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I could never…

April 19th, 2017 | 2 comments

 

Have you ever looked out in the world at something, an activity, and thought, “that looks kinda cool, but I could NEVER do that!”. You satisfied yourself by watching from the sidelines, or doing something that is a little step on the way to the big thing you previously saw, but no where near the whole way.

I used to think that about lots of forms of physical activity. After I got sick as a teen and lost confidence in my body, I stopped enjoying the things I used to love, like hiking and school sports. My other half has always been a keen hiker, and I’ve watched on as he’s enjoying exploring the insanely beautiful national parks and world heritage areas in my home state over the last 8.5 years.  I always thought I’d never be able to hike like he could – be able to just pack some things in a bag and go off on an adventure.

Three weeks ago, I finally completed my first overnight hike.

 

Its only a 10 word sentence, but thats a huge one for me. I’ve ticked something off my bucket list – I’m incredibly proud of myself, needless to say.

Physically speaking, there were two things I needed before being able to do to do something as physically intense as an overnight hike. Carrying around 16kg over 30km of walking in 2 days is tough work! The past 5 and them some years of consistently and mindfully managing my health and wellness in a general sense has paid off. My body is strong and healthy from years of eating mostly vegetables and a regular exercise routine that it can cope with something more intense every now and then. And secondly, the change in treatment plan I had a bit over 2 years ago. The previous medication I relied exclusively on to manage bleeding episodes that aren’t my period has to be kept refrigerated, or at least cold constantly, not making it ideal for taking with me hiking or camping. Given factor can be taken out of the fridge safely, its made me more confident in being able to manage a bleed while out in the wilds, should anything happen.

Three weeks ago, I took an “I could never..” and turned it in to a “I can and I love it”. I’m still on a bit of a post-hike high, making sense out of my achievement. What I do know is that I’m amazed at what the human body and spirit can do with the right support. I’m well and truly convinced that being out in nature is good for the body and mind in a very primal and satisfying way, and will definitely be doing more of it. I’m excited to see what I do next. If I can go from barely feeling comfortable on a short, well defined walk to what I can now do, there’s a universe of possibility out there for me to get stuck into. Which is not to say I won’t encounter struggles – I anticipate them coming at me, even ask for more struggles (we have an opportunity to learn important things about ourselves and life in the depths of struggle, after all). This weekend of goal kicking has given me the reminder and confidence that I can achieve amazing things despite illness. An reminder I am grateful to have in my mind for the rest of my life.

And now, just because I have to show off a little, some photos from my adventure. Enjoy!

2 people have commented
  1. Hi Jenna,
    Your writing always amazes me in that you’re raw and honest, yet still able to direct yourself to such a wide audience. I’m sure you’ve hit the nail on the head capturing the feelings of people with any chronic illness, that feeling of submitting to your ailments and agreeing you could just never do something.

    It’s so humbling to see you achieve one of your long term goals, an activity that so many would take for granted. I find myself in envy yet also inspired to make a difference in my own life, take charge of my health and stop telling myself there is anything I can’t do.

    How did you find yourself holding up afterward? Did you need any extra treatment to recover, or had your preparation allowed for potential pain or injury that followed your hike? I found myself resting for two days after a short walk led to an ankle bleed, and those initial feelings you mentioned were definitely forefront – so I’d love to know how you handle the aftermath and continue to work toward new goals.
    Shauna

    • Shauna, thank you for reading and sharing your own experience. My recovery was something I was mindful of for a long time before my hike. One of the first things I did was get to know Chris from Adventures of a Hemophiliac – I have learned a lot from him (and expect I will continue to do so!) about hiking and managing it in a healthy way when you have a bleeding disorder. As you know, community is everything. I took some muscle rub with me on the hike, and after the tent was set up on day one I did a bunch of stretches and releases, especially in my tight lower body. I was using the muscle rub through the hike too, to keep my known tight spots feeling good. Or at least not too painful!

      After we got back to the car, my partner drove us back to our city and I did some more glute releases in the car, then we got take away burgers for dinner – definitely a great move, and the intake of protein was tasty! I did a lot of foam rolling and releasing over the following week, as well as heading to yoga. I won’t lie, I was pretty sore through my legs and glutes over the next week but keeping them moving certainly helped. I didn’t end up with a single bleed from the hike, but I can say that active recovery is very different to bleed recovery.

      When you’re in the process of getting active and strong, taking things slowly is so important. Its the hardest thing, mentally, but it does pay off. Good luck in your future adventuring!

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