Fail not Fail

Today I planned a long bike ride after work and failed. 

I wanted to do a 26 mile loop from work to home but turns out I’m not quite ready for it. Shoulder is fine but my wrists and elbows aren’t. Even my legs don’t feel great. Was feeling a bit despondent, then remembered a conversation I’d had with Kajsa Tylen about how failing and if you accept what is and view it as a learning the mindset is a whole lot more positive.

Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to start my Garmin so at the moment of failure I couldn’t actually see what I had managed. I credited myself with around 12 miles. But fortunately, technology is a wonderful thing.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I actually cycled 17 miles so significantly the furthest since my surgery
  • I probably need to spend a couple of weeks doing more regular, shorter rides, just to get my elbows, wrists (and bum!) back in order
  • I remember how quickly I have improved before and know I can do this again
  • I have a fabulous, beautiful friend in Tricia, who not only volunteered to cycle with me but also rescued me (I knew she was fabulous and beautiful already to be fair)
  • It feels a whole lot better to take this approach than beating myself up about it
  • I should always remember to take photos on a ride, even when it doesn’t go to plan as I regret it when I don’t
  • I wholeheartedly deserve the cherries I’m currently tucking into

NHS? Couldn’t be more impressed!

Just after Christmas in 2015,  I had a nasty fall from my bike, dislocating my shoulder and taking out my long bicep tendon at the same time. It made for a miserable few months to be honest. Off the bike and in pain, it meant my 2016 cycling season was ‘off’ to say the least.

I’ve had ultrasound and MRI to confirm the diagnosis but the truth is that unless you’re a manual worker  (nope) or an elite athlete (erm, nope) you simply have to do the physio, grit your teeth and take the cortisone injections.

Until I presented at shoulder clinic on 7 March. The injection had worn off again and I was hoping for another one to get me through cycling season. But the consultant persuaded me otherwise – waiting lists were short at about 6 weeks and he could guarantee I’d be done by the end of April if they added me to the waiting list that day for a Subacromial Decompression.  This sounded like a great idea! Relatively speedy recovery and an end to the cycle of pain!

The NHS sprung into action. Two – two – days later I got a call with a provisional op date of 20 March. Yes, eventually it was put back to the 21st but still, 14 days after agreeing to the surgery I was in an operating theatre!

The day itself was amazing. I had to be at the Theatre Admissions unit at 7am but no clue to timings. It was brilliant! I was called through really quickly, met with nursing staff, the surgeon, anaesthetist and pharmacist before being whizzed through the anaesthetic room and into the operating theatre at 10.02. The surgical team could not have been better. My operation was carried out with me seated upright, conscious and under arthroscopic conditions – all of which would help my speedy recovery. Best of all – I got to watch it on TV! The team explained what was going on, kept showing me the instruments so I could see how big they were, and answered all my questions.

It is genuinely one of the most engaging experiences of my life. And somewhat amazingly, in the middle of the operation, the surgeon told me they could fix my injury. Right there. Right then. It would mean a much longer recovery but 90% I would get full use back. And the decision was mine.

Of course I said ‘let’s do it!’

My operation then became a Rotator Cuff Repair. I had understood that about 7 months from the injury was the maximum time that this could be carried out so to have it after 15 months was a miracle.


Stitches out!

My operation was finished at about 11.20am, after which I spent around 30 minutes in recovery with 1-to-1 nursing care before being transported to a ward for observations, physio and pharmacy.

The ward staff were fantastic too, and my beautiful Mum who came to help me get dressed. Yes, we did seem to have to wait a long time for the medication to be dispensed but all in all, what a fantastic experience from our amazing NHS.

I had the stitches out on Tuesday, just a week later.

So, 3 weeks from agreeing to a non-urgent elective procedure and I’m well into recovery. And I have nothing but praise for the NHS, in particular Mr Manning and his extraordinary team.

It’s very sore and I’m in this sling now for 6 weeks before I can even start physio. At present I need a lot of help – I can’t even dress myself. But I’m still dreaming of my bicycle…


Won’t be long, Queen Bess..

Hear Me Roar!

There must be something about Sunday evening because here I am again, feeling the need for a new post. Perhaps it’s because it’s the close of the week and also probably the time when I have the most quiet and space to ponder?

It’s been a significant week. Personally, I’ve been good with my food and lost 4 pounds,  but more importantly my physio cleared me to do a ‘little light cycling on the flat’ so I was thrilled yesterday morning to be able to undertake that at the Embankment.

What was most exciting though was that 4 beautiful women gave up their time to support and accompany me. I don’t think any of them will appreciate how much that meant to me. Being honest,  I was pretty anxious – total failure would have been a real disappointment but I shouldn’t have worried. Despite some stiffness my knee held out well and now I feel confident that it won’t take me too long to get back to where I was pre-injury.

With this in mind, this week’s task is to start pulling together a training plan. This is not something I’ve ever done before and I’ve never even see anyone else’s, however my lovely friend,  Kajsa, has very kindly offered to help me so I’m snapping off her hand!

Zombie Donald Trump – my worst nightmare

Globally this week – my worst nightmare came true as He who shall not be named took the oath as POTUS. Now the more I think about it, the more I am convinced this man is clinically a psychopath. Lying, manipulative, self-aggrandising, materialistic, confrontational, narcissistic,  unfeeling, self-interested, volatile but with a veneer of charm. I’ve come across one before so I recognise the signs. Genuinely, it’s been making me feel a little helpless and bereft for all the positives we may now lose. 

But no more. I’ve consciously decided to take my inspiration from the millions of women, and men who marched with them, around the world who yesterday stood up for what’s right and what’s good. We will not be silenced. To borrow an analogy I’ve heard in the last 24 hours – on our own we are a delicate snowflake but together we’re a mighty avalanche.

I had coffee with my friend Debbie today, who was so kind and told me that she didn’t think I knew how much I’d done to inspire so many other women. It’s not the first time someone has said this to me so maybe there’s a little truth in it. But my role there has been to believe in and walk with them as they do the hard work! But this conversation may have been in my mind when someone asked how we move forward from the marches yesterday. And what came out is what I plan. This is what I intend:

Keep bossing it. Supporting and encouraging others.  Celebrating our victories and being magnanimous when we lose. Sharing our knowledge. Challenging racism, bigotry, sexism, intolerance and hatred. Leading by example. Taking care and thought with each word and action.  Getting up early and having a good breakfast. Working hard and playing harder. Saying ‘I love you’ more, but only when we truly mean it. Removing as much as possible that is negative but being aware that others may think differently and that’s not a bad thing. I am woman. HEAR ME ROAR!