Hi my name is Roz, and I’m a 32 year old married mother of 3 girls, and also a coloured pencil artist.
I’ve always had a love of arts and crafts. From a young age I would doodle and draw, paint, make things and generally make a mess. As I got older I decided that I wanted to study art, and took an extra GCSE in art, so I studied both 3D and 2D art. I loved the variety of materials that I was able to use, from pencils to paints, and clay to fabric. I got the grades that I needed to study art at A Level and that was when my love of drawing really started. I decided to concentrate on graphite, and that was what I have worked in until recently. I would spend a couple of months drawing from magazines, or photos of animals, improving my techniques as I went along, and then put it all away when life got in the way. When I had a bit of spare time, I would get it out again and improve my techniques a bit more, but never worked on it consistently over the years.
I was also quite active when I was younger and would walk for miles every day, swim, bike ride and generally keep quite fit and healthy. But that all changed when I became pregnant with my eldest daughter.
From early on in the pregnancy I knew that something wasn’t quite right. I knew that I would get aches and pains, but the pain I was getting was a lot worse than I expected, and it continued to get worse from week to week. I was having trouble walking and had unbelievable pain in my pelvis and hips. I mentioned it to my consultant, who told me that it was normal stretching pain and I was making a big deal out of nothing. I was refused physio and told to get on with it, so I went to see a physio privately, who diagnosed me with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or PGP as its now called).
It continued to get worse throughout the rest of the pregnancy, and it caused complications for the birth (which I don’t need to get into) I also dislocated my coccyx (which is still dislocated 12 years later).
The same thing happened during the second pregnancy, but it was a lot worse and came on a lot quicker. Unfortunately I had the same consultant again, who told me that same thing ‘Its just stretching pain, stop fussing’ only this time it was so bad I couldn’t walk, had to be helped to do everything by my husband and was in such an awful state that I spent a lot of time crying and wishing it was over. This time my physio gave me the news that I had had a Spontaneous Symphisiotomy (where the pelvis basically splits in two) I was given crutches and a support belt and told to rest. I was referred by my physio to a women’s health physio at the hospital who specialised in pelvic problems in pregnant women. She couldn’t believe the state I was in. Again it made for a difficult and painful delivery.
Unfortunately whilst my pelvis was in two parts it twisted in opposite directions, and when it did fuse back together my hips were out of line, it effected my spine, my coccyx and my Sacroilliac and Symphysis Pubis joints.
The third time was better. I was under a different consultant, a woman this time, who had read my notes, knew the condition and got the ball rolling to get me all the help that I needed. I was given physio all the way through, was put on bed rest, was given a support support belt and the physio was there during the delivery to make sure that my pelvis wasn’t flexed any more that was safe to do so.
I was also referred to an orthopedic consultant who I am still under today. I have been diagnosed with Diastasis of the Symphysis Pubis, Scaroiliitis, Dislocated Coccyx, a Prolapsed Disc in my lower spine, my hips are 2″ out of line and I have severe and constant Sciatica. I am under a gastroenterologist who has diagnosed me with IBS too, and have intolerance to wheat, lactose, soya and caffeine.
I am in constant pain to this day with my pelvis and lower back, I have to use crutches most of the time, and have a wheelchair. I have also had to have the house kitted out with home aids to help make my life easier. I am allergic to painkillers so can’t take anything for relief. It gets really hard to cope with it all some days and I do get very down, but I have fight for my girls. I was trying to take my mind off my pain by card making, sewing, and crocheting, but have had to stop all of those due to the pain, lack of mobility and energy and my more recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s Disease.
I noticed a couple of years ago that I was feeling pain more widely through my body, I was also feeling exhausted all the time, couldn’t concentrate on anything for any amount of time, and generally felt unwell. I was also extremely susceptible to the cold too, and got blisters on my hands and feet.
It got to the stage that I couldn’t do any of the crafts that I loved to do. I had hit rock bottom and couldn’t see a way out. I had nothing in my life other than extreme pain. I had to stop driving, which I loved, stop all of my crafts, I couldn’t go out, couldn’t manage around the house by myself, and had to rely on my husband for just about everything. Even my girls had become carers for me, fetching and carrying things for me as I struggled around the house on my crutches. I couldn’t do anything with them as the pain was so severe even the smallest movement brought tears to my eyes. I was on the brink of a breakdown and couldn’t see a way of getting out of it. I knew I had to do something, but didn’t know what I could do when I had so little going in my life.
I went to my doctor and explained how I was feeling, and he immediately diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s Disease. He told me that it had been caused by the trauma that I had been through with my pelvic problems and referred me to a Rheumatologist. My Rheumatologist is great. As soon as he saw me during my initial appointment he officially diagnosed me and we started on a medication plan. Its taken a lot of work and a lot of tweaking my medications to find some that I’m not allergic too, but I’m now on two different medications that do seem to be helping my symptoms. I’m also getting regular steroid injections which help too.
Don’t get me wrong. I am still in a lot of pain on a daily basis, and there are still days that I cant get out of bed, but they don’t come as often now.
I’ve also started up my love of drawing again. I decided that seeing as there are so many things that I can’t do, I need to find something I can do, and I have all the materials that I need right here in the house to start drawing again. I have also branched out into coloured pencil work in the last 11 months, and am having a fantastic time using them. I do have bad days when I don’t feel up to drawing, but it takes my mind off how I’m feeling and I brightens my spirit when I do feel up to it. I have had to adapt how I sit to draw, and have to have a lot of breaks, as sitting in one position causes a lot of pain, but I work in stages, and don’t mind if a drawing takes me weeks to complete.
If it hadn’t of been for the support that I have received from my amazing husband and children over the last 12 years I don’t know how I would have coped. They have been there, and continue to be there for me, day in and day out and I am so grateful for that.
I will have to deal with my conditions for the rest of my life and my pelvis and hip problems will get worse in years to come, but for now I am enjoying being able to draw again, and getting a bit of my life back.
Thank you for reading my story