Between Pride & A Fall
It has been a long, long time since I last posted here. I wanted to let you know why…
Back in 2020 when we all became aware of the pandemic, I thought the toilet paper hoarding, empty shelves and the confusing instructions from the UK government were hilarious. First world problems.
Also, and this is important. I felt very lucky to be here in Bulgaria, surrounded by land. Not confined to an apartment or city house and where all the shops were operating as normal. Not one person to be found hugging toilet paper like their life depended on it.
When the vaccine started rolling out I was also delighted to find out that I didn’t need to wait for my age bracket to be called in. I could just turn up and get jabbed at the local hospital and on 23rd February 2021 that’s exactly what I did.
I was so smug! Dan felt like he’d been hit by a train and was out of action for at least 24 hours as were others that we’d met in line. Me? Nothing… not a thing, not an ache, pain or tiredness. I was out working at the new house, painting and prepping for concreting to start.
The next few days we were mixing concrete, walking up and down to the new house (54 steps each way, not that I’d counted) …between four of us we had built the new meditation platform for the retreat, muscles ached and it felt good. This was the life, the plans were progressing well and we were bang on time… and only a little over budget.
March 5th that muscle ache became persistent pain. Long story short I was suddenly diagnosed with DVT (blood clots in my leg). I went from being physically active and fit, feeling as healthy as I’d ever been, with a wonderful plan to share this space with others, to not being able to walk up to the new house.
It’s A Fine Line…
Between Being ‘Sick of Shit’ And ‘Grateful for Shit’
Since March, apart from the garden (with which I had help), we have progressed very little with the new house. It has been soul destroying to see my plans disappear into the mist.
Every day is tough. Some days I feel ‘normal’, some days the pain doesn’t allow me to sleep which makes me very grumpy indeed. I can’t have a headache, or chest pain or a sore leg anymore, everything links back to a possible clot. There are days when I’m so sick of shit that I just want to stay in bed, but I don’t, because that’s just not me.
My body did not feel like mine. I developed lumps inside my elbows, my skin felt lumpy everywhere, I just felt wrong… but I kept going and researching ways to improve my situation. From diet (so many restrictions it was crazy), to supplements (most of which can’t be taken in conjunction with blood thinners), and exercise (most of which my leg didn’t want to even consider). I spent all of my spare time investigating ways to get my life back. The only thing I avoided was the conspiracy theorists, the anti-vaxers, the horror stories that just made me feel worse.
I continued doing gentle yoga to keep my blood flowing, pushing myself to do as much as I could in the garden and listening to my body when I needed to take a break… which was way too often for my liking, but a necessity.
That’s when I stumbled on Wim Hoff, a crazy guy from Holland and his dog, living in Poland and doing crazy stuff in the cold. He was just what I needed, someone who knew how to live, how to influence the body and mind to give it the best chance. What did I have to lose?
I was already a big advocate of breathwork, but his method was new to me. The thought of doing his exercises made me wince in mental anguish as did the thought of standing in a cold shower when I have a perfectly functional boiler.
But I guess that is the problem with thoughts sometimes. They limit what our bodies are capable of.
I started in August following his plan on his free app. In September I climbed Rila Mountain and the 7 lakes, something I’d always wanted to do anyway, but somehow this was so much more of an achievement. I’d started to believe in myself again.
Here we are in November. Every day since I have been doing yoga, deep breathing, exercise (planks, horse stance, scissor kicks, push ups) and importantly 5 minute cold showers. For the last 5 weeks I have reduced my dose of blood thinners in half. The plan is to come off them altogether at the end of the month.
And this is where the ‘sick of shit’ switches to ‘grateful for shit’ as I realise how lucky I am to have survived this. To be in a country where I don’t have to wait months to be seen by a specialist and private healthcare doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (pun intended). To have a job that I can do from home for a boss who has been super supportive of everything.
But now it is time to pivot. For new beginnings, new dreams, new priorities. I’m still working on what this looks like, but I will share soon.Join me: