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I am 44 years old, Married to Sean for 19 years and have 3 lovely children Hope is 14, Jack is 10 and Joe is 5.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The difference a week makes

A week of real highs and lows. I guess this is what LIFE is actually like, although our peaks and troughs seem to be a little steeper at times than others! I saw an acronym the other day - how true - L. Life I. Isn't F. Flipping E. Easy!

Last week I couldn't even wear my prosthesis for three of the days and this week I have been running. Yes RUNNING!

The unpredictability of my situation does get me down, understandably. Swinging from one situation to another one which is so far removed. Feeling so restricted without my leg on when I am used to wearing it. But this week was a GOOD one.

Years ago I went to a running clinic at Bradford University with two American Paralympic athletes. It was great to learn the basic principles again and felt amazing to actually get both feet off the floor at the same time- even momentarily! But the leg I had at the time wasn't really suitable for running but I did have a little jog :)

Not long after I was nominated and selected to carry The Queens Jubilee Baton in the relay to the opening ceremony of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. I practised religiously in secret in our driveway and managed to surprise family and friends and my police escort by breaking into a jog with the baton.

Not having the proper hardware, so to speak, made it impractical really to continue with this type of activity. So it has not been in the agenda in a long while.

During a conversation with my prosthetist www.dorset-ortho.com about his work at the Paralympics this summer I asked him if he thought I'd be able to run with a blade. He said he didn't see why not. Yikes! We arranged a trial with Ossur www.ossur.co.uk/prosthetics/feet/Flex-Run and I went to Burton upon Trent to have it fitted.

It was with trepidation we drove to a nearby track. I really doubted I would remember what to do but at the same time was determined to make it around the track....no matter what.

I was also nervous about how it would feel. Not so much physically but on occasion I have pushed myself to do something I did before because I have been determined that the loss of my leg would not hold me back. But it has felt so far from how it did before the amputation that I have almost felt distraught and soooo disappointed.

Thankfully despite being hard work, physically it felt GOOD :) not a let down which was such a relief. With some adjustments at the end it felt even better, with only room for improvement.

As our gym has a track it is realistic to run regularly. So I did, the following day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VkwN0hezIg

It doesn't feel 'natural', the only thing I can liken it to is learning to drive. Trying to remember and put together a number of instructions all at once. In this case; drive your residual limb forward as hard as possible, increase your stride length, relax your upper body and use your arms, think about your body position, and so on arghhhhhhh! But like driving, it will get easier with practice, in fact it was easier and better even on Day 2 of Blade runner! I was more confident and less worried about ending up on my face!

Today is Mothers Day. I am so lucky to be a Mother AND to have three lovely children. I have had five pregnancies and I do still wonder what those 'other' children would have turned out like especially when their 'due date' comes around.

Going through the IVF because of the worry of a premature menopause and ovarian damage, due to the strong chemotherapy was tough. But I knew more than anything that I wanted to be a Mother. If that meant not being able to have a child of our own and adopting, so be it.

Luck was on our side though for once and despite having the 'insurance' of the stored embryos we managed to conceive naturally. Although it was hard not to think the world was against me, finding out, on what should be such a joyous occasion - the 3 month ultrasound scan - that our baby had died.

When our family was complete and having battled with the hospital to donate our embryos, which against the odds resulted in a successful pregnancy. I really felt devastated to learn the little boy who was carried to term, was stillborn only a few weeks before my precious Joe was born.

Being a Mother and daughter brings with it such highs and lows. Right now I can hear my nearly two year old calling for 'Mr Tumble' on the TV :) that little voice brings joy to our day!

Talking of joy, it brings me to my Mum, on this Mother's Day, the first since her passing. A friend of my father's in an email of condolence was spot on when he described her 'Joy by name joy by nature'.

She taught me so much, not just important life skills but the way to treat others. Her motto, instilled by her own Mother whilst reading 'The Waterbabies', was 'Mrs Do-as-you-would-be-done-by' . They both stuck to this throughout their lives and I hope even in a small way I can continue this legacy.

I find it painful today to think of her and not be able to be with her. An actual physical pain like a punch in the chest, I have felt this numerous times since July 18th 2012 when heaven gained a very special angel.

I know people encourage you to celebrate the life of the person you have lost, focusing on the good memories. Today is just not one of those days; her birthday was, her funeral was but for some reason today I cannot bring myself to visit the cemetery and stare down at a mound of earth.

I hope the good memories will overtake in time, as i have been told they will, but right now I find it hard to rid my over active mind of the vivid memories of those final weeks.

The pain, suffering and injustice of it all. The warmth of her final breaths on my palm through the disconnected ventilation tube. Robbed of dignity even in death. This all led me to visit her in the chapel of rest after all the formalities were over. It was the best decision I could have made. I only needed to glance at her to know that her dignity was restored and she was at peace.

Always in my thoughts beautiful lady, RIP Mum xxx