Mountains can be physical or psychological.
Last week I climbed Blencathra. I never thought when I was being told I had acromegaly 14 years ago that I would be able to walk 8 miles, never mind 8 miles up a mountain and back. You see the most obvious, lasting symptoms of my condition is that my joints are damaged. Particularly my knees, hips, elbows and hands and feet.
Three of those are essential for climbing mountains. Having been told many times over the years that if I put too much pressure on my knee joints I would need a knee replacement I have been scared to push myself.
It’s so easy to tell ourselves we can’t do something, isn’t it?
When I was first diagnosed with acromegaly I was scared. My daughter was only 2 years old and I couldn’t see what my future would look like. I was in pain and couldn’t imagine how long life would continue like that. When my surgery was so successful I was filled with gratitude. I cried and vowed I would always be grateful for this second chance I had been given.
I don’t believe it is possible to always be grateful, all day every day. We are human and sometimes we feel frustrated and angry. I try though.
Over the years I have had days when my limitations have caused me so much frustration I have sat and cried. I can’t knit any more. When I sew for more than a few minutes my fingers cease up and that frustrates me. I know that I am a 45 year old with much older joints, but I have decided to modify my life so that I don’t feel limited.
It works for the most part. Most days I am just grateful and I feel as normal as anyone can.
Some days though I am reminded that my body is not in any way the body of an average 45 year old. This was the case when we were climbing the mountain. There were 11 of us walking, ranging from my 6 year old niece to my 69 year old Mum. Despite working really hard on my fitness and muscle strength recently, I struggled the most. This photo is one of many we could have taken of me sitting mopping my brow while quietly weeping in frustration. My lovely Mum held back with me to support me and keep me going, but it wasn’t easy.