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Trip to the Lake District.

November 15, 2012

As I write this I am sat at the table of our holiday cottage in the Lake District, in two days time I will be traveling home back to Norfolk. Holidays here have changed quite considerably since PoTS.

I fell in love with the Lake District years ago during childhood holidays. Running around, skimming stones on the lakes, standing in awe of the mountains surrounding the lakes, and even swimming in the lakes themselves. As I grew older and became a photographer this passion evolved and the holidays became trips of exploration into those very mountains I used to stand staring up at. Walking up on top of them, first with my parents, and then more with my younger brother (aka Rock climber and all round ‘mountain goat’).

I loved it, the sense of achievement and endurance needed. Getting caught out in adverse weather (including caught in a lightening storm at the top of one particular peak; the most scared I have ever been) and stood above cloud watching the sunrise…

Now life sits more on a lakeside level. I am once again that young boy stood at the shore of the lake staring up at the mountains in awe of them. I have more sense than to go swimming in the lakes these days, and I also have more sense than to attempt to go ‘up’. Map skills learnt whilst exploring the peaks now allow me to find photographic potential at the shore of the lakes and plan the most direct and flat path available to reach it.

I arrived in the Lake District two weeks ago and immediately felt that same calming sense of peace, that sense of ‘I’m home’ that I feel every time I visit. Life full of the stresses of chronic illness seem all that much easier to handle here. The views are a well deserved distraction.

I’ve learnt more than ever on this trip not to push myself too far and most importantly to know my limitations. It’s hard to watch as others thumb over Ordinance Survey maps planing the route from the car to summit; I miss the excitement and adventure of it all, but on the other-hand a simple slope leaves me fighting for my breath, heart pounding through my throat with a sense of intense nausea – climbing mountains? well, I know its not an option anymore.

I have shot a wealth of great images. Parked close to viewpoints, walked short paths to viewpoints and pushed myself up small slopes to reach viewpoints. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Definitely! My EDS has played havoc and pain has been ‘the name of the game’, but again just like the onslaught of PoTS symptoms while out and about, I know I can cope with it. I can manage it, and that, after all it’s what living life with a chronic illness is all about.

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