Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I walked into the doctor's office today (not my usual doctor, as she wasn't available, but a guy I have seen before) and asked for help. I'm sick of this. I'm sick of this pulsing, tight head. I'm sick of the pounding every time I stand up or move my head the wrong way. I'm sick of not sleeping, of feeling like I'm about to have a vertigo attack, of having no appetite. I want to be able to run and cycle and enjoy my life and to have it back again.

Thankfully the doctor agreed with me. I got told not to worry about taking the sleeping pills. I could worry about getting off them when I was feeling better. He wrote to my neurosurgeon to ask him to look at my case again. He was wonderfully sympathetic. He even suggested anti-depressants to get me through this patch. He suggested I might have a cerebrospinal fluid leak, but also that I'm still getting used to having normal brain pressure. How long that might take to get over, well who knows?

So I snivelled a bit, felt grateful to him for letting me feel sorry for myself, accepted the prescription, and went home to hide. I even skipped the celebratory party I'd been invited to at work.

There's a part of me that wants to scream that this isn't fair. Two months ago I was feeling great and enjoying life, other than that niggling little headache that seemed to be getting worse. Of course life isn't fair. Some people have horrid things happen to them. Chances are I will eventually return to normal, pick up the pieces, rebuild my muscle and ditch the weight. If that happens I will really, truly, be grateful for every chance I have to don my running shoes or jump on Cleo for a spin around the Bays. Right now though I've lost perspective. I can't really see a way out of this.

So in the meantime I'm doing what I can. On Sunday that was a 4k walk/run round Belmont. I ran little bits, walked the big hill. Afterwards my left eye started to do something funny on me and I started to freak out. Thankfully after around ten minutes it came right again. For the rest of the day the pounding in my head was even worse. Having managed to get around five hours' sleep the night before without a sleeping pill, on Sunday night I was feeling too demoralised to try to sleep without the sedative.

Yesterday I decided to go for a walk. From Tawatawa Ridge at the Southern end of Kingston I dropped onto the City to Sea walkway in reverse. All was going well until the path turned into the steep descent of doom. With only loose dirt and gravel underfoot I slipped over three times, grazing and bruising my left hand. I battled anxiety and threatening vertigo the whole way down the slope.

Eventually, and with a huge sense of relief, I reached the Berhampore golfcourse. My relief was shortlived as the path I was following took me through the course itself. I ran the gauntlet of the many golfers out on what was a stunning evening. One young guy whistled, as if he were calling a dog. Not realising he was trying to call to me (he didn't appear about to swing a club any time soon) I kept walking, only to have him mutter something to his companion about someone (presumably me) being completely oblivious. In my already fragile state I was completely demoralised. If he'd just called out to me to ask me to wait a few seconds I would have done so.

All up I was out for an hour, and really it was good to be out in the fresh air. I discovered a whole network of trails I hadn't even realised existed, and some lovely old streets and houses. However it wasn't the same as going for a run. It also didn't relieve me of the need to take a sleeping pill that night.

So sorry, the pity party's still firmly in place here. I just have to accept my current state and try to have faith that things will improve. I still can't quite believe that this has happened, to be quite honest. I'm scared I'll never return to normal. I still want to be Pip. I don't want to be this strange shadow of myself. I need your cyber hugs and good wishes, and hopefully I will soon be able to be updating you with the news of my recovery.


Dusty said...


Thank you so much for your honesty about recovering from your surgery. For me it's hard to admit to feelings of depression, frustration and anxiety. I'm glad you shared that.

I think you're doing better than you think you are. When you wrote, "Some people have horrid things happen to them." I had to smile. Brain surgery wasn't a horrid thing to happen?!! You're amazing!!!!

You are doing such an incredible job listening to your body, pushing your limits and questioning your progress! You are a role model for everyone who has a set back. Your actions can only lead you back to the life you once knew. Keep chronicling what you are going through. I am learning so much.

Thank you!!



postcards from... said...

Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.
- Rilke. From The Man Watching

Eleanorc said...

I know it's not much consolation now, but in the future you'll look back at this time as another chapter you got through. Although this time away from training / exercise seems huge now, in years to come it'll just be a blip.

You're doing brilliantly and your frustration is because you expect such a high standard from yourself.

Perhaps you could use the time off to TLC yourself instead - massages, reiki sessions and general wellbeingness things!


cath said...

Hey Pip..hang in there and heres a cyber hug,,<<>>>,,,!!!

Sass said...

You shouldn't feel bad about having to take sleeping pills. One of my friends did it and she doesn't have the excuse of your health issues! It's to help you get the sleep you need to heal and that's what we all want for you!!

And remember, you're the Mad Dog not the Sad Dog!

Anonymous said...
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Michelle said...

Pip the fact that you can write with such clarity tells me you have a masterful grip on that brain of yours. What impresses me is that you keep trying. Keep writing too. You are a wonderful writer. I'm sending good thoughts your way.