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It’s M.E. Awareness Week and I don’t want to let it go by without at least a nod in its direction. As Girl on the River fans will know, I fell prey to this tricky and pernicious condition around the turn of the millennium and it wiped out a good deal of my thirties; it also brought a fairly promising legal career to a feeble end.

My road back to health was travelled in baby steps – a bit of gentle walking was all I could do for a long time – and if you’d told me, when I was at my lowest ebb, that I would end up rowing competitively I simply would not have believed you.

Rowing, if you think about it, is a preposterous sport for a diminutive, featherweight 40-something with a tendency to feebleness. I’m fairly certain my doctor – had I asked him – wouldn’t have recommended it. And there are times after a hard outing or a killer of a race when I question the wisdom of a sport that demands so much.

But what can I do? The river has me in its thrall. And there is something about the extreme nature of rowing that keeps me coming back for more. If I can row I know that I’m better.

And here’s the thing. If I hadn’t had M.E. I would never have made the changes in my life that enabled me to start rowing. I’d have been Girl on the Underground rather than Girl on the River. That has to be a trade worth making.

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2 Responses to “How Girl on the Underground became Girl on the River”

  1. Girl on the Underground says:

    You were fortunate that life created this opportunity for you. And its great that you had the presence of mind to grab it, with both oars. We come this way only once. Which turning in the rowed (ugh!) would have made you happiest longest?

  2. I salute you Patricia, I had no idea that you had had ME. I suffered with an illness that ‘knocked me to the ground’ in my late twenties. At the time I thought my life was over but in actual fact my life was just beginning. Go girl, you are amazing……

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