can’t lie to you and say as soon as I woke up and realised that I wouldn’t be leaving my bed for the next few days that I wasn’t disappointed. In fact disappointment isn’t a strong enough word. I felt like I had taken all the money and every possession my family had, put it all on black and the ball landed on red, leaving me with nothing and having to face the prospect of going home and telling my whole family that we were now going to be living in a card board box. But I had two options; I could wallow in self pity about having this shit illness that stopped me from walking and causes me to spend days in my bed sick or I could do something about it. I chose the latter.  I decided to make myself up an activity guide. A point system that would allow me to know when I was doing too much by giving everything I do a certain number of points and having a maximum number of points I would use per day. Every two weeks the number of points I was allowed to use would increase by 1 allowing me to build up what my body could do slowly over time. I then put all this in an email and emailed it to every one of my close friends and family. I wanted them to understand what I could and couldn’t do and give them a better understanding of what it was like to live with this illness, as if I didn’t tell them, how would they ever know? This is what I wrote:

 

 

Hello All,

 

Hope you are all doing grand!

You are probably wondering why I am sending you this random email. Well folks after Jenifer forced me at knife point to walk to Wagamamas the other night, I haven’t really been at my best. Which is code for I feel worse than shit. So I decided to write up an activity guide that would allow me to plan better what I can and can’t do. I have attached this at the bottom of this email to help you all understand why I regularly say I am too tired to do things.

 

Enjoy

Sam

Xxx

 

 

 

Sam’s Activity Guide

1 point:

Working on computer for up to 30mins

Reading for up to 30mins

Conversation only for up to 1hr

 

2 points:

Watching a mentally taxing film at home (i.e. one you have to concentrate on)

Anything over 20 and up to 40mins in a car (after 40mins increases by 1 point every 20mins)

Preparing a meal taking no longer than 20mins

 

 

3 points:

Cinema or show trip not including travel

Lunching/Dining out not including travel

Daily  walk

 

4 points:

One way bus journey

Support group

 

5 points:

Hydrotherapy

Any other outing that lasting 4hours or more

 

 

Other points added:

2points added if an activity passes the time 9:30pm

5 points automatically added for disrupted nights sleep

5 points automatically added for a highly emotional or stressful situation

Maximum point usage per day to start with: 10

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from “The Long Walk Home”.
 All content listed through the site is copyrighted. Unauthorised use, duplication or republication may result in legal action