Monday, 12 May 2014

Why do I use Wheels?

Today, 12th May, is ME Awareness Day.  So I thought it would be a good time to explain why I use wheels to do agility.

I have not always been ill.  Prior to the onset of ME I was very active, and enjoyed many outdoor hobbies such as riding, cycling, gardening, swimming, walking and....

Well, you get the picture - I led a normal busy, active life.

This is me on my daughter's horse with some junior Pony Club members - probably around 2010:

Unfortunately Myalgic Encephalomyelitis stole my active life in March 2012.

Suddenly I was unable to work, or to function normally.  I kept expecting to "get back to normal" but every day I felt drained!  I just couldn't bounce back and kept asking "Why?"

Sadly there are few medical answers for ME and no realistic treatment options, so I was just left to get on with things.

And, this is how I still am!  I run out of ooommmphfff very quickly.  I also make myself permanently worse every time I try to push my boundaries!

For the first year of ME I was still able to walk enough to train my terrier Patsy. It was our first competitive year, and I attempted to send her away from me on course, so that I could take short cuts!

I even used this rather loud fleece, with the idea that dogs see blue and yellow best, and maybe she'd understand me better!  It was a marginally successful tactic!

As the year went on, I recovered less and less quickly after each competitive round, and with my abilities declining, I faced the very real thought that I might have to give up agility altogether!

That's when I thought of using wheels.

At last, I could move quickly again, and I could once again "walk" the dogs each day.

Psychologically, this was an incredibly scary move, yet the scooter gave me back a sense of freedom - one that I thought I'd lost forever!

To be honest, using wheels has opened my world back up again!

Don't get me wrong I can still walk.  Yet I've found, if I walk more than about 600 paces each day that I make myself very ill.  So, I use a wee gadget called a Fitbit to monitor what I do.  This seems nerdy, but it has helped me to stabilise my health.

Now, when it comes to wheels,  I've discovered that there are various types of wheels, and that really a little red granny scooter does not feature highly in the wheels credibility league!  

So....  after much debate, and with the realisation that my health was still not improving... 

... I finally got some SERIOUS WHEELS earlier this year!  

My new Aztec Scooter can go places that the wee red Rascal never could.  At last I can get out through our trees again.  I used to walk the dogs here each morning before work, but since becoming ill, I had been unable to do so.

The dogs love this too and I often pack coffee, nibbles and a book when I head out to the trees. 

I guess there are parts of my new life that I've come to love.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

More links to blog posts written for #May12BlogBomb can be found at:

PS... And a more recent video of me doing agility with Finn can be found in this post:
First Proper Competitive Outing for Finn.

PPS - Check here for another update at the end of 2016.  An improvement in my health means that after 3+ years using wheels, I am now on my feet again. Not quite recovered, but doing better:
More than a year!


  1. Well done, I must admit the Aztec does look the business Sally :)

  2. Fantastic - A wonderful model of recognising that with physical help to conserve muscular exertion, we can continue our normal life as much as possible instead of wasting our precious energy on doctors appointments etc. Doctors don't have much to offer us, if what they do offer is CBT/GET, it will make us worse. Lying down is our 'treatment', using wheels (and keeping our head supported - makes a tremendous difference) wheels, recliners, that are our weapons in the fight to continue the lives we want to lead. Maybe everyone who sees this will get the message that using 'wheels' in whatever form is the opposite of 'giving up'!!! It is the way to 'stay in' to whatever we enjoy and is important to us....may your message go far!!

    1. Thank you for this voice of support. I would encourage anyone who finds they must stop doing things they love - because they can't walk far enough - to take a deep breath and just DO IT! Thanks for understanding that Nancy. xx

  3. Great blog Sally - love how you're using a scooter to regain parts of your life that ME energy constraints had taken away. And how you use gadgets, like the fitbit to monitor yr steps/day (600 step max right now for optimal functioning). I'm geeky too and use pedometers and heart rate monitors to monitor and stay within my thresholds & timers to limit activity intervals - all to maximize what I can do on a day without bringing on PENE.

  4. Thanks for the complement Leela. Glad to hear I'm not the only geek ;)

  5. Yes I too have found the benefits of wheels!

  6. LOVE this & completely empathise with the phrase "stole my active life". I'm so happy you've found a way to continue doing what you love :)
    Maeve // Thrift O'Clock

  7. HI Sally from across the way in Ozzyland. Just want to say thankyou for sharing your story about ME and how you have overcome the negativity and still do Agility even if it is on wheels, I would have given up but having read your blog you inspire others and me. Congratulations Sally. Spin em wheels girl and keep on barking on lol.
    Kind Regards

    1. Thank you for this lovely comment... I was encouraged by another online friend who does agility from a powerchair, so I'm delighted to pass the enthusiasm on again. xx

      PS I was actually out again today at the last day of our Winter League series. Just one round, but a great outlet. Trying to rest now until the adrenalin from the excitement leaves my system. ;)


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