Life has thankfully been pretty quiet and in a good way. During my last clinic visit I was bombarded with text messages mostly in German informing me that I’m dumb and to get stuffed. Naturally it was only right to reply which as juvenile as the activity was, was a great deal of fun. It was genuinely the first time I have laughed in a carefree manner in a long time without the nagging weight of results, tests, procedures etc. My friend and I devised a cunning plan to boast the light at the end of the transplant tunnel by booking a hotel in Berlin for a trip to the German markets in December. I’m not able to book a flight until around August / September when I’m hopefully off the cyclosporine however hotel reservations are easy to amend and having the trip to look forward to have been a real spirit booster.
I caught up with a couple of the lovely ladies walking with me in Broadway, the Cotswolds and we all had a charming Sunday amble up to the Broadway Tower as part of our training. When I say charming, what I really mean is that we gossiped and discussed the serious issues such as nails etc. so we weren’t aware of just how tough the uphill walk was!
My bloods have been regular over the last few weeks so much so I was able to take a ‘break’ from being stabbed and go up to the Lake District to train for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge which is only three weeks away!!!
Sadly partly due to weather I was unable to cram in as much training as I would have liked. I can confirm that the weather is extremely changeable in the Lakes and because of the weather one of the guided walks was cancelled. For the main hill climbing guided walk the weather held so I was able to do some ‘real’ training. Buttermere is a stunning area and this is where Aster and I climbed / walked up Rannerdale Knotts.
At times the walk was tough going partly due to the fact that I had to keep Aster on the lead (serious over population of sheep in the area) in part as a result of carrying a fully kitted out ruck sack and finally in part owing to the weather. With the Yorkshire Three Peaks looming I’ve started to walk with a rucksack full of the bits and bobs I will need for the challenge. i.e. gloves, hat, flask of soup, water, water proofs etc. I have never enjoyed walking with a ruck sack, as I find it very annoying most of the time but due to the fact it will have precious food and water in it, it’s an essential I have to learn to accept, hence why I’m training with it. The weather in the Lakes can be terribly windy, at times when we were sheltered and ascending I found I was hot enough to consider stripping a layer off but then moments later I’d be blasted with a biting wind. Are you getting the impression, I felt there were better things to do with my afternoon such as sip hot chocolate, eat scones, discuss the likelihood of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States?! Well, yes frankly there were times I did ask myself why I signed up to the challenge.
At the very top of the hill the wind was ferocious and I was thankful Aster was on a lead, otherwise I fear she might have blown away, once or twice I thought I might! The views were spectacular and the feeling of being virtually blown away was quite exhilarating, very nearly worth the hard work and it went some way to answering the question. ‘Why had I signed up to the challenge?’
Back in March 15 when I was diagnosed with AML, I wasn’t convinced I’d be alive for my birthday in July never mind over twelve months later nearly being blown away on a hill having climbed it without any great difficulty. Thanks to the work of Anthony Nolan I have every reason to look forward to a long leukaemia free life and I’m now able to climb up a hill whilst secretly moaning to myself and dreaming about hot chocolate. At times achieving a normal moment such as dreaming of hot chocolate, not thinking what are my neutrophils today etc. seemed a world away and day by day I am having more flashes of normality so I think a day or two of discomfort on my behalf to raise money for Anthony Nolan is a very small price to pay for what the charity has given to me.
By the way I did get a delicious hot chocolate with a flake and a scone after!
The other and possibly more important aspect of the challenge, the fundraising is going very well, so far as a group we have raised approximately £7000. Not all the walkers are signed up to collecting online, therefore my sums are ballpark that is approximately the cost of one transplant. Therefore we have potentially saved a life, amazing what 8 people can do without too much effort!!
Sponsor me now! Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. All details can be found at: http://www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Jackson13