Thought I'd do a wee update since I'm sitting doing nothing, having a quiet few days. On Friday morning at the Queen Margaret hospital I had the feeding tube removed. I've been looking forward to this for weeks, having the tube was necessary but still a pain. Having an open wound with a plastic tube hanging out my tummy has hindered my movement from the day it was put in (March 7th) stretching and bending have been restricted and I don't mean any super duper yoga stuff, just reaching a kitchen cupboard or picking up something from the floor, and I'm not going to mention coughing or sneezing! I don't know if being bit more active these last few weeks has irritated it but it's been very tender lately. I'm told the wound will heal quickly but I've to be careful for a few days, I'm looking forward to being able to move freely, it is another step in my recovery.
My energy level is increasing and I've been running, it has felt very hard though, my legs feel very heavy and don't have any strength. I have a lot of faith in muscle memory but my quads have a touch of Alzheimer's, and with some gentle encouragement they will soon remember what they're supposed to do. I hope they get the hang of it soon I've got a 48 hour race at the British Ultra Fest in four weeks!
I had a great six mile walk on Friday 12th, it was the fourth anniversary of Dario leaving us, so there was only one place to go, the Angels Playground on the West Highland Way, and on impulse just before I left home I grabbed a Goblet, wrapped it in three Buffs and a long sleeved top and placed it in my backpack, I never go by Dario's post without my hipflask but I thought on this day I wanted to make a special gesture. I wore running shoes in case I felt like a wee scamper, it was a roasting hot day and I loved it, I was a bit over dressed in long tights but I had good reason for wearing them, the bracken would be thick and tall and it's tick season. I did stick in a few wee jogs but the feeding tube jarred every step so I practiced my "walk with purpose" technique, I think I'll be doing more walking than running at the 48 hour so it was worth doing.
My recovery is a lot slower than I'd hoped, my mouth is still very sensitive and tender and the food I'm managing is still soft. I have lost a little more weight but it's not too much. My Macmillan nurse did stress to me on Friday that I'm still burning extra calories recovering and repairing and doesn't want me to lose any more, especially as I'm getting more active, me neither really, I don't mind burning fat but I don't want to burn muscle so I've promised her I'll add drinking a pint and a half of full fat milk every day to keep my weight stable. A couple of weeks ago I had a strange feeling in my stomach, it took a bit of time for it to dawn on me what it was. Hunger. My appetite has returned, which is great but also a bit frustrating, I see and smell food I want to eat but can't manage, fruit is still very nippy, anything with texture is abrasive, but I'm enjoying trying different things even though it irritates my mouth. I've had an appointment at the clinic in the Western and they are happy with my progress. I also found out why it takes a long time to recover, the radiation stays in my body for around twelve weeks and it's effects hang around until it's gone. But every week I'm feeling a gradual improvement and that's me seven weeks post treatment so I'm over the worst of it.
Looking forward to August, it's going to be a busy month, on the 3rd is the Devil O' the Highland, this year Pauline and I are not supporting anyone but we'll be oot n' aboot, probably up the Devil's Staircase to shout abuse. Then my next race, the Graham Clark Memorial Race at Knockhill on the 6th, the club has organised this race in memory of Graham, since 2004, I have always helped but this year I have decided to run it for the first time, and in memory of Catherine Wilson, a very inspirational friend and Carnegie Harrier, she fought her cancer for eleven years, never giving in, and lived her life to the full right to the end, she ran London Marathon last year. Our last run together was a girly group 10 miler in February. All the proceeds from this years race is going to Ovacome so if you fancy a birl round Knockhill you can enter here, mind it's Shanks Pony and no fast cars!
Next is a fun weekend in the Black Isle for Runrig's Party On The Moor, I'll try not to jump about too much since I'll have the 48 hour race five days later! My plan for the 48 hour is to run the first half hour and the last half hour, I'll pace the other 47 hours according to how I feel. At the beginning of June I set myself a big goal of 200km optimistically thinking my recovery would be faster, I'm still holding onto that goal although it is probably beyond me just now and I'm not going to damage myself trying to reach it. I've been running consistently for nearly three weeks now, around three times a week of a distance of three and a half miles, and I increased it to five miles on Thursday knowing I'd be having a quiet weekend. My running has been quite slow, but that's how I run in an ultra! The way I'm looking at it is it will feel like I'll be starting the race as if I've already done around fifteen hours, because that's when the pain and tiredness usually plateaus out and I've certainly honed my management skills in the pain and tiredness departments lately, so run, walk, stroll and a few rests I'll just do what I can, it will be a learning experience and set a bench mark for the next time. I'm also hoping running with the remnants of radiotherapy still in my system won't get me banned, I don't think it's on the prohibited list as I doubt it's performance enhancing!
In September I'm looking forward to the Glenmore 24, Pauline and I are supporting Vicky O'Reilly and Fiona Macdonald. I'm also looking forward to running a very special and exclusive event with the entry limited to one! The Glenmore 6 (why does that sound like a band of outlaws?) Bill and Mike have generously offered me my own wee fun run, I'll start at 6.00pm and finish with the 12 hour race. I'm targeting marathon distance, whether I reach that goal or not doesn't really matter, supporting and having a run at Glenmore is like having my cake and eating it. (Vicky, Fiona don't worry when I swan off for a toddle, Pauline is an expert at support, I trained her myself, that was my job before I ever ran any big daft stuff!)
Next week I'm looking forward to going back to work, (yeah, I know that sounds mad) I'm only going in for one wee shift and see how I feel, I'm sure I'll be fine. Work has been so supportive, "Take as long as you need."
I have many goals to aim for and look forward to, from eating Stornoway Black Pudding in a roll at the Real Food Cafe to smashing the Leisure Centre's doors off and picking up my tenth Goblet.
I have the patience of a puppy waiting for the garden gate to be opened but I'll just have to try and be sensible (bloody hell, I've just used the S word!) and go with the flow and not push too hard, apart from running the 48 hour race that is, but I'm a Fifer and I've paid the entry fee.