Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Mum's Birthday

Mum's Birthday:
On Monday it was my mum's birthday and I paid for everyone to go and see Joseph and his amazing Techno Coloured Dream Coat at the theatre. The show had 2 guys from the TV show any Dream Will Do playing Joseph and the Pharaoh. Also, the Narrator was played by a female from I'll Do Anything. There was a children's choir who performed throughout and I was wishing I'd did something like that when I was little. Ok I did do ballet, tap, acro, brownies, singing lessons, part of the school choir and all my sport, but I never got to perform on such a big stage with a massive audience.

I really enjoyed the performance although I still haven't recovered from the flu. I had a headache at the time of watching so didn't even have my eyes open throughout most of it. As usual the singing was great and my mum audio described the visual parts. I've seen the show before, but it seemed better this time around. We're going to see Evita on New Year's Eve, which should be good. We were meant to go on Xmas Eve, but they cancelled the show for whatever reason.

I had that interview yesterday in the Adult Social care Department. Just my luck that the job is no longer available due to cut backs. They interviewed me anyway in case anything comes up, but I'm heading at super speed towards unemployment.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

This That and the Other

Meet and Greet:
I’ve not been well all week and still feel pretty rubbish. However, last night I dragged myself out to Guide Dogs meet and greet event with my family. I’ve been on the waiting list for a Guide Dog for over 8 months now and getting more and more inpatient!

The place was packed with Guide Dogs, which made me feel both left out and jealous that I didn’t have one. I didn’t know anyone there and so we just kept to ourselves. Graham the District Manager saw me and said he’d like to talk to me afterwards about culture and diversity. Apparently we were the only coloured people there. Not that that is a problem in my books.

The event was dominated by Katie Meeking and her Guide Dog Theo who won Guide Dog of the year. They showed 2 DVDs of her story, her mum read out the nomination letter for the award and Katie also said a few words. I got to stroke Theo at the end. He’s a medium sized golden retriever with a long coat. I also got to stroke a black lab that had a lush smooth coat. Now that was a gorge dog!

Penny was there too who did the wife swap programme this year and they showed a short clip of it. Another TV star that I was expecting to see was Mo the lad who first entered a mosque with a Guide Dog, but I later found out that he was in Australia playing cricket.

My mum and I went to speak to Graham afterwards and he asked me if I was considering applying for a dog! Of course I explained that I was already on the list and he seemed pleased. He asked me my full name and he claimed he’d seen my name before. He began to talk about this project he wants to do for next year, which is basically encouraging ethnic minorities to apply for a Guide Dog and also to change the perception currently adopted by other cultures. I was quick to express my views on Mo and how it was unfair that he got a dog at such a young age and so promptly, as this is one thing that has been bugging me for ages. He admitted that Mo was a project and it was an opportunity to create awareness and break down some of those barriers. He asked me if I was willing to assist with the media work on his new project and I obviously agreed. He also implied that now he’s met me he’s going to prioritise me in getting a dog to coincide with his new campaign.

It was worth going in the end then, as I hopefully will get a Guide Dog pretty soon. In fairness I have waited long enough already and did get rejected at 16 for one.

A quick update on the Braille Champions as RNIB contacted me again. They did a short interview over the phone and then emailed me a couple of quotes they’re going to use for media work next year to promote louis Braille’s 200th birthday. So all good there!

I emailed them on Sunday, as I hadn’t heard whether I’d been accepted on to the programme or not. In short I haven’t and Tabo said he’d already contacted me. I’m really livid at this, as it would have been the perfect opportunity in order to get some serious coaching. I was given the details of Marie Yates at UK athletics who is meant to be able to sort out coaching, but I haven’t heard from her. Looks like I’m on my own yet again, but I promise I’ll prove them all wrong. Oh yeah the reason I didn’t get on the programme was that they don’t think I’ll medal in 2012! Grrrrr!

I have to finish on a good note don’t I?! I’ve got an interview on Tuesday to be a clerk receptionist for the Adult Social care department. There are 2 venues they’re looking to recruit at Loughborough and Market Harborough. Both posts are 18.5hours per week, but I would prefer Loughborough, as that’s where the athletics track is. If I don’t get it I will be gutted as it’s unlikely I’ll have a job offer before I leave my current job and I don’t want to be unemployed.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Serious Athlete

Well I desperately want to be a serious athlete. I went to the track last night in Nuneaton and trained for the first time in ages with Sheila who is effectively my coach. I took Courtney along with me and I found it very useful.

I did a 2 lap warm up, which I only just about managed and then we did some drills. Sheila corrected Courtney on how to guide run with me better and i've got to learn to set off with my left foot, which doesn't feel natural for me.

After the drills Sheila asked if i'd had enough. I was having a heart attack by this point! I obviously said yes and then she said ok lets do a few laps to cool down! A few?! Argh! As we were jogging round Sheila was asking what i do currently training wise and i'm no good at speaking and running, so was getting Courtney to explain it all. I need to be training 5 times per week and I only do 3 or 4 times at the most now. It was agreed that I should work on sprinting, but go up to 800m. i need to improve on my fitness mainly, but i'll do my best.

Sheila gave Courtney some ideas of what other exercises I can do in the gym to strengthen me and we also discussed the tredmill. At present i've stopped going on it, as I have to hold on with one hand, but i've been using the cross trainer. Apparently with the cross trainer you lose leg speed and it is basically too easy. So i've got to learn how to use the tredmill by tapping the front bar with each hand every time. Should be interesting, I can see me flat on my face already!

Finally, Sheila suggested I keep a training diary. This way I can track how much I do, see how i'm progressing and write down all of my performances. So i've started another blog for it called Selina's Training Diary. I've tried to be clever and link directly from it if you click on the title of this post, but no doubt i've done it wrong! So you can view my new blog at:

I can't believve i'm not aching this morning! I haven't worked that hard in ages. Got an email through about the Dublin games next year. I really want to go and it gives me something to aim for.

Monday, 1 December 2008

10 Years of Blindness

I can't believe it has been 10years to the day that my vision dropped substantially over night. I remember it all too well and it has made me the person I am today.

The night before I wrote all of my Christmas cards out to friends with my Selina pen, it had my name engraved on it. I was really excited about Christmas this year mainly because I was 10 years old, but this Christmas I was going to spend it in Disneyland Florida too!

I woke up on December 1st 1998 with blurry vision. This had never happened to me before and nobody said it might. I told my mum about it, but insisted on going to school that day. I loved school and there was no way I was going to miss out. My mum agreed to let me go and spent the day trying to contact my consultant.

It was reading week at school and when I opened my book that was given to me by my Granddad that year called Birthday Girl it all hit me. I couldn't read at all. The print was just all blurry and I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't tell anyone at school, but pretended to read my book.

I got home from school and we went straight to the hospital. After a lot of hard work my mum managed to get my consultant out of a conference. I remember her shouting at the receptionist 'surely a little girl's sight is more important than a conference'.

I cried terribly when they were putting all of the eye drops in and by this time I couldn't see anything! My consultant finally came and had a look at my eye. He said I had a haemorrhage and would arrange for someone at the hospital to operate, as he specialised in squints. My parents disagreed however and went in search of Prof McCloud who operated on me at the age of 2.

We tracked him down, but had to wait an agonising 2 weeks before I could be seen. During the wait I got Gastric Flu and all I kept being told was I need to get well so I can have the operation.

On the day we were meant to fly to Florida we went bowling instead. I guess they were trying to keep my mind off of not going, but I just burst in to tears at the bowling alley.

The day of the operation came this was the day after my mum's birthday. Prof McCloud said I didn't have a haemorrhage at all and actually had a detached retina. It was a lot more serious than he was first told and he said my eye was a real mess. He did some tidying up and hoped that the retina would reattach itself.

The retina didn't and so my sight remained the same. The anaesthetic made me very sick too and I spent a lot of time throwing up.

That Christmas I got the most presents I had ever had in my life, but I knew why I was getting them, but they failed to distract me from going blind. I had another operation in January to reattach my retina and thankfully had some vision restored. No where near as good as my original partial vision, but I could now see colours, vaguely people's faces and read 72point font.

In the years to follow I had more and more problems with my retina. It kept detaching, holes appearing and scar tissue developing. I had my last operation at 18 and had gotten used to my sight gradually deteriorating, but it was still devastating when I was told that nothing more could be done for me.

I am so grateful for the sight I had and still grateful for the light perception I'm left with. All 14 operations were worth the pain even for vision for just a few months. Next month will be 2 years since I've had just light perception and it has given me time to finally adapt.

There's still hope for the future with stem cells, but for now I have to concentrate on living my life to the max with what I have. I believe on this day 10 years ago I had to grow up in an instant, but it's made me the determined individual I feel I am today.