Expedition update: Day 41

Day 41

87.6ºS, Rest day taken

With no visibility and a lot of fatigue from the last couple of difficult days through the sastrugi in 87, the team elected to stay in the tent yesterday. 

Lucy took the opportunity to pull a longer note together about what the experience is currently teaching her:

Resilience

I am not sure what the dictionary definition of resilience is. I know it is something I have been told I have but have never really understood why.

Apparently getting through my knee surgery and rehab and getting to Anatarctia showed resilience, as did climbing Kili, as did various things at work.

To me those were all just things that I wanted to do or needed doing so I did them. Sometimes they were hard of course but head down and get on with it.

This trip has made me think more about resilience and what it means to me.

The days out here can all merge into one- get up, melt snow, have breakfast, ski, melt snow, repeat. Once you get into the routine it is easy to forget that what you are doing is hard.

Surely it should be a really easy thing to just get up and do the same thing everyday. You did it for so many days before why should today be any different.

The truth is every day is different. Some days you wake up so excited and positive and keen to get out there. Some days you just want to stay in the sleeping bag – not all that different to being at home and going to work in some ways.

Out here though, there are no husband, family or friends to shake you out of it, grab a coffee or lunch with or moan to. That support system is why I have always struggled to describe myself with the word resilient.

I know I have an amazing group of people around me to help lift me up when I struggle to lift myself. But out here without that I actually have started to believe that I am in fact resilient. There have been some hard days. Days I felt like I was holding everyone back and was too slow.

Rationally I could tell myself I was 20kg lighter than my large male team mates but pulling a sled weighing the same up the same hill in soft snow or that it was perfectly normal to be tired and have a headache after 30+ days and skiing over 700km so far. But the irrational fears still crept in.

So what do I do without my usual support system to get through. Three main things:

a) give myself what my mother would describe as a good talking to, remembering times I have struggled before and got over it – resilience through experience

b) told my team how I was feeling, they may not be my usual support system but on this trip they have to be a support system. 

If that means on the day I have a bad headache one of them has to carry some of my food so be it – being resilient doesn’t mean not asking for help, it means knowing when to ask for help and remembering that going it alone is rarely the answer

c) remembering that this is a choice I am making. Yes, it’s hard, it’s supposed to be hard. But this is a situation I have put myself in voluntarily so time to make the best of it and keep on keeping on – resilience by keeping things in perspective.

That last one is particularly relevant to me and part of the reasons I am doing this trip. Having seen first hand what it takes women with breast cancer get on with life whilst going through treatment makes me appreciate true resilience.

What it amounts to is how we each deal with what life throws at us. There is no strict definition or way to be it. It is just getting on. The work of IBCN is part of the all important support system for women with inflammatory breast cancer.

The donations you are making will really help the work they do to provide that support system.

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