Doctors, physio and the art of public speaking

Hi all,

It’s been a few weeks since I updated my blog and I thought I would make them shorter and more frequent moving forward. What you think? Let me know with some feedback it will be good to canvass your opinion…

The last month has been an experience that I haven’t had for a long while; namely, no training.  After briefly describing that I went over on my ankle the news was that I had completely ruptured my ATFL ligament, badly sprained three other ligaments, micro-fractured my Talus and caused severe oedema to the bone.  In short, I did a number on it.  The resulting MRI gave the opinion that I would need an operation to re-establish the ATFL to provide stability on the outside of my left foot.  With great physio from ActiveVIII (based in Henley-on-Thames) and a further MRI, my orthopaedic consultant was firmly of the opinion that I didn’t need an operation!  This is huge news!!  Actually, this is truly great news, as an invasive surgical procedure would most likely cause me long-term problems.  I am really a very happy man!

So what now? Well, there’s more physio and I’ve been told that I can get back to training properly within a matter of weeks!!!!!!!!  This is truly made my spirit rise and provided me with more focus on the two things that are taking up my time at this moment.

The first being the race calendar for 2012 and in particular the Trans-USA challenge.  This 3200 mile, 24 day endurance challenge will push me far beyond anything that I have ever done.  It doesn’t come without risk, and I’m sure that James Cracknell would attest to the dangers of Trans-American events, the dangers are several but finishing in one piece is achievable.  I’m confident that with a good supporting crew and the right training, I will succeed.   Watch this space for updates on the race calendar for 2012 and more news of the Trans-USA challenge as matters unfold.

The second was building upon the success of my public speaking event on the 9th November at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford UK where I was giving a motivational speech at a conference on neurodegenerative disease.  The conference was entitled ‘Making a Difference in Neurodegenerative Disease Research’ and was hosted by the Thames Valley Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN); an NHS body that facilitates the commencement of research programmes and provides ways of streamlining human clinical trials to make them more cost-effective.  The various speakers were eminent experts in their fields and I learned a huge amount; not only about Huntington’s disease but the various breakthroughs and leaps forward in relation to neurological diseases (including Parkinson’s).

I have to say I was nervous.  Being the only Parkinson’s sufferer in the room gave me the unique perspective to be able to speak about, not only my experiences undertaking 10 Million Metres so far (lost in the Sahara, Trans-Europe, etc.), but also the position from that of a person with the disease.  My speech went down incredibly well.  So much so that the feedback has been stunning!  DeNDRoN have been amazing in their support and it is opened up far more doors, which I believe will allow me to raise the profile of both Parkinson’s and young onset Parkinson’s profile to a wider audience; improving on the more than 55 million people around the world so far this year alone!  However, that’s for the next edition of the blog.

Right, I’m off to undertake a turbo session, physio, and move the Trans-USA forward!  Have a great start to the week and keep moving!!

A

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