“Both Sides Now”

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I usually start my blogs by writing a long-winded monologue about some random crap that seems to have nothing to do with the message I am trying to portray. But today is going to be different. Today I would like to start by showing you what my handsome and amazing brother in law wrote, to nominate me to run with the Olympic Torch.

 

“When I seen this opportunity, only one person came to mind. My sister in law Sam is the inspirational symbol you are looking for and her story is sure to enlighten everyone who hears it. Sam was an extremely active teenager and has climbing Mount Meru, to add to her list of achievements. However in the summer of 2010, Sam after a long period of illness was diagnosed with M.E. Whilst this may stop others, and has indeed reduced Sam to walking with sticks, she has tackled this head on and is fighting to beat this misunderstood disease. Sam has now defied belief and has started an online Blog to tell people her story and share her experiences. This has further led to her starting her own local support group and has appeared in local papers, magazines and radio stations to air her thoughts and broaden her ever widening audience. The feedback received is exceptional and with the support of her new found friends, is striving towards beating this illness. She has helped many people already, inspired many more, and is loved by all. The Olympic creed suggests the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, and Sam is living this fight. I hope that you share my views of this outstanding individual but should you need more convincing, please visit her blog, samandme.org” – Jack Branning

 

 

Not liking to do things by half, I decided once I got back from visiting Faith in Dubai, I was making it my mission in life to not just carry the Olympic Torch, but to run with it. I thought how good an ending to a rather shit time in my life will that be? M.E took away my ability to walk but after a year and a half of Physiotherapy and hard work and determination, I would close this chapter by running with the Olympic Torch a symbol of overcoming struggle to triumph. Only one problem I couldn’t actually run yet.

 

 

I used the rest of April and beginning of May to mentally prepare myself for this feat. Then two weeks before my “Moment to Shine” I decided it was time to face the truth. Did I have the ability to run for the whole 6 mins it would take me to pass on the Torch or was I going to be carrying the torch looking more like I was going a leisurely stroll down a busy duel carriage way?  There was only one way to find out. I put my short shorts on, stuck on my running shoes for the first time in three years, put my headphones in my ears and started to jog. I ran down the street and out along the crescent and thought to myself,  “you know what? I am doing not to bad here”.  In my head I was just imagining the shock on all my friends and families faces when as the Olympic flame was being passed to my torch I started to run. It would be just like the “miracles” you see on American TV when some crazy possessed looking man who is chanting shit about the devil, brings up a poor cripple boy, slaps him across the face and suddenly he’s cured. I was thinking people would be fainting by how epic this was going to be.

 

But just as I was getting into my stride I noticed a car I recognized coming up the street, it was Courtney’s mother, Sharon. Wanting it to remain a secret and surprise everyone on the day with my amazing accomplishment I only had one option. Dive behind a bush. Except there was no bush, so the only option I actually had was to dive into a ditch that was full of stones. And although slightly battered and bruised, I evaded Sharon’s eyes and continued on my epic miracle journey. After five and a half minuets I entered the field behind my house, which looks down into a valley. As I came to the top of the hill, I stopped to take in the view of the Campsie Hills, as I did this Joni Mitchells “Both Sides” came on ipod and it suddenly hit me. I Samantha McInnes who a year and a half ago could not walk had just ran, YES RAN for 5 whole minuets. I felt a sudden wave of emotion coming over me and my eyes started to fill up with tears of utter joy, as if the hand of God had just slapped me across the face.  I was taken aback by the emotion hitting me all at once, how it felt when a trip to Manchester resulted in my legs packing in, having to be bathed as a grown women, by a nurse in the hospital, needing to use a wheelchair to go anywhere that wasn’t two steps away, missing out on amazing experiences with my friends because my body was so shit and now I had overcame that and was bloody running. When I realised I had started to cry, I did want any self respecting Glaswegian would do. I stopped, dropped to my knees and shouted at the top of my lungs, “FUCKING YASSSSS!!!”. I imagine it would have been a much better Hollywood film moment without my Tourettes-esque out burst and the fact the valley the hill over looked was actually a motorway.

 

 

On June 9th 2012 I got up, dressed in my all white slightly see through Olympic Tracksuit, bleached my teeth, got in Jacks car and went to Clydebank where the Olympic Torch Relay bus picked me up and took me to my starting position on Garshake road, Dumbarton. Where not only did I carry the Olympic flame but I ran every step of the way, surrounded on either side by all my friends and family who have supported me, all through out my time with M.E.

 

Then I went home and slept for a long time.

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell
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6 comments on ““Both Sides Now””

  1. Jenny barber Reply

    Hi Sam, firstly Wow and well done on running with the Olympic torch. I watched it come by our house thinking ‘if only’ and you’ve done it, superb!
    Secondly, I really love your blog. I’m very new to it, but have really enjoyed your posts.
    I’ve set up a website for people with ME, a social place where we can share recipes, art, poems, book club etc. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind taking a look and if you like it sharing it with others on your blog?
    Thank you
    Jenny

  2. Charlie Berry Reply

    That was an great little Blog there Sam.
    When you done your “torch bit”, I was watching the live feed from Glasgow in the jungle in Nigeria, and knowing the journey you took leading up to that moment. I also gave the same Glasgow shout. Didn’t quite drop to my knees though 🙂
    I showed the video that Chris posted to the Natives in Nigeria that came to my office. They asked “Do you know her”. I replied “Not really, but she comes from the same village as me and is friends with most of my family, but see that lassie, she’s bloody amazing”
    Well done once again !!!

  3. Courtney Love Reply

    Hey sam sorry as i am a jet setter now i just got round to reading this and im kinda upset lol i cant believe u actually forgot that u had a year of not being able to walk for a year lol i remember that i was at download and i watched from a tent in tears as u ran i was so pround and still am xxx good blog

  4. The Laughing Housewife Reply

    Oh wow, Sam – amazing! Well done! That is fabulous! But I hope you’ve taken care to rest since then? Yes, I know it’s been about eight months, but you know what ME is like. 🙂

    What your BIL wrote is lovely, especially that bit about the Olympic spirit.

  5. John Metters Reply

    Fantastic blog as always Sam.

    I remember this day like it was yesterday. Was such an amazing feeling to see someone I know carry the olympic torch.

    You truly are an inspiration to many. 🙂

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