Sunday, June 30, 2013


Clanettes!!! I went out on my bike this evening - on the road!! My first bike ride of 2013!!! I can't describe the feeling of accomplishment!! I LOVE MY BIKE!
Paul has rigged up some top brakes for me, so I don't have to lean on the drops to slow down.
I was petrified. The thought of coming off and ruining all of the last few months of patience and healing, had me rigid with fear. The kind of fear that builds and builds and I knew that if I didn't go out and just do it, then I would get to a point where I wouldn't be able to mentally do it. So I nailed it.
I have a loooong old road ahead of me. I probably didn't do more than a mile this evening. My back niggled oddly on the bumps, and I wobbled from lack of confidence, but it was a start. I have tasted my freedom and it was good!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The perfect pair

 Vikki and I are live on the Kiddicare website, with our 'Top ten perky tips'!!
 Go and read the article here

Scroll down the 'contributors' page to see us gun slinging, here.

We are looking to write on different breastfeeding topics every three-ish weeks, so keep checking over there for more updates. Tee hee x x

Monday, June 24, 2013


Its been a whole year since the Henley Triathlon (see here) and it feels like a good day to re-evaluate my goals. I spent the afternoon with Lucy today, and then we went for a swim this evening. The swim was good, if frustrating, yada yada, but it lead me to think about what my long term goals are.

What do I actually want to achieve now?

Back in January, before surgery, before I knew this year would be different to last year, I set myself 13 goals (I'm sorry I dropped out of your initiative Rebecca!) and those goals were:

My goals for 2013

Personal goals:

Family goals:

Health and fitness goals:


(See the post here)

I have actually achieved ALL of my personal and family goals - and I didn't even realise it!!! I have fixed my back, I have got a job, we deep cleaned the house, the kidlets are now more involved in the running of it, and actually, from my health and fitness list, I did have swimming lessons too. That's half the list done! Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Anyway my point is, well Lucy's point actually, as I was berating myself over a crap swim, was why do I keep beating myself up, why don't I just set myself a 'normal' goal? Why do I have to keep setting my standards to my old tri self? I didn't just get up and run from word go in Jan 2012, I didn't just cycle 66 miles one day. I wheezed my way through the C25K and earned my sweat and tears, I earned my first 5k run and I sure as hell earned my bike miles. So how can I expect what is effectively a new back, to start doing what old back couldn't even do towards the end (end of what?).

Normal goals!! I need to consider myself, my new self, my balance and what makes me happy.

My first goal, the first of my new and normal goals, is to set about finding 5 things I can achieve and will make me happy over the next few weeks and months.
This was taken a few weeks ago, it was a good evening and I laughed loads. I had just made the button necklace I'm wearing and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine. More evenings like this are def going to be on my list of goals!
Thanks for Motivation Monday Rebecca,stolen your pin x

I challenge you too Clanettes, can you look back at the first half of this year and see what you've achieved?
Thanks for reading xx

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


If you have read my blog from cover to cover (if not, why not!?) then you will know that I am a breastfeeding peer supporter, I part qualified as a BF counsellor with the NCT and I'm an all round pro breastfeeder. I'm not militant, formula has its place, and my eldest did just fine on formula, but I am very much of the opinion that if you want to and if you can, then you should have the support to enable you to.

A colleague of mine (Vicky Tucker) at work hit upon the idea of 'Demo days' where we take one specific product and demo it in an environment where you can see how it works. For example, high chairs. We set up a couple of high chairs and invite customers to have a play with them and talk about weaning. Informative and potentially good for sales. Anyway, she got Vikki (my friend and colleague Vikki, well documented on this little blog with glasses of wine and moustaches! See here for one example of a night out!) onboard and Vikki suggested me..
Well this kind of snowballed, and somehow Vikki and I agreed to host an informal peer supporter BF Q&A session last week in store. Cept Vikki doesn't normally work on a Saturday, and couldn't change her family plans, so I got my act together and put on a one woman show. We didn't get it all down quick enough, so it wasn't well advertised, and we relied heavily on in store tanoy promo, but I LOVED the day. I cracked open all of my NHS freebies and went to town. Getting all the slings and washable nappies out again was a particular high light too!
Hi Vicky Tucker!
Then it all kind of snow balled again and now Vikki and I have a BF colomn in the Kiddicare magazine..! Exciting doesn't even cover it!! If the first one is well received we've been asked to produce something something every 3 weeks!

How is that for an up beat post Clanettes!! One week off and I'm back with the best news!! Watch this space, I will of course gush all about it!
Thanks for reading x x

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


So here is the alternate narrative to Sundays 'frustrated' post, see here. As I pledged, I did write it on Monday, but I wanted a couple of days to reflect on it before I shared it with you Clanettes.

I suppose the easiest way to see what I can do now, how much my life has improved, and how grateful I really ought to be, is to look at specific things I couldn't do before surgery - how handy that I have a blog and can reference such things!

The first post I wrote back in February, see here, and at the end of the blog I wrote a list of things I couldn't do.The most important para's in that post are these few:

'Now that I have a specialist appt through, I sat with Paul today and have made a list of things that cause me pain. I am outraged at how I have had to modify my life since Christmas. I feel so sad - I have become so sedentary, and I worked so hard last year to become so full of movement.
Activities that cause me acute pain:
Running (fast walking sometimes!)
Swinging my leg over my bike, sometimes being on my bike actual
Sewing - the action of lifting my foot for the pedal, and bending over the machine is painful
Wearing my long boots - again, the action of lifting my foot and stooping to put them on, is painful (Some days I can't even take my own socks off)  
Lifting the kidlets into the car, or carrying Niamh on one hip
Collecting tesco shopping bags, bending to pick them up and put them in my kitchen
Jerking/making sudden movement
'bumping' my pushchair up steps
bending to do anything, like the washing machine etc
Sitting on tall or low chairs, where I am awkwardly positioned.

The pain is not constant. I refer to it as a 'catch'. Something in my back gets caught, and when it catches I am immobile for a moment, unable to go back into the position I just left, or forward to complete the movement I was attempting. Rather like a labour contraction, I forget the pain until the next 'catch' and then immediately it arrives I am thrust into a wave of painful remembering. And so I just grind to a halt and wait for it to pass.

And that is the crux. I feel like I am waiting. Waiting to get better? Waiting to get worse? Just waiting to get Back to my life.. I had thought I was getting better, but actually I am doing less and less to compensate.'

Then if we look at a post I wrote 5 days post surgery, see here, the specifics are as follows:

* Walking is a slow shuffle with sticks
* Getting to a sitting position (bending my back and legs simultaneously) hurts
* 'Log rolling' (literally rolling your body like a stiff log) into bed hurts like a very rude word
* Bending to pick something up (or to kiss the kidlets) is not an option, I am simply too stiff
* My hips ache like another rude word
* I can't lift my arms higher than my shoulders as my back isn't strong enough
* My wound ITCHES! (Obviously I shouldn't be scratching it, it is bandaged and too new, but the irony of not being able to reach round and scratch it even if I did want to is not lost on me!)
* my wound is swollen. If you look at yourself in the mirror, side on, your spine dips in and curves in from your shoulders, before coming out again to form your buttocks. Mine currently drops down to my buttocks in a straight line. Looks most odd.

Improvements I am already noticing:

* From day 3 to day 5 my core movement has already improved enough for me to shuffle my hips and 'wiggle' slowly into a better position in bed, rather than getting out and starting a 'log roll' again.
* I can get out of bed on my own and with less discomfort
* I can wiggle my foot vigorously enough to get my slippers on by myself

Even just by cutting and pasting both sets of descriptions here, I can see how far I have come and what a massive achievement I have both been through and made in the last 11 weeks. The old pain is gone, there is now no 'catch', I am obviously moving freely without walking sticks, my wound has healed, the swelling has gone and my scar is neat. I can sit and lie as I like and I am back to sewing and sitting on a stationary bike.
I am back at work and have just upped my hours from 8 to 16, and although it is pretty chronic after 8 hours stood on the shop floor, I couldn't have done it beforehand and I am really grateful for my job and the feeling of accomplishment it brings.

There are things I still can't do, but they will come, I haven't given up on them just yet, so although I do feel like I am still waiting, I know it comes from a place of healing and moving forward rather than static injury.

I will leave you with my check list, it still stands.
Thanks for reading x x

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Hi Clanettes!

You know I'm not feeling the groove when I'm not spamming your inboxes with narrative.. and it is true, I am not feeling the groove at the moment.

There, I said it. I got it out, and I wrote it down. Phew.

Spinal fusion was 11 weeks ago tomorrow and it seems that the further out from surgery I get, the better I physically get post surgery, the more people expect the old Sarah back, the crosser and more frustrated I feel. Almost like delayed traumatic stress or something.

So indulge me for a mo, I promise I won't harp on for long, but I am going to whinge (hopefully briefly) and then attempt to move on.. Ok?

Now that its June, I am sharply aware of the contrast of my life this year to last. This time last year I was 2 weeks away from a triathlon, running, swimming, cycling 50 miles a week, planting and bringing in veg from the garden.. I took it all for granted, true, but I loved every second of it. Even at Christmas time, even when I knew my back wasn't right, it didn't occur to me that surgery was on the cards or that this summer wouldn't follow the pattern of last summer.

Yet here I am, supposedly fixed, chomping at the 'bit' to get back to 'normal' and feeling frustrated to tears with my lack of physical ability.

I suppose I feel even worse because I should be grateful shouldn't I. The old pain is gone, and actually I am grateful for that, of course I am, but I do wonder where I go from here. When will it be enough?
I have been signed off from physio, with stiff warnings about running too soon and contrary congratulations about seeing so few people so determined to get back to physical activity. My surgeon is happy with my recovery and doesn't want to see me again for a while.. Great. Everyone is happy - BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?!

The term 'feeling lost' I think best describes me. I don't know how to go about being me right now.  What do I do with my 'down' time when I can't do what I love?
Tomorrow I pledge to write a post about the things I can do and the things I am grateful for. There are many obviously, but sometimes its hard to see the grass for the trees - or in my case, it's hard to see the beauty through the sodding tears!

Thanks for reading, I appreciate your support x x

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My birthday weekend

Despite announcing to the world that I was NOT doing my birthday this year, I was, as I am lucky enough to always seem to be saying, hugely spoilt by my nearest and dearest. The whole weekend was pretty busy and I enjoyed it.

We had spent the previous week staying with my parents for a few days and my mum, my sister and I did some SERIOUS shopping. I have pretty much a whole new wardrobe and it totally cheered me up! I saw my old friend Katie Lake for coffee and it was great to catch up.
We came home on Thursday and I went to Aquafit (with Vikki, Elle and Lucy) in the evening.

On Friday I met Lucy at the gym super early (just before 7am!) and we totally killed it - I have posted about my running already. During the afternoon I met up with my MD friends (MD is a nickname for our group of mums who met at the BF clinic and who like to get together to drink tea and eat (lots of) cake!). They were super generous given that I am NOT doing my birthday this year, they gave me a 'voucher' towards a little road trip I am planning with Lucy at the end of July. A little later I saw Vikki and Elle again and they super spoilt me even more. You are so kind and generous to me ladies. I have no clue what I did to deserve you, but I am so grateful for your friendship!

On Saturday (birthday actual) Paul and the children treat me to cards and pressies in bed, before Paul dashed off to register for the Half Outlaw middle distance triathlon the following day - in Nottingham! Over night! Lucy and her family came for lunch, and despite me NOT doing my birthday this year, I was hugely spoilt. Lucy, it was the perfect mix of nonchalance and candles. Thank you. I can't wait for our 2 days away - can I call it a holiday? I think I'm going to x x

So my sister in law (Hi Claire!! Thank you so much!) arrived on Saturday afternoon (from Cardiff) to take care of the kidlets whilst I went to work on Sunday.. We spent the evening lounging in our pj's, watching BGT and eating cake.. Nice!

Whilst I was at work on Sunday, Paul destroyed the Outlaw and completed the 1.2m swim - 56m bike - 13.1m run in 6hrs 13mins!! AMAZING!!

I'll stop gushing and leave you with some pics. Thanks for reading x x