Monday, August 17, 2015

New found freedom

About 3 months ago I made a decision.
I was watching an episode of 60 Minutes featuring a rugby player who had become a quadriplegic and he was speaking about how much he missed the simple things like walking and running.
Sitting on the couch that evening I realised I had everything this man wanted and was taking it ALL for granted! 
An ex gymnast and springboard diver, I am fortunate to have a body made for running and here I was, lazing about and kidding myself about how active and healthy I was! 
I had been eating excuses for breakfast for far too long.
I made a commitment to myself that night; I would run for all those who can't, I would start running simply because I can!
The next day I signed up to a running group for women in my local area. The group meets early one morning a week, starting at a 30 minute jog and slowly adding 5 minutes each week to build endurance.
Inspired by the coach to sign up to an organised race to keep us motivated, I signed up to the very lofty goal of the 10km Run Melbourne event. 10km!! I had never even dreamed of running that far before. Would I actually be able to make the distance!?

As it turns out, the coach was correct. It we signed up and paid for the race, we would be motivated to get out of bed on those -2 degree mornings and do the training we needed to get done. Before long at all, I did my first 10km run one morning as part of a run with the group. Although I was super proud of my achievement, my once lofty goal slowly deflated in front of me as I realised this goal no longer scared the pants off me... time to develop a new goal!

And that is the story of how I came to decide that I would run a half marathon! 
This endo warrior, who was only 6 months ago on the operating table having more adhesions removed and having adenomyosis diagnosed, was now going to aim for a half marathon run. With only 3 months to train for it, THAT goal really did scare the pants off me!

That was, until last weekend...
When I accidentally achieved the goal without really meaning to...

Having never been on a women's weekend away, I signed up to the 'Luxury Run Camp' run by my coach. Part of the camp involved a long distance run on the Saturday. Two distances were offered, 10km and 30km. I was obviously going to do the shorter distance, however 10km was nowhere near enough, now that I had already reached that goal. Along with a couple of other girls, we decided we would run 15km with an actual secret goal of 18km (the things you have to tell yourself to get yourself to run futher!)
After a pit stop at the 10km mark to tape up some of my persistent blisters, we turned and started heading back the way we came. We ran and we ran, supporting each other along the way. 10km turned in to 15km, which turned in to 18kms and then we were 'so close to home' that we thought we may as well keep going. 21 kms later, absolutely exhausted but incredibly proud, we pulled up stops and celebrated my first half marathon distance!
This is something I never would have dreamed of doing, let alone after all my issues with endo and adeno. 

(As a side note, I did run the 10km Run Melbourne event and smiled the whole entire way. A beautiful sunny day running along the Yarra River with thousands of other people, all achieving their own goals along side you- What a way to celebrate the fact that we are lucky enough to be able to run!
I didn't do a PB on this day because I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere, I was desperate to find out the stories and goals behind every single runner in the race and spent much of my time striking up conversation with those around me to find out their back stories- from people who used to run as kids to people who only come out for this one event every year to people trying to overcome a mid life crisis. It was fascinating!)

Before typing this entry I reread all my posts on this blog and reflected on how far I have come both physically and, probably more importantly, mentally.
Running (as well as riding and swimming) have absolutely been the driving force behind my positive mental health. 
There is nothing more freeing and refreshing than an early morning run chatting with other gorgeous women while inhaling the crisp clean air we are so lucky to have here in Australia. 
I recently emailed my the leader of my endo support group and she commented on the fact that some studies are now finding that exercise appears to be a factor in cancer recovery/staying in remission for some cancers. Research is also starting to suggest that some cancers are estrogen dependent. She pondered if, hearing my huge improvements in health and wellbeing, exercise might use up or suppress extra estrogen and how this could be investigated/measured.

Studies aside, I know four things:
  • Running is making me stronger in more ways than one (physically, mentally and emotionally)
  • It is contributing to improved mental health for me
  • It has forced endo to take a back seat while I get on with my life (I am no longer someone with endo, I am a runner!)
  • I am off to hunt for a new scary goal...

Running at Run Melbourne 'because I can!'

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two week wait

2 week wait

An unpleasant mixture of hopes and fears.

Another hour survived.
Suppressed and secretive joy at lasting an entire day.
Persistent and noxious weed like thoughts of "what if"
Attempting to pervade,
To infiltrate.

A day spent inexhaustibly spraying
The persistent creepers.
Clear recollections of the last time this path was travelled,
A dark pit of lost dreams lies ahead.
Although one more hour has just passed..
What if...


2 week wait- part 2
The day's armour falls to the floor,
Removing with it
the mask
that has provided refuge
through a day of
emotionless meetings.
The steaming hot water
no defence
against the
from within.

of the possibility
leave a crumpled mess
upon the shower floor.

No more waiting
No more feeling.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

First steps to healing

After 4 long years of infertility (that's 48 monthly reminders that I am not pregnant) it is not hard to believe I have fallen into a pit lately. Allowing myself to wallow for a couple of months I have decided that it is time I started fighting like a girl to claw my way out of this sorrow-filled place of endless darkness. 
Here marks my first steps to healing (well maybe not to healing but at least to getting through a day without uncontrolled waterworks).

I have just removed all chronic baby talkers from my newsfeed on Facebook. 
This isn’t because I’m not happy for them. 
I am. 
It is because I need to look after myself. 
I need to stop re-bullying myself 
every day, 
through contestant reminders 
that I do not have my own baby 
to hold 
and take pictures of 
and tell the world about. 

Through contestant reminders 
I don’t have my own baby 
who looks so much like me 
or who laughs just like it’s father. 

I just need to give myself a break 
and this is 
in doing that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A self infliction of sorts

I am doing it tough time this week. I know it is my own fault as I gave in to temptation and enjoyed a few glasses of red and some delicious chocolates. Knowing this though doesn't make the pain any easier to deal with. I have had a reminder this week that I need to be stronger when I don't have the pain to reduce the possibility of days like today. 

Doing it tough

I don’t want sympathy or stories,
I want strength.

Give me the strength to claw my way out of this deep black hole.
Better still,
Give me the strength to stop myself from sliding in in the first place.

Give me the strength to believe
in possibilities,
in better days,
in the dream of the pitter-patter of little feet.

Give me the strength to disregard the feeling of letting down the one I love,
the guilt and the regret for things I can’t provide him.

Give me the strength to have enough control to save important decisions for a better day,
And to make the right decisions on days like today.

Give me the strength to start again next month,
to resist the temptations of trigger foods and to believe that it is all worth it in the end.

I don’t need sympathy or stories,
I simply need strength.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A book worth reading

I have just finished reading David Emerald’s book ‘The Power of TED* - The Empowerment Dynamic’ and am very glad that this book was recommended to me by the facilitator of a leadership course I am currently participating in.
Essentially, the Empowerment Dynamic is about changing our focus from that of the victim to that of the creator in order to make more of our lives and to reach our full potential. I found myself wearing many different hats throughout this book as I related the empowerment dynamic to my work life, my home life and my medical condition- endometriosis (and the associated infertility).

Short summary of some of the roles in TED* (It will never do the book justice but I will try…) 
Victim- The role of the victim is characterised by someone who feels powerless and has experienced some loss, thwarted desire or aspiration or the death of a dream. (Eg. Feeling powerless against a bully at work, the suffering due to infertility caused by endometriosis, having endo in the first place etc)
Persecutor- The persecutor serves as the cause of the Victim’s perceived powerlessness, reinforcing the ‘poor me’ identity. (Doing an award winning job of playing this role is the Endo and infertility)
In the book Emerald outlines how we can shift our focus from that of the Victim to that of the Creator. Creator- This is the antidote to the powerless victim. A Creator greatly increases their ability to choose a response to life circumstances rather than merely reacting to them.
Challenger- Serves as an antidote to the Persecutor who provokes a reaction from a Victim, a Challenger is a catalyst for change, learning and growth for a Creator.

So, how does it work? We need to stop focussing on the problems in our lives (the endo for example) and start focusing on what we want in and of our lives. If you could have or do or be anything your heart desired right now, what would that look like? Remember to think big! (Remember also that you need to think about what you DO want not what you DON’T want. Saying- “I want to focus on not being sick” is a negative and just won’t cut it).
The next step is to think of some short achievable goals you can focus on that will help you move towards achieving your new vision. Once you have done that then you need to start taking action- get creating!
Note: The book goes in to much more detail than I have here and actually explains all the roles with great examples and even tells you how you can go about doing all the things required in each role.

My learnings from this book. 
 I need to look at my Endo as a challenge. It has challenged me to get creative and rethink some things. Every challenge has an opportunity for learning though and I need to take time to reflect on all the things I have learnt through having Endo. As a start I know I am a much stronger person than I thought I was and I have learnt how to look after my body and have developed a much healthier lifestyle as a result of having it. For that I am thankful. I need to really think long and hard about what I want in my life and what I can do to achieve this. I have already started down this path and am enjoying the opportunities that being a creator rather than a Victim have afforded me. Ultimately I realise I need to stop focusing on Endo as my life. It is not my life, it is not even a huge part of my life but it has wheedled its way in to being a central part of it at the moment and is absorbing all of my energy. I need to refocus and ensure that endo only gets the tiny bot of attention it should have in my life.

My advice for others.
Read this book, think big and stop sleepwalking through life in the role of the Victim. Take charge and be a creator!

Thanks to Kat for this very appropriate image :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

'Helpful' tip #284: Just don't think about it!

More of my favourite advice on becoming pregnant. "Just don't think about it and it will happen."

Just don’t think about it

You are right.

I should ignore

The megaphones connected to my ovaries

The loud speaker connected to my vagina

The amplifier connected to my uterus

The heightened sensors in my breasts.


I think I might just go ahead

And turn them all off.

Could you please

Show me where?

'Helpful' Tip #109: It can happen!

One of the things I hate about suffering from infertility is all the 'help' and 'advice' I get. I try not to get angry at the person saying it because they are just trying to be kind and help give me hope but I wish they realised how it made me (and other infertility sufferers) feel. I have taken to writing poetry lately as a release. (Why on earth didn't I start this earlier?) Here is my poem on this very topic:

It CAN happen

A lady at work

Has a daughter

Who got pregnant

After her 1st round of IVF.



Well my friend’s sister

Who is a size 12 in tops

And 10 in bottoms

And has blonde hair

With brown eyes

And was born on a Saturday

Has a dog

And she named it Tom.

Does it get my point across?