Inspired by Roz Savage

Exactly a month ago, I started Humira injections to treat rheumatoid arthritis. After experiencing a mild (although it didn’t feel it at the time!) reaction to the first 40mg dose, my rheumatologist and specialist nurse decided to halve it. A little over a fortnight later, I had the 20mg injection and apart from feeling a bit dizzy, I was fine afterwards. There hasn’t been a dramatic change in my health yet but the effusion on my left wrist seems to have gone down slightly. Otherwise, my hands are stiff and my fingers feel bloated as if I’m wearing washing-up gloves filled with water.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a talk by Roz Savage, an environmental campaigner and ocean adventurer who holds four world records for ocean rowing, including being the first woman to row solo across three oceans, namely the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. Impressive stuff. I was struck by an exercise that she did before she decided to stop being a Management Consultant and to start challenging herself by ocean rowing. She described it as a self-help exercise – writing two different versions of her own obituary, thinking of how she wanted to be remembered. Firstly, the one she wanted, and secondly, the one she was heading for if she carried on as she was. Roz said that she “was held back by my fears – not by money, success, but by the fear of who I could be.” Her physical achievements speak for themselves, but it was her inner journey of confronting and diminishing fears (such as the fear of failure, fear of unknown, fear of fear itself, fear of solitude, and fear of future problems) which really moved me. This got me thinking – I know that I will never row across an ocean, but there are other ways that I can really push myself and face my fears. I’d originally planned to do a 5k walk for charity this month but as I’m not physically up to it yet (and worried about not being well enough it complete it), I can prepare for it next year. It will be a tremendous achievement because it will have taken a lot of physical and mental effort to get there, as someone who happens to have both RA and EDS. Now I’m reading Roz’s book ‘Stop drifting, start rowing’ which explores the search for happiness and meaning in life, and how achieving your dreams is possible.

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