Life is a Roller-Coaster
I would firstly like to apologise for not posting a more recent update but I’ve been just been trying to chase some positive news to give out. Having said that, I think it’s about time that I update you with what has been happening. I think it’s very important that, as I share my journey towards the Paralympics, I keep you informed with just how amazing but also difficult things can be sometimes.
Yet to be officially launched, I have recently become an ambassador for The Knights Foundation Charity, who work extremely hard to help support families and carers of those with disabilities. By working together, we hope to motivate and inspire other young people and show them a world of opportunities and possibilities that they would have never thought of previously. I am visiting a school tomorrow to help inspire the future generation and I’m really excited for it. They are a very unique charity that is both personable and motivated and I’m really looking forward to working with them more in the future. (http://www.theknightsfoundation.org/)
Within my last blog post, I said that I was hoping to have surgery in the next few months – this is still very true but I am waiting for my appointment, which is at the end of this month. I’ve seen a ‘specialist’ (Dr X) who said that he didn’t want to perform the surgery, as he believes my stump needs more of a reconstruction than an orthopaedic procedure. My original surgeon has been very supportive however isn’t able to perform the surgery until August. My current prosthetic centre, however supportive at the beginning, has essentially dropped all support as they placed 100% trust in Dr X to perform the surgery. Fortunately, I made a self-referral to a plastic surgeon on the basis that I had previously had issues with Dr X and assumed that he would not operate on me.
Throughout this period, I haven’t been able to wear my prosthetic at all as it is too painful on my exposed stump bone. I am due to be changing prosthetic centres within the next few weeks so I should hopefully have some good news for my future care. The past few months have been extremely difficult as I have not been able to train for throwing and not being able to use my prosthetic is like dangling a carrot ahead of a donkey. Once I have revision surgery, I should be able to recover and use a prosthetic full-time so I’m keeping my head up for then. I expected to start the throwing season with my first competition in April however this is now unrealistic but still heading for next season. Having said that, I am still able to train at the gym and I started working with a nutritionist (Helen) to help with my diet. Helen is really helpful, approachable and really knows her stuff, so check her out! (http://www.helenbarklam.com/)
On another positive note, I’ve been trying to make the most of my ‘spare’ time and I have visited both Prague and Florence for a few days– obviously training too while I was out there! Having been away from England really makes you appreciate the accessibility of most of our pavements and curbs. I have started to set up a travel blog that will explore a lot of different aspects to travelling with a disability. It’s yet to be fully launched but feel free to have a look in a few weeks at: https://peglegadventures.wordpress.com/
Following on from travels, I have just recently had the opportunity to complete the Camino de Santiago in Spain for 3 weeks with a few other young people. This would be 17 days of walking at an average of 25km per day and is a pilgrimage route that has been undertaken for thousands of years – however only a handful in a wheelchair. It will really depend on my surgery situation but I really hope that things fit into place so I can achieve this – It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, which I hope can really inspire others.
So I’ve really tried to update you on quite a few things that are going on. As I said, the past few months have really tested my perseverance and determination. I am happy to say that I am seeing a way out of it now and looking forward to the many opportunities open to me in the future. I am very thankful for those friends and my coach who were there for me during my tough period.
If I can offer any advice to anyone else feeling down, I’d say really try and keep your head up as much possible. Allow yourself to dwell for a day or two and feel terrible. Read, draw, play music, have a good cry or whatever it takes to patch yourself up again. Try to reach out to anyone that will listen – those that will, you know you can trust. I’m just a guy from a small town that had some terrible times but it really taught me how to deal with difficult situations and how necessary it is to set your own path in life. I think social media places a huge emphasis on the need to always appear ‘perfect’ but it just takes someone to show that this isn’t realistic – and that’s ok!