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Bilbo's Journey

Day 371: Taking Back Control

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A fresh start, a new season a new beginning…

The last couple of weeks have been challenging. But this post is all about how i’m taking back control. It isn’t all about cancer it is all about ME!

Losing Control

You can really only think about taking back control if you’ve lost it…and over the last couple of weeks I really have lost it. To be honest i’ve not been in control since diagnosis day.

If you talk to any cancer family they will take about feeling a lack of control. And from the moment you get told your child has cancer you are at the whim of the type of cancer, the treatment protocol, the side effects and everything else inbetween.

And over the last year i’ve slowly lost control over taking care of my own needs. I’ve tried really hard. And there have been plenty of moments where i’ve called time or asked for help. But i’ve not been exercising, i’ve not being eating well.

You can’t pour from an empty cup and my cup is well and truly empty.

Self Care

As soon as Bilbo was diagnosed everyone was telling me to make sure I took time for self care. And I agreed, I nodded along with them saying “oh yeah i’m making sure i’m OK” “Of course i’m looking after myself” “we’ve ordered Hello Fresh” etc.

And to be honest that isn’t a complete lie. I also wrote this blog – it helped.

But what I didn’t do was take control of looking after my body and my mind. I haven’t exercised properly since March and even that was just two jogs around the block and a few sessions of Joe Wicks HIIT workouts.

I’ve been on and off slimming world but haven’t really given it 100% and over the last year i’ve put on weight and generally feel pretty crap about myself.

Hitting Rock Bottom

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I posted this on Mental Health Awareness Day 4 weeks ago: Today I’m smiling but this year has been the toughest of my life and the first time I’ve truly understood what it has meant to suffer with mental health. I’ve been in some dark places, I’ve suffered anxiety, panic attacks and the most debilitating part of has been the fog, it has twisted its way around me, intruded into my daily life and made everything a little harder, a little darker and has taken me to places I hope I never have to revisit! BUT I survived – I did so because of the support network I have. Because of the people in my life who care and get it! I’m also blessed with the most unbelievably compassionate husband, partner and father to my children! I truly couldn’t have made it through the last 12 months without him! People talk about being blessed I am! My friends and family also know I’m strong, I’m tough, I’m a warrior! Most of the time I am – but I’m able to be all of this because one man is behind me, every single step of the way. When I’m lost he’s there, when I’m falling apart he’s there! I’m grateful every single day for his existence, his love and his support!

It wasn’t just one thing that contributed to me feeling like i’d hit rock bottom. It was an overwhelming mountain of things that were contributing to reaching that point.

I was starting to feel like the noise in my head from everything was starting to drown out everything else. There were lots of people telling me to get counselling.

And I knew I had finally lost the plot when I discovered a small lump under my rib. I was at the gym which is in the building next to my doctors surgery. My eyes were filling with tears as I rushed into the reception and when I was told it would be a week for an appointment I broke…the poor woman on reception took pity on me and found me an appointment the following day.

Taking Back Control

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In the doctors surgery everything came gushing out. My sentences didn’t make sense I don’t think the doctor knew where to start with me. As I finally took breath to ask for some tissues she started to unpick what I had shared with her.

Firstly the lump was nothing to be concerned about – yey. But then what happened next made me really mad. She told me she wanted to write me a prescription. She didn’t ask me if I was speaking to anyone, what my support network was like, was I exercising, how was my diet? She didn’t suggest training my mind to deal with the noise…she just wanted to write me up a prescription and send me on my way.

It was in that surgery that my anger, became clarity. And I felt the best i’d felt in weeks. I declined the drugs. Apologised profusely for wasting her time and walked out determined to make a change, determined that taking back control was the better outcome for me.

Support Network

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Enjoying the fresh air, stomping around the woods to celebrate Rich’s birthday.

I don’t need drugs because I realise I have people on “Team England” rooting for me. I have colleagues who’ve sent me books they think will help with my anxiety (they have).

I have friends in foreign countries who’ve made recommendations about techniques that have worked for them when they’ve suffered from anxiety and those chats have made me feel better and given me clarity.

I’ve got family who want to support me if I need to go and seek professional help.

I have colleagues and friends who are willing to listen to me day and night. And want to help me feel better.

But what i’ve come to realise is that the only person holding me back is ME.

A New Challenge

And so I think the worlds seemed to collide to bring me an opportunity to break the cycle, to focus my mind and give me something to work towards.

Earlier this year Rich and I entered the London Landmarks Half Marathon, we didn’t get in. A charity spot is available through The Henry Allen Trust. It couldn’t be more perfect. The run is at the end of March which means as the cold dark nights draw in I have something to focus on.

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I’m running for my boys.

I have a reason to get out in the (cold) fresh air. A way to try and keep my vitamin D up through the winter months and it is for an even greater cause.

Synchronicity

And so to help get me through the winter and cold weather (i’m a fair weather runner) i’ve joined the gym. And the lovely lady who showed me round is also doing the London Landmarks Half, is also running for Henry and is a great friend of the wonderful Dawn.

What are the chances? I know it is a sign, I am taking back control.

And this whole week has felt like a series of things aligning to make it clearer to me that I have to do this. I need to do this.

145 Days To Go!

In 145 days I will be running 13.1 miles or 21kms.

This is a really personal challenge for me as I know it is going to be really hard BUT I know I can do it.

I’ve run a half marathon before, however it was 12 years ago. I was 12 years younger, it was pre-kids and I was at least 2 stone lighter.

For March 2020 I have a plan…I have joined the gym. And as of last week I have started my preparation and my training, i’m on my way. I CAN DO THIS!

New Focus

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Half Term Trip to London to the transport museum

This week is the first week in a long time i’ve felt really good (aside from the very sore muscles). I am delighted to have something to focus my mind on, I feel i’m a lot calmer. I’ve slept better than I have in weeks and I know this is the best thing for me and the boys long term.

A healthy mummy is a happy mummy!

I am under no illusion training for a half marathon is going to be hard work.

I’ve been to two classes in the last week and had a gym induction and man my body aches already. Pilates engaged muscles I forgot I had, the induction has given me a programme that will help my running but is also building my strength.

I will be sharing my journey on my social channels and welcome your encouragement and support! I am going to need it…

2 Comments on “Day 371: Taking Back Control

  1. Was it Xanax? A Doctor gave me that. I took one or two – they were lovely – before seeing a better doctor who told me to bin them or I’d be addicted. I had anxiety and it was bad. Health anxiety as you describe, running to the doctor over every lump, bump and insignificant nothingness. Panic attacks, not being able to breathe, reflux. I’ve probably told you before what the wise doctor told me – ” You’re a clever woman, you’ll find a way to fix this.” He was right, sort of. Exercise, of course helps but for me it just numbs the pain. Sure I feel better when I’m running, I love being slim, but it doesn’t / didn’t take away the problems. I went travelling. That fixed it. My business – my website- fixes a lot too. When things are on the up and money flowing in. But take that away and I think underneath I’m still miserable and anxious. It’s all just stuff to take your mind off it. Thanks for that perimenopause, you’re the best. It started around age 40 for me. Get well soon.

    1. She didn’t even get as far as suggesting a type it was just “shall we get your a prescription” i’m not anti medication, I know it a legitimate way for some people to get better. However to not even ask about anything else family support network, am I exercising, what is my diet like etc. seems a bit slap dash and defitist to me. I’m glad I didn’t take the drugs. I need to work on myself and I know it will take a while but I will get there.

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