It has been a long and painful last few months in my life but finally a corner has been turned and life is almost back to normal. Strictly speaking that isn’t really true at all, it would be more accurate to say that life is beginning to settle into a new state of normal.

Roughly a month ago I finally had a diagnosis for my mystery pain and illness or rather I had three separate diagnosis that combined to explain everything and has necessitated some rather drastic and rapid changes in my life.

Firstly, it was found that one of my vertebrae in my lumbar was not functioning correctly. Bending forward, left or right it moves in alignment with the rest of the spine. When bending backwards it has been acting like a hinge. So instead of pressure distributing down the rest of the spine and down to the legs; this one vertebrae has been taking it all on itself. I’ve been having physio and have a range of stretches and strengthening exercises for the support muscles and it has improved significantly. It’s not 100% yet, but it is getting there.

Secondly, I had a severe Vitamin D deficiency. For whatever reason, my body isn’t storing any reserves so I now have to take a daily supplement. One of the impacts of low Vitamin D  is bone pain, so my back pain was being amplified by this.

The third is a lot more serious as I’ve become diabetic.

Thankfully I’m in a range where I can possibly reverse it to the point where I will not need medication, but control it through diet and exercise but it will take a lot of effort on my part.

That is a challenge that I intend to meet head on.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been educating myself, talking with Doctors, Nurses, attending courses and making changes. I’m now swimming five times a week and counting carbs and calories. In a way the diagnosis came at a useful time, because with the back injury having played havoc for so long, I was ready to do anything to get it better and the swimming is playing a big part in my recovery.

Garmin Connect 2018-07-15 15-01-07

Now a month has passed, I’m able to look back and see if my efforts are having any impact at all. The good news is that they appear to be doing so. My average blood glucose has dropped by a third and is much more controlled through the day without major spikes and drops. That’s nearly half of my target level achieved in the first month. Not that I can stop doing what I’m doing when I can get there!

I was asked to try and lose 10% of my bodyweight a year. I’ve currently lost 6%

In general I’m feeling so much better. Not just relief from the back pain clearing up, but just in general. I’m not going to say I feel amazing, but I do feel good. I’ve more energy, I’m thinking more clearly and my body feels like it has a rhythm now rather than the randomness of before.

I’m not really one to congratulate myself, but even I feel like it is a good start.

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All of this is coming at a very good time as it is now only 6 weeks until I head out to the Baltic’s. A few weeks ago I was getting concerned whether I’d be able to make it or not, but now I feel comfortable and with another months recovery under my belt by the time I leave, I can just start looking forward to it.

I can tell that I’m getting excited about it as I’ve started thinking about what to pack. I’ve always been a little odd about this filling my mind with questions such as ‘what kind of footwear do I take’, ‘do I need to replace anything’ and ‘will I need X’ long before I need to. My next step will be to gather everything and test pack. This in a couple of weeks will lead to another test pack. Two days before I’ll pack for real. Then finally the night before, I’ll go to bed, lie awake and then get rid of half the stuff I packed. Then I’ll go away and use about half the stuff I’ve taken – usually photography gear!

I’ve no idea why I continually do so, even when I’m aware that I’m doing it. I blame being in the Scouts – Be (over) Prepared.

Written by Nezgsy

FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, I WANTED TO SEE THE WORLD.... From early childhood I inherited a love of adventure movies, books and comics. I loved the action and excitement but I was equally fascinated by the places these took place. At first I was astonished to learn that many of of these fantastic places weren't just movie sets or products of the writers imagination, but real world places that could be visited, seen and touched. Growing up on a beautiful, but very small, island this was a revelation and from that point on I spent equally as much time borrowing books from the library to learn about these places. As I grew a little older and Micheal Palin started his seminal TV show - 'Around the World in 80 Days' - I was hooked, and knew that some day I wanted to have an adventure like his. I've been very fortunate that life has given me the chance to go out and see the world. I've been equally fortunate in discovering another passion in photography. My website - www.neilblakely.com is where I share these passions with all those people who also want to go out and see what lies over the horizon.

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