🤩 Got the official letter today: elite para – national selection!
The journey to get to this point has been long and very hard.
On 2 October 2020, my surgeon told me there was nothing else they could do to save my left leg, I could keep it (and the pain and lack of function) or I could amputate.
On 8 October 2020 I elected to have it amputated below the knee.
[In between those two dates, my marriage of 17 years broke up]
❤️ 9 weeks later I swam in the pool again for the first time.
❤️ 15 weeks post surgery I swam my first open water event as a para
❤️ 18 weeks post surgery I took part in challenge Wanaka as part of a team: I was the swimmer
The rest of life was a bit tougher.
💔 learning how to love myself and my new physical image
💔 learning how to do life again as a single Middle Aged woman
💔 learning how to walk on an artificial limb
💔 learning how to accept that my life would never be the same and I will always have to have some permanent adaptations
💔 accepting (and learning to live with) the psychological trauma that I had suffered at the hands of the medical system
💔 confronting the reality that what has happened to me was completely preventable.
I have spent the last 18 months since my surgery trying to figure out where I now fit in life.
🏊♀️🚴🏼♀️🏃🏻♂️Sadly I probably will never be able to return to triathlon on the national stage – the classification system disadvantages me too much. Pain doesn’t count, and it’s the claudication based pain that will always prevent me from being able to run 5KM on two feet. Because I have right leg function I’m not allowed to use a racing chair.
🚴🏼♀️ I face similar challenges in cycling. The classification system would put me in the same group as an upper limb amputee, and wouldn’t account for the fact that I don’t have full function in the remainder of my left leg.
So I needed to find myself a new sporting home. Waka ama happened completely by accident and was literally as a result of the fact that I happened to be in Te Anau swimming on Waitangi Day and there was a W12 Waka on the beach. A friend gave it a go and told me that it would be perfect for me.. the bench was fixed and I didn’t really need legs. 😄
My wonderful FB friends know me too well and almost immediately someone sent me the link to apply for the para team. 😆🤣
And here I am. I’m new to Waka ama. But I’m not new to national and international competition. I’m not new to hard work, discipline and hard out training. But I am new to para.. and ELITE para at that!
❤️🤩❤️ So thank you to Waka Ama NZ for seeing the good in me and giving me this amazing opportunity to get back to what I love, albeit in a different sport and a different guise.
Let the hard work begin!
[💰fund raising plug: if you can spare a few $ to help me fund this – here’s my givealittle page]
In exchange for a funding donation I’m more than happy to do a presentation / talk / zoom chat with you / your workplace on resilience.. never giving up.. seeing the positives in bad situations.. or anything similar. ☺️