It’s very nearly a year since I had the surgery on my spine – it’s very nearly a year since I had to stop taking the INSANE amounts of painkillers I was on. It’s incredible to think just how bad things were back then. I’ve certainly been feeling very reflective of it all, it was such a strange time. I know I’m getting on a bit now, and you should expect to get a bit slower in your old age. Honestly though, I didn’t expect to be disabled at 41 years of age.

As well as being in immense physical pain, it really took a toll on my mental health too. I’m usually a very active person, not even in a sporty sense – just like buzzing around the house, cleaning, tidying, washing up. These little tasks really make me happy, I had pretty much all of that taken away from me, almost overnight. I think one of the most upsetting things was not being able to play with James – he just had to get used to Daddy not being able to do much. I couldn’t even take Duggee for walks, some days I could get to the end of our road, a lot of days – I just couldn’t. Even when I was mobile, it was with some mobility aids – I could hardly shuffle from room to room without them.

I felt embarrassed too – to try and be as ‘normal’ as possible, I always wanted to keep our trips to the supermarket each week. Thankfully our local Sainsburys had mobility scooters for customers to use. I really did like using these, because it made me feel like I was mobile again. However, I did often feel ‘judged’ by other shoppers – I didn’t look old or infirm as you’d imagine someone using a scooter would be. I genuinely think some of those in the store thought I was using it for a giggle, or a joke.

Obviously I wasn’t, I knew how much I needed it – but people are, well, idiots and have a stereotype of what a disabled person looks like. The whole experience has taught me that anyone can be disabled, in the blink of an eye. In some ways I’m thankful for having the problem I had, it’s made me see the world in a very different way. I have so much sympathy for those with mobility issues. Of course I had it before, but when you’ve been walking (or not!) in their shoes, you ‘get’ it.

Movember comes to mind when reflecting on this last year and the profound changes I’ve undergone. This annual event emphasizes the importance of addressing health challenges like mine, including the mental health strain that can accompany physical ailments. Movember champions the health of men, reminding us all to take action, to speak up, and to support one another through health struggles. They advocate for early detection and treatment, which can lead to more positive outcomes, much like my own. It also brings attention to support, guidance and living aids available, such as those from Complete Care Shop, that have supported me in regaining my independence. These aids are a bridge back to normalcy, allowing men to retain their autonomy and continue living fulfilling lives despite health challenges.

Vicki and me were talking today about how insane life was for us, just one year ago.. If we didn’t have the health insurance, I’d still be like that NOW, actually, I could be a LOT worse. It was entirely possible I could lose all feeling and motion below my waist. However, an hour of surgery, and a chunk of splodged disc in my back cut out – I was back to normal.

Although recovery was meant to take up to six months, I was on my feet hours after the surgery. By two weeks post surgery, I wasn’t really in much pain, and my mobility was returning. Not long after, I could drop all the tablets I was taking – it was absolutely insane how quickly my body fixed itself.

It’s really changed my whole outlook on life too, I wake up in the morning feeling positive. I don’t edge out of bed expecting to be in a whole world of pain. It’s just – NORMAL! After having so long of having a life that was anything but normal, it’s a relief to have that!

This post is in conjunction with Complete Care Shop, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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