Goal kicking 4 years on!

Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

It occurred to me that I’ve just hit my ME/CFS anniversary and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve kicked it to the curb! This past year has been filled with a bit of goal kicking and it’s not stopping anytime soon! Yeooow!!!

Four years ago, I can still vividly remember how my health went downhill fast.  The first year was the hardest, I barely had wins and as much as I tried to keep positive it was hard.  I held onto goals and put up pictures of things that symbolised my goals. I convinced myself that I would achieve these goals one day…….even though at the time, it seemed hard to believe. I held onto the idea and kept it for when I needed it the most.

Finally, I have achieved a number of these goals. I am extremely proud, to say four years on I am celebrating and smashing my goals! The hard work has paid off and most of all, the illness is no longer ruling my world.

A huge victory is that I am heading to South America in a few days, yep you heard right!!! It’s literally days away. South America became a long-term goal of mine when I become unwell. Most of my close family and friends know this and probably got sick of me saying one day I’m going to go when I get better! Haha well that day has finally arrived and I am pinching myself! I really can’t believe it has arrived.

It is very random how it all came about, it happened to be in my very early days of my illness. At the time, the doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I was trying to keep positive throughout the whole ordeal and I decided to make an inspiration board of what I was going to do or work towards when I got well enough. The picture of Machu Picchu came to me, I had no desire to visit it before. But that image of Machu Picchu stuck with me and I thought to myself ” I’m going, when I’m well enough.”

And it’s been with me ever since.

City2surf is another big thing that I have been working towards, which I’m excitedly fit enough for. City2surf is happening in August which I am excited to be competing in the event and I have also been fundraising for it. The charity I have chosen to fundraise for is emerge, they are an Australian based charity that dedicates themselves to raising awareness and funds to research for ME/CFS.

Returning to work and working like a normal person would, was another big goal. DONE! This also includes other living “like a normal person” life goals again. DONE!

My next ass kicking goal will be a tough one and means heading back to school! Bring it on!

It’s not until you lose something, that really puts things and life into prospective for you.

Any way my friends it’s time for me to love and leave you, I need to go pack!

Can’t wait to tell you all about my South American adventure.

Much love

Lennae xxx

Photo by Abraham Osorio on Unsplash

Walking with ME

Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.

Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.

During the early days of my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome) moving proved to be very difficult, my body was weak and heavy. I’m in my third year of recovering with ME/CFS and here is how I have managed to get moving again. Please note that although I have found this to help me, it may not be ideal for you. Everyone is different and this illness affects everyone differently.

When my doctor referred me to an exercise physiologist to help with my recovery, I was confused and didn’t understand why… “how could I exercise if I could barely hold myself up?”  This being my only option from my doctor, I went and gave it a go.

At the exercise physiologist I was given a couple of exercises and was told to start walking, this sounded like pure torture. I did want to get better, which meant I was willing to give anything a go.

The exercises I did off and on, but the walking I have kept and maintained since day one.  I started off with a walk down my driveway; to the mailbox and up and down 2 small flights of stairs. That was me done! I struggled up the stairs, while breathing heavily. Gradually I started shuffling a 5 minute walk to the beach. It was literally two blocks away and took me 10 minutes to get there. I started this walk with someone each time,  I was too scared to go by myself  and scared that I would fall over and be too weak to pick myself up if I ever needed to. I would stop when I got to the beach and get a chai latte. Usually I would need to rest for around half an hour before  heading back again. When I got confident I started do this walk on my own, I remember the first time I was out on my own and I was shuffling along and an elderly man passed me, I was so disheartened. The old me would have lapped that elderly man, twice!

I started to walk around 2 – 4 times a week, this become the highlight of my day and even week.  I would look forward to it, it became good for my physical health and mental health. If I could manage a small walk on my struggle day’s, then that was something and something is better than nothing. There were days where I didn’t want to do it though deep down I knew that if I got out into the fresh air I would feel better for it and I always did.

I remember one occasion I was having a bad day, I was feeling down and had no motivation to face my walk. I was mentally struggling and it was late in the afternoon. I thought to myself I need to do this walk today, I got myself together and slowly made my way down to the beach. When I finally got there, I ordered my chai latte, sat down and looked out over the ocean. I was rewarded with the beautiful sight of whales splashing around in the distance. I was so happy and proud that I had made it down, it was such an amazing reward.

After almost a year of this, things got easier and we moved into a different area.  We lived close to some shops that were under a 5 minute walk. I would walk up there, run an errand or two, have a chai latte and sit down then walk back when I was ready. Gradually I didn’t need to sit down and rest, I would find that I would be walking around for 20 – 30 minutes easily.

That’s when I took on a new challenge of walking Snow. We only had her for a few months, after a bit of walking practice around the backyard.  I started to feel comfortable walking her. We started our walks and got into a habit of walking 2 – 3 times a week, walking around a few streets in the area that would take me around 20 – 30 minutes depending on how I was.

When I returned back to work I had to make sure not to push things. Usually when I went for a walk it would be on my days off and the walk would range from 20 – 30 minutes. I took her on longer walks when we would go to the beach, they were always at a strolling pace. Beach walks were good to add in as the terrain is a bit harder to walk on. This helped build strength, we would bring Snow along to the beach and I started off by walking a quarter of the way and then back. Every-time I would go, I would assess how I felt and then turn around and walk back. Eventually after doing this for just over 24 months I made it to the end and back comfortably.

I have managed to build up a solid pace from the shuffle that I use to do back in my earlier days.  I now can complete regular walks weekly ranging from 2 – 5 times a week. I always assess how I am each day and during the week, if it feels like too much then that’s ok, I limit what I do.

I recently completed my first walking event since illness, it was 6 km’s and I completed it in 54 minutes (click here for details). My goal is to complete CITY2SURF I did it back in 2012 and loved it, due to illness I haven’t been able to do it since. It’s 14 km’s, fingers crossed next year is my year for it!!!

I believe walking can help on so many levels, do you enjoy walking or find helpful at all? Have you noticed any progress over time with your walking? I would love to hear all about it!

Lennae xxx

Walking and resting,

Walking and resting.

Snowy and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.

Snow and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.

We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.

We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.

Snowy in her element.

Snow in her element.

Walk selfies at the park.

Walk selfies at the park.

Keep Trying!

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on how I’m travelling and to be honest it’s been a bit of a bumpy past 6 weeks with my ME/CFS. I guess it should to be expected though, you should never under estimate the power of your chronic illness (especially when you don’t listen to your body). So here’s an update on my happenings.

I had been increasing my hours at work and I managed to get up to working 8 hours over 2 days a week. Excitement overload! I was working 4 hours a day, that’s half a day!

Being able to work again felt great, but working only 8 hours was starting to not be good enough. In my mind I wanted to be able to work more. My mind was racing well ahead to what I wanted to be doing, rather than what I should be doing. All I wanted to do was keep pushing and eventually I would be at my current goal of working 15 hours a week. In theory it sounded easy enough. I wanted to keep pushing myself to my limit and that meant that I wasn’t taking notice of the fact that I was going to push a little too hard and crash.

Well that happened, straight after I realised maybe I should just calm it down a bit. After pushing through a day at work, I struggled to recover back from it. I thought I would need one week off to rest, but that turned into five!

All I can say is lesson is learnt! It’s all well and good to push yourself, but sometimes you need to take a step back and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

After 5 weeks off with lots of rest and time to reflect here’s what I learnt;

Patience. You will get to where you want to be eventually, it just takes time.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Be kind to yourself. We are our biggest critic of ourselves, how about giving yourself a kind compliment instead of beating yourself up all the time.

Listen to your body. Yes it does communicate with you, make sure you listen to it!

Don’t give up. No matter how much this situation may feel like it is dragging on, it won’t last forever so keep trying, you will get there!

On that note I went back to work last week and managed a couple of hours, it felt great to be back at it again. I’m back at the start but that’s ok, I know I will get to where I want to be eventually. It might not be today or tomorrow but it will happen.

Much love,

Lennae xxx

photo credit: Hope via photopin (license)

photo credit: Hope via photopin (license)

photo credit: quote #63 via photopin (license)

photo credit: quote #63 via photopin (license)