Health and Disability

Should I be ticking things off my bucket list?

Last weekend I did a zip slide off the Tyne Bridge. It was amazing! I found a charity that I already feel invested in that I hope to work with more in the future and I did something that I’ve had on my to do list for years! The only problem is should I have done it?

I’ve had comments, messages and queries from people wondering if it was the right thing to do. You see I’m ill. I have a chronic health condition that has been getting progressively worse for the past 8 years and dramatically worse in the last 3 years. I am in constant pain, fatigued and another few lovely symptoms on the side. We managed to get the pain pretty much under control last year until I caught a cold and it flared up again even worse. I still haven’t really got rid of the virus and we haven’t been able to sort out pain relief that works yet. This has made my fatigue worse, it’s affected my mobility dramatically and I’ve had to give up work as I was off sick more than I was there and due to a redundancy process the new role was something that I couldn’t physically manage at the minute. So I’ve been relegated to the “properly disabled” category. I’m going to claim benefits, I’ve got a mobility scooter to help me get about, I’ve bought a heated blanket to help with the pain adding to the air of very old or very ill that is the furniture in my house. My depression has raised its ugly head and I’ve cut myself off from friends and family, struggling to communicate my feelings about this new level of restrictions and just try and stay positive when I’m in constant horrific pain.

My docs have been amazing and I’m back and fighting again. My team for my business have been fantastic encouraging me and supporting me to do what I can when I can. My friends and family haven’t left me alone, they’ve stayed in touch and made me feel loved and supported even when I can’t manage to do anything and I feel like such a failure at life!  Leaving work has removed so much pressure from me as I don’t feel as if I’m letting anyone down anymore if I can’t manage to get to work today, and I don’t have the stress of absence management, redundancy and daily misunderstandings about my healthto deal with now.

I have the time to think about myself, to properly asses what I can and can’t do. To decide if pushing myself is the best plan or if resting is a good idea today. To do nice and beneficial things like go to the gym and relax in the sauna and steam rooms, swim a few lengths of the pool and see how it affects me, go to the cinema and switch off my brain for a couple of hours, or see my friends and family without the constant worry of thinking do I have enough energy to manage work as well. In short I’m trying to have a life. To rest and recouperate from this recent “flare” of my symptoms because that what I hope it is. I hope that this isn’t my new level. I hope that I’ll be able to manage more in the future. I hope that I’ll get to a stage when I’m able to stand or sit or move without being in constant pain, to manage a full day, or even half a day without being exhausted. To do something stimulating during the evening (like having a conversation or going to a work meeting or online catch up) without it meaning that I can’t sleep until the early hours thus knocking the next day out of sync and messing up my sleep routine. I hope I’ll be able to run the Hoover round my flat, take the rubbish out or have a shower without needing to lie down for the rest of the day and be able to afford to do all of the nice things that I want to do, to move to a bungalow to make life easier for me and to pay for holistic and alternative therapies which can help me.

I don’t think that this is possible right now this second, but also I haven’t given up hope and I will keep trying. I call this being realistic about my life, my health and my current options. I don’t know if I’ve accepted my physical restrictions and I don’t know if I ever will, but I think that if I’m realistic about them and work with my body instead of against it all the time then I’ll be able to have a life and be happy.

So with that thought in mind I was offered the chance to do the zip slide and I said yes. I said yes because I wanted to do it. I said yes because I love the charity, and I said yes because I have no idea how long the steroid injections in my hips will help with my pain relief. I have always tried to be a sieze the day type of person and I really don’t think that I am. I’ve always put being sensible first, but now I just want to do things.

I want to do a parachute jump next. I want to go to a theme park, I want to go on a high ropes course and travel to loads of places and see the world and different cultures. I want to take my nephews and nieces to do fun things, I want my own kids to raise, teach and enjoy time with. These things have all been on my list for years and I just haven’t got round to doing many of them. Money, time and health always got in the way. But now I don’t know how I’m going to be tomorrow. I could be in a wheelchair I could be walking without my stick, or I could be exactly the same as I am today. As I’m an err on the side of caution type of a person I’ll look at the options and live my life where my tomorrow could be worse (physically).

I’m a can do, positive person and I get that from my mum, she instilled in me the attitude that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and work hard enough and even if you’re rubbish at something, if you enjoy it then go out and do it. Have fun with your life because you only get one. So I’m planning my Italy trip, I need some friends to go to a theme park with me, I’m visiting The Calvert Trust soon and will work with them to achieve some of my other goals while helping other people. I’m building my business and my team to get the finances to do some of these things, and I’m also going to sit in a beer garden on a sunny day and read a book, because life isn’t always about pushing yourself and ticking things off the bucket list. It’s about the little things that make you smile as well. Resting and me time is important and I’m being realistic about fitting it in as a priority now.

Enjoy your day and let me know what’s on your bucket list!

Vic xx

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