Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Getting my nerve back

This was actually taken two years ago, with Moll sitting on Snap, the lovely dragon classic boat we are fortunate enough to crew on.

Last year, as some of you may know, I had a big health scare which resulted in a radical hysterectomy - that’s when they basically take everything out for good measure - and I am left with a large vertical scar down my stomach.

While I am a fit person - I walk a lot, am probably a bit underweight and eat well thanks to a high metabolism, my confidence was really knocked last year. While physically I recovered reasonably quickly, I underestimated just how much the operation affected me psychologically.

The previous year, I had embraced sailing with my customary enthusiasm if not passion. We bought a dinghy and sailed a friend’s dragon (classic boat). I couldn’t wait to get sailing again. But as the months ticked by, I became fearful of sailing. When I did go out, that magic had gone. I felt as if a dear friend had deserted me. I started having panic attacks while driving - something that hadn’t happened for years. I hated becoming a lesser, frightened being, and tried to face up to my dragons, if not slay them.

A year on, I’m driving with much more confidence. And last Sunday we were invited out for a sail with our friend on his lovely dragon, Snap. Having also felt that he had lost the buzz of sailing, Mr B had raced all week (for Falmouth regatta) and was loving sailing once again, but I felt it was too soon for me to race and was apprehensive about my first sail of the year. I so wanted to enjoy it but was worried that the buzz had gone.

You can imagine how nervous I was on Sunday morning. How would I feel? If I hated it, could I hide it from the others? I didn’t want to disappoint them, either - and all that kind of thing.

I took Moll round to Sheila for the day and took a deep breath, looked out onto a calm, benevolent sea. At the sunshine beating down. At a whisper of wind. A perfect day. It was almost as if it was saying, “It’ll be OK. Don’t worry.”

By the time we got on board, having had coffee with friends beforehand, I had rushed to the loo at least 5 times in the last hour. I stood on the pontoon feeling somewhat useless, wishing I could remember what to do.

But we got on board and it started coming back. I remembered how to tack. I remembered to tighten the backstays without being told. And finally, I took the helm and we sailed all the way over to the Helford. With me in charge! And with the two men relaxed and chatting - they were happy with my progress.

We had a lovely time and that evening, after a good meal and a relaxing evening, I lay in bed bubbling with happiness. I’d been so worried that the magic had gone out of sailing. But it hasn’t.

Last week we sold our dinghy and I felt really bereft. Now we’re putting the money towards a bigger boat. So if anyone knows of a Shrimper (preferably) at a reasonable price, please let me know!


ADDY said...

Sometimes of the fear of the situation is worse than the situation itself. Gla you managed to overcome your anxiety and enjoyed the day. All you/we need now is some nice sunny weather before autumn sets in!

Flowerpot said...

Addy - wouldn't that be lovely?!

Rena George said...

What a moving and inspiring post, Sue. So many of us have been rooting for you as you fought through all those difficult times, but you DID fight, and you overcame so many hurdles, and now look where you are. The good times are coming back, and no-one deserves that more than you. Well done! xx

Flowerpot said...

Rena - thank you SO much! I guess life is full of battles, isn't it? big ones and little ones! XX

Kim @ Him, Him Me said...

Good on you Sue. Glad you've got your sailing mojo back and that there's a shrimper out there with your name on it.

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Kim - let's hope that Shrimper comes our way soon!

lizzie said...

This is a great story......we dont take into account the trauma of surgery sometimes and the toll it takes on our minds. Try to do a little bit of weight-lifting this winter to get some core strength back......

Flowerpot said...

Lizzie - that's a good idea!