Two months ago, walking from Crooklets to Summerleaze in Bude, I thought about what had happened in my life in the last 2 years and decided I wanted to try and complete a 10 mile sponsored walk.
The last year had been especially tough healthwise. I decided I would not dwell on these events and be miserable, as I have done before. Old ways won’t open new doors and I needed to change my way of thinking. So using the anger and frustration of what had happened, I wanted to turn it into something positive.
Apart from personal reasons for aiming to complete the walk, I also decided I could help Lauren raise money towards her trip to Cambodia (more on this later).
For many people 10 miles is not that far, but this time last year I could not walk without assistance and often could not talk. Having two long-term chronic conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, mean being able to walk a short distance is a challenge most days and I have not had a pain free day for over 10 years. In the last 2 years, I suffered a haemorrhage, had a small tumour removed and then needed further surgery.
One evening in May last year after putting my children to bed, while watching television, I suddenly felt very unwell. Unable to move or speak and having witnessed my grandma suffer two strokes, and also my mum having two strokes, I did think that maybe I was suffering the same problem. I did not want to believe this could happen to me, as I was only 32. Luckily, my mum lives in another part of the house, and after an hour, I managed to drag myself to my mother, an ambulance was called and I was taken to hospital.
I had never felt so scared, as all I could think about was my children, ages 1 and 6. I was lucky I had age on my side and a determination to get better, so I was home in a few days and was feeling positive.
The morning after I returned from the hospital, I again felt unwell; however, the symptoms were very different. I started having a violent seizure, and my whole body was leaving the bed with the power of it. The first response car arrived, followed by the air ambulance, but as I was being so violent in my movements, it was considered unsafe to travel by air, so an ambulance was called.
I felt so grateful for all the ambulance staff; however, it is unfortunate to have so many lovely men in your bedroom under those circumstances, when you are shouting out a load of nonsense and making an utter fool of yourself! I bet they did not forget me in a hurry!
In A&E I was punching anything and anybody in sight (apologies to the nurse in A & E who got my hand in her face. Just to confirm, she suffered no injury and I did apologise profusely!) The seizures lasted for a few hours along with a sudden onset of what doctors likened to a strange form of Tourette’s! I was shouting out pah ching, pah chong and I suddenly developed some karate moves. I was karate chopping through seizures like I was some sort of Ninja Warrior. Totally weird.
In between the many seizures and episodes of Tourettes I suffered over the next few days, my mum and I managed to almost wet ourselves laughing at the utter rubbish I was talking. I think the doctors were slightly concerned by our reaction; we were both so laid back they all assumed this had happened several times before. It hadn’t but you always have to laugh in the face of adversity.
A week later I was discharged from the hospital, but the seizures continued for several months, with up to 10 episodes a day. I was required to hand in my driving licence, I lost my independence and I felt I was losing my sanity being stuck in the house. I became reliant on other people and was not able to be left alone. It was a very long time before I felt well again.
The episodes gradually became less frequent and I was starting to go out during the day. A big thank you to my friends who supported me and kindly collected me from home when mum was not able to give me a lift.
So after living like this for 10 months, although much improved, I decided to try something alternative. I made an appointment to see Neil Cox, a hypnotherapist in Bude. This is the best decision I have ever made. He made me view my life very differently, he gave me the positivity and confidence to do new things. He has helped me to control my anxiety and as I am writing this I am touching every piece of wood in sight, but I have not had any seizures since seeing Neil.
My life has dramatically changed, but sometimes we need bad things to happen to remind us of what’s good in our lives and to be able to appreciate it. To add to my problems, my husband left me last September, so I am focusing all my energy on getting fit and healthy for my children, and living life in a more positive way.
If I can get through all this and end up doing a twelve-mile walk, you can all do positive things too. So don’t worry about the things in life you have no control over, instead focus your energy on the things you can change. Being confident and keep looking forward not backwards.
Training for the walk has been tough, but the support and sponsorship have been phenomenally overwhelming. On behalf of myself Lauren and Alison, I would like to thank everyone for their support. I would especially like to thank Talia from The Holistic Therapy Company in Bude for kindly offering a free foot treatment for when we completed the walk.
The 10-mile walk that turned into 12 miles.
On Saturday 10th June, Lauren Kendrick, Alison Carter and I walked from Holsworthy to Bude, to complete a 10 mile sponsored walk. Donned in tutus and leg warmers we set off on the ten mile walk which ended up being 12 miles and a total of 27,338 steps. It was a fantastic experience; although our feet and legs were aching, we supported each other to ensure that all three of us got to the end. Along the way, we had cars tooting their horns and people stopping to talk to us. We were slow and steady, as our aim was just to complete the walk. We were not concerned by time and finished in just over 3 ½ hours. We ended up at Bude Light and were welcomed by a little supporting committee which was lovely. Seeing the finish was both emotional and just sheer relief that we had made it. We all felt an overwhelming sense of achievement and finished with a lovely treat of some yummy food and drinks to celebrate. The next day was when the reality set in what we had completed, we could definitely feel every one of those 27,338 steps we had taken, although it was worth all the pain and we are proud of what we achieved and up to date have raised £300 which was double our original target.
What are we raising money for?
We are raising money for Lauren to take part in an expedition and community project called Camp Cambodia for 4 weeks in summer 2018, run by an organisation called Camps International. Not only is it a chance for Lauren to gain another qualification towards her university application but it will also be a once in a life time trip to work with the local community and help improve their lives. Lauren needs to raise £3790 in order to be able to take part. She will be helping the community by building schools, school desks, and housing for clean water facilities to improve their lives. She will also be teaching the local children English and going on a 4 day jungle trip sleeping in hammocks overnight.
If anyone would like to donate please click on our link to our Just Giving page. Your donations really do mean a lot.