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!)

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.

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.