Sunday – One beautifully laid back rest day which saw me mostly sat by the window blogging. As those of us who blog know, it can be a short or really long experience and between wanting to do a couple of posts and our internet playing up…well let’s just say more birds were watched and cups of tea drunk during the morning. I have added an extra blog post in about my achievements to date however, something I feel is essential to document my journey. Plus I’m immensely proud and I hope at some point it may help someone else unfortunate enough to walk in my footsteps in some way. It also helps me look back…something which I find difficult as thanks to PTSD issues I have an amazing ability to blank chunks of memory out. As part of the recovery process from cancer I think it’s important for me to try to remember as much as possible…bad and good…to ‘deal’ with it a little and not shut things out. Anyone who reads that post will note there were a few dates without any picture…I actually felt alittle sad that at no point on those dates did I record anything! How was I feeling, what was that day like, how did I look…heck how did the world look.
In the afternoon I visited my friend to see her new house (epically beautiful!) and we discussed my hair. I’d been looking over photos while blogging and had done the “gosh I miss having that” the cute bob I had back in the July, the long pixie cut I got when I knew chemo was pretty much a definite. Now I have something I’m still not sure of the colour of, it’s drastically curlier than before and thicker…it may not be getting longer quickly but it’s getting thick FAST! There’s also, so far as I can tell, not a hint of a grey hair…bonus eh!
Post visit to my friend I came home and did day 19 of my yoga practice – listen…to yourself, your inner voice that wants you to be kind to you, to get you to love yourself more and believe in you. Quite prophetic given how I’d been feeling all day.
Monday – It had been a warm night and blown a gale, waking me more than once due to how much it moved the curtains. I expected it to be cool given how it looked when I got up…I haven’t been so pleased of a short run in a long time. I stepped out the door into a fog of hot air, my 4K was sticky…but…with the relief of running with the slight breeze at my back on the way home, which had a blissful cooling effect. My runs this week would all be done at recovery run pace and I really needed it, my legs still had a little funk in them…a general stiffness but also a dull ache in my left knee and right quad, nothing I’m worried by though.
My stomach, whilst it has settled, still feels uncomfortable and was sore all morning…slowly I feel as if it’s on the mend. I had a chance happening with a deer on the drive to work, the poor thing was running along the road…the road had been cut through the hill and for a while both sides are steep and there was nowhere for it to go. I drove slow and steady as it ran, bolting into the road every now and then. At one point dashing over to the right and out of view I started to speed up a little, quick as a flash it shot back out and into my path. I was so scared of something coming fast the other way and hurting it, but it managed to find a path up and onto the hill and out of sight…5 minutes of my heart in my mouth.
Work went really well, this was my first day of 9-12 and that extra half an hour drained me. Plus it was incredibly warm…I felt sorry for creating a helicopter effect with a fan but it was a necessary evil.
I felt really emotional as I left, I didn’t want to drive home! I was scared my little deer had gone back down the hill and onto the road, met his match with metal and I’d find him dead. I have a huge problem with death of anything at the moment…even plants, I don’t want anything to die. It took a lot to talk myself into driving home the usual way and bearing, as best I could, whatever I found…there was no body, or even sign of that little deer.
Once home I could barely function I was so tired! I pushed myself to keep going and was pleased I did. I put a pan of soup on to cook, grabbed my yoga mat and enjoyed my day 20 of practice – lead…to help you lean away from mental chatter. My mind had been so much on “I can’t” instead of “I can try”!
I had to sleep after lunch but was surprised when I only woke up half an hour later, yes I wasn’t 100% but I definitely felt better.
Tuesday – As part of my recovery post Ultra it’s important that my strength training is added back in slowly. I therefore did my half an hour upper body training in place of, what next week will go back to an hours session focusing on my legs and core. Then Yoga For Runners to help stretch out my legs, plus my day 21 practice…Light – finding the light within.
I felt truly set up for the day but…I was really anxious and my mind in overdrive. It was hard to concentrate at work as my mental chatter was on a high, those around me were a huge help and boosted my confidence though.
Once home and a few regular chores done I made sure to rest. I was booked to go to spin class and knew I needed to conserve my energy for that. I’ve been loaned a booked by a lovely friend…
It’s a huge help and definitely one I’d recommend to the runners out there reading this. The fact it starts with tips and discussion regarding anxiety and stress, before looking at exercise and nutrition, I think personally is a brilliant approach!
Spin class was terrific, it was wonderful to have so many welcome me back and want to know about my Ultra…plus what the crazy little blonde lady was up to next.
Yes it was hard work doing the class in 28C heat…but…we have a fantastic instructor who knew exactly how to work us so that we worked out effectively, but safely…and had a cracking time too!
Wednesday – Some runs just feel utterly amazing and every step of my 6.5K was just that….mindful, peaceful and calming…everything my overthinking mind needed in order to start the day.
We, like so many others, had a night of amazing storms and heavy rain. It looked like it was still raining as I got up and ready to go out the door but what I found as I left was instead a warm fog…almost smoky – it was as if I was running on the head of a match that had recently been blown out, it was so odd. The air smelt intense and alive, the birds were beyond chipper and I found cows a mooing like crazy…between their voices the rumble of the end of a storm in the distance beyond Edale – maybe they could hear it, or sense it at least.
I have an habit of “saving” creatures if I come across them on my run – snails half way in a path will get placed on the verge in the direction they’re going, I’ve moved frogs closer to water sources, brought home a bee that needed a sugary snack…my creature today was a worm.
It wasn’t going across the road but instead appeared to be trying to get from Edale to Hope…along exactly the path a cars tyre would land. It took me a while of running with it cupped in my hand until I found a suitable spot, but it was given a new home – in its direction of travel.
I felt like I’d done my bit both for me and nature by the time I’d got back home.
The air had cleared, the fog gone and replaced with sun making my shadow dance…those who didn’t see the world before 6.15am missed a secret splendour!
Work was busy and I struggled again feeling utterly drained by 11.45, unable to think properly as I finished at noon. I slept in the car a little, then decided going home just wouldn’t do on such a beautiful day. We’re fortunate to have some lovely hidden gems nearby and one that is only open midweek, a few months each year, is Thornbridge Halls Garden. I had a lovely lunch sat on the terrace. A couple of ladies across from me at one point mentioned that I was very brave to be sat in the full sun so brazenly on such a day. I just smiled and nodded…I didn’t share my secret…that it felt utterly amazing to be allowed to sit in the sun again, to feel it’s warmth on skin that feels and acts normally, to not feel cold even on a hot day.
After lunch I went and pottered around the garden, sat a while and took in the view, strolled some more and then explored a piece of lawn barefoot…there’s a special kind of freedom in walking with naked feet through someone else’s grass.
Yes I slept when I got back, then sat and read after doing my day 22 yoga practice (Steady), but I’d had such a great day that I didn’t care about the tiredness.
Thursday – In the afternoon while browsing for something else on the BECCA app I got to reading another ladies blog headed “Is looking back at pictures of me healthy for my wellbeing” I’ve been doing that a little lately…for my canceranniversary and to see how much my hair is growing…I have to honestly say it’s not been good for my wellbeing, not yet anyway and that had an impact during the day.
The day had started well, the air cooler than expected and my run felt good. I struggled a little to keep my heart rate down for a few reasons – I was doing a hilly route, it was already 19C at 5.45 and my left side adductor was tight AGAIN! The latter didn’t hurt to run at all, but there was a tightness in every other movement. While foam rolling Tuesday evening it was as if it went into spasm, I’d not gotten it freed up completely, and the thought of it playing up again was beginning to grate.
Once home I’d made sure to hydrate extra, chill some fluids to take to work and slowly get ready for going.
Not long after I arrived the HR lady came in the office and had a chat with me…and asked how I really was. I poured my heart out and the flood gates opened, I felt embarrassed as my colleagues were there and busy but it was a necessary reaction…I needed to get everything out. To say how tired I felt, how uncomfortable in my own skin I actually am, how I feel unsure of my identity, trying to claw a path to a new me that confuses me – all with a background chatter of feeling like I should be back to “me” now. After we’d talked and she’d gone it was intensely busy, I could get my head down, disappear and work. I came home just wanting to cry, sleep and hide…I only allowed myself the latter. Housework was needed and kept me busy around lunch, then I remembered my yoga practice and grabbed my mat. Day 23 was Joyful…finding pleasure in what you’re doing for you, being joyful at your achievement. It made me lick my wounds a little and see things a bit more clearly. A friend had posted a picture of herself in a bikini top and I though…you know what, I could do that too – so I did, and took a picture! I hadn’t the confidence to go further than the garden but it felt like such an achievement…to feel confident enough with the package to wear so little and not worry about the scars and the new body. As I’ve been reminded since – they are the things that make you who you are now.
I sat in the garden and read for hours afterwards, almost to tea time…the mundaneness of knowing the washing machine would have finished it’s cycle and need emptying, the only thing that moved me.
Friday – Inspite of the heat…or maybe because of it…I slept really deeply and well.
The house was still a sauna but I managed, through beads of sweat, to do my half hour upper body strength training. I did Yoga To Feel Your Best and then my day 24 practice – Balance…and balance I certainly did! For someone with a slightly iffy balance function I didn’t do too badly in the held poses and noticed that the tightness in my left adductor had disappeared…fingers crossed it now stays that way.
I was more than a little apprehensive about going to work, I worried (unnecessarily) that something would be said about how emotional I’d been the day before…that sympathy would be given where I just needed normality. Instead we got stuck into the day and before I knew it, it was nearly noon. I’d offered to do a piece of extra work to help out and between it, and a few phone calls, I never got my main task done and had to hand it over before I left. My ambition is that next week I’ll do better!
This was the first day that I’d had no discomfort after eating and my stomach felt less sore, no longer as bloated. I popped out late afternoon to the Bird Cafe at the Riverside Herb Centre just up the road, and celebrated with a cappuccino while watching the birds.
Saturday – My recovery plan said run for 1.5hrs and I awoke positivity bursting to get outside and run, I was sensible and had a light breakfast first given the time I would be on my feet. I made sure to only have porridge – with no fruit, incase it aggravated my GI tract as I ran. It was supposed to be raining and cooler but I realised quite quickly after leaving the house, it wasn’t either! Although I had no discomfort anywhere I felt slow and sluggish. I pushed myself to run a little faster and harder…and I neither should have or needed to. I’d run at my usual long distance pace and should really have gone a minute to two minutes per kilometre slower to aide my recovery. Thankfully my legs felt good throughout and at the end I felt like I could have kept going, both huge positives.
Once home and recovered I changed quickly and left to meet my friend in the City.
Over a lovely brunch, prosecco and good few coffees we celebrated my engagement, my end of treatment, Ultra and us just being us inspite of all life throws at us…we had a lovely time before heading off home in the rain.
The house felt thankfully a lot cooler on getting back than it had the last few days. I took advantage and grabbed my mat for day 25 of my yoga practice…quite aptly titled Alive – and that’s how I felt and was grateful for. Seeing my friend and knowing she was okay had lifted my spirits as much as my earlier run. Plus made me feel calmer, more positive and grateful.
My letter has come to make an appointment for my MRI check, thankfully I can schedule it myself and so can arrange it for one afternoon after work. I’d worried that they’d only give me a yearly mammogram, I know from last year that due to my age my breast tissue is too dense for them to be able to see into my tissue clearly. An MRI will give a true clear picture of my breast tissue, honestly that fills me with more confidence…if there is anything there they’ll most definitely see it.
Sunday – It’s raining, intense rhythmic rain. I can feel a cool breeze and now and then there’s a distance rumble of thunder…good weather for ducks – and they can enjoy it alone. It’s my rest day and I intend it be busy doing nothing!