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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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. 

 

 

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.

Looking Up, Not Down

The hospital visit was biter sweet. The remaining fractures are finally starting to heal which is great news. It just means that Nicholas and I will be friends for a whole longer. They can’t say how long, how long is a piece of string? The only thing that can dictate the time remaining are the bones themselves. If they carry on repairing then eventually Nicholas will be removed and I will be on my very merry way. If they stop responding then depending on how they have fixed I may or may not need an operation. Only time will tell.
It’s this that I find the hardest – the simply not knowing. The tunnel I am travelling down is never ending and just drowns me with anxiety as to what will appear around the next corner.

However, after a few dark days and a spout of insomnia keeping me awake for over 30 hours I have my happy feet on again. They’ve taken me to family and friends who have shown me just how much I have to be thankful for (and to the fridge for a few much needed cold beers!)

Life is ever evolving, nothing stays the same forever. We grow from children into adults, we create new families of our own. Sometimes things can happen that can disrupt the normality of the lives that we have created for ourselves and this can have a huge impact on the way in which you look at things. I definitely don’t look at my life in the same way that I did before. I have come to realise how much love I have and, how subsequently, how much love I also have to give.

I have been so angry and fed up with the limitations that have been unwillingly set upon me but I really want to stop mourning what I can no longer do and starting recognising the things that I am able to do. I can still enjoy and love my gorgeous children, I can still be a loving wife and I can still be a good friend.

Looking back over the past 16 weeks I wished at times I had been a better patient for James. I wish I could be more laid back and not let things get to me so much. But I am just the worst person that this sort of trauma could happen to. I’m not good at sitting around not doing anything and watching everyone else do things (and more often than not quite the way I would do them, what can I say, it’s the Monica in me 😉 ). I am constantly battling with the inner person wanting to scream out.

But I am really going to try and focus on the good things in my life. (and with the help of the lovely sleeping tablets from the GP actually enjoy some real sleep!)
My counselling starts this week so hopefully I’ll be able to fight off the daemons attacking my thoughts and dreams.

As Professor Hawkins said ‘Look up at the stars and not your feet’

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.

Cleaning, Friends & Ouch!

The day started with tears, has ended with pain but the middle bit was alright!

When I bum shuffled down the first set of stairs this morning I was greeted with two cheeky smiles on the landing. My gorgeous little boys! Henry was eager to show me something very funny in his eyes, him wearing my Ugg boots. However, before I had a chance to tell him to move away from the stairs he was attempting to put them, lost balance and toppled head first down them and all I could do was watch and yell for James. I promptly burst into tears, totally mortified that there was nothing I could do, yet again, to comfort my son. He wasn’t hurt, just shocked, and I think I was more upset than him.

So, after eating breakfast amongst the madness that is our house in the mornings I did what I do to relieve stress …… I cleaned!
I got myself up on my crutches and I cleaned my kitchen sides and sink, emptied and re-filled the dishwasher, swept the kitchen floor and hung some washing up to dry. Boy, it felt so good to be doing just normal things! I never thought I’d see the day when I got actually excited by menial household jobs!

We have a few plans here and there for this week which I like. However much I hate going out, especially if it means being around people, I know I must do it. I can’t be a hermit and the longer you avoid something the worse it becomes. I hate wishing time away but I really want July to be over with. When we finally reach August I will be able to say that next month, I will be Nicholas free. I don’t care about the cast or boot that I might have afterwards, anything but the cage.

The house has been filled with laughter and fun today. We had an extra toddler running around as we were looking after a friends little boy. It is so uplifting to hear the giggles of small children and see them interact with each other and they are such good friends it was really beautiful watching them play.
The friend in question has been an absolute tower of strength to not only me but James as well. Nothing is ever too much trouble and she is always there with a cuddle and a smile. She is one of life’s good people and I feel very lucky to be able to call her a friend. Love you x

It has taken a while for my boys to become comfortable with me and my legs. Now they quite happily clamber onto my lap, play with the metal rings on my cage, tread on my toes if I’m stood up. It is hard to find the right balance between them being happy and natural with me yet aware that I do still have bad legs (something Archie could do well to remember when he’s launching a fire engine at me for me to save!) I am always very cautious to tell them to back off in case I push them away. But a lesson learnt tonight as Henry was sat on my lap and promptly fell onto my left leg …… ouch!! It was elevated in front of me and luckily I had the boot on but the pain! How I didn’t release a torrent of foul language is beyond me.
Needless to say I am now reaping the benefits of painkillers washed down with a cold beer!