Before meeting my new consultant, I e-mailed him a list of pointers I wished to discuss, afraid to walk out his door without addressing one of my many concerns.
The e-mail was long, very, very long, at the time I was still pushing myself to work four hours a day and I desperately wanted to discuss this, my reputation was going down the drain, I was falling asleep at my desk, my concentration gone, I was making drastic mistakes and pulling over to sleep on my way home from work. It was taking its toll and I felt my head and body about to explode.
The other topics included diet, GET, pacing, pushing, resting and running. The last line of the mail saying “I want you to use your expertise, make me better, give ME the two fingers and get my life back. I want to be at the starting line of a marathon next year.”
Walking in his door, I expected to discuss my mail and set out a path to my marathon. Instead I sat opposite a man who hadn’t bothered to read my mail, citing its length and his lack of time. Immediately I was deflated, if he hadn’t bothered to read it, why did I bother showing up at his door?
The meeting went from bad to worse, he reminded me running was out for a very long time, chastised me for having run my little race, told me my time frame was years, not months, and lambasted me for even contemplating a marathon in the next few years. Saying it wouldn’t happen.
I was devastated, the tears rolled, my voice sobbed, this man just blasted all my hopes in a fleeting moment.
I was cross. Every time I tried to talk he talked over me, he refused to listen and pulled out a GET program for me to start, it was a generic program printed before ever meeting me. His plan included a few minutes on an exercise bike along with a few minutes walking on a treadmill.
Informing him I’d no access to a bike I asked the plan be amended, explaining all my exercise had to be carried out in my own home. I didn’t have the energy to drive to a gym to exercise for a few minutes and then drive home. He faltered, unable or unwilling to devise a new plan and asked me to see a psychotherapist. To be fair, he probably didn’t want to deal with me, I was demanding, annoying and most definitely going to question everything.
I left his office with a lighter purse, no answers, no plan, no consultant, wondering, what do I do now? It took two days of blubbering before I sat down and had a board room meeting with myself.
During the board room meeting I realised I was going about my fight all wrong, I was pushing, refusing to admit I was sick and most of all damaging my body further. It was time to step out of the workplace, time to pace myself, time to rest, time to heal, time to accept.
And so, my fight changed. I went from that trigger headed pushing, to accepting my limitations and bobbed along on my own path for months when my physio and GP introduced me to my current consultant.
Having endured the previous man I sat in front of this lady with no expectations and within moments of arriving in her office I was warbling. She gave me the time to talk, she listened, she got me, she understood my need to exercise, my need to have a GET plan to stay sane, to keep the dream alive, one day I will run again.
Yes, I accepted it would be a long time away but I could still hope, I could still dream, she allowed me have this hope, allowed me dream. It was such a breath of air to finally realise “yes I am sick, yes I have limitations, I’ve a tough road ahead, but someday I can return to health, someday I can run again, someday I can run a marathon again.”
That was all I needed to hear, I didn’t need to know when, just that it’s all a possibility.
He could build anything,
His hands sculpting
Barbed wire into fortresses
Daring any heifer take her chance,
Those same hands built a raft
On used pallets we sat,
Siblings and him bobbing
Like frog spawn, in our muddy sea of black,
The only colour jutting, blue,
The half cut barrels underneath
Keeping us afloat, his hands
Coaxing the stick, protecting all three
From the murkiness below.