The Importance of Milestones.
I turned 35 on Friday. I know it wasn't a big milestone for most people but it was for me.
It was a truly special day being spoilt by my wonderful other half, family and friends. But what made it truly special was the significance of the day. The hitting the big THREE FIVE.
Let's roll back about 11-12 years. I have been poked and prodded by doctors for the last year. I've had x-rays, MRI's, Nuclear medicine scans and more blood tests than I care to remember. The the doctor sat me down to explain what they had found.
I had the bones of a 67 year old and I was in my early 20s. SIXTY SEVEN.
The "best" part of the news? "You'll likely need a wheelchair by the time you're..." yep, you guessed it. 35. Thirty fucking five. I felt so angry. So let down by my own body. At first I wanted to punish my body. REALLY punish it. So, I created a body punishing bucket list.
- Half Marathon
- Full Marathon
- Tough Mudder
- Climb Snowdon
Tick. Tick. Tick. one after the other I started to tick them off my list.
After a while I didn't want to punish my body but it became a necessity to help me feel alive. I started to do one "stupid" thing a year. Something that helped me feel alive. Something to remind me that every year I am still fighting my own body. I'm under constant attack from my own immune system but I am winning. I started with a "If i'm going to end up in a wheelchair, i'm going to put myself there" kind of attitude. It helped me deal with the news at the time.
Over the years I've done steroid injections, 2 types of chemo, physio, and now i'm one of the lucky ones who has to inject Anti TNF bio-medicine into myself every week. It's painful and costs the NHS a lot of money but thankfully, it's helping push back the time in which my bones are being destroyed.
The medicine comes with it's own side effects so I have to have regular tests on my kidneys and liver to make sure they are functioning fine. Add that on top of my epilepsy, the fact I have 2 extra bones in my feet (which have knocked everything out of joint from my toes to my hips), we're almost on for a full house!
Back to the present. I've just turned 35 and i've done a SECOND Tough Mudder. On my birthday. For fun. I'll be honest, we're now 3 days laters and i'm still aching, my skin is battered and bruised but for me it was a significant moment. One i'm Glad to have shared with my other half and friends. I don't think I told Mike, Taz and Asha the actual significance of what that day meant to me. I'd put this wall up and I needed to get over it to enjoy the rest of my life.
When we got home, I sat and I cried. I cried because it hurt, I cried because I'd made it, I cried because of all the emotions. I cried and I am not ashamed of that. I cried because it was my way of saying thank you to my body. Thank you to the old bones. Thank you for the brain that doesn't let me give in. It was a release. It was over. I had made it. Not to just the end of Tough Mudder, but to the age fo 35 without needing that wheelchair that I have feared for so many years.
I know that one day i'll have to stop the fight. I'll have to give in to my body, but for now, i'll keep going. I'll keep ticking off my list and i'll keep adding things to it like the absolute fool my family think I am. (They're proud of me really).
If I hadn't set myself my milestones, if I hadn't told my brain "there is no stopping - #BeMoreHippo" then I honestly believe my body would be in a lot worse state. My bruises will fade from Friday and i'll look back and laugh.
I've already got 3 things in the pipeline for 2020 but i'll keep you guessing about those for now.
Have a look at your life, your milestones. Do you have things in place to keep you driving forward. Your brain will give up way before your body does. Keep telling the voices to shut up and keep pressing forward.
Until next time,
Love, Dee x