Tuesday, 15 October 2013

On 2 legs...

For those who been following me for a while know about me being on walking sticks & working on getting off them which I finally did almost 2 weeks back. But some don't know the background to all of this & some have asked questions or not as they feel embarrassed to or not care.

Well for those who do want to know, I thought it is time I put all of the years into 1 blog so it will be easier to just send this blog & let whoever wants to know see it all. So where do I start, well I guess we start right at the beginning & I think we should start with the prequel.

Well, I when I was little I wasn't on sticks, in fact I was full of energy & fully fit.

So as you can see, I was quite fit & a good runner etc. I also started getting into cycling in my teens & bought my first bike with my own savings.

Was a good bike to start with & got me into cycling, even did my first sponsored cycling though on a borrowed bike as this one broke just before the day.

This got my parents to buy me my best bike I have had & still miss it now, the Raleigh Maverick.

And I had many many years of use of this bike with my friend who also had one too. I did get into motorbikes too but I still enjoyed cycling. By the time I was 18, I passed my motorbike tests & got a full license & started getting a strange tingling down my left leg that didn't go away & was the start of the whole event of changes for me.

So now at 19, I am starting to get tingles down my left leg & shooting pains from the hip causing leg to give way. GP didn't have a clue so sent from one specialist after another, X-rays, MRI's, Ultrasounds, etc. Eventually they decided I had a trapped nerve in Hip joint & to free it involved an operation with a 50:50 chance of success, being young I decided to go for it as after all if it failed I was young to adapt & at first after the operation it did work but slowly came back & then had another operation & again was OK & again it came back but worse than ever. 

By this time I was in a good steady job with McDonalds as Dining Host / Party Organiser & doing well with own rented bedsit, having fun as you do in your early 20s. But this leg issue was hampering me at work so I was offered a 3rd & final attempt to sort it. I did go for it as I wanted to get fixed to keep my job; unfortunately it didn't go as planned. The nerve was so damaged from constantly being trapped; it had frayed & snapped when being freed off again. And with nerves, you can't just repair them like a frayed wire so no more could be done. So as of December 1993, I had now become reliant on a walking stick, loads of painkillers 24/7 as I was now in pain like I have never known before. The best way to describe it is like phantom pain when someone loses a limb, where they can feel the pain on the raw nerves as if the limb was still there...

So the next 4yrs, I wasn't working. I was spending 3 days a week at Physio doing pain management, trying to get off the painkillers & get a job. No job offered as to be expected as most saw me unfit to work whilst going to hospital, Conservative Government did though so had to keep looking. Eventually I did get one, Dominos Pizza as the kind Canadian franchise owner was happy to let me try out the job first & kept me as I did better than the others. But it was a short term job as I was going to College for retraining in a Disability College. Which proved quite helpful & into a well paid job for the quite a few years.

So jump a few years, I'm in a well paid job. Got a flat, moved to another flat, got married & divorced, all the usual stuff everyone does but as a disabled person using a walking stick. I kept doing my motorbiking & almost everything else; cycling wasn't in my life anymore & told it wouldn't so bike were sold off. I learnt to be a stubborn person to try everything once to see if I can do it, even if it was done slightly different than a regular person would. But I never let the disability get to me; yes I had my dark moments. Who doesn't? But saw the disability as a challenge, a way to get my creative blood flowing in new ideas to do something that technically I couldn't. From DIY, riding motorbikes & even riding horses.

So all was it should be for me, up until 2005 when I started to get a new pain in left leg & unrelated to the damaged nerve. And again it was yet more tests & just as they thought it was a damaged hip joint, they discovered something on a detailed X-ray to the cause. My bone was turning to jelly, a Bone Cyst. 

So I was booked in fast to get it sorted as it was on the verge of snapping, so no kicking, jumping, falling over, etc in case it snaps. Gave me the heebies thinking about it. But this problem was going to be a blessing to me, for the specialist doing the operation offered me another chance to fix the nerve as it was by the area being operated on. His words were 'things have moved on in the technology & can't make it any worse' so I agreed. Had the op with a few hiccups with recovery so spent 9 days in hospital. But all I can say it was all worthwhile.

Now it was all about healing & rebuilding my leg, partly coz they really went to work on my leg & couldn't move my toes for a month. Physio was hard work & soon started to get leg stronger, pain from damaged nerve had gone but as I was putting more weight on my leg the knee wasn't coping with having to take the weight again. I did try to go stick free in 2009 but didn't work out, was too soon for the knee & actually made it worse.

So I did more physio again & again, at different hospitals as I had moved to Chelmsford, Essex in 2010. But this proved to be the best bit as it was suggested during physio in 2011 to take up cycling again as a low impact exercise as I had no trouble with the exercise machines. So in June I went & bought a 'to work on' bike to suit me when I built it. 

So I rebuilt it, made it to suit me & get me fitter, stronger & slowly become better with my bike which is now known as The Beast.

But still even with cycling, doing events like 30 Days of Biking & sponsored cycled ride in April 2013, I was still on my stick. Knee still gave me agro, so I just kept on pushing the limit just a lil bit at a time. Knowing I will get there...

Well after I moved to Colchester in May, that limit went up! Colchester is definitely a hilly place compared to Chelmsford. And on a heavy Beast with shopping, that sure was a workout which proved to be worthwhile. I didn't go to nearest supermarket to buy my shopping, no I went to the furthest away. This meant pulling a 20+kg weight of shopping on a 25kg bike over the hills, this was hard work but it got easier as my leg & knee improved even more. 

So I decided it was time to go & try working part time, finding a job though was proving unsuccessful. So from August I started doing a couple hours a day working at Re-Cycle, getting bikes ready to be sent to Africa. Also meant I was standing on my feet doing the work & also was cycling 7 miles each way to this place too. This proved to help a lot. I also found myself another bike to ride, a Trek 7300. A lighter bike & definitely up'ed the game for me in cycling. So this is where I decided 2 weeks ago to ditch the stick, I felt ready too & made it public. 


Knee felt ready too, though it does grumble a bit when I push the boundaries. But as long as it is holding out & getting stronger, I will stay stick free. I do still use the stick for when carrying heavy shopping, eventually I will do it stick free but til then I ain't gonna be silly about it.

So there you go, a brief run down on me being on sticks. Sorry if it's a bit long to read, but if I included everything it would be a lot longer & I do mean a lot longer. But I hope you now have a better understanding, why each small improvement (trivial to some) I do when cycling means so much to me. Each step forwards is like baby steps, eventually it will be bigger steps. Every time I go out now, I feel strange & recently found out going into a busy shopping centre is stressful due to blinkered shoppers not looking where they are going & me freaking I could be knocked over & set back onto sticks. But so far it has never happened (hopefully never will), I will get used to walking stick free & hopefully before Christmas as if I don't I'll be a nervous wreck. lol

Well thank you for reading, those who follow me on Social Network sites I'll keep boring you with my update. ;-) 

Kidding, I know you're with me on this, for me to succeed. I still get a lump in my throat when I think of where I was & where I am now. Its hard to believe almost 20yrs ago I was told I'd never walk stick free again & definitely never cycle. It shows now how you never know what is around the corner. It's been an interesting journey, not one I would want anyone to take but I know this journey I took has made me a better person for it.

I could keep on, but I will end the story here & thank you for taking the time to read it. TTFN.


  1. Simply inspiring. Congrats again on going stick-free for first time in a long time.

    1. Thankyou! Been a long road to take & still a lil further to go. :D

  2. Just read, I am impressed...

    Keep it up and you will be as mad as me ;-)

    1. LOL Thanks, might be closer to that already as I do a blog under http://the2wheeledwolf.blogspot.co.uk/ & plenty of videos which I post on Twitter as @2_Wheeled_Wolf