The last few days I have had an urge… an urge that I haven’t had in a long time. To write. But to write what, what shall I write? Well, I thought that as I haven’t posted here in so long, yet I still think of the Camino every day, why not come back on here and write a little update about what path my life has taken since returning from that ‘Journey’. I don’t know if anybody still follows this blog, perhaps not after so long. But it doesn’t matter really.
The journey never really ended once I returned to the UK. Not Really. It just changed direction a few times, and the mode of transport is different!
When I returned to England I had nowhere to live, but I’m lucky enough to have one of the best friends a man can have. His name is Keith. I have known him since I was 13 years old, and he has always been very loyal to me. He gave me somewhere to stay… It was only supposed to be for a short while until I sorted something out, but I ended up staying until last July! He never wanted anything, and allowed me to come and go as I pleased – I will always be very grateful for both his friendship, and his kindness. While I was staying at his I got myself a job driving lorries for a short time. It didn’t last long because once January (2013) came there were less parcels being sent and so I was no longer needed. I was then out of work for three months during which, I underwent surgery to repair the two hernia’s that you may remember me being concerned about prior to walking the Camino, until my brother helped me to get a job where he works.
It was a good job, not like anything I’d done before. I was going out to care homes, hospices and peoples houses servicing medical equipment. I met all kinds of people from all backgrounds, and each with some form of illness or disability. It was a real eye opener – I had no idea of the true suffering that some people experience each and every day, silently, behind closed doors. I was on less money than I had earned at previous jobs, but I didn’t mind. This job was satisfying as I felt like I was actually doing something worth while. It made me grateful for what I have and reminded me to be happy and enjoy each day!
Unfortunately this job was also cut short when, last summer, I was diagnosed with cancer. Me? Are you sure?
So began a whole other journey which I really wasn’t expecting! I had X-rays, scans, blood tests, weird and wonderful tests of all kinds! Eventually ( I say eventually but it was only a matter of about a month) I underwent surgery, got an infection in the wound, and as soon as I’d recovered I then had a ride on the Chemo train! Not very pleasant at all! The effects of Chemotherapy are pretty severe and you have to remind yourself that the alternative would be worse…!
While all that was going on with the Cancer treatment, I moved into a flat of my own. My Dad, and Brothers got everything in and set up for me while I was in hospital (bed, cooker etc) so that after my operation I could convalesce in the privacy of my own (new!) home. Various family members offered me financial support while I was recovering for which I am very grateful. I won’t name them but they know who they are… Thank you if you ever read this.
Following my recovery, I managed to get a driving job locally last November. All was going well but I have continued to suffer with severe pain since my surgery last Summer and it has now got to the stage where I can not work. I am gutted. Life can be cruel sometimes, but I keep thinking back to things I saw and learnt on the camino, and to the people I met while working for the healthcare company. I remember that there are others far worse off than myself and this helps me to remain strong. I am trying to stay positive and hope that the surgeons find a long term solution for me soon…. I am back to see the oncology consultant at the end of this month and am also being referred to other surgeons to rule out other possible causes of the pain. I am hopeful that if it can’t be fixed, then it can be managed more effectively so as to allow me to take a job that I will be able to keep!! It’s a very frustrating situation to be in….
And just briefly, I will mention my anxiety issues as some of you may remember that I am agoraphobic and be wondering how that is… Well, it started to play me up again not long after returning to England. I went to see a professional in that field every week for a few months in the Summer and they gave me a new diagnosis. They said that I do indeed suffer from agoraphobia, but that the root cause of this was the fact that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which had previously gone undiagnosed and therefore untreated. they said that by hiding my problems for so long due to being ashamed of myself, that I had in fact made it worse for myself. So, if you’re reading this and you suffer from something similar – don’t hide it. There is no shame in suffering from mental health problems. The sooner you get help the sooner you will be happy!! I am now getting the support that I need and am learning to enjoy life and be more positive.. I am trying to turn my fears into positive energy, rather than fear something, I am letting myself experience the situation and learn from it. It’s a long road and hasn’t been easy with all the distractions along the way but I think there is light at the end of the tunnel!!
That’s all for now, I don’t know if I will feel the urge to write again… That has cured it for now at least!! I may return to write again soon, or I may leave it a while again…. I never did post any pictures of my trike did I…. Perhaps I should upload some photos from the last year and a half……..