Sunday, 27 July 2014
A Weekend of More 'Firsts'
A few months ago we had planned a couple of visits to the Lake District in July, but because of a few problems I've had over this last month or so and lots of extra hospital visits we had to cancel our plans. This last week has been much steadier and for once we had a quiet weekend and a hospital free week coming up. So, as a last minute thought, we decided we would just drive up to the Lake District and try and catch up on a few of those plans we had been making.
It ended up being a weekend of a few small 'firsts' since my transplant. It started with the travel plans. Over the last four years or so I've been too ill to set off really early in the morning like we used to do. It is a long journey from here and whatever route we take, it is always extremely busy and slow with traffic as I could not manage to set off too early any more. It used to be a much quicker and better journey to set off really early. So now feeling well enough, a small stepping stone for me this weekend was just to get ourselves ready the night before like we always used to and get away on our journey by six in the morning. This was much better, I managed it well and we arrived in Cumbria nice and early.
We managed to pack a lot into our long weekend. We had an afternoon out by Rydal Water and I managed a good walk for a few miles by the river and up to the edge of Grasmere. We had a look around one of Wordsworth's houses, Dove Cottage and did a bit of shopping in Ambleside.
We took a picnic to Coniston Water and the weather was gorgeous. Now I had been planning this outing in particular for a long time. We always used to go swimming and kayaking here before I was ill.
I have been working hard on my exercises so I could get back in my kayak once more and kayak across Coniston Water. It has been one of my driving forces in trying to get fitter. I've been trying to do yoga daily and when I felt ready I introduced exercises such as rowing squats to strengthen my muscles so I would be able to kayak. The hard work paid off and I was able to go out on the water in my kayak and probably kayak better than I could before! I feel I had waited for this moment for a long time and it was a very special one when it happened. Of course there was just one person who I thought of when I looked down at that view once more from the middle of the lake. It is something I thought I would never do again and I cannot thank my donor and their family enough for giving me the chance to do this once more.
Another first was just the very basic fact that I could now wear a swim suit again. Having had an IV drug going via a catheter and pump into my chest 24/7 for three years, I didn't really feel very comfortable wearing swimwear. I can now wear it again with confidence, which is another fantastic feeling. It was a boiling hot day and just perfect for a dip to cool off, well here was another little event happening, but a big one or me, my first swim post transplant and my first swim for four and a half years. What a simple pleasure and I was in one of the most beautiful places to try it out. If I could have bottled up that afternoon I would!
We also spent time up on Silecroft beach, which is quite a remote area near the Western District. It is a very quiet place, which has miles of sandy and shingly beach. There are often horse riders and kite surfers down there and you can paddle and walk for miles. I just had a paddle, I wasn't sure about the sea water with my new lungs, it didn't look so clear. Rob cooked a lovely dinner on the beach and we sat and watched the sun going lower and lower.
We then went to visit my mum in Lancashire, it felt ages since we saw her last because we had had to keep cancelling. She cooked us a lovely lunch and we spent a good few hours with her. Next time we are hoping to stay with her for a few days.
Then it was back home again, feeling very chuffed with all I'd managed and our last little treat was a visit to Sarah and Oli on our way back. If you have been following the story of Isla, Sarah and Oli's cat that was cruelly shot a few weeks ago, you will be pleased to know they've got a new kitten called Tilly, who has now joined Indie and Freddie, the other cats, and is helping to fill that little gap left behindby Isla.
All in all, it was a very special and memorable weekend.