Tag Archives: recovery

Back to the start

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The most common question I get asked is, “How did you get started?”.

Now, I know they’re not asking questions regarding how I was conceived because god knows I don’t want to discuss or imagine this. No, generally this question is asked when people see photos like this:

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Undesirable No. 1 

As an aside, people look at me fitting into one leg of my jeans or shorts or in this case, jean shorts, and comment that I’m half the size. In terms of weight loss, no. I’ve now officially lost over a third of my body weight. So I’m not half the size. Or half the person. Maybe that’s my brain being factual, or maybe it is the actual facts in answer to a statement where I have missed the point. Anything is possible. But my money would be on the latter option.

Anyway, how did I get started?

For me, the answer is this: Find a reason.

It needs to be a good one. An overarching reason. A reason that will make you tie your shoe laces and go, even when it’s cold or you’re sad or too busy or too stressed. It has to be a big reason, a reason that resonates with the core of your being and your will.

Nudging obesity related health conditions was not a big enough reason.

Being in constant pain was not a big enough reason.

Slow, unfit, hugely overweight: not big enough reasons, not for me.

Hating my body, and myself for what I’d let it become? Still not there.

Because all of these reasons, which are good reasons, weren’t enough for me to act.

For me, the big enough reason happened 14 years ago. But I didn’t turn it into a reason until July of 2015. Almost two years ago. So it took twelve years to realise the reason was there. It also took a considerable mind shift.

14 years ago, my mum died very suddenly.

She had some health issues, and was overweight.

There are things I won’t ever forget from the night she died.

It’s easy and natural to be stuck in grief.

But the thing is, I knew I was heading down a path to recreate this moment for my people. I was barrelling down the road that was going to put my people through the same thing. And when I looked at them and thought about them, I couldn’t understand why I would put them through that. For some of them, it would be the second time they would have to confront these experiences.

And so that cloak of mourning and grief had to be changed.

It became the hand on my back, pushing me forwards. It became the reminder on to the too cold too tired too hard days. It became the furnace that rose up from the pit of my belly and told me I could do this. It became the momentum behind my walking and running, the power in my weight lifting, the reason to scan my gym card or to sign up for yet another fun run.

When I hit the 50kg gone point, my aunt told me that I had realised mum’s goal.

And as my health improved, as well as my fitness, I had realised my own.

I’ve dodged a bullet, not only for myself but also for my people. And it comes down to that reason.

Essentially, my reason was love.

My reason was about changing the way that most painful moment changed my life. It took 12 years to get there, fortunately that was OK. But I don’t know how much time there was going to be to find that reason. I have no idea where I would have been today if I hadn’t started.

It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s something I know, though:

If you find a reason – and it must be a big one – then you’ve started. From there, it’s about moving. Find something you’ve enjoyed in the past. Walking? Swimming? Skipping? Set those beginning goals low. Walk to the mailbox and back each day. Walk in water if you’re sore. It’s not about speed, because you’re not racing anyone. It’s not about distance, because even marathon runners start small.

It’s just about starting.

And then remembering why you started.

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I won’t ever stop wanting my mum back. But I also know that the last thing she ever gave me was the power to save my life.

Which seems fitting, given she gave me that life in the first place.

 

Just an update

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Today is Friday.

Actually, no, no it’s not, it’s Thursday. Sorry about that.

All week there has been social media and news reports and updates about that tragedy on the Gold Coast, at one of the theme parks. Four people died. Tragic, yes. But do we really need all the updates every half an hour? And the recordings of people who were there and the people who say it’s in bad taste that they could still buy their souvenir photos from other rides and the people that say they were on that ride once many years ago and oh my god it could have been us? Something like this happens and the attention whores come out to play don’t they. I’m looking at you, Mamamia. I’m not downplaying the tragedy, or the heart-wrenching world the families are now living in. But god, when did it become so vital that we knew every single detail about every single event?

My memory of this particular theme park? About four years ago we went there, beloved and I and the Bear and her mini-me and beloved’s kids and one of their friends. And I was too fat to fit on the first ride I tried to go on, so then I was too scared to try to get on any more after that.

I would fit on the rides now. But to be honest I don’t know if I want to go back there. That extremely overweight, morbidly obese fat person mentality is really hard to change, to realise that I don’t need to hang on to it and wear it like a coat of distancing from the world anymore.

I haven’t seen a lot of writings about how to recover from what I am affectionately naming “Fat Head”. It’s a brain space, that I believe anyone who has been significantly overweight learns. The mentality of automatically grabbing the absolute biggest sizes in clothing stores. Of walking straight past the majority of retailers because you still assume there’s no way their clothes would fit you. Of sitting carefully on fold out chairs, in case you flatten them, of coming up with reasons not to sit at all in case you flatten chairs. Of realising that the foibles you have long focused on – gut, arms, arse – that they’re becoming less of a problem, but you just can’t see it. You just can’t see it.

You just can’t see it.

So I’ve decided I’m going to do some exploring into this Fat Head thing. What it is, how it gets there, and how to change it. Not today, I have other shit to do, but soon.

What is driving this for me is the sheer frustration I cause myself. I spend so much time thinking I can’t do things. But I actually can now. I can.

This photo is the most recent update. The left is last Friday night, before I disgraced myself at a local bar thanks to a steady stream of cocktails. The right? About 4 years ago.

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I feel so sad when I look at the girl on the right. She has the same brain as me. The same musical talent. The same heart, the same attitudes. She treats people well. She cares for others. She loves long and hard and is devastated when she sees people feeling hurt or sad, and tries to fix it. She loves animals and the quirks in life. She laughs, and means it from the pit of her belly.

But she’s a before photo, and she didn’t even know it at the time. Maybe learning to love that girl on the right is at the beginning of unravelling Fat Head.

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I’m not where I want to be yet, in terms of weight loss. But I’m getting closer each day.

But essentially, this is just an update.

Do you know what I mean by Fat Head? Have you experienced it?

 

 

Two

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Two years ago, I was waiting.

The surgeon was running late.

I got a call from my sister, who was quite worried about things.

Beloved was by my side, the queen of my army of supporters.

And we waited.

Finally, I got wheeled off to surgery.

Drifted off to sleep, and woke up with a brand new ankle.

The original injury happened around seven years earlier: I’d fallen down a flight of stairs, severing the ligaments that support my ankle and gravelling off the end of one of the bones. The surgeon I had to see at the time looked at my body, looked at the xrays, and said (and I’ll never ever forget this) “If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not”.

So, for the next seven years, I broke my ankle. Again and again. Or twisted it. Or sprained it. And it got worse and worse.

Then I saw another surgeon.

This man, he became one of my heroes.

He took one look at my ankle, gave it a tug and watched how that pull had no end point except for when my skin got too tight.

He told me how he would fix it, and when.

On surgery day, he was running late.

So two years ago, I was waiting.

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I didn’t know it then, but that surgery saved my life. It certainly altered the path of my life. It took another surgery on my calf, a procedure on my Achilles and a shit load of physio to get me walking correctly again.

Exactly twelve months after I took my first steps, I did my first fun run. The Variety Santa Fun Run, raising money for the Variety children’s charity. I got slightly lost on the course and did an extra kilometre, but I did it.

Since then, I’ve done at least one fun run a month. I’m not sure on what the final tally is, but I’ve collected a swag of finisher medals and shirts and bibs.

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So far this year, according to the app I use, I’ve clocked up almost 800km. Just me and that repaired foot. And I still, still, get that buzz of joy every single time I start.

It’s not until you’ve been unable to do something for so long that you realise how much you love it. Love the freedom that being functional offers. Love the sense of achievement that one step after another brings. It’s been hard though. Realising that the barrier that I had for so many years no longer exists.

It’s so hard to explain, the fullness of the emotions that surround this day. Grief, for the years spent just… unable. The joy at these new days – and yes, even after two years, they’re still new days. The sheer amount of time I lost, not able to do stuff. The things I avoided. But now, the almost daily surprises I get when I do something that I couldn’t do. Or when I jump on and off beloved’s truck tray, then realise that I stuck the landing.

I stick the landings now.

In November, I’ll be back where I started with these fun runs. To finish off the year of fun runs, I’m taking on the Variety Fun Run again. I’d love it if you could throw in a buck or two, to help Variety help kids in need. Here’s the link for my profile.

It’s funny. It’s joyful, but it really is a sense of sadness about those years spent thinking that the first surgeon was correct; that I didn’t need or deserve surgery because of my body shape.

Well. I’ve fucking shown him.

But I know, without doubt, that I couldn’t have done it without that new surgeon, beloved and my beautiful army of supporters.

Thank you.

 

Dashing

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It’s taken a week to write this post, I’m not too sure what the hold up was about – I had a ripper of an earache, things went slightly batshit busy, and any time I had to sit and write turned into time to sit and do nothing. But here it is.

On Sunday, I did the Dungog Dash with beloved and my sister.

This year has been the year of the fun run/walk. It started back in December, with the Santa Fun Run, and will end at the same event this year. I basically decided to pick the thing that was scariest, then do it over and over again until I convinced myself that I could. And it worked, and more than that, I’ve discovered that I love it.

Dungog was slightly different to the events I’ve done so far, it turns out. What attracted me to this event was a) it was helping out a community that was devastated by an East Coast Low last year, and b) it was open for dogs to participate. We didn’t take our furries, but I got to see SO MANY DOGS. Heart warmer, right there.

The problem was that I got slightly confused and registered beloved and myself as dogs. It was going to be a very long 6km on our hands and knees, but I was more concerned with the bum sniffing that seems to be the standard way dogs greet each other. It was an easy fix but we were slightly worried about completing the course when there were so many trees that needed to be weed upon.

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Ready to go. Completely not dogs.

So the other thing about the Dungog Dash is that it’s cross country. I had absolutely NO IDEA it was a cross country event. Until now I had always done walks and runs that were on clear pathways – a lasting caution from the ankle reconstruction. But, onwards we go.

The first hill was enormous. But the dogs could do it, which meant I could do it too. With beloved beside me and my sister powering on ahead, we climbed that first hill. And it went on and on and on.

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The first hill.

What could have been a challenge too great turned out to be a beautiful morning walking through some amazing scenery. And with every single step, I realised that I wasn’t having to second guess where my feet went. I was able to walk and leap and run and jump and climb and skid and just do it without having to think about safer ways to do things. I am never ever taking the ability to move and do stuff for granted, not ever. It’s not a perfect ankle but I can do more than I have been able to do in years and years. And I love it.

All was well until we started going down the last hill. By this stage lots of people had gone before us, so the track through the grass and mud was well worn. I was having a panic because this part of the track wasn’t clearly marked, and as I do when I am in panic mode, I turned my ears off.

If I had turned them on, I would have heard beloved tell me to watch where I put my feet at the bottom of the hill.

If I had listened to her, I would have avoided this:

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Mud butt

Truthfully, that landing on my arse knocked the panic out of me and as I jumped to my feet, I looked at beloved who was trying desperately not to laugh. I took her hand and together we walked to the finish line.

The Dungog Dash was brilliant. Beloved and my sister loved it, too.

Even though it was more than I thought I could do. Even though panic set in. Even though it pushed my understanding of what my ankle could do. Even though it took two washes to get the mud out of my tights.

It was brilliant.

Knock Down

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I had great plans for weekend that was. It culminated in my third fun run for May, the Maitland River Run. It was a smaller event but I’d been looking forward to it.

When I arrived I had to go and collect my bib, and was given this plastic little chip thing. It had holes in it so I assumed it was to be pinned to my shirt with the bib, which I did. I wasn’t too sure where everyone else had pinned their chip, nobody else seemed to have it hanging from the outside of their bib – maybe it goes under? Anyway. I sat in the sun trying desperately to get warm – these winter mornings have surprised me for the 38th year IN A ROW now. As I sat I watched two men squat down together, surprisingly tying their shoes at the same time. Maybe it was some pre-race routine or maybe it was an official event? No idea. I watched with interest and then realised what they were doing.

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As I tried to unpin my chip subtly and then transfer it to my shoelaces like everyone else had already done, I had a moment of realising the variety of the people around me. Kids, adults, young, old, runners, walkers – and me. I didn’t hear any grouching or grumping or judging or tantrums (my own would come later – wait for it!). People who get outside and do stuff – they’re a good group of people to be around. I’m too shy socially awkward to have actually engaged anyone in conversation, but I did some smiling, which entertains me – to the uninitiated, we must look so strange baring our teeth at each other by way of greeting.

It was a 4km course that I was about to trot along. It was after about 1.5km that the shit hit the fan. I run down a hill that landed me close to the Maitland River. The air coming off that river was cold. Cold enough that my lungs felt like they shut up shop and were trying to exit via my mouth. I tried to breathe in but everything was closed. Damn you, asthma.

I managed to get myself to the drinks area, (about the 2km mark) where I choked out that I needed a Ventolin. Now, before you raise your arms in horror that I would run without my Ventolin, let me enlighten you as to my reasoning:

  1. I have done many fun runs and completed hours and hours of both gym workouts and out and about workouts now, never needing asthma relievers while on the course.
  2. I have an asthma management plan, which I follow, because asthma needs to be managed. You cannot muck around with asthma.
  3. I had not had any flare ups of asthma recently (thanks to my plan).
  4. Just 4 days prior, my GP had checked my lungs and proclaimed them to be crystal clear.

There was nothing – nothing – that raised alarms bells for me that this was going to happen. However, I have learned that in Winter, I need to carry a Ventolin with me while I am doing physical stuff outside.

So there I am at the drinks area, 2km away from the finish line, trying desperately to breathe while at the same time telling myself that if I give way to the tears that are threatening, my breathing will get a hundred times worse. I can’t recall all of the events because I was focusing so much on getting air. But a medic man arrived after what felt like a lifetime, and after about 20 minutes all was well.

I didn’t finish the run.

And I can’t tell you how hard that has slugged me.

It feels almost like my lungs turned to face me and delivered a stern “You cannot do this” lecture. Beloved tells me it’s how you get back up after a knock down which is important, not the actual knock down. But to have been working my arse off for the last ten months to still not be “good enough” – well.

It’s been a rough few days.

But I have another run booked for June. My asthma is back under control, mostly. A couple more days will see it right.

Just one of those things, I guess.

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Superhero Stride

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So now that beloved’s foot is on the mend, she’s started to join me on different walks. A few weeks ago she came along with me for the Mother’s Day Classic, and this weekend just gone we both did the Superhero Stride.

This one was to raise money for the rescue chopper. An important cause, one we both wanted to get behind. Because when you’re in an horrific accident, you need some angel to drop from the sky, get you stable and then whisk you off to hospital. We’ve both known people who have needed the rescue chopper, and recently the man friend of someone very dear to us was helped by these folks. So yes, we were absolutely in.

The thing about fun runs, or walks, is that generally they are being held for a particular reason. Usually to try to raise money or awareness regarding something specific. Now, because I am trying to do at least one a month (I’m doing three this month!), I tend to pick and choose which ones I actually try to drum up donations for. My entry fee usually goes to the cause, so I know I have already done my bit. And let’s face it. Cash is scarce and times are pretty damn tough. For me, the doing of fun runs is often more about breaking down that barrier of feeling like I’m too fat or too unfit for this kind of thing. Because I’m not. Not either of those things. If you can propel yourself in a forwards fashion for the distance, you’ll be fine. In fact even if you can’t do the full distance you’ll be fine. Just turn around when you’re feeling halfway finished.

It’s been peculiar. So much of the last 9 months has been more about discovering what I can do, after spending so many years very much aware of everything I couldn’t do. So every time I do something new, I get this little surge of bubbly pride. It’s quite nice really. Sometimes it feels like trapped wind, but mostly it’s quite nice.

One of the more annoying things I can do now is feel cold. I never realised how cold weather could get. Who knew my insulation was being so helpful? Certainly not me.

Anyway, anyway, the Superhero Stride.

It was a dress-up occasion, which I was thrilled about. I love love love dress ups!! SO MUCH FUN.

So here’s us. At the Newcastle Superhero Stride.

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Can you tell who we are?

Here’s a hint:

 

Sticks and Stones

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“See that lady there? She looks like she has a baby inside her”.

“I’m sorry, we can’t cater for you here”.

“You might not fit”.

“I always thought fat people would smell. You know, because of the rolls you all have”.

Before I moved to Newcastle, I loved the gym. Particularly weight training. Loved it. It was my happy place.

Not long after I moved here, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was carted away from work in an ambulance, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables wedged against the tennis ball of swelling that had appeared where my ankle used to be. I remember those vegetables, because they were the fresh cut stir fry vegetables that you could buy at supermarkets – not the ones from the frozen section – and I was wondering the whole way to hospital about how the client I was seeing was going to defrost them when they hadn’t been snap frozen.

It’s funny, the things that stick in your head.

At the hospital I had xrays. I was given one of those green whistles to suck on for the pain. Man I loved that stick. Made me feel so floaty and happy. And every it looked like I was going to come back to earth and the reality that my foot was fucked, I just took another suck of that whistle and all was well once again.

Except it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

I’d broken the edges off one bone, and severed ligaments and other bits and pieces. Funnily enough the doctor at the hospital told me it was a sprain and that I could start walking on it again by Friday (this happened on a Wednesday). My flatmate (who isn’t my flatmate any more) was with me, and was most unimpressed. We came home and I used that green whistle to help me deal with the pain of crawling up three flights of stairs to our apartment. Meanwhile she organised for me to go to one of those McDoctor places that have xray on site. We fronted up there and had more scans done, and I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. The next few weeks were a jumble of scans and MRIs and second opinions and Work Cover and phone calls. I finally got to the surgeon, a couple of weeks after the accident, and this was his verdict:

“If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not. So I won’t”.

And so began seven long years. I didn’t need surgery apparently, so I had to just make the best of things. Every one of those seven years saw me either rebreak or fracture or severely sprain that ankle, at least once. Because I was in pretty constant pain, the way I walked changed. I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t do much of anything.

One of the results of this was weight gain. A shit ton of it.

Fast forward seven years, and beloved and I are on a cruise. Our first big holiday together, just the two of us. Night three, and I stumbled in the hallway and went down like a sack of potatoes. Snap snap snap went my ankle.

When you can’t go on holidays without busting your ankle, it’s time to act.

I saw a different foot surgeon. He looked at my foot very briefly and had me booked in for a reconstruction within a month or so. He saved my life. He really, really did.

The reconstruction was followed by a procedure to correct an issue that had developed on my other leg due to the way I had been walking. And again, a further procedure to try to rebuild the Achilles on that leg. This was the result of walking badly for seven years. Through all of this, physio. Practice. Listening, watching, applying. Through all this, beloved. Watching, supporting, helping. Loving.

Exactly 12 months after I relearned how to walk, I completed my first fun run.

Today I smashed a new record (for me) on the treadmill.

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Will I ever have feet that are 100%? Nope.

Will I ever be a teeny tiny size 8? Nope. Do I want to be? No, actually.

I want to be fit. Healthy. Strong. And I’m doing it.

But those words that I started this post with, they still sting. With over 30 kg gone, it’s hard for my brain to remember what my body is like now. I still walk around braced for nasty comments or observations from the peanut gallery of life because of my size. I still go straight to the biggest sizes available.

But I’m recovering. And again, relearning. I bought size 16 gym tights last week. 16!!

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I’ve got big plans to use this journey (isn’t that a terrible word) to help other people, but I am a little to shy to share those plans on a public forum just yet.

But for now, I am doing it.

If you are someone who would pass comment on another person’s weight or size, please stop. You have absolutely no idea of their back story. And your words will stick for a long time.

But they won’t break a spirit that has a goal.

 

Lucked Up

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I got dressed for the gym today then immediately got changed. I wanted to go to the gym but my head is so bleark at the moment. Very frustrating battle of wills occurring regularly. But I thought to myself, I won’t let it beat me – I’ll go out and finish some Christmas shopping.

Because that will help.

Doing battle with crowds.

Parking wars.

Trolleys.

Six seater strollers blocking aisles.

But I persisted.

I was in Big W for about 5 minutes, hunting everywhere for stockings. The kind that you wear on your legs, I’m not sure why people wear stockings, I used to wear them for school and have holes in them by recess. Anyway I needed them for a game at Cubs on Monday night. Logic told me they would be in the underwear section. Near the socks, I reasoned.

But there were no socks in the underwear section.

I was close to losing my shit when I heard a voice say “Some people are so fucking rude!”. I turned around and saw a friend of mine with her two kids, both sporting massive grins because Skunk (they’re two of my Cubs) didn’t spot them. We made plans to grab a coffee then went on to finish shopping.

It turns out that Big W now has their socks near the shoes, and the stockings are indeed with the socks.

I then met up with my friend with a coffee in tow, and promptly got shat upon by a bird.

Now, apparently this is good luck. I have a feeling that the person who deemed a head full of bird shit ‘good luck’ is also the same tool who suggested that it is good luck if it rains on your wedding day. After encouraging me to buy a lottery ticket, my friend wiped the shit out of my hair.

I drove home, returned to my funk of a mood. I don’t know what is going on in my head but it isn’t nice there at the moment.

Yesterday, beloved and I were driving somewhere, and a 4WD pulled out in front of us. In my panic and fright I wanted to get out of the car. And I was rude to my beautiful beloved. And I felt like a total bitch of a person. I apologised and bawled and tried to explain that I don’t know what’s wrong with me but something is wrong. But I don’t know what – just that horrible anxious feeling that fills my head with a sense of doom.

When we got home, beloved stopped me and said, “Instead of thinking about what is wrong, let’s say a few things that aren’t wrong: It isn’t you. You’re not wrong. You’re OK. This stuff is just external.”.

She’s the best ever.

On my way home, one of my favourite songs came on the radio. It’s kind of like a unicorn, I hear it really rarely but when I do it fills me up with hope. So I kept on driving, so that I could hear all of it. And I sang badly and loudly and just drove, swallowed up in the bath of music and splashing around in it, letting it wash away all the shit in my brain.

And it helped.

Then I went home and did the same thing, but in a shower, and removed the actual shit from my hair.

Swings and roundabouts.

Logic.

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Often over-rated and seldom to visit the Naughty Corner, I am giving myself a firm dose of logic today.

It is the eve of my first fun run.

To say I am shitting myself is putting it mildly.

So I thought I would try to logic my way through this one.

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Variety Santa Fun Run. Yes, I do have to wear a Santa suit.

1. What if I can’t do it?

Oh, please. You do this distance every day on the treadmill and follow it up with the rower or the bike. You can do it.

2. What if I get flies on me?

You probably will. But you can douse your shirt in that stuff that keeps the little buggers away and is meant to have no smell but really smells like death. Problem not solved, but definitely decreased. Besides, if you have flies on you then so does everyone else.

3. What if I come last?

Shut up. Last year you were learning how to walk. You’re doing it, aren’t you? Fuck it.

4. What if people laugh at me?

See the answer the question 3.

5. What if people notice me and think I’m crap?

If people notice you they’ll probably just think, “Good on her!”. I mean, really. Are you going to be doing it and judging everyone you pass? No. That’s right. So you’ll be fine.  And I know you think differently but you’re good at being decent to other people. So don’t worry.

6. What if people make jokes about my belly making me look like Santa.

Those people are dicks, don’t listen. Besides they should have seen you 20 odd kilograms ago. Fuck that.

7. What if I hurt myself?

What if you don’t? Besides there will be first aid tents, they would have made sure the course was flat and safe. And you don’t fall down now. Your ankle is fixed.

8. What if I can’t run?

Then you’ll walk. Plus, see the answer to question 3.

Ultimately, you will be fine and you will finish it and you will piss it in. Honestly. And it is less about the time and the speed and more about getting this first one out of the way. Then you’ve done one. You’ve done one! Besides, you’ve raised money for Variety (if people want to donate they can do it here), and you know what? There probably won’t be many other people there who have learnt to walk in the last 12 months. That’s you. This time last year, this was you:

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Fresh out of the brace.

This is you now.

You run. You walk. You do stupid heavy weights. You row, you bike, you run up and down stairs. You’ve been training hard for the last 3 months. You have an army of people who are backing you all the way. You’ll be wearing Bessie, you’ll look as silly as everyone else in a beard and hat.

And you’ll do it.

 

The slab of meat

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I went to a social thing with a group of friends. Most I knew quite well, some were acquaintances and others were new to me. One of them greeted me with, “So how are your surgeries going?” and in that instant I felt like I lost my humanity. In my head I became a slab of meat, full of stitches and scars and procedures. I ceased being about my music and my writing and my volunteer work, and the passions and preferences that ignite my creativity and my individuality, and I became a slab of meat.

I am the first to admit that I have had a rotten run of things. Not a single person in the world goes in to surgery lightly, and when it has to happen again and again, you can safely assume that this isn’t something that person is choosing as a new hobby. It isn’t a recreational pastime or an adventure sport. It’s more likely to be shitty and confronting and scary, with no real secure promise of what the result is going to be.

In the midst of all of this, it is easy to forget the person inside the body that is being cut open – it is easy to forget that they are there.

Earlier this year I had a “discussion” with my GP about this. I told her that I felt like I couldn’t plan anything because I didn’t know what part of my body was going to let me down next. We talked about different things that could be causing this, we talked about broken mirrors and rotten luck. We talked about the things I had wanted to achieve this year, and the different barriers that had arise, changing those goals. We talked about the things that could help, if not maintain health then at least give me a better chance to get through shit as it arises.

I went to my car and bawled my eyes out.

In my head I physically couldn’t go to the gym or get active enough to lose weight, which would be extremely helpful when it came to my physical health. Even eating properly was a challenge because the simple fact is that beloved and I already were eating very healthily.

Then I remembered those words. “How are all your surgeries going?”

I don’t want to be the sum total of scars and repairs.

So I joined a gym a couple of months ago. I figured I could at least sit on a bike and pedal. And I could, and I could do the treadmill and the cross trainer, too. And weights!! God, I forgot how much I love doing weights. You see I have in the past been a gym person –  before I moved up here. And it was some of the best times ever. I stopped when I busted my ankle. But my ankle is fixed now. So off I went.

Since then, I’ve dropped 10kg.

There’s a shitload more to go, I know that. And life has indeed reared up and given me another kick. But fuck it. I kick back now. I kick back.

I’ve set myself the goal of doing a 6km mud run next march. I can’t wait. It’s going to be fantastic.

I am not just a slab of meat connected by scars and stitches.

I am a person with goals and dreams and passions and people of the highest quality around her.

I am a human being and I am turning this shit around.

I am a human being.

I am a human.