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Monday, 23 November 2015


Its been a very busy weekend for The Amputee diaries, I along with DC Photography (my husband) and my daughter, we hit Film and Comic Con Newcastle this weekend.

Again we where lucky enough to be able to attend one of Showmasters celebration of all things film and geek. Lots of fun was had and we both entered the spirit of the occasion by Cos-playing for the two days. For anyone that is not aware what happens or what a Film and Comic Convention is all about or what Cos-playing is read on.

Cos-Playing put simply is when you dress up as your favorite character from a film, TV show, comic or game and these conventions are all about celebrating all things geeky and that is wonderful about these things we are passionate about. Now don't get me wrong some people take this very seriously indeed. Hours, days sometimes even months go in to making very detailed props and costumes that are screen accurate (not to mention money). Others do their interpretation of the character they have chosen to be, there is no right or wrong in this world where everyone is accepted and everyone is equal. Complete strangers are willing to pose for photos with you or on their own, where you get asked to pose for other people, where people are interested in how long it took you to make your head piece or instantly recognize who you are dressed as, family's can attend to have fun, little ones can dress up and pose with their favorite characters from film and comics, stuff that ordinary shops don't sell can be bought and for a fee you can get a photograph or autograph from a famous celebrity out of your favorite film or TV show, or your favorite author or artist from the comic world.

These events are great for meeting and making new friends, having a day out with the little ones or just collecting memorabilia and autographs. What ever your thing you will find it here. There is no judgement, there is gender bend costumes, home made costumes and professional Cos Players rubbing shoulders with non cos Players and stars of the big and little screen.  However it was sad to see that not many disabled people or wheelchair users at these events. There is help there, just well hidden which is where I come in. This weekend I only saw one other person in a wheelchair Cos Playing.

There is a darker side to the Conventions and believe it or not, regardless of how accepting they are bullying can sometimes still be an issue. Speaking to a lot of Cos Players over the weekend, most get involved for the same reasons I
do, its freeing. A couple of hours not worrying about your disability, life, anxiety, depression, stress,
being accepted for who you are with like minded people.A lot talked about how they where bullied at school for various reasons and attending the conventions, Cos Playing has helped with that. Its helped them to see that there is nothing wrong with them it was the people who bullied them that had the problem. This is why it is so sad to see it happening between Cos Players, especially in an environment where you should feel safe.  Its sad to say that some of the  Cos Players (mainly at the bigger cons), do suffer from bullying, why? because their costumes aren't screen accurate, because they are showing  too much flesh or because some one thinks they are the wrong shape or size to play a certain character, this can put some people off from Cos Playing for the first time as they may already be anxious or stop some one from doing it again, words hurt, but this will be something I will cover in a different blog when doing another review for a  convention.

So if this event is so great to be why haven't I heard of it? I hear you scream (or you should be screaming). These kinds of things do not seem to be advertised main stream so unless you know some one who attends them or you are into the Marvel world, DC fanatic or Star wars Fan you may have missed the opportunity to attend one till now. My first convention was back in March 2015 at Newcastle at a Showmasters event. I was hooked. I had heard of the conventions the most famous one being the San Diego one in the US (if anyone would like to donate a ticket or press pass for that one it would be appreciated) but had never thought to go to one, why? because I was disabled and in a wheelchair.

I am always aware that not all places are accessible and like most people who have a disability I panic and therefore try to plan in advance for every eventuality even down to the smallest detail. Will there be an accessible entrance? where is it? will there be lifts? can I get round the stalls?  where are the toilets? will they be big enough to get in with my wheelchair? what happens if I want a photo with the celeb? the list is endless. Now I think I know what you might be thinking here - But aren't all venues accessible now due to the disability act? No funny enough they are not. This could be due to the age of the building, it being listed or just bad design etc. I once went to book a hotel in London who claimed to be accessible but had steps up to the front entrance, their answer was some one could come out and carry me up the steps ????? You also have to think about the people who organize these events. Disabled accessible might mean the doors are wide and there is a wide disabled toilet and  lift. They don't think about other things like, getting up to the front entrance, is the toilet wide enough to get a wheelchair in and another person if a carer is needed? how easy is it to get to the lift? are the aisles wide enough, getting around equipment and most importantly (to me anyway), do the staff know how to deal with this? Now a lot of disabled people don't mind asking for help or even accepting help but there are some who don't want to ask some one else for help or accept it  when help is offered or who want to be as independent as possible when out and about and this is what event organizers need to be aware of as well as their staff and volunteers.

So off I went to my third comic con that Showmasters have organised. The one in March I found very confusing, was un aware of what help was available and don't even mention trying to get around the stalls to look ! The second one was up in Glasgow which I thought the venue was excellent, downside however was the lack of information from staff and the lack of staff to be honest.
The venue in Newcastle is the Metro Arena  very good and very accessible, The parking is £5 per day for the full day unless you have blue badges then it is free. However the disabled parking spaces are limited. Access into the venue is good and there are plenty of staff on hand to open doors and help you in. Every thing for the convention is on the level and showmasters got everything right this time. There was enough space to get around the food stands, accessing the prop shoots was easy enough, with enough room to maneuver around the area. Although I didn't have any photos with stars taken this time and it will always be like a conveyor belt, access and staff helpfulness though was excellent. Whilst David was having a photo shoot with Colin Baker they took me down  to wait at the other side for him collecting his picture with out any fuss or awkwardness.
This year they had added changing rooms for male and female cos players which where situated upstairs but where accessible to everyone via a lift if needed. The registration desk was accessible and the staff helpful and informative. I learnt that they have an email address to contact should you need extra help ( I will put it at the end of the blog), carers can go free with no restrictions on buying photo ops or autographs or taking part in any talks, Some evidence my be required such as DLA letter, Carers letter or a photo copy of you blue badge. You will also be given a slip of paper which you  can then show to the pit bosses, who wear red. This will get you help and access to  all photo shoots as quickly as possible, enter any autograph queue without needing a virtual ticket. This was a brilliant idea, shame no one informed us of this at Glasgow. Also found out that should you have a child or adult with ASD or ADHD that needs a quiet place to calm down then they will be able to sort that out as well.
There are disabled toilets on either side on the ground floor that are accessible with the use of a radar key. There are staff on hand that have the key. On one side the person was next to the disabled toilet but on the other side there was no one around and my daughter had to walk to the bottom of the corridor to the nearest person in a yellow coat to ask who had the key. Luckily it was her but had it been some one else that could have been a huge problem, especially for some one on their own or who could not be left unattended or who had any kinds of control issues. My advice bring your own key as I believe radar keys are all the same but check. The other downside was where to get the key from was not made obvious.
Nothing was said at the front desk and there where no notices on the door of the toilet
or wall. The person I spoke to showsec?? Refused to answer any questions on disability training etc as they had been told not to give any interviews, very strange.

The lay out of the room was much better this time, The big blue boards that they had at the end of each aisle had gone and for some reason the aisles looked more spaced out. That could have been down to this event being quieter then the one at Glasgow and in March at Newcastle, but the difference was amazing ! easy to get around, get to the traders and plenty of staff on hand to help out. Bravo Showmasters you might have cracked this  venue. However I would be very interested to see how they work at other venues like  London, Brighton or Manchester. I mean do they follow the same training and format for all staff? if so at the registration in Glasgow why wasn't I told about the extra help? How come in March nothing was signposted for disabled use? These are things that still need to be worked on in my opinion.

I also would love to go to other organizers events to compare who they deal with disability issues etc so watch this space as we will try to get answers there as well. Having looked at MCM, Hero Conventions and Rogue Events there is not a lot of information, Showmasters have the email address to contact if there is an accessibility or health concern. Rogue have a contact email to register a carer to go for free or they charge a large fee to have a pa available to you should you be on your own, However unlike show masters the carer is not allowed to purchase photo ops or autographs unless they have bought a full price ticket, bit harsh if you ask me. MCM and Hero convention there is no mention of disabled access, families or carers and under contact there is a general inquiry email address. Of course there is also comparing it to how the USA deal with their comic cons and disability issues, carers or families with special needs, so again something I would love to  take a look at.

To be honest I think these conventions and businesses should take things like this more seriously. At the end of the day who knows how much business you could be missing out on? Employers should be thinking about this as well because as we are well aware the government are determined to cut benefits and are deeming all and sundry fit for work, if so is your company disabled friendly? are your staff trained on how to talk to some one about mental health or how to approach offering help to some one in a wheelchair? I don't think they are. Every where I go it is disturbing to see just how many businesseswrite off the disabled customer /user. Think about it .

You can see more images from the Film and Comic Con Newcastle by going to or

For more information on Showmasters go to

To contact Showmasters for extra help conatact Samatha at

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


The thing I hear the most often is how am an inspiration. That's good, am glad. To have some one to see you as the reason that they get up in the morning, or push themselves that little bit harder or further, to know that when they think they are at the edge of their limits and can not take anymore or no longer fight, to know that because of you and what you can do helps them to keep going that little bit longer, to fight that little bit harder.
What I don't understand are the number of disabled people out there that don't like being told their an inspiration to some one. They feel that in some way it belittles them and their disability and what they live with. Why? If because of the fight and struggles that I have to go through to do what I do, not just live day to day but go above and beyond my limitations, that makes just one person stop and say " I can do this, if she can ." or " maybe my life isn't so hard" and it puts things in to context for them before they spiral out of control down the rabbit hole, why wouldn't you want to help?
As unpopular as this might make me, some people with disabilities are too hung up on their disability, they let it define them, control them and they have deeper issues to deal with themselves, such as coming to terms with what has happened to them. Yes life is unfair, yes its terrible that it is you who ended up the way you did and you never got to do this or you got cut off in your prime or you feel some how that you have had your life that should have been snatched away. That is no reason to make other people squirm, feel uncomfortable or worry what they say to you, is it?

There is another thing. What is with this whole "don't use this term" or " don't label me as this". I have news for you, the only one discriminating with the language or labeling is you. If you did't make a big song and dance of it people wouldn't think about it. Now people tread on eggshells whenever they see some one with a disability or in a wheelchair terrified of speaking to them or helping them or even holding a bloody door open for them just in-case they offend that person or get their heads ripped off. Trust me I was born with Congenital Bilateral Talipes, at a time when children with any form of disability physical or mental was put in a home or special school.
My mam fought the system for me to attend a main stream school. I grew up In an age when there was no rights for disabled people, no adaptations nothing. You would walk down the street and have people look at you in disgust and  cross over, spit at you, and am talking about grown adults not kids...this is what I grew up with  from the age of 8 / 9 years old.  Name calling in the street, people moving there kids away from me or not letting them sit next to me on the bus in case they "caught" something. By the time I left school in the mid 80's getting a job once you showed them the bloody registration green card to prove you where registered disabled, one of two things happened. You where either hired straight away as they needed to get their minority figures up (got to love the government for there bloody stats. See they where always target driven pen pushing idiots), even if you could't do the damn job or you where too much of a liability and would take too much time off .

At least now we have things in place that doesn't allow that. But hold on? Isn't that exactly whats happening now? Could it be because we have got too far up our own arses about our rights we are now making it easy to  be villianized by the government making employers think twice? Making people see us as nothing but scroungers on the system? You know how they like their scape goats. Am sure I also heard something in the news about a card system so you can register as disabled? funny that isn't it?
Over the years I have managed to fit in one group or another that has been villianized by the government, media or the public in general. Hell in fact now I see how many I can fit into in one go.

 It started off with being disabled, then it moved onto large families, if you had more then two kids you where getting pregnant for the money..I have six , worked with every single one of them. Every-time I had a child I got a better paid job.
Been told four times am not fit to work. Now am working towards a degree and starting my own business because I have become unhireable due to my health issues. Then it was because am obese. That made me a target to be fat shamed, ridiculed ( good job i was used to that from being a kid, god knows I might have actually been offended) and again labeled as a scrounger because due to no fault of my own I became over weight. Nothing to do with having six kids, two amputations, being stuck in a wheelchair or the medication that makes you gain weight, hell don't even think about the health conditions themselves that make you balloon up!
Wasn't there even that half baked woman who thought she was famous because she was mouthy, made videos on you tube like millions of others? thought it was acceptable to "fat shame", that's right she wasn't half as famous or untouchable as she thought she was as she got her ass canned by her company.
 Unless you are overweight ad a not talking about a "pot belly" or carrying a few extra pounds, am talking about carrying the upholstery of a sofa like me, then you have no idea what you have to deal with, you don't need some one mouthing off on how disgusting you are, how much of a mess you look, how you make them feel sick when they look at you. Do you not think we feel the same? I know I do. Every day I struggle to make myself look good, or at least so people will not think I look a mess or feel good. Every day I feel the stares just off me being larger then most, the whispers (although it makes a change from the stares and whispers about the legs or the wheelchair) The consent battle to find clothes, nice clothes, clothes that make you feel like a women and you are not wearing a tent. That's not to mention the fact that instantly you are de sexualized. Men /women no longer flirt with you, say nice things about you or to you in fear that they will be called by their friends for being  a "chubby chaser".  Every women , regardless of age, size,ability or marital status wants to feel attractive, to be told the're attractive, to still be desirable.
But that doesn't happen, you fall into those categories then you become invisible. You watch every body else being flirted with, having fun being told how beautiful they are and the most you get if you are lucky? One of two things. A) shame a pretty girl like you is stuck in that( or some version of that where your looks are disfigured by the wheelchair/ disability) or B) you don't sweat much for a fat lass. Hell am totally screwed, good job am married to a man who loves me for me really as you couple the weight with no legs (often seen as a fetish ) and in a wheelchair I would be a non person on the dating scene, unless I was picked up by some one who had a fetish for one or all three of those things. Then again I was once asked to do photos for an amputee fetish site and still got insulted by being told " your not the normal size they like, your a bit big really but am sure they are men out there who are in to bigger amputees who might see you as beautiful...... ". Me and my husband have actually lost count over the years how many times we have been asked if he was a devotee and is that why he married me.
 Yea go figure !
Then came the disabled (again). The disabled need their benefits cut, disabled are all pulling a fast one. We are all layabouts who don't want to work and make all the hard working, tax paying people of this country sub us. Yea I admit there are people out there who say they have a bad back and can't work who then get up a ladder to tile a roof or lay a carpet, (obviously not whilst up a ladder..but hey who knows). But that's a very small amount compared to the millions who really do need the help. I have worked since leaving school at 16. When no one would hire me due to my disability I went on training programs. I would write a 100 letters a week for jobs. All I wanted was for people to give me a chance and that's what it feels like am having to do all over again. Justifying why am not working, why I chose to have six kids, why am overweight, justifying why I wont get annoyed about labels and terminology people use to me. Get real. I have bigger problems the worrying if some one is taking the piss out of me by holding a door open, in fact am grateful !

I tell you what gets my goat. People who are bitter about their lot in life. People who can't see past their own hatred and bigotry,  People who tell me that I can't call myself something or use a certain phrase in connection with myself. Why? if I want to say that am wheelchair bound how does that effect you? If I want to make a joke and say I haven't got a leg to stand on, tell me how is that offensive to you? Am taking the mick out of me, I can do that if I want. I really do not need you to think or make my decisions for me. You know whats EVEN worse then that? When it's some one who is not disabled..sorry able bodied? bipeds? sorry not sure of this weeks new PC term, or some one who has recently became disabled and has not had to live their whole lives like that. Normally (and am not saying all before you try to lynch me), they would have no interest, concern or reason to look into how disability terms are used or how people are effected by it. Then by some unfortunate stroke of fate they find themselves in that situation. All of a sudden how you are "labeled " becomes a big deal. Believe it or not am just as guilty for it. Before the amputation I had no idea what life was like for some one who used a wheelchair all the time. How much it impacted on the day to day things not just for them but for their friends and family. Now I do, but that hasn't stopped me from living my life trying to inspire others to push their limits.

Nor has it stopped me from being the most un Politically correct person you will ever come across and long may I reign.

(If you find yourself effected by any of the above issues and need to talk, you can get in touch with me at or through our Facebook page

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Things have been a little hectic since going back to university.

Every thing going well, lots of reading of psychology books as you would expect, assignments already starting to come out of the woodwork and this year we have a new support worker, Gail. There was no issues getting the taxis sorted back out and things seem to be running smoothly at uni for a change although debating the psychology of religion is interesting. However I cant say that in other areas of my life.

My farther, since being diagnosed with mixed dementia just before I returned to uni, has received no help what so ever. In fact the social worker that was assigned to him decided that because she saw dishes in the sink and assumed (wrongly) that meant he had eaten that day (in fact those dishes had been there for a number of days, that she saw no rubbish (because my sister had cleaned the house just days before, which we told her) and she could not smell any bodily smells ( will leave that one to your imagination), then he was capable of making his own decisions. This even though the CPN who was there knew the consultant from the Dementia clinic had declared that just looking at him any one could tell he was "not all there ". Lovely man (insert sarcasm here). Don't even get me started on the way he treat and talked to my dad.

So we are slowly watching his money going missing, his house going to wrack and ruin and him not changing his clothes or eating because we can not get help for him. This all due to this social workers recommendations on him being capable.

So that on top of uni work. Then you need to add on my health getting worse.

 With the onset of the colder weather now in the UK ,my joints and mobility are getting worse and so are my stumps. Already on paracetamol, Nepfom and Tramadol. So after ringing the doctors I was put on Oramorph 5 - 10ml every four hours. Not a good thing for uni. Have been taking 2.5 ml in the hope that I could get away with that. Nope. Needed to up it to 5 ml a couple of days ago. This made university very interesting yesterday. We where doing a spot on visual attention, so here's me high on medication trying to count how many Blues are in the song Blue by Eiffel 64 at the same time trying to find Wally.......I think I was an was a very trippy effect to say the least but the lecture found it amusing to say the least. Today I have woke up with a swollen  right stump and purple spots all over the bottom of my stump. Putting the liner on is like a million shards of glass in my skin and that's before putting weight through the leg. My initial thought is a reaction to the Morphine due to upping the dose. So off I come. The pain is unbearable, but am grinning through it like I always do, hoping that tomorrow its manageable and I can get into uni. I have an assessment on the 4th of November for an electric wheelchair, which if I get it will make my life so much easier giving me so much more independence.

So now we have uni work, dad with dementia and pain increase. Then you need to add the event in the mix.

Last Saturday we held a promotion at The Bridges in Sunderland . This was to promote the Halloween Monster Masquerade Ball on the 31st at the Stadium of Light, but also to promote what The Psych Twins do.
The response was fantastic and in just little over a week we have had 700 new visitors to the site. We are thrilled. The final preparations are in place now, balloons for the tables booked, decorations for the room ordered and costumes bought. I am going as Cruela De Vile. I have even bought a Dalmatian cuddly toy to hold and stroke so am going to look like Blowfelt from James Bond....just with no legs, well plastic know what I mean.

For information on our event go to

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