Friday, 9 December 2011

What next?!?!

To be totally honest, it's taken a good couple of weeks to fully recover from Brighton 10km.. another small twang in my calf (the other leg this time), lots of stiff bits and very little desire to train. I actually felt like I'd run a marathon not just a 10km and physically and mentally was a bit wiped out. Fitness is as much about 'recovery' as it is about 'performance' and I guess my delayed recovery shows just how much of a toll the illness and surgery has taken on my body. I can't take anything for granted anymore nor take any short cuts. But this week has seen a turning point and I'm really enjoying my running again.. in fact last night I coached some 'hill reps' thinking I would just stand and shout at everyone, but I managed to join in.. and successfully coped with the session. I seriously surprised myself. 

I'm still focusing on core work (yawn), lots of stretching and spending a fortune on massage and physical therapy treatments.. and without wanting to put a jinx on things, it seems to be working. I saw my good friend Elle at StrideUK last week and she was thrilled with the improvement in my core strength, especially my TVA which she said has improved by about 80% since she first saw me. Big GOLD STAR for me.. Yay.

On Wednesday night I ran with my club and actually ran with the main group rather than right at the back plodding along and it was fantastic.. chatting away with the girls and feeling like I was 'part' of the club again. Loved it!

Brighton 10km was great, but what I'm going to do next? I have absolutely no clue.

Not having a goal is a new situation for me and one I'm not entirely comfortable with. I honestly don't know what I'm capable of anymore and the rules are all re-written. That said, I'm keenly aware that I've been through the mill and don't need any undue pressure.. but I do need something to aim at... but how do I work out what the right goal is going to be?

The Virgin London Marathon is now only 19 weeks away and as much as I'd love to be there, I suspect it will just be too much too soon. Just the thought of it makes me feel under pressure - so I guess it's not the right goal just now.

A half marathon or spring triathlon might be just the thing instead and may provide a better balance of sports to keep me injury free.. anyway.. your suggestions are gratefully received! either way, I need something to inspire me, provide the right level of motivation but not finish me off completely. Something I can be proud of doing but not demoralised because of my lack of fitness or end position or time. Answers on a postcard please!

On another note altogether I've been reading a blog about an article in US Cosmopolitan that has caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the 'ostomy world'.

The woman in the article referred to her 'poop bag' and implied she was pleased when it was gone.. and this has seemingly offended some people. It got me thinking about how I felt about my bag and was I also offended by the terminology? Jess (the blogger who criticised the article) has an ileostomy (like me) and happens to be a fantastic advocate, raises awareness and shows that it isn't something to be ashamed of. But unlike Jess, I'm not entirely sure I'm offended by the terminology... after all it is a bag and it has poop in it.. hence it's a 'poop bag'. It's just a fact. 

There are of course days when I wish I didn't have it either and I look at it and find it repulsive. When I had a reversal last October I was thrilled to get rid of it.. and actually wrote 'good riddance' on the bag before being wheeled down to theatre. Little did I know that I'd be begging the surgeon to put it back only 8 months later. I now have a significantly better quality of life because of it, and I'm lucky there was a solution for my illness.. many are not so fortunate. I guess I do have my own way of dealing with it.. and blogging and writing about it is one of those ways. I'm not going to hide it and I'm not ashamed of it .. but it doesn't define me. I don't consider myself to be disabled nor do I see it as a reason not to do things.. in some ways I consider it a challenge to overcome. But that doesn't mean that I think everyone should feel the same way. Many people struggle and many people never come to terms with it - perhaps like the woman in the Cosmo article.

I wouldn't say that I love my bag, but it has given me my health (and running!) back and for that I'll be forever grateful. It was a fascinating debate though and shows the depth and diversity of feelings that people have about their illnesses, experiences and life with a bag. Just shows how different we all are and we're all just coping in the only way we know how.

All the more reason for a blog like this I suppose. What I hope to do here is simply raise awareness and share my feelings, experiences and emotions (good and bad) about living life with an ileostomy.. or should I say 'adventures with an ileostomy' :-) 

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