Training With A Chronic Condition

June 20th, 2018 / by / in: Uncategorised / 3 Responses

This week my blog is going to take a slightly different twist on my training for the Henley mile and life as a “Tubie” 

Firstly I guess I should explain what I mean about being a tubie,

I have a condition called Gastroparesis, It is a rare condition that in simple terms means my Stomach no longer does its job properly, I have only been living with this condition for the past year following a head injury, So I am still getting grips to this new way of life.  

I depend on a feeding tube that goes from my nose down through my stomach and along into my small intestine, essentially bypassing the broken bit, for all of my nutrition and hydration. I affectionately refer to this as my face furniture! It looks a bit strange and people often stare, some are brave enough to ask what it is and I really don’t mind when they do after all curiosity is a normal thing, having my face furniture doesn’t make me weird or strange ( I was a little strange before the tube! So we can’t blame that.) It just means I get my nutrition in a different way, and on the plus side it saves lots on the shopping bill! I do sometimes miss food like pizza and cake (I love cake!) But for the time being it’s my face furniture that is keeping me alive and for that I’m grateful.  

One thing I’ve been determined about since I was diagnosed  is not letting my condition or feeding tube stop me from living and loving life to the fullest.

I’ve always loved being active and like looking for new things to try so when I spotted a fellow tubie talking about open water swimming I thought why not give it a go, that’s when I came across the Henley Mile.

Now we have that bit out the way I can explain why I’ve chosen to talk about it this week.

 After my excitement last week of the wet suit arriving and trying it on I’d planned to spend the weekend going to test it out for real at one of the local open water swimming lakes.

Unfortunately though my tube decided we had spent too much time with each other and parted ways with me, because I depend on it for hydration as well as nutrition when this happens it lands me in hospital until I can get a new one placed.

My tube doesn’t really get in the way of my training in the pool, with the help of plenty of waterproof adhesive tape and a cap to tuck the end up into I get by.

There are days when my energy levels are a bit low or my tummy is giving my a hard time and I consider skipping training that day, but then I think about how much I want to achieve this, and how important it is to not give up on the tough days! So even if I only manage a few laps of the pool it’s better than none. 

I’m sat here in my bed but fear not my time has not been totally wasted, if I can’t get out to swim I’ll just spend my hours learning from the vast amount of you-Tube videos with tips and tricks aplenty for open water swimming.

I’ve quite enjoyed watching them and they have brought to my attention things I hadn’t even thought about, such as the importance of “sighting” without this new knowledge I would have probably added a bit more distance to the route as I zigzagged along. 

I’ve also learned a fair bit about improving my breathing technique, I never knew something that we do so naturally becomes so much harder when we have to focus on doing it. 

As a slow ish swimmer I don’t expect I’ll keep up with the pack so I have little fear of kicking or being kicked by other swimmers, but will be keeping my eyes wide open to be sure!

I particularly enjoyed watching past Henley events and getting some idea of what they day itself will be like, the buzz and the atmosphere of the events really shone through on the videos, so I am even more excited now!

I can’t wait to meet some of you.

So that’s a little update from me, I will hopefully back in the water soon and trying my wetsuit out for real! 

3 Comments to Training With A Chronic Condition

  • Hayley Brant says:

    Dear Jo

    I just want to say, bloody hats off to you! Looking forward to seeing you complete this!


  • Heather Schelhase says:

    Dear Jo. My name is Heather and I have been helping Jacqui Warren with her swimming. I just wanted to say you are absolutely amazing. I wish you a speedy departure from hospital, so you can crack on with important stuff like swimming.

    Look forward to hear from you and your next swim adventure.
    Kind regards

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