Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A long way in two years

This time two years ago I was on holiday following my post-radiotherapy check-up. I was feeling encouraged by a positive appointment and had booked a few days in the Yorkshire Dales at a HF Holidays house. I opted to do my own thing rather than book on the guided walks because I knew that I wouldn't be up to a whole day of walking. This turned out to be a wise decision because not only did I tire after a short distance but my rucksack pulled on the surgery scar. However, it was no trouble to amuse myself in such a beautiful area and being back at the house before everyone else meant that I had the swimming pool to myself!

It was a bit frustrating not being able to do a decent walk because walking has been something I have always enjoyed, but I reminded myself that it was early days yet. Sure enough, as time went on I was able to build up to some shortish walks and the 7 mile walk I did with a friend that autumn was a great encouragement. But then I seemed to get stuck. Anything over 8 miles left me struggling and totally exhausted for the next few days. Until Monday.

On Monday, with sunny but not hot weather I took a look at the local OS Explorer map and planned a route that gave me several options along the way. Then I packed my rucksack (a better one these days!) and set off over the footpaths and green lanes around the local farmland and villages. I took it at a steady pace with plenty of stops to admire the butterflies and take the odd photograph or two.

By lunchtime I was still feeling fine and, looking at the map, I decided that I might even manage the extended version of the walk. Refreshed by the picnic I set off again and did indeed extend it, putting in a few extra miles and being rewarded by crossing a field with sheep and lambs who were unusually curious and didn't just run off as I approached.

Back home I looked at the map again and calculated how far I'd walked - just over 11.5 miles. Further by a good deal than I have managed in the last couple of years. Yes, I was very tired that night and was in bed early not only on Monday but also on Tuesday, and no, it is still nowhere near what I would have done before cancer, but it was very satisfying and encouraging.

Fatigue is still an issue for me and I can't dash from one thing to another the way I used to, but I know that I have come a long way since I struggled to do a few miles in the Dales two years ago.


  1. Good for you, Elizabeth!! Fatigue is a stinker, that's for sure. I am quite chuffed that I was able to last through the entire 3-day NBCC conference this past weekend. Never could have done it last year or the year before. We'll never be the way we used to be, but we can be better than we were last week or last year. And that's a lot. xxoo

  2. Thanks, Kathi. And you too, managing 3 days of conference. Small steps mean a lot!