Being on tour, days and weeks mingle together in one big clump, so you don’t really keep track of time. It’s a bit like watching grass grow. Have you ever noticed the blades get longer as each day passes? It is only after some time that you realise you need to cut your lawn, or that there is finally some grass that previously wasn’t there. I find that the season I am in is a bit like that.
From the start of this journey, my psychologist and I have always discussed the importance of the journey and not the destination- it is a massive cliché, but so true and something I continually try to remind myself of.
I’ve been reading Chris Bertish’s book called ‘Stoked’ so far I am loving every page. One of the many great quotes he says is; “don’t let somebody else’s frame of reference dictate yours.” This is so relevant to me in terms of the importance being in the journey, not the destination.
I think it is so easy to take things for granted when you are in them. I do that all the time. It has always been a dream of mine to work with Team South Africa at a multi-sport event like student, All Africa, Commonwealth & Olympic Games. I am now well on my way to ticking all those boxes and yet found myself so hesitant to come on this trip and being here it has been tough at times to remind myself that I am living my dream.
This week I received some really good news that completely threw everything I have moulded my mind to believe and deal with over the last 8 months out the window. After months of doctors and specialist visits, blood tests, questioning, fighting, denial anger and finally acceptance, I received yet another set of blood tests back on Monday showing that I tested positive for Bilharzia.
I was so hesitant to go for another blood test because I had finally come to accept that I had chronic fatigue and had this great plan to get through it however long it took, but my doctor insisted I go to rule it out. I hesitantly went and was hoping it was positive, just so that I could be done with this thing and all these tests and finally move forward either way, but I didn’t really believe that it would be positive.
I actually forgot about the test once I left Durban and was busy with athletes and preparing to leave for the African Games, so when I had a chance to check my e-mail on Monday and opened the test results, I was stunned to see the results were positive. It was so surreal. I was in a bit of shock and didn’t know how I felt about this diagnosis. After months of searching and getting my mind around things, we finally had an answer. I felt a combination of relief, disappointment and surrealness. It was tough to grasp and to be honest I’m still not convinced that I am now fixed/ healed. This has been a long journey. I don’t really feel any different yet. (But I also don’t expect to) How can 8 small tablets taken over a period of 16 hours fix me from over 8 months of battle?
Medicine sometimes baffles my mind.
I have been trying to swim with the swimmers here in Congo while they do their warm up. Every session has felt a little easier and I have done a total of 5km this week so far, which is a start!
Over the next few days I will continue to monitor my heart rate and train accordingly. I think despite what happens going forward, it will be the way I continue to train as I like the specificity of it and I feel I have come too far to go backwards.
Keep focused on the process rather than the destination
It is so easy to get absorbed into direct circumstances, or alternatively get too focused on the end goal, that we forget the small things and the process we are going through. We forget that each day we are growing, like a blade of grass and despite the wind, insects, storms and gentle rain that may come our way, we still grow and that process of growing eventually turns into a fully-fledged blade of grass surrounded by many other blades of grass to create an entire field of fresh grass that people and animals get to enjoy. We don’t live this journey on our own, but we do need to make sure that we keep focused on the process rather than the destination and live in the freedom of your own individual journey with a little help from our friends.