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.

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. 

 

 

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.

Normality On The Horizon

My counselling has begun for my PTSD. My therapist is really lovely and luckily I find her easy to talk to. She is almost more aware of my feelings than I am and has an amazing ability to withdraw things from me that I didn’t know were lurking beneath the surface. I don’t ever expect to forget about the accident, and in a peculiar way I wouldn’t want to, however I am positive that with her help I will be able to finally process my thoughts in such a way that I will no longer be scared of them. They won’t rule my mind forever. It is a huge relief to find out that things that worry me now that aren’t directly related to what has happened are completely normal. The vulnerability I now feel just walking down the street on my own, being in a car, the fear of having to eventually drive again.
The mind is a wonderful thing but sometimes it just needs a little help.

My leg is still swelling quite considerably during the day which leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I know it’s to be expected though. The wounds are healing very well which is brilliant, I was so worried about infections. I’m managing to walk around using just one crutch and I’m being strict with my physiotherapy. One day I will walk straight with bendy ankles and without bowing knees!
Tonight I have my first date (post Nicholas) with my bath, a large glass of white wine, candles and my book (don’t panic, I have been showering, just not submerging my leg in water).

Today saw me joining Rachel and James take the boys swimming (the boys being my two troublesome monsters and their best chum Theo). Amazing is the only way to describe it. Not only did the water help my leg feel free and able, I was a part of the joy on my sons faces. I felt totally normal doing a normal family thing.
The boys still aren’t 100% for me yet but progress is being made. With every little thing I do with them I feel a step closer to normality. We have two and half weeks until James is back to work. I can’t lie and say I’m not worried because I am, very. However I am starting to gain my confidence back as a Mother. He is an amazing Dad and husband, he has been my rock since May and this time he has been able to spend with our children has been so precious and possibly the biggest positive to come from my broken bones.
But we have different ways of doing things and with us both being at home 24/7, our differences are starting to show. I am a good Mum and despite the slight uncertainty, I will be again. I feel the need to be able to spread my wings and put my stamp back on this family. I’m not an outsider anymore.

A little thought to leave this day with ….. Smile and the world will smile with you 🙂

The Final Night With Nicholas (and the fear)

So we are down to just one sleep. One last night with Nicholas.
The last week has really dragged and I have felt every second tick by painfully slowly.
We’ve had three birthdays to celebrate, Charleigh’s 11th, my Mum’s 50th and my 31st. I really tried hard to get into the spirit and for the most part I did enjoy myself, shared many laughs with my family and friends, lunches, dinners and nights out. There were moments of despair, crying to my Mum on her birthday that I looked awful, had nothing to wear and just felt exhausted from trying. I hated myself at that moment, I don’t like laying my feelings on other people.

It has felt as though this moment would never come, actually knowing that Nicholas is going to be removed. I have been so excited filling my mind with the things that I will finally be able to do again. Enjoy a bath, wear my jeans, feel the bed sheets around my leg as I curl up to sleep. I want to be able to sit crossed legged on the floor with my boys and once again be a part of their make believe world.
There will also be a point where I need to drive. It’s a funny thing, I wasn’t injured because of my driving ability or anyone that I often get into a car with. However, cars and driving in general fill me with fear. I hate it. I didn’t realise just how much until I started the therapy for my PTSD. The questions asked have a clever way of bringing the thoughts out that you didn’t realise were there, just hovering on the surface. On every journey I go on be it short or long I wonder if we will be involved in an accident. I hate roundabouts, the uncertainty of the drivers. Driving through a town with pedestrians, the unpredictability of what they might do. It’s become apparent that it wasn’t just my bones that were broken, something in my subconscious has been shaken and I need to straighten it out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the thousands of people that must go through accidents every day, the majority presumably a lot worse than mine. How do they cope? Do they have the same fears as me? Is it normal to feel so desperate afterwards? I do feel incredibly ridiculous sometimes when I look at myself and how this whole thing has affected me. I don’t feel strong at all, I feel like a weak duckling struggling to stay afloat.

The early excitement of being cage free has slowly been replaced with with trepidation. The five pins I am quite prepared for after having one removed with no pain relief. I am confident that with gas and air taking me to another place I can get through that with dignity. However, I have two screws imbedded in my bone, they are not going to come out happily. I am dreading the removal of these. It isn’t going to pretty, the removal or my coping.
I am anxious about walking on my leg, actually putting weight through my newly mended bones. What if I can’t do it? I’m not naive to believe that the cage will come off and I will walk out of the hospital on air. I don’t expect it to be pain free but I am nervous about how much pain I can take.
I got through a lot during the aftermath of the accident, having my broken bones straightened twice, the spasms, feeling my bones moving.
So surely I can do this?

If I could remove the fear that is enveloping me perhaps I could feel a little bit more optimistic at my own capabilities.

I Might Be Mad, But I Don’t Want To Die

The cage and I have had a busy week since having the aggravating pin unceremoniously removed.

Even though it was just one pin it really seemed to help get me up and start feeling positive again. I’ve have waked around more this week than any other since the accident.
James and I went shopping in Oxford, we took the children to Millets Farm with Rachel and Theo. The weather has been perfect and it was magical to see the children running around and being so incredibly happy. I felt like a real part of the family again and am feeling less of a burden with each passing day.

Friday saw my first counselling session. I was anxious going there as I didn’t know what to expect. The building inside was eerily quiet, neutral colours in the decor, lots of closed doors and it was impeccably clean and tidy, almost to the point of being sanitary. None of these factors helped with putting me at ease.
However when my therapist introduced herself and we began the session I felt immediately at ease. She has a very calming nature and I found it very easy to talk to her. The back wall of her office houses a huge window that overlooks the idilyic Oxfordshire countryside. Quite often between questions and her taking furious notes I found myself mesmerised by it and just watching the trees.
The session basically entailed looking back over the questionnaires I had had to complete prior to the meeting and going into more depth in certain areas. I find it very hard to talk about my inner most feelings and the in depth memories of the accident, but she managed to draw everything out of me with such ease. She concluded by telling me that I do indeed have PTSD and am borderline depressed. How lovely!
At least I will get the right treatment and I know that this isn’t forever, I will get better.
One section of questions they have to cover are all based around suicide and do I feel as though I would be better off dead? I can quite categorically say that no, I don’t feel this way. However, I still stumbled when she asked the question ‘So, why don’t you want to kill yourself?’ …….. you’d think it was a pretty easy question to answer but my mind went totally blank. After what felt like an eternity I mumbled something along the lines of ‘Because I don’t want to be dead, I love my family’.
She didn’t call for a straight jacket so I must have passed as acceptably sane, enough to be sent back into society to wait for my next appointment.

Ending a busy week with another weekend at Mummy’s and a night out in Windsor has taken the last little bit of energy from me. It’s a good feeling though to be actually tired. Not lethargic or just a bit sleepy, but real physical tiredness. My left ankle is aching something rotten having not been used properly for weeks. The Physio exercises are excellent but they don’t beat real walking and use of the joint.
Hospital tomorrow for a CT scan to see how these bones are really doing. Hopefully mine and Nicholas’ relationship is coming to an end. I can’t say I will miss it but it certainly isn’t the end of this journey. It is purely the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

Some of my closest friends are going through their own personal hell at the moment. Divorce, miscarriage and birthing premature babies, I want to be as good a friend to them as they have been to me during my time of need. Without each and every one of them I would have been lost. As I come out of my dark place, it feels as though it will be my turn to take their hand and help them.

I’m a true believer that you get out of life what you put in. I have been dealt an ugly hand that could have swallowed me up. But I am determined to use it to make me a stronger and a better person.

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!

Well Done Bones!

So today was the day when I was to find out if my bones were healing as they should ……..
This was the first time that I have been nervous about a hospital appointment. But I needn’t have been, all is well!

I am now allowed to walk with full weight on my left leg without the boot. Since having the cast removed and replaced with the boot I have been putting more and more weight through it but walking on it without any support is a huge step to take mentally as well as physically.
When we got home I took the boot off and suddenly my leg felt very vulnerable. I used my crutches and took a few small steps, waiting tentatively for pain or bones crunching, but it didn’t happen, it was amazing! It definitely feels foreign, I can feel the plate inside my leg and my ankle feels very weak, it feels like a strangers leg. However it feels fine to walk on. I’m still walking in a peculiar way, I have to concentrate on each individual step and place my foot with a purpose and remind myself to let my knee and ankle move.
You can never appreciate how many different movements walking involves until you have to think about each one of them.
But each new step is a step closer to recovery.

My right leg, with good old Nicholas, is listening to my silent prayers and we can now see new bone forming. They are healing in the best order so at the moment there are no plans for further surgery. My surgeon is just amazing and I have so much faith in him. He automatically puts you at ease and no matter how trivial my questions may seem to him, he answers them with enthusiasm and encouragement. We are still on course to have it removed after 16 weeks post op, which leaves another eight weeks. I am on the home stretch at last! When the frame is removed the plan is to just let me walk on the leg and not have a cast as I first thought. I will be able to have a splint for some extra support if I want as the leg will be understandably weak. I am so excited!
It is always a very surreal encounter when we see the surgeon. I hate the frame with every breath in me, but when he talks about them, today explaining how they fit it, his enthusiasm is contagious. I feel almost lucky to be experiencing the wonderful, almost magic job that the Ilizarov performs.

The roller coaster of emotions just doesn’t end.

The days leading up to the hospital visit have been a mixture of highs and lows in the Hyatt household. We had a family day out on Saturday to Witney carnival where Charleigh was performing in the parade and the main arena with her dance school. Luckily the weather was kind and the rain stayed away allowing us a wonderful time. There were laughs a plenty and a good day was had by all. My Mum took the children back to her house for the night meaning James and I could have a night to ourselves. Feeling upbeat I grabbed the opportunity and we went out for a lovely meal. Time on our own is something that we seriously lack at the moment. Our life is just so artificial that nothing seems real. Everything feels forced and surreal.

The strain and pressure is taking it’s toll on everyone and unfortunately it is true what they say, you take it out on those closest to you. Despite the good days and the appearance we give of being in control, it feels as though underneath our family is breaking at the seams and it’s tearing my heart apart.
I know I’m not to blame for the accident but I feel so incredibly guilty. My family means everything to me and I hate what this is doing to us. James is working so hard to keep us all together but it’s a different world than that of dealing with customers. I’m his wife who’s job was the house and children and now here he is forced into my role. I am finding it very difficult to deal with and I am having trouble explaining it. I hate arguing with him but I cannot find the right words to tell him how I feel. Instead it bottles up inside and erupts in incomprehensible frustration. Charleigh is suffering too and I think that this has had more of an affect on her than we first thought. I know we are strong enough to get through this but it scares me to think what darkness will be left. I might be the one to carry the physical scars but what scars will my family have to bear?

Despite being surrounded by my amazing family and truly outstanding friends, I have never felt more alone than I do now.

My Beautiful Family

It’s as though the heavens are looking down on me and celebrating my progress.

The skies are blue and the sun is bright, all in time for me to finally be able-legged enough to walk down the steps into my garden. For two days now I have been able to sit outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and it brings such a natural happiness with it.
I have been able to enjoy the feel of the grass on my feet, the song of the birds and my gorgeous boys running around me filling the air with laughter.
Beautiful days!

Having been surrounded my family this weekend it has made me think a lot about how they have been affected. Sometimes I forget that my accident may have happened only to me physically, but it has had an affect on everyone.

My amazing Mum has travelled up every weekend without fail. Nothing is ever too much for her and I would be lost without her. I know how I feel if one of my children is hurt, I can’t even begin to imagine how it hurt her to see me in so much pain. She has been a tower of strength to both James and I and we will forever be grateful.
And James’ family have been incredible. They have helped us in so many ways, their generosity has blown us away and I feel so lucky to have them in my life. I am one of life’s lucky ladies that has a wonderful mother in law, she has been there for us all from the start and I know she always will be.

It has really hit home just how vulnerable children are and how the simplest of actions can have such an impact on them. But also that they adapt so quickly and things become their normal in the blink of an eye. My children, all three of them have made me so incredibly proud over the last six weeks.

Charleigh has such a wonderful inner strength and she has grown up before our eyes. She has adapted to the changes forced upon us with such maturity. Even though underneath it all she is still a ten year old, learning about life and the world around her with all the trials and tribulations that come with it, I can see what a beautiful, strong young woman she will become.

Henry, my ‘chunky monkey’ who is so eager to learn and is the bigger of the twins but is actually my most sensitive baby. Despite his full on personality and his compulsion to jump in to things head first, my accident had the biggest effect on him. He looked totally petrified and confused when he visited me in hospital and that was heart breaking. Once I came home it took him the longest to be comfortable enough to hug me again. He has so much love in him and adores those close to him, he doesn’t take it well when something isn’t right.

And Archie, my ‘little man’, takes everything in around him with such a soft approach, he has a beautiful nature but beneath his gentleness is a strong minded and very caring, strong little boy. He was very cautious of me in hospital, he knew that something wasn’t right but you could see him trying to work it out. Back home we talked lots about Mummy’s legs and his inquisitive mind took it all in. His hugs came first with Henry following his lead.

James is doing an amazing job of keeping us all together. I find it hard watching him have to do everything but he is taking it all on without a thought. He stays strong even when I am falling apart. He is truly my rock and I love him more than I thought I could ever love anyone.

I am so lucky to have been blessed with my family.