So here goes another blog. As with all the others, i don’t go back and read over it and edit it. I don’t write it thinking about how people will react or whether they like it or not. I literally just write whatever comes into my mind, whatever i feel like conveying. No more thought goes into it. Its just unedited, raw, and me.
So, this weekend i did relay for life. For those who dont know, relay is a 24hr event where you get a team and a site where you call home for the next day and you walk laps and fundraise for cancer council. It is an amazing event to be a part of, the atmosphere is so open and friendly and it truly feels like one big family of 4,000 people. Some people walk through the night, some can only manage 1 lap. That’s the general explaination of relay, this will be my personal experience of relay, every little bit.
Friday at 3.30pm, i get ready to leave the house and head to relay, half way there I realise i am hypoing and have to stop. I pull into hungry jacks and get a chicken burger and straight drink and devour both in the hopes of feeling better. 10 minutes later im okay again and feel better after eating something. It takes me about 30 minutes to make the 10 minute trip from my house to akoonah park where the relay is held. Traffic was horrendous and unrelenting. 4.25pm i finally arrive at akoonah park, and am quite releived to see there is a park directly behind our campsite. Less walking unloading the crap you pack for one 24hr slot. I sat down for a few minutes before my friend text to say she was here but she wasn’t sure where to go. I started walking the lap to find her and low and behold walked the entire way to find her 200m from our camp in the other direction, if id only walked right not left! We got back to camp and before long once everything was unpacked and we settled in, it was time for the official opening ceremony at 5.45pm. We walked over to the middle of the oval and there were speeches and typical stuff you would expect. There was also a brilliant poem from a 15 year old girl who had lost her best friend to cancer when they were 12. The way it was written was incredible for someone her age. After the survivors and carers it was then time to embark upon the official first lap. We had our banner and 4 of us walked proudly with it in our grasp. We did 2 laps with the banner before returning to camp. I already felt sick just from doing 2 laps and was told to sit down and rest which i did. I was worried leading up to the event and during how i would cope with my new medical restrictions. I was planning on trying to pace myself and not push too hard. I walked about 5 laps before the candelight ceremony. 4 of us set off for the oval, and i broke off to run to the bathroom before it started. I got back and the oval was pitch black, the only light coming from the stage, and a out 2,000 people standing there. I looked briefly but conceded there was no way i would be able to find the other 3 in the dark. I made my way to a small opening of grass and sat down to listen to the ceremony. It went for 45 minutes, maybe an hour. I was a bit sad to not be with my mum for the minute silence as at last years relay she was very emotional during this time. I sat there thinking about the friends who had lost husbands recently, and the grandparents i had lost before i was even born, the grandpa i had lost at the same time i was diagnosed with diabetes. And lastly my beloved grandma who battled skin cancers for her whole life and that i miss so much. It was actually nice sitting there by myself just thinking about how my life has been touched by cancer and being able to just relax and think without concerning myself with the people around me. As i went to get up i got a glaring reminder of why i struggle and now avoid sitting on the ground. My hips seized up and i walked very gingerly my first few steps rubbing my sides, willing the pain and stiffness to go away. Once that subsided, the shoulder pain kicked in, which i had been waiting for and was prepared for. Slowly walking back to camp i saw a friend standing in front of the memorial slideshow of loved ones who had passed. We stood there with an arm around each other for quite awhile before her mothering instincts kicked in and she ordered me back to camp to rest. I laughed to myself as i walked away because by joining the lionesses a few years ago, i feel like I’ve gained 3 grandmothers. In moments like those its really nice to still have that kind of figure around. I got back to camp and took some painkillers, before long i hear, she’s back here and phone lights are up in my face, it’s my mum and 2 friends who i couldn’t find at the ceremony, they were worried something had happened to me when i didn’t find them at the ceremony. I assured them i was okay, i was there and just sat by myself to listen to the stories and music. I got mum to stick 2 heat pads to my shoulders and went and did a lap with them. I came back to camp to rest and started getting a migraine, i couldn’t take any painkillers because i already had an hour earlier for the muscle pain. I drank lots of water and hoped it would go away. It didn’t. The music in the middle of the oval was so loud and it was really getting to me so at 10.30pm I resigned that i needed some rest. I couldn’t sleep on my stretcher bed because that gave no relief from the noise so went to my car but looked at the small space and knew it wasn’t for me. Mum offered her car, and as her seats laid flat it meant the space in the boot was nearly a double bed. I laid down a folded mattress, got my pillow and tried to get comfortable. I had towels hanging on the windows and a sunshade at the back to block the light and so people couldn’t see me. It was quite a cosy little space. I managed to get 2 hours sleep before waking at 2am having a hypo. I texted mum who was a few metres away outside the car and asked for food. I knew there would be no sleeping again after a hypo so got out of the car and rejoined the others sitting at camp. After some time i then went for another lap or 2. Mum then went to get some rest, and by 5am i was desperate for more sleep, i was uncomfortable and tired and cranky. Mum was in the car so i tried sleeping on the stretcher bed but couldn’t get comfortable and it was so cold i gave up and tried sleeping in my car. That lasted maybe 30 minutes before I gave up and got out. I felt horrid i was cold and tired and just felt crap. At 6am they had a bbq making egg and bacon rolls so took my jumper off to wake myself up and headed down to get some food. I then did another lap or 2 after breakfast, by this point people were starting to move a bit more and wake up from their broken sleep. It was still quite cold at this point and there were blankets and jumpers everywhere. I went back to camp and got mum to put dencorub on my shoulders which helped a bit. I did a few more laps, visiting the book man and buying a book for myself, and one for dad. It was starting to warm up by now, and I start to feel quite sick with the heat so i retreated back to camp where i was told to go home. I refused, and stayed. Dad came to visit and brought a plastic poster i had designed for our group to say thanks to everyone who supported us. It was a huge hit, our team captain loved it, we even had people visit our camp to see the ‘infamous’ sign. It was great to see it was so well received. I had decided by this time to not force myself to walk anymore laps and to just hang around camp and take photos. I set up my tripod and organised some group shots and some walking shots, i also took some of our camp, displays and goods. It hit around 1.30pm and was starting to get really hot and i had hit the wall, after 21 hours I took my shoes off and felt like the soles of my feet were covered in blisters. I wanted to stay til the end but knew my time had come. I packed up my bag and camera and such, said goodbye and headed home. I got home, brought in my phone, meter and food and crashed. Everything else got left in the car. I woke up at 7pm that night after a 3 and a half hour sleep, made and ate dinner, watched some tv, took all my tablets and went to bed feeling pretty sick. I wasn’t badly burnt but had some sun on my face and think i had a touch of sun stroke on top of the exhaustion and the muscles weighing down on me. It was in bed at 11pm that i realised I’d overdone it. I didn’t respect my medical limitations and now i was really paying for it. I woke up at 3am and had an icypole to try and help the heat, and fell asleep again. I was then awake again at 8am, i felt much better after getting some sleep and got up to have breakfast. I went back to bed to watch netflix and within half an hour i was asleep again. Awake at 12.30pm i get up to get a drink and some food, again im asleep by 2pm. I wake up at 5.30pm realising the full extent of my exhaustion, i sincerely hope that it won’t affect my sleep tonight but knowing me it probably will. I knew my health would put some restrictions on me and that i might be sore and tired afterwards but i didnt realise the full extent of it and what i was in for. Even as i write this i could easily sleep again as im writing this laying down, but im going to make a conscious effort to keep myself awake so i can sleep okay tonight. So, that was relay, as a team we walked 650 laps, equivalent to 585km. That’s a bloody decent effort if you ask me! It was a good 21 hours with some great people, inspiring people and i will definitely be back next year.
I think that ought to do it, i dont think people want to hear anymore from me. So if you’re reading, thank you for taking the time.