I absolutely love this place. A five minute drive from my house and a manageable circular walk for my crazy leg.
And then I saw this:
This sign made me very happy. Happy that someone had thought about it. Happy that someone had realised that not everyone can walk everywhere, and at times, anywhere. And even though I already know this is the case, I was still happy to see it in writing and to be reminded that I am most certainly not the only one stumbling around the old railway line as if I had had a few gins for breakfast (people with MS can look like they’re drunk due to the fact that balance, muscle stiffness and nerve damage can affect gait. For me this worsens the further I walk).
One of the things that I never imagined as a child would be difficult for me was walking. I grew up in Durham and spent lots of my childhood leaping around the beautiful North-East countryside with absolutely no idea that one day I would be in any way limited.
Mentally for me, this time spent outside in nature has always been absolutely essential. Aside from the physical benefits, I feel more positive, inspired and much more likely to get a good dose of Vitamin D. At the moment I can always cycle this route on the days that walking is too difficult for me to. But if I ever can’t cycle (horror) then at least I can get my hairy husband to push me around it.
Living with MS means I am constantly thinking about how to take good care of myself. What I eat, how much I eat, sleep and exercise all makes such a difference to me. And if I spend a couple of weeks on holiday eating and drinking too much (like now) then I try and counteract the overindulgence with more exercise (preferably in a forest-it really is true what they say about forests and forest bathing).
I’m currently trying all sorts to get fitter and stronger. This can be quite a challenge due to the fact that my leg gives up after a few minutes of walking or running, and I barely break into a sweat before I have to stop to rest my crazy leg.
So yesterday I cycled up a massive hill pulling my (heavy) children in a trailer behind me to try and get a sweat on.
The husband was getting loads of dirty looks as I struggled up behind him. He even got heckled at one point.
I was mostly giggling at my ridiculousness and the dirty looks hubby was getting (the giggling makes it impossible to cycle up steep hills by the way). He was mostly taking the piss out of my cycling-up-a-hill-tactics, and trying to explain to the heckling strangers how stubborn I can be.
But I did it. I broke into a sweat and was quite out of breath at the top.
And I felt a sense of achievement that you get from things like childbirth and completing a marathon. (By the way a marathon for me now is walking further than I did yesterday, which isn’t very far, so please don’t think I only consider 26.2 miles a worthy challenge. I’ve done both. And my mini walks are so much harder than when I actually could run a marathon).
So here it is. My sweaty-forest-look. Crazy hair optional.
Here’s to finding ways to stay as strong and fit as you can for as long as you can. It feels pretty amazing.
When I am in the depths of fatigue, I find it hard to sleep. Brilliant.
When I was pregnant, I had absolutely no MS symptoms whatsoever.
No-one else in my family has MS.
When I’m feeling MS-shit, I don’t look ill.
Whilst I am teaching or practising yoga, my MS disappears.
When my leg weakens after walking it recovers completely after a little rest and a chocolate biscuit. I’ve yet to work out whether it’s the chocolate biscuit or the rest…
Caffeinated coffee makes my right hand buzz.
I can remember 5,000 things to do with the house, school, work and multi-task the fuck out of my to-do list, but if you ask me to fill in a simple form, my brain turns to mashed potato and I have to get my husband to do it for me.
One of the hardest things for me to do when I’m MS-y is concentrate on anything longer than a simple sentence. Hence the lists.