I know it feels like eons since I last posted but I for once can honestly say it’s not all due to me being lazy.. (maybe a little). I have had some of the most wonderful times over the last few months, kept myself busy and started to tick things off my (pretty extensive) bucket list.
I travelled to Morocco and Portugal with my beautiful friends, completed the Race for Life, spent days out with friends and had numerous ‘sleepovers’ (yeah I feel like I’m making time for all I lost out on as a child). I got to spend all the time in the world with my family and most importantly restarted my final year (yipppee). Finally, my life seems to be moving forward, and as scary as it may seem I just think back to this time last year and never would have imagined in a million years this would be where I am. The holidays were the best break ever, although I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, and ended up getting a little sick, I had so much fun and laughed so much that I’m certain I could be heard from here. And hey, what better bunch of people to go on holiday with than qualified doctors?! I know it was definitely a comfort for my family knowing that, and the lovely bunch also stopped me ‘forgetting’ to take my meds. Nothing, and I mean nothing at all beats travelling!!! It has become my number one thing to do, and it’s no surprise that I’m already on to planning the next.
Managing to complete the Race for Life was an enormous achievement for me, for a start raising money for a cause so close to my heart was great enough in itself, but knowing in my heart that I had managed to do it was a whole other accomplishment. I recall back to just a mere year ago when I could hardly walk a few metres, climb the stairs or even have a shower without getting breathless, managing to take a walk in town without having to make a few stops were challenges alone that managing 5K was pretty much out of the question. But I promised myself, and over the months I trained and I got my fitness back up and I could literally see my stamina building before my eyes; and with my sisters I managed to get through the day. It’s a truly beautiful thing what the human body can achieve, how it can be completely broken down but manage to rebuild itself to a working, functioning, almost ‘normal’ state.
Over the last few weeks though my life seems to have slowed a little, I’ve backtracked somewhat and felt weaker than I was mentally, emotionally and physically. Headaches, feeling low in mood, and sleeping all the time blah blah blah you know how it goes! I ended up being in and out of hospital, blood tests, a CT scan, a lumbar puncture, and it shocked me how I was hardly phased by it, it’s like this is part of my normal life now. To top it off my neutrophils – the infection fighting cells, dipped over the last few weeks (I like to call this being neuty, yes I make up my own words most of the time) – this meant me not being able to start my next placement, and the time I spent wallowing in myself seems to have increased. Anxiety has always been my biggest downfall, I’ve suffered forever from it (anyone with a magical cure please contact me – I’ll pay you!) heartache, being let down or hurt has such a overly tremendous effect that I end up stuck in a rut and always thinking the worst – and then comes the dreaded snowball effect. I get anxious about my own abilities, by what others think, I’ll spend hours, if not days dwelling. I’d already set myself up being nervous about restarting placements out of fear that my knowledge wasn’t up to scratch or my consultants wouldn’t be happy with my progress, and then what if I can’t carry on and I can’t finish my degree, what will I do with my life, how can I start all over again? (See what I mean about snowballing??) So not being able to start placement properly came as a bit of a blow. I was looking forward to having a proper routine, keeping me and my mind busy and quite honestly I didn’t prepare myself properly for the potential little hurdles that could come my way.. It’s pretty much a waiting game now. Waiting for my body to start being my friend again, and let me get through this blooming year!!!! Although I guess being around sick patients at the moment when I have next to none white blood cells would be the cherry on top of the bloody cake. There is however one small plus side, which is probably wrong on so many levels, but I can atleast use my low counts to my advantage – e.g. don’t be mean my neutrophils are low. It works 80% of the time, but everyone’s getting used to it now so I’ll have to think up something new.
Today I came to the realisation that self criticism has always been a really (BAD) habit of mine – I have friends, and family constantly telling me to be a little easier on myself, to calm down, relax, to not expect too much of myself, especially now having been through so much. When I restarted uni, on my placements my tutors congratulated me, telling me it’s so good that I’ve come back after a tough time – I didn’t quite get it at first, because it was like well yeah, of course I was going to come back what else am I going to do? that I almost ended up undermining myself. But today, after having a much needed talk from a wonderful friend (I love you Reena!!), a lightbulb seemed to go off in my head about how I’m giving myself no credit whatsoever. She gave me a simple piece of advice and told me to sit down and make a list of everything I have overcome, all the hurdles, all the bad times, and how regardless of what state I was in, I managed to get through it. The first thing that cropped into my mind was losing my mum, never did I ever think I would get through it and by that I don’t mean ‘get over it’ – instead come to terms with the reality and learn to accept. So today I sat down and wrote a list of my ‘hurdles’ that I have overcome, the achievements I’ve made – some bits made me laugh and some cry, but now I feel angry with myself for sitting there, moaning and always saying to my family and friends, I’m 26 I’ve done nothing with my life – still no degree no job and alone. All of us tend to do this, we are our own worst enemies at times and taking ten minutes out of your day to make a list of your own achievements to show you your own strength and resilience will if anything, be an eye opener. So I say do it! Nothing bad comes from seeing how far we’ve come and what truly matters to us at this present moment.
Now my body may feel like my enemy at times, but maybe its a sign to slow down and not rush into things – after all as they say, its a marathon, not a sprint. What’s important to remember, in particular for myself is I always thought there would be an end to this journey, partly because I focused on the illness itself as being the big picture. But no, this was just a mere blip along the way, I’m still on my journey, and this brief setback will only take up a small chapter in my book. I recall back to one of my previous posts, talking about Bilbo off on his journey in The Hobbit (yes I watched it again for the 6th time last week) and how he wasn’t sure if he’d return – the important part to remember is when we do return what kind of person will we be. At that time I wasn’t sure what version of me would come out of this side of the tunnel, and I’m still not sure.. I’d say I’m still a work in progress!! Can you believe it I have just over a year of treatment left inshAllah?! After that I will be a freeeee women with crazy ass long hair, yes indeed. Speaking of which, I’ve been recording my own little hair growth journey and can I just say people – don’t take your hair for granted, my wannabe afro literally has a mind of its own, and any tips to regrow my mane will be greatly appreciated! Currently resigning myself to the fact that I look like a little curly haired school girl/boy.
I always seem to disregard this bit but thank you to all of you who take time out to read this, I know its mostly my own ramblings of my life but I love how we can always learn things and intertwine other peoples experiences into our own. In this case, to end all I will say is God gave me everything I could have asked for, the love, support and the strengthening of friendships and bonds almost makes this whole ordeal worth it. For now, I promise to concentrate on just me, the hurdle ahead, and the people constantly by my side who I owe everything to.
So like the title says, never let a stumble be the end of your journey 🙂
If this is your first visit, please do check out my previous posts, if anything, me droning on might just be a good way to put yourself to sleep.