Four weeks on, and my crutches are now strangely familiar. At the fracture clinic, they said to increase the weight on my fractured leg after two weeks but I’m still mainly non-weight bearing because every time I start to put weight on it, my ankle swells up and feels really uncomfortable. So it looks like it’s going to be a slow heal.
I’ve mastered my commute to work, strapping my crutches onto my bike and cycling to Ealing Common station where I put the boot on, and get back onto crutches to get on the tube. Fortunately I work very near Victoria Station so it’s not too far the other end, and people are generally quick to give me seat. My step count has gone from an average of 15,000 a day to less than 3,000 a day in the last month. My world has reduced in size; I’m only covering essential distances. There’s no strolling around for the joy of it at the moment.
I’ve been going swimming once a week, which I love, and after my job ends next week I’m planning much more of it. I got a sea swim in on Easter Monday with Harry down in Margate, although it was so cold I couldn’t put my face in the water so it was more splashing around than swimming. Still, it was exhilarating and a reminder of how using my body energises me. I’ve signed up for the two mile Swim Serpentine in September and have a swimming lesson booked; something to work towards.
I’ll confess to my imagination running wild around whether this is cancer related. An email to my breast cancer nurse didn’t help when her reply included an exchange with my oncologist about how high risk I am as a patient. Add in stress around finding a new job, and I’m really missing my usual strategy of dealing with anxiety which is going for a run. This report on how lack of exercise affects mood is ringing very true for me. Swimming doesn’t quite have the same effect, but maybe it will if I do more of it. I’ve got quite severe neuropathy in my right hand from using crutches, so my spoon-whittling is on hold as well. I was a bit of a liability with a knife when I had full strength in my hands, so it feels extremely risky to try at the moment! So many of my plans for this year have had to be changed for one reason or another, I feel really thwarted in whatever I attempt. I’ve been trying not to feel sorry for myself, and have reread this a few times, but I don’t always manage not to indulge. I say to myself quite often ‘what is happening in this moment?’ in order to focus and be grateful for what I know, not catastrophise about what may or may not be.
And these are all first-world problems, aren’t they? I’m aware of how fortunate I am and how I have nothing to complain about really. I’ve volunteered at parkrun a couple of times recently, and that is good for my soul. (Although dropping around 40 finish tokens this week wasn’t my best moment. Don’t volunteer to do finish tokens when your hands aren’t working properly.) Among the volunteers there are quite a few injured runners and we commiserate and share stories of healing, or not. Among the runners, there are several who have had stress fractures and they remind me that this is temporary and it will pass, and is an opportunity to work on strength and conditioning. The week after next holds three hospital appointments with my oncologist and the fracture clinic so hopefully that will shed some light on what is going on. So chin up, Jennifer, keep going. Choose gratitude. Live hopefully. Keep things in perspective.