So this was the new website I was designing before my accident specifically for my triathlon blogs and updates of races and my travels. I thought I would continue this website as a blog for my rehab because hopefully I can one day race in a triathlon again.
Just about my accident for those who don't know. I race as a professional triathlete and I was training for Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie. I was the fittest and strongest I'd ever been. I trained so hard because my year of racing in 2016 wasn't so good and I really wanted to succeed at this race and get a podium. I felt so ready and excited to see what I could do. I was also going for points for Kona. Kona, the Ironman World championship was my ultimate goal above anything else in life. I just wanted it so bad and my goal was to podium one day. Back to Ironman Australia, I had my friends and family booked in and they were all going to watch me for the very first time which made it even more special.
So I was 2.5 weeks out from Ironman Australia (which will be held on 7th May) and was Tuesday 18th April. I was going for my normal cycling session with my two main training buddies Brad and Dasher. We call ourselves The Good The Bad and The Ugly so we are very close. It was a session that included a 4 x15min hard efforts and 4x 10min hard efforts. About 1hr10min into an effort where I was riding at 45km/h, both my front and rear tyres exploded at the same time causing me to come off and go straight into the guard rail that runs along the side of the road. I hit it at 45km/h. Brad was right next to me when this happened. He came over to me lying on the ground and knew it was severe because my body was in a real bad position. He said he kept talking to me and I was replying but I don't remember anything. He waved down some cars. 2 cars stopped and they called the ambulance, Thank God one of the ladies in the car was a nurse. She held my neck as I lay on the ground waiting for the ambulance to arrive. This is the only part that I remember from. I don't remember anything before this. So I was lying on the ground in so much pain, I couldn't breathe and the lady who was holding my neck and brad were both there saying stay calm, stay calm. I kept saying I could not breathe (this was because I had a punctured lung) and I also kept saying I can't feel my legs, I can't feel my legs. The police arrived before the ambulance. They were searching the area with Brad trying to find what might have caused my tyres to explode. But there was absolutely nothing on the road and nothing in my tyres. It felt like it was taking so long for the ambulance to arrive but apparently they were quite quick. The Ambulance arrived and transferred me on the bed and straight into the ambulance. The police took Brad back to his car and Dasher rode back. The paramedic that took control and who was in the back of the ambulance looking after me was really nice and calming. I got to the hospital and first they did an x-ray of my back and chest. They found my back was broken T12 vertebrae and I had severe spinal cord damage, a punctured lung, broken ribs, fractured scapula and fractured pelvis. I had to go in for an operation straight away for them to put metal plates and screws in place of my broken vertebrae and straighten it up to protect my spinal cord from further damage. The operation had to be done within 6 hours of my accident so that the blood could flow though my spinal cord. I got it done within 4 hours of my accident. I came out of it and was in ICU at John Hunter Hospital. My back was so sore but they got me onto the morphine. I couldn't feel my legs. The day after the surgeon came to speak to me and this is when he told me the news. He said my spinal cord was severely damaged and I would have a 1% chance of ever walking again. I was paralyzed from my waist/navel right down to my toes. This made me angry, upset, confused. I was thinking why did this have to happen to me. It's the last thing I would have thought would happen. I'm such an active person. I trained 35 hours a week for triathlon because it was my life. Even if I wasn't a triathlete I would be getting up early and going for a run every morning to watch the sun rise and I'd be so active and healthy because thats who I am. I feel like I've lost everything about who I am. I've gone from being so active, fit and healthy to nothing.
I got so many beautiful visitors straight away to see how I was. I spent 3 days in ICU at Newcastle John Hunter Hospital before being flown by helicopter to Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital. I spent 5 days in ICU at RNSH then they took me up to the Spinal Ward which is where I am now. The first week in ICU i was so sick because they were pumping me with so many drugs. I couldn't eat anything for the whole week. The second week was better. They got the medication under control and I got some appetite back. I lost so much weight during this week. I was 54kg and I'm now 47kg.
I started my rehab session last week and was able to get transferred into an electric chair for the first time. This was hard because it made me very dizzy being upright as I'd been laying down for so long. I can only do light rehab sessions because of my broken scapula/shoulder blade and ribs. When my injuries are better I can get stuck into the gym and rehab. Here are a few photos and videos of some rehab sessions that I've done. One of the sessions I do is called Sitting Balance. This is where I try and stay sitting up without any hands or help. This is hard because I have no feeling underneath my waist. It feels like I'm sitting on jelly. The first time I did it I held it for 7 seconds. The next time was 1min3seconds. Then the next time was a big 10min. I was really happy after this.