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Monday, 11 June 2012

It's All Relative

Hi all,

Oh my goodness, I have just realised that it has been almost a month since my last rambling discourse- once again sincere apologies for my most recent neglect.

I could sit here and list the catalogue of events and circumstances that resulted in this blunder, but frankly I am just shattered and basically at the end of the day it really all comes down to one thing, and that is that my life is incredibly frustrating and limited immensely by my physical condition in oh so very many ways- most of which I have barely told anyone about.
As much as I may try to live in denial and pretend that I have the same abilities and facilities that I once possessed prior to my car accident in 2006, I do not; and it has hit me in sitting down this evening to contemplate my recent endeavours so which to report to you in this post- that the sooner that I accept that my achievements are relative to my physical restrictions and stop wasting my precious lucid moments beating myself up that I am not achieving the same amount at the same pace that I once did- the sooner I can move on and fully embrace my circumstances so that I can consequently make the very most of them and live my current life to it's full potential instead of mourning over the fact that that potential is limited in comparison to that of pre 2006! Phew! Where on earth did that come from?

To many who have no way to relate or no ability to empathise with life with a disability or it's associated struggles- I can imagine that this statement may come across as a little negative or possibly even defeatist: but trust me when I say to you that however much hypothesising you may find yourself doing as to how you may conduct yourself in such a situation; I can assure you that is the unforeseeable and most importantly the unnoticeable things in a life with a disability, that collectively knock one sideways and together with the more noticeable physical challenges- result in a significant struggle to live to the extent that you may have done in your more physical former life.

To those of you who perhaps do not know of my former life pre car accident '06, (and to those of you who do- apologies again for banging on about my beloved former existence yet again!)- I originally trained as a dancer and after working as a choreographer, performer and teacher in regional theatre professionally for five years, I got itchy feat and decided that my yearning to see the world was burning just too strongly inside me to ignore and I subsequently took a job with Virgin Atlantic as cabin crew in the summer of 2005.

Life was fast and frankly just bloody fantastic and involved seeing the world at a pace and quality that I had never even imagined to be possible.  And to top it all I was getting paid! Woo hoo!
Unfortunately though, all good things have to come to an end at some point, if no other reason but to give us perspective and prevent us from coming complacent with our blessings in life I guess.
It has taken some time for me to come to this conclusion after much depressive wrangling in the depths of my post accident self pity- but now I am here, I truly believe this to be the most positive and productive of perspectives.

Back to my point, (and those of you who are familiar with my ramblings will have come to realise that my head is one incredibly jumbled mess and in my naive attempts to de-clutter such mess by recalling my thoughts to you, I all too often fail at being concise or even comprehensible at times!)- I have come to discern that a year on from my diagnose (that diagnosis being that following my treatment for a spinal injury sustained in said car accident, I am suffering from a degenerative neurological disease called Arachnoiditis that gives me immense neuropathic chronic pain and the medication that I have to take for such pain causes immense fatigue and malaise)- I have accepted and even embraced the major changes in my life from this succession of circumstances: such as the need for an electric wheelchair to get around; the fact that I have had to leave behind any realistic desires to pursue a career in the fields that I have spent all of my adult life; and even that my relationship has had to also survive many concessions in terms of physical and cognitive restrictions- I have now finally come to realise that it is the small things in this life, such as having to cancel on my friend for our catch up coffee for the fifth time in a row in over two months, as when it has come to the morning, or even evening of our planned liaison, pain or spasm has rendered me unable to do so; or that the incredibly kind copy writer who is offering his time and expertise free-of-charge to help me get my proposed charity off the ground, has had to accept my grovelling apologies and excuses that pain or fatigue has made it again impossible for our meeting- that collectively cause the emotional pain for me, as it is these supposedly more minor problems that seem rather pathetic to burden friends with all the time, when it already feels that I am constantly having to apologise for my restrictions that I believe collectively now cause me more issues than the major that can be more easily understood and explained by and to those around me.

It is the accumulation of such things through chronic pain, the onset of new neurological symptoms and the ghosts of my post surgery pneumonia, (that makes any chest colds or infections ten times more annoying since it's curse began in 2006)- that have caused my absence this month. Such a chest cold hit me hard this month and when struggling to deal with other health issues, pain is all the harder to cope with. Add these things together and it doesn't take much for the couple of small positive steps up the harsh gradient of rehabilitation (to as full a life as possible with my illness and injuries), to start to be counteracted with the harsh slip back down the hill towards a place where life was once now incomprehensibly difficult.

12 days ago, with Barley dog my faithful companion by my side, I embarked upon a trip that would once have seemed mundane and insignificant in my former life.

For the last 13 months I have been the incredibly proud owner of 'The Beast' my 12mph electric wheelchair, that has enabled me to live an existence I had once thought to be impossible in this new life of mine.

Despite the means to get about more, my physical restrictions in terms of both health and disability have meant that besides my shopping and dog walking in my immediate geography, my longed for adventures have been hampered considerably.

With my best friend marrying on The Isle of Wight 8 days ago and my desire to be there for her as she was for me in the week preceding these nuptials- I have long been planning to take the trip via train and passenger ferry with just myself and Barley, as Garry was to be held up in work until the day before the wedding.

The long and the short of this tale, ( and at 12. 06 am and roughly 12 paragraphs in, I am now opting for the short!) is that despite a few hiccups, ( of which I will go into detail at a later date!), we arrived safe and sound and were able to enjoy those precious pre wedding days with my beautiful friend.

What struck me whilst wistfully gazing out of the window into the dark night during this train journey from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour,  was that I have gone from travelling alone to a couple of different continents each week, to feeling immense excitement and trepidation merely at the prospect of travelling barely 100miles.

I feel that I must accept, in order to move on and embrace the life with the abilities and restrictions I currently possess, that my life is different now and therefore has very different physical facilities, but that that is ok. I have new challenges which now present greater reward for relatively lesser achievements.

If I continue on my life comparing and mourning what I used to be able to achieve, I believe that I will get nowhere both physically and emotionally.

I love my life as I have so many blessings and I plan to continue to expand my levels of ability without comparing them to what I once achieved pre accident.

This will in no way give me excuses for sitting back and letting life pass me by as I love life far too much to do that and I plan to grab every opportunity which presents itself to me with even more gusto than I perhaps did in my old life,  as they are now frankly even more precious!

On that note, I am off to bed, as I am making positive and productive decisions by accepting that I can no longer work all night and physically get up early in the morning  and be productive- and in the morning I have a meeting to develop and register my charity to provide emotional support for those who become disabled and their nearest and dearest and God knows they need it!

Goodnight all. Wishing you all health and happiness always.

Remember to try to keep perspective. Everything is relative.