Hello I am Natalie Ford and I am awesome because I knit. A lot. I mean it, all my waking hours, pretty much. I am awesome because I can churn out a newborn sweater/cardigan for my soon-to-be-born-niece in about 36 hours and have just started the second one.
I am also awesome because I love how reducing a pain-count=9 headache to a mere pain-count=4 background level is possible using prescribed and/or OTC painkillers and that I do everything I do whilst dealing with multiple sclerosis.
Also, before the MS put a stop to a lot of things, I was even more awesome and so I am also awesome in memory. I did loads of cool things:
- BSc Biochemistry at a university where the Biochemistry syllabus consisted of 3/5 the Biology syllabus + 3/5 the Chemistry syllabus + some extra Biochemistry units (this was in the 80s and so before modular degrees with majors and minors existed in the UK).
- MSc Information Technology conversion for numerate degree-holders which was said to be the 3 year BSc course crammed into 9 months!
- Taken a LOT of photographs that I am proud of, including the one that my puffin default userpic was taken from.
- Competed at trampolining from the age of seven until the age of thirty, just after my MS diagnosis (1998) which explained a LOT of my accidents. Also judged and coached from age 18 until I stopped in 1998 at age thirty. Trained at trampolining up to six times a week for a couple of hours each session.
- All with undiagnosed MS (in retrospect and discussion with my diagnosing neurologist in 1998 I probably had my first symptoms in childhood, as young as seven or eight).
- Worked as a programmer for ten years until my dwindling mental skills (due to the MS) meant that I had to "retire". I know we all lose some mental acuity as we age but I was losing mine whilst still at school/university, to be honest. Once again, hindsight is 20/20.
- Did not learn to drive until just before my MS diagnosis (due to a phobia about killing people with a car) and used to cycle everywhere - up to 30 miles each way.
- Swam. A lot. Until about 1998 I was swimming at least once per week.
- Flew kites with hubby and competed in one competition after my diagnosis and during a particularly bad bout of vertigo/ataxia. I did not come last and was content with that (even though my competitive nature wanted to win).
- I have come to terms with childhood and later abuse and resultant PTSD whilst still wrestling with the PTSD fall-out on a daily basis.
- As the MS has progressed I have gained a few 'abilities' that I like to call my MonSter-superpowers. Such as:
- The ability to re-read books, re-watch TV programmes and re-watch films as if for the first time because my memory has changed so that I may not even think I have read/watched them before and/or am unlikely to remember what happens. This is annoying when I cannot remember what happened in the last episode of a TV series when watching a newer episode but is otherwise quite a useful 'skill' because there are no old jokes and all stories seem new to me. I am content levelling yet another Night Elf hunter in WoW and doing all the same content yet again because, to me, it is still pretty new and interesting.
- I was always able to nap whenever and wherever if I was tired (yet another thing that in hindsight speaks volumes) but I sleep when I am sleepy and do things (like knit or play World of Warcraft) when I am awake.
- I love mindless, repetitive tasks. I am happy knitting the same thing over and over again, however simple or complex it is. Data entry? Check. Loads of copying and pasting? Check. If only employers in the UK would allow me to so this kind of thing at home and with 100% flexible hours so I could work and sleep as and when.
- I am still here.
- I am still learning.
- I am an often pedantic polymath philomath.
So, over to you all, girls/women/etc., either head over there and leave a comment about how awesome you are or leave one here!