I had an incredible holiday in Swedish Lapland.
I started a post whilst I was there using my wordpress mobile app but never got round to finishing it. I cant seem to transfer over what I wrote on my phone app to this site but this is something of what I put:-
I was going to start off by saying words cant describe how beautiful it is here but thats a bit of a cop out so here are some words that come to mind in no particular order
brilliant white, pure, vast, monochrome, peaceful, ever changing light, thick deep powdery snow crunching underfoot, glassy ice, light blue skies, lumescent mountains, shades of grey, dazzling sunshine. ..
and how am I?
I am extremely happy, cant stop smiling, knackered from all the physical activities such as snow shoeing, skiing, dog sledding and even just walking in the snow but loving it.
Grateful to be here and to experience all this but sad that I may not live long enough to come back here again, soo many places so little time. There’s always a double edge to having a life limiting illness, a sharpened sense of appreciation of the good things but the other side of the coin is knowing that the good things wont last as long as they ought to..
On the second evening of my holiday I was in Abisko (meant to be the best place to see the Northern Lights). I was chatting in one of the cosy lounges with some other guests and someone said they could see the northern lights were starting to show so we rushed outside to get a better look. I was last and more cautious as it was extremely icy outside and the others were ahead of me and unfortunately I slipped and fell backwards and banged my head on the ice and was knocked out for maybe 30 seconds. I saw stars but not the ones in the sky!! No one heard me or saw me as they were further on and I felt completely alone, dazed and scared. I got up slowly and went back into the lodge but reception had just closed. I saw a couple who I thought were english and told them what had happened but they werent english, they were german but spoke english but werent very sympathetic, I virtually forced the woman to feel the back of my head as a big lump had already started forming.
I went to the restaurant and spoke to a member of staff and he called up someone to come and see me in reception, a lovely young woman called Bella who was more concerned, she got hold of a doctor at Bjorkliden ski resort about 10k away and I spoke to him on the telephone. Needless to say he spoke excellent english and asked me various questions such as whether I had been or felt sick, had any blurred vision, felt confused etc. He also asked me about my general health and whether I was on any medication. I told him I had myeloma but was in remission ready to explain what it was, but he said he knew what it was. He then said he was 95% certain that I hadnt suffered any internal bleeding into the brain but if I felt worse or was sick, I should ring for an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital which was in Kiruna, 120k away! He advised paracetomol and ice and so I went back to my room with a bag of ice and a very sore and enlarged head (at least at the back). Bella was going off duty but gave me her mobile number and got one of the bar staff to knock on the door a bit later on to see if I was ok which I was.
It was hard to get comfortable resting the back of my head on a bag of ice but other than that I was alright, just shaken up and sore. About 10pm I looked at of my bedroom window and saw a spectactular show of the northern lights, which turned out to be the best I would see all work. I wished I had been able to go outside and see them in the open sky but consider myself lucky to have had such a near miss. Some photos below of the northern lights taken with my camera.
The next morning Bella knocked on my door and asked how I was which was nice. I was getting ready to go dog sledding which I had already booked and no way was I going to miss that! My head was sore and the lump the size of a goose egg. It was the only real time on holiday that I felt alone and lonely and wished I had someone to look after me. It reminded me of the time when I was half way through my first cycle of treatment and was feeling quite weak and faint. One night I got up to go to the toilet and fainted landing flat on my back on the way back to bed hitting my head although on carpet. My partner heard me fall and rushed out to help me, reassure me and get me back to bed. For those of you that dont know what it is like, fainting or passing out is a strange strange feeling, funny dream like scenarios are whooshing around you in a black space inside your head and when you come round, there is a sense of confusion, relief and helplessness . I should know, I am an experienced fainter! Anyway the next day I had a little bump on the back of my head but because I was paranoid about every single little ache or pain or sniffle or cough I went to A&E to get it checked it out but that was the second time that day I had been to A&E, the first time over a bit of a temperature and cough so why I didnt mention it the first time I dont know, anyway I was very anxious and paranoid in those early cycles of treatment.
Back to the holiday, I was determined not to let this nasty fall stop me from doing anything but continued to fall over, fall down and fall off things. I fell off the dog sled when mushing about 5 times but into soft snow, the dogs would run on and the hardest thing was walking in deep snow to the sled which hopefully someone ahead would have grabbed. I slipped on icy paths a couple more times despite walking like a penguin but remembered to hold up my head. I fell over skiing a couple of times but no big deal and even fell over snow shoeing! I was absolutely delighted that I didnt come off the snowmobile as that would have been scary.
I was relieved to get home in one piece. I went for a run/jog the next day to resume my training for the Manchester 10k run and guess what I fell over again and grazed my knee, nothing too serious. I was looking forward to the horse riding trek I had booked ages ago for the following Monday morning. Off I went, such a lovely morning and I was told I was going to be riding Jack, a tall chestnut horse who looked very steady. The trek lasted about 90 mins, there were 3 of us as beginners and we walked around through woods and fields with one man holding onto the reins of the horse in front. I cant say I enjoyed it particularly, I was saddle sore whilst actually riding the horse! Anyway on the last turn around the field before we got back to the riding centre, my horse got spooked by a man walking round a bend towards us and threw me off (I didnt want to tell you Mum if you are reading this!). It was a long way down but off I went and landed on my right side and back (BUT NOT MY HEAD!). I was so upset and shaken, also in a state of disbelief about what had happened. How many times had I fallen recently? I am now suffering from a whiplash injury diagnosed by my GP and twinges in my back. My head is still sore and lumpy and I have got golfers elbow (both elbows) and De Quervain’s syndrome in my right wrist and I dont even play golf. My body feels battered and bruised and I worry that this is because of myeloma (which can cause weakened bones) or that all the falls etc have weakened my body and made me more vulnerable to the myeloma coming back in.
I know my immune systmem will always be compromised because of myeloma even when I am in remission but I am not sure how my bones are affected. When first diagnosed I had a full skeletal X ray which was clear and didnt show any fractures or lesions. Some myeloma patients can have lots of different fracture sites but fortunately I didnt. My consultant told me I could do high impact activities such as skiing, tennis, running etc so based on that I have been and am doing those things but I didnt bargain on falling over as much as I have recently. Please … no more falling over, my body cant take anymore!!