Monday, 19 August 2013

Three months on.

ohhh new leg
On the 8th August it was three months on from the day of amputation surgery, and what a crazily busy three months it's been and how dramatic progress has been. 

To give some perspective, prior to amputation I was told I would he at roehampton for 6 to 12 weeks so there was a possibility I would at this point have been writing about my discharge from hospital.  Instead, having been discharged after 3 weeks I covered that what now feels a very long time ago. 

bit of biking
On the 8th I was lucky enough to be in Wales on holiday with morgan and her family. This has become a bit of a yearly tradition and it's been fascinating to see how I've changed over the years.  If you go back to 2010 we went prior to my initial accident when I was fully able bodied, the following year I was pretty much Wheelchair bound, 2012 I was hobbling around on my feet with huge amounts of pain prepping myself for an ankle fusion. 

getting out with the pooch 

This year I was getting used to an amputation!  Just prior to the holiday I'd been fitted with a new leg so I had that To get used to but it was a big step up (thank you Jamie at pace!). Whilst walking is still hard work, it's so liberating to be up and walking and not be in huge amounts of ankle pain.  I pushed myself quite hard while we were away and did a fair amount of walking on uneven ground, a bit of cycling and a bit of almost scrambling.  All in all the back, the stump and the prosthesis held up extremely well and I was pretty much able to keep up with everyone most of the time.

Walking on dodgy ground

this was fun!
There is no denying it takes a lot of effort though.  I have read that as a below knee amputee, time on your feet requires about 20% more effort than for a non amputee.  I think I'm finding it easiert than it was prior to the amputation with my mashed up ankle but nevertheless, the challenge is now to be at least 20% fitter than everyone I know so I can always keep up!  It was great to be away though and we had some fun little adventures while we were out in Wales!

me and my incredible wife! 
Following the holiday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Loughborough by the good people who run the UK paratriathlon team for what was discribed as a 'talent confirmation camp's as a follow on from the day in Birmingham a few weeks ago.  It was a good couple of days but my word did it knacker me out.  There was an element of sitting and listening, finding out about the sport, it's background, the classifications and so on - that was the easy bit.  A lot of it was fitness tests in each of the three disciplines, some strength and conditioning work and receiving some coaching.  I did a timed 750m swim (just over 15 mminutes), a 10km bike ride on a watt bike (half of a triathlon distance but time was short, 18 minutes - very nearly sick), and as much running as the stump would allow for.  I only did 2 laps of a 400m track but I think that was more than was expected of me given how recent the amputation is.  My first lap took 2:54, the second took 2:30.  I was pleased with the improvement, although as one of the coaches joked, clearly I wasn't trying hard enough first time...  I think he was joking!

All in all it was a good weekend.  In a weird way, although it was my weakest sport I was most pleased with the running as I literally had no idea how I would do.  It helped that one of the physios there has taught amputees to run in the past and so gave me some feedback but I felt the improvement was good, particularly when compared to my first attempt at running back in Birmingham. 

trying some running

bumped into Jonnie Peacock, came over all star struck... 

I can't claim it wasn't a massive relief to get ice the leg afterwards, or to take the prosthesis off in the car for the drive home but it was a great experience in some incredible facilities.  What's next in terms of paratriathlon, who know! I'll hear from them in the next couple of week and see if they want to pursue stuff with me further. Whatever happens, Im keen to try and do a triathlon, I think it'll be a great aim as something to work towards! I also had the pleasure of watching Jonnie peacock and stef Reid (incredible paralympions) training on the track.  They are both so fast, it was inspiring to see, in the flesh, how quick and agile you can become on one leg!
Incredibly, throughout all of this, my stump held up perfectly.  When I went to physio and massage on Thursday I discovered my other muscles had coped less well.  My word was I tight in various places. Physio and massage always hurts - if it's not hurting its a waste of time, let's be honest, by my word, that day was something else. After two hours of pain, Natalie and Bex taped me up with sports tape and sent me home to watch the bruises develop - and they did develop! I felt better for it though, at least
I think so! 
little bit sore

Irritatingly, despite my stump holding up to all this abuse, after one quick bike ride yesterday, somethin rubbed in my socket and I rubbed a sore behind my knee.  Thankfully, its nothing too serious and it doesn't rub when I walk.  As long as I stay of the bike until its recovered I should heal up on no time at all. It's just an annoying part of life with an amputation.  Realistically I've done incredibly well not to get any sores so far as the risk is certainly greatest early on as the stump changes size.  Every step is a new learning experience I guess!