The last time I wrote a blog was three months ago. I haven’t written since then as I haven’t been coping very well and sharing my life with anyone other than my very closest friends and family hasn’t been a priority. I’ve probably had the worst six months of my life so far.
After having two months off running when diagnosed with a stress reaction, my leg still hurt to walk but I began the back to running program as I was told I’d probably left it too long.
This was back in May when I also returned to the UK. Two weeks into the back to running program and the pain was getting worse. I persisted thinking it may be due to my legs doing no exercise for so long. Over the next month it got to the point where I was in excruciating pain within two minutes of running. I went to the doctors but was back to square one even after having seven months of treatment in New Zealand.
So far in the UK I’ve seen three doctors, three orthopaedic consultants and two physiotherapists. They have ranged from being the most caring, considerate people imaginable to being the rudest most obnoxious idiots that should never work in health care. After 16 months suffering with this problem I still have no definite diagnosis.
My mental health has suffered so badly that I’ve had no choice but to reach out for help. I‘d never realised how much I rely on exercise and being outdoors for my mental health. It’s only when it’s taken away from you that it becomes so clear. I’ve been offered anti-depressants but it was decided between myself and the doctor that I don’t need medication to be happy I just need to get back to being active again as soon as possible.
And based on that they are trying to get to the bottom of my problem as quickly as they can. But quickly when the health system in the UK is bursting at the seams is not very quickly (I’m not slagging off the NHS, they have done so much for me and I’m extremely grateful). I have an MRI scan next week and have been referred for a bone isotope scan but my referral seems to have got lost somewhere. I’ll go back to the hospital at the end of October for the results and if they are all negative then I’ll be referred for more tests.
The hardest thing about all of this is not having a diagnosis. Once you know what’s wrong then you can process it and deal with the situation. Over the past year my mental state has been on a rollercoaster ride. I get a diagnosis (or at least a theory as to what the problem could be), I accept it, feel positive about recovery and do all the exercises I’m given to address it. Unfortunately, every time this has happened so far there has been no recovery and my heart has been broken each time. This has happened multiple times and it only gets harder but I have no choice but to put my faith in each theory.
After spending all of my money on health care in New Zealand I have no choice but to be patient and wait for the NHS care. About a month ago when I was feeling at my absolute lowest I decided I had to do something else. I found a running specialist physiotherapist in Manchester. It’s very expensive to see him but I borrowed some money off my boyfriend and also managed to wangle a discount.
I’m so glad I took the risk and went to see him as he has a different theory behind my problems to everyone else I’ve seen so far. As always, I’ve put my belief in him and I’m giving his advice my best shot. Who knows, he may be right, he may not, but I have little choice other than to give it everything.
He was extremely thorough when I saw him and he tested so many things with my body that others hadn’t. He asked me all about my history and really listened to everything I said (at this point even just having someone listen to me made a huge difference).
His theory, in brief, is that over the years of doing long endurance events I have caused scarring on the fascia that covers the deep posterior compartment in my legs. This has restricted the muscles in my lower legs and caused a lot of tightening. I’m suffering with the symptoms of compartment syndrome but he doesn’t believe that is the problem.
I am now doing lots of muscle lengthening strength exercises in the gym to release the scarring and also having weekly acupuncture. It’s hard to know if there is any improvement so far as I’m not allowed to run. The pain only occurs when I run so at the moment there is no pain.
I’m desperate to get back to New Zealand, to my home, my boyfriend and my life but unfortunately I can’t go back until this is all sorted. I can’t face changing all my medical care and starting from scratch again. I also couldn’t afford any more treatment in NZ.
I’ve recently started to draw again after not drawing for nearly ten years This has been an absolute life changer. If I didn’t have this to focus all my energy into I don’t know what I’d do. I’ve been very lucky that one of my best friends has let me stay in her front room in Manchester which has been a massive help. There are a handful of people that have been unbelievably supportive recently and I couldn’t have got through this time without them. You all know who you are and I can’t thank you enough.
While not being outside, skipping around and sharing my passions, I think I’ve lost the real me. It’s only today that I’ve realised I’ve completely lost my energetic, fiery self. I received a message thanking me for the passion I put into my Elliptigo journey. Reflecting on that time in my life felt like I was thinking about a different person, it reminded me of the person that I really am. I used to be so bouncy and enthusiastic. I don’t feel like that person at the moment but I know it’s there and will return.
If you think that this blog seems quite emotional and depressing, well it’s because that’s how I’ve been feeling. I always try to be as positive as possible. I’m always sharing as much happiness with my friends, family and followers as I possibly can. And that’s because I love to be happy and make others happy. I love smiling and jumping and skipping. Unfortunately, life is not 100% like that. I feel it’s only fair to share the other side of the story too.
I really, genuinely hope that my next blog is me saying that I’m feeling back to my normal self, perhaps running again or at least having a clear diagnosis. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for caring.
Much love x x x