2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Physical health

A quiet kind of calm

IVF Update

Rosie and I went to the yet another specialist with regards to our IVF journey. This time it was in the private sector. We had decided we would try all avenues so it made sense for us to try this too. I admit that you pay for what you get. We got a doctor who knew what he was talking about which is always a good start. Rosie and I could ask any questions to him even if they did seem silly. He was patient and spent time with us. A big thing for us was he acknowledged Rosie as much as a potential parent as I would be. We felt when we visited the NHS doctor they didn’t really see us as a “proper couple and potential parents”.

The bad and the good news

However, with all the facts our doctor also gave us some good news and then bad news. The good news if that I have a lot of eggs in the ovaries. The bad is that the quality of them with Endometriosis is not good. The figures he had were even less appealing. With an IUI procedure there is an 8% chance of it resulting in a pregnancy. Apparently even less if it was to be done naturally with a man (luckily this option is a definite no go but always good to know all the facts and it made Rosie and I laugh!!!). With IVF there is a 50% chance. If you haven’t guessed already it looks like we are heading straight to the IVF route.


This is the question. Rosie and I had wanted to try the IUI procedure as it is a lot less invasive than IVF. With IUI (intrauterine insemination) the washed and concentrated sperm is put straight into the womb around the time of the egg release from the ovary. As I like to say it sends the swimmers in and hopes for the best.

Or not so natural

With IVF (in vitro fertilisation) it is an entirely different procedure and unfortunately one that is invasive with many different steps. With IVF you need to stimulate the ovaries, retrieve the eggs, add the sperm, wait for fertilisation and an embryo to develop before putting everything back into the womb and finally having a blood test to see if it a positive transaction. Again in my words, more hurdles, hoops, obstacles, lots of prodding and poking and then hoping for the best.


One interesting point the private doctor mentioned was about Endometriosis Grading. Grading? We didn’t know it had a grade! From what we had told the doctor he suspects my grade to be at least a 2 if not a 3 out of 4. In other words, not good news while trying to get pregnant. It is still worth trying IVF which is positive. Also on the plus side, when the egg retrieval specialists go in to look for eggs they will be able to determine the good and bad. With the good eggs there is a chance these can be kept and frozen for the next round. Again some good news but we will not know anything further until we get there.

Where does that leave us?

So, where does that leave us? It is a good question. Yes, we could go down the private route. Rosie and I feel we would both be looked after from the start too. However, if you rack up the costs for one round of IVF privately you are looking at re-mortgaging the house or robbing a bank. And that is for one round only. One! Not quite the options we were looking for.

The short answer

The short answer is I have to keep working to get my BMI number down so we can go on to the wait list with the NHS. That is it. Keep working, jumping over hurdles, trying to avoid the obstacles, going through the hoops which I am sure make sense somewhere and most of all keep hoping. In that recent film about being “frozen” with a “singing snowman” the song lyrics states “this will all make sense when I am older”. You can’t argue with a singing snowman either!


As a partnership we are incredibly strong but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t taking its toll on Rosie and me. We try not to let it put us down but when you are trying to achieve a dream you take it a lot more personally. I get frustrated that it is not a straight forward system and hard work is not being noticed. Rosie is constantly asking what she can do to make it easier (there’s not much unfortunately). As I have said before it feels like we are being punished for living our lives in a different way. We get angry, upset, tired, confused, anxious and the list could go on.

We will not give in!

Finally we try to find answers and ask questions which will one day lead us to the front of the IVF queue. We have come this far and have even further to go. We will not give in. One day it is going to make sense but right now we are in that quiet kind of calm while we process and prepare for the next part.


Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.


I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.


As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.


Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).


Then it went a bit pear-shaped!

My week this week was meant to have loads of fun and exciting things in it. We had tickets to the cinema on Monday evening to see a live performance streamed from London’s West End of Les Misérables. We also had tickets to go and see the rescheduled John Barrowman Fabulous Christmas Tour. A trip to see Frozen 2 and ice climbing was for Friday and then away for the weekend for Rosie and my first-year anniversary treat. On top of that we had PT booked at the gym, many Zumba classes, some of my favourite clients where I work and a routine that would have made the week amazing.

8 in total

As I write this blog, I currently have four keyhole marks on the abdomen, two jab marks on my elbow from where bloods were taken, one in my hand from an IV and a further one in my bum from medicine. If you haven’t guessed already, I had another emergency surgery on my ovaries.

What happened?

A good question. I had woken up on Monday in the wee small hours with my ovaries playing tennis (pain), took some pain killers and had gone back to sleep. I woke in the morning to a non-existent appetite. Not thinking too much at this point I ate what I could of breakfast and toddled off to work in Glasgow. Later in the afternoon I started to feel sick, had a sore stomach and after my lunch felt even worse than I had previously. Alarm bells were starting to ring as I had had similar symptoms the last two years when this had happened.

Rosie took one look at me!

I called Rosie and warned her that something wasn’t right and then called my Mother to talk things over. Rosie came home from work a few hours later, took one look at me and had me in the car up to our local A&E. I was prodded and poked there for a couple of hours before it was decided to transfer me to the specialist unit in another hospital a good half hour drive away. It was getting late at this point, but we did what we were told. The consultant in the next hospital again took a look and I was admitted for scans the following day. The diagnosis was a possible cyst rupture again.

The next day

The next day we discovered there were no specialists for that specific scan, so we had a new consultant do a trans vaginal up in a little room off the ward. I walked down to the room in my Harry Potter pj’s, Doc Marten Boots and black t-shirt. Excellent combination and I am sure London Fashion Week will be calling me any day now. With the help of my Mother the consultant had a good look around. Now considering they had done the finger check for the ovaries the previous day which left me doubled over you can imagine my response to the probe. My Mum helped me to stay calm, keep my breathing under control and issue words of comfort.

The diagnosis

They had found two cysts, one on the right and one on the left which were both the size of an orange. The right one had grown since it was last scanned in August and that was the main suspect. We had mentioned to the consultant that we were in the middle of IVF tests so they had suggested I had the coil removed, the Hy-Co-Sy scan complete and a general look around whilst I was asleep. Answering any questions, I had the consultant put me on the surgical list for the next day. I was an emergency but could be controlled on the ward. My main concern was if the cyst was a pain in the ass, I was at risk of losing a one or both ovaries. Not want you want to hear if you are sitting at the start of IVF.

Later that afternoon

Back on the ward I was told to start eating and drinking as I had been fasted until this point, this was as the operation would take place the next day. I had a few sips of water but nothing more. A lucky move.

Then it really kicked off!

Within about an hour of being back on the ward I had the consultant, the consultant’s colleague, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and two surgery porters ready to take me to theatre (and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing kind). There was a gap in the schedule, and they were going to use it. I was changed from my pj’s into a sexy hospital gown complete with very sexy hospital stockings, tucked into bed and wheeled down to theatre. Rosie came with me and I had the two porters cracking jokes which put me somewhat at ease. I was taken into the surgical waiting room and it was the coldest I had felt since I had arrived. I was then wheeled into theatre.

The theatre

At this point I wish it was the all singing and all dancing variety. There were lights, surgeons with big cloaks and masks on, a black table, lots of other machines, I had people moving me, prodding me, hooking me up to various and bits and pieces and straps put on to my legs. The porter said to jump from my comfy bed to the table. I took one look at it and crumbled. I was scared. A nurse stuck out her hand and said you can hold on to that for as long as you need. I held on good and tight until I was put to sleep. So, to that theatre nurse, thank you so much and I hope I didn’t crush your hand too much.


Surgery is weird. You are put to sleep and then after what feels like a massive nap you wake up again. My first questions apparently were:

  • Where was buddy? (Rosie) – she was upstairs waiting for me
  • Did I still have both ovaries? – yes
  • Are you Tony (I was to ask for Tony when I got to recovery so I was just checking) – he was Tony

I wasn’t in recovery for long before I was taken back to the ward and to Rosie.

The surgical diagnosis

I apparently had endometriosis cysts which were drained and burnt. I had the coil removed and I had the Hy-Co-Sy scan completed. We are still a little confused as to the PCOS/Endometriosis diagnoses. I have been told for years it was PCOS and now it may be something completely different. It is one of our questions for January when we see yet another consultant. Apparently, the thing with endometriosis cysts is they can come back. Now the fact they are in my ovaries only means I have a good chance of falling pregnant but what are they to do in the meantime? They have given me a jab in my bum to shut down my ovaries temporarily. The side effect, I may experience menopausal type symptoms. So, at 35 years old I may get hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Something to look forward to.

The next day

The next day a nurse popped by my bed to say I was going down for my scan at lunchtime. I lifted my t-shirt and said erm, I think they did it already. It was a small funny moment in the grand scheme of things.


I am now back at home and being looked after by my family. I am sore and swollen but doing well. Stairs are tricky but we will get there. With regards to rehab, I feel very lucky as I went through a similar surgery three years ago, so I know what to do with regards to rehabbing me back to normal. I am currently banned from high intensity training, weights, heavy gym work, boxing and my favourite, Zumba. The ban is in place for the next six weeks. I can walk and when the swelling in my abdomen subsides, I can start stationary cycling in the gym.

Thank you

A massive thank you to Rosie and my Mum who saw me through the hospital procedures, you were both superstars. My friends and family for their well wishes. The theatre nurse whose hand I could hold on to. My work colleagues who have re-arranged all my schedule and classes.


Nutrition and much more

The vote

This months vote was:
Option 1
How nutrition helps mental and physical recovery.

Option 2
Food schedules and easy trips to the supermarket.

The votes have been counted and it is 50/50 with regards to results. This means I will do two blogs in one. I think they tie in nicely with one another as well so here we go.

Nutrition helping mental and physical recovery

Nutrition can play a big part in mental and physical recovery. I admit it is sometimes easier to grab the take out menu when you are sick than to heat some vegetable soup. I have done it in the past. The downside to a take out is that it is usually pizza, fish and chips, Indian or Chinese. Lots of fats and sugar in them with very little nutritional value. I mean yes they make us feel better. They are quick and easy too. But at the end of the day your body when sick needs nutrients. Proteins to help the muscles, vitamins and minerals to help fight infections, sustenance to help fight whatever you are fighting and the list goes on. So unfortunately, as much as we want those tasty things to make us feel better we also need to make sure we are getting the right nutritional value as well.


If you are struggling to eat a big meal or your appetite has done a disappearing act then keep it simple. A slice of wholemeal toast with honey, a piece of fruit or fruit juice (150ml), little porridge pot, banana on those wholemeal crackers or a handful of nuts, seeds and berries.


Remember also to keep your water intake up. The water flushes out the toxins our body has and helps our digestive transit.

Ask a family member or neighbour

If you are really struggling then see if a family member, friend or neighbour would mind making you a little something. A healthy delivered meal for example. Unfortunately in these times this is few and far between but I like to live in hope. If you don’t ask then you don’t get I find. Alternatively get a supermarket to deliver healthy salads, soups and so on.

Hot chocolate to the rescue!

I can remember when I had my appendix out and my appetite had returned Rosie came to see me one day. She told me to walk with her to the end of the ward. Slow and steady we went. Rosie kept saying it would be worth it. I kept wondering how far it was. She had found the best cure. Hot chocolate, biscuits and fruit. Yum! If you needed an incentive to get out of bed then there was one right there. I had the best of both worlds. I had sugar to get my strength back up and I had vitamins and minerals in the fruit which helped my body recover. Once we had gone home it was soup and salad all the way.

Coughs and colds

Seeing as this is very seasonal I thought I would include it. It is rare that I take medicines during a cough or cold spell. I tend to go for the more natural items. Orange juice and oranges being a big one as they are full of vitamin C. The same goes for smoothies full of vegetable and the odd fruit for taste. Again full of vitamins and minerals. The drink of ginger, lemon, honey and hot water can work wonders for a cough and sore throat. Usually I make a big batch at the beginning of the cold and it sees me straight through. I can also recommend turmeric. I add a dash to the smoothie or drink and hey presto I have an anti-inflammatory.

Try it!

Next time you are sick or recovering from something try the above (with a chocolate bar now and then). You may find it helps you through.

Food schedules

Ah, the food schedule! That little white board on the wall which is going to tell me what I am eating. If it needs to be taken out of the freezer or needs preparation. The 2 Spud house hold does not seem to function incredibly well without that white board.

NB: Other writing materials can be used, for example, the good old pen and paper.

How to write a food schedule?

It is pretty easy to write one which is the good news. It could look something like this:
– Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with avocado and tomato
Tuesday – Dinner with friends/local restaurant
Wednesday – Spaghetti bolognaise from freezer (remember to take out in the morning)

Soup (remember to buy from supermarket), spaghetti bolognaise (from Wednesday), wholemeal sandwich.

And then you carry on for the rest of the week.

For the next week you take the past week, see what you had and then add in some different meals.

It is amazing once it is all written down how much it makes sense, you eat better options and you don’t grab that take out menu.

The shopping list

The best bit from a written down food schedule is you can make your shopping list. If you have a written list for when you enter that big building full of aisles you then know exactly what aisles you need to visit. It has been a long time since I have been down a biscuit, cake or crisp aisle. I don’t need to get anything from those aisles so I just don’t visit them. I go with my list, tick off once I have got them, circle the item if I cannot find it or it is out of stock and then go to pay.

The supermarket zapper thingy!

I find this is quite a useful tool for shopping. You get your zapper at the entrance to most big supermarkets. You go around and zap your products to put straight into your bag and then you go to pay. I find it useful if I am doing a big shop so I don’t up spending loads of money on things I do not need. If I can see the price in front of me totalling up as I go I know exactly what to expect at the checkout.

Online supermarket shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your own couch. What more could you want?! The best bit about this is the supermarket will remember what you have bought so next time all you need to do is check and confirm. You quite often get a two hour window so you can take your time as well. You can also check the kitchen cabinets to see if you do really need mayonnaise and there aren’t five bottles in the cupboard already.

Shopping on your own or with a buddy?

A good question. If I need a big shop then I tend to like to do it on my own. Rosie tends to muck up my filing system and then sneaks things into the trolley which are not on the list. If I am in the mood for a wander and chat when shopping then I take someone with me. On these trips I take time going up and down all of the aisles. This is especially exciting at this time of year. I get to see if I have missed anything in my quick trips. Lets just say these trips tend to happen once in a while and not every week.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop 2 Spuds a line with any questions you have from this blog. We will try our best to answer them.


The unfortunate need for an operation

I decided after my last operation that I would never have another one (this was following knee and stomach surgery) because of the effect it has on your overall health. However, unfortunately I need another operation next week.


The operation on Tuesday is to release the carpal tunnel in my right hand (the left hand will follow in due course). For the last 6 months the symptoms have gotten gradually worse, ending up with constantly painful fingers. The worst of it though is that the fingers are starting to loose their sensation. Because of this I am very clumsy gripping things as I just can’t feel when I am touching them.

It’s a very small one

This surgery only takes about 15 minutes, and it is done under local anaesthetic. Following this I won’t be able to work for a few weeks. I am quite concerned about how the next few weeks will pan out. This is with regards to my mental health as well as my physical health. I do not cope well sitting still for long periods of time, and I get frustrated when there are things I can’t do. Being right handed, and not being able to use my right hand properly for some time, will be very interesting indeed.

Staying healthy

I plan to go about my days much like I do now, being as active as possible. Having said that, I also have a few box sets to watch the first few days. My hand will apparently be in a bandage the size of a boxing glove, so it will be tricky to do anything. Once that comes off after 3 to 4 days I’m sure it will get easier. We are both still on a weight loss journey and the fridge is full of healthy foods. There are no treats or other sweet things in the house, although I did get a small chocolate bar the other day to have when I come home from surgery. That is the only exception.

The great outdoors

As I am sure some of you know, I am a great lover of the outdoors and the health benefits it provides. I have made a spot in the greenhouse so I can sit there and drink coffee when the sun is shining. There will be days when I am picked up and taken places too for walks and socialising. There is not a lot to do around here in that sense, and certainly not within walking distance. I am also very lucky to have Helen who works unsocial hours, but in these circumstances it will be perfect.




Last week’s blog was about BMI and the parameters surrounding it. From the comments I have heard from you all I can safely say that it is making a lot of you unhappy. You feel you put in the effort of eating correctly and getting lots of exercise but then a number lets you down. I will wait and see if the powers that be will change this, although I doubt that they will.

Carrying on from BMI

Carrying on from the BMI post, I want to look more at exercise and how easy it is to get it in. As I said last week the numbers for exercise according to the NHS website are as follows:

Inactive – less than 30 minutes exercise a week
Moderately active – between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise a week
Active – between 60 and 150 minutes of exercise a week

Remember that this for a week. A whole week which is 7 days which is 168 hours and finally 10080 minutes. So, you can see why 30 minutes of exercise is a very achievable figure as the bare minimum. The 60 minutes is beginning to push boundaries, but it is the 150 minutes which really starts to push things. However, in my opinion I would suggest adding two more layers to the chart.

Very active – between 150 and 300 minutes of exercise a week
Extremely active – between 300 and 500 minutes of exercise a week
(Challengers – 1000 minutes and beyond)

Let’s give the people who are constantly moving a category and a pat on the back to say well done, lets carry on being active.

The new categories

The new categories seem like a lot of minutes but let me break it down for you, so it seems easy. To get 300 minutes it would work out as follows:

30 minutes of walking 4 days a week = 120 minutes
60 minutes of walking 2 days a week = 120 minutes
90 minutes of walking 1 day a week = 90 minutes
Grand total = 330 minutes per week

It’s as easy as that.

If you happen to have access to a home gym or sports centre, then take out that 60 minutes of walking and add in a 60-minute class.

The 500 minutes is slightly trickier as it involves more time however, if you do have time then it can be achieved.

30 minutes of walking 5 days a week = 150
2 x 45-minute spin class = 90 minutes
2 x 60-minute pump class = 120 minutes
1 x high intensity class = 30 minutes
Gardening over the week = 120 minutes
Grand total = 510 minutes

Activities of daily living

Let me break this down even further into activities of daily living. This is as follows:

  • Walking to the bus stop/gym/corner shop
  • Parking at the other end of the supermarket when going in to buy one item
  • Walking up the stairs at work or in a department store
  • Sitting down and standing up during an advert break on television or getting up to make a cup of tea every hour
  • Vacuuming your house from top to toe
  • Getting up at work and walking over to a colleague’s desk rather than phone them

There are many more too.

I understand we are all busy day in and day out but even small changes like the above can help us all keep active.

Challenge update

Last week I said I was going to challenge myself in getting 1000 minutes of exercise each week of July. I am pleased to say that last week I got 1042. Now, I thought that 1000 minutes would be easy and that it would be plain sailing but even I have had some pitfalls. I got one of those 24-hour buggy things and managed to pull a muscle in my leg. This meant that my Saturday was completely wiped out and my Sunday I had to go easy. The main issue I had was fitting it all in. Now I am lucky that during Tuesday and Wednesday at work my participation in the classes counted however, that still leaves 5 days of the week where I had to put in the effort.

How I got to 1042

I got to my minutes by doing various classes. I did spin, Zumba, circuits and weights to name a few. After the classes I would pop into the gym and walk on the treadmill, go on the cross trainer, cycle or have a weights session. I also walked more than normal and then spent some of the time gardening.

This week

This week has got off to a rocky start as I am still nursing that pulled muscle, so Monday was a quiet exercise day, but I was back full force on Tuesday. At present I am 349 minutes into the week.

Just get active

Do just that. You don’t have to get to my challenge of 1000 minutes in a week but challenge yourself personally and aim for an extra hour or two. Start from there and see what happens. Believe me when I say your mind, mental health, physical health and general wellbeing will all thank you. Plus, along the way you may lose weight, tone up those muscles, improve your posture, speak to people at the gym and make friends, hang out with your favourite person and so on.


Coming back from illness

We have spoken a lot about mental health on these blogs but today I wanted to change the tone a little bit and look at coming back from an illness. I have brought myself back from one through good nutrition, exercise, sleep and looking after myself.

Ouch, something isn’t right

I had woken up on a Monday morning not feeling quite right but well enough to go into work. I completed the day with a slightly sore stomach, nauseous and a ghost white face. People kept asking if I was ok and I would answer with I am sure it is a 24-hour thing and nothing to be concerned about. Little did I realise at this point what was about to happen. The Tuesday morning, I woke up and was to go and do my final training run for a duathlon I was to take part in at the weekend. I had been training for months and had finally managed to get my 5k up to scratch and master the run-to-bike-to-run transition. Rosie was ready to go and was waiting with a half a banana energy boost to get us going. I didn’t touch the banana noting that I wasn’t very hungry. Now if you know me then you will know that I am constantly hungry, I blame it on all the exercise I get. People will know that if I am not hungry then something is very, very wrong. So out to the park we go on this run and I am not feeling like moving at all. I say to Rosie to run ahead and I will walk/run and see what happens. I was very aware this was the last training session and I was still thinking this was a 24-hour thing that should go away shortly.

Oh no!

But oh no. The pain intensified in my left side and by the time Rosie had completed her run and was returning to me she noticed I was walking with bent in the middle on the left-hand side. Rosie immediately took charge and we phoned the GP. Off we popped to get a check-up. Then it all went downhill.  From the basic observations the GP did, we were sent straight to A&E and within a few hours of being there I was in emergency surgery. It turned out that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries which had burst and in turn had inflamed everything in its path including my appendix. The surgeons had to clean up the mess, take out my appendix and sew me back together again.

I’m still doing the duathlon

I woke up from surgery and the first two questions were; where was Rosie and am I going to be ok to run at the weekend. Once I had found Rosie, who had been busy drinking coffee and pacing the hospital corridors, I turned my attention to the fact I would be running, cycling and running at the weekend. The doctors, the nurses, Rosie and my family were all saying no, it would not be the case, but I was determined to get better in 4 days and ready to go. I am going to blame the painkillers entirely on this irrational thinking. Apparently according to Rosie and the nurses I was on cloud 9 and having a whale of a time there.

I didn’t take part

Although I tried, I admitted in the end that it was not going to happen with me taking part in the duathlon. All my hard work, training, preparing of the bike, buying new trainers, eating the nutritional plan we had been set and so on was lost. I would still be at the event on the Sunday, but I would be there as a spectator cheering Rosie on from start to finish.  I cannot explain to you the devastation of being at the event and not being able to take part. It was heart-breaking.

The medal

On the upside I asked the event organisers if I could still have my medal. I explained what had happened and as a consultation price I got it. I just felt that with all the training and particularly that fact I had come from not running a centimetre but to running two full 5k’s this was a big moment for me. Luckily the person I spoke to understood the situation as well.


This was long and involved a lot of patience. As Rosie kept saying it takes times for the body to heal, you need to be nice to it and her favourite saying to me was “don’t be an idiot!”. Again, for those of you who know me will know that I do not sit still for long periods of time. I always find some washing up to do, a room that needs tidied, a gym programme that needs me to experiment with, the grass needed cutting, and the list goes on. So, to put me under enforced bed rest from both Rosie and my mother, it took a great deal of patience on my part to get better.

A lot of walking

I realised early on in my recovery that I could walk without much discomfort and that is what I did. I started going around the block which was a matter of five minutes or so in the early days and then progressed back up to that 5k one which would take a good hour or so. Luckily for me this happened in a September and it was one of those sunny and warm ones. I just kept walking my way back to health.

Further training to recovery

After I had myself back at the hour of walking, I went on to using a spin bike in the gym followed by some light weights. The abs exercises came last. I had had key hold surgery which is much better than having a full one but still they had to go through my six pack muscles which meant I had to wait for that to heal before doing any crunches. I managed to modify a lot of the ab exercises I did. From doing plank on my knees, to concentrating on the deep muscles during a bridge I worked my way back into crunches, bicycles, leg extensions and so on. I would keep the sets and reps low as I built it up again, but I got there in the end.


Throughout my hospital trip, recovery and beyond I tried to stay positive in what I was doing. I knew it was going to be a long and hard recovery and I knew at times I would be in discomfort and wanting to rush into things too soon. But I also was aware that was lucky that in that grand plan we call life I would get there. This is the main point: if you put your mind towards something you will achieve it. Whether that is running a 5k, coming back from illness, getting out of bed in the morning and so on. Trying to stay positive will help get you there.


Just in case you are wondering. I unfortunately never made it back to take part in the duathlon but that was more the fact I moved away from the area than anything else. One day I may decide to do one. You never know.


I am what I am!

I am pretty sure from the title you will already know the singers. There are three that come to mind. These being Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Bassey and John Barrowman. Everyone of them has sung it, put their own take on it, performed it live on stage in various countries and at various points of their career. It has become an anthem of sorts and it is an important one.

The reason I am telling you this

There is a reason. I was at the John Barrowman Fabulous tour yesterday evening at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It was 30 years of his career, his family, his husband and marriage, his dogs, his charity work, the LGBTQ community and his MBE all nicely packaged into a two-hour music extravaganza. Now this is a man who has had a varied career, has built it from the bottom, has taken opportunities and run with them all the while learning along the way. However, at one point during the show he says there is one thing I have done throughout my career. I have not listened to what other people have told me to do or told me not to do. I have done things my way. The lights then dim, and, in the shadows, there is this one line. I am what I am! The music picks up pace, the lights get brighter and he belts it out for everyone to hear. It is a very powerful song and Mr Barrowman has done it justice. At the end of the day (and in my opinion) Mr John Barrowman is a wonderful performer who just does what he does best, entertain and does what makes him happy regardless of what others may think.

Go and see the show if you can

I encourage you if you don’t have tickets to see any of his shows in the next week or so to get on to ticketing websites and get some. It is a fantastic feel good performance. Just right if you are feeling a little down right now. It is funny stories, it is photos, it is a live band, there is a little dancing but most importantly there is music and lots of it.
(2 Spuds is not into promotion however, we are into good music and feeling fantastic!)

The lyrics of I am what I am

The lyrics to this song are very important as they say look at me. I am me and I am the best of me. I need to accept the very best version of myself and then I need to shout it from the roof tops. Some people may not like me but that is ok. Not everyone is going to, but I am ok with this. At the end of the day I am what I am. The Gloria Gaynor version of the song has a slightly different ending where it states –

“I am, I am, good/strong/somebody
I am, I do belong
I am, I am, useful/true/worthy
I am as good as you”

Personally I feel it breaks down the lyrics a little more and gives a lot more meaning to an already fantastic song. At the end of the day you can repeat these words to yourself be the greatest person you want to be.

Life can throw curved balls

This is very true; life can throw us curved balls and it usually happens at a time when we are least expecting it. Both physically and mentally we can be changed and challenged. Your confidence can be knocked down, thrown in the washing machine, had a trillion spin cycles and then handed back to you to try and put it back together. But this is the thing. Rise above it. Get back to being the best version of you. This may take time, but you will get there. Because as the above lyrics state you are strong, you are useful, and you are worthy.

Go ahead

So, go ahead, find the version you like on Youtube or in your Spotify list. Turn that volume up and shout it loud and proud from the rooftops, because at the end of the day:

I am what I am!

– Helen

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