My doctor said ….


Today my doctor said to me….

“Use this opportunity to get yourself strong and healthy…..look after yourself”

I’m not sure where to start the story.

After the Marathon last October (which I’d trained for several months for and lost 40 lbs so I could complete it to raise money for Cancer Research) I rested up. The sheer physical effort, the loss of toe-nails and my foot injury ensured I couldn’t do anything for weeks and after all the hard work it was easy to let things slip.

Coming up to Christmas I was gorging chocolate and high fat foods again (in addition to all the healthier veggie wartime dishes I love) and a couple of days after Christmas I was back up to 296 lbs (having put 26 lbs on since the Marathon). I felt really tired and my back pain had returned.

Richard and I had booked a holiday to the USA leaving two days after Christmas. We were excited. We both love the vastness of America. We had plans for Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and some National Parks.

Despite the weight gain I managed to fit into my seat on Virgin Atlantic Airlines without an extender belt (the same cannot be said for RyanAir) which was a huge relief because though I laugh it off and pretend to be brave, it makes me feel like a freak…

But this is all self-pitying codswallop. I can do something about this. For some reason though it never seems important enough, what does it take? WHAT actually does it take to realize that our time on this planet is not infinite, that If I’m really lucky I’ll have another 30 years to dream, travel, love, giggle, run, cry, challenge convention, challenge myself.

Suddenly that doesn’t seem like a lot of time anymore.

And then a couple of days after we landed in the USA we got ill. Both of us had the shivers, coughs, awful headaches, no appetite, we felt terrible. It felt like a flu.

And then the headaches and chills disappeared and at a small garden centre in Sedona I treated us to a Klondike Bar ice-cream and thought YES things are getting better.


It was short lived. The next day I was in hospital with hypoxia and pneumonia. Couldn’t walk, couldn’t breathe. It just came on so quickly. The medical professionals at Flagstaff Hospital in Arizona were really helpful and treatment was rapid and after two days and nights on IV anti-biotics and saline drips, steroids, inhalers and oxygen therapy things quickly started to improve. Richard slept in a chair for 2 days.

It was a viral pneumonia and it was in both my lungs but it could have been much worse. The x-rays showed several small patches in each lung – that’s all. No bacteria, no horrible lurgy. Nothing much really but enough to make me think and be scared enough to question myself…


Obesity lowers immunity, if I’d been taking care of myself better and actually cared what I was putting in my mouth this probably wouldn’t have happened.


After a few days interlude in hospital it was time to continue forward on our journey which essentially was us biding our time and getting stronger before our plane left to return to the UK.

We travelled home on my 50th birthday.

It’s made me realize that I DO want the next 30 years of my life to be wonderful, to be healthy. I want Richard and I to both be strong. Taking responsibility for that is the ONLY way forward.

I jumped on the scales, I’d lost 15 lbs in 10 days. Not the best way to lose weight but it’s a kick-start.

“Use this opportunity to get yourself strong and healthy…..look after yourself” my doctor advised me this afternoon as she wrote a sick note.

And I truly will….

Happy New Year

C xxxx

16 thoughts on “My doctor said ….

  1. Hugs my dear. I wish I had know you were in my neighborhood. I would have come up to see you and maybe coaxed you down to Phoenix where it was a touch warmer and at a lower elevation it would have been easier to breath.

    I have started using EFT to help me with my food cravings. It might be of interest to go along with your 40s eating patterns.

  2. So sorry to hear that you have been so ill. You’ve already accomplished so many goals, you can and will accomplish this one as well. I hope also that you have a chance to return to the States and see a bit more of our beautiful country.

  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I just did 5 and a half months in the hospital with cellulitis. I was bedridden for 2 months and learned how to walk all over again. Of course my weight … I’m over 450 lbs …. didnt help and still doesn;t.

    • Oh golly that’s awful Jaime. How did you manage to not only physically but emotionally cope with this all? How are you doing now? Do you know what people just don’t bloody realize how difficult it is to cope with immobility. My biggest was about 350lbs and it was getting very difficult to walk and do normal things then without a lot of pain. I REALLY hope things are on the mend for you and you can shift a few pounds here and there to make things a little easier. You must be incredibly strong to get through 5.5 months in hospital…. xxxxxx C

      • Physically, the nurses were a godsend. They really helped a LOT at first and the Physio Therapy team helped me get back on my feet though it took a lot of hard work on my part. I’m back at home now and can get around with a walker but trying to lose the weight is so hard. I have PCOS which makes it tough enough to try to lose weight plus I am on a medication which helps control a medical problem I am having but it also increases my appetite. The gynocologist even told me it does that. The only way I can stop taking the medication is to have surgery for a hysterectomy but I have to lose 150 pounds first before she will even consider surgery for me.
        Emotionally, I cried a LOT at first but I learned to lean on a lot of great nurses there who were more then willing to take a few minutes from their busy shifts to talk to me.
        I’m going to have weight loss surgery in the future to shift this weight once and for all but currently I’m trying to get by with eating less.

      • It sounds like despite all the trauma you have a forward plan despite the hinderances with appetite increasing meds and the PCOS… you are doing brill!!! I really hope things gradually improve for you and you get to that weight loss surgery and get your gynae probs sorted. You’ll feel on top of the world! I watch quite a few bariatric type surgery programmes and it amazes me the courage and determination the people have – a long difficult journey but ultimately a new life for most. I think they are incredible. Inspiring…

        Have started the day with a large bowl of porridge/oatmeal made with some soy milk and spinkled with a few sultanas and a tablespoon of ground flax seed. Lunch will be a large comforting veggie stew. Hows about you?

        Its been lovely talking, it’s lovely the nurses were able to find time and offer their emotional support too

        C xxxx

  4. Hope you are feeling much better now Carolyn♥ From reading your blog you are a determined and very resourceful lady so I know you will be successful with your goals. Take good care and I look forward to hearing you are 100% fully recovered. Linda x

  5. Carolyn, hope you are both feeling much better. Know that you are a determined type so hopefully in near future you will be up there at 110%. Good health!!

  6. I hope you are getting better Carolyn, that must have been so scary! Here’s to a better and stronger you in 2016 and beyond.

    • Thanks – am feeling so much better everyday and will be fighting fit by Monday when I return to work (except for the physical stuff- will take a few weeks/months to get back on track)

      C xxxx

  7. Glad you are feeling better. Not easy being ill in another country, all you want is your own home comforts. I feel for Richard too, as, until last October I hadn’t spent any time in hospital for me, always for my family (Son in France!). I have spent uncounted nights in hospital chairs.
    You look after yourself. I am looking forward to trying your new recipes.

    On another point:-
    So how was turning 50 then? I am not looking forward to it (April this year) Turning 40 wasn’t a problem, but I can’t be 50 can I?!
    Have you any other plans for celebrating this milestone?

    • It was very comforting having him there but how he managed two days/nights in a chair when he wasn’t feeling well himself…. had a cry last night about it when I explained to Jess that someone sitting there for two days makes you realize a few things. Haha so 50 for you soon too!!! It doesn’t seem possible that the time excelerates so swiftly with age! I have no real big ambitions for my 50th year except probably the most important one of all and that is deal with the obesity. This has to be the most important focus in 2016 otherwise how am I gonna do things in 2017 like endurance hikes, running marathons, riding bikes, writing books, getting tarted up in 1940s dresses plus travelling and conquering the world??? LMAO! Just getting healthy and fitter will be good enough for now! Take care Paul – good to hear from you- C x

      • Very impressed with the pictures of Utah. My Daughter was there a few years ago. She isn’t one for emotions, but she said that the Grand Canyon’s beauty brought her to tears.

        I have asked for only two things for my Birthday, 1, I want to do the Zip Line in Wales, and I want a party. No presents, just donations for #TALE, and Sands, two charities close to my family. It will be enough to see my friends from around the world.
        I totally agree that time seems to accelerate. The other thing I have noticed is that my Family seems to keep growing. You think it would get smaller as your children leave home, but they keep coming back. We had 15 at Christmas Dinner, 10 on Boxing Day, and 18 around our New Years Table this year. I do like looking out and gathering all the love that is around the table at this time. This year My younger Brother came back after a good few years in the wilderness, with his two young children. He was quite amazed at the extended Family that gathered around to support him in his time of need. We all need people to lean on.

        Carolyn, use this year as a springboard, lose that weight, get healthy, bounce back, and grow into the person you know you are inside. Make plans for 2017. Make small achievable targets for 2016. Don’t worry if you miss a few though – the stress isn’t worth it, and won’t be conducive. Also every now and then sit back, have a cuppa, tot up what you have in life, and listen to Enya.

  8. Best wishes to you in your road to wellness and loving yourself. Have a wonderful year! Glad you are still posting. Sorry your visit to the US didn’t turn out the way you would have liked, but my old boss always says everything happens for a reason. I was never sure that I believed that, but I do more and more as time marches on… <3

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