HOW LIFE CAN CHANGE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
You wake every morning jump in the shower and then have breakfast and run out the door, how many times to you stop and say how thankful you are to have your legs, for running water and food. Things we take for granted as we rush through our lives.
Do you ever stop and be mindful of what you have, and know how lucky you are for this ability?
Even after my second tumour I still didn't always stop and say thanks, it wasn't till I found myself in hospital for the third time did I really learn.
I remember the last weeks in the JR in Oxford, I lived everyone's tumour who came through the ward I was in, I watched as they walked in, the reaction of the Doctors telling them the risks of surgery and the effect this had on not just them but their family.
The day I left the JR I could not hold back the tears, as I was wheeled through the neuro surgery ward and could feel the tears running down my face.
The feeling of fresh air as I went outside for the first time in 8 weeks was like no other feeling in life.
So I arrived at Stoke Mandville ready to push hard and walk out of there and onto my bike, I believe that environment has a huge effect on our minds and never in 6 years of surgery and hospital have I broke mentally but after 3 weeks here I could have broke, I was so low and could feel my mind wanting to give up every day.
I will never forget my first morning in the spinal gym, seeing so many people who were in a real bad way, it was heartbreaking, nothing in life has touched me quite like that gym and it will never leave me. Some people fighting for every inch and others who were giving up.
I sat one morning and this young lad came in who was paralysed from the neck down and on a ventilator, and I thought that could easily have been me, I looked and smiled as he smiled back we shared a moment without saying a word. That was the thing in here, we all had empathy, everyone in here had come through some very dark places. From the young lad who had rolled out of bed to the Air force PT who fell a 1000ft we were all in some way very unlucky but in the same breath lucky as we were all alive. In here it didn't matter who you were, we were all on the same path and just a smile would say a thousand words between each us. That's the thing with Cancer or an accident, it can happen to anyone at any time and change your life forever.
One night a friend in the hospital said to me he was happy to die after a fall in his kitchen seen him lay there for 15 hours before he was found. No one had ever said that to me before, I wanted to just give him a hug and say you got to fight my friend as life is such a beautiful thing.
I made some good friends in Stoke who made me laugh so much and I will never forget that we had a good small group who put the world to rights each day and laughed with each other.
All of them woke up one morning and went about life like you will have done today and then were involved in accidents which were not their fault. I guess you could say they were a second to early and someone else’s mistake would change their lives forever.
On the day of my surgery a girl who won a Gold medal in London 2012 died of Cancer, she was 34, I remember reading that and thinking god what if I had not made it through my 9-hour surgery, I had left so much un said. I always try to message friends and tell them how special they are to me as without them my life would have been a very lonely place over the last 4 months.
I have been overwhelmed by the messages I have received from all over the World from people fighting Cancer to School kids all telling me not to give up. I will never give up fighting this and as I was about to get on my bike and push on with my rehab, the phone rang to tell me I was been registered at the oncology department, a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye I was reminded that this is not just a spinal injury but a tumour that has shaped my life and will always be part of me. However it will not define my life, I make that decision.
As I wake every morning I fight to get my arm and leg moving, I am spending every waken hour working on this in the hope something moves and I can ride through the Alps once again feeling the beauty of life.
I just ask you to wake up and be grateful for what you have and to smile more at people and even try saying good morning it won’t hurt you.