Failed attempts but still trying

April was a hard month to endure! After the passing of Mr. Bascums, it seemed so hard to get back on track and in the swing of things. I had several failed attempts at achieving goals on my Life List. The first. Triathlon. Amidst all the chaos, I missed a swim lesson and then my instructor was out for a week due to a school field trip. Once she returned, she discovered the pool was closed for a few weeks for maintenance. This put a huge damper on my Triathlon training. I was already feeling that I had put too much stress on myself to try and compete in this after only seven weeks of training. After all, I was starting from scratch as an athlete swimmer. I have no idea what I was thinking. I decided in the end to defer the triathlon until I was more comfortable in the water.

“You can only control what you can control. I had to remember that, and once I got back in the race, I was able to regain focus and finish strong.”~Gwen Jorgensen

You know, I almost drowned as a child. It was a gorgeous day out. My parents decided to take us to a nearby lake. I always enjoyed going there. There were few times we actually did things as a family. This was one of them. We had a picnic lunch and mom let us go back into the water. She was standing on the edge of the water. I was watching her the whole time. My dad was high up in a tree, drinking a beer, as he prepares to swing down into the lake. I slightly stepped off the ledge. I bobbing up and down. Each time trying to gain my footing. I couldn’t find the edge of shore. Each time I come up, I see my mom watching me. I don’t think she realized what was going on. I think she thought I was playing. Before I knew it, as I bob up one last time, I see my dad dive down into the water. I go under and feel him swoop me up out of the water. He was so mad that he had to toss that beer into the water but grateful that I was okay. You would have thought that day would have prompted them to teach me to swim…I am still learning!

The second failed attempt was my Tour de Cure 100 mile ride. I just wasn’t feeling myself. You see…I suffer from Anxiety Disease. Yes, it is actually a disease. One that has taken me many years to accept and come to terms with. I tried to tell myself that it was all in my head. There was nothing wrong with me. I had to suck it up and keep on moving. I read a book, Anxiety Disease, by David Sheehan to fully understand that I am not alone. There are many people out there that suffer from the same symptoms as I. I did not want to believe it. I thought it was all in my head. I thought I was making these symptoms, these feelings up. I even called myself a drama queen. What I really wanted was the constant feeling of suffocation to go away. To be relieved of the constant, irrating yawning to disappear. The unbearable lump in my throat to dissipate. I wanted to be able to sleep at night and feel rested when I woke in the morning. I wanted energy; to feel invincible as I did a few years ago. This book helped me, not only to see that there are others out there that suffers as I do, but showed me how the disease could progress into something much worse if I did not take care of the problem. It illustrated a lady that would sit in the hospital for hours at a time just in case her symptoms occurred, one could not leave the chair placed in her room, another would have panic attacks every time she went out to dinner with her boyfriend and his friends. I knew this wasn’t the life I wanted to live. Reluctantly, but now accepting my fate, I called my doctor for an anxiety prescription.

The Anxiety Disease by David V. Sheehan, M.D.

On the day of the ride, I decided I would drop down to the 65 mile ride instead of a the 100. As I am riding, my breathing becomes labored, my chest begins to hurt. I’m starting to have a panic attack; with each pedal stroke leading closer and closer to an onset. I mentally talk myself through the episode. I really just wanted to be alone, to ride my ride in peace. As a Team Portsmouth Team rider, we leave no one behind. Therefore, the ride lead stayed back and talked me through to the first rest area at mile 15. I must mention that I was riding on a flat tire those 15 miles, even after completing the ride checklist the night before. By the time we reached the rest area, I was exhausted. I decided at that point, I would drop to the 35 mile ride. I thought the ride was never going to end. I beat myself up for dropping down two race levels but I knew it was for the best. I think it would have been more embarrassing to have someone have to escort me off the course.

I look at this as a great learning experience; an opportunity for growth. I must admit it was very hard to tell my husband and children that I did not complete the ride as planned. We are a “never quit” family but there are times when we need to consider our health more than I our dedication and promise to others.

I am so thankful to all that donated to this cause. I did not reach my minimal donation goal. In total, it was $315 of the $2500 goal. I believe in part was not having sponsorship connections or proper promotion techniques. There were many lessons learned from this event that can only set me up for success for next years event!

Team Portsmouth Tour de Cure 2018
Dee Butler (L) and Jackie Elliot (R) preparing for the Tour de Cure 2018 65 mile ride.

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