Gratitude and other stuff

I ran today....first time in a while. I've been away and for a variety of reasons( excuses) only managed one run. I got back Friday ,but I didn't run over the weekend or yesterday,no real reason other than I couldn't be bothered fact ,there have been a few times over the past few weeks when I actually wondered if I'd bother again.

So I did go this morning,there was no fog,no appointments,no reasons not to excuses....and I told myself I could turn round and come back at any time.

I did the Speed podcast and then carried on with a favourite route .I crunched through the fallen leaves, passed the still

unharvested maize fields and the vibrant orange pumpkin was a perfect Autumn morning.

As I ambled along I remembered something I'd noticed in my diary a few days is an anniversary.

It's 5 years since I had an operation to repair a detached retina of my left eye.The operation was deemed a success as far as it could be, but it lead to what was the most debilitating and disabling time I've ever experienced. Not wishing to sound dramatic.....detached retina is not life -threatening,but it is sight-threatening and although it was repaired it left me with skewed vision,unable to focus for reading,watching TV, painting anything that required focusing really.

I had no confidence to go out alone and when I eventually went out I needed the help of a stranger to step down off a train, my best friends arm linked to mine to get me across the roads as winter darkness fell mid afternoon when we ventured out to a Christmas craft fair.....I was 52 years old and being helped along like a little old lady.As well as the distorted vision,my eye never felt "right" as there was something called a buckle put in at the time of the op,to reinforce the repair and the eye always felt different and wrong,plus when I looked in the mirror I could see it didn't look the same as it had wasn't entirely straight...and whilst I'm not particularly vain this,too, I found greatly upsetting.

I said at the time to a few close friends that there was no joy in anything,many things I used to enjoy were impossible now,I would feel dizzy and sick in shops, in the car,just walking about...all down to the eye attempting to focus and the damage done to my sight in that eye due to the detachment.

Just into the new year our beloved dog died...we were expecting it but know still knocked us for six and I truly felt at rock bottom .

By late spring I was walking more and gradually my brain was adjusting to the damage ,but the first few times I attempted to ride a bike on quiet country tracks was completely scary.

Eventually I had a further op to remove the could have been done sooner,but I felt as if I couldn't face the trauma of more surgery,even though I was told it was really quite a minor procedure compared to the first op,so I waited 18 was a complete soon as it was done and I could remove the dressing the next day,my eye at long last felt and looked normal.....I was overjoyed.

So....I was running this morning and thinking back through all that stuff as I went and I looked around me at the gorgeous bright morning and up at the beautiful cloudless,blue sky and offered up a thankyou,a little message, the something or someone up there,that I was outside ,alone ,able to run and see and enjoy.

On my way back I got one of those amazing highs that happen so infrequently when running,but make it all so worthwhile when they do...that tingly feeling that makes it feel like your scalp is lifting off your head was like my little word of thanks had been heard and I was sent a gift in return...perfect timing.....I had such a huge grin on my face at that moment .

I knew then I would not be abandoning my running.....five years ago I would have done anything to be able to walk around amazing that this morning I went out by myself and was able to amble around the lanes in the autumn sunshine for almost 6K.

Thankyou for listening x

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27 Replies

  • Oh what a lovely heartfelt post. A friend had a detached retina a few years ago, so I do have an idea of what you've had to go through. I'm so pleased that you've made such a good recovery. What a beautiful run you describe. It sounds like your prayer was definitely answered. Happy, healthy running :)

  • Thankyou AncientMum.It is a pretty ghastly thing to have and there are varying degrees of detachment ,as you probably know...mine was fully detached and did leave some permanent damage,but amazingly I don't even need glasses...well,except for those " off the peg" readers for when I want to knit,read, draw etc and the light is low.

    Happy running to you too :)

  • Oh Carole your detached retina might not have been life threatening but it was definitely life changing You must have had some really dark moments . But they say every cloud has a silver lining and I am firm believer that you appreciate the little things so much more when life has thrown some rubbish your way . Sounds like this mornings run was just perfect So pleased for you

  • Think it's fair to say it was my " annus horribilis" ...just glad it's in the past,but yes appreciating the little things is good...though like most people ,I still forget to do that at times ! Thanks for your lovely response x

  • Sounds a gorgeous run Carole and a great distance considering your absence!

    You've been through a lot but you've left that all behind and I can sense your happiness and gratitude now. Way to go!

  • Thankyou was a really good run :)

  • That was a lovely post Carole and expresses much of what I feel almost every time I run. And yes it is gratitude......gratitude that I can actually do this thing whether I am any good at it or not. I am sure you find those life affirming moments of sheer joy, borne out of being and feeling totally alive, are more common now you are a runner. I know I do.

    I've said it before and it is my mantra.....keep running, keep smiling.

  • Thanks are so right,those moments do seem to happen more often nowadays.

    Love your mantra :)

  • Oh Carole, what a lovely heartfelt post, it really warmed mi' cockles did that .

    So pleased that you have made such a good recovery. Your run sounds amazing this morning, yep, certainly a reminder that we should all count our blessings.

    Fab stuff ! :-) xxx

  • Thankyou ' Pops' for your lovely comment. Yes,it was a fab run and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's x

  • wow...thats an amazing story, thank you so much for sharing. You have been through an awful lot, and you are quite right, we are all incredibly blessed to be able to go out and run and be free spirits....truly amazing.... Its amazing what we go through as humans...I had a year off sick with reactive arthritis and I could barely walk down the road, let alone run, and I have to look back to remember just how blessed I am...thankyou for the prompt....

  • Ah Juce...thanks for that . Crikey....reactive arthritis...that sounds pretty you've come one hell of a long way too,missus ....well done :)

    You never fail to amaze me xx

  • That is an amazing journey from such a traumatic event. Glad the anniversary provided such a sparkle and got you out running again. It was lovely to read of the glorious day you had - I was out and about for work in a complete deluge today, fingers crossed we get a lull in the storm tomorrow so I can just do a little run.

  • Thankyou c4ts. Hope you get the longed for lull and manage to run today x

  • Had to put you on 'pause' halfway through while I found me hankie. So pleased you are out the other side and how great to have had your moment out there earlier.

  • Thankyou so much Slookie...I was totally overwhelmed by all the lovely responses to this post...really unexpected....what a lovely lot you all are :)

  • Thankyou Kitty....yes stressful indeedy....thankfully all behind me now . I wasn't a very good patient ,but had wonderful support from people around me and I have to say, the best consultant surgeon throughout the whole 18 months...even when I got really grouchy with him one day( though I did apologise at my next visit - and he very sweetly said he hadn't noticed my rude mood !) :)

  • Oh that's sad Kitty...I'm sorry you didn't get the improvement you were led to expect...what a disappointment for you .

    Still, I do love your sense of humour :D xx

  • This brought a lump to my throat. Truly the running gods were smiling on you today.

    How much we take for granted the wonders of the everyday world around us. Time we all paused to appreciate just how lucky we are.

  • Absolutely right Ully...we should all take time out to stop a while and appreciate the good stuff.

    Thankyou x

  • Wow Carole! That was a very moving post. I was smiling for you as I got to the end of it. You hung in there and that's what its all about :)

  • Thanks,Burgdude,for your kind response.

    Happy running :)

  • Bought tears to my eyes too, isn't sight a wonderful thing? And aren't we lucky to be able to get out and run in the beautiful world? Thank you for sharing.

  • Yes,Curly, we are lucky....and yes,sight is a wonderful gift...but like many things ,all,too easy to take for granted until something goes wrong.

    I was always quite shortsighted and had both my eyes lasered back in 2001... a complete success ....oh the joy of 20/20 vision -it was like a miracle :) I threw away my contacts and chucked my specs in the charity bin at the eye clinic in London.

    I was told the detachment was not due to the laser treatment ....apparently it can happen if you are very was my left eye and the one that was most shortsighted ,even though the lasering had corrected it almost 9 years before it happened.

    It was pretty devastating for it to happen after having perfect vision at last ...but I'm very fortunate that I have such perfect right eye vision that it makes up for the less than perfect left eye...and somehow my brain has adapted to this :)

    How are you enjoying running back in Cambridge? It must be lovely to be back on level,ground :)

  • I'm so happy to be back in Cambridge, had some lovely runs. I was thinking of you yesterday as I enjoyed my beautiful city. Strangely, after whinging about the hills in France for ages, I've not found it any easier, or indeed faster, running here on the flat. Someone here said a couple of days ago something about concrete being harder to run on than tarmac, that might be it as I ran on back roads with no pavements in France. Still, I'm running and loving it.

  • What a lovely post, Carolecal. You have come so far in these five years - you are enjoying life again and you are a runner! And you are right about gratitude, we should all be grateful for being able to run - at whatever level. xx

  • Thankyou squaremum...I'm really touched by your reply....and by all the other lovely comments I've read really are a special bunch of people xx

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