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…
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING…..?”
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.
“WHAT AN IDIOT….”
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