Wednesday, 16 July 2008

On the way back...

I've been in a very dark place for a while now - something to do with being in constant pain, and having constant nausea, not to mention the lack of energy, the cold sweats, and, nearly forgot (!) all those loverly burns! 

Of course the kitten has been an absolute godsend, keeping me company, purring away while ripping my hands to pieces (I look like I've started self-harming!).  When I've been too ill to scrape myself off the sofa, I've managed to get to the kitchen to feed him, so he's forced me to make a physical effort.  So it hasn't been all bad.  Also have the shiny new laptop, a hubby to die for (oops - really should rephrase that!), and wonderful kids.  And I am still here.

So these things have helped somewhat in digging me out of the depression I'd been stuck in, like sinking sand.  The haircut helped too, but yesterday I must confess to crying for much of the day.  I was sad because I packed all my teaching files away; my career is now in 9 large boxes on top of the office cupboards.  My briefcase looks forlorn and un-used.  I was mourning my life because my life as I knew it, my life prior to November last year has gone.  There was no teaching of fastrack this summer, and no modules to be written/updated for September.  No more wages.  I have to re-evaluate who I am, where I'm going, and what I'm going to do with my life (and of course we don't know how much life I've got left either - much as no one wants to think of that fact, including me.

Only I have to live with it every day.  And it is very stressful.

Which is why I wanted to keep up with my riding.  That time each week where the only thing to be considered is your relationship with the horse you are riding/handling.  It's like meditation because the mind is concentrated on one activity 100%, and I love it.

Well, today I finally got back in the saddle, and even lasted the full half hour, although I had to take it easy and work at a walk now and then.  It was fantastic.  I was grinning from ear to ear, cantering around the school, sitting in balance and riding as well as ever.  What a relief (I thought I might've had to start from scratch again due to such muscle wastage and loss of fitness).

I am officially on my way back from the chemo and radiotherapy, and although I don't see the oncologist until 23rd July, and there won't be a scan for ages after that, I think as long as I can get out and ride, I'll be able to cope a lot better with whatever they say.  At least that's the plan at any rate.


JJ said...

Oh Lisa, you really have been through a horrible time. I'm really pleased to hear that you're back riding again though, and I know exactly what you mean about the 'zone' of concentrating only on one thing. It's such a great place to be. Lots of love, JJx

Calistro said...

SO glad you're riding again. You got me thinking about what 'I' do to get away from stress/distract myself and couldn't think of anything. Even writing stresses me out 90% of the time (that's sad isn't it?).


Oh!! I know! Tae Bo with my blow up blue dildo. I mean, blue punching bag! That's very good for stress and distracting myself. A few punches and kicks and I feel much better.

I've got everything crossed for your next scan Lisa xxx

Calistro said...

p.s. How's the alkaline diet going?

liz fenwick said...

(((())))s So pleased you are riding again. When I was suffering from bad depression a while ago the one thing that transported me was painting. Once I was in the studio with paint brush in hand the rest of the world fell away.

Captain Black said...

Lisa, I'm not great at cheering people up, but I hope you're feeling better now that you've had some riding therapy.

Fingers crossed for a clear scan on the 23rd.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Good plan. And you're writing, too, even if it's only these blog posts. That counts for something. Not surprised you've been depressed; you're dealing with really, really tough stuff. Counselling is always an option, if it works for you.

clairesgarden said...

glad you got out with the horses, they do blow the blues away.
you seem to be grieving for the life you had before and realising you have to live for the life you have now, and from what you write it looks like you're doing a good job. and you have my admiration for that.

Annieye said...

I'll be thinking of you on Wednesday Lisa. I hope your appointment goes well and keep up with the riding and writing.

Mistlethrush said...

Isn't it amazing how animals, whatever their size, can help us. So non-judgemental.

I've just read Carol Fenlon's Consider the Lilies - really good if you haven't already read it

Hope the appointment goes well.

hesitant scribe said...

jj - thanks hun, it's been truly dire but riding again means I'm definitely recovering! I was sorry to have missed you and everyone at the London meet. Fingers crossed I'm still around and well enough to make the next one, eh.

calistro - thanks. That's the thing to tackle next, isn't it?! The writing!!! As for the diet - haven't followed it exactly to the letter, but am eating much more healthily so it's all probably helping in getting me back on my feet.

liz - painting is a lovely thing to do. I'm pretty rubbish at it, but it's great fun!

capt black - ta! Not sure how I feel about getting scanned again - afraid to hope for too much I guess.

zinnia - I always thought of counsellors as being for people who have no friends to talk too (lol), but thanks for the thought. I'd much rather blog about it, or chat to people. I'm not depressed, as such. As you say - I'm dealing with a very horrible situation. All in all, I think I've been relatively up-beat (well... I try at any rate!)

clairesgarden - *blushes* at admiration bit! What ya like?! Not sure I deserve admiration - after all, I just got sick and that can happen (sadly) to anyone!
But thank you. It is lovely to hear you say it. And the horses! Oh yes - however did I live for so long without them?!

annieye - thanks. let's hope it's good news.

mistlethrush - good to hear from you. Must read Carol's book - but it just reminds me how far behind I am considering we are both (supposedly) at the same place in out PhDs!!! Yikes!

clairesgarden said...

yes, you have my admiration, you have shared very eloquently how you feel, nothing left out. and thats very grounding for me, I'm hormonal and you reming me to be thankful for my health and the things I have. and you like horses of course so you must be a nice person!! this is a quote from page 2&3 of Among Wild Horses by Lynne Pomeranz ;; the words "the horses changed my life" could be their anthem. How sincerely they are spoken. How reverently. How often! For these horses have a profound effect on people. They lift the spirits, quiet the mind, and soothe the soul......In their own way, these wild horses exemplify the best of what we hope for in ourselves: strength, courage, even kindness, forgiveness, and love. They endure and accept. they resolve their differences then move on. But what leaves us most wistful-what we envy most- is their raw unabashed freedom. They neigh it on the mountain and whicker it from the desert. It races along high ridge and down grassy slopes, lolls in the warmth of the mountain sunshine, and wallows in the red mud of water holes. Joyful, lazy, exuberant and ultimately content: it is the freedom of these exquitsite animals that catches our hearts. To share in their tranquil existence, to realize the perfect order of their natural world, to rejoice in each new foal and yet be able to accept when that perfect order brings suffering or death-to know them on their own terms-is to be transformed....And hopefull you, too, will be able to say, "the horses changed my life".

DOT said...

Lisa, you once made a kind comment on my blog when I was writing about depression.

So I looked at your blog but hit the hesitandscribblings one and, not being much into poetry, mea culpa, left it there.

However, I today discovered this blog.

I have just spent an hour and a half reading of your journey from research in Spain and horse riding, through pain, diagnosis and scans to tears and resolution.

I am breathless.

Everyone has said everything I am sure.

However, I bet you never thought you would be the person to put everyone else's life into perspective. I don't suppose you ever wanted to occupy that position. But you do. And not because of the bugger in your lung, but because of the qualities in you that the bugger has brought out: courage, honesty, frankness, humour, and more courage.

And the positive thing about that is while the bugger will be beaten, those qualities will remain.


ps you write pretty well too - did anyone tell you? :)

Debs said...

Good for you. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time riding. I havent ridden for years but it is such a feeling of freedom.


hesitant scribe said...

clairesgarden - how apt that quote is - thank you for sharing it. Horses have definitely changed my life and me, for the better. Shame it has also affected the old bank balance too (and not for the better, haha!).

dot - thank you for your lovely comments. Funny thing is I'm not a poet at all, and only dabble! It's mostly fiction on the scribblings blog, but am so pleased you found, and like, the 'blog proper', despite the fact that it's ended up being a cancer survivor blog more than a writing one!

debs - yes - freedom - perhaps that's it. There's a sense of not thinking about anything other than the horse and your surroundings, and what your body is doing (or supposed to be doing!!!). I'm going to ride for as long as I am able, and hope that's a lot of years to come!

Amy said...

Yes, exactly! I have been trying to explain that riding for me is like meditation and stress relief, rolled into exercise and mentle sitmulation for years to my friends and relatives. It is such a wonderful thing that something so simple can lift you above your pain and lift your moods. Hope everything works out.