A month ago I turned 39 and suddenly realised why people get wobbly about turning 40. My sister went on a mission and made massive changes to her life to get really fit for 40 and stay that way and she did it. It was great to watch and perfectly timed. As we had recently lost our mum to cancer so were trying hard to adapt to life without her. Plus I was trying to shred a dress size for my upcoming wedding and so it was great to have similar goals to distract us from our grief. Watching my sister lose two dress sizes, build a completely different body shape and take part in many activities, races, assualt courses, that I would never of expected her too try let alone enjoy, made me really proud of her and inspired me. But it also made me quite jealous.
I was jealous because my physical limitations meant I couldn’t join in with the same type of activities and explore whether military fitness, running, pilates or the HIIT workouts showing up all over the net would be for me, like they turned out to be for her. plain and simply there is stuff I cannot do.
My physical limitations made losing weight and changing shape for my wedding very difficult. Especially as I was a size 12 and wanted to be a size 10. Everyone knows that losing weight when you’re not particularly big is bloody hard anyway, but when you can’t hit the gym, the weights or pound the pavement it becomes really bloody hard and you have to think outside of the box a little bit. Which I did
Athough the weight is creeping back on which is a bit annoying, it inevitable at the moment as I have had to stop my exercise routines, and have lost my wellbeing mojo a bit, as I am recovering from a hip surgery I had at the end of December. but thats what daytime tv, sketching, lying in bed eating lots of maltesers and a little bit of physio & hydro does for you.
So turning 39 last month reminded me of my sister journey and got me thinking that I should really use my 12 months before turning 40 to really have a look at my life and where I want to direct my next chapter. I have been ill, limited disabled, recovering, waiting to get better, sitting in a waiting room in one medical place or another for half my life.
How I am going pursue my passion for painting and drawing and get fantastic by 40 regardless of the limits of my body? I just don’t know. Over the years I have tried so many different things to be as well as possibly despite the challenges and interruption of illness. To be fair I think i have done a pretty good job, I have done more than doctors said I would be able to and my life is happy, I am no longer controled by my illness physical limitations.
So if I am going to make an effort to go a bit further and pursue art and get fantastic for 40 I thought would share my journey. Whilst taking some time to look back at everything I have learnt during my 20 years of living with chronic pain, illness, disability and fatigue and share some of my past present and future experiences, lessons, failures and laughs along the way. Fingers crossed I will meet some like minded people along the way.
My 39th birthday seemed like perfect timing to start. especially as I am still off work, my surgery recovery was going well. I was lowering the pain killers and upping my walking and generally going in the right direction meaning I would have some guilt free time to focus on me and kick-start my 12 months to be fantastic 40 perfectly. But that was a month ago and before I even had a moment to think about where I was going to start. My body, as so many times before, decided to get in the way and steal shit loads of my time by being ill and too completely fucked to do anything other than hurt, eat, sleep and repeat.
So here I am 11 months away from 40, a stroke survivor (since 2004) recovering from a hip surgery on my left side – my stroke impaired side. Taking warfarin because they found blood clots on my heart valve (the heart valve that was repaired in 2004). Trying to get rid of pneumonia and pleurisy that came out of nowhere a month ago and is knocking me for six.
So it’s not the most positive starting point, but if I am waiting for that I could be waiting a long time. So rather than waste anymore months I thought I would just start my blog warts and all. After all, one thing the last 20 years has taught me the main skill in the Art of illness is do what you can when your able and don’t wait to be better as it can be a bloody long wait, do what you can when you can.
Despite feeling like utter crap, I do feel a bit excited than I have taken the first step on The art of illness journey. I really hope you will come along for the ride and if you can’t be bothered to read my waffle I hope you will enjoy looking at the picture and like some of the art work I produce.