Walking on the wildside with my neighbours.
L-R: James Bardon, Liam Dunne,
Chris McElligott (show participant), Aidan Murphy.
'Operation Transformation' is a successful and seasonal TV show broadcast on RTE, Ireland's national public service broadcaster. It is now in it's tenth series which kicked off last week where viewers got to meet the five leaders that will aim to lose weight and improve their lifestyle in the coming weeks. One of the leaders chosen for the TV series this time around is Dunshaughlin based Chris McElligott who lives here with his partner Elizabeth and their three children. Sixteen years ago Chris’ right leg was severed below the knee in a road traffic accident.
So yesterday morning (Saturday) as part of the current TV series, the cameras and show presenters were dispatched to the metropolis of Dunshaughlin to film the whole community in joining Chris on a planned 4.5km walk. With the weather forecast settled, I was going to give it a go. It is over 3 months since I last did my recurring 7km walk but things had changed since then. My attitude is, this is a community focussed event and being a weight carrier for years I know it's not a walk in the park (there's my puns again, sorry) to lose it, let alone present yourself on national TV to declare your intention and then re-appear every week to explain the good, the bad and the ugly. Chris has put his head above the parapet in no uncertain terms. It's people like this that deserve and should get all the support they can muster, and lets be direct here, I know a thing or two about being on the receiving end of this. It's unquantifiable, in my world anyway.
Hundreds of us did show up yesterday morning to walk with Chris. As the TV people got a few takes in re warming up the crowd, I could feel myself getting a bit, then a lot more light headed. I had been standing and chatting in the one spot for 10-15mins. Was I finished before Chris would lead the good people of Dunshaughlin in true pied piper fashion on his 4.5km walk?
I walked up an embankment to lean against a fence, it helped but I was still in trouble. Alison, my wife could read what was happening and dispatched Aoife to me with with the car keys. I sat in the car for the next 10-15mins, side ways with my feet outside on the ground. I noticed an ambulance arriving which was clearly there on escort duty for the walk. My 'Plan A' now was to go for it and if things got awkward on the route, my 'Plan B' would be invoked which would see Murf fall back on his walking position and then wait for the ambulance to catch up where a lift would be asked for.
I haven't been out much re the risk of catching infections so it was so nice to catch up with lots of people I knew well and seeing others come over and say Hi to me. I felt normal again. Along with my neighbours, Alison and Aoife, Cllr Gerry O'Connor kept me company on the entire route.
In the end I finished the entire walk which I was personally delighted with and I was not paddy last either !!. It was great to catch up with Gerry. It is Gerry's good lady wife Barbara who organised the fabulous support event for me via Facebook. I also serve with Gerry as a board member of Dunshaughlin Community Centre, so we had lots to catch up with, which we did. Thanks for the company Gerry, it also helped take my mind of other things.
I was pretty tired after this rural ramble. I hit the hay from midday and slept solid thru till 5pm yesterday evening. It's unreal how much Chemotherapy takes out of you, and this also includes the fact that I had zero chemo in my system this past week. But for me it was important to at least give this walk a try. As I mentioned earlier, being a previous member of the heavy set brigade and to be honest, having my own disability with being permanently blind in one eye, for me anyway I wanted to show some solidarity with Chris.
All the above set aside, last week was a particularly settled one for me. Having that break from my Chemotherapy did indeed contribute to this. However, I am due back for my rescheduled treatment this coming Tuesday and between me and you, I am bloody dreading it. You see, the last time I missed a week, when I then did get my infusion, it hit me hard. My body had gone from a semi de-toxed state to a full delivery of cancer poison and boy was I being reminded of this. I felt nauseous in my stomach and nauseous in my mind, does that even make sense ? Unfortunately for me it does.
Assuming my white blood cells give a green light on Tuesday morning, I'll just have to try my upmost to blank out my previous 'unpleasant' experience. The positive twist to all this is every morning post Chemotherapy I do feel much improved. It goes without saying that if it's knocking the living shite out of my body and brain, what is it doing to my arch enemy? If you are going thru Chemotherapy too, when it does overwhelm you (the occasions are there-we both know), on that instant just keep reminding yourself that they are only giving us this treatment because they have to. And as I just reminded myself, if it's dragging you down a certain way, just think of what's it's doing to our illness, you must wallop this message home to yourself. Think of it as the left hand side of your brain telling the right hand side what to do. That's what I intend to do next Tuesday morning, assuming my whites turn green and we get a go for launch.
Thanks so much for reading my blog.