Wahhey – 300 Miles ‘Not the London to Paris’ bike ride

Exhausted but very very happy🎉🎉

Yesterday I completed my goal of cycling 300 miles within the UK, in aid of Myeloma UK. Just 12 months after my second stem cell transplant.

When I first signed up for the London to Paris in January, even I thought I was mental (although would never have admitted that to anyone!!). Not being a cyclist, the fact I had to start by just getting a bike for me was a massive step. When it arrived I didn’t even know where the gears were – it was 25 years since I’d last ridden a bike at uni and to say they’re different now is a total understatement!!

I have been so lucky though, with friends helping me to purchase the bike, strangers offering to pay my fees for entering the ride and the local bike club (Stourbug Cycling Group) teaching me how to ride, supporting me with many practice rides, and coming to my rescue when a couple of months ago the main ride was cancelled.

They put a route together for me, rekkied it, and most importantly came with me from Wednesday to Saturday.

Wednesday – 100 miles Hagley to Hereford

Thursday – 67 miles Hereford to Hagley

Friday – 71 miles Hagley to Banbury

Saturday – 69 miles Banbury to Hagley

We did it!!! And at a faster pace than I ever thought I could do for that distance.

I am so pleased to have made so many friends through doing this ride. When I started I never thought of joining a club but realised I had to learn to ride as a group. And I’ve never looked back. And it doesn’t end now as I will keep up my riding and training (perhaps a bit less over the winter!!) so that I can do the official ‘London to Paris’ in September 2022, health permitting. I’m still super keen to do that as I know that will be a wholly different experience that will be amazing.

It will also be different as I’ll have to train whilst having a full-time job! I’ve accepted a Community Fundraiser role which begins at the start of October. So life becomes a different sort of busy!

If anyone would still like to sponsor me, please take a look at my JustGiving page here. I’m at 80% of my target so am over the moon with that!!

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Timing is everything

Feeling a bit fed up if I’m totally honest. I probably shouldn’t be as I’ve had what has been a pretty great ‘post transplant’ year with no hiccups and no illnesses.

But, on Monday night I started to feel ill with a sore throat and cough which got worse as the night went on. I was gutted as I was meant to be doing my last long training ride in advance of cycling 300 miles in 4 days next week. Everything I’ve done in the past 8 months has been heading towards this point.

I spent yesterday in bed or in front of tv. I’m still coughing today. But what has really hacked me off, is that this morning my back started throbbing at the base. And I mean really throbbing. It wasn’t too bad at first, but then it got so bad it felt like those labour pains that you have in your lower back. I was nearly in tears accepting our Tesco shop – to the point the carpenter we had in doing our staircase, brought all the boxes through for me.

Thankfully it has eased slightly since that point and I’m back to it just hurting when I get up and sit down. But it’s not great news. I do wonder whether I’m worse now when I’m not cycling. Perhaps the cycling actually stretches out muscles that can’t cope otherwise. If I can shake the sore throat, I’ll try and get out for a short ride over the weekend to test it out.

I shouldn’t really be disappointed at the moment. I’m still waiting for the official job offer but I’ve managed to secure a role as a Community Fundraiser for a charity that I really believe in. It’s the first role I have gone for since my time at RDMCC so I’m so excited to have got it! It’s fulltime which will be a challenge in itself – I haven’t worked fulltime since before Rebecca was born!! 17 years! But I think I’m ready for it mentally – just need to see if my body can keep up!! Thankfully it’s home based and they’re pretty flexible by the looks of things.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed that everything improves over the next few days. I will be SO upset if I can’t do this ride next week. In fact I’m not sure that even begins to cover how I’ll feel. So much work has gone into it and not just from me but also the group of people who will be cycling with me. Must get well. Must get well. Must get well.

Www.JustGiving.com/londontoparis50kb450

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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I’ve been meaning to write on numerous occasions in the last few weeks but have been so manically busy that it’s never been the right time. But it’s treatment week at the moment and I’m awake but in bed shattered, so it seemed like a good time!

We’ve had a few good things to shout about, most importantly that our oldest daughter, the one who was just 4 when I was diagnosed, did really well with her GCSE results and got into her college of choice! We’re so happy for her. It’s also a real milestone for us though. When I was first diagnosed in 2009 I was scared I wouldn’t get to see her go to secondary school…and here I am about to watch her head off to college in a couple of weeks. And our son will be heading into his final GCSE year. It’s just so amazing and so important that we recognise these positive parts of our journey.

They’re both making us so proud of them though (most of the time! I won’t go into the frustrating bits that we all get as parents!!). Rebecca has had her first job and is absolutely blossoming with it. We knew that lockdown had prevented so much for her at a time she was ready to fly, and it’s just so good to see her come out the other side and flourish. Sam is growing up, up and up and is a great, caring young man. We just need him to find a job too and all will be great! But in the meantime he has completed his #15B415 (with a month to spare!) and raised an absolutely staggering £8,500 for Myeloma UK and my #50KB450. Super proud of him as it hasn’t been easy for a 14 year older boy!! With a nagging mother!

My results have just come back too and I’m glad to say my paraprotein has remained stable. It seems to like to fluctuate between 5 and 8 but I’ll take that now I know that for me, that is a stable reading.

I have to say that I’m relieved at the results. I’ve been a little worried as my back has been giving me new problems and despite having had an MRI about 9 months ago, you still worry things are progressing. And they forgot to take my paraprotein bloods last month!! But at least now, I can keep going and not be quite so concerned that things are myeloma related!!

This is really important for me as I’m really excited to be applying for jobs as a Community Fundraiser! The delay of the London to Paris made me realise that I couldn’t put it off any longer…and to be honest I didn’t want to put it off any longer. So the search begins for a role! I hope that with my experience I have lots to offer any charity and that it’ll be a great outcome for both of us!! Fingers crossed anyway.

So that’s most of the good stuff. The bad and the ugly is that I’ve still been suffering a lot with my back. Ironically my upper back pain has reduced quite a lot in the last few weeks (thanks to Tracy at Hagley Sports Massage!!) and I had just started to go back to netball. But now my lower back is in agony, I can’t run or jump and I’ve had to pull out of netball- possibly for good. I can’t begin to say how hard a decision that was but it hurt so much to run around the court, even in my limited role as shooter. Anyone who knows me, will know I’m an all or nothing person. The idea of going to train and do a half hearted attempt at playing, just doesn’t work for me. So I’ve made the difficult decision to come off the committee and the team. Who knows if the future will see me stronger, but my body seems to get less able, not more which is very sad.

I’m still training on the bike though! Nowhere near as much as I’ve been trying to save my back a bit, but it has been confirmed that we’re doing the 300 mile / 500km ride over four days in September (15th to 18th!). This is probably a little more than I’d have done going to Paris and it will include my first ever 100 miler (on the first day😳🥴)!! It’s going to be super hard with no support crew (although we will have the lovely Nick and a couple of others bringing our kit to us!), no masseurs and only a handful of us riding, but it should be an amazing experience anyway.

The idea is that I will do this ride so that I feel that everyone who has sponsored me has had their money’s worth!! But the plan is still to do the London to Paris in 2022 so I will continue to train over the winter (ok perhaps not quite as much 🤣) and into next year and will hopefully be well enough to complete the ride! Obviously, I never know what will happen with my myeloma, but our hope is that it will keep its distance for a good couple of years post transplant – at least!!! If anyone would like to help my motivation and sponsor me, the page is http://www.JustGiving.com/londontoparis50kb450.

Alongside all of this, we continue to work on our home. We’ve finished the garden project now, but are still working on our hall, stairs and landing. A big project, not helped by the trade being so busy at the moment. I really just want it finished now but it’s going to be a few months yet as we need to do the woodwork for about 8 doors, not to mention everything else. Easy if you aren’t doing a million other things at the same time!

So actually, as I write this, perhaps there isn’t so much of the bad or the ugly. It just feels like it at times! I’m very excited to be going and visiting two of my oldest school friends tonight! With covid I haven’t seen them in person for over 18 months and I can’t wait for a big hug!! We’ve all done tests to make sure we’re super safe and it’s going to be soooooo nice! So perhaps there’s lots to be grateful for!! Let’s go with that!

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