So this week was the anniversary of my official Graves Diagnosis.
A reason to cheer and celebrate? Hardly. A reason to reflect? Yes.
My pre-op is on April 3 with the removal of my thyroid scheduled for mid-April, hopefully will not be delayed.
Recovery - at least 10 days. Knowing me I will try to shorten that but practically I have accepted it will be around two weeks and so I have already begun to rearrange jobs.
These blogs are my way of expressing my feelings. It is a cathartic way of dealing with the crazy couple of years I have had. Hopefully, it may be useful to someone who may also be suffering from an undiagnosed over-active thyroid.
I was very fortunate to be offered the chance to join a paramedic on a 12-hour ambulance shift to discover just what pressures staff are working under.
Although it got off to a slow start, things quickly picked up and it ended up with a non-stop day after 11am. At one stage no sooner had we got back into the Rapid Response Vehicle than we were headed off with sirens wailing and blue lights flashing to another part of East Lancashire.
By the end of the shift paramedic Chris Fraser-Clarke had driven more than 150 miles and organised for six patients to be transferred by ambulance to hospital including a works accident.
My story and two photographs were used in a three-page freelance feature in the Big Issue North. My next venture will be a shift with a local GP.
When I first started Catherine Smyth Media in 2009, my USP was creating newspapers in schools.
Since then I have developed the programme to produce papers in a day, over a week, to cover a term or half term. Now I have gone back to the future - by that I mean that my school newspapers started at Northern Primary School where I produced 17 editions of Northern News and from January I was back in school producing issue18.
Northern News set the template for my USP and led to the development of my Paper in a Day programme.
But not just at Northern, I have also started working with a group of 10 pupils at Britannia Primary School to produce their termly paper Britannia Buzz.
In December I helped students from Coal Clough Academy to write their first edition of Coal Clough News, the head was so impressed he commissioned me to produce a paper every half-term. And in June I will again be producing Fearns Chat.
So it seems school newspapers are bucking the trend of the local, regional and national press.
Catherine Smyth Media is a one-stop shop for Press and PR with an added specialism - creating school newspapers
WINNER of Rossendale Business Awards Sole Trader 2016
I write news stories and take photographs for businesses, organisations and individuals with proven results. I have had contracts with two Rossendale high schools since 2009, gained a third in 2015, worked for local charity REAL for more than three years and since 2012 have worked for Rossendale-based charity Veterans In Communities. I am on contract with JJO kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturerer in Bacup and I also work for a number of businesses as and when they require. I produce newsletters as well as news stories for the written press, online media, TV and radio.
Why not let me run a Paper In A Day project at your school?
You can choose either a Paper in a Week project with the end product of a 16-page full colour newspaper written by the schools own pupils promoting literacy and inclusion.Alternatively you can select the Paper in a Day project which produces a 4-page paper and links in with the national curriculum journalistic writing taught in Year 6.
Check out the School News section to see examples of a paper in a day projects. Click here to read testimonials from teachers and pupils.
I also offer an after-school club newspaper service to produce a termly or half-termly paper written by primary school pupils.
I produce brochures and school prospectuses, which can be printed in school saving on costs or externally, if preferred.
To see an example click on the above photograph.
I work as a freelance journalist and photographer.
I have been a journalist since 1988 working on local evening and weekly papers. My last role was as news editor so I have organisational, subbing and page laying experience.
I was a school governor for 10 years, firstly at nursery and then at my sons' primary school. While a governor, I developed a successful school newspaper at my sons' school and now share that experience with other schools through a one-week, one-day or termly or half-termly enrichment programmes.
Check out my School News page for more details and testimonials for feedback.
I have also written a book on the murder of Sophie Lancaster - Weirdo Mosher Freak, which can be bought direct from me. Just follow the link to ebay. To find out more click on my Sophie Lancaster Book page. The book has now been rebranded The Sophie Lancaster Story and is available on Amazon. Picture Liz Henson Photography.
In a voluntary capacity, I am a Cub leader and chairman of the local carnival committee.