Walk Leader Blog: "They all started out with a let's do this and ended with a let's do this again!"
Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 12:18
At 47 years old a heart attack is the last thing that you expect to happen but it did a day before my 48th birthday, so instead of celebrating, my day was spent in a hospital bed contemplating. One week and an operation later, I was home and feeling rather sorry for myself. Why me? Why now? Will it happen again? All these questions were filling my days and nights. Now I was home I was very blessed to have the support of my partner, friends and family albeit from afar due to covid restrictions but at times I felt alone. Nobody knew how I felt suffocated and overwhelmed, I thought life as I knew it was over! Was I ever going to be able to enjoy life, have fun and be me again?
2 weeks in and it was now time to get off my sofa and start my rehabilitation program. The thought of wearing a pair of trainers and jumping on a tread mill filled me with utter horror, but I went along feeling totally stupid in a pair of joggers that had sat in my wardrobe for years with the label on. The rehab group was full of us all in the same boat. All here because we had to be, not because we wanted to be, but as I looked around I caught someone smiling, I smiled back and very soon that 80 something year old man became my partner in crime. Rehab wasn't going to be so bad after all.
The next week, less reluctantly than the first, I put my trainers on and chatted to one of the volunteers, all the while puffing my way on the exercise bike. He told me how he had suffered a heart attack and now walks every day to kept him fit and healthy, so I vowed that I would take a walk and report back to him on how it made me feel. Well the next day it rained and the day after, in fact it rained or looked cold for the rest of the week that was my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Eventually I called a friend and said I'm ready to have a walk it was the first time I had exercised outside the comfort of the hospital gym and I felt quite nervous. We walked for a while and chatted for a while longer, I had a real sense of achievement when I reached my front door and made plans to walk again the next day.
The next day came and I was surprised to be looking forward to my walk. It went well and again I felt proud. Then the big step came, armed with my mobile and life saving spray, I set off on my own. As I walked down familiar roads people stopped me to say hi and asked how I was doing, I felt like a minor celebrity (well in my head I was Beyoncé). It felt good to be out and about, and that was the start of it all. I didn't look back and the feelings I had from being outside, walking more, than out weighed the day time television.
My check up with the Dr's was approaching and this time I didn't have to tell little white lies about how many cigarettes I was smoking a day, as I had completely given up. Now I know a heart attack is a big enough shock to make you do this, but I am convinced the reason I hadn't cheated or started up again was the walking! My chest felt clear, I could breathe better and I didn't want to have that awful cough that I had carried around with me. But the one I didn't like was coming, you know that one! The weigh in! The one where no amount of fibs can cover up the amount of cake you have consumed, the scales just don't lie! As I stepped on the box of doom, a big smile appeared on the nurses face, she announced that I had lost half a stone. My day was getting better and better. Cake has always been my downfall but the more I walked, the less I craved the sweet stuff.
I came out of the surgery with the biggest grin on my face and normally where I would have made my way to the local bakers to celebrate with a cake, I celebrated by walking the longer route home. As I walked home I looked up at the sky listened to the birds, stopped and breathed in the fresh air. I was rich. No money could buy that moment, I was getting healthy, I was happy and my life would not be the same as before it would be better even without cake!.
The bug had really hit me and I signed up to do a whole month of walking to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. I just wanted to give a little bit of love back. The challenge I took up was to walk 100km in the month. By this time I was walking so much more than that, but really wanted to allow others to join in. At the start of my challenge, I had my diabetic blood results back and a very excited nurse called and was so happy to tell me my diabetes was in remission, another benefit of my walking. So April was my walking month. As I stepped out with friends and family to clock up the miles, I could see a familiar pattern forming, regardless of how far my walking partner could manage, they all started out with a let's do this and ended with a let's do this again!
Times have been very difficult for so many of them during lockdown but they were all there to show support. As we chatted and smiled and appreciated our surroundings, it became apparent to me that walking held so many healthy properties for all of us, exercising the body and mind, walking with a friend, walking on your own or walking in a group. It's so beneficial to us all which is why I have signed up to be a health walk leader. If I can help just one person feel how I feel right now through walking, that would be amazing. If I could bottle and sell it I would be rich.
P.S not sure if the scales will be as kind on my next Dr's visit, most April walks ended in a chat, a coffee and yes a cake! ❤️
Carey-Anne, Walk Leader Volunteer