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.

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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!)

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.

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.