I’ve wanted to write this post for months, but honestly I struggle with opening up. I’ve become very adept at coping with adversity. A side effect of that is that at times I have a wall around me which is hard for others to break through and for me to break out of. Those who know me well know I’ll always say I’m “ok” even when I’m not and I’ll never ever, ever, ever, ever ask for help. Even when I need it. Heck I have a hard enough time even accepting help when it’s offered! Really I’m a difficult person to get to know properly.
When I started my first bout of fundraising not only was I difficult person to get to know but I was very damaged. I was exhausted emotionally and jaded by people and life. I found it almost impossible to connect with others, their day to day life had really genuine concerns but they were more regular ones. I had had 3 years of slowly being dragged through the process of finding lumps in my daughter’s neck and wanting medical reassurance, to biopsies, to her surgery, to finding out it was cancer. This was followed by the diagnosis of Cowden Syndrome which means this is the rest of her life, she will always need checks and operations. She will always be at risk of cancer. This was followed the next year by a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. At each point when we were waiting to find out a diagnosis it was all consuming, at social events when I started to relax I’d loosen up and begin to talk about her cancer, or the next awful thing we were hoping it wouldn’t be (which it always was the horrible thing) and God bless the person I was talking to they would always get this look of “get…me…out…of…here” I made people uncomfortable. My life was the kind of experience at that time that parents live in fear of. Connecting became almost impossible. At the same time I had old friends of 20 or so years just vanish. I guess they found seeing a kid they’d known since a baby with all this happening was too much. I needed them though and the sense of abandonment was raw and painful.
All of this meant I’d essentially come to terms with the fact that it was me and my family. When I started the fundraising the first year being 260 workouts I’d slip into the gym during the quiet times and get it done. I hoped that people would sponsor me but I had no expectations.
I certainly didn’t see what actually happened coming. The amount of support I received was incredible. A wonderful woman ran a raffle at her business, people bought t-shirts and wore them to comps family and friends sponsored me, some brought in prizes for the raffle I ran at the end of the year, a gorgeous lady made an lovely hand crochet blanket to raffle. My son ran his first ever half marathon and it was up a Cheviot, one of our awesome coaches accompanied him (probably wise he might have gotten lost). My coach patiently programmed the workouts for me working around hospital appointments, exhaustion and general whining. Sometimes people would workout with me, before the sugar free year I had cake regularly left at the gym by a superb home baker and fabulous woman. I had people offer words of support and kindness, offers of coffee and hanging out and just being normal. These amazing people have become my friends and my life is so much better with them in it.
Thank you to each and every person who supported and continues to support me in any way big or small. Not only did we raise over three and a half thousand last year for the PTEN research Foundation in London but you healed my heart and restored my faith in people.
We still have ups and downs, my daughter has a great deal to face, her brother is fighting and doing very well at doing so mental health issues. Honestly at times I struggle with being a carer and homeschooling and the limitations it puts on both Charlotte and my life.
I know however that I have a lot of people who have my back.
Thank you ♥️