Turning 23

Tomorrow I’ll be 23, surreal or what? It all seems to come round so fast! 
I’m feeling mixed emotions about it all as of course it’s fantastic and I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful day but it brings a lot to think about too. 

Just had my last treatment and bloods for the week, thankful to Eden Ward and Haematology for taking me at late notice. All ready for my birthday tomorrow as long as this body behaves. 

It brings a lot of emotion every birthday especially since being unwell. I didn’t plan to be where I am now turning 23 but after going to hell and back with this illness I’m just thankful to be alive and at home. It’s hard though as I don’t know what the future holds and not knowing will this birthday be my last? It sounds drastic and of course it’s not going to happen, well I pray and do all I can to not let it but when you go through traumatic experiences particularly multiple times you can’t help but have those thoughts and for the last three to four years I’ve spent at least one admission in a coma, fighting sepsis and complications from surgeries and this illness in general. Sometimes it becomes so normal you forget the real seriousness of it. But the other half of me is ‘You survived, fought till you had nothing left and beaten this more than once and your here to tell the tale. Your alive and that’s just brilliant in itself!’ 

That’s exactly what my main focus is too, right here right now. In this very moment, grasp it and don’t let it go. 
When birthdays arise I also, as well do start thinking ‘so what have I achieved in 12 months? That is something we all do and so many of us struggle being content with where we are. 

For me it’s adapting and still coming to terms with where the illness has took me. When I was 18 I had a plan and then when I was 19 everything changed and that plan went out the window. A whole new path came out but right now I don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow let alone next year. I try very hard to keep busy (when possible physically) and do what I want but so often I can’t finish what I started or do what I planned as this illness is an unpredictable ticking time bomb with constant battles your trying to manage 24/7 every day and every night. That is draining on not just the body but the mind too and it can really get me down, understandably. 

But what everyone achieves is individual to them and not comparing to others (how hard it can be not to do that). It’s about YOU and no one else. 

If I put myself in a bubble and look at what I’ve done this year adding in the stays in intensive care, surgeries and multiple hosoital stays in and at home managing to do anything in between is amazing in itself? People have said that to me before and I often just brush it off as I find it hard to believe but actually the more I hear it and really take it in it’s very relevant and very true. 

So what have I done? I’ve not climbed Mount Everest or started a new business, I’ve not gone up in my career (work is virtually impossible with this illness and unpredictable life). I’ve not raised thousands of pounds (though I hope I will over time) and I’ve not had a baby or got married. None of those. 
I’ve just lived best I can to my ability. 

-I’ve worked very hard on training Willow, she’s learnt a number of tasks and specific training she would never have been able to do a year ago alongside starting agility together. 

– I’ve carried on with my love of sports with wheelchair basketball, playing in league games and skiing, including a trip to Austria (despite the icu part) and I can now confidently do the last half of a black run down into a red and the rest of the mountain independently. 

– I’ve spoke at a number of events raising awareness for DSUK and disability/my story in general. 

– Went on our first proper holiday together, myself, Oli and Willow to the middle of nowhere being silly, having fun, walking Willow and watching the stars whilst eating toasted marshmallows and pancakes. 

– Went to Brecon Beacons for New Year with friends, did walks we thought impossible but together we conquered it and I couldn’t stop smiling. 

– Been to the zoo, went kayaking and tried swimming and racing. 

– Got a wonderful new PA who I love and I’m looking forward to doing lots more with and enhancing my life. 
Yes those things might not seem massive but I spent 3 to 4 months in hospital as an impatient not counting day patients, A&E and home treatments with my central line to help keep me at home more easily. 

So whatever happens tomorrow will be great. The most important thing is I’m around people I love. In the end achievements are about us living in the moment, enjoying the opportunities it brings and having fun at any moment possible. Life can change at any time, so don’t waste it. 

But no matter what happens you must always remember.. 
‘Just keep on swimming’ 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *