I’m Not Ashamed

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” 
~ Brené Brown

‘Oh, Nicole!’ That’s how the email started.

‘Darling friend, I’m so sorry to hear you are still battling Lyme disease. I hope you’re on the mend soon. Just wanted to give you some advice. What you write stays on the internet forever unless you decide to remove it, and even then it may be too late. So why on earth did you write about having incontinence? Nic, pull it down as soon as you can. That kind of stuff is so damaging for your image, and if you ever get a publishing deal you’ll regret this kind of over-sharing. Trust me.’

Hmmm….

Over-sharing? I don’t think so. Damaging? Some people will judge me, for sure. But they are not my people. You, dear readers, are my people.

Here’s what I know about my tribe, and about life in general.

Shit happens. Terrible, awful things can happen to good people for no reason. Life-changing accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Wear and tear, illness and calamity can render the most sound of bodies and minds suddenly limpy, broken or cobbled together with tape, string, tears, stubbornness and fervent prayers. Many illnesses and incapacities are invisible. People live with all kinds of pains, traumas and problems that most people around them will never even guess at.

Right now I am suffering from neurological incontinence. Inflammation in my brain and nerves makes a signal go haywire and sends a message to my bladder instructing it to void. Which it does with no permission from me. One minute I have a full bladder, the next minute my bladder is emptying wherever I happen to be and no matter what I am wearing, doing or what my plans might be. It’s happened to me dozens of times over the years since I first began treatment for Lyme, and my solution is adult diapers. Which mostly work, and sometimes don’t.

People can suffer from neurological incontinence as a side effect of MS, advanced Lyme disease, brain or spinal cord injury, brain lesions, degenerative brain diseases, or the long term effects of radiation or cancer treatment, alcoholism or diabetes. It affects men and women, children through to people in old age. It affects me.

One day it may affect you or someone you love.

Few of us get a free pass through life with no adverse side-effects! My dear friend Carly-Jay and I often have a laugh over the bits of our bodies or bodily functions that fail us. We belong to a club of people who live well despite how our bodies sometimes misfunction or misbehave. We call that club the Unreliable Club and I’m sure some of you are already card-carrying members. (Maybe we need t-shirts!)

When I was first diagnosed with neurological incontinence (which comes and goes in me – I last had an attack a few years ago!) I looked everywhere for information and found almost none. It’s something no-one talks about.

So, I’m talking about it here. It’s not the end of the world. It can be managed. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

It’s just wee. Everyone does it. Every single day. It’s a normal part of life, and for some people it’s a part of life that doesn’t work well for any number of reasons. If more people talked openly about this kind of thing we’d realise just how prevalent these kinds of issues are AND THEY ARE NOTHING FOR WHICH YOU NEED EVER FEEL SHAME.

The Continence Foundation of Australia offers the following statistics:

  • Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of Australian men and up to 37% of Australian women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).
  • 65% of women and 30% of men sitting in a GP waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence, yet only 31% of these people report having sought help from a health professional (Byles & Chiarelli, 2003: Help seeking for urinary incontinence: a survey of those attending GP waiting rooms, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
  • 70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
  • An Australian study found that over a three month period, 50% of women aged 45-59 years of age experienced some degree of mild, moderate or severe urinary incontinence (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal). 
  • The prevalence of urge incontinence, which is strongly associated with prostate disease, is fairly low in younger males and increases to 30% for those aged 70-84 and 50% for those 85 years and over (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).

It’s wee. It’s not working in a very controlled manner in me just now. That’s okay. I have bigger stuff to think about. This is just small stuff, not worth sweating over.

If you feel the need to unfollow me, unfriend me or avoid me because of my bladder control issues and embarrassing habit of oversharing then go right ahead. I’ll still be here for you when life gets bumpy. And then I’ll remind you that you can still live the dream while rocking adult diapers and I won’t love you any less for it. Instead, I’ll be cheering you on!

Much love, Nicole xx

Gumboot Adventure and a Lyme Update


“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” 
~ Edward Abbey

*Note: I recommend reading all the way to the end of this post. Past the pictures even. Oh yes, I do.

People are always asking how I am and I almost always say ‘fine, thanks’.

Truth is, I have advanced late-stage Lyme disease, and as with any chronic degenerative illness I have a catalogue of woes so to actually tell you how I am might take hours. Boring. I’m over it long ago. So ‘fine’ or ‘okay’ mostly does the job. I manage. Many days are great, and I am working, living and making the most of what I can. Happy, happy. I don’t dwell on my health or lack thereof.

Mostly.

I’ll level with you, though. The last few days have been rough.

I’m miserable right now.

I picked up a cough while visiting Ben’s mum in the nursing home. After four weeks it has steadily become worse and I can’t shake it. Because of that, my UTI flared up. I’ve been peeing five times a night and my bladder is agonisingly sore. I have been feeling myself slowing getting more run down no matter how good my self-care and health care has been.

So I started on new Chinese herbs two days ago for my latest infections. Great news – they’re working! Less great news? They are also killing Lyme Bugs so I am herxing like crazy as the Lyme dies and releases toxins into my already overloaded body. My eyes are red and streaming and only one is working, only one side of my face is mobile and responsive, my skin is on fire, I’m photophobic, I have stabby pains and night sweats and swollen glands and bone aches and head aches and nerve spasms and tender teeth and numb fingers and toes and neurological incontinence (I wee my pants for no reason!) and generally more misery than I remembered was possible. Yay? But fighting bugs, so yay!!!!! Now we’re working on getting the dosage correct so that I can manage the chest and UTI infections without going mad from herxing. Please don’t worry. I’m in good hands. (And yes, I have cried, screamed and whimpered often this past few days because I’d forgotten how truly awful herxing can be.)

I’m smiling here, honest! It’s just that only one side of my mouth lifts up right now…

In the midst of all of this misery I needed to go open a gate at the farm for Ben. I got out of bed, left my pyjama top on, threw on some shorts and my gumboots and slogged down to the Tractor Shed paddock.

Oh. It was so beautiful there in the misty cold afternoon. The ground was soft and green and lush. The trees shone with a vibrant light, and the birds sang. It felt good to be out of bed and outdoors.

When my short adventure was over I hastened back to a hot shower, fresh pyjamas and more rest.

It was worth it to have that little gumboot adventure.

I’m wishing you little adventures too. No matter how shitty life gets, a little tiny adventure, a small moment fully lived, a simple pleasure fully and mindfully experienced – that’s what makes it all more manageable. I rate my coping skills as high. And that’s one of the reasons why!

Biggest love and hugs from this tired and battered Lyme Warrior. I’ll be back at my best soon, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’m happy to be herxy. (Well, mostly! xx)

PSS – Thanks if you scrolled down this far. Just a reminder that I am massively sleep deprived and in pain right now. So if you:

  1. suggest that positive thinking might be beneficial or a cure-all,
  2. offer to hook me up with your miracle-inducing network marketing product, or
  3. remind me that I somehow manifested all of this as a learning experience,
  4. or that this is karmic

then I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Need more help with this because you’re itching to do one of the above? Read this first.

I was horrified the first time it happened…

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.”
~ Harvey Mackay

I remember, years ago, when I first started channelling.

It was excruciating.

My logical mind was stuck in judgement, cynicism, scepticism and disbelief. My soulful self trusted anyway and urged me on. I was conflicted, confused and stuck, with no-one to show me the way or help me.

And then my sister stepped forward.

She used her scientific curiosity and encouraged me to do the same. With her beside me I stepped more and more into the person I am today. I worked from a trance channel space, with my sister or trusted friends sitting with me, asking questions, guiding the sessions and recording them for me or taking notes.

At first I channelled Guides and Spiritual Beings. Their messages were helpful and wise. We found evidence of things that proved that I wasn’t making it all up. That helped me to not give up. I worked on my craft and became more and more competent in what I was doing. It was fascinating. I began to feel good about my abilities.

And then the awful day came.

I was with my sister and some Aboriginal friends; Vynette, Leanna, and Liz. We meditated together and then I settled into the trance space. But instead of channelling one of my Guides I channelled this squeaky-voiced, childlike being.

She told us her name was Sokli, and that she was what we humans would call a fairy.

My friends asked her many questions, to which she happily responded. Sokli was funny and earnest and talkative.

The session ended and everyone was abuzz.

Everyone except me.

I was horrified. I had just channelled a fairy. What if someone found out? How would anyone take me seriously ever again? I didn’t know anyone who channelled fairies. All the spiritual and psychic folk channelled dead people or Ascended Masters and Master Guides and Very Important Energies With Wise Sharings For Humanity.

Perhaps it was a fluke, I convinced myself. But at the very next session she turned up again. And again. And again.

Gradually we began to know her well. That was over twenty-five years ago, and Sokli has now become a dear friend and companion. She’s still funny and wise, and all of my students and clients who have met her have been entranced by her eagerness to help, her specific and personalised wisdoms about health, food, crystals, animals and plants. Sokli is generous and caring, and she has a beautiful innocence and straightforward way about her.

I’m embarrassed that I was so awkward about all of this emerging spiritual and psychic phenomena back then, and about people finding out that I believed in fairies. I still worried so much about how I would appear to others, and about my credibility.

Now I feel blessed to have Sokli as one of my crew.

Humans from all corners of the earth have long believed in spirit beings who came from the earth herself, and who could – at times – walk between worlds or dimensions. Not Gods. Not Angels. Not ETs. Beings different to ourselves who are intrinsically tied to nature and the planet. There are many names for them. Many cultural beliefs. Our Ancient Tribes have always believed.

Children believe in them.

But as adults in the modern Western world, we are taught that this is childish. After twenty-five years of experience, I beg to differ.

Come hang out with me and Sokli in Brisbane on June 22 (Details here) and find out for yourself.

And don’t worry if you live too far away to make it. After the event we’ll create a special online package to share the magic with you, no matter where you live!

To All The School Children Who Have Gone On Strike For Climate Change Action

https://www.facebook.com/StrikeClimate

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Thank you for striking.

Thank you for lifting up your voices.

Thank you for fighting for what you believe in. Thank you for fighting for our future.

Don’t give up. Keep going. Know that you CAN make a difference and you will.

Much love, Nicole – and so many other adults who are taking heart, courage and direction from your efforts and who support you in what you are doing! ❤

A Heart-Gladdening Walk


“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” 
~
John Muir

I felt raw yesterday, raw and exhausted and all used up. (not sure why, read this post)

I tried to sit at my desk and work, but couldn’t find a rhythm. My overflowing inboxes were overwhelming. I didn’t have enough words left in me for writing or for guiding. So, in the end, I left the hotel and began walking.

At first I walked without noticing anything but my feet moving along the footpaths and roads.

My head was strangely full of the sudden worry of becoming old and ill and having no-one to care for me. I have a chronic degenerative illness. My husband and I have no children. My siblings have no children. My circle is small and ever-dwindling. Who will advocate for me at the end? Who will hold my hand?

Stupid fat tears kept rolling down my cheeks.

Stupid.

I kept walking.

The more I walked the more these worrying thoughts emptied out.

I began to notice my surroundings. Shopfronts, cafes, flower carts, old churches, street musicians, the aroma of coffee and freshly baked bread.

I began to notice people.

Suddenly I was laughing. My heart filled up with beauty and wonder. I have faced death before and in those hours strangers were there for me. Nurses and doctors and kind-hearted hospital workers.

In someone else’s trials I was there for them.

That’s how it’s meant to work. How can I trust the spiritual flow of my work and not trust that this flow will also somehow support me in my time of need?

Silly me. It’s all okay. It will always be okay.

After my long walk I came home and slept. Then I returned to my desk. There is much work to be done and I am the one to do it and that’s okay too.

Summer Flash Sale! 2 Days only

” Everything I want is ALWAYS on special.” ~ Nicole Cody

It’s the official end of Summer here in Australia today, and I’m having a Flash Sale to celebrate the change in seasons as we welcome the coming cooler months of Autumn (or for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere as you welcome the warming months of Spring). It’s pretty exciting for me and the team because it’s our first ever online Sale and we’re so excited to share this goodness with you for the next 48 hours. After that our prices will return to normal and these discounts will be gone for good.

Read on to find out about the Sale items!

For the next 48 hours my YOM Planner is on sale, and I’ve thrown in our 2019 Mandala Colouring Book and Bonus Online Course as well as a month’s free membership to YOM, in time for you to be on our March webinar! Sale price for this bundle is just $35AUD plus postage.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a Planning Person you’ll want this bundle. There is so much spiritual support, soul instruction and self growth in this pack. Click the link below to access the Planner Bundle

YOM 2019 Planner Bundle

I love this online course and right now it’s for sale for just $27 AUD. After the sale, it goes back up to $77AUD. This is much more than a little craft course. The Visionary Talisman Course will help to deeply connect you to a Guiding Card for the year ahead, and teach you some foundation shamanic journeying skills to help further your own spiritual and psychic development. This is as much a course about intentional manifesting as it is about personal and spiritual development. Guiding Cards aren’t just for the new year – they can also be chosen to give you direction at peak times in your life. They help you to see who you are now, and who you can grow to become. They connect you to qualities, emotion, beliefs and actions that can support, empower and positively transform you. They act as a conduit for your intention, and work to manifest positive energies for you. You could choose one for your Birthday and the year ahead, for your career or relationships, for a special project, or to give you guidance and direction during a dark or difficult period of your life, and then create your Visionary Talisman for support with that. Click the link below to find out more or to purchase:

Craft A Visionary Talisman – Online Course

This 12 month membership and access to our growing Academy of Learning is just $365AUD for the next 2 days only!

The next four years 2019 – 2022 are significant for your personal and spiritual evolution, as well as for the evolution of our planet. I thought long and hard about the best way to support your growth over that time and have decided that beefing up the content in my membership area was the best way to help you grow, adapt and step more fully into your authenticity and the life-path you chose for yourself pre-birth. You’ll see this membership group evolve into an Academy of Learning over the next twelve months so that my team and I (human and energetic) can serve you the best way I know how.

I am passionate about supporting my students and community. As a YOMMER you’ll also receive a range of discounts on my various other offerings – in fact, if you attend one of my retreats and a couple of events or other courses your YOM membership will be paid for by the discounts you’ll receive. This is a substantial discount, but only for 48 hours. To join click on the link below:

YOM 2019 – Annual Membership

Thanks for being part of our community! If you haven’t joined us inside YOM or started working on your spiritual journey and developing your intuition and self-sovereignty with one of our Planners there is no better time than now. These prices will only be up for 48 hours as our way of saying thank you and come join us!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx

The Joy Of Rain


“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” ~ Bill Watterson

Down in our part of the world we’ve been in drought all Summer. The land has been so dry that the pasture has become crunchy and brown beneath our feet. Great cracks have opened up in the land. Our dam is down to a few bucketfuls of water, a little mud and a last few waterlilies grimly hanging on. So many plants have died. And all the moss, the lichens, and the soft native grasses.

I haven’t planted out my usual Summer vegetable garden. Too hot. Too dry. Too hard.

The staghorns and elkhorns are dying and falling from the trees from lack of water. The ground is covered in leaves as if it were Autumn aa the trees have struggled to survive.

But now?

Rain.

Slow and steady, gentle, easing rain.

My cheeks are wet too. Thought not from the sky. From gratitude.

Is there a more beautiful fragrance that rain upon parched earth?

In celebration I’m going to have a Flash Sale tomorrow. My way of giving thanks. One day of deep discounts and bundled bargains. Stay tuned!

Big hugs and love, a very happy Nicole 😊❤ xx

Energies of February 2019

“ Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer. ” 
~  Steve Maraboli

Hello, Lovelies 

At the beginning of every month, I discuss the energies and gifts of the month ahead and how we can best use them to make our lives satisfying, meaningful and productive.

I also choose a card to support the energies of the month. The deck I am using this year is The Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid, and February’s card is Ace of Earth.

What you focus on multiplies in February. 

February is a month for action as you move  into self-empowerment.  It’s a  busy month, with lots happening,  so make sure you get some quality downtime when you can.  You’ll find that there will be situations and behaviours you can no longer tolerate this  month, including  from  yourself.  Instead you’ll  look  to  new  behaviours, better  relationships  and healing  or  change  within  existing  situations.  If change  can’t be  negotiated  you’ll  be ready  to  let  go  and  move  on.  You’re  coming  more  and more  into  alignment  with your  inner  wisdom  and  core  values,  and it shows!

This is a  month for standing your ground  –  speaking your truth, standing up for what you believe in,  adding your voice to the voices of others so that you can create change in the world. It’s a big month for activism and social change, standing up for justice and fundamental rights  –  so speak out for yourself and on behalf of those who need your voice because theirs has been silenced or is too small to be heard.

In February you can create strong foundations for future wealth.  It’s a great month for all forms of investment, including investment in yourself, your ideas, your education, your health and wellbeing as well as improving your financial position. Call upon trusted experts. Get your will, insurances and finances in order, join a mentoring program or start/resume a course of study, get back to the gym, launch your business or product, and start a savings or loan repayment program.

This month you can step out of the shadows and into the light for everyone to  see you as you truly are. It’s a month for embracing your individuality and unique quirks and qualities.

The energies of February will top up your gratitude tank and help you appreciate the richness you already have, as well as anticipating the riches still to come.

Best crystals this month?

Blue Lace Agate and Sunstone

Blue Lace Agate (blue colour) supports your Throat Chakra, helping you to find your voice and speak your truth. It’s a great stone for all forms of communication, and it also brings a sense of calm.

Sunstone helps us to sit in a place of abundance thinking so that we see the blessings and possibilities in our life. In Sweden and Norway, in the old ways, it was often referred to as the Fire and Ice stone, as was considered to bring both passion and logic to a person. It is a form of Feldspar.

Essential oils to support your journey?

Combine Basil and Bergamot Essential Oils for an uplifting and focusing diffuser blend this month.

Basil is a fabulous oil for motivation and for overcoming exhaustion and overwhelm. It will help with moving you to a place of emotional and spiritual renewal, and aids focus and concentration.

Bergamot’s complex citrus and floral aroma is one of the favourite ingredients in my French Earl Grey tea! As an essential oil Bergamot boosts optimism and confidence, and is relaxing and calming while maintaining energy levels.

I’m passionate about essential oils and their capacity to support our wellness journey and our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. If you’d like to know more or want to source the oils I recommend and trust visit this site or contact me at channelnc@gmail.com

Want to make the most of your year in 2019?

I have limited hard copies of my beautiful YOM 2019 Planner left. And plenty of copies of the digital version. If you purchase one, or one of the Planner packs (that also have new year direction readings, meditation malas or crystals with them) I’ll gift you a month’s free access to my community and membership site (and a chance to win a year’s free membership!) so you can experience my work, and be well supported in the year ahead. Membership to my online group, courses and community – by subscription or a yearly fee – is also available

You can access the Membership, Planner and Planner Packs here in our store or read more about them here.

Guided Meditation Bundle

I’ve bundled together four powerful guided downloadable meditations and created a companion workbook to support you in your spiritual journey. The Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle will help you to connect with and explore Earth Energies, Ancestor Energies, your Solar Plexus energies and personal power, and the Stardust Energies. There is over an hour’s worth of Guided Meditations and a 38-page workbook. The workbook holds specific instructions for using the four guided meditations, as well as journalling activities and reflection/awareness exercises.

The material in the Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle can be used at any time over the next four years, and beyond. My intention with this bundle is to help you become confident in your direction, your intuition, and your contribution to the unfolding history of the world and humanity. To access the bundle or to learn more about it go to my store or click on this link.

Wishing you a transformative and uplifting month.

Lots of love, Nicole❤ xoxo

The Lady And The Poet

“Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.” 
Greg Bear

I’m in Adelaide for a conference this weekend. The event began with welcome drinks at our hotel last night, but I was feeling tired and poorly and wanted soup, so I snuck out the main doors thirty minutes before our event began, hoping to find something more comforting than alcohol and strangers. It was my birthday on Thursday, and I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on my life and sitting in meditation and prayer as I asked for clarity about my road ahead. I wanted to prolong this soulful space just a little longer, so I honoured that need and heeded my intuition by heading out into the night.

As I wandered up the city street a man called to me. He was sitting on a small ledge outside a closed shop, rugged up against the cold. In his hands was an upturned empty cap, immediately marking him as some kind of busker or beggar.

‘Can I offer you a poem?’ he said.

I apologised and explained that I was in need of soup. But I promised him I would stop on the way back. As I walked off I saw his look of resignation, and I knew he’d been told such things many times before by people who hadn’t come back.

A block further along I found an excellent soup and dumpling house, ate a bowl of steaming oily broth with wontons and bok choy floating in the silky liquid, and then made my way back out into the busy Friday night streets.

I stopped in front of the poet, who was stooped and huddled on his seat. ‘I’m ready for that poem,’ I told him.

He sat up straighter. ‘This one is about the drought,’ he said, ‘and a message of hope and rain for our farmers.’ After which he launched into his poem.

He spoke eloquently, dramatically. It was a performance filled with emotion and delivered with care. I have long been a lover of poetry, and this one moved me deeply. It took me to the heart of my country. Within the words I also felt a strong message of hope for my own life – the symbolism a gift threaded with a secret meaning I was sure was just for me.

When the poem ended I stood for a moment, still wrapped in the imagery and sentiment wrought by his words. Then I reached for some coins.

‘Did you write that yourself?’ I asked as I fumbled in my handbag.

‘Yes’.

As I zipped open my purse I saw smaller notes, a handful of coins and tucked away right at the back my ’emergency hundred’ – a green crisp $100 note that I carry in case I am ever in need of a larger sum of money at short notice.

I thought about my capacity to earn money, and how much my work is valued in the world. And I thought about the poet, sitting on a cold city street, hoping to trade his words for coins.

It seemed inequitable. The poet had shared something original and good. Something that had given me insights and meaning and unexpected value. I reached for my emergency hundred and handed it to the poet.

He gazed at the note in his hands, then up to me, and then back to the note.

A tear came to his eye.

He tried to give it back to me. ‘Haven’t you got something smaller?’ he said. “I don’t mind if you give me something smaller.’

‘It’s fine,’ I said. ‘Please. Take it. I want you to know that I value your work. I value the gift of the poem you gave me tonight. It would mean a lot to me for you to accept my gift in return.’

He nodded, his eyes downcast. Silent.

Finally, he looked up.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Justin,’ he said. ‘And you, you’re a true lady. Thank you, my lady.’

I walked away with a full heart.

Rain Princess by Leonid Afremov

Celebrating Life, Lungs and Second Chances!

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.” 
Chad Sugg

A little while ago I received an invitation in my email. It’s for a party this weekend to celebrate something extraordinary. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of my dear friend Carly-Jay Metcalfe‘s double lung transplant. Carly has Cystic Fibrosis. At the time of her transplant things were dire and she’d been given just a week to live. Suddenly she was gifted life again through organ donation.

So this weekend we’re celebrating her Transplanniversary with a quiet little gig for family and friends. Of course we will all be thinking about Carly’s donor and her family too, because while we are celebrating Carly’s life we are all aware that one family lost their loved one and donated organs which enabled our gorgeous girl to be saved.

Carly-Jay, or Carls as we call her in our household (Aunty Carls to our dogs – she is Godmother to Rufous!) is one of my dearest friends for so many reasons. She loves books and writing and good coffee and mugs of tea as much as I do. She has a wicked sense of humour and one of the biggest hearts I know. And she and I are both in the second-chance-at-life club and the socially unreliable club. Illness often means we break dates with one another. It’s just how it is.

That’s me on the left: almost blind, drug-bloated and rocking an eye patch and dark glasses after I lost 70% of my vision in one eye and 90% in the other as a result of life-saving medications for an acute hospital-acquired superbug bladder infection – the same infection that recurred and nearly killed me last year. Carly insisted on taking me out for breakfast AND cut up my food for me, put my coffee cup in my hand and was my human seeing-eye-dog. We were practising me being blind because it was predicted I would stay that way. Carls kept me entertained with rollicking descriptions of everyone around us and hardly bumped me into any furniture at all. What a treasure she is! (And yes, I eventually got most of my vision back, luckily!)

Carly having blood taken from her foot, because we both belong to the crappy over-used veins club!

Carls and I live with chronic and progressive degenerative illnesses (hers is Cystic Fibrosis and mine is Late Stage Lyme Disease with Lyme Carditis). We share the same kind of normal – living with often unseen aspects of disability (not that we think of ourselves as disabled – more ‘unabled’ when poor health puts limits on us) that impact us and our families. Modern and alternative medicine keep us alive, upright and functioning, but sh*t still keeps going pear-shaped for us, and our health is a very up-and-down road. Carls isn’t just a friend. She has been my live-in nurse and helper on more than one occasion after I have come home from hospital, or have struggled with treatment for one thing or another. I’ve been her cheer squad when it’s all been a bit horrendous for her too.

It’s good to have someone to talk to who gets what I am going through, and who can share a laugh with me over such awesome topics as incontinence, fatigue and crappy veins. That’s what friends are for, right?

I’m so looking forward to Carly’s party on the weekend. (I have a few catering surprises for her too, in honour of another friend we lost suddenly to illness some years ago, but stay tuned for those as they need to stay secret for now!) One of the most powerful things Carly’s taught me is to rock your scars and own your wounds, and both of us subscribe to the philosophy of celebrating the everyday, and laughing, no matter how bad things get. So we’ll be doing lots of laughing and celebrating come Saturday. With snacks. And loved ones. She’s still here. I’m still here. That’s worth celebrating!

Life is beautiful, and every breath is a gift. For all of us.
Sending all my love to you, Nicole   xx

PS: Just a little reminder. When you die you won’t need your organs anymore, but someone else might. Please consider becoming an organ donor and have that chat with your family and friends.

My beautiful friend, Carly!