I’m a Runner

As the time draws nearer to the anniversary of that day the same feelings return to the pit of my stomach. It’s peculiar as I don’t so much think about the actual accident itself, the memories that shadow my thoughts now are of the days after. The look on friends and families faces when they came to visit, the fear in my sons’ eyes, the inability to scoop them up and cuddle them and promise that it would all be ok. Will the memories ever fade? Will I ever get to a point that the day will pass and I won’t remember? The boys have no recollection of the aftermath of Mummy living in the front room or of Nicholas (the cage), Charleigh’s memories have become faded with time, for these facts I am grateful as their minds are so young and pure and I don’t want them filled with bad, only the good.

I sometimes think that only I will ever remember the true moments from that time. Perhaps a little part of me will always be filled with it, but I will learn to keep that door closed.

I am determined to use this frustrated energy though and put it to good and not let is turn into a wasted emotion. I think we are all capable of directing our emotions onto a path of our own choosing. Our destiny is ours to make of what we will.

It is true that that time is a healer and despite the door to the dark side being slightly ajar at present, I can see the positives that have come out of something awful and I will try and focus on those.

The main positive being my desire to run. My training is well under way for the half marathon madness that I signed up for! I am stronger, physically and mentally, than I ever thought possible. I am learning to push myself to limits I once only ever thought would be out of reach.
These legs, despite the lumps, bumps and metal, are doing me proud.
James and I took part in the London Winter 10km run last weekend as part of my training plan. Surrounded by the beautiful sights of London down at South Bank, polar bears offering hugs (I kid you not) and the cold, cold air, we set off. I wanted to complete it in 55 minutes – a target that meant I had to push myself harder than ever before. At 5km the cold was hurting, at 7km I wasn’t even convinced I would finish the course and a 9km I knew I wouldn’t stop. With the encouragement of James next to me, my amazing trainer’s (the actual person, not my footwear!) voice in my head ‘think results’ and with a deep determination I didn’t even realise I had,  I completed it in 54:40.
I shed tears of absolute happiness at the end and traveled home on a cloud of delight (with a well-earned Costa Coffee in hand!). I do have a confession though, at the end of the 10km a realisation hit me that when it came to the half marathon I would in theory have to run that again. To say I was a little struck by fear would be an accurate description. How on earth am I ever going to run 13 miles? Although this time last year I wouldn’t have even been able to run 5km let alone 10km so things can only get better. I won’t use the work ‘easier’ as there is nothing easy about this. My legs are not what they were, there is weakness and metal that aggravates – but they are the only ones I have so I can either give in to ache, or fight and work against in the desire to succeed. (medical disclaimer : I am not doing anything that will cause me injury, if at any point there was pain other than that caused by hard work I wouldn’t push it, I am being sensible)

So happy! x

So happy! x

Well earned sit down :)

Well earned sit down 🙂

Told you ;)

Told you 😉

I am lucky to have had people come into my life because of this journey, some of whom I wouldn’t have got through some very dark days without. The internet gets bad press but without it I wouldn’t have found support in strangers when I most needed to connect with someone who knew exactly what I was going through. I know I have mentioned it in a previous blog but I would have been lost without the people I talked to who had the Ilizarov frame at the same time as me. From the USA, South Africa, UK – you helped me when I felt alone, angry, fearful, sad …. I am looking forward to meeting up with (some of) the Ilizarov Forum crew this weekend – you guys all rock!

Sometimes I forget that that there are actually people out there reading this. This is just my little therapeutic bubble, so I am still a little shocked when I get a response from someone other than friends or family. I received a lovely email recently from a lady who is on her own journey and facing battles that I only know too well.

To think that my words and my journey may help someone just a little is truly overwhelming.

Health & Happiness

I haven’t blogged for a while but I’ve been thinking about the last 29 months quite a lot lately, so it feels like the right time to put down my thoughts.
For various reasons the accident has come up in conversation a lot lately, with old friends reminiscing, with new friends inquiring, with family being supportive of my new adventures. Whenever I do talk about it, it always amazes me how clearly I still remember that day. I always assumed that my memories would lessen and become obscured but that isn’t the case. Certain moments in time still have the ability to create a knot of fear in my stomach, but with much less panic than they would have caused a year ago. The key is to not let the fear take over. Stay in control and be strong.
Time is most definitely a healer, but I think that you need to give it a little helping hand along the way.

When I was recovering I often wondered if I would be the same person again.
Would I have the same outlook on life?
Would my confidence be overshadowed by sadness and fear?
Would the panic deep in me ever be calm?

Traumatic events have the ability to drown you in grief but everyone has the ability to either sink or swim. I was lucky that I had amazing friends and family surrounding me, keeping me afloat during the dark days. However something did change in me, I became aware that life is for living, and living it to the full became my aim.

During the early days of recovery when I had trouble thinking past the next hour let alone the next day, week, month, year, and all I could think was ‘why me?’ – someone told me to focus on the positives of the things that I could control rather than the things that I couldn’t. They asked me to think about what adventures my new healed legs would take me on? They told me that I had an amazing opportunity to do something amazing.

Whilst immobile I took comfort in wine and cake, cake and wine  ……. and inevitably my weight ballooned.
In March this year I needed to go jeans shopping – most girls nightmare – and for me it truly was. I came home empty handed and vowed to lose weight.
I started by looking at my diet and changed my entire outlook on food, what I was eating and why. I soon learnt that my relationship with food in general was unhealthy, not just what I was consuming but why. As soon as I made some simple changes I regained my energy and found an inner willpower to want to be healthier because I actually felt better for it.
With my new found energy and determination I found my feet and started to run. As I said in my April blog, 5km and I became friends! The more I ran the more my confidence grew and the faster I wanted to be and I soon became competitive with myself. Soon 5km became 6km, then 7km …..
One May afternoon sat at home with my herbal tea and my iPad, I suddenly found myself signing up for the Blenheim 10km. Was I mad? Apparently not. Would I be able? Apparently so.
My little legs took me the whole 10km on Sunday 5th October in 1:03:28
At the finish line was my amazing husband, who wrapped is arms round me tightly as I cried.
In 29 months I made the transition from broken and faithless to determined and able. The emotions running through me came out like a waterfall. I cried with relief, with happiness and I felt that finally I was letting go of all of my anger.
How could I continue to be angry? I may have once been physically broken but inside, then and there, I was alive and kicking and giving life a huge high five. That is the most amazing feeling and without the events that made me look at myself in a different light to get to that moment I wouldn’t have been there.

Anything in life is possible. There are positives to be found in everything, sometimes you just need to look through the darkness to find the light.

So I am thankful for the curve ball that life threw me 29 months ago because today it has made me a better, happier and healther person.

(and as for the inner competitiveness in me – it signed me up for a half marathon in six months time …. eeeek!)

Eight Weeks On

I haven’t blogged for a while and it hasn’t been through lack of desire but a lack of time. Eight weeks on post Nicholas and I think we are back to normal, whatever normal is!

James is back at work and I’m back to running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure that the kids are happy, fed and healthy. By the time the children are in bed and James and I have caught up on each others day my eyes fail me and my bed calls. The weeks are rolling by in a beautiful, happy haze though. I love my family more than I ever thought I could.
Children are remarkable creatures. Their ability to adapt to a given situation is amazing. I am so proud of them and how they coped with everything that was thrown at us.

When I look back on the last six months it feels almost like a dream. Did that actually happen to me and did we actually get through it? It’s a very surreal feeling. At the time it was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from and what’s left now are the lingering memories. My ability to cope with these memories is improving all the time. The panic is no longer taking over and I can talk about the accident and the aftermath without the fear enveloping me. Time is a great healer and I believe that without help I would have probably worked it out for myself, but the therapy is undoubtedly helping me to process my memories and look at them differently. I did also see my GP and have started on a small dose of antidepressants. I don’t think that there is any shame in this, if you have a headache you take a paracetamol, I need a little help with my emotions and I’m just doing what I need to.
Sometimes the hardest thing is admitting you need help and one thing that this journey has taught me is that you need never suffer in silence.

My leg still resembles that of an elephant. I try to rest it as much as possible but with life it can be tricky. I need to speak to my consultant about the numbness as if anything, it’s getting worse :/ There wont be a lot that can be done but it would be nice to know what the cause is. I was looking at the scars last night that the pins have left on my leg and in all honesty I don’t know how I feel about them. They are still very red and very obvious and despite not being a particularly vain person I can’t say that they will never bother me. The question is do I do something about it? My solicitor has said that if I so wish I could ‘get them done’ (I presume it would be laser surgery?!). It’s hard when it’s winter and they’re covered up anyway but come the summer (the little bit that we occasionally get) will I feel differently?

As I write this I am sat in the cafe in the Children’s Hospital at the JR with a large Latte whilst my little man Archie is having an operation on his winkle. I’m as anxious as anything waiting for my phone to ring to tell me he’s in recovery and I can go and get him.

This Blog Is For Me ….. if you don’t like it don’t read it

I didn’t start this blog for sympathy or to make out as though I am hard done by. I started it because something traumatic happened to me and I needed a way to deal with it and the emotions that it bought. Before the age of word processing and Internet I would have gone to the shop and bought a pad and pen. But as this is 2012 here I am on my iPad using WordPress. I haven’t asked anybody to read it, I haven’t asked for comments or words of advice. Last year I watched my step father die of Cancer so I am fully aware that there are bigger problems in the world than my broken legs. However that doesn’t take away from what I am going through. This diary is personal to me, I was run over, my legs were broken and I am in pain. I don’t feel sorry for myself in the slightest, I wake up every morning with a strength I didn’t know I had and fight my way through the day. I have a gorgeous family who I am strong for every day. I smile, I laugh and help create happy memories for my children. I use this as my place to let out my anger, pain and fears. I am not ashamed of that.
If you don’t agree with it, or you don’t like it, please, just don’t read it.

Since court last Wednesday there have been ups and downs. I was so immensely angry (and as it would seem so were a large proportion of our family and friends). The support I have been shown has been truly amazing. It’s a relief to know that the anger I felt wasn’t born out of self pity but rather the injustice of the decisions made.
(I made front page of the Oxford Mail for their follow up story, my claim to fame!)
After their article, written in my favour, the CPS responded standing by their desicions stating
“The most important aspect of cases like this for victims is for the defendant to acknowledge responsibility for the injuries caused.”
Yes, is absolutely true. However, I would have expected the fact that she was in control of a motor vehicle and ran someone over without (apparently) realising she’d done it quite disturbing. And then leaving the scene and not even trying to help rather serious. I mean, she just left me there. How can she be found not guilty of that? She did it!
But what is done is done. I will always be angry and carry the feeling of being let down but I need to focus my energy on healing and direct my anger there. I won’t let her take over my life, I need to try and move on from the accident. I start counselling next week, I need to look forward.

We went to my Mum’s this weekend and had a night out with my Aunt for dinner and a family Sunday lunch out at the garden centre. It felt good to go out and do normal things. I was a little nervous before going out for dinner but it vanished as soon as we got there. It was heading to be a good weekend until this afternoon …….

I seem to be entering a second pin site infection. The pain is excruciating and the weariness is brings is almost unbearable. It creates many unwanted tears but that just seems to be the course. James deals with my episodes of continuing sobbing so well. He just opens his arms and scoops me up. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you are loved. I might have been dealt a bad hand but it has made me realise how lucky I am.
Right now I cannot put any weight on my leg without wanting to scream and even resting it hurts. I cannot get comfortable and and am so anxious I am almost shaking. Tonight I know will be a hard one and I won’t be counting on a lot of sleep. If I can just get through it relatively calmly without too many tears I will be happy. I will be calling the Trauma unit first thing and it’ll be another trip to hospital no doubt.

Closing ceremony of the Olympics tonight. I’m absolutely gutted that I only got to be part of London 2012 from my sofa 😦 I have felt extremely proud to be British over the last fortnight. Go Team GB!

You Are Not Alone

The cuddles from my gorgeous boys continued today. I didn’t think it was possible to love them anymore that I already did but my heart is just bursting. I know I keep saying it but I really am so proud of all three of my children, they are amazing.

I woke up very grouchy today, snapping at everyone and just generally in a foul mood. I wasn’t born for cold weather and with not being mobile I am feeling the cold most of the time. This makes Kerry miserable! Guilt builds up inside me as I look at those helping me though. They are being so unselfishly amazing and they don’t deserve my sharp tongue. I am going to really work hard to not be so short with them, but I wont make promises I cannot keep so for now I will simply promise to try. I hope they understand.

I dragged us out to town today in search of jeans that could be modified only to find that it’s apparently the season for shorts and skinny jeans. So a slight change of plan, thanks to a fellow ‘Fixator’ I have been given the idea of making a cage warmer. I am now on the hunt for some funky fury material ……. I will not be beaten …….
However, the fresh air, a coffee and a muffin blew away the frustrations and smiles returned.

It’s hard to see the person that others see in me. I don’t feel strong or amazing, I just get through each day the best I can. I try not to look too far into the further as you just never know what will happen. After all, I didn’t expect to be run over, so I don’t want to take my road to recovery for granted. I try to keep positive, however hard it is some days, and I think it’s getting easier. I don’t cry as often which is a relief to me and I’m sure it is to those close to me.

I am really shocked at the amount of people that are reading this blog. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement I have received. Writing this diary is helping me enormously, I don’t always find talking easy but I know that it wouldn’t be healthy to keep everything bottled up either. This is the best solution and I hope that it may help others too, whether you are in the same situation as me or not. Sometimes you just need to know that you’re not alone.

To anyone reading this that may have found themselves in a scary, unplanned place, you really are not alone. Keep your head held high and keep your heart open and you will find an inner strength that you didn’t know you had.