Sunday, 24 March 2013

Start work Monday

I thought I'd make an entry in my Blog about me starting my new job. This is quite a big occasion for me so I decided to share it and let you see why, after all it's all part of my adventures through life.

I originally took ill in 1995 with a giant cell tumour whilst working as a postman at Royal Mail. The tumour was removed that year and I spent 7 months in a straight leg brace. Unfortunately the tumour returned with a vengeance and I was left with the decision of amputation, which in hindsight I probably should have opted for (great thing hindsight) or a relatively new procedure called limb salvage.

As I kind of loved my leg and wanted to save it I chose to go with the limb salvage option. This involved replacing my diseased bone in my leg with what was known as a Kotz prosthesis.



I underwent 12 hours of surgery and spent just under a month at the Freeman hospital after the procedure and was then allowed to come home.

Following this surgery I had 11 years of sheer hell. Constant infections, tissue breaking down in open wound sites around the screw you can see sticking out on the X-ray and unbelievable pain. Eventually my leg began to become stiffer and stiffer until it was practically permanently in a fixed extended position.

In 2006 I was offered further surgery after a period of going infection free, this was to give me a better bend of my leg by removing my knee cap. I jumped at the opportunity, well not literally for obvious reasons. But my thoughts were I would be so relieved to get a bend of my leg.

Well things didn't go according to plan and on the removal of my knee cap when my leg was bent to 90 degrees some of my blood vessels got caught in my metal work and I kind of bled out in theatre. This I was told was to be my last surgery on my leg other than amputation.

As usual my leg got yet another infection and I found during the course of the week I had been allowed out that all the staples holding the wound together started to stretch and be torn out. I was left with this huge gaping hole, just about where my knee would have been.

At this point community nurses were coming 7 days per week as my leg was so poorly. I was in excruciating pain all day and all night and on all kinds of medication which just weren't working.

Eventually one of the community nurses helped me see the light as it were and gave me some great words of advice which led to me making the decision of opting for a right above knee amputation. This took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead on the 11th September 2007.

After my amputation I was ready to re-new my life, it was a relief to have what had become my enemy removed. I decided I would like to re-learn how to ride a bike again and most of you already know where that has led, so I won't go into that.

I had a excellent year after my amputation, until around September 2008 when I started feeling, well not my usual self. I was constantly getting a real bad tummy. This was a real pain as it made me not want to go out riding and I just had no energy. On one occasion whilst coming back from Leeds I was feeling particularly ill and visited A and E at the Queen Elizabeth. Tests were done and I was referred to a consultant. So in October 08 I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

So as you can see it hasn't all been plain sailing, however I feel I have weathered the storm and just kept going. Eventually it has paid off you see around 5 months or so ago I decided to put in to do voluntary work within the Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS trust. I had a clear idea of what I would like to do and that was help people in some way.

I was offered a position on a acute stroke unit and I'll be honest I wasn't sure if I could do it. I thought to myself  "wow here I am I  have no medical background I don't know the first thing about stroke and it's a little out my comfort zone". I then thought "what the hell, if nothing else it will be an experience and I can always keep applying for jobs in the mean time".

Well my first week on the stroke unit and I loved it. The staff were all so friendly and really welcomed me. They are an awesome team I can't speak highly enough of them and they all do a fantastic job.

As I was doing my voluntary job a position came up, in fact it was to do the job I was covering an assistant physiotherapist. I immediately put in for the job. Time went by and eventually the day of the interview arrived and I felt it went very well. By that time I had learnt so much about what the job entailed and that's largely down to having such fantastic mentors on the physio team. I beat around 240 other applicants to the job and have now received my start date which is Monday 25th March yes tomorrow.

So after almost 18 years of  being out of work I am now very proud and happy to find myself in not only a job I love and working with awesome people, but doing something  very worthwhile and giving something back. I guess it shows you should never give up and just keep trying.


  1. It's been a long hard slog son but I am proud of you and all you have achieved and I know your mam would have wept tears of joy for you.

  2. You are an Amazing Man. You inspire me & give me perspective. Thank you

  3. Thanks Dad and Mark appreciate your very kind comments...