Two Years (almost)

Almost at that two year mark …… two weeks to go.
I feel as anxious as I did this time last year which is peculiar. Why should I still be feeling this way? Time ticks on and life flies by but I feel as though there is this small part of me stuck.
I was in Sainsburys at the weekend doing my weekly shop (ironically I bought fajita ingredients and was coming home to watch Britains Got Talent) and over the speaker came a customer announcement for a customer of a particular vehicle to make their way to the customer service. It made me stop in my tracks and a panic filled my bones. Lightening doesn’t strike twice right? As I left the store shortly after this and due to a lack of blue flashing lights anywhere near by I put it down to something else other than the unthinkable.

My personal legal case is still ongoing against her and  I saw the surgeon in December so that he could put together a final prognosis.
In short I have a 25% of requiring further surgery to remove the metalwork, and the symptoms I currently have (continuous aching in my lower right leg and left ankle, occasional swelling of both) are likely to be permanent.
So all in all it could be assumed that that is extremely positive and I am lucky to not be at high risk or osteoarthritis.
Except I have an inability at  present to see the positive. I may sound melodramatic to some, even selfish as I have been told – after all I have my legs and they work, I don’t have a life threatening illness, I am fit and healthy – but 24 months ago there was nothing wrong with me and had it not been for the carelessness of another person my legs wouldn’t ache (sometimes to the point of sleepless nights and through tears), they wouldn’t swell and they wouldn’t be permanently scarred. So yes, maybe I am lucky to some but this is my own personal daemon and I won’t apologise for my feelings.
If I could be rid of the anger and hatred I would as it’s exhausting sometimes.
Perhaps when the legal case is over I can finally draw a line under the whole chapter. At the moment there is still that feeling of unfinished business.

But I know I have a choice. I can either let the emotions fill my every being and dictate how I should live, or I can be triumphant and live life regardless.
So of all things to bein again I have started running! I’m no Mo Farrah but 5km and I are becoming friends.

Speedy I’m not but determined I am.

 

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It’s All About The Shoes.

11 days short of 17 months later and I did the ‘never thought I’d do it again’ ……
I squeezed my swollen feet, balanced on my not so strong ankles and I actually did it. I wore heels.
Not dainty little kitten heels, no, real, proper, high to the clouds make me 6 feet tall heels. It was my birthday celebrations at Ascot and I simply wanted to feel glamorous. Over the past year I have been to numerous weddings, christenings and other joyous celebrations, always with pristine hair and makeup (well, as pristine as I can make it), pretty nails, shiny hair, but always flat shoes. Even at five months pregnant with twins I was in heels. I don’t even need them for my height, being 5ft 6 I’m plenty tall enough. However I enjoy wearing heels. They make me feel feminine and when in a posh frock I need heels. I suppose the age old saying ‘ you always want what you cannot have’ rings true. Perhaps if I wasn’t such a fan of feet numbing shoes, and believe me, my toes were numb, then it wouldn’t have bothered me as much. But totter down the road, over then grass and across the concourse I did and I loved every second of it. I didn’t care that I could no longer feel my toes, my ankles were swollen and I could feel muscles working in my thighs and my calves that I didn’t know I had, I felt totally and utterly womanly.
Six hours I lasted until I gave in and returned my sorry feet to the boring flats, but even so it wasn’t the fault of my inability to wear my beloved heels, it was all down to standing on a hill. That’s my excuse anyway and one that I will stick to.
When I first had my accident and I found myself awake in the early hours one morning trying to come to terms with the metal contraption attached my my leg, and with the internet at my fingertips on my new iPad, I felt the need to try and connect with people who knew the same fear that I was feeling, who would actually understand. I turned to the fountain of all worldly knowledge. Google.  After finding some rather peculiar things I came across a forum, a fixator forum just for people like me. In my first post I poured my heart out and anxiously waited for someone, anyone to reply.
And from across the globe in came a reply,
From behind my screen my world suddenly opened up to a group of people I now consider friends. I may not have met all of these people in the flesh, but we have bared our souls to each other, shared our deepest fears and cried together.
As it is now we are all frame free, but we still face fears and daemons that only we understand. I am very  lucky to be surrounded by friends and family in my life as I sit here on my sofa, but I also feel extremely lucky to have friends at my very fingertips whenever I need them.
The great thing about friendship is it’s not always about holding out your hand or the time you have been together, it’s the spiritual inspiration that that person gives you. The fact that they give you the ability to believe in yourself, to give you the strength to face your fears.

Time Ticks On

I’ve been sat here for ten minutes looking at the screen but it appears my brain had run out of words! So this blog may be a bit bitty and all over the place as I’m just going to write it as it comes.

Things have been good, I started back at the gym after a lazy break! Truth is I just never got back into the swing after our holiday and then the sun appeared so I was spending gym time in the garden! It was going really well (my return to the gym that is, not garden time, although it was rather enjoyable) I found that I was actually able to run again without any pain. I felt so amazing when I ran 4km, I was happy all the way through, right to my bones. I’m lucky that my best friend is a Personal Trainer so she helps making sure I do all of the correct stretches before and after my marathon sessions. But then, like a lightening bolt, disaster struck. My right leg became swollen and really quite painful. It now hurts to walk let alone run so once again I’m in the garden and not the gym. I know I need to call my surgeon for advice or a check up. But what can he say? Don’t over do it, take it easy, rest your legs. But I’m so fed up of resting my legs (as much as I can in-between being a housewife and full time Mum to three darlings who are on summer holidays!) I am so desperate to just be able to do normal things without a constant fear in the back of my head that I’m going to do some damage.
Maybe I just need to get over it and accept that pain is the way of life now.
I haven’t built up the courage yet to make that call.

It’s been 10 months since I had the Ilizarov removed.
Time is a peculiar thing. You can’t stop it, you can’t fast forward it, it just keeps ticking by regardless. So even though the last ten months have felt like I’ve been zooming through life on a rocket, I’ve actually been cage-less for double the time I had it attached. And time with Ole Nicholas couldn’t have been any slower without actually stopping.

Sometimes I wonder if the accident changed me as a person. Physically obviously it did, and its still taking to time realise that. I need to remember that it’s not about what I can’t do, but what I can do and how well I can do it.
But mentally, emotionally? Do I think differently? Behave differently? Am I the same person?
In all honesty I just don’t know. Certain aspects of my life are hard at the moment and I don’t know if the way I am dealing with them is how I would have before. Sometimes I wish I could pause time for a little while just to be able to stop and think and rather than make choices because I have to then and there, and actually think about what I really want.

The Oxford Mail called me this week. It would seem its been a year since the court case. My memory had stayed shut to that particular event. Being made to think about made me realise that I can remember everything about that day, possibly with more clarity than the accident itself. The weather, the drive there, even what music I listened too whilst waiting. But what sticks most in my mind is the sound of him cheering at the verdict. In that single moment I realised what despair actually feels like.

People go through so much worse than I have and move on, so I’m not sure why I have the need to think about things so much. I’m not a hoarder with physical items in my life, yet with my thoughts and memories, I can’t seem to let them go.

A Year Comes And Goes

I have been trying to write this post for a while now but the right words have been hard to come by. 

Sunday 12th May saw the one year anniversary of the day my life took an unexpected turn down a rather long and often scary road. But travel on the road I did and through the tears, the pain, the anger and the frustration I got to the end. I would never have been able to do it without the love and support (and now and then a few stern words!) of my friends and family. I’ve said it in previous posts but it is so true. It is amazing how something horrific can bring people closer together.

It’s quite amazing that is has been a year. 

Getting this blog finished today I have been watching the opening day of Wimbledon. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was watching from my bed, unable to walk with two broken legs. 
The actually anniversary was a bizarre day. Leading up to it I was more anxious about how it would make me feel than actually being anxious about it. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure if I was expecting to break down and cry, sit in a trance, scream with anger. As it happens I did none of those things. I tried to keep myself busy but I was taken over by the need to clock watch and mentally recall events of the same time a year previous. When I got to my Mum’s to pick the children up, when I got to Sainsbury’s, when I was run over, when I got to the hospital and so forth. However, shockingly, I didn’t really feel anything. It was all very surreal, like reliving a dream and wondering if what you are recalling is actually reality.
The memories are still very real in my head, there is no escaping them, but they aren’t painful anymore. Gradually they are becoming my past and not the life that I am living every day. 

The physical reminders however have been a little harder. 
As well as May being the one year anniversary it was also the time for us to finally embark on our family holiday to Egypt along with our friends. (For those that know me, you would have been witness to the countdown for approximately 5 months!)
It was a holiday that we very much needed and definitely deserved. Summer clothes were packed, the sun lotion was ready, the passports and tickets all in order. So why was I apprehensive about two weeks that I had been looking forward to for over five months?
The reason would be the scars on my legs. 
I’m not a vain person, my body is not a temple. It is a portrait of having carried and given birth to three children (two at the same time I may add). However the scars on my legs caused me to feel nervous of my appearance. And in all honesty I feel ashamed to even feel that way about them as in all honesty they aren’t huge or garish, but to me that’s all you can see. 
It would seem that I needed have worried. Out I went in my bikini showing the world my motherly lumps and bumps and it turns out that not one person was interested in me or my legs! The holiday was the best ever!

As for the further surgery to my left leg, I cancelled it. I have decided that for now I have faced as much of the hospital as I can bear and mentally I am in a good place. My surgeon has agreed that I can book it when when I feel it is needed and I am ready.

For now I am enjoying my legs and the adventures that they are taking me on with my beautiful family.

Maybe it is true after all …. time is a healer. 

 

 

More Surgery …. and an angry rant

As I write this the sun is blazing and I have just enjoyed a fabulous afternoon with my gorgeous boys at he farm. I should be feeling content and happy, but alas I’m not. I am sat here with a knot in my stomach, trying to contain the rage and desperately trying not to cry …. again.

The plate in my left leg is continuing to niggle me, I can feel it there reminding me of it’s presence and still regularly swelling up just for good measure. Surgery for the removal has been set for 30th May. In all honesty I am not worried about the surgery itself, it’s very straight forward, one night stay in hospital and I should be up and walking relatively quickly. At least once it’s out it’s out! Just got to hope that the screws stay where they are don’t try escaping!

The gym has been amazing for getting my legs back to a good level of ability. In the past week I have finally been able to advance from speed walking to jogging – a huge achievement! It is an odd feeling if I am honest, my right leg protests to begin with with threats of giving way but once it realises that it wont win the fight it gives up and lets me carry on. I can manage two miles so far and hopefully that will continue to increase. Now, if I could stop eating so much cake (and the person who keeps buying said cake knows who she is!) then possibly this new found love for the gym may have a positive effect on my slightly larger waist line.

And so the reasons for the angst I am feeling.
It would appear that the law is an ass. Perhaps if I was a multi-millionaire footballer and someone happens to say something nasty to me in a newspaper then my multi-millionaire solicitor may not have much trouble in securing me a few extra million to add to my bulging bank balance.
However, little old me (sat here typing away on my three year old laptop in my modest little family home in Oxfordshire, whilst my husband is working a ‘proper job’  to support us) is having a somewhat troublesome time trying to secure compensation for the accident that broke my bones.
Let me explain as that view maybe a little one sided 😉
After the accident James took a sabbatical from work so that he could look after me and the children. During this time he wasn’t paid and so we borrowed money from family. This money paid the mortgage, the bills, fed us etc. On top of this we claimed Employment & Support Allowance – a benefit that is designed for people who cannot work due to an accident/ill health – exactly our position. We were awarded £100 per week.
Obviously the legal side of things has been and gone (remember the £90 fine and 6 points – yes, that legal ‘justice’) so all that is left is my civil case.
So apparently (according my very own solicitor) James should never have taken a sabbatical and forgone his salary as we cannot claim for his full loss of earnings. We should have put the boys into full time nursery (for which we could have claimed the full costs back) and I should have had a carer to look after me (for which we could have claimed the full costs minus 10%).
It would seem that the fact that my daughter witnessed me getting run over, the boys having to come to terms with Mummy not being walk, having a scary cage attached to one leg and being bed bound in the living room for some 7 weeks isn’t relevant. Life should have just continued with the addition of the boys finding themselves in nursery 8am-6pm Monday -Friday (not forgetting the fact that we couldn’t have actually transported them there as James is out of the house 6am-7pm) How silly of us to put the emotional needs of myself and our children first.
The benefit that we claimed will need to be paid back to the government by the defendant and so will be deducted from any money I am to receive (this I do understand as otherwise I will have been compensated twice).
However, the whole this is just leaving me drained, angry, upset, tired …. this list of emotions could go on and on.

I have been fighting for a year and it’s still not over. I may not be worried about the upcoming surgery … but it’s still another thing that I have to do. It’s still not over.

And on top of the physical hurdles to face we are facing not even being compensated financially what we feel we deserve.

We are not greedy people. I am not asking for millions of pounds so we can live a lavish lifestyle.
I do not however think I am selfish for wanting to be compensated (after all, I didn’t receive justice in court) for the trauma, physically and emotionally, that me and my family went through. I may have have the broken bones but I can assure you that I was not the only one affected by this. WHY should we end up in debt after this?? That is the way this is heading.
And do you know what is making me furious to the point of screaming …. she is totally unaware. She is out there living her life with no consequence what so ever.

My daughter is still nervous in car parks.
I have video of Archie screaming in terror when I was learning to walk with my zimmer frame.
I have the memories of my boys not wanting to  approach me, let alone cuddle me when I was bed bound for almost two weeks.

I may be a small fish in a big pond but to me, this was a tsunami and it’s still coming.
I’m all out of breath though so keep myself afloat.

 

 

Niggles and Money

So with nine weeks to go before the anniversary of ‘that day’ a new sense of anxiousness has evolved along with new worries.

My counselling is drawing to a close, I am in the process of being discharged. I have made huge progress, she has has been truly amazing. The session before last took us back to the car park to relive the event and put my few found help techniques to the test. It was quite overwhelming to actually stand there and talk through the events. But I surprised myself with my new found ability to deal with the feelings. I was no longer scared of the images or the memories. I was able to remember then but be able to look at where I am now and not be panicked.
In my session last  week we spoke about the normality of feeling anxious with ‘the year’ fast approaching. I’ll be happy when it’s out the way. I think that I am going to worry so much about worrying that I am going to send myself crazy. I’ve already been getting upset at the thought of reliving the whole thing minute by minute even though I know what I need to do to get through it.  But in reality, how easy is that going to be?

I don’t think it’s helping that I also saw my surgeon last week and the outcome was the need to have the metal plate removed. As we already knew, the bone has completely healed and even though the plate could potentially stay there it seems my leg has other ideas. For want of a better word it still ‘niggles’ me daily. Apparently I could have a bug in there that isn’t enough to cause a full blow infection but enough to annoy me. Because evidently I’m not annoyed enough by the scarring or the persistent ache, I need a niggling plate too! So once again I find myself on a surgical waiting list.

My case against the woman has left a bitter taste in my mouth too. We wont have a final medical prognosis (physical and mental) for another 12 months or so. Waiting doesn’t bother me as I wont settle early as once you do you cannot go back. At the very least I need to wait until the new surgery is complete. I did however ask my solicitor, in his expert opinion, if I were to recover fully what settlement could we be looking at. The answer was not heart warming. To put it simply it wasn’t even enough to cover the debt we accumulated whilst James was on sabbatical to look after me. Now, I didn’t automatically see pound signs when I had my accident, I’m not like that. However, in reality we have had huge expenses over the past ten months because of the accident and I would expect to be sufficiently compensated for that. And yes, there is another part of me that thinks actually, you know what, I didn’t deserve this, why shouldn’t I get something out it? I sure didn’t get justice from our judicial  system.

It’s a horrible feeling and to be honest it feels like a black cloud over me. Not only am I still battling the physical changes to my body and learning daily new limits set silently upon me, I am now worrying about the financial hole this is going to leave us in.

 

It’s All In Place

So off I trundled to the JR to find out to cause of my lump and pain. It was very bizarre sat there waiting surrounded by people with casts, boots and frames and being totally free myself. Two of the people waiting I have met a few times before in the waiting room, all with different stories but all with the same Ilizarov nightmare. We share an experience that is very hard to describe in words to others.

After two hours a few X-rays I was reunited with my nutty but brilliant surgeon. The good news is that my bone is completely healed, the plate is still in place and intact. Hooray! But the bad news is that the swelling and pain are caused ‘just because’. I may have twanged it when I slipped or my body may have just had enough of having a foreign object invading it. I’m to go back on March 4th if it hasn’t settled down to arrange a date to have the plate removed. In the grand scheme of things this is just a small bump (if you’ll excuse the pun) in the road that will hopefully be fixed relatively easily.

As everything appears to be as it should I am fine to carry on as normal so have been back to the gym this week. Feeling tired but good!

Our family finished it’s run of bad luck this week with James colliding with a pedestrian whilst cycling through London (said pedestrian decided to try and cross the road in front of him). The result was the pedestrian and James meeting the ground with a thump. James is now sporting a hole in his elbow and the hospital discovered a peace of bone floating around in there. It would seem its an old ‘injury’ though so no action to be taken!

Slip And A Slide

Things have been going really well …… and then the snow came.

With all the New Year enthusiasm I could muster I found a new love … the gym! I’ve been getting a sweat on, my joints working and heart beating with some work on the cross trainer, rowing machine, bike and treadmill. How have I not done this earlier? When someone is around to help I even manage a little walking backwards on the treadmill (where’s the reverse button?) – my physio would be proud! And together with some healthier eating and a swim twice a week I managed to lose 9lb. I have felt so incredibly healthy and happy!

And then came the snow.

I am not a fan. In fact I can quite happily say I hate it. And for almost a week it’s been coming and with it bringing then fear of god into me. Every step I take is taken with purpose and its safe to say that newly fixed bones do not like the cold. I’m a nervous wreck every time I step foot out of my front door and my worst nightmare came true last Tuesday whilst picking the boys up from pre-school.
Not even an ice rink is as slippery as the car park there. It’s a death zone! Had I left myself fall on my bum in front of the other parents and toddlers slipping and sliding maybe embarrassment would have have my only issue. However, as my right leg lost grip and slid out from under me, survival instinct kicked in and my left leg (held together with a metal plate and screws) slammed down rather heavily to steady the rest of me. This has resulted in a week in increasing pain, a limp, restless nights and a very irritable me. I relented last night and took a painkiller. Bearing in mind I was taking two of these four times a day and still functioning, last night just one little yellow and green capsule managed to knock me out. James asked me if it helped the pain. From the depth of my unconsciousness I can’t be certain but I had a good sleep if nothing else! He also reminded me that when I first started to take these painkillers they were an alternative to the morphine so compared to that (and those that visited me will no doubt have many a funny memory of me on morphine) they were smarties!
I’m hoping I’ve just badly bruised it somehow 😦 It’s extremely painful to touch, swollen and just doesn’t feel right. I’ve spoken to my surgeon and he is going to see me on Monday.
My gut is telling me that it is nothing serious but that doesn’t stop scary thoughts invading my head. Having metal in your body always holds the risk of problems, I just didn’t expect anything this soon.
Just when things felt so amazing, reality comes and smacks you with a snowball before you have a chance to duck.

I have my last counselling session coming up next week. This will take place at Sainsburys, in the spot where this story began. To this day I still haven’t driven that way in the car park, I go in the opposite direction and park over the other side. I don’t have a logical explanation. I know it won’t happen again but I just can’t make myself do it. If I am a passenger in a car and the driver travels that way fear still spreads through me like a virus when we pass the spot. I’m hoping that by facing it I will finally be able to let to of that fear.

I can’t believe that it’s been eight months. When I look bad it seems so utterly surreal.
Did it actually happen?
Despite the small issue with my leg at the moment I do feel that I am now waking up from what has been a bad dream.

Feeling Normal

Things are pretty ok at the moment I think!

My counselling continues and that along with my happy medication I seem to on an even keel plodding along nicely. Maybe it’s a false euphoria, I always w dee if the tablets are actually just hiding the daemons but you know what? I feel happy and content and normal for the first time in a long time. So for now I am going to enjoy it.

Christmas has been a family fuelled roller coaster! I am so lucky to have married into such a warm and loving family, the Hyatt clan coupled with my family make me a very lucky girl indeed. For Christmas we stayed in our home and catered for everyone with James cooking a feast and the children being entertained by Uncles, Aunts and Grandparents. The house was bursting with laughter and joy, the magic of Christmas really did happen.

My legs continue to ache, often waking me up, but I am learning slowly to live with it. The most difficult thing for me is still the numbness and shooting pains in my big toe and foot. I saw a surgeon two weeks ago as part of my civil action (ironically he was the surgeon on call who saw me when I was bought into A&E) and he says that it is undoubtedly nerve damage caused by the Ilizarov pins that were in my ankle. He also said that it will take 18-24 months to know if there will be any long term damage. It’s always a waiting game, never seeming to get a final answer. It does nothing for the impatient soul that lives within me.
I have been discharged from the physio department now and have a huge list of exercises to be getting in with, including walking backwards on the treadmill. I caused no end of amusement to my friends tonight over a curry when I asked how you programme a treadmill to go backwards …… how was I to know that I am just supposed to turn around?

On a day to day basis I can say that the memories of the accident no longer haunt me, in fact I don’t even believe that I think about it every day. When I do recall the events that unfolded that day and beyond I am able to reflect on how I came through it and so making it easier to remember without being panicked and scared. The mind is an amazing tool but sometimes you just need to take control of it.

If someone had asked me a month ago if I would be feeling so upbeat and happy I would have shot them down. Just goes to show that with some love, positive thinking and courage anything is possible!
In two days we will be celebrating the end of 2012. What a fantastic year it has been for so many reasons, the Olympics, the Jubilee, the Tour de France ….. but quite frankly I will be glad to see the back of it and start 2013 with a smile and a fresh beginning.

Don’t Run Before You Can Walk

So I feel like I have hit a bit of a brick wall.

My legs were getting increasingly better but now I seem to be stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I am well and there is nothing ‘wrong’ … but the level of discomfort and pain I have now seems to be here to stay. I am constantly being asked how they are and ‘same as ever’ has become by robot answer. My left ankle aches constantly and it is almost stuck rigid when I wake up in the morning. My right leg has a constant niggling pain that increases as the day goes on. I know that I need to rest it more but that is impossible with my life. The cold weather is no doubt playing havoc with newly grown bones too.

I have struggled the last couple of weeks with trying to keep up with life. It’s wonderful to be able to do everything again but there are still days when I can’t seem to catch my breath. The tiredness can be overwhelming and takes over my every thought.

In two days it will seven months. To me it still seems like yesterday but I am sure to everyone else it is just a distant memory.
When I had the Ilizarov still attached no-one could really forget what had happened and offered help before I needed to ask. Now life is ‘normal’ again and all physical reminders have gone I don’t think it’s as easy for people to remember. Yes I am up and walking and looking after the children but it’s so much harder than it was before. These legs are not the same and I am not ashamed to say that I am struggling with being on them all day.

We were given a timescale from the very start for the repair of the bones but no-one warns you about once they are fixed.
I just thought life would be the same again but it doesn’t feel like it yet.

These little worries play havoc with my fragile mind. I get scared that I will never feel like the old me again sometimes. But perhaps that Kerry has gone to be replaced by this new one and I just need to get over myself. Maybe this new Kerry will be stronger and better than the last if I allow myself to be. Having been on this journey, surely l I could face anything now!

This blog sounds very woe is me and I didn’t mean it to be. Things may be tougher than I anticipated but I know that I am so lucky that things aren’t worse. And Christmas is only round the corner and I plan to surround myself by all the people that mean the world to me ❤