Saturday, 17 June 2017

My First Holiday With Chronic Pain (To Cornwall)

Hey guys!

I'm back after a fun-filled week away in Cornwall with my family last week, just beginning to piece myself back together, and recover from the pain and exhaustion it caused me. I had a lovely break and had a great time while I was there, so I can at least say it was worth it. I actually think it did me the world of good to get away and have some fun for a change, but it was over waaaaay too quickly.



I spent a week down in Perranporth with my sister and brother-in-law, returning to my favourite place in the country after seven unnaturally long years away. I've been holidaying at Perranporth since I was a baby, so it's a place very dear to my heart, and somewhere I've made a life time of happy memories. I loved being back at my second home for a week, and had so much fun revisiting many of my favourite places, and exploring a couple of new places, too.

We visited St. Ives and took a boat trip to Seal Island, we popped in to Truro, we went to Newquay Zoo, wandered around Perranporth, went out for cream teas and ice creams, spent some time in Padstow, drove around Penzance, had a walk and a paddle on Perranporth beach, went to St. Michael's Mount, gambled pennies in the arcades, and more. We also spent plenty of time lazing around the caravan, watching movies, reading, eating delicious food, cross stitching, and in Marie's case, crocheting, so I managed to get plenty of rest in between adventures, too, so it was the perfect amount of fun experiences and relaxation for me. Any more and I would probably have ran out of spoons by day two, and ground to a halt. 






I coped much better than I thought I would, and somehow kept powering on through the pain all week in determination to enjoy as much as possible. There was no way I was going all the way to Cornwall just to be confined to a caravan all week. I was in agony the whole time, but I managed to get out and about for at least for a couple of hours every day, and I'm really proud of myself for it. I've got no idea how I did it, except I must have been running on adrenaline and my stubborn personality. I'll be blogging about many of those little experiences separately over the next few weeks once I've had a chance to edit my photos, because I can't summarise it all in to one post.

We stayed at Perran Sands holiday park- the same Haven holiday park we've been visiting since we were babies. We always stay at Perran Sands whenever we visit Cornwall, and always in one of those luxury caravans. I wouldn't have it any other way. If it was anywhere else, we'd probably all prefer to stay in a nice hotel, somewhere a little more luxurious, but I couldn't imagine staying anywhere else or in any other type of accommodation in Perranporth. It just wouldn't be the same. A Cornish holiday isn't a holiday unless it's spent in a static caravan for the true English summer holiday experience! Fact. Don't knock it; some of my best holidays have been the ones spent in static caravans, and I'm sure there'll be many more to come!

We rented a privately owned caravan on the site this year, and it turned out to be a really lovely base for the week. It was a two bedroomed van with a big master bedroom and en suite, a bathroom with a great walk-in shower, fully equipped kitchen, sofas, a 3D TV with Sky TV and a DVD player, TVs in the bedrooms, an outdoor seating area with a barbecue on the decking with a ramp for access instead of steps, and everything we needed for a comfortable stay. The area we were in was quiet and peaceful even though most of the vans around us were occupied, so there were no complaints from us. Behind us were grassy dunes complete with rabbits, and a natural pond, with vast scrub land stretching out behind it like the moors. You can often spot all kinds of wild animals like foxes, weasels, and birds of prey on site because it's made up of so much natural countryside, but this year we only spotted the bunnies and garden birds. On our last visit, we stumbled up on a trio of tiny fox cubs, and a pair of baby weasels tumbled across our path, play fighting. We were also very close to the centre of the site where the shops, bars, takeaways, restaurants, pool and arcades were, which I could comfortably walk to and from without much difficulty, so we were in a great location for everything, and couldn't have asked for better than that.



My only major problem during the trip was with my bed. On our first night, I could feel every single spring in the mattress, and it felt like I was lying on razor blades. I was in so much pain I was in tears and barely slept- although the news of the London terrorist attacks had just broken which didn't help because I couldn't stop watching the news as it unfolded or stop thinking about the awful things that had happened. I was in agony by the morning, and after that I decided to sleep on the sofa for the rest of the week. It wasn't ideal but it was much more comfortable for me, and I got by. There wasn't actually anything wrong with the mattress; I think it was quite new, but my spine just doesn't get along with sprung mattresses any more; it always feels like I'm lying on jagged rocks. Maybe I'm just a spoiled princess who would feel a pea through a hundred mattresses and isn't satisfied with catching her beauty sleep on anything but cushy memory foam. Either way, I'm so glad to be back in my own comfy bed!



Sadly, the weather wasn't the best while we were there. We had two lovely warm sunny days on the Sunday and Friday, but we also had a full day of rain with gales so strong they were moving the caravan, and it was practically raining sideways. It was windy for most of the week, and most days were overcast with some periods of sunshine, but never really getting warmer than about 20'C or so. We made the best of it, and Monday was the only write-off day, but it would've been nice if we'd had more blue skies and sunshine, and balmy Summer heat like we've got again right now, but that's England for you. You don't holiday here for the weather.



Our holiday was actually my first holiday in six years, and the first holiday I've taken since I developed chronic pain almost six years ago, so it was a big deal for me, and without a doubt a well-deserved, long over due break. I haven't been able to travel since I've had chronic pain and my chronic illnesses set in because my back and spinal pain is so severe it's difficult for me to spend long out of bed without dramatically increasing my pain and suffering, and I guess I'd long since accepted that holidays were part of my past and not my (foreseeable) future.

When my sister and brother-in-law invited me to go on holiday with them a couple of months ago, I actually declined repeatedly because I couldn't see a way I could manage the journey or a whole week away from home without being stuck in bed all week trying to recover from the journey down. I also didn't want to ruin their holiday by playing gooseberry and spoiling their quality time together, but I was basically told I was going even if I was bleeding to death, and that was that. They'd already booked a week in Perranporth in a two-bedroomed caravan, so there was a spare room at no extra cost to them, and their reasoning was that even if I was stuck in bed the whole time, a week in bed in Cornwall was better than spending a week in bed at home, and if I managed one trip out it would be worth it. It was a fair point, and since I really wanted to go and I'd been missing Perranporth like crazy, being my favourite place in the world and all, I eventually gave in and decided to go, determined to give the holiday my best shot and enjoy as much of Cornwall as I could. I'm so glad I did because I ended up having a fantastic time, and totally smashed my expectations of myself.


I conquered a massive hurdle I didn't think I could possibly scale, and managed to see and do more than I've been able to do over the last almost-six-years combined through determination alone. For a week, I was living my life again, and apart from the burning pain in my back, spine, and legs, and the stiffness in my joints, my life almost felt normal again for a little while. The aftermath hasn't been fun, because the pain has been so horrendous. I couldn't move or get out of bed for the first five days after I got home, and have been drifting in and out of naps all week because I've been so exhausted, but it was definitely worth it, and I'm finally beginning to bounce back to my usual state of ill health. 



Now I know I can make it through a week's holiday in the homeland without falling apart, I'm hopeful I'll be able to get away for annual Summer holidays like this one again. There's little hope of me coping with a holiday abroad or a full on action-packaged trip just yet, but I'm more than happy to stay on home turf and return to Perranporth for a repeat of a holiday like this one each Summer! Fingers crossed I'll be strong enough to return again next year!

For now, I've got plenty of happy memories from this year's holiday to tide me over until I can get away again.

Look out for posts about my visits to Perranporth Beach, St. Ives, Padstow, Newquay Zoo, and St. Michael's Mount on the blog over the next couple of weeks for more Cornish tales!

Where are you going on holiday this Summer? If you're not going away, what do you plan to do on your staycation?

2 comments:

  1. Well done for doing so much while you were down here! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your Cornwall posts. I was at St Michael's Mount myself earlier this week. I understand the attachment to childhood holidays too. We always went to Paignton and Torquay but I haven't been for over a decade. I'm looking forward to doing the same with my son in a couple of years.

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  2. I'm so pleased you got away and powered through! I'm not going to Cornwall this year and I'm really sad about it. We're going to Weymouth for a week with James's family but having a couple of days on our own in Bath beforehand. I look forward to reading the rest of your Cornwall posts! xx

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