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Where is YOUR happy place? 

You know that place where you feel your utmost happiest, that place that takes the stress away, that place that can help fight depression or get you through the toughest of times or simply a bad day. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an actual place, it could be a thing, it could be a person or it could be something you do. Whatever it is it makes YOU happy, it calms your nerves, it cheers you up and it helps send you to sleep at night. You know what I’m talking about, right?

For me my happy place used to involve trainers, leggings, my sons hand me down t-shirts and my gym buddies. My life was full of variety and plenty of fun. We ran, we boxed, we flipped tyres, we got muddy, we cycled, we worked out in the gym, in the park even on the roof of the gym. We trained hard because that helped me to cope with the rawness of life.


My absolute favourite was wrapping up my hands and donning my pink boxing gloves. BOOM, BOOM, POW!  The sound of leather hitting the pads or bags was the magic formula that unwound every tense muscle in my body.

This was my new found addiction and I wanted to share it. The reluctant boyfriend was not as keen! However, his reluctance was soon a distant memory as he too became hypnotised by the powerful pull of feeling good.


Nights in front of the telly were replaced with date nights at the gym, we started spending more and more time together. We looked forward to date nights and often rushed home from work to make a class at the gym or to go out for a run together. We partnered up encouraging and often trying to outdo each other. Who could make the loudest BOOM, BOOM, POW?


It wasn’t just our activity levels that were affected by our feel-good obsession. Our diet was transformed as well. Meals were jointly prepared to fit in with our new fitness regime. Shopping lists now contained foods like Quinoa or chia seeds or coconut oil. Our Instagram photos documented our happy, healthy lives. Everything felt good in fact it felt bloody amazing!


Don’t give up

Then one day in August 2014 something happened. I didn’t know at the time how much it would change my life. But it did.

 Jumping off some steps at the gym I jarred my back. I wanted to carry on, push through the pain. I kept thinking it will right itself if I just kept going, don’t give up. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror that I actually realised that this might be something more serious. As I stood there looking at my contorted reflection with one shoulder higher than the other, ribs jutting out I began to think that this is not normal. Fear crept in.

What followed was a year and half of tests, worry, pain, appointments, tears, change of lifestyle, resentment, anger, grief. Life had become a waiting game; waiting for appointments, waiting for results, waiting for procedures and tests, waiting for a diagnosis…

I believe you

The glimmer of hope came when we travelled to London. As we sat there waiting in the white-walled room I felt nervous yet hopeful. This was the culmination of all my research to find someone who would believe in me, give me a diagnosis and most importantly a treatment plan.

Thankfully we were in the right place. At last, we had found someone who understood, believed and showed concern for me, my symptoms and my family. Hallelujah!

CryingI finally had a diagnosis; Symptomatic Tarlov Cyst Disease, a rare spinal condition that affects the nerves in the spine, it often goes unreported as professionals believe the cysts do not cause symptoms. I am living proof they do! Unfortunately, there is no cure, no magic powder, no pills nothing that would take this diagnosis away. The only hope he could give me was an operation to help stop the progression of nerve damage. There were no guarantees that this would cure me.

My Boom Boom Pow feel good feeling had long gone, every last drop had been sucked out of me along with any motivation I once had. I was struggling.

Find out how Mel got her Feel Good Factor back