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What do you do when you get a life-altering medical diagnosis? After a rocky start, Becky’s decided to run with it. #ChasingFitnessStory

October 28, 2017 10 Comments

It starts when my feet go numb at work and no amount of stamping them about gets the feeling back. Over the course of the following weekend this numbness starts to spread until the sensation is akin to having had local anaesthetic up to my waist. It’s weird and it’s unnerving. On the Monday I’m waiting at the doctor’s, feeling like a fraud, fully expecting the GP to see my neurological history (benign but sizable brain tumour and surgery in 2012) and assume that I still couldn’t let go of the possibility that IT MIGHT STILL GET ME IN THE END. 

But an hour later my husband Paul and I are holed up in a bay at the local A&E, me clutching an urgent referral letter from a GP who obviously didn’t think I was being paranoid.  The first doctor I saw there said, quite matter-of-factly, ‘I don’t want to scare you but my first thoughts here are MS’. I can’t remember what I said in response, but I almost definitely said sorry or thanks, I probably actually said both.

And so began my not-really-very-pleasant journey towards a diagnosis involving MRIs, neurology appointments and a lumbar puncture which concluded that yes, I did in fact have multiple sclerosis, of the relapsing and remitting kind.

The last few months have been…emotional. Aside from the physical symptoms, I have been mentally wrung-out. I have grieved. I have been in denial. I have been filled with determination and grit, with a stoical acceptance. I have resolved to be strong and warrior-like. I have lost all resolve. Mostly, I have thought about the simple fact that I have MS, ALL-THE-BLOODY-TIME. 

And what happened was that I started to see myself as an ill person, destined for strange medications, hospitals and a sedentary lifestyle. With legs like these, with this balance, with this fatigue, how could I ever be strong and fit again? I started some MS medication that very quickly caused some quite serious liver problems and it was while I was being treated with another drug to counteract this, that made me feel even worse, that I started to think – hang on a minute, I need some positivity in my life! 

I have dabbled with running here and there in the past, in an attempt to lose weight, an attempt at feeling stronger, an attempt to calm an anxious mind and so on and so on, and it has always worked to those effects. In fact, after my brain surgery in 2012 I turned to running in a big way, completing the Bath Half marathon in 2013. As I lined up with thousands of others at the start line of that race, our breaths fogging in little nervous bursts above our heads, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I think I did both before I’d even filed past the official start line. I am not exaggerating when I say that, for me, passing the finish line was transcendental. I had never before felt so accomplished. 

Over the last few weeks I have begun again to crave that focus and the rhythm of steps and raised heartbeat, the cold air, the warm sun, the puddle-splash, birdsong, the dawns and the dusks that so often feature in a run and seem to sing in chorus; You’re Alive, You’re Alive!

Running gave me a positive focus and served as a way of celebrating what it is to be alive back in 2012 and I realised that I needed some of that back in my life now. I started to read more and more MS blogs and research that all lauded the undeniable positive effects of exercise and healthy diet in a holistic approach to the condition. It started to become clear to me what I needed to do.

And so last week I logged on to the Bath Half marathon website and booked my place for 2018. I also emailed the MS Trust, an organisation I have found incredibly informative and the source of funding for my lovely and indispensable MS nurse, and told them I would be running it to raise funds for them.  

 I am realistic; this is going to be a mission. MS is unpredictable and could quite possibly throw up a few hurdles along the way, I’m not as fit as I have been in the past and my legs don’t always work quite the way I want them to, but this is not about training to beat a PB or even achieve a certain time. It’s about a commitment to myself to be as healthy and strong in both mind and body as I can possibly be. It’s about saying to myself, Ok, I have MS and it is what it is, but you know what? I’m alive …and I’m gonna run with it.




10 Responses

Lisa-Marie Todd
Lisa-Marie Todd

October 30, 2017

WOW – what a story. Beck I am in awe of you lady. Good Luck with everything, I have no doubt you will smash it. Where can I donate to your fund raising xx

Wendi
Wendi

October 29, 2017

Oh Bex, If anyone has got whatever it is going to take, to rise to this and all other challenges that you may face in the future, it is you. I hope it goes without saying, that if we can ever be of any help at all, you only have to say. In the meantime I am and will remain in awe of your amazing spirit. All my love Wendi. XX

Mitch Pendered
Mitch Pendered

October 29, 2017

Darling Bex you are an inspiration to us all. May your positivity keep those legs going. Love you bundles and would be honoured to join you for the Bath half. Big hugs my angel xxx

Inger
Inger

October 29, 2017

Wow such brave and inspiration truth…thinking of you ❤️

Maddy Palmer
Maddy Palmer

October 29, 2017

Becky…your eloquent words are so inspirational and you are inspirational…I think your approach is the way forward…positivity and reality combined…keep strong and smiling lovely lady x

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

October 29, 2017

I’m sure many will find strength and motivation from this beautifully written and iinspirational piece Bex. Thanks for sharing x

Kate Madden
Kate Madden

October 28, 2017

Beautiful and inspiring words from a beautiful and inspiring woman – sending you love Bex x

Shirley Harris
Shirley Harris

October 28, 2017

So sorry to hear of your pain and
Suffering! Dear Beck will pray to our
Heavenly mother, Mary , for you
God bless to give you strength to
Fight this wicked illness X

Mel walker
Mel walker

October 28, 2017

Your our amazing Bex words can never convey enough how proud we are of you . your our inspration ! With you every step of the way my darling xx

Shell Lamb
Shell Lamb

October 28, 2017

Amazing Beck. So very proud of you. I’ve done The Bath with you before, would you like some company? X

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