Hiya! I’m in such a good mood right now :). Me and my fiance got to spend last weekend with three of my dear Addy friends and their spouses and we had a blast! We rented a small villa called Wanha Maja (The Old Hut) near the city of Ikaalinen. With 9+2 beds in the countryside and within reasonable travel for all of us, located in the midst of idyllic Finnish countryside complete with cattle farm, and a horse ranch nearby, it was the perfect place to spend a lovely and relaxing weekend!
Our Addison-Akat (akka=an older woman/crone) group got started when we met in a week long rehabilitation course meant for primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency patients last June. We had a really fantastic and supportive group of women but especially the four of us in the group really hit it off as we were about the same age and in similar circumstances in life.
We promised to stay in touch after the course and talked about arranging a meeting or short vacation our families could also attend to as the course was only meant for the patients. Adrenal insufficiency can be a really debilitating disease and is hard for the whole family. Often our spouses need to take care of us when we are in bad shape. We can be overwhelmed with both physical and mental stress and need way more rest than normal people. Luckily we all have found great, supporting men at our side :). But still, having to take care of your spouse and worrying about their health and family issues can really take toll on the relationship. We wanted to take our men with us to the weekend getaway so that maybe they could relax a bit as well, meet other men at the same situation and see that yes, we all Addies (I’m now using this term loosely as I have secondary adrenal insufficiency, not Addison’s like my friends have) are just as weird 😉 !
We went there on Friday and had to vacate on Sunday at noon but even with so little time we got to have a lot of fun and laughs, relax a bit and get to meet and know each other’s spouses. We all had our own rooms, and communal kitchen, dining area and salon. There was also a smaller cabin and traditional Finnish smoke sauna (though we didn’t use it) in the villa’s yard area as well as few old barns and a shelter for the cattle.
On Saturday we went for a walk to the nearby forest. Along the trail there was a small hut (traditional Finnish “laavu”) where travellers can rest, and grill sausages we Finns usually eat with mustard. Near the hut an old stone wall was crawling with vipers that had come to bask in the sun from their holes inside the wall. Luckily our noise scared them and they quickly slithered away. I don’t like snakes. I’m not terrified of them, but they’d better leave me alone, that’s all…
On our way back we visited the horse ranch and got to feed the horses :).
Later on Saturday after I took a small evening nap we all drove together to the city of Ikaalinen (if you can call it a city – we drove through the center in less than a minute) to check out local atmosphere. It turned out the locals had evacuated the place as the center was essentially a ghost town. We spotted a small antique shop and miracly the owner was still inside having tea with a friend so we got to take a look at their wares and chatted with the two lovely, elderly women for half an hour.
On our drive back to the villa we took a coffee and ice cream break at a gas station. As Finland is the land of a thousand lakes, every place I go to seems to be located near or next to one. The terrace had a clear view to the city we’d just left behind:
After we got back, I was still worn down from all activities of the day and the recent stressful events in my life so I took another rest period while some of us went outside to have fun playing a weird invention of their own, croquet-golf. Luckily for the villa’s owner but not do much for my ears and rest, they didn’t break any windows, just the sound barrier…
In the evening we played a “friendly” round of Monopoly lasting until midnight. Some of us didn’t last that long, though – Monopoly with a full table of players isn’t perhaps the best Addy game, however fun it is. At least when the banker – yours truly – in a massive brain fog made repeated cash miscalculations, forgot to give back change or was slipping bills here and there to her own funds instead of the bank’s (it was the brain fog!!)… But eventually we managed to survive and finish the game without anyone falling asleep or passing out otherwise.
We got to eat mouthwateringly delicious meals during the weekend as each couple took turns to cook for the others – chili con carne (my favorite, yam!), oven baked salmon, chicken soup, caesar salad… It was really fun and communal to cook and eat together. An additional nutrition bonus were the ample bushes of vitamin-rich berry delicacies in the yard we were free to pick:
On Sunday morning we cleaned the house, ate and said our goodbyes but not without already starting to plan our next holiday together! A cruise to Stocholm, Sweden later in the autumn, or downhill skiing and husky winter safari on Lapland…why not both? 😉
I’m so grateful I’ve had the chance to get to know these wonderful women. The understanding, support and friendship I’ve received has been more important to me than I can put into words. With such a rare illness as adrenal insufficiency, the problems we face with everyday life, the questions that arise about weird symptoms, how to deal with different situations, about medication, what to expect when your still new to all of this – it really can be best understood and answered only by someone who has been there. Someone who knows what you’re going through. Someone who has struggled like you have. Thank you my dear Addy ladies from the bottom of my heart!
I also want to thank my wonderful fiance who has stood by me during my illness and came to support me and learn more about my disease and meet my friends. I love you ❤ !
The weekend was still tough on me and I needed to stress dose on a couple of occasions as I felt really unwell, nauseous and tired but I managed. Hopefully I’ll finally (!) be able to rest this week and get to lower my cortisone dose. This amount of travel and buzz in my life has at the same time helped with my mood and trust in my abilities to cope even with AI, but it has become apparent that I’m not able to keep this kind of pace up without having to updose all the time. So now I really want to concentrate on rest and getting into regular day rhythm with lots of sleep, reading, exercising, more sleep and quality time with my boyfriend. Maybe a couple of days’ worth of traveling once a month is something I could take better.
We all have our personal challenges in life. Who belong to your support group? Why not give them a hug today, or call and tell them how much you appreciate them?
Wishing everyone a happy, thankful new week,