About Me

In 2006 I suffered from a bout of flu, after months of feeling ill and fatigued I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (CFS). It was clear after a year that I was unable to return to work and I had to give up my career as a senior staff nurse. It was one of the most devastating part of my illness.

When I was a young child, after discovering that I couldn’t be a fighter pilot in the RAF due to being the wrong sex (so unfair), I decided I would be a nurse when I grew up. I worked my butt off studying, a lot of the time post grad while working shifts and bringing up two young sons. Eventually I decided on specialising in paediatric and adult, oncology/haematology and bone marrow transplant nursing.

I loved my job, so much so I never seemed to be away from it! Not only did I work full time on the unit on some of my weekends off I did bank shifts as clinical co-ordinater for the whole hospital. Mostly for extra money and partly because it was a role I enjoyed.

It’s often said that the busier a person is, the more they will push themselves to do. I just never knew when to stop pushing! I seemed to be working non stop, a single parent caring for my boys, running the house, running a brownie guide unit, looking after my nieces and much more. I just couldn’t seem to say no! This is a very familiar scenario for many working mothers.

I think my body had had enough of the abuse I was giving it and when I caught flu it decided that enough was enough! It was time to step off the work wagon and stop.

Being forced to leave my job through illness made me feel like a complete failure, I felt that all the hard work I had put into my training, education and career was for nothing. I felt like I had let down my sons, my family, friends and colleagues. It was really the most depressing time of my life. However, very slowly, a little too slowly for my liking, my health started to improve. After six long years I could finally say that I didn’t suffer from CFS anymore and I rejoined the land of the working living again.

In 2012 I went back to university, passed a return to nurse practice course and started work as a paediatric research nurse in oncology/haematology/bone marrow transplant.

This blog was originally about my journey back into health, work, my adventures in Turkey and general life.

in 2013, following another personal set back, (you can read all about it in the blog), the name of my blog, back to life, took on a new meaning.

In 2018 I decided it was time to do a completely new nursing job, so I challenged myself to start a new role in the community, something I’ve never done before. I now work in the Rapid Response team in Bristol, providing urgent care in the community to prevent hospital admissions.

I am now working through a master’s level programme and working hard to develop as an advanced clinical practitioner.

Everything that has happened to me has made me stronger, more positive and confident. This blog is now filled with my life experiences and stuff that I find interesting. I hope that you continue to enjoy reading it.

Please also check my other page on this blog about how I think I recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – ( Carole vs CFS).

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Claire
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 08:25:36

    thank you for writting this blog its encouraging to know someone else has been through this. I’m in the same position I’m a satff nurse who works in PICU and after getting what may have been swine flu two years ago they finally diagnosised chronic fatigue syndrome after getting various illnesses and constant fatigue. Somehow I kept going like you I never stop I’m busy all the time, and one day my body stopped working tired of trying to keep fighting and I’ve been off work now for 5 months knowing that giving up nursing in PICU, a job which I love and worked so hard for, is becoming a reality each and every day I’m off.

    Its encouraging that you’ve come out the other side your returning to nursing which is amazing and thinking of writing a book, go for it! I love dressmaking and baking cakes so this time has been great to help me develop skills and keep me sain, there is something about daytime tv that draws you in!!

    I look forward to continue reading what you get up to and hope that life back at work is better than before.


  2. flo1967
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:31:17

    Thank you so much, I hope that you will get something from my blog. When I was first ill and certainly while it continued on for so long I lost all hope of recovery. The despair I felt was dreadful.
    I think the turning point for me was reading books on positive thinking, books such as “The Secret” and “The Power”. They really concentrate on not owning your illness. So I don’t talk about suffering from it now, if I talk about about it it’s more clinical, describing the symptoms rather than say I suffer from them. It’s certainly helped me and although I feel a bit ropey when I’ve done too much, I’m nowhere near as bad as I was even 6 months ago.
    I would recommend reading them and other books on positive thinking.
    Please contact me via email if you need to off load or anything really.
    Take care
    Carole xx


  3. crazytraintotinkytown
    Jul 25, 2012 @ 06:08:07

    Merhaba! As am admirer or your work, I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award – pop on over to my page http://crazytraintotinkytown.com for details. Appreciate these awards involve some work, so please take your time or if you have received them before, my apologies but it’s still nice to know someone appreciates your blog. May your day be filled with sunshine


  4. adminlittlebirdawake
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 18:40:59

    Just found your blog! Can’t wait to read about your recovery 🙂


    • flo1967
      Aug 16, 2012 @ 18:43:59

      Thank you so much. It’s been a very slow journey returning back to health, but I’m getting there. I write about all sorts of things really, whatever takes my fancy!
      Hope you enjoy it.


  5. sueannm66
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 23:53:23

    Hi. I have just added to your stash of awards. I have awarded you a One Lovely Blog Award. See here for details. http://sueannm66.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/awards-an-appreciation-and-gratitude/
    Kind Regards, Sue Ann


  6. Jonathan Caswell
    Aug 17, 2015 @ 22:47:51

    Glad to see you are coming back slowly—not re-hurting the wounds just healed. Had a similar (although different) experience myself—pushing through the pain til the body refused to carry on. In my case, poor diabetic management caught up with me—6 months out of work and two toe amputations—and still on light duty 4 months later! Thank you for taking b etter care of yourself! That experience sounds interesting…do they accept Poets? 😀


    • Carole Gardiner
      Aug 17, 2015 @ 22:59:11

      Thank you Jonathan, I have fully recovered now. It took time, patience and perseverance. I hope you will make a full recovery soon. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog x


  7. Corrie
    Feb 19, 2018 @ 12:45:43

    Hi Carole, great blog. Wanted to get in touch with you about a potential partnership with our online language learning website Preply.com If you have interest, just message me back on my email and we could discuss details. Thanks Carole!


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